Opinions and Farts: Phew!

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3 Reasons Why Opinions are Like Farts:


  1. They belong to ourself and only ourself;

     

  2. They are sometimes innapropriate to let out; and

     

  3. Often, we are the only one who can stand it.

 

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(My apologies to anyone I may have offended.)

Why Knowledge Is NOT Power

Knowledge is Important – and I think we all can agree with that statement.  Recorded history has shown us that our very continued existence as humankind is dependent on the success of gathering and disseminating correct knowledge.

This posting on Knowledge and Power is the first in a series of three I will be posting over the next 10 days.  I will inquire about this issue of knowledge and how it is used in our lives.

I am certain we probably are already aware of what I write – because it is so pervasive.  It is my hope over the next few days I can spark some thought to entice you to embrace possibilities in your life that come from the power in the knowledge you possess.

Let’s face it – everything we know and do is based on the transfer of that knowledge; and we as a human civilization have acknowledged and placed a high value on it.

As our civilizations grew, we became more and more obsessed with knowledge; and as a result, we created and developed systems and processes to maintain the integrity of knowledge.  We were organizing ourselves as societies and we recognized that; so these are some of what we created ways to do:

  • How to develop valuable knowledge,
  • How to validate its authenticity,
  • How we decide on the systems of organizing the information,
  • Ways in which to gather it,
  • The means of transferring the information,
  • The use of that knowledge,
  • and much, much more.

When this happened, we gave birth to the phenomenon of “Knowledge Is Power”.  We created a living social way of dealing with knowledge.  This is where POWER morphed from the “Physical” realm and into the “Intellectual”.

When we understood the incredibly immense power information held,
we then created systems to manipulate that information.

It is in these systems and processes where we need and want to better understand knowledge.  And … it is in these systems where the greatest abuses take place – especially by those who wield the most power.

Why We WANT To Know About Knowledge

 

Knowledge Has Been Bastardized

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER IS INFLUENCE

After the world woke up to how knowledge can be used, the use of knowledge was used and manipulated to focus more on achieving the ends of its intention.  On many occasions, the content of the information wasn’t/isn’t even important – it was the intention.  (I will provide examples below.)

Along the way towards progress over the last 10 or so centuries, we became smarter (and more scared).  A lot of that fear is/was rooted in the “fear of the unknown”.  So, what was the most natural reaction to face that fear: WAR, of course.  Then, as war became less of an annihilating proposition to protect our fear (after all, we are smarter, right?), we slowly began focusing our efforts on the power of information – or knowledge.  Hmmm … mind games were born.

As a result, we invested time looking inward into the human psyche and biological processes (along with art and music and literature) because we started to have more free time to think (rather than react).

AHA ! ! !

The social rules of “democratic” life were then conceived, developed, and directed by leaders who best became experts in understanding the myriad of possibilities in achieving power by using knowledge.  And what happened then:

Those rules favoured their own personal self-interests
(ie: influence) …

… then Laws were created to protect against
those rules and the people who dared to exercise them.

So what we have now is this graceful dance in society where we play the game of knowledge and power.  Those with knowledge become powerful and those without … unfortunately, no so powerful.

Here are some ways in which knowledge is used against us (and we accept it):

The first step in creating POWER from your knowledge:

WE FORM GROUPS

Knowledge is no good to anyone if it is not shared.

This is how power was exercised (and still used) to give leaders their influence.  Within these groups, individuals exercise their influence in their level of affiliation with that group.  We see it in:

  • Associations
  • Agencies
  • Syndicates
  • Unions
  • Teams
  • Schools
  • Governments
  • Media
  • Individual celebrities
  • Corporations
  • Clubs
  • Families
  • Sects
  • Religions
  • Gangs
  • and many other types of groups.

What gives knowledge it’s power in these contexts is in the value we’ve GIVEN these groups (either individually or as a society).  From that high value:

  1. We give them status and credibility.
  2. They exercise their power by having an effect on the actions of others.
  3. It is difficult to remove the group from their status group.

The Group holds the knowledge and decides how much is shared.

