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  • 01/08/16--11:04: Our Human-Spiritual Rights
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    Please pass this note on…..

    Yes, you are human.  You have bodily needs  and desires.  You are controlled in part by your physical evolutionary past.  There is a part of you that is animalistic.

    But you are more than that and something within you knows that.  You have evolved to a point where you have self awareness.  You have a conscious nature–you “know that you know”.  You sense an inner world in addition to your outer one.  You know that you have choices in life.

    You live in two worlds simultaneously.  On the one hand, you live in the physical world driven and motivated by material needs.  Hardwired desires compel you to act one way to simply meet those wants.  Yet on the other hand, you live in a non-physical world of conscious awareness.  Something within you motivates you beyond the physical desires.  You seek to experience life fully, to develop your talents and abilities, to become all you can possibly become, to serve others.

    You are pushed and pulled in 2 directions simultaneously.  You want to fulfill your basic physical needs–food, water, security, sex, material success.  Yet, you also want to fulfill higher needs—love, community, have wonderful experiences, sense spiritual growth.

    You and I and everyone we meet lives in these 2 worlds.  You and I and everyone we meet has this unique gift of being both a human and a spiritual being.  We have moved and evolved through the human experience so as to develop into the spiritual realm that is our truth.

    By virtue of the fact that you and I and everyone we meet shares this unique circumstance, we are also gifted with human-spiritual rights and responsibilities.  You and I and everyone we meet have the same five privileges granted to us.  You and I and everyone we meet also have two basic responsibilities.   Simply stated, they are ” live life fully with love, assist others to do the same and do no harm.”  However, here they are more specifically….

    By virtue of being infused with the spirit of life, all humans possess the following rights:

    • The primary right to express love and receive love fully.
    • The right to express their unique human gifts and talents fully.
    • The right to fully experience all aspects of what it is like to be human freely.
    • The right to fully believe whatever they wish to believe about life and its meaning.
    • The right to fully communicate with others what they believe about life.

    By virtue of possessing and benefiting from these rights, all humans also possess the following responsibilities:

    • The responsibility to ensure that every other human may freely express their rights.
    • The responsibility to ensure that in the expression of my rights that I do no harm to any other human.

    Do you agree with these?  Do you think the world would make a quantum leap in consciousness, in love, and in treating each other with dignity if we all lived by these values?

    If so, please forward this note to others.

    Post it on Facebook. Send it on to the people in your address book. Encourage your friends and family to consider how they are expressing their rights and responsibilities.

    Tag.  You’re it.

    Author: Mark Gilbert

    http://consciousbridge.com/wordpress/articles/general-conscious-bridge/our-human-spiritual-rights/


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    Yeah, we all want to create a better world, but as the old saying goes – “what are you prepared to do about it?” Are you ready to “walk your talk”? Are you going to “put your money where your mouth is”? Am I going to use another cliché here? I hope not.

    The point is this – if you or I have concerns about the current state of the world, then you or I have a responsibility to do something about it.

    Yet that raises two immediate questions – what is exactly is a “better world” and what can we do to create it?

    Worldviews and a Better World

    The first question relates to something one of my teachers, Don Beck, likes to ask – yes, we all want to see change, “but change from what to what?” In other words, what is it exactly that we are experiencing that we would like to change and what are the characteristics of that “better world” that we would like to see in its place?

    How we answer those questions says a lot about us. Each of us carries an invisible set of values that guides the selection of what we perceive, what we think about what we perceive and our reaction to it. As a type of shorthand, this package of values is typically referred to as a “worldview”. The changes we wish to experience in creating that better world is determined to a large part by the worldview we hold.

    Here’s an overly brief summary of the major worldviews at play in our modern world.

    A large segment of our society holds what is called a “traditional worldview” marked by a desire to maintain their long-held “family values” and driven by their belief in their religious faith. A better world for many of these individuals is one where we revert back in many areas of life to an imagined better past.

    Another large segment of our society holds what is called a “modern or materialistic worldview” marked by faith in the power of material science to solve all our problems and seeing much of the meaning of life as being about the accumulation of personal wealth. A better world for many of these individuals is one where we allow individuals and corporations to create wealth and new technology without any restrictions or limitations.

    The third large segment of our society holds what is called a “humanistic or cultural creative worldview” marked by egalitarian and humanitarian themes – valuing the importance of every person and their right to hold their own personal beliefs and valuing our taking care of this world we live in. A better world for many of these individuals is one where there is equal rights for all individuals, social programs to meet basic needs and a common effort to protect our planet. [See NOTE below for more on worldviews.]

    Ultimately, how we answer the question of what a better world is directly ties to our viewpoint. And that answer guides us to our answer to the second question of what we can do to create that world. Much of our current difficulties in moving to a greater society is that we are all tugging in a different direction – imagine a game of tug o’war where the rope has three or more ends on it! No one “wins” and everyone is frustrated. Is there a way out of this dilemma? Is there a greater society waiting to be discovered?

    An Effective Society Versus a Greater Society?

    Business guru Stephen Covey touched many of us with his bestseller The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He had studied leaders who were considered “effective” to determine their common characteristics and then summarized them for us. Each of us then went about trying to embody these habits so we too could become “effective” in whatever we hoped to accomplish, regardless of our worldview and desires for life.

    However as I have pointed out in other articles previously, Covey “evolved” in his thinking and wrote a sequel to his bestseller entitled The Eighth Habit: from Effectiveness to Greatness. Here he laid out his discovery of a human “habit” that exceeded the boundaries of simply being “effective”.

    What was “greatness” in the words of Covey? It was “Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs.” By “voice”, he meant your unique personal significance, your calling, your purpose.

    If we were to expand Covey’s discovery such that many of us claimed such a habit of greatness, could it be that it would lead to a greater society — one where we each identify our own unique personal life purpose, live it – and help others to find and live theirs?

    It would be easy to dismiss Covey’s eighth habit as a natural product of his moving into a cultural creative worldview. It does have a tinge of egalitarianism. Yet, I see it differently – I hear him calling us to a higher worldview, one that transcends and includes the traditional, materialistic and humanistic viewpoints. This habit is part of the “momentous leap in consciousness” that Spiral Dynamics’ Clare Graves wrote about….or the “integral” worldview discussed by integral theorists such as Ken Wilber.

    At this integral level of awareness – we begin to release judging others and their viewpoints when they differ from us. Instead, we recognize the value of the diversity of opinions and how our moving or evolving through these various worldviews has served humanity’s overall growth. Each worldview served an important purpose in our collective evolution. At this higher level, Covey tells us that leadership and greatness become about choosing “to deal with people in a way that will communicate to them their worth and potential so clearly they will come to see it in themselves.”

    If each person in society was able to embrace such integral awareness and greatness for themselves, can you imagine what a greater society would be produced in the process?

    Yet perhaps there is another aspect to this greater society we need to consider….

    A Spiritualized Society?

    Many consider one of the first real “integral” thinkers to be an Indian teacher by the name of Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950). Born in India, he was schooled in England before returning home as a young man and becoming immersed in the politics of seeking an independent India. His actions led to his arrest and while spending a year in prison, he meditated on the great spiritual text, the Bhagavad-Gita. Upon his release, he withdrew from politics so as to focus on spirituality.

    Aurobindo’s new “integral yoga” sought to bring together the two major influences in his life – Western science and Eastern religion. He recognized there was value in both. Ultimately, he sought to create a spiritual philosophy and practice that valued both the wisdom gleaned from going inward through meditation and outward through the experiences of physical life. His teachings were detailed in numerous books, including what most consider his greatest, The Life Divine.

    Aurobindo recognized that humanity was moving through a spiritual evolutionary journey. He knew that the next steps in our journey would be within our individual consciousness where we would begin to bridge what had appeared to us as opposites. With such insights, we would discover that God or the Divine was to be found just as much in the physical world as the non-physical world; that the Divine was inside us as well as outside us; and that the Divine was in science, economics, politics and all aspects of society.

    In fact, Aurobindo envisioned that humanity would eventually embrace what he termed a “spiritualized society”, one that would “make the revealing and finding of the Divine self in [humanity] the whole first aim of all of its activities, its education, its knowledge, its science, its ethics, its art, its economical and political structure.… It would embrace all knowledge in its scope, but would make the whole trend and aim and the permeating spirit not mere world efficiency, but this self-developing and self-finding.”

    In other words, Aurobindo saw that a spiritualized society – what we might consider our true greater society – was one where all of our social systems were focused upon revealing the divinity within each and every person. Such a society would reveal to each person (to paraphrase Covey) “their real true worth so clearly that they come to see it in themselves”.

    Becoming The Great Revealers

    All of this brings us back to our original question – what are we prepared to do to create a better world?

    Now I recognize that many of you reading this..if you have made it this far….may disagree totally with this picture of a true greater society that I have described. I recognize that you may hold so deeply to your traditional, materialistic, humanistic or other worldview that even the idea of there being other valid viewpoints from yours seems totally false. Creating a society around revealing our true Divinity may sound like blasphemy or hogwash to you. If so, that is fine. I honor you for holding your belief in life, whatever it might be.

    But if, just if….the idea of this true greater society built around our honoring our differences, valuing all of the stages of our evolutionary path, and creating social systems designed to reveal to us our true Divine nature resonates with you, then here are a few ideas on what you can do to move us collectively towards that true greater society:

    • Create the intention within your thoughts that this world is possible. Visualize it, feel it, sense it. Know that it is not only possible, but it will happen.
    • Read the inspired thoughts of wise teachers such as Covey, Aurobindo and others who are pointing us towards a world that works for everyone.
    • Release blame or judgment towards others for their beliefs. You don’t have to agree with them, but you can certainly understand how their lives, culture and worldview led them to such beliefs.
    • As you interact with others, practice seeing and sensing the divinity within them. Recognize and know that on some deep level which may be unseen by you, that you are really connected.
    • Identify your life purpose and begin to live it.
    • Help others to find their voice, their internal gift, and encourage them to share it.
    • Practice being a beneficial presence in all your interactions.

    Through these actions and others you will discover, together we can all become revealers of our true greater society.

    Mark Gilbert

    http://consciousbridge.com/wordpress/articles/featured-article/revealing-our-true-greater-society/


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  • 02/23/16--17:19: Mistaken Identity
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    Mistaken identity is defined as ... An instance when someone incorrectly thinks that they have found or recognized a particular person – collinsdictionary.com

    Who do people think that you are? How do they define you? More importantly, are they correct in their assessment?

    Humor me here for a moment.

    I believe I may have a Doppelgänger or at least an evil twin or at the very very least, I am the target of someone’s rather overactive imagination which is the most likely scenario. Exactly why this has happened I do not know and having worked in a hospital for many years in Urgent Care and often exposed to Personality Disordered individuals, I am not about to play amateur psychologist to try and figure out why I have been mistaken for someone else. It seems to be too tangled of an ongoing web for me to unravel yet I thought it only kind to bring some awareness to the finger pointer at large and perhaps help others who are not firmly in their own power enough to be unaffected by such instability from another person.

    Now, in all fairness, sure, people make mistakes and usually they are honest ones and totally forgivable but when a person accuses someone of something or of being someone else for personal/ego satisfaction, jealousy, hatred, gain, or to make themselves appear as some sort crusader, well, they just might deserve a little more than some egg on their face. There are names for people like this:

    • Slanderer - someone who deliberately tells lies that will damage your reputation
    • Libeler - slandering in print
    • Perjurer - slandering under oath, or other specific legal circumstances
    • Famacider - a killer of reputation
    • Liar – which covers all of the above

    Let’s review some spiritual law about accusation:

    Spiritual Law states that we all are supposed to make ‘diligent inquisition’ which means we are supposed to be very careful and search the actual facts before making a judgment against someone. Most normal people take the time to do this. Yet, someone with an agenda or a deviant mind will skip this prerequisite and jump to what looks like a familiarity and use it for basis in fact because it is effective (to them at least) and or fits the fantasy that has been created. That familiarity is often superficial at best and nowhere near the actual truth and very easy to see through in some cases and in other cases a well-veiled manipulation that a bit of research can unveil as there is often a prominent psychological pattern. The whole thing is a shame really when all our unfriendly neighborhood accuser had to do was man up and ask. Personally, in my case, I would be more than happy to answer any questions to alleviate doubt.

