Spirituality and Science are Two Doorways to Knowledge

February 24, 2015 in Science, Spirituality

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Spirituality are Two Doorways to Knowledge

Spirituality andscience are two perspectives, or doorways to knowledge.

It is common in this day and age to think of spirituality and science as two opposing forces. Spirituality is often characterized as the “mythical,” and science is characterized as the learned path or “what is real.” These two perspectives do not necessarily need to be thought of as opposites, but rather as different perspectives that can be utilized by people on the path to knowledge at different times or even simultaneously. Advances in science from the latter half of the 19th century to now in the beginning of the 20th century have made us very dependent on scientific research, testing, and results as our guides in life. Yet, we need to consider what science really is. Science is not a belief system, nor is it a worldview, while many people treat it as one. Science is a methodology for learning and/or understanding. We all learn in grade school about the scientific method, in which a problem or a question is first isolated, then researched, then tested, and then concluded upon. This, simply put, is what science is. It is a way of trying to come up with answers. When followed without bias and with the intent of finding the truth, it is a very good method. For it to be even more honest, science should also bear in mind that with effective testing, inconclusive results can also be found.

In a time where much of science is practiced by academia and is dependent upon grants that are ordained by politicians and/or bureaucrats in positions of power within the government, that the intentions behind scientific studies and the need for certain results to yield more funding, it is easy to see how science can often be practiced in a biased manner. To some scientists, the ends justify the means in that they feel that their research or livelihoods are so important that certain results can be fudged in order to achieve some “greater good” of having more research funded. The spiritual world is not immune to such forces either. While government is not usually as involved, the desire to “open minds” or “show people the way” can override good judgment, or good understanding. In both the world of science and spirituality, there are forces at play that can veer one off of the path of truth and true knowledge. This reality is because we are all, human beings, after all and are imperfect. Whether it is endless change in what is really healthy and unhealthy to eat in the world of science, and with all of the endless prophecies that don’t come true coming out of spiritual thinkers, it is easy for all of us to realize that imperfect people come up with imperfect results.

It is hard to consider that any of us wants to completely give up on science. It is undeniable that many advances in health and in technology have certainly made improvements in the quality of living the world over. It should also be considered that spirituality is not deserving of being dismissed either. Some of the world’s greatest works of art and music, stories, and performances have been created by people who weren’t thinking with pure logic, but with spirit and heart. While science is a methodology for understanding and learning, spirituality is also a method for understanding and learning. Spirituality, however, focuses on those things that are more mysterious, unexplained, and on-physical. A world in which love is thought of as only a blast of neurons on certain centers of the brain seems over-simplistic. A world in which life is just a random, freak occurrence with nothing to learn from it or gain from it also seems over-simplistic. While it is accepted science that 94& of what makes up the universe is dark energy and dark matter, which we have yet to observe, test, nor have any way of confirming other than “it needs to be there” for our current scientific models to hold up, ridicule from scientists about the mysteries of the non-physical seems constant.

These two perspectives do not need to be mutually exclusive. They are like two doorways that can be entered, at will, at any time one wishes to, and in many ways, they can both be entered at the same time. One can scientifically test one’s own spiritual beliefs, for example, albeit in a less rigorous way. If one’s spiritual path is not serving one’s evolution and discovery, then, perhaps, it needs to be revised. If one’s logic does not seem to be serving one well, then perhaps certain precepts need to be re-thought and can be considered a mystery for the time being. One should also bear in mind that spiritual teachings and scientific conclusions may not always be based on truth. Certain things, like the existence of gravity, may be pretty hard to argue with, but a blind trust in academicians with prestigious degrees and blind trust in spiritual thinkers who are very convincing with their charisma can always be taken with a grain of salt. As with everything, one needs to be one’s own chief guide. The herd mentality is quite dangerous. It is best to keep in mind that one’s beliefs and understanding can always be turned on its head the next day. The life journey is deepest on the inside, when we search ourselves without bias (which is really hard to do) and with an open mind for understanding, we are undertaking a life quest whose questions and answers keep coming. shutting off the spiritual perspective or the scientific perspective is very limiting if one is pursuing knowledge.