Knowledge as Benevolence.

In most instances, there is great value in the inquiry into the issue they are discussing, such as medical associations, or non-profit organizations, or philanthropists, for example.  They draw out the brightest and best to advance the interests and (financial) opportunities of their field of interest and their group.

Knowledge as Influence.

For some, knowledge is used to exercise their influence/power on others.  For these individuals, groups were formed to raise awareness, create social change, entice action, among other activities within change agency.  They draw out the most compassionate and socially respectable who affect the majority of society. Their goals include making concrete differences in life.  Therefore, we see groups such as neighbourhood clubs, athletic groups, and other localized and accessible groups.

Knowledge as Assets.

Still for others, knowledge is just a tool to give people more time or money.  Knowledge is money and it is played in time.  For those who really see life as a game – knowledge is the currency.  Unfortunately, time has shown us where this area has been wildly abused.  As it becomes more available and validated, we have found many instances of abuses by institutions who were held in high esteem and value in their societies and circles.  Examples are found in the number of wrongful convictions discovered (DNA), or with countries trying to institute sedition laws, or when high-security information is leaked publicly about an entrenched group that cannot be denied (Vatican).

As we became accustomed to the whole idea of “knowledge is power”, we’ve mistakenly grown to give knowledge too much credit.  Up until recently, we’ve too easily accepted the standards of the use of knowledge because we never knew the unimaginable amount of information available.

The saddest (and damning) result is that Knowledge
has been blindly accept
ed as a form of Truth by many people.

But now, here in the 21st Century, we are now faced with (probably) the most significant change our civilization will probably ever experience.

The walls of secrecy, information manipulation,
and concentration are coming down.

(We’re just having a hard time right now
because we are in the middle of that destruction!)

 

We’re Using Outdated Rationale and Practices

People are still clinging onto old processes.

What is real information/knowledge and what isn’t real and believable?  The format of information – the digital transformation where it now all begins – has created the convenience of the transfer and manipulation of the knowledge, but we still want to hang onto the HARD COPY necessities of old and outdated practices.  Digital information is still an evolving phenomenon.

We have seen over time that all the greatest advances in the world have taken place when the availability and transfer of knowledge increased.  Look at the changes we’ve experienced such as the invention of writing tools, the printing press, morse code, telephone, television, and radio.

With these advances in society, and because of the acknowledged PRIZED value to society, the creation and transfer of knowledge gave us sets of rules of conduct and systems to manage information and ensure it’s integrity and value.  From these, we got newspapers, books, literature, movies, advertising, won wars, greater health, and so much more to list.

The sources of knowledge also changed.

Where and how knowledge is taken in has been overran by technology changes the information highway.  With the advent of computerization, the changes in securing the integrity of information has not been able stay up to pace with changes in technology.  We are not accustomed to the speed of taking in information as it comes to us today.  The same can be said for access to information; as it globally has never been so widely available before to us.

The Greatest Social Change Ever Experienced Is Upon Us

Today’s technology can be cause for confusion.

Technology can cause greater confusion among the masses because we are faced with thoughts (in the back of our mind) concerning what to read or view.  Is there too much information?  The quick pace of change has been overwhelming, and for half of society (mostly the older half, lol) – too quick.  We have never been exposed to such quick changes – we were brought up to establish habits and routines.

Issues of trust is amplified.

There are many sources of TRUSTED information in many formats from many places.  Skepticism among the general public (50% is under 30 years old) is increased because the established forms and sources of information no longer have their power.  Established media cannot control information any more because they themselves are being overrun by credible competition.

The model for sharing is not just changed – it is transformed!

Whereas, before it was:

  1. information came in,
  2. information-holder decided what was worthy of releasing for public knowledge (for whatever reason – mostly money!),
  3. the information was released (or not) and spurred public discussion, then
  4. they moved onto the next issue/story/problem/upset.

NOW:

The ability for true knowledge-sharing
is taking place
for the first time in civilized society;
AND it’s global.

SECRECY CAN NO LONGER BE ASSURED

 

Information is becoming more segmented and personal.