    False accusation is worse than backbiting and some petty gossip. At its very worst, multiple false accusations result in a distortion campaign. Remember, false accusations are used by abusers as a deflection technique, to discredit their victim and promote the idea that the abuse is merited. This ends up inevitably worse for the accuser than his target because he winds up in an endless and never-ending loop of lying to cover up previous sins in order to remain believable. That means a lot of sleepless nights and energy expended in a negative direction. More’s the pity methinks – a little karmic kickback there.

    Here are some helpful hints for staying in your personal power and engaging your higher self:

    • Don’t let them get into your head – do not believe everything a Personality-Disordered person says to you or about you. If they are vulnerable to deceiving themselves they will occasionally try to deceive you too.
    • Don’t try to negotiate by asking the Personality-Disordered individual to retract their accusations more than once. The goal of the false accusation may be simply to bait you into a fight.
    • Don’t play Dr. Phil by trying to over-analyze false claims. If someone believes something untrue, that is their problem, not yours.
    • Drop the guilt and don’t blame yourself for being falsely accused. You are responsible for the truth in your own words, not someone else’s.

    Somewhere, out there (as the song goes) there is another JR who is also suffering from a case of mistaken identity. I hope he too is in his power and unaffected. I'm sure he would accept an apology just like I would. In the meantime ... Sometimes you just gotta’ laugh.

     


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  • 04/08/16--21:53: Less Than Human
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    Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others ...

    By Peter C. Grosvenor

    Dehumanization is the psychological capacity to deny the humanity of others, to relegate people to the status of non-human animals, and so to deprive them of the protections normally accorded to fellow humans by moral codes. As this far-reaching and inter-disciplinary study by David Livingstone Smith amply demonstrates, it is a recurrent historical phenomenon extending back millennia, and it seems to be a necessary precondition for the perpetration of sustained injustices, especially slavery, genocide, and racial subjugation.

    In logical terms, of course, dehumanization is an absurdity: there are no sub-human humans, any more than there are short tall people. How, then, do we explain its persistence? For Smith, dehumanization is a product of our propensity to think in terms of essence and hierarchy. We assume that everything has an essence—a quality that makes it one thing rather than another, regardless of appearance. So, fictional creations, such as vampires and zombies, or the robots in the Terminator movie franchise, may look like humans, but we recognize that they are not human in their essence. To dehumanize, therefore, is nothing more or less than a refusal to acknowledge the human essence of others, despite their obvious human form.

    To dehumanize people is always to demote them in a presupposed natural hierarchy. As Smith convincingly illustrates, the dynamic, even chaotic, vision of the natural world produced by the nineteenth-century Darwinian revolution has failed to loosen our intellectual attachment to the Great Chain of Being—a conception of nature as a stable and unchanging hierarchy, with the whole of “creation” ranked by its proximity to the divine.

    The best feature of Less Than Human is Smith’s deft navigation through the history of the Great Chain’s foundations in theology and philosophy. He finds it first in the Book of Genesis, where man—made in the image of God—is given dominion over the rest of nature. But the first serious effort to theorize a natural hierarchy within our own species is found in Aristotle’s defense of slavery, wherein the human essence is characterized by the capacity for reason, but in non-Greeks this is present only in a rudimentary form, thus making them slaves by nature.

    In the fifth century, the Christian theologian St. Augustine was adamant that appearance was no guarantee of human status, while the Roman Christian philosopher Boethius held that the defining characteristic of evil people was that they had renounced their previous humanity. During the Renaissance, Pico Della Mirandola maintained that a distinctive feature of humankind was our ability to determine our own position in the natural hierarchy by moving closer towards or further away from God. And Bartolome de las Casas and Juan Ginés de Sepulveda clashed over the human status of Amerindians. So enduring is this pre-Darwinian image of natural hierarchy that even today serious students of the life sciences may unconsciously be drawing upon it when they speak in terms of organisms occupying a position “higher” or “lower” on the “evolutionary scale.”

    Smith is right to say that a feature of human history as entrenched as dehumanization requires massively more scholarship than it has so far received. But its study necessarily involves engagement with some important methodological controversies within the social sciences. Smith is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of New England, and also director of the New England Institute for Cognitive Science and Evolutionary Psychology. He is therefore primarily interested in the biological basis of human behavior, and in this book he explores the extent to which dehumanization can be explained in terms of our evolutionary endowment.

    His conclusion falls short of biological determinism, stressing that dehumanization is not an evolutionary adaptation that has been hard-wired into our brains by natural selection. But neither, he insists, is it a merely social construct that can be explained solely in terms of the contingencies of time and place. Instead, it should be conceived of as “a joint creation of biology, culture, and the architecture of the human mind.”

    So, at one level, Smith appears to resist having his study of dehumanization mired in the debate over whether human actions are to be explained by nature or by nurture, which, as the biologist Paul Ehrlich once pointed out, is like asking whether the length or the width contributes more to the area of a rectangle. But Smith’s predisposition towards biological explanations keeps resurfacing. In the familiar mode of evolutionary psychology, he writes that “[w]hat we can make of ourselves is constrained by what we are, for the same reason that what a sculptor can make out of a block of stone is constrained by the properties of the stone.”

    Smith argues that there are two compelling reasons why we should investigate dehumanization’s possible roots in our cognitive architecture. To begin with, it has manifested itself over an immensely diverse range of historical and cultural contexts. And, furthermore, the ability to dehumanize others is not confined to a peculiar personality type, as was impressively demonstrated by historian Christopher Browning in Ordinary Men, his ground-breaking 1992 study of Holocaust perpetrators. Indeed, Smith’s assertion that any of us could potentially succumb to a dehumanization narrative was truly chilling, though the notion had long been suspected. It was the Roman playwright Terence, after all, who confessed that, “nothing human is alien to me.”

    The difficulty, however, is that establishing the impulse to dehumanize in our cognitive architecture—if it indeed has a place there—requires an elusive knowledge of our prehistoric ancestors’ psychology. Smith draws extensively upon the insights of cognitive archaeology, a sub-discipline within archaeology that attempts to reconstruct the prehistoric mind from material evidence such as art, animal husbandry, tools, technology, and so forth. But even so, he concedes that his account of the evolutionary emergence of dehumanization relies, in his words, on “educated guesses” concerning our development of a so-called folk-biology, by which other ethnic groups came to be conceived of as distinct species, presumably lower in the Great Chain.

    It is Smith’s interest in evolutionary psychology that leads him to conclude Less Than Human with a critique of Rorty’s proposed strategy for countering dehumanization and the hideous violations of human rights that it spawns. Like Smith, Rorty seriously doubted the capacity of rationalist philosophy to protect human rights. After all, the archetypal Enlightenment thinker Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, owned slaves. Instead, Rorty stressed the power of “sentimental education” to dismantle dehumanization narratives—his favored example being the immense contribution Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, made to the abolitionist cause.

    No doubt there are limits to the Rorty strategy. And his aggressively postmodernist rejection of biological accounts of human behavior comes with problems of its own: undeniably, we are evolved animals, and not disembodied spirits. But Smith’s call for us to “bring science to bear on those aspects of human nature that sustain the dehumanizing impulse” may not get us as far as Rorty’s “sentimental education,” let alone further. Even if the scientific obstacles in the way of finding an evolutionary basis for dehumanization could be overcome, there would still be the question of what we would do with that knowledge. We need to transcend dehumanization narratives, at a minimum, for the pragmatic purpose of coexistence. And that would remain true, no matter what we learn about the biological or social origins of those narratives.

    http://thehumanist.com/magazine/january-february-2012/arts_entertainment/less-than-human-why-we-demean-enslave-and-exterminate-others


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    I bet you have never considered the question… Is critical thinking and Moral Values a bunch of crap? You might even be thinking if we didn't have these things there would be chaos. Where would be the order? The problem with both of these is they depend on value judgments or value judgements as my cousin spells it. Moral values are created by personal judgments and problem solving skills are done by creative thinking, not critical thinking.

    Most often when someone claims to be using critical thinking they are simply criticizing, being critical instead of doing critical problem solving. One of the reasons problem solving skills and creative thinking are left out of the mix and critical problem solving winds up being criticism is because of something very, very basic. It starts when we make a judgement instead of calibrating.

    So what is wrong with judging? It depends on if you have what you want to have and if you are being who you want to be or doing what you want to do. The problem with making a judgement is when you do you have formed an opinion or come to a conclusion. And the BIG issue with that is Life does not stop and it constantly changes. And as my Grampa Vetter said, "A judgment is where you have stopped thinking."

    There is even famous books and most every spiritual tradition has something very similar, with a quote that most people seem to ignore or justify themselves around…

    "Judge not, least ye be not judged." (Something called the "Holy Bible" isn't it?)

    Another problem with judgement is it gives one the false sense that the decision they have come to in their mind is accurate for the outside world. To attempt to use critical thinking based on moral values which are based on personal judgment causes one to be way off the mark.

    So what should one use instead?

    How about… calibration!!!!!

    Both judging and calibrating do the same things…
    • Evaluate
    • Decide
    • Measure
    • And that is where they stop being similar

    The differences between the two are earth shattering. The biggest difference is that judging holds one in prison and calibrating sets one free. Let's compare the two, shall we?

    Judgment
    • stops thinking
    • is about the past
    • does not allow adjustments
    • is permanent
    • measures the future based on the past
    • criticizes
    • is out of alignment with the universe
    • strictly internal

    Calibration
    • continues thinking
    • is about the future
    • encourages adjustments
    • is temporary
    • measures the future based on where you are
    • reserves judgement
    • is in line with the universe
    • uses both the internal and external

    The US stock market has even put out a warning about this. "Past performance is no guarantee of future performance."

    Judgment energy is created by making a decision of defeat. It takes a specific calibration situation; personalizes it and generalizes that one calibration incident to other calibration situations that are not similar but are perceived as similar.

    Judgments are useful for things that are repetitive like opening doors, sitting on chairs, putting gas in the car, etc. They are less than useful in situations with other variables such as the energy of other people and when situations are a part of the mix.

    With these new understanding it is easy to…
    • increase emotional intelligence,
    • improve critical thinking,
    • do more creative thinking,
    • get better emotional control,
    • get a handle on moral values
    • control anger management
    • increase self-confidence
    • remove low self-esteem
    • get back confidence
    • have self-esteem

    It might be useful to begin shifting or judgments to calibration because as long as we base critical thinking and moral values on judging we may have an answer to the opening question we don't like.

    Dr. Houston Vetter

    Learn about Critical Thinking and Moral Values in "Train Your Thinking" from Dr. Houston Vetter, Master Level proficiency in over 30 different modalities and able to help you succeed in ANY area of your life (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, psychological, financial, health and relationships) click here http://www.TrainYourThinking.com


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    “Tell people there's an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority will believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure." - George Carlin

    Gullibility is the tendency some people have to trust people too easily which causes them to be open to deception. Guile, which is the opposite of gullibility, is the ways and means of trickery that is used to dupe those who are gullibilty.

    Gullibility can be sourced in the following:

    Lack of experience

    Young people and those who have lived a relatively sheltered life may well be more gullible. If all you have known is trustworthiness then you will give trust without question or suspicion. If people have been largely trustworthy, you will be largely trusting.

    Lack of education

    You do not have to experience bad people to limit your trust. There is plenty of information on the TV and in other media to indicate the need for caution. Yet somehow some people do not seem to take this in and cling to a more trusting position that is wise.

    Need to be liked

    Many people want to fit in with others, to be accepted and admired. If they have a higher need for this then they may well be less judging of others and more ready to accept whatever they are told.