All of the world’s greatest scientists and greatest spiritual thinkers have died without learning everything. As As the old saying goes, “life is not about the destination, but the journey. Yet, in order to journey, one needs to have a destination, and the concept of learning about life, the world, the universe, and the complexities ourselves, we are at least undertaking a journey of knowledge, in which the journey is at least going somewhere yielding a a humbled sense of purpose. For those who believe that life is about enjoying life as much as one possibly can, it is a consideration to think of what can possibly be more enjoyable and endlessly new as the pursuit of knowledge/ If one is feeling stuck and not going anywhere, it is time to start focusing on learning.

The Political Spectrum

February 21, 2015 in General

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The Political Spectrum as it Really is

The real political spectrum puts large government on the left, no government on the rigt, and constiutional balance of limited government in the middle

The Poor, Standard Model of the Political Spectrum

In order to understand the role of government and society, it is important to understand the political spectrum. Politics is the science, art, and necessary evil of influencing public opinion about how they fit into society and what is the hierarchy of laws and governance. Most of us are taught in school that the political spectrum consists of left wings and right wings. This is an arbitrary choice of a way to choose extremes of beliefs of government, leaving room for various degrees of political thought and philosophy in the middle ground. At the same time, however, we are taught that Communism is the political philosophy of the left, with socialism being next to it and that monarchies are on the right with fascism being just next to it. Yet, if we want to create a spectrum that has two polar opposites on the extreme sides of the spectrum and various philosophies in the middle ground, but this concept that we are taught is really nonfunctional as a political spectrum with polar opposites being laced in opposite directions. We are all taught, when learning the standard model of the political spectrum that the extremes of communism and autocracies (monarchies) do some how end up being similar in practical experience. We also, from history can easily perceive how the communist USSR was very similar tot he fascist Nazi Germany when in the standard model, they are somehow polar opposites. It should be said that this model of the political spectrum strives to outline the position of philosophies with regard to actual forms of government.

In the standard model of the political spectrum that details the spectrum of political philosophies as just philosophies with regard to political opinion, we still have problems. The standard model puts radicalism on the far left and reactionary philosophy on the far right. The standard model does so with the thought that radicalism is the philosophy for immediate and drastic change in a society and reactionary philosophy as a desire to return to forms of government from the past. In the same manner, this model describes liberalism as a slow path to methodical change and conservatism as a desire to hold on to what is with little desire for change. It must first be pointed out that the concept of “change” for change sake is quite dubious. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that change can be good or bad. It depends on what the change is. Yet, I digress from the topic in pointing this out. In reality, this spectrum should actually put conservatism in the middle, in that is is not seeking change nor regression to the past. Yet, academia sees it otherwise, because academia tends to lean left, because academia is always trying to be at the forefront of designing how things should be according to theories that academics come up with. Such a way of thinking necessitates change in order to promote new theories and designs. This is one of many reasons why academia leans to the left side of the spectrum. They really think that they are coming up with great ideas about how we all should live in order to make life better for all of us. Practical experience from history, however, is a better guide than some great theory developed by an academic who wants to inflict it on all of us, because their theories usually end up being re-workings of the same old big government control models.

The biggest problem with the standard model of political philosophies as political leanings is that this does not create a good model for the whole world of countries. What is the past in Saudi Arabia is quite different to what is the past in the United States of America. What is considered to be conservatism in china is quite different from conservatism in the United States of America. These different countries have different histories and different forms of government than one another and a whole model of political ideas gets torn apart when considering what was considered to be the status quo in India as opposed to what is the status quo in Israel. Additionally, as indicated above, the concept of “change” can also be a change to to something similar to the past would be listed as “radical.” If it is not so extreme and immediate, then it would be listed as “liberal.” In many ways, socialism and communism are returns to the past in that like autocracy (monarchies) is really quite similar in that they are all forms of powerful, all-controlling governments. What is the difference between one monarch deciding what is so and a group of people deciding what is so for all society, without regard for unalienable human rights? Socialism is a form of government in which the government has no restriction and orders society without limitation just as autocracies do. One king or a room full of kings has very little difference when it comes to what happens to the people. They are all in the “collective” of the masses and must behave according tot he government’s dictates.