Where and how knowledge is used is now changing faster and has no current base from which to measure itself successfully without established credible systems and institutions.

  • Over 50% world’s population is under 30
  • Younger people have developed different needs and wants from their information.
  • Individual “Niche Expertise” is becoming the new frontier in information sharing and the systems of knowledge exchange.
  • Young people do not trust established sources of information.
  • Now we have “crowd-sourcing” or “group-think”


As I have noted, Knowledge is NOT Power.  There was a time when it was what made the world go ‘round; but with the events of the last 25 years, this is no longer the case.

In the next posting, I will look at the current struggle for maintaining the status quo, and how it is being feverishly supported and maintained with much at stake.  It proves to be an interesting and eye-opening post.

See you then.

Values & Beliefs: Is there Real Truth?

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TRUTH!

That elusive amoeba promising something forever out of reach; yet, remains close enough to give us its sister: HOPE!

TRUTH!

This spoken declaration – this pretend game every organized group claims to own and behold.

TRUTH!

Applied in the reality of agreement.  The greater number of those declaring a statement as truth, the greater and more powerful the truth becomes.

TRUTH!

With agreement (and agreement only), comes a unified voice whose only aim is to convince others they own the truth!

TRUTH!

Handcuffs of human conditioning placing our values and beliefs into a negative-based system of “punishment or more punishment”.

TRUTH!

Disempowering when sought in the realm of morality and religiosity – with its rules, crimes, rituals, and exclusivity.

TRUTH!

An elephant in the room of those in a position of power whose responsibility it is to practice and live in the spirit as well as to the letter.

TRUTH!

That soothing and addictive elixir first nurtured at suckling.  We seek it because we were promised it.

TRUTH!

As it is.  It is so.

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Awareness: 5 Lies We Are Told?

As I go through life, I hope to get through it with as little pain as possible – at least that’s the way I’ve experienced it.

I figure that one of our primary goals in life is to keep the body as comfortable as possible.  I go by the thinking that everything goes to its very basic – personal comfort.  We know we can’t get out of this life alive I’ve often wondered (I am a whyz-guy) about people’s motivations and the way in which we achieve our goals and plan our lives.  From these learnings, I’ve come to create certain truisms about people and life..

In this post, I focus on how we relate to each other and how we’ve been socially conditioned to believe certain ‘facts’ about life.  These are the kind of life facts that help us get along in life and keep ourselves safe and more assured.  We live by these because we’ve got nothing else, and we’ve heard these over and over and over again in our lives as truisms.

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How I achieve it is based on everything I’ve ever experienced and learned throughout my life.  Some are personal life tests, some from my family, from the media, and from the social conditioning this North American culture (here in Toronto) provides us.  Over the life of this blog, I will come to discuss these issues in greater depth; but for now, I’d like to share with you some of my imaginings and illusions I’ve come to park in my belief system.

As everything else in my life, it doesn’t mean I am married to these beliefs; rather, they are just some thoughts I am ‘trying on’ in my thought patterns.  What I do is test them as often as possible.

Why do I call them lies, you ask?

How did I arrive at my musings?

On what do I base my suppositions? 

Hmmm.  Funny you should ask.

If you happened to venture to my page explaining my background (and what I think about myself, haha), you will find that I carry a philosophical background under the labels of Humanism and Existentialism.  I think of myself, in other words, as someone who loves people and dislikes social games.

I believe that we are responsible individuals who can take control of our lives,
and actually have complete control of its outcome.

That’s not to say many outside influences shape our thoughts and actions, but I do believe we can overcome those influences and challenges.  I think that we, as a specie, are very special individually and as a group.

Given these motivations, I tend to look to the positive as much as possible.  I’ve had enough challenges in my own life to have the opportunity to challenge and stretch myself countless times.  I could see life as a problem.  I dunno, but I figure it can’t be all that bad because I am still alive and kicking … and I needed a lot of help and love from others to get me here.

Along the way, I saw a lot of recurring events/nightmares coming up in people’s lives that didn’t make sense.  It wasn’t until I developed deeper relationships with others that I was able to make some kind of sense (at least to me) of this wonderful mystery called life.  It left and impression, that’s for sure!