    Need to obey

    There are many rules, values, norms and so on within our lives that we are supposed to obey. Some people will blindly follow all such rules whilst others may be more cautious.

    Those who follow rules are more easily deceived by others who utilize existing rules or explain that rules they propose must be followed.

    Personality

    In addition to the points above, there are other personality factors which may lead people to be more gullible. These may include:

    • Openness in being ready to listen and accept what others say.
    • Warmth in accepting and caring for others as they come.
    • Those who decide by a relatively immature 'gut feel'.
    • Those who are shy and deferential rather than seeking to lead.
    • Those who are less apprehensive or worry about the future. *

    How To Not Be Gullible **

    Becoming a more critical thinker ...

    1.Do not rush to make big decisions. Blindly committing to a big decision may lead to consequences you might regret later. This is also the tact some people use to lure people into making a commitment without fully considering the ramifications, such as a real estate agent, a prospective employer, or a partner. A spontaneous decision often is a poorly considered one.

    • Do not make a decision based on one person's opinion because you are afraid will make the wrong one. If you are indecisive, a person who has something to gain from you may turn that against you. They'll assure you that it is the right one, what are you waiting for? But if a person is afraid or scornful of waiting for another opinion, or doing research, or otherwise weighing your options...that is a warning sign.
    • Beware of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). FOMO can mean that you are afraid that if you do not act now, you will miss out on an opportunity that will never present itself again. Chances are good that is not the case.
    • Keep in mind that people who try to force you to quickly make a decision instead of giving you time to make an educated choice are often doing so precisely because they don’t want you to do any outside research; they don’t want you to be able to call their bluff.

    2.  Be more skeptical. While you may not want to be a completely skeptical person just to avoid being gullible, if you tend to be too naive, then you should work on being a bit more critical when you approach a situation. Whether your older brother is telling you a story about your neighbor or a telemarketer is trying to offer you a discount on your phone plan, you should work on having your guard up and asking yourself and the person you’re with whether the information could possibly be true.

    • Sure, this may make some social situations a bit more unpleasant than they would be if you were agreeable and went along with everything a person said, but this will keep you from being gullible.
    • Whenever you’re given a new piece of information, ask yourself how much you can rely on the source, how likely it is to be true, and what counterarguments a person might make to the contrary.

    3. Make people earn your trust. You don’t have to be completely distrustful just because you want to be less naive; however, if you really want to work on not being gullible, then you can’t go around trusting every person who comes by your side. Get to know people and establish a relationship with them first, whether you’re becoming closer with a coworker or dating someone new. Making people prove themselves to you instead of believing them at face value is a sign of strong critical thinking.

    • People who are gullible tend to trust anyone who gives them information, especially if they consider that person to be older and wiser. However, don’t let a person’s age or authority sway you into believing something that isn’t true. Remember that people of any age have to prove themselves to you first.
    • If you’re too trusting right away, then people are likely to take advantage of you and to trick you into doing something that’s not really good for you.

    4.Don’t jump to conclusions. If you want to not be gullible, then don’t let yourself jump to conclusions before having all of the facts yet. Just because your teacher missed a day of school, don’t believe that they're fired just because that’s what your best friend is saying. Just because your boss is being extra nice to you this week, don’t assume it means you’ll be getting a promotion soon. Make sure you have time to gather all of the information you need before you make hasty assumptions.

    • People who are gullible sometimes don’t want to take the time to figure out whether something is true or not. However, this is exactly what you should do if you want to avoid falling into a trap.

    5.Avoid anything that sounds too good to be true. The fact of the matter is that if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Whether a Prince Charming type you just met is trying to sweep you off your feet or your friend is asking you to invest in a business that is “guaranteed” to make you rich, you should always hesitate before you enter a situation that sounds like it will make all of your problems go away. If you feel like you’ve encountered the most perfect opportunity in the world, then chances are that there’s a catch.[1]

    • Remember the truth of the statement, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” If you’re offered an amazing opportunity, then there’s probably something you have to do in return. No one wants to just give you a chunk of money, an amazing gift, or a piece of property without wanting something in return.
    • Ask yourself, how will this opportunity benefit the other person? If someone is offering you a gift certificate, what would be the incentive? Would the person really be doing this out of the goodness of their heart?

    6.Know that there’s some evolutionary good in being gullible. Though it’s admirable to work to be less gullible, you should know that being gullible isn’t all bad. In fact, the ethologist Richard Dawkins maintains that being gullible actually helps us survive as children. It’s gullibility that makes you believe your parents when they tell you that you shouldn’t leave the house because there are scary people outside, or when they say that you shouldn’t wander into the woods because of monsters. This kind of thinking does keep you alive—to a point.[2]

    • This doesn’t mean you should continue to be gullible, but that you shouldn’t be frustrated with yourself for being gullible, either. It’s likely that your gullibility has helped you in more ways than you may know.

    7. Don’t think anecdotal evidence always proves the truth. People who are gullible tend to hear one story about a certain phenomenon and then believe that it proves a larger truth. Don’t make hasty generalizations just because of a story you heard, and sharpen your critical thinking skills by learning as much as you can about the situation before deciding. Though stories can help you can a better understanding of a situation and can give statistics and big issues a more human context, they can’t be your only source of information.

    • For example, if your friend says, “Don’t get a Volvo. My cousin has a Volvo, and she says it’s always breaking down on her. Get a Jetta instead,” then this may be stating a truth about one person’s experiences with a Volvo, but it doesn’t mean it’s true for all Volvos.

    Gaining more information ...

    1.Consider the credibility of the source. Gaining as much information as you can about a certain situation can help you become less gullible. One way to do this is to consider the credibility of the source that you are getting information from. Whether you’re reading a news headline or talking to a notorious gossip, ask yourself whether this source is peer-reviewed or well respected, or whether this person has misled you before. You can’t believe everything you hear or everything you read on the Internet, or you’ll become one of those people who believes a headline from The Onion.

    • If you’re reading a piece of news online, check out where it’s coming from. Read about the journal or magazine and see how long it’s been around, who contributes to it, and whether it’s a scholarly or well-respected source.
    • See if the source is an authority on the subject. If your cousin is trying to tell you all about which car to get but he doesn’t even have a driver’s license, then consider the possibility that he may not know what he’s talking about.

    2. Search for evidence. Before you believe something or make a decision, make sure you have done ample searching for evidence to back it up. Don’t just believe something because your friend told you it’s true, but spend time researching the situation on reliable sources on the Internet, checking it out at your local library, or talking to experts in the field to find out whether it’s true. People who are gullible are often also lazy, because they feel that it’s less work to simply believe what they are told instead of making an effort to investigate the matter on their own.

    • If you’re looking for the truth about a scholarly matter, then make sure you’re reading a peer-reviewed journal, so you know that the source has been approved as credible. You don’t want to get scholarly information on someone’s personal blog, unless that person is a respected scholar.
    • The library is under appreciated as a source of information today. If you want to use it but feel shy about it, just talk to the librarian about how you can search for information.
    3. Admit you don’t know everything. Another way to be less gullible is to come to terms with the fact that you, along with every other person on this planet, have a lot more to learn. If you act like you know everything and simply accept everything that you are told or that you read, then you’ll be continuing to live a life without challenging your own beliefs. Instead, admitting that you don’t know a lot about politics, for example, can help you see that your cousin’s oversimplified argument about Obama may not be as convincing as it sounds, at first.
    • It’s humbling to admit you don’t know everything there is to know. This is the first step to becoming a more critical thinker and to understanding that arguments are often more complicated than they seem, or more complicated than you may give them credit for.
    • While you should admit you don’t know everything to yourself, you don’t have to be eager to offer this information to others. For example, if you’re buying a car, you don’t want to tell the salesperson, “I don’t know anything about cars…” or you’re making it much more likely that people will take advantage of you.
    4. Read more. People who seek information are always reading and learning more. They don’t just get their news from one source, and they don’t just read books by the same three authors, either. They are always on the hunt for new knowledge, whether they are reading the latest Jonathan Franzen novel or Scientific American. They are never satisfied, because they know there’s more out there than meets the eye, and they are always determined to find it.
    • Carve out a chunk of time every day, or at least every week, to do some reading. You can be systematic about it and get determined to understand everything there is to know about geology or contemporary poetry, or you can just read whatever piques your interest that week. The most important thing is that you develop a thirst for knowledge and continue to question the world around you.
    • If people know you are knowledgeable and well-read, they will be less likely to try to trick you or to get you to fall into a trap.
    5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you want to be less gullible, then one thing you can do is ask as many questions as you need to fully understand a situation. Whether you’re considering buying a new car or a home, or your older sibling is telling you the best way to bleach your hair, it’s important to gather as much information as you can before making a decision or agreeing to see something a certain way. Many people are afraid to ask questions because they don’t want to admit that they don’t know something, but this is the best way to keep yourself from being gullible and buying in to something too easily.
    • Plus, if you’re the kind of person who is known for asking questions, then people will be less likely to try to trick or scam you.
    • If you’re in class, then asking a million questions may derail the teacher a bit. Just ask what you really need to know right then and talk to the teacher after class if you have further questions.
    6. Ask for a second opinion — and a third. If you really want to think critically and investigate situations thoroughly, then you should avoid getting all of your information or opinions from one source. Sure, your friend or cousin might have almost sold you on the best way to bake apple pie or mow your lawn, but you’re better off asking another person what they think or looking up the issue or story online. If you’ve only heard a “fact” from one person, then you’re much more likely to get tricked than if you ask more people what they think.
    • The same goes for reading your news. Try not to get all of your news from one source or your thinking is likely to be biased. Read at least 2-3 news sources so you don’t fall for any tricks or believe something that isn’t entirely true.