So What is a Good Model of the Political Spectrum?

In a functional political spectrum it is important to have the two opposite ends of the political spectrum to be actual opposites. The best concept for this that is out there is the concept of government control. If the political spectrum was set up as degrees of government control, anarchy or no governance would be one extreme and all of the various forms of absolute government control would be the opposite, including socialism, communism, and fascism. It is important to point out at this point that socialism and communism are really two terms for the same idea. According to Karl Marx, the original founder of both philosophies, socialism is the form of government in which the governing class orders society controls it, and hammers it into place in the way it is supposed to be in the pursuit of “Utopia.” According to Marx, the chief author of The Communist Manifesto, communism is supposed to arise as a result when the government that hammered it into place can remove itself allow society to be, on its own, in Utopia, or the perfectly functioning society in which everyone is happy and satisfied. In other words, socialism is the cookie cutter that shapes society and communism is the supposed result when the cutter can be taken away and the cookie is shaped like a perfect snowman or whatever. Despite the fact that myriads of countries have tried to pursue the socialist path only to end up as tyrannies and oppressive societies, many academics still want to shake a shot at their dream of an oppressive socialist, cookie cutter form of government leading to a perfect, happy, communist cookie at the end becoming reality. In 100% of the cases throughout history, the oppressive cookie cutter never went away.

as detailed above, it is far more logical to think of a spectrum as degrees of government in that anarchy is a society that has no government and the others, listed above have all-powerful governments. So what is the middle ground in this model? The middle ground is the balance between the two spectrums in which there is a constitutionally controlled government that allows as much freedom for its population as possible an only restricts freedom for the sake of preserving freedom across the population. this means that the middle ground calls for the laws of government to be solely directed toward balancing the freedoms of people within the society with regard to one another. this concept has been outlined in the article about individual liberty. In such a model, the form of government enacted by the United States of America is a moderate from of government. while the United States did not live up to its ideals at is founding with regard to slavery, the ideals cannot be blamed for the country’s lack of living up to them. The U.S. Constitution calls for limited government in its role in peoples’ lives and it even calls for respect for unalienable human rights that government can never intrude upon namely the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments of the Constitution.

Additionally, this political spectrum can be applied tot he forms of government in other countries in that it dos not require cultural history to be a determinate of the model’s definitions. the simple criteria for left and right is based on to what degree of governance does the society have. Cultural difference within a society and its various social issues about how the members of society think about one another is a whole separate matter and really has no place in being a an indicator of a political spectrum for a form of government. With regard tot he political spectrum as it relates to general philosophies, one then needs to apply he terminology in a logical manner. Even with the standard model, conservatism is defined as a philosophy of no change or very little in an effort to reform problems. In this way conservatism is the center of the political spectrum. Additionally, liberalism and radicalism are to the left, requiring more and more government to enforce its desire for changing. Most, if not all of today’s self-proclaimed liberals and radicals would not argue with this at all. They wear it as a badge of honor Reactionary philosophy, however, is something that is realty makes much sense. given that the root word for reactionary is “react,” it does not really conclude that one needs to want to react in order to go back tot he past, nor does it mean that the thought of going back to past forms of ideas and traditions is necessarily a reaction to something. It seems as if someone who seeks “change” for any reason would think that someone resisting it really wants to go back to the past. In any case, while the word doesn’t make sense, we would have to conclude that a reactionary wants to go back to anarchy. I guess this means running around during the medieval era conquering things, right? Such dilemmas come up when theoreticians decide to manufacture their view of the political spectrum without regard to history or logic, but with regard only for what they hope that people will think about the words that they define.