***

So what I’m getting at is that I’ve probably ‘been there and done that’ as far as life experiences go and I’m blessed to have had the ability to survive it and tell.  Through these experiences (even in my limited knowledge) I’ve both conscious and unconsciously tested these lies – and I personally hold them to be true to my belief system (and not in any particular order).  What do you think?


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The 5 BIGGEST Lies of Life

LIE # 1: The Strongest Survive

There was a time in our history of humankind where this was evident and true.  In those times, physical prowess is what got you what you wanted and needed.  As we’ve become more intelligent and created systems, processes, and events that make it easier on our physical lives, we no longer need physicality.

We’ve recorded too many instances over the last few millennium to doubt that brains make the difference.  Heck, the 19th and 20th centuries were a hotbed of inventions, thought, creativity, and advancement.  I figure we’ve been hanging on to an out-dated lie.

LIE # 2: Knowledge Is Power

This lie is a child of the demon above – and we have taken this lie to be something motivational.  Sadly, (the way I see it) I think we’ve gone too far with this one; and even more >> it is missing the real power and misleading us into thinking knowledge is actually power.

Give me a moment with this one, if you will.  First, I am not suggesting at all that one forgets about seeking knowledge.  Knowledge is important because it gives us awareness.  But still no power.

Think about it: How many people do you know that are very knowledgeable but are not very successful/powerful in their lives?  How much knowledge do governments and powerful organizations have and still mess up on a regular basis?  How often do you see people that rhyme off statistics and observations yet really don’t know what the heck is going on?  This is what I figure: 

Knowledge is only the FUEL –

ACTION is the TRUE POWER.

 It doesn’t matter how much you know.  What we need to do is USE THE KNOWLEDGE so we can take action.  Our actions can be more effective with knowledge – but pity the soul who still lives in this lie.

LIE # 3: Trust is Earned

This is one of those lies that goes right over our heads.  We’ve seen it countless of times – someone breaks the sacred trust between them, and the victim of the broken trust states that people now have to earn his/her trust.  A lot of us live that mantra and really believe that trust is indeed earned. Yet, we fail to realize that trust is actually something that is automatically given to someone else.

We play head games with ourselves into thinking that there is a certain degree of mistrust, inevitably, we GIVE them our trust.  We have to or we would never get anything done.  That’s why we have contracts – to help us trust the other in business dealings.  It gives us a remedy (to sue) when the trust is broken; and as we know, a lot of weight is given to a WRITTEN agreement.

What actually happens is that we give the trust (sometimes reluctantly) and
expect the best outcome.

We sometimes shake on an agreement as a symbol
of showing each other that integrity in the agreement is based on trust.

When the trust is broken, we are heartbroken (and we express it in different ways) that someone would do that.  Then, in the heat of the pain, we declare that from now on, trust is earned – and that goes for everyone.

Sadly, we often go too far on this one.  If anything, it would be better for us to declare that the one particular individual has to re-earn the trust they broke.  It would be shameful to make it a blanket statement.

If we knowingly and willing gave everyone the trust we all deserve, we could possibly experience a shift in cooperation and community.  Just this acknowledgement can make a difference, as I have had the amazing times meeting a broad range of individuals who contributed so much to my experience of life.

LIE # 4: There Is NO Fear.

This lie has been one of my issues with the world because of it’s misuse.

In one way, there is a lot of truth in this statement.
Unfortunately, even though people use this mantra to empower themselves or others,
the true essence is missing.

It is not a saying to be played with any more than telling someone they are going to live to be 100 years old.  Yes indeed, it is possible, but unless you have all the facts and you are doing all the right things, then the possibility of achievement is limited.

And when it comes to fear, there is a lot of limited information given and not enough depth to the conversation.  So, if I may, allow me to expand on my philosophy on fear.
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In empowerment training (like athletics), there is a belief that there is NO FEAR.  We are told that regardless of what people are saying, how you are feeling, and what is going on, you have nothing to fear in your drive to achieve your goal.  To their credit, the teaching advises us that we can overcome the fear – with the benefit of being c
ourageous.  And while this is a noble thought in assisting to raise someone’s ability, it only goes part of the way without fully explaining the depth of the teaching.