    Avoiding scams or tricks

    1. Say no--it is OK not to be "nice". Gullible people are too polite or nice to simply say no. People are taught to not hurt others' feelings, and saying firmly "no" is somehow rude. People are also taught to generally trust, and that saying "no" may indicate distrust. However, it is perfectly proper and polite to decline something that you do not want, especially from a salesperson or someone you do not know.
    • People can use the desire to be seen as "nice" by insinuating one is rude or mean for saying "no". This is especially true of predatory men trying to convince women to get involved with them.
    • If something does not feel right to you, it is better to be cautious than to get scammed.
    • Of course, you don’t want to be paranoid, thinking that any time someone talks to you, that there’s a potential they're going to scam you. Still, if you’ve been called gullible before, it’s better to be cautious than sorry.
    • If someone is trying to sell you something, then you should especially be wary of saying yes. Ask yourself if you actually want the product, and if it really sounds like a good deal, or if you’re just afraid to say no because you feel sorry for the person.
    2. Don’t listen to gossip or rumors. If you want to not be gullible, then you should stop buying into any rumors or gossip, whether they are about Kim Kardashian or the most popular kid at your school. Unless you get them from a real source, chances are that gossip or rumors are just caused by jealous, bored, or mean people, and there’s usually no truth in them. Get in the habit of thinking of all the reasons a piece of gossip is probably not true instead of immediately buying into it.
    • Think about it: if someone started a rumor about you, then you wouldn’t want everyone to instantly believe it, would you? Work on being less gullible and assuming that most gossip is just gossip and nothing more.
    • If you have a reputation for believing everything you hear, then people may want to trick you with completely false gossip just to tease you.
    3. Be skeptical of anyone who has fooled you. Whether your older sibling, annoying friend, or goofy neighbor has fooled you before, you need to proceed with caution when it comes to that person giving you more “information.” Even if the person does it in harmless fun, you should still be wary of the fact that this person will likely try to tease you again in the future. If the person really likes to trick you, then they’ll probably do it in front of an audience, so you should especially have your guard up if your older brother has his five best friends over and is trying to tell you something with a big smirk on his face.
    • Remember that it can take a while to rebuild trust. If the person has tricked you before, then you shouldn’t trust them again, right away.
    • If the person is clearly trying to get you to buy into something absurd, just roll your eyes and say, “Ha-ha, very funny,” to show that you won’t be fooled again.
    4. Avoid email scams. As a general rule, anyone who emails you asking for money, saying they're your long-lost relative, or telling you that you need to click on a link to redeem your $10,000 certificate, is just hoping you’re gullible enough to fall for this trick. If you see anything like that in your junk mail folder, then delete it immediately and don’t be fooled. Some people will try to tell you sad stories about themselves while trying to ask for money, but you can’t be naive enough to fall for these tricks over email.
    • If you get email about cash prizes you won for contests you didn’t apply for, then send them straight to the trash. Everyone wants to believe that there’s a ton of unclaimed money with their name floating around on it, but we’re rarely so lucky.
    5. Learn to disengage from salespeople. Another way gullible people get tricked is because they get sucked in when they’re talking to salespeople, whether the person has called their house or approached them inside the mall. You have to learn to be polite but firm, to thank the person but to say you’re not interested, and to avoid signing up for any email lists or revealing any personal information, such as your email address or phone number. Act like you’ve got places to go and that you have no time to listen, and that you’re a person who won’t be easily fooled.
    • Though salespeople don’t inherently try to trick you or scam you, you are much more likely to get tricked if you’re completely ready to listen and if you let people talk to you about products you’ve had no interest in buying.
    6. Learn to read a person’s expression. Paying attention to a person’s expression and body language can help you see whether they're just trying to fool you. If the person is quietly smirking, looking away, or even telling you something a little too eagerly, then they may be fooling you. If the person sounds serious, but when they look away, you think they're trying to keep themselves from laughing, then you’re probably being tricked. If the person is telling you something but they can’t look into your eyes, then you may not be getting the truth.
    • Another way you can tell if a person is lying to you is to listen to how confident their voice sounds. Though some crooks have their words down to an art, the less experienced ones may mumble, or say “uh” and “um” a lot when they try to tell you something that is blatantly false.
    • See how the person reacts when you ask a question. If they're lying to you, then they'll be much more likely to look scared or caught off guard.
    7. Be wary on April 1st. Ah, April Fool’s Day. The worst day on earth to be a gullible person. When you wake up on this fine day, your best bet is just to assume that everyone is out to trick you or to get you to believe something ridiculous. Listen to what your friends, siblings, or even your teachers say with your thinking cap on, and make sure you don’t take anything at face value on this particular day. Though it’s likely most people aren’t out to get you, you don’t want someone to shout, “April Fool’s!” and make you feel embarrassed for falling for such a silly trick.
    • Be especially careful when you read the news on this day. A lot of newspapers like to run fake stories on this day, so don’t be the person who posts a fake news story on Facebook or emails it to their friends without realizing they've been fooled.
    • On this day, practice turning the tables on the people who called you gullible and tricking them, instead!

     

     

     

    * http://changingminds.org/techniques/con_tricks/gullibility.htm

    ** http://www.wikihow.com/Not-Be-Gullible

     

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  • 01/08/16--11:04: Our Human-Spiritual Rights
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    Please pass this note on…..

    Yes, you are human.  You have bodily needs  and desires.  You are controlled in part by your physical evolutionary past.  There is a part of you that is animalistic.

    But you are more than that and something within you knows that.  You have evolved to a point where you have self awareness.  You have a conscious nature–you “know that you know”.  You sense an inner world in addition to your outer one.  You know that you have choices in life.

    You live in two worlds simultaneously.  On the one hand, you live in the physical world driven and motivated by material needs.  Hardwired desires compel you to act one way to simply meet those wants.  Yet on the other hand, you live in a non-physical world of conscious awareness.  Something within you motivates you beyond the physical desires.  You seek to experience life fully, to develop your talents and abilities, to become all you can possibly become, to serve others.

    You are pushed and pulled in 2 directions simultaneously.  You want to fulfill your basic physical needs–food, water, security, sex, material success.  Yet, you also want to fulfill higher needs—love, community, have wonderful experiences, sense spiritual growth.

    You and I and everyone we meet lives in these 2 worlds.  You and I and everyone we meet has this unique gift of being both a human and a spiritual being.  We have moved and evolved through the human experience so as to develop into the spiritual realm that is our truth.

    By virtue of the fact that you and I and everyone we meet shares this unique circumstance, we are also gifted with human-spiritual rights and responsibilities.  You and I and everyone we meet have the same five privileges granted to us.  You and I and everyone we meet also have two basic responsibilities.   Simply stated, they are ” live life fully with love, assist others to do the same and do no harm.”  However, here they are more specifically….

    By virtue of being infused with the spirit of life, all humans possess the following rights:

    • The primary right to express love and receive love fully.
    • The right to express their unique human gifts and talents fully.
    • The right to fully experience all aspects of what it is like to be human freely.
    • The right to fully believe whatever they wish to believe about life and its meaning.
    • The right to fully communicate with others what they believe about life.

    By virtue of possessing and benefiting from these rights, all humans also possess the following responsibilities:

    • The responsibility to ensure that every other human may freely express their rights.
    • The responsibility to ensure that in the expression of my rights that I do no harm to any other human.

    Do you agree with these?  Do you think the world would make a quantum leap in consciousness, in love, and in treating each other with dignity if we all lived by these values?

    If so, please forward this note to others.

    Post it on Facebook. Send it on to the people in your address book. Encourage your friends and family to consider how they are expressing their rights and responsibilities.

    Tag.  You’re it.

    Author: Mark Gilbert

    http://consciousbridge.com/wordpress/articles/general-conscious-bridge/our-human-spiritual-rights/


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    Yeah, we all want to create a better world, but as the old saying goes – “what are you prepared to do about it?” Are you ready to “walk your talk”? Are you going to “put your money where your mouth is”? Am I going to use another cliché here? I hope not.

    The point is this – if you or I have concerns about the current state of the world, then you or I have a responsibility to do something about it.

    Yet that raises two immediate questions – what is exactly is a “better world” and what can we do to create it?

    Worldviews and a Better World

    The first question relates to something one of my teachers, Don Beck, likes to ask – yes, we all want to see change, “but change from what to what?” In other words, what is it exactly that we are experiencing that we would like to change and what are the characteristics of that “better world” that we would like to see in its place?

    How we answer those questions says a lot about us. Each of us carries an invisible set of values that guides the selection of what we perceive, what we think about what we perceive and our reaction to it. As a type of shorthand, this package of values is typically referred to as a “worldview”. The changes we wish to experience in creating that better world is determined to a large part by the worldview we hold.

    Here’s an overly brief summary of the major worldviews at play in our modern world.

    A large segment of our society holds what is called a “traditional worldview” marked by a desire to maintain their long-held “family values” and driven by their belief in their religious faith. A better world for many of these individuals is one where we revert back in many areas of life to an imagined better past.

    Another large segment of our society holds what is called a “modern or materialistic worldview” marked by faith in the power of material science to solve all our problems and seeing much of the meaning of life as being about the accumulation of personal wealth. A better world for many of these individuals is one where we allow individuals and corporations to create wealth and new technology without any restrictions or limitations.

    The third large segment of our society holds what is called a “humanistic or cultural creative worldview” marked by egalitarian and humanitarian themes – valuing the importance of every person and their right to hold their own personal beliefs and valuing our taking care of this world we live in. A better world for many of these individuals is one where there is equal rights for all individuals, social programs to meet basic needs and a common effort to protect our planet. [See NOTE below for more on worldviews.]

    Ultimately, how we answer the question of what a better world is directly ties to our viewpoint. And that answer guides us to our answer to the second question of what we can do to create that world. Much of our current difficulties in moving to a greater society is that we are all tugging in a different direction – imagine a game of tug o’war where the rope has three or more ends on it! No one “wins” and everyone is frustrated. Is there a way out of this dilemma? Is there a greater society waiting to be discovered?

    An Effective Society Versus a Greater Society?

    Business guru Stephen Covey touched many of us with his bestseller The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He had studied leaders who were considered “effective” to determine their common characteristics and then summarized them for us. Each of us then went about trying to embody these habits so we too could become “effective” in whatever we hoped to accomplish, regardless of our worldview and desires for life.

    However as I have pointed out in other articles previously, Covey “evolved” in his thinking and wrote a sequel to his bestseller entitled The Eighth Habit: from Effectiveness to Greatness. Here he laid out his discovery of a human “habit” that exceeded the boundaries of simply being “effective”.

    What was “greatness” in the words of Covey? It was “Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs.” By “voice”, he meant your unique personal significance, your calling, your purpose.

    If we were to expand Covey’s discovery such that many of us claimed such a habit of greatness, could it be that it would lead to a greater society — one where we each identify our own unique personal life purpose, live it – and help others to find and live theirs?

    It would be easy to dismiss Covey’s eighth habit as a natural product of his moving into a cultural creative worldview. It does have a tinge of egalitarianism. Yet, I see it differently – I hear him calling us to a higher worldview, one that transcends and includes the traditional, materialistic and humanistic viewpoints. This habit is part of the “momentous leap in consciousness” that Spiral Dynamics’ Clare Graves wrote about….or the “integral” worldview discussed by integral theorists such as Ken Wilber.

    At this integral level of awareness – we begin to release judging others and their viewpoints when they differ from us. Instead, we recognize the value of the diversity of opinions and how our moving or evolving through these various worldviews has served humanity’s overall growth. Each worldview served an important purpose in our collective evolution. At this higher level, Covey tells us that leadership and greatness become about choosing “to deal with people in a way that will communicate to them their worth and potential so clearly they will come to see it in themselves.”

    If each person in society was able to embrace such integral awareness and greatness for themselves, can you imagine what a greater society would be produced in the process?

    Yet perhaps there is another aspect to this greater society we need to consider….

    A Spiritualized Society?

    Many consider one of the first real “integral” thinkers to be an Indian teacher by the name of Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950). Born in India, he was schooled in England before returning home as a young man and becoming immersed in the politics of seeking an independent India. His actions led to his arrest and while spending a year in prison, he meditated on the great spiritual text, the Bhagavad-Gita. Upon his release, he withdrew from politics so as to focus on spirituality.

    Aurobindo’s new “integral yoga” sought to bring together the two major influences in his life – Western science and Eastern religion. He recognized there was value in both. Ultimately, he sought to create a spiritual philosophy and practice that valued both the wisdom gleaned from going inward through meditation and outward through the experiences of physical life. His teachings were detailed in numerous books, including what most consider his greatest, The Life Divine.

    Aurobindo recognized that humanity was moving through a spiritual evolutionary journey. He knew that the next steps in our journey would be within our individual consciousness where we would begin to bridge what had appeared to us as opposites. With such insights, we would discover that God or the Divine was to be found just as much in the physical world as the non-physical world; that the Divine was inside us as well as outside us; and that the Divine was in science, economics, politics and all aspects of society.

    In fact, Aurobindo envisioned that humanity would eventually embrace what he termed a “spiritualized society”, one that would “make the revealing and finding of the Divine self in [humanity] the whole first aim of all of its activities, its education, its knowledge, its science, its ethics, its art, its economical and political structure.… It would embrace all knowledge in its scope, but would make the whole trend and aim and the permeating spirit not mere world efficiency, but this self-developing and self-finding.”

    In other words, Aurobindo saw that a spiritualized society – what we might consider our true greater society – was one where all of our social systems were focused upon revealing the divinity within each and every person. Such a society would reveal to each person (to paraphrase Covey) “their real true worth so clearly that they come to see it in themselves”.

    Becoming The Great Revealers

    All of this brings us back to our original question – what are we prepared to do to create a better world?

    Now I recognize that many of you reading this..if you have made it this far….may disagree totally with this picture of a true greater society that I have described. I recognize that you may hold so deeply to your traditional, materialistic, humanistic or other worldview that even the idea of there being other valid viewpoints from yours seems totally false. Creating a society around revealing our true Divinity may sound like blasphemy or hogwash to you. If so, that is fine. I honor you for holding your belief in life, whatever it might be.

