Thursday, March 24, 2016

Imitation; is it really the most sincere form of flattery?

I get my best writing ideas in the morning, even though I'm a night-owl.  Something happens in my brain after sleep.  Maybe it is an ignorance of my body pains which return in the morning and gradually increase as the day goes on.  It gets very distracting by noon.  But early on, I have a fresh mind.

Lately, I've heard some podcasters/radio shows on Spreaker/iHeartRadio sharing my ideas as their own as I have shows on those networks as well.  It's the little things, here and there, such as hearing, "Don't believe anything I say; look it up," and "If somebody wants an ass-kicking, you can come pick it up; I don't stalk so I don't offer delivery," and "why do you believe in things you can't prove?"  Those are just a few--there are many more.  I wonder if those podcasters realize they are copying me, or if they're just thinking they heard these phrases "somewhere,"  or if they did hear them somewhere else.  But the specificity of the ideas gives me doubt; I know when I hear something that's mine.

Ideally, I should be happy.  That means that my messages are resonating after doing 335 episodes averaging about 1.6 hours per, give or take.  As you may or may not be aware, I do a "big" show called "Truth on Tap," focused on truth in media, advertising, and most importantly, critical thinking, then I have a tiny show I do called "Caps on Tap," about my favorite NHL hockey team, the Washington Capitals.

Perhaps the difference in my mind is that I try to come up with more original (my) ideas or ideas from experts, while I hear some other shows just sort of reading out the news or trying to be funny, and some are hilarious.  I hear shows read a headline and then ask callers/chatroom participants asked, "What do you think about that," to the host, and off the show runs in that direction.  I killed my pride some time ago, and ego, and I don't need large listener bases or fame.  I think we all started out with a dream of going big but I found reality quickly, and while I still won't rule out the possibility of a paid, syndicated show of some type, it is no longer my goal.  My goal is to help my fellow humans wipe away the falsity of bad belies from their daily life and learn all the truths they can so we can make progress in thinking, which always precedes action, but I don't want to take the "magic" of life out so I encourage them to return to any fantasy world they like in their off time.  Disney movies.  Fiction books (I have a few out there).  Daydreaming about flying and living in a different Universe.  It's just important to me that they know the truth, and they know the critical thinking techniques that will get them as close to the truth as possible when it's time to do some rational thinking, keeping emotions to a minimum.

I guess I do find hearing my own ideas repeated by other hosts as their own (without proper accreditation) as flattering.  It's not much more to me than a measure of how far my ideas are being spread, and believed.  As a former psych. and English major with a writing concentration academically yet vocational training in computers and electronics, I've tried to round out my education.  But where I find my interest is in how the human mind works (go psych!), philosophy, critical thinking, and the pure folly of the human mind, especially when you mix logical thought with emotion and perceptual errors.  The only problem with being flattered is not having an ego to receive the prideful feelings.  I could be the most famous person in the world and literally brush it off; I suppose I'm a hermit by nature.  That's likely genetic.  I don't need other peoples' approval, though I do like to be liked.  I have a quiet mental and physical confidence that I haven't seen rivaled often; I stay cool in disasters and fear no man, and people sense that.  Even though I don't have room to feel "pride" over that, I like having that.  It feels comforting to have those qualities.  Not a lot of people can keep a cool head when a house is on fire, or after a car accident, or in the middle of a bar-room brawl.  That's when I'm at my most focused on calm, probably because I know I have to be to perform well.

So go ahead, fellow hosts, steal my ideas if you like them.  Adopt my philosophy if you like it.  It's an informational yard sale here, with everything free.  But eventually, work on being original.  Give the world something new. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Impromptu; The Last Fast Art of Words

I suppose it'll be a poem I'll choose, right now, off the top of my head
As I put forth a favorable vote for impromptu which is anything but dead
Humans who can think fast with no editorial desire or need
Are quick and resourceful and impress me with speed.

Ten minutes is usually what I allot myself to fire something off,
Ten minutes to turn a blank page into the tangible, if soft.
I'm on three minutes now so should probably pick up the pace
Even if my previous record is my only opponent in the race.

