The Search for a Purpose in Life

Chilean Volcano Eruption

Years ago I read the book by Orange County mega pastor Rick Warren, A Purpose Driven Life. The premise of the book is that successful lives are born of those people that make living Biblical principles their purpose. In other words, make God your main purpose in life and all else will fall into place. Pastor Warren and his book left me unconvinced that I should adopt his prescribed purpose into my own life. However this idea of humans needing a purpose to organize their lives has percolated in my…

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Life is a Do-Happening

Surfing is the ultimate Do-Happening

Everything in life is a combination of what happens to us and what we do.   Sometimes what we do is a reaction to what happens to us.   Sometimes what happens is a result of what we have done.   The extremist on either end of the spectrum will believe: 1. The fatalists believe everything is done according to a grand orchestration, and that we have no control over anything, everything happens for a reason etc. 2. The other end of the spectrum believes that all of life is…

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Metaphors of Life | The Core of Cognition

Metaphors are the core of human cognition, the core of how we think about and relate to the world. The three human metaphors that describe the origin and purposes of the world are as follows. The Ceramic Model The Abrahamic religions of Christianity, Islam and Jews use the creative model of a universe where it was formed by God as potter forms clay. This originates from the beginning of the Bible in Genesis where God creates and forms Adam from the dust of the earth.  He created a clay figurine…

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Why the Right is Wrong and the Left is Wrong

Men are disturbed, not by things, but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things. Epictetus  – Written 135 A.C.E. The negative association of two unlike issues creates a state of fear in politics. Some Examples follow: From the right: Obama will destroy America Unions are comprised of evil thugs The US is bankrupt Social Security will be gone before I retire. Gay marriage will destroy families Communism is anti-Christian From the left: Large Corporations are evil Eating meat is murder Man made pollution will destroy the earth,…

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From Whence Does Morality Come?

Epictetus Morals book from 1716

One issue that has been discussed at length through the ages is morality. Questions such as what is moral? Where does morality come from? And why it is important have been hotly contested for as long as man could conceive of morality. Epictetus, a second century stoic philosopher wrote in 135 CE the following: “The first and most necessary topic in philosophy is that of the use of moral theorems, such as, “We ought not to lie;” the second is that of demonstrations, such as, “What is the origin of…

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Converting Our Enemies To Friends

Conflict Resolution around the world

I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends. – Abraham Lincoln We often hear people speak of finding “common ground” when debating contentious issues. But even when opposing political factions find common ground, it is the areas where they disagree that perpetuate political divides. Resolving disagreement by finding common ground is a myth. What resolves conflict is a more thorough understanding of those we disagree with. Understanding why our opponent believes what they believe is much more important than seeing similarities in our beliefs.  Understanding the values of…

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Self-Medicating with Laughter

A Day without Laughter is a day wasted

Some people are very serious, they take themselves very seriously, and they expect others to do the same.  We all know these people, they are a bore. Contrast that with the person who is always using self-deprecating humor to show their shared humanity. They are likeable and approachable; they are the ones that we love to be around. Nothing in our lives should be so sacred that we can not use it appropriately for a good hearty belly laugh.  We need to see our faults and follies and take joy…

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Animals, Pets and Humans, a Symbiosis

Kids and cats

When I was growing up I was fortunate to have parents that raised all sorts of animals. We had sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, horses, rabbits, geese, ducks, dogs, cats and an assortment of rodents like rats and guinea pigs. Raising animals taught me a wide range of lessons that are not as easily learned from studying books or listening to teachers. From feeding them every day to watching lambs be born to slaughtering them for food, the circle of life was apparent and raw. I saw lambs born with birth…

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The Triangle of Life

The Triangle of Life

“Mind of a Scholar Body of a Warrior …Soul of an Artist That is how we must live” – Mason Hartwell, my son. He was only 16 or 17 when he wrote this, but my son poetically captured for me the perspective we need to find total happiness in our lives. In a classic 3-part synopsis of life, it conveys the concept of balance and perspective on our various natures. Mind of a Scholar: We need to have a thirst for knowledge and understanding of our world. Whether through formal…

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