    But if, just if….the idea of this true greater society built around our honoring our differences, valuing all of the stages of our evolutionary path, and creating social systems designed to reveal to us our true Divine nature resonates with you, then here are a few ideas on what you can do to move us collectively towards that true greater society:

    • Create the intention within your thoughts that this world is possible. Visualize it, feel it, sense it. Know that it is not only possible, but it will happen.
    • Read the inspired thoughts of wise teachers such as Covey, Aurobindo and others who are pointing us towards a world that works for everyone.
    • Release blame or judgment towards others for their beliefs. You don’t have to agree with them, but you can certainly understand how their lives, culture and worldview led them to such beliefs.
    • As you interact with others, practice seeing and sensing the divinity within them. Recognize and know that on some deep level which may be unseen by you, that you are really connected.
    • Identify your life purpose and begin to live it.
    • Help others to find their voice, their internal gift, and encourage them to share it.
    • Practice being a beneficial presence in all your interactions.

    Through these actions and others you will discover, together we can all become revealers of our true greater society.

    Mark Gilbert

    http://consciousbridge.com/wordpress/articles/featured-article/revealing-our-true-greater-society/


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  • 02/23/16--17:19: Mistaken Identity
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    Mistaken identity is defined as ... An instance when someone incorrectly thinks that they have found or recognized a particular person – collinsdictionary.com

    Who do people think that you are? How do they define you? More importantly, are they correct in their assessment?

    Humor me here for a moment.

    I believe I may have a Doppelgänger or at least an evil twin or at the very very least, I am the target of someone’s rather overactive imagination which is the most likely scenario. Exactly why this has happened I do not know and having worked in a hospital for many years in Urgent Care and often exposed to Personality Disordered individuals, I am not about to play amateur psychologist to try and figure out why I have been mistaken for someone else. It seems to be too tangled of an ongoing web for me to unravel yet I thought it only kind to bring some awareness to the finger pointer at large and perhaps help others who are not firmly in their own power enough to be unaffected by such instability from another person.

    Now, in all fairness, sure, people make mistakes and usually they are honest ones and totally forgivable but when a person accuses someone of something or of being someone else for personal/ego satisfaction, jealousy, hatred, gain, or to make themselves appear as some sort crusader, well, they just might deserve a little more than some egg on their face. There are names for people like this:

    • Slanderer - someone who deliberately tells lies that will damage your reputation
    • Libeler - slandering in print
    • Perjurer - slandering under oath, or other specific legal circumstances
    • Famacider - a killer of reputation
    • Liar – which covers all of the above

    Let’s review some spiritual law about accusation:

    Spiritual Law states that we all are supposed to make ‘diligent inquisition’ which means we are supposed to be very careful and search the actual facts before making a judgment against someone. Most normal people take the time to do this. Yet, someone with an agenda or a deviant mind will skip this prerequisite and jump to what looks like a familiarity and use it for basis in fact because it is effective (to them at least) and or fits the fantasy that has been created. That familiarity is often superficial at best and nowhere near the actual truth and very easy to see through in some cases and in other cases a well-veiled manipulation that a bit of research can unveil as there is often a prominent psychological pattern. The whole thing is a shame really when all our unfriendly neighborhood accuser had to do was man up and ask. Personally, in my case, I would be more than happy to answer any questions to alleviate doubt.

    False accusation is worse than backbiting and some petty gossip. At its very worst, multiple false accusations result in a distortion campaign. Remember, false accusations are used by abusers as a deflection technique, to discredit their victim and promote the idea that the abuse is merited. This ends up inevitably worse for the accuser than his target because he winds up in an endless and never-ending loop of lying to cover up previous sins in order to remain believable. That means a lot of sleepless nights and energy expended in a negative direction. More’s the pity methinks – a little karmic kickback there.

    Here are some helpful hints for staying in your personal power and engaging your higher self:

    • Don’t let them get into your head – do not believe everything a Personality-Disordered person says to you or about you. If they are vulnerable to deceiving themselves they will occasionally try to deceive you too.
    • Don’t try to negotiate by asking the Personality-Disordered individual to retract their accusations more than once. The goal of the false accusation may be simply to bait you into a fight.
    • Don’t play Dr. Phil by trying to over-analyze false claims. If someone believes something untrue, that is their problem, not yours.
    • Drop the guilt and don’t blame yourself for being falsely accused. You are responsible for the truth in your own words, not someone else’s.

    Somewhere, out there (as the song goes) there is another JR who is also suffering from a case of mistaken identity. I hope he too is in his power and unaffected. I'm sure he would accept an apology just like I would. In the meantime ... Sometimes you just gotta’ laugh.

     


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  • 04/08/16--21:53: Less Than Human
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    Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others ...

    By Peter C. Grosvenor

    Dehumanization is the psychological capacity to deny the humanity of others, to relegate people to the status of non-human animals, and so to deprive them of the protections normally accorded to fellow humans by moral codes. As this far-reaching and inter-disciplinary study by David Livingstone Smith amply demonstrates, it is a recurrent historical phenomenon extending back millennia, and it seems to be a necessary precondition for the perpetration of sustained injustices, especially slavery, genocide, and racial subjugation.

    In logical terms, of course, dehumanization is an absurdity: there are no sub-human humans, any more than there are short tall people. How, then, do we explain its persistence? For Smith, dehumanization is a product of our propensity to think in terms of essence and hierarchy. We assume that everything has an essence—a quality that makes it one thing rather than another, regardless of appearance. So, fictional creations, such as vampires and zombies, or the robots in the Terminator movie franchise, may look like humans, but we recognize that they are not human in their essence. To dehumanize, therefore, is nothing more or less than a refusal to acknowledge the human essence of others, despite their obvious human form.

    To dehumanize people is always to demote them in a presupposed natural hierarchy. As Smith convincingly illustrates, the dynamic, even chaotic, vision of the natural world produced by the nineteenth-century Darwinian revolution has failed to loosen our intellectual attachment to the Great Chain of Being—a conception of nature as a stable and unchanging hierarchy, with the whole of “creation” ranked by its proximity to the divine.

    The best feature of Less Than Human is Smith’s deft navigation through the history of the Great Chain’s foundations in theology and philosophy. He finds it first in the Book of Genesis, where man—made in the image of God—is given dominion over the rest of nature. But the first serious effort to theorize a natural hierarchy within our own species is found in Aristotle’s defense of slavery, wherein the human essence is characterized by the capacity for reason, but in non-Greeks this is present only in a rudimentary form, thus making them slaves by nature.

    In the fifth century, the Christian theologian St. Augustine was adamant that appearance was no guarantee of human status, while the Roman Christian philosopher Boethius held that the defining characteristic of evil people was that they had renounced their previous humanity. During the Renaissance, Pico Della Mirandola maintained that a distinctive feature of humankind was our ability to determine our own position in the natural hierarchy by moving closer towards or further away from God. And Bartolome de las Casas and Juan Ginés de Sepulveda clashed over the human status of Amerindians. So enduring is this pre-Darwinian image of natural hierarchy that even today serious students of the life sciences may unconsciously be drawing upon it when they speak in terms of organisms occupying a position “higher” or “lower” on the “evolutionary scale.”

    Smith is right to say that a feature of human history as entrenched as dehumanization requires massively more scholarship than it has so far received. But its study necessarily involves engagement with some important methodological controversies within the social sciences. Smith is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of New England, and also director of the New England Institute for Cognitive Science and Evolutionary Psychology. He is therefore primarily interested in the biological basis of human behavior, and in this book he explores the extent to which dehumanization can be explained in terms of our evolutionary endowment.

    His conclusion falls short of biological determinism, stressing that dehumanization is not an evolutionary adaptation that has been hard-wired into our brains by natural selection. But neither, he insists, is it a merely social construct that can be explained solely in terms of the contingencies of time and place. Instead, it should be conceived of as “a joint creation of biology, culture, and the architecture of the human mind.”

    So, at one level, Smith appears to resist having his study of dehumanization mired in the debate over whether human actions are to be explained by nature or by nurture, which, as the biologist Paul Ehrlich once pointed out, is like asking whether the length or the width contributes more to the area of a rectangle. But Smith’s predisposition towards biological explanations keeps resurfacing. In the familiar mode of evolutionary psychology, he writes that “[w]hat we can make of ourselves is constrained by what we are, for the same reason that what a sculptor can make out of a block of stone is constrained by the properties of the stone.”

    Smith argues that there are two compelling reasons why we should investigate dehumanization’s possible roots in our cognitive architecture. To begin with, it has manifested itself over an immensely diverse range of historical and cultural contexts. And, furthermore, the ability to dehumanize others is not confined to a peculiar personality type, as was impressively demonstrated by historian Christopher Browning in Ordinary Men, his ground-breaking 1992 study of Holocaust perpetrators. Indeed, Smith’s assertion that any of us could potentially succumb to a dehumanization narrative was truly chilling, though the notion had long been suspected. It was the Roman playwright Terence, after all, who confessed that, “nothing human is alien to me.”

    The difficulty, however, is that establishing the impulse to dehumanize in our cognitive architecture—if it indeed has a place there—requires an elusive knowledge of our prehistoric ancestors’ psychology. Smith draws extensively upon the insights of cognitive archaeology, a sub-discipline within archaeology that attempts to reconstruct the prehistoric mind from material evidence such as art, animal husbandry, tools, technology, and so forth. But even so, he concedes that his account of the evolutionary emergence of dehumanization relies, in his words, on “educated guesses” concerning our development of a so-called folk-biology, by which other ethnic groups came to be conceived of as distinct species, presumably lower in the Great Chain.

    It is Smith’s interest in evolutionary psychology that leads him to conclude Less Than Human with a critique of Rorty’s proposed strategy for countering dehumanization and the hideous violations of human rights that it spawns. Like Smith, Rorty seriously doubted the capacity of rationalist philosophy to protect human rights. After all, the archetypal Enlightenment thinker Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, owned slaves. Instead, Rorty stressed the power of “sentimental education” to dismantle dehumanization narratives—his favored example being the immense contribution Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, made to the abolitionist cause.

    No doubt there are limits to the Rorty strategy. And his aggressively postmodernist rejection of biological accounts of human behavior comes with problems of its own: undeniably, we are evolved animals, and not disembodied spirits. But Smith’s call for us to “bring science to bear on those aspects of human nature that sustain the dehumanizing impulse” may not get us as far as Rorty’s “sentimental education,” let alone further. Even if the scientific obstacles in the way of finding an evolutionary basis for dehumanization could be overcome, there would still be the question of what we would do with that knowledge. We need to transcend dehumanization narratives, at a minimum, for the pragmatic purpose of coexistence. And that would remain true, no matter what we learn about the biological or social origins of those narratives.

    http://thehumanist.com/magazine/january-february-2012/arts_entertainment/less-than-human-why-we-demean-enslave-and-exterminate-others


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    I bet you have never considered the question… Is critical thinking and Moral Values a bunch of crap? You might even be thinking if we didn't have these things there would be chaos. Where would be the order? The problem with both of these is they depend on value judgments or value judgements as my cousin spells it. Moral values are created by personal judgments and problem solving skills are done by creative thinking, not critical thinking.

    Most often when someone claims to be using critical thinking they are simply criticizing, being critical instead of doing critical problem solving. One of the reasons problem solving skills and creative thinking are left out of the mix and critical problem solving winds up being criticism is because of something very, very basic. It starts when we make a judgement instead of calibrating.

    So what is wrong with judging? It depends on if you have what you want to have and if you are being who you want to be or doing what you want to do. The problem with making a judgement is when you do you have formed an opinion or come to a conclusion. And the BIG issue with that is Life does not stop and it constantly changes. And as my Grampa Vetter said, "A judgment is where you have stopped thinking."

    There is even famous books and most every spiritual tradition has something very similar, with a quote that most people seem to ignore or justify themselves around…

    "Judge not, least ye be not judged." (Something called the "Holy Bible" isn't it?)