Individual Liberty is the Key to a Free Society

February 19, 2015 in Society

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Individual Liberty is the Key Ingredient to a Free Society

Individual liberty is the key ingredient in a free society.

In considering what I should post as the inaugural article in the new incarnation of The Wayfarer Project, I decided to build on the fundamentals of what is a very important element in the pursuit of knowledge in life’s journey. One can surely develop, evolve and pursue knowledge under tyranny, but such a struggle does not lend itself well to the pursuit. In tyranny, the pursuit of knowledge is such a struggle that only a few can embark on it with any success. For knowledge to be pursued by large amounts of a population, a free society is far more fertile. In free societies, however, one cannot become lax and take freedoms for granted as if they will always be there. Tyranny is always just a generation away if a society does not feel the need to defend its freedoms. I am paraphrasing words that were spoken eloquently by the great Ronald Reagan.

Liberty, the Balance of Freedom Among the Members of Society

First, I think it best to give liberty a good explanation, as it is common to misunderstand the difference between liberty and freedom. This is more difficult these days as our modern discourse frequently avoids words like liberty and often just give lip service to words like freedom. We have, unfortunately, taken our freedoms for granted as a whole in modern American society. Our liberty as a people is slowly eroding (albeit much faster in recent years), and so many of us are oblivious to it, while we do feel the occasional discomforts and just try to ignore them. We all commonly understand freedom to simply refer to our ability to legally do what we want. In a basic understanding of the word, this is true. I will avoid tedious philosophical meanderings about freedom and thoughts of “true freedom,” what it means to be “truly free,” and just proceed to the fact that absolute freedom cannot work in society. One only needs to think about the simple scenario that the freedom to murder someone else without a justifiable reason is not a good freedom. Basically, one person’s sense of freedom has overridden another person’s freedom. The freedom to simply kill without justification cannot override the freedom of the other person to remain living. This is an obvious example, but it suffices to say that the freedom of individuals needs to maintained in a balance, where an individual’s freedom ends where another individual’s freedom begins. Finding the location of this balance is what the writing of laws is supposed to ensure. This is, essentially, what we call liberty. Just as the symbol of the astrological sign for Libra is a set of balanced scales and just as lady liberty carries scale sin her one hand with a blindfold on, liberty is the balancing of freedoms across the individuals in society.

More Liberty for the People Means Less Liberties Taken by the Government

While these concepts would seem quite agreeable to most people at the surface, the actual literal writing of laws across a whole plethora of issues is tricky in that a balance must be found, and often, thanks to the wicked art of politics, different sides always jockey for a location of balance that suits their interests more than that of others. It is not to say that politics is evil, but so often the practice of politics is fraught with lies, propaganda (a fancy way of saying the same thing), greed, envy, and the desire for power. We cannot escape politics, for it is simply the way that we, as imperfect human beings, interact with one another in dealing with the formation of groups and the championing of interests. Political aims can be good and they can be bad. The practice of politics and the existence of politicians is a necessary evil for large societies and is usually inherent in some way in small societies, e.g. families and how they deal with one another through their opinions of each other’s actions. Government itself, is a necessary evil, and that it why it needs to be kept limited and the bounds of liberty for individuals within society need to be set apart, above the reach of government. This was the intent behind the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. so many in government, however, find these limitations on their power and their incessant tinkering and manipulation of society to be too cumbersome. They really want to force their theories of control on us many times, whether we like it or not, because they feel like masterminds who know the way all of society should be “structured” and how all the members of this “collective” should behave.