Do you like impromptu?  Like they do on "Whose Line?"
Do you like public speakers who speak without time
I find certain purity and truth, even through irksome styles
In the non-prepared statements of the verbally versatile.

You should test yourself sometime.  No need for a poem.
Just try to write something in which ideas conjoin.
Anything.  A love letter.  An e-mail or a text.
Do it fast, don't hold back, and watch what happens next.

(Finished in 7mins).

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Terrifying Truth; We Are Figuring Out Humans

I was reading a psych. study not long ago on my favorite topic (the human brain and how and why it works) and I came to a realization that would scare the average person.

Long story short, they figured out that psychopaths in prison, when talking with interviewers, were far more likely than non-psychopaths to mention things such as food, water, and shelter--the lowest level of basics.  They also were able to tell you exactly how the people they had hurt/murdered did them wrong/offended them/committed some injustice against them more than the average non-psychopath serving time for assault or a similar charge was able to describe his victim's infractions.

We had no idea.  And since this study is a preliminary finding, the critical thinkers among you know a few things right away; sensational headlines make news, and science, which psychology is (no matter how many insist it is not), insists that these studies be repeatable with control groups, blinded, representative, etc.

I suspect, though, based on some combination of my gut feeling and the early results that this one will pan out.  I don't think it'll turn out to be a false study, or have unfair controls, or anything of that nature, but while we're on that, let's do a fun little Kev sidebar.
Kev's fun little sidebar: Think of all the things you could ask about the above study that were not asked.  For example; we know the sample size was pretty large, but did it spread out over different prisons and cultures?  If it was a geographically tight sample, what if it's just normal for, say, alpha males to talk about basics and also for alpha males to be the most likely to become psychopaths (correlation v. causation arises, but is not important, yet) in that specific region?  Did we check for diversity?  Black, white, old, young, educated, uneducated, treated, untreated, or even short/ tall or skinny/fat differences?  Was any of that accounted for?  If we go on, we could ask a hundred meaningful questions, and our final conclusion might come out looking like this; A collection of respectable studies suggest that most psychopaths who are in prison across the world for murder enjoy talking about food and lodging, and are more likely to be white, short, skinny, educated, untreated males than any other combination  NOW we're getting specific, aren't we?  Sure, there will be exceptions, but as I recently heard a neurologist say (and a philosopher shortly after him also repeated the sentiment), science is not only self-correcting (and it is) but it takes a finding or findings and digs deeper and deeper until the answers become more and more subtle (in other words, as we keep digging, we can start splitting hairs).  

Anyway, the truth is that we're figuring people out, and we're doing it in a variety of ways, and some of them are solid, and new solid ways are coming.  There is software being tested now that will detect lies in the subtle harmonics of the human voice; the FBI is already in testing phases with it.  One day it will be in courtrooms; I wish it had been during my divorce proceedings and custody battle.  We are learning about people dead and alive what categories they may fit in, from pedophile to rapist, from murderer to money-launderer, from assassin to mafia enforcer.  In other words, while you lived a life that seemed normal enough to you and those around you, we're now picking up ways to identify other tendencies that go along with your patterns of behavior, and you might just find yourself exposed or even unfairly targeted.  Are we ready for this?  In my experience with humans, people love pointing fingers in every direction except in a mirror.  The ego must be cuddled and stroked; the fault placed outside.