Without going into great detail, I suggest that we remind people that our beliefs about fear, courage, excitement, etc., are not based on reality.  Rather, we make up stories in our head about our feelings based on what is going on around us.  Here’s an example of what I mean.

The way I was able to eliminate fear completely when it came to performing publicly (not overcome – it never existed except for the first time) was to realize that I was letting a bodily feeling tell me how I should feel emotionally or psychologically.  So this is how it went:

I was around 8 years old and was studying piano music with the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.  I guess I was pretty good (though I had no thought about it at the time) because soon after starting, I was playing in recitals and other public venues.As I said, it happened only the first time I ever performed.

I remember feeling my adrenalin rushing through my mid-section and working its way to my heart.  I was starting to breathe a little heavier and my legs became weak.  As I sat, I remember having thoughts of what those feelings meant.  Given my family, the first and most obvious answer was “fear” and “nervousness”.  I couldn’t understand why I was feeling this way because I loved playing the piano (still do) – yet here I was – scared and nervous.

I can’t remember who said what and how it was implanted, but I arrived at a profound understanding about life.  I realized that I felt the very same way when I am practicing and playing music (singing too) at home or school.

I had the exact same bodily feelings – adrenalin, speeding heart, goose bumps, etc – when I was alive, excited, and experiencing full self-expression.  THE EXACT SAME FEELING – except my brain called it something different because I was doing something else.  Therefore, since the feeling is the same and just my thought about it was different, then I can change the thought about the feelings.

Instead of saying I was nervous when performing in front of a lot of people, I told myself I was actually excited about performing.  I still had the same feelings; but instead of feeling bad, I felt so much more excited that I often performed beyond my wildest imaginations.  Ever since, I never ever had any fear of performing (acting, singing, speaking, training, etc).  As a result, I never have to even think about fear because it is not a part of my being.

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A couple of interesting thoughts on this.  First, for many years, I thought there was something wrong with me because I could manipulate my feelings about my motivations.  I thought I was doing something devious or mentally imbalanced because I didn’t think other people would do the same thing.  But I was addicted, so I pursued every interest I’ve ever had regardless.

The second thing to mention that this knowledge about fear has given me so many more enriching experiences and deeper relationships.  One example is my desire to always be in school or training of some kind.  If it interests me, I’ll try it out.  Because I am not afraid of failing, I always have great experiences with learning.

LIE # 5: The World has Truth (or Meaning)

In a way, this is tied in with the thoughts on Fear.  As I got older and learned more about life, I realized I wasn’t crazy (or really was!) because understanding that meaning is an individual thing with transient motivations depending on the individual, the culture, and family background.

     Of course, we know the world has no real meaning and definitely no single truth;
yet we will fight to the death to protect the meaning we have given.

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Meaning and truth are a funny couple too.  It’s like a double-edged sword on human relationships.  Which one is worse: We give meaning to something and we create a truth to make a fit, or we create a truth and fit it with a meaning to validate it?

I guess there could be two ways of looking at the problem with truth and meaning.  The great philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once said, ”the thing is to find a truth which is true for me…”.  So given the world changes all the time making truth a constantly moving force, can we live with long-held truths passed down over time?

Secondly, given we know that some people are going to defend their truths and meaning to the mortal end, can we accept their belief systems as theirs?
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Here’s a bonus:

Wind Blows

This is only my illusion about how science works here.  Since heat creates a vacuum in the atmosphere, cold air would be sucked into it creating an effect that feels like blowing.  It’s really wind sucking and not blowing.
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Any thoughts?

Awareness: Levels of Knowledge

From my learning and livings, I have come to understand that there are basically 3 levels of knowledge:

  1. There are things (our body of knowledge) we know that we know
  2. There are things we know we don’t know
  3. There are things we don’t even know we don’t know