The Proper Use of Law

This is where the concept of tyranny comes in. Tyranny is when the politicians and politically connected, powerful members of society work with one another to inflict their structures of society on the society in a way that individual liberty gets interceded upon. As stated earlier, liberty is the balance of freedoms between the members of society, and the purpose of laws should be to maintain a balance between the freedoms of society’s members. When laws are enacted to restrict freedom, while not being enacted to balance the freedoms of individuals, then they are actually restrictions on liberty rather than insurances of liberty’s balance. For example, if a law is passed stating that no one is allowed to wear the color purple, it restricts liberty and freedom, since the limitation set forth by the law is not done to balance one individual’s freedom with the individual freedoms of others in society. Simply put, no one’s freedom is enhanced nor preserved by restricting the color purple. In reality, everyone’s freedom is restricted by that law. Of course, in today’s political discourse, some interest group would stand up and shout that their rights have been violated by having to see people wear purple, which they find offensive, and thus, the law is a just law. This may sound like a silly example, but the general idea probably sounds familiar to since it is tricky business dealing with where peoples’ rights begin and end. Hopefully, the majority of society would be able to conclude that no one can justify that they have a right not to see other people wearing purple. This is why politics is a necessity, because without the ability of people to unite in causes, how can people within a society stand up and try to make sure that their leaders don’t pass such an insane law.

Politics, the Necessary Evil

In being a representative democratic republic, we have the right to vote for our leaders, and the leaders are said to be, then, within the service of the people. It can be said, though, if leaders are able to find ways to ensure their re-election through massive funding efforts by powerful and affluent interest groups that fund campaigns and marketing of the politician at election time, that the people can then los their influence on their politicians. The bottom line, however, is still that to be elected, a politician needs to get more votes than the other candidate, and if a candidate. This is why it is so important that people really pay attention to their elected officials all the time, rather than just during election season. During election season, the propaganda gets really thick and it is difficult to find the truth. Hell, it can be pretty difficult to find the truth the rest of the time too, because their are constant forces at play, especially when the media actively participates in favoritism. I think a lot of what has been said rings a bell. I hope it does, because it is critical sine it is constantly happening. Now consider this: As stated earlier, a candidate still needs to win more votes than the other candidate or candidates in order to be elected. What happens when all the candidates are really the same in what they do, but just appear like they are different when they are campaigning and talking about the principles, positions, and values that they want to convince us of, but have no intention of sticking to. This should also be ringing a bell too – a VERY LOUD ONE.

Remember the Basics

The paragraphs above lays out a lot of the basics and the foundation for thoughts about politics, society, liberty, and tyranny. It is important from time to time, however, to go back to these basics and really think about them, apart from the narrative that is our daily news cycles. If we don’t remind ourselves of the basics and all the pros and cons, it can be very easy to just get swept away on the daily shouting of opinions and the panels of experts that are paraded on the “news” that seem to want to define what our opinions should be and should not be. One can still pursue knowledge in a tyranny, but in a free society, there is open access to finding the truth, no matter how hard it may be to dig for it. This digging can also be performed in tyrannical societies as well, but it usually has the added element of punishment for thinking that we as individual human beings some how feel that we have the right and the freedom to look for the truth. Without the truth, can only really say that he or she has pursued and/or found anything worth being knowledgeable about? For one’s knowledge to grow, it must be a pursuit of truth, not lies. What good is knowledge when it is wrong?

Useful Tips

  • Pay attention to what your politicians are doing as much as possible, because campaign seasons are lying seasons.
  • Laws that restrict freedom without balancing another’s freedoms with your own are not good laws, but rather, restrictions on freedom without just cause.
  • Be careful when politicians are interest groups are talking about “rights,” since it is often a way of serving someone’s or some people’s interests rather than their rights or liberties.
  • Try to get information on your own researching or at least pay attention to a variety of outlets. Yet, there is such a thing as a mainstream media, which generally maintains lock-step agreement with one another with the inclusion of way too much opinion in what is called “news.”
  • Elected officials are supposed to serve the people, but too often, it is the other way around.

The Wayfarer Project is Becoming a Blog Again

February 16, 2015 in General

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<h1>The Wayfarer Project is Going Through Some Changes</h1>

Over the past few months, I have been changing my websites from WordPresss blogs into regular websites again. I have been feeling that The Wayfarer Project itself really does belong as a blog. Because TWP is the continued story of my various endeavors in the arts and sciences, it fows better as a blog. I have all the pages archived and I will be putting them back up over the next few days. Please stay tuned for a little bit, the website will be up and running very soon.