    Another problem with judgement is it gives one the false sense that the decision they have come to in their mind is accurate for the outside world. To attempt to use critical thinking based on moral values which are based on personal judgment causes one to be way off the mark.

    So what should one use instead?

    How about… calibration!!!!!

    Both judging and calibrating do the same things…
    • Evaluate
    • Decide
    • Measure
    • And that is where they stop being similar

    The differences between the two are earth shattering. The biggest difference is that judging holds one in prison and calibrating sets one free. Let's compare the two, shall we?

    Judgment
    • stops thinking
    • is about the past
    • does not allow adjustments
    • is permanent
    • measures the future based on the past
    • criticizes
    • is out of alignment with the universe
    • strictly internal

    Calibration
    • continues thinking
    • is about the future
    • encourages adjustments
    • is temporary
    • measures the future based on where you are
    • reserves judgement
    • is in line with the universe
    • uses both the internal and external

    The US stock market has even put out a warning about this. "Past performance is no guarantee of future performance."

    Judgment energy is created by making a decision of defeat. It takes a specific calibration situation; personalizes it and generalizes that one calibration incident to other calibration situations that are not similar but are perceived as similar.

    Judgments are useful for things that are repetitive like opening doors, sitting on chairs, putting gas in the car, etc. They are less than useful in situations with other variables such as the energy of other people and when situations are a part of the mix.

    With these new understanding it is easy to…
    • increase emotional intelligence,
    • improve critical thinking,
    • do more creative thinking,
    • get better emotional control,
    • get a handle on moral values
    • control anger management
    • increase self-confidence
    • remove low self-esteem
    • get back confidence
    • have self-esteem

    It might be useful to begin shifting or judgments to calibration because as long as we base critical thinking and moral values on judging we may have an answer to the opening question we don't like.

    Dr. Houston Vetter

    Learn about Critical Thinking and Moral Values in "Train Your Thinking" from Dr. Houston Vetter, Master Level proficiency in over 30 different modalities and able to help you succeed in ANY area of your life (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, psychological, financial, health and relationships) click here http://www.TrainYourThinking.com


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    “Tell people there's an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority will believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure." - George Carlin

    Gullibility is the tendency some people have to trust people too easily which causes them to be open to deception. Guile, which is the opposite of gullibility, is the ways and means of trickery that is used to dupe those who are gullibilty.

    Gullibility can be sourced in the following:

    Lack of experience

    Young people and those who have lived a relatively sheltered life may well be more gullible. If all you have known is trustworthiness then you will give trust without question or suspicion. If people have been largely trustworthy, you will be largely trusting.

    Lack of education

    You do not have to experience bad people to limit your trust. There is plenty of information on the TV and in other media to indicate the need for caution. Yet somehow some people do not seem to take this in and cling to a more trusting position that is wise.

    Need to be liked

    Many people want to fit in with others, to be accepted and admired. If they have a higher need for this then they may well be less judging of others and more ready to accept whatever they are told.

    Need to obey

    There are many rules, values, norms and so on within our lives that we are supposed to obey. Some people will blindly follow all such rules whilst others may be more cautious.

    Those who follow rules are more easily deceived by others who utilize existing rules or explain that rules they propose must be followed.

    Personality

    In addition to the points above, there are other personality factors which may lead people to be more gullible. These may include:

    • Openness in being ready to listen and accept what others say.
    • Warmth in accepting and caring for others as they come.
    • Those who decide by a relatively immature 'gut feel'.
    • Those who are shy and deferential rather than seeking to lead.
    • Those who are less apprehensive or worry about the future. *

    How To Not Be Gullible **

    Becoming a more critical thinker ...

    1.Do not rush to make big decisions. Blindly committing to a big decision may lead to consequences you might regret later. This is also the tact some people use to lure people into making a commitment without fully considering the ramifications, such as a real estate agent, a prospective employer, or a partner. A spontaneous decision often is a poorly considered one.

    • Do not make a decision based on one person's opinion because you are afraid will make the wrong one. If you are indecisive, a person who has something to gain from you may turn that against you. They'll assure you that it is the right one, what are you waiting for? But if a person is afraid or scornful of waiting for another opinion, or doing research, or otherwise weighing your options...that is a warning sign.
    • Beware of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). FOMO can mean that you are afraid that if you do not act now, you will miss out on an opportunity that will never present itself again. Chances are good that is not the case.
    • Keep in mind that people who try to force you to quickly make a decision instead of giving you time to make an educated choice are often doing so precisely because they don’t want you to do any outside research; they don’t want you to be able to call their bluff.

    2.  Be more skeptical. While you may not want to be a completely skeptical person just to avoid being gullible, if you tend to be too naive, then you should work on being a bit more critical when you approach a situation. Whether your older brother is telling you a story about your neighbor or a telemarketer is trying to offer you a discount on your phone plan, you should work on having your guard up and asking yourself and the person you’re with whether the information could possibly be true.

    • Sure, this may make some social situations a bit more unpleasant than they would be if you were agreeable and went along with everything a person said, but this will keep you from being gullible.
    • Whenever you’re given a new piece of information, ask yourself how much you can rely on the source, how likely it is to be true, and what counterarguments a person might make to the contrary.

    3. Make people earn your trust. You don’t have to be completely distrustful just because you want to be less naive; however, if you really want to work on not being gullible, then you can’t go around trusting every person who comes by your side. Get to know people and establish a relationship with them first, whether you’re becoming closer with a coworker or dating someone new. Making people prove themselves to you instead of believing them at face value is a sign of strong critical thinking.

    • People who are gullible tend to trust anyone who gives them information, especially if they consider that person to be older and wiser. However, don’t let a person’s age or authority sway you into believing something that isn’t true. Remember that people of any age have to prove themselves to you first.
    • If you’re too trusting right away, then people are likely to take advantage of you and to trick you into doing something that’s not really good for you.

    4.Don’t jump to conclusions. If you want to not be gullible, then don’t let yourself jump to conclusions before having all of the facts yet. Just because your teacher missed a day of school, don’t believe that they're fired just because that’s what your best friend is saying. Just because your boss is being extra nice to you this week, don’t assume it means you’ll be getting a promotion soon. Make sure you have time to gather all of the information you need before you make hasty assumptions.

    • People who are gullible sometimes don’t want to take the time to figure out whether something is true or not. However, this is exactly what you should do if you want to avoid falling into a trap.

    5.Avoid anything that sounds too good to be true. The fact of the matter is that if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Whether a Prince Charming type you just met is trying to sweep you off your feet or your friend is asking you to invest in a business that is “guaranteed” to make you rich, you should always hesitate before you enter a situation that sounds like it will make all of your problems go away. If you feel like you’ve encountered the most perfect opportunity in the world, then chances are that there’s a catch.[1]

    • Remember the truth of the statement, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” If you’re offered an amazing opportunity, then there’s probably something you have to do in return. No one wants to just give you a chunk of money, an amazing gift, or a piece of property without wanting something in return.
    • Ask yourself, how will this opportunity benefit the other person? If someone is offering you a gift certificate, what would be the incentive? Would the person really be doing this out of the goodness of their heart?

    6.Know that there’s some evolutionary good in being gullible. Though it’s admirable to work to be less gullible, you should know that being gullible isn’t all bad. In fact, the ethologist Richard Dawkins maintains that being gullible actually helps us survive as children. It’s gullibility that makes you believe your parents when they tell you that you shouldn’t leave the house because there are scary people outside, or when they say that you shouldn’t wander into the woods because of monsters. This kind of thinking does keep you alive—to a point.[2]

    • This doesn’t mean you should continue to be gullible, but that you shouldn’t be frustrated with yourself for being gullible, either. It’s likely that your gullibility has helped you in more ways than you may know.

    7. Don’t think anecdotal evidence always proves the truth. People who are gullible tend to hear one story about a certain phenomenon and then believe that it proves a larger truth. Don’t make hasty generalizations just because of a story you heard, and sharpen your critical thinking skills by learning as much as you can about the situation before deciding. Though stories can help you can a better understanding of a situation and can give statistics and big issues a more human context, they can’t be your only source of information.

    • For example, if your friend says, “Don’t get a Volvo. My cousin has a Volvo, and she says it’s always breaking down on her. Get a Jetta instead,” then this may be stating a truth about one person’s experiences with a Volvo, but it doesn’t mean it’s true for all Volvos.

    Gaining more information ...

    1.Consider the credibility of the source. Gaining as much information as you can about a certain situation can help you become less gullible. One way to do this is to consider the credibility of the source that you are getting information from. Whether you’re reading a news headline or talking to a notorious gossip, ask yourself whether this source is peer-reviewed or well respected, or whether this person has misled you before. You can’t believe everything you hear or everything you read on the Internet, or you’ll become one of those people who believes a headline from The Onion.

    • If you’re reading a piece of news online, check out where it’s coming from. Read about the journal or magazine and see how long it’s been around, who contributes to it, and whether it’s a scholarly or well-respected source.
    • See if the source is an authority on the subject. If your cousin is trying to tell you all about which car to get but he doesn’t even have a driver’s license, then consider the possibility that he may not know what he’s talking about.

    2. Search for evidence. Before you believe something or make a decision, make sure you have done ample searching for evidence to back it up. Don’t just believe something because your friend told you it’s true, but spend time researching the situation on reliable sources on the Internet, checking it out at your local library, or talking to experts in the field to find out whether it’s true. People who are gullible are often also lazy, because they feel that it’s less work to simply believe what they are told instead of making an effort to investigate the matter on their own.

    • If you’re looking for the truth about a scholarly matter, then make sure you’re reading a peer-reviewed journal, so you know that the source has been approved as credible. You don’t want to get scholarly information on someone’s personal blog, unless that person is a respected scholar.
    • The library is under appreciated as a source of information today. If you want to use it but feel shy about it, just talk to the librarian about how you can search for information.
    3. Admit you don’t know everything. Another way to be less gullible is to come to terms with the fact that you, along with every other person on this planet, have a lot more to learn. If you act like you know everything and simply accept everything that you are told or that you read, then you’ll be continuing to live a life without challenging your own beliefs. Instead, admitting that you don’t know a lot about politics, for example, can help you see that your cousin’s oversimplified argument about Obama may not be as convincing as it sounds, at first.
    • It’s humbling to admit you don’t know everything there is to know. This is the first step to becoming a more critical thinker and to understanding that arguments are often more complicated than they seem, or more complicated than you may give them credit for.
    • While you should admit you don’t know everything to yourself, you don’t have to be eager to offer this information to others. For example, if you’re buying a car, you don’t want to tell the salesperson, “I don’t know anything about cars…” or you’re making it much more likely that people will take advantage of you.
    4. Read more. People who seek information are always reading and learning more. They don’t just get their news from one source, and they don’t just read books by the same three authors, either. They are always on the hunt for new knowledge, whether they are reading the latest Jonathan Franzen novel or Scientific American. They are never satisfied, because they know there’s more out there than meets the eye, and they are always determined to find it.
    • Carve out a chunk of time every day, or at least every week, to do some reading. You can be systematic about it and get determined to understand everything there is to know about geology or contemporary poetry, or you can just read whatever piques your interest that week. The most important thing is that you develop a thirst for knowledge and continue to question the world around you.
    • If people know you are knowledgeable and well-read, they will be less likely to try to trick you or to get you to fall into a trap.
    5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you want to be less gullible, then one thing you can do is ask as many questions as you need to fully understand a situation. Whether you’re considering buying a new car or a home, or your older sibling is telling you the best way to bleach your hair, it’s important to gather as much information as you can before making a decision or agreeing to see something a certain way. Many people are afraid to ask questions because they don’t want to admit that they don’t know something, but this is the best way to keep yourself from being gullible and buying in to something too easily.
    • Plus, if you’re the kind of person who is known for asking questions, then people will be less likely to try to trick or scam you.
    • If you’re in class, then asking a million questions may derail the teacher a bit. Just ask what you really need to know right then and talk to the teacher after class if you have further questions.
    6. Ask for a second opinion — and a third. If you really want to think critically and investigate situations thoroughly, then you should avoid getting all of your information or opinions from one source. Sure, your friend or cousin might have almost sold you on the best way to bake apple pie or mow your lawn, but you’re better off asking another person what they think or looking up the issue or story online. If you’ve only heard a “fact” from one person, then you’re much more likely to get tricked than if you ask more people what they think.
    • The same goes for reading your news. Try not to get all of your news from one source or your thinking is likely to be biased. Read at least 2-3 news sources so you don’t fall for any tricks or believe something that isn’t entirely true.