As you know, I push rather hard for critical thinking.  It's a process.  The dedicated among us do not tell you what to think; we try to teach you human thinking weaknesses and strengths, as well as signs and symptoms of different kinds of logical paths and fallacies so that you can choose your path of interest that runs closest to the truth about those interests.  You cannot have truth without critical thinking, and you cannot be an honestly solid critical thinker without pointing your spotlight upon your own mind and examining, harshly, where you've gone wrong before, where you're going wrong now, and where you might go wrong in the future.  You cannot feel "elevated" because you're a critical thinker or you've come into it for the wrong reasons; you CAN feel "elevated" that you insist on employing the process of thinking well before you commit to any cause or belief; a process which includes routinely admitting that you are or may be wrong, a process in which you are forever willing to take in new evidence in order to stay nearest to the truth.  You cannot let one news agency, one political party, one religion, one race, one country, one family or one organization of any type tell you exactly how it is.  You must learn to think well and then find out exactly how it is, slamming shut that emotional side of yourself that is your ego in favor of lighting the fire of knowledge and learning in a way that will cause it to burn forever.  If you must give your ego some cookies, let the cookies be that you employ critical thinking all the time, that you are willing to admit when you are wrong (which most of us routinely are) and that you will listen to perfect strangers and ideological opposition and keep an open mind.  Nobody gains from holding their position for no good reason, and many lose. 

It's just an opinion, but since we are going to figure you out in very subtle ways, you should start really using and practicing critical thinking.  I'm no expert in it yet, but I aim to be, and I'm getting better, and for reasons I don't fully understand, critical thinking is hugely important to me.  If life were a book, the Table of Contents would be invisible without critical thinking.  It needs to be in place and sharp before you go any further.  

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Demeanor Chasms

Picture yourself at work and how you act.  Now picture yourself at home and how you act.  Finally, picture yourself at a grocery store and how you act there, and how that changes when you meet a friend in the store.

Do you lose your essence in any of those situations?  If you do, you're killing your identity.  The strongest and greatest people to ever make their way into our history books were describable.  Are you describable, or do you change so much between one role and the next that you're a different person?

I believe the words "spirit" and "soul" are too flimsy and imprecise--too open to interpretation.  But you have an essence; a thing that most of your casual friends think about right away when they think of you.  You're super-nice, or intelligent, or giving, or demanding, or commanding, or sneaky, or unpredictable, or extreme.  People think some thing about you.  If the people at work and the people at home and your friends are all thinking different things, then you don't know who you are.  I could write 10,000 cliches here to help define this: misery loves company, familiarity breeds contempt, distance maketh the heart grow fond... Hell, even Superman was Clark Kent.  But if you ask me, that person was only his true self when he was Superman.  Fiction aside, many can relate.

The most enduring names in human history have belonged to humans who are describable, and in terms that people from different of their social circles could agree upon.  I say you have to have one or two or three big things.  I only hope for your own happiness and a little less sorrow in the world that people won't mark you as hateful, angry, or lacking critical thinking skills (or lacking the willingness to use those skills).

Chances are, you have two challenges ahead of you if you want to beat this conundrum.  First, crack the nut that is you and have a good, hard look at it and employ changes where necessary to get to who you want to be.  Secondly, be that person 'round the clock. I've cracked the nut and remain in inventory stages right now; slow process if you're careful.  But the push is on.  Good luck.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Death as the Predator

Always on the hunt is death for one more dance partner
Since the beginning of life it has had no problem finding one
And its cold bones reach out to grab unwilling shoulders
That it will dance to a place that cannot be undone.

It sneaks around now, no ego to serve
Pointing and planning, waiting for the next call
Just willing and waiting but not hesitating
To toss whole groups over that shallow, life-harboring wall.

It's behind you right now, having a peek at your vitals
Checking your car, and your heart, and your careless style
Not rushing you, just checking, to see if your time's up
Or if you'll keep rolling for one more of life's miles.

No other threat is more calm and prepared
And not rude but not caring, reliably moving
Toward one or more partners for the fast or slow dance
The guarantee of an end is all that it's proving.

You can't fight it, it ducks and it bobs and it weaves
Not interested in winning some spiritual fight
It has work to do, some days more than others
It has work to do, pulling life into the night. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Les Humains: Past, Present, Future

I have a few things figured out regarding humans.  I couldn't think of a better time to share them than now.  As one doctor said quoting another, "Inviting me to engage in futurism is inviting me to be a fool."  I don't mind being a fool.  Let's take some shots.

Past: Humans were pure animal, really, before a few thousand years ago.  It was about the bottom rung of Maslow's Hierarchy (a pyramid I fully subscribe to, while leaving openings at each level of it for human changes/adaptations).  Food, water, shelter, sex.  People used bravery, strength, trickery and intelligence to make their mating selections, to acquire and maintain food and water supplies, and to have a shelter from the weather.  Evolution did what it did, as Darwin said, and forced adaptation.  If you didn't or couldn't adapt, you died off and produced no offspring.  If you could hold on long enough in a given lifetime, you generally did continue to contribute to the gene pool.  In cosmic time, humans have been here for a very brief period, so a relatively small amount of harsh, future-shaping adaptations have strained the human line.  We haven't been tested like many other species have.

Present: At the beginning of the 21st century, we are about to make a sharp turn.  Right now, scientists are actively researching and working on electronic implants, chemicals, and training methods that will meld computer speed and memory capacity with the human mind.  Before the end of the century, these enhancements to humans will be commonplace.  Humans will desire to have them be introduced by genes, so that these extra strengths will pass on automatically and I suspect we will work toward that.  But gene therapy, or pimping your genes, will be limited.  Added to that will be electronic forms of memory, connected to the largest networks.  You could have no knowledge of a state and yet in the time it takes to make the thought, you will have "downloaded" the state's road maps into your frontal cortex.  You will literally be Think-Googling (perhaps they'll call it Thoogling).

Designer children will be allowed, no mate required.  Sex robots will be made remarkably human and will be the most popular robot available, worldwide, followed closely by personal robots (the type that will help the sick move around, clean house, fetch necessities, go shopping, and walk the dog.... eventually, those robots will also be sex-enhanced... people will put more thought into designing their robots than designing their kids).

Wars will be fought with robots, first controlled by humans, and then by AI.  Humans will be sufficiently smart in design and control as to not let robots "take over."  Those types of Hollywood themes are popular because people fear the unknown and are always looking for something to put in their "fear hole," (my term).  Computers will continue to drive cars, but will show up also in courtrooms and sports venues to make accurate calls/verdicts, according to the rules/laws.  Computer code will be open to inspection at all time, preventing any chance of human error, bribery, or bias.  If we want mathematical precision in the application of our laws and rules, we will need computers to do it.  Finally, fairness will be achieved to a point satisfactory to the people of a community.  This will be one of the best things to happen this century.

With hardware brain add-ons and enhancements, we elders will feel a bit like outdated version of humans for having to go through years of college and many more years of living to gain an experienced education when people will be downloading their educations on demand, or designing high-IQ babies.  That will sting a little for those not wealthy enough to buy the enhancements.  Almost all surgical and repair operations will be done without human hands, as well as food service, repair services, and delivery services.  Large social programs will be needed to help people find new careers as the machines are used for any programmable tasks (which is about all of them).

Future:  Space will be colonized by man and machine.  Humans will spread out.  Homes will be made on asteroids, moons, and planets.  Warped space travel (to reduce time needed for journeys) will be perfected to allow travel to different solar systems, and eventually galaxies.  Humans will fundamentally branch off from one another here as their new environments begin to shape them, and any biological enhancements at a genetic level may turn out to be deadly or necessary, depending on the situation.  The power will be in numbers... many humans and machines sent in many different directions.  Planets like Mars will be terraformed and other duplicates of Earth will be made, either naturally or artificially.

It will be hundreds, perhaps thousands of years before we figure out practical inter-dimensional travel or useful time travel.  Using weak black holes, time travel will become relatively routine once it starts.  It is possible then that if somebody travels to or through your "current moment," it is not the first time you have been through that moment, and it may not be the last.  This may have some connection to deja-vu, as the chances that this is the first time we've come through the year 2016 are remarkably slim.  But even if it is, you will relive 2016 many, many times as time travelers re-activate the moments that they choose to arrive in.  This may also be a cause of or at least discovery of parallel realities since time and space can stretch and shrink; there may be a million of "you" living on different time/space/dimensional lines.  If so, that will eventually be proven.