    Avoiding scams or tricks

    1. Say no--it is OK not to be "nice". Gullible people are too polite or nice to simply say no. People are taught to not hurt others' feelings, and saying firmly "no" is somehow rude. People are also taught to generally trust, and that saying "no" may indicate distrust. However, it is perfectly proper and polite to decline something that you do not want, especially from a salesperson or someone you do not know.
    • People can use the desire to be seen as "nice" by insinuating one is rude or mean for saying "no". This is especially true of predatory men trying to convince women to get involved with them.
    • If something does not feel right to you, it is better to be cautious than to get scammed.
    • Of course, you don’t want to be paranoid, thinking that any time someone talks to you, that there’s a potential they're going to scam you. Still, if you’ve been called gullible before, it’s better to be cautious than sorry.
    • If someone is trying to sell you something, then you should especially be wary of saying yes. Ask yourself if you actually want the product, and if it really sounds like a good deal, or if you’re just afraid to say no because you feel sorry for the person.
    2. Don’t listen to gossip or rumors. If you want to not be gullible, then you should stop buying into any rumors or gossip, whether they are about Kim Kardashian or the most popular kid at your school. Unless you get them from a real source, chances are that gossip or rumors are just caused by jealous, bored, or mean people, and there’s usually no truth in them. Get in the habit of thinking of all the reasons a piece of gossip is probably not true instead of immediately buying into it.
    • Think about it: if someone started a rumor about you, then you wouldn’t want everyone to instantly believe it, would you? Work on being less gullible and assuming that most gossip is just gossip and nothing more.
    • If you have a reputation for believing everything you hear, then people may want to trick you with completely false gossip just to tease you.
    3. Be skeptical of anyone who has fooled you. Whether your older sibling, annoying friend, or goofy neighbor has fooled you before, you need to proceed with caution when it comes to that person giving you more “information.” Even if the person does it in harmless fun, you should still be wary of the fact that this person will likely try to tease you again in the future. If the person really likes to trick you, then they’ll probably do it in front of an audience, so you should especially have your guard up if your older brother has his five best friends over and is trying to tell you something with a big smirk on his face.
    • Remember that it can take a while to rebuild trust. If the person has tricked you before, then you shouldn’t trust them again, right away.
    • If the person is clearly trying to get you to buy into something absurd, just roll your eyes and say, “Ha-ha, very funny,” to show that you won’t be fooled again.
    4. Avoid email scams. As a general rule, anyone who emails you asking for money, saying they're your long-lost relative, or telling you that you need to click on a link to redeem your $10,000 certificate, is just hoping you’re gullible enough to fall for this trick. If you see anything like that in your junk mail folder, then delete it immediately and don’t be fooled. Some people will try to tell you sad stories about themselves while trying to ask for money, but you can’t be naive enough to fall for these tricks over email.
    • If you get email about cash prizes you won for contests you didn’t apply for, then send them straight to the trash. Everyone wants to believe that there’s a ton of unclaimed money with their name floating around on it, but we’re rarely so lucky.
    5. Learn to disengage from salespeople. Another way gullible people get tricked is because they get sucked in when they’re talking to salespeople, whether the person has called their house or approached them inside the mall. You have to learn to be polite but firm, to thank the person but to say you’re not interested, and to avoid signing up for any email lists or revealing any personal information, such as your email address or phone number. Act like you’ve got places to go and that you have no time to listen, and that you’re a person who won’t be easily fooled.
    • Though salespeople don’t inherently try to trick you or scam you, you are much more likely to get tricked if you’re completely ready to listen and if you let people talk to you about products you’ve had no interest in buying.
    6. Learn to read a person’s expression. Paying attention to a person’s expression and body language can help you see whether they're just trying to fool you. If the person is quietly smirking, looking away, or even telling you something a little too eagerly, then they may be fooling you. If the person sounds serious, but when they look away, you think they're trying to keep themselves from laughing, then you’re probably being tricked. If the person is telling you something but they can’t look into your eyes, then you may not be getting the truth.
    • Another way you can tell if a person is lying to you is to listen to how confident their voice sounds. Though some crooks have their words down to an art, the less experienced ones may mumble, or say “uh” and “um” a lot when they try to tell you something that is blatantly false.
    • See how the person reacts when you ask a question. If they're lying to you, then they'll be much more likely to look scared or caught off guard.
    7. Be wary on April 1st. Ah, April Fool’s Day. The worst day on earth to be a gullible person. When you wake up on this fine day, your best bet is just to assume that everyone is out to trick you or to get you to believe something ridiculous. Listen to what your friends, siblings, or even your teachers say with your thinking cap on, and make sure you don’t take anything at face value on this particular day. Though it’s likely most people aren’t out to get you, you don’t want someone to shout, “April Fool’s!” and make you feel embarrassed for falling for such a silly trick.
    • Be especially careful when you read the news on this day. A lot of newspapers like to run fake stories on this day, so don’t be the person who posts a fake news story on Facebook or emails it to their friends without realizing they've been fooled.
    • On this day, practice turning the tables on the people who called you gullible and tricking them, instead!

     

     

     

    * http://changingminds.org/techniques/con_tricks/gullibility.htm

    ** http://www.wikihow.com/Not-Be-Gullible

     

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  • 03/04/17--21:14: Rebelling Against The Herd
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    What Happens When You Rebel Against the Herd …


    Are You Truly Living Your Life?

    You live, but are you living the way you want to live, or the way others want you to live? You choose, but are your choices based on your own decisions or on the decisions imposed on you by society? You act, but are you acting out of your conditioning or out of your conscious will?

    Almost everywhere I look, I see people who are immensely suppressed and experience tremendous suffering, mainly because they conform to those around them, just so that they can feel liked and accepted. They’re afraid that embracing and honestly expressing their individuality might lead them to social ostracism. Their life is a slow torture, and with every step they take, they feel the burden of conformity growing heavier and heavier on their shoulders. They sacrifice themselves just so they can please others, unaware that they are committing psychological suicide.

    But what is the point of living this way? It’s meaningless and utterly stupid.

    Life can be lived in a totally different way — a way that allows us to live up to our fullest potential, that helps us to find contentment and peace, that brings us freedom to be spontaneous and make the most out of our life’s journey. A way that turns existence into a celebration, filled with beautiful moments that make life truly worth living.
    For this to happen, however, we need a big shift in our consciousness. A good first step to achieving this is to escape the herd mentality that surrounds us by rebelling against anything that is imprisoning our minds and filling our souls with toxic energy.
    When you gather the courage to say a big NO to conformity and break free from the mental shackles that were imposed on you since the very day you were born, great things will start happening that may turn your life upside down. Below are some of those things.

    You Develop Your Critical Thinking

    Once you turn your back to the crowd, your way of thinking slowly stops being influenced by it and you start using your reason more. This works wonders for increasing your intelligence.

    Most people don’t think for themselves — instead, they let others do the thinking for them. They are easily persuaded by the herd mentality and never stop for a moment to question anything that they’ve been told. They are blinded by belief and follow without doubting what is considered to be a normal way of living. Desiring to be normal, they lose their individuality, and the intellectual consequences of this are enormous: they can barely use their critical thinking, and their willpower is almost nonexistent. Not surprisingly, when faced with any problems, their only hope is that someone else will help them to overcome them. By themselves, they feel totally helpless.

    When you step away from the confines of the herd and start your own quest for truth, you begin to hone the art of freethinking. You don’t believe anything without evidence, you don’t accept what doesn’t resonate with your own experiences, and you try to find out what’s true for yourself. In your efforts to achieve this, you mature, become wiser, and learn to make more conscious choices that contribute to your well-being.

    You Drop Your Social Masks

    Another thing that happens is that you become honest with yourself and others. You let go of the social masks that you had been wearing to pretend that you were someone you never were and reveal to the world who you truly are. You expose yourself, unafraid of whether others will judge you or not.

    In the society we are living in, hypocrisy prevails. People constantly lie to one another just so that they can feel accepted by the mob, but at the same time, they experience emotional turbulence, because they never managed to accept themselves as they are. And when you don’t like yourself for who you are, what is the point of being liked by others for who you are not?

    The moment you stop desiring others’ acceptance, you begin to express yourself. You don’t need anyone else’s permission. You don’t suppress yourself, and naturally, your stress levels drop, which makes you feel better than you’ve ever felt before. In addition, you are able to form genuine relationships with human beings who truly resonate with you and embrace you just the way you are.

    You Learn to Take Responsibility into Your Own Hands

    Responsibility and freedom always go hand in hand, so the more responsible one is, the more freedom one experiences.

    People tend to throw responsibility away and hold others responsible for their lives. By doing so, however, they are also throwing away their freedom. Not only that, they also blame others whenever something is going wrong with their lives. That’s why you see people believe in saviors of all kinds and allow a few individuals — for example, politicians — to take control over their lives. But once they find out that those people don’t fulfill their expectations, they start blaming them for ruining their lives, not realizing that they themselves are at fault for handing over their power to them in the first place.
    The herd always desires a good shepherd to take care of it. A rebel, however, doesn’t allow anyone the freedom to dictate to him how to live. On the contrary, he sees himself as the creator of his own destiny and takes full responsibility for his actions. And instead of blaming others when he happens to make mistakes, he fully accepts them and takes immediate action to correct them.

    You Become the Master of Your Life

    In essence, a rebel is one who is the master of his life.

    A rebel doesn’t walk on a predetermined path — he creates his own path.

    A rebel never lets others control their thought and behavior — he thinks for himself and his actions are the embodiment of his psyche.

    A rebel lives to the fullest and squeezes the juice out of life. And although he might make many mistakes in his efforts to turn his dreams into reality, he is not filled with regrets, because, even if he ultimately fails at his attempts, he at least knows that he tried to the best of his ability.

    If you conform to the herd, you might be under the impression that you are free, but in reality, you are nothing but a puppet being manipulated by outside forces. You might mistakenly feel strong with the crutches that were offered to you by weak people, but deep down you’ll know that you are powerless to stand on your own two feet. You might wear a fake smile and superficially feel secure, but you won’t be able to help continuously experiencing immense grief in your heart for the risks you never dared to take.

    So what are you waiting for?

    Think for yourself.

    Tear off your masks.

    Act responsibly.

    Live your life.


    Sofo Archon
    http://upliftconnect.stfi.re/when-you-rebel-against-herd/?sf=eglbdnx#ab


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    “The world today hangs by a thin thread, and that thread is the psyche of man.” – C. G. Jung

    How does anyone possibly express in words the state of collective madness that humanity has fallen into at this time in our history? As if in a hypnotic trance, our species is enacting a mass ritual suicide on a global scale, rushing as fast as we can towards our own self-destruction.

    We are destroying the biospheric life-support systems of the planet in so many different ways that it is as if we are determined to make this suicide attempt work—using a variety of methods as a perverse insurance policy, in case a couple of them don’t do the job. What modern-day humanity is confronted with, to quote the author and Trappist monk Thomas Merton, is “a crisis of sanity first of all.”

    In trying to find a way to write about this state of affairs, I find myself going “off-planet,” imagining what it would look like if some enlightened aliens, in their travels throughout the universe, came upon our planet. Observing from a distance, they would naturally see all the various living beings who call planet earth home as related members of one larger organism—a single eco-system—who literally depend upon each other for survival.