New diseases will be encountered in new places as we colonize.  Whole colonies will be wiped out before some are resolved.  It is in human nature to explore, and so we will take those risks, and we will never stop searching, even if we don't know exactly what we're searching for or why.  Traditional religion will die, replaced with solid philosophy and critical thinking and a belief not in a big daddy in the sky but in human ingenuity and adaptation as its own force.  We will discover other intelligent life and at least initially, that will go well as life has a tendency, when intelligence is involved, to root for itself.  A super-intelligent but desperate life form my bring new problems.  Humans will learn that thinking outside of the box is no longer an optional exercise to do once in a while in a board room but must be practiced and used daily.  Love will not lose any of the passion it is capable of having, but due to supplemental forms of artificial love available, it will be experienced less per capita than it is now (gene manipulation, robots, and drugs will be found to be less challenging to accomplish a similar feeling to raging love, and this may be one of the worst things that could happen to humans).

Humans will make it a remarkably long time as we spread out, but in truth, the new divisions will differ so much from one another after millions of years of change that we will have new species that just used to be human.  Add to that the complications of gene manipulation and robotic enhancement, and you'll see some interesting characters out there.  Overall, unless answered after death, the question of "Why are we alive?" will probably never be answered.  The prevailing motto will be, "Just keep going in order to keep going."  

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Always the new path, and it starts with apologies

Lately, I've had some drama to deal with and those that know me know I avoid drama.  Drama generally shows up in what the smart folk call ad-hominem, or personal attacks.  This can be painful, embarrassing, and cause serious damage to one's peace of mind, regardless of how much truth or accuracy is in the attacks.

I know who I am inside.  And I know that when the sea of drama rises, I have to swim through it to get to peaceful waters.  But I'm getting better and better at it, swimming faster, and eventually will see it from far enough away to avoid it altogether.  Life would be so much easier, wouldn't it, if you didn't care about people?  I care about people.  When I see them attacked, or I'm attacked, it's immediate pain and a feeling of depression.  I can't be the judge and jury; only they know the truths about their personal lives.  But I can feel for them, no matter what they did that didn't match up with somebody else's view of good behavior.

My friend Shane taught me two things; first, he told me I have a problem with forgiveness.  I had no idea.  And he was dead-on.  And I STILL have that problem; he told me this six years ago so I could begin working on it.  He's a peaceful, mature, good person, down at the soul level.  He's the kind of guy I always strive to be like.  He also told me that he believes in karma; I still don't.  I've seen too many aholes get through life with reasonable ease and unless they are getting their justice from some higher authority after life, I don't see karma at work.  I HOPE karma is real and justice finds its way into everybody's life.  And I hope justice has at least a touch of forgiveness in it.

But if I'm going to do what I say, and continue to close down or at least control this part of myself that gets affected by drama, there is only one real way to start out.  That is to say I'm sorry.  I'm sorry to anyone who I have ever hurt, or embarrassed, or caused any discomfort.  If karma is real, I can assure you that I've already been paid back ten-fold for those I have hurt if we're measuring in physical and psychological pain.   If karma is real, I'm thinking maybe it forgot to stop punishing me once justice was served.  So by saying and feeling that I'm sorry for those that I've hurt, I can begin to (hopefully quickly) forgive myself for those actions.  And maybe if I can forgive myself, I can forgive others.  But if I'm going anti-drama, or with the create-a-better-world-for-people philosophy, there is no place to start except to say that I'm sorry for any drama I've caused anybody, ever, or anything I did that made your world anything but a better world.

With that out of the way, which just made me literally breathe in some fresh air and feel weight come off of me, I can get on to the business of making sure that I don't go near rising seas of drama, and regardless of how much pain I'm in, nobody deserves to be snapped at because I'm hurting, even if they do something out of line.  My goal is peace of mind and helping people when I can.  I want those two things more than anything, and they have become the goals that I will now live for and repeat to myself every day.  You've heard all of the cliches; life is too short, golden rule, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all, if you're not giving, you're not living... well, I have nothing to add to that except that I do know from experience that good feelings and peace of mind come from just such behaviors.