    From this vantage point, I imagine, they would be utterly baffled at why human beings—the seemingly most intelligent species ever to appear on planet earth—are acting out their destructive impulses practically without restraint in every corner of the globe. Contemplating the state of humanity, I imagine these awakened beings wondering, “What in the world has gotten into them?”

    I imagine these illumined aliens, in agreement with Merton, would quickly conclude that human beings had become afflicted with some sort of psychological illness, a disease of the mind and soul that has caused us to turn on ourselves in self-and-other destruction.Apparently in a “fallen state,” we have lost our way, become disoriented, and, in our confusion, become quite deranged.

    It is as if our collective madness is so overwhelming—and by now so familiar and so normalized—that most of us, its sufferers, have no idea how to even think about it, let alone how to deal with it. Not knowing what to do, many of us inwardly dissociate—which only exacerbates the collective madness—and in our fragmented and disempowered state go about our lives in a numbed-out, zombie-like trance, making the best of what seems to be a bad situation.

    The question naturally arises: how would these enlightened beings conspire with us to help wake us up? We can only imagine. For our part, it seems essential that we ask questions such as: what is the nature of this madness, and how can it be consciously engaged so that humanity can get back on the right track?

    Seen as an organism, there is a systemic psycho-spiritual disease that has infected the whole body politic of humanity. At present we are having an acute—and potentially deadly—inflammation of this illness. As with any disease, in order to cure the pathology that ails us we must come up with the right diagnosis. Under the present circumstances, it is a healthy response for us to have an appropriate level of alarm. If we aren’t “alarmed” at what is happening in our world, we are still sleeping.

    Economy

    It’s difficult to appreciate how our behavior might appear strange—let alone completely insane—to an impartial observer. But engaging in a “benign onlooker” thought experiment—in this case, through the imagined insights of enlightened aliens—affords us some much-needed perspective. Even from this vantage point, though, the collective madness that humanity is acting out is hard to fathom. It is truly as if the inmates are running the asylum.

    The first thing these aliens might perceive is a single living organism in crisis. What makes life itself possible is that every cell and organ of a living organism plays a uniquely vital role to the life and health of the greater organism; each part works together as part of an integrated and interdependent whole system.

    Our planet and its biosphere is a seamlessly interconnected whole system that operates as a macro-organism, and yet its supposedly most intelligent species has set up a global system for managing its rich diversity of natural resources that would kill a living organism in no time if such a system were implemented within the individual bodies of any of its members. If the human body was organ-ized and operated in a similar way to the global economy—where certain parts of the system demand disproportionate and ever-increasing shares of the existing resources—the body would die in no time.

    At the heart of this reality is the fact that the way the global economic system has been crafted primarily serves the interests of the very few. Machine-like, “the system” relentlessly, and increasingly, sucks, drains and redistributes wealth from the majority of the populace—who more and more become impoverished and practically enslaved—into the hands of the already unthinkably wealthy.

    The powers-that-be then use coercive power to not only deny people the means to make even a subsistence living, but even denies them the basic human right to life on massive scales. This system doesn’t just passively allow people to fall below the poverty line, it actively pushes them under, as if poor people are being intentionally “left behind.” The most powerful and successful financial institutions have taken on the form of parasitic enterprises that have attached themselves to governments and people around the world, upon which they shamelessly and ravenously engorge themselves.

    These illumined aliens, with their clairvoyant vision, would surely find it revealing that the ones who own the wealth are—like vampires—energetically “feeding” off of the ones who barely have enough to eat.

    The evidence is overwhelming. The current global economic system has brought us to a point where an incredibly small minority of human beings own a grossly disproportionate percentage of the planet’s resources. According to recent figures, the 62 richest people on the planet have more wealth than the poorest half of the global population combined, and over time this imbalance is increasingly getting worse.

    This is globalization at work. Much of this rising inequality is a direct result of the fact that globalization is the process by which multinational corporations are taking over sovereign governments—of the 100 largest economies in the world, over half are corporations.

    These challenging economic times we live in are simultaneously the times of the greatest profits in all of history for certain select corporate conglomerates. Those at the top of the economic pyramid then use this ever-increasing gap between the rich and the poor to further game the system—itself riddled with corruption—so as to protect their advantage even more.

    The United States government in particular, instead of being a “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” has instead become a plutocracy—a government “of the rich, by the rich, for the rich.” It should get our attention that such economic stratification into the have and have-nots historically plays a crucial role in the collapse of civilizations.

    These aliens would recognize that earth’s current way of “doing business” is unsustainable. Instead of creating value and wealth for the good of all, the way business is done on planet earth is actually destroying the genuine wealth and health of the whole system, with people, communities and the environment considered to be nothing more than collateral damage—all for the benefit of a small minority.

    If humanity is viewed as a family, there is abuse of power being perpetrated within the family system for the simple reason that those in the positions of power can act with total impunity and, in a case of “moral insanity,” can—and do—literally get away with murder.

    These benign aliens would find it revealing that such a large percentage of earth’s resources—including humanity’s intrinsic ingenuity—instead of being used to care for each other and enrich life, are being used to create more potent and deadly weapons of mass destruction. In other words, humanity’s divinely inspired genius is being channeled into ever-more efficient ways of murdering each other!

    We have become conditioned to accept this astonishing cruelty and destruction as normal. We spend trillions of dollars to sustain a state of endless war against who knows who, while at the same time innumerable of our fellow brothers and sisters are impoverished and dying of starvation every day. These spiritually awake beings would realize that the destruction that humanity is playing out in the world is an unmediated reflection of an imbalance deep within the collective human psyche.

    From the meta-perspective of the enlightened aliens, the behind-the-scene financiers who on the surface are benefitting the most from this diabolical set-up are themselves merely puppets in the hands of some darker forces that are informing the whole enterprise. To use writer Matt Taibi’s infamous phrase, a “vampire squid” is running rampant and feasting on the living body of humanity.

    To quote eminent theologian David Ray Griffin, “It does seem that we are possessed by some demonic power that is leading us, trancelike, into self-destruction.” Similarly, the Bible points out that our fight is not against “flesh and blood” (i.e., human forces), bot rather, against “powers and principalities” (spiritual forces). These forces are not only acting themselves out in our world, but are simultaneously interfacing with and covertly operating through our own minds.

    It is as if we have become possessed by a self-created Frankenstein monster that is running amok, wreaking untold havoc all over the planet. This Frankenstein monster has seemingly gained a quasi-life and autonomous will of its own, independent of its creator—us—who it holds in its thrall, as we are unable to escape from the out-of-control hell of our own making. In any case, it certainly seems as if there is a force that is hell-bent on stopping us—both individually and collectively as a species—from reaching our full creative potential.

    We are at a severe “crisis” point in our world, which, medically speaking, always tells us that our sickness has reached a dangerous climax. Our species is suffering from what the great doctor of the soul C. G. Jung calls a “sickness of dissociation,” which is a state of fragmentation deep within the collective unconscious that has seemingly spilled outside of our skulls and is playing itself out en masse on the world stage.

    This primordial rupture, which is a form of trauma on a cosmic scale, has become the in-forming force behind human history itself, conditioning the experience of each individual, as well as our species as a whole. Seen as a whole person, it is as if the undivided wholeness of the universe has split into cosmic multiple sub-personalities who are dissociated from and seemingly separate from each other, desperately in need of recognizing their connection so as to come together and reintegrate. Our sickness of dissociation and the world crisis we are facing as a result can be seen, as Jung points out, as the labor pains of a new birth.

     Paul Levy

    http://www.theeventchronicle.com/metaphysics/spiritual/are-we-humans-terminally-insane-or-just-waking-up/


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  • 05/03/17--22:10: Faux Spirituality
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    Mainstream spirituality is becoming less of an oxymoron by the day. But the belief that you create your own reality (YCYOR) is tricky business; on the one hand being a chronic cynic does invite an extraordinary share of misfortunes, but staying positive by ignoring negative issues that need to be solved is also dangerous.

    Pitfalls include denying personal and world problems that still need attention, and misappropriating metaphysical principles to satisfy ego-based greed and materialism, which treads dangerously close to black magick.

    Where could this all lead? I have noticed a prevalent problem of faux spirituality mixed into the alien disinformation literature out there. It employs concepts like nondualism, zen-like consciousness, integration of polarities, and getting away from victim-mentalities. Sounds nice, but the way these are portrayed is a mere simulacrum of the real thing. For instance, nondualism in this case encourages ignorance of functional differences rather than acknowledging these difference in context of the fundamental unity of all things. Or the zen-like consciousness is said to be a “spiritual” state of mind achievable via transcendental meditation, yet TM lowers consciousness into hypnotically suggestible states. Victims are told that victimhood is merely a perspective that can be eliminated by welcoming and seeing their abuse as a good thing rather than using freewill and awareness to break free of their oppressors. And the integration of polarities is used to justify the idea of human + alien coming together to form a mixed hybrid race with the best traits of both, but really that is genetic enslavement of the human soul matrix.

    Even the Law of Attraction has been twisted into the idea that if aliens are in any way manifest in your life, it is because you have already agreed to working with them, that you have attracted them into your life and must therefore, as an act of responsibility and maturity rather than denial, acknowledge this choice and honor it by working with them. But that would be like buying from every salesman who knocks on your door. The flaw of this reasoning rests on the fact that there is a difference between agreeing to face the possible risk of a negative experience, and agreeing to go through that experience itself. For instance, every time you drive a car you choose to face the risk of an accident, but you do not actually choose to get into an accident per se. The difference is choice — in a situation of possible risk you can choose, through awareness, to avoid the negative possibilities, whereas having already chosen to experience one of those possibilities would mean violating your own freewill in avoiding it.

    The preceding is just one example of how negative aliens use cunning to manipulate their victims into willingly accepting their abuse. You have to realize that 90% of the population has an IQ below 120; it takes a certain threshold of intelligence to see through alien manipulation. If aliens can deceive (for the sake of discussion) 90% of the population, then they pretty much have their game in the bag.

    The point is that negative forces do appear to be invested in spreading New Age concepts now more than ever in order to create a conscious environment for the open acceptance of what they have to offer, rather than the covert “science/religion” game they’ve been using in the past. The only way alien deceivers can assimilate us willingly is to make us aware of higher dimensional reality and the interplay between mind and matter. It is a Luciferic deception because they bring light, but it is a false light unaccompanied by the warmth of wisdom and true understanding that comes from the heart. The plan is not that they enslave us violently, rather that we welcome them smilingly.

    On the bright side, negative forces usually take a gamble on everything they do with the risk that should they fail, their actions would produce more “good” than had they never acted in the first place. They give lots of truth with a nice dose of lies that spins it all towards their agenda. For truth-seekers like ourselves, this is an advantage in that if the deceptive part can be revealed for what it is, replaced by a superior truth alternative, then the total outcome is positive. For instance, if my friends never listened to me about the idea of reality creation (Law of Attraction), but through some outside agenda they eventually are convinced of its merits and go nuts for it, there may come a time when I could successfully say, “okay, now that you’re aware of THAT part, here are some pitfalls to look out for, and here is a superior alternative to apply all this successfully.”

    My main drive in life is to discover deceptions, expose them, and come up with superior alternatives. I think if a deception can be laid out clearly enough, many people would listen in time. However, that is assuming they are rational… sometimes the ego is so invested in a false belief it will use irrational methods to argue away an uncomfortable truth.

    Like with YCYOR… people are easily caught in the false dichotomy of “be positive and don’t acknowledge the negative” vs “acknowledge the negative and don’t be positive”. Well, why can’t it be “be positive but also acknowledge the negative”? That third choice transcends the first two… but I have noticed that people generally have a hard time getting past that fallacy of false opposites and are somehow wired to think in a binary “either/or” way instead of acknowledging a third transcendent choice. The interesting part is that if this third choice is shown to them, they will misinterpret it as defending the other side’s position and attacking their own. It’s no different from people who think Democrat and Republican are the only two choices, and will classify any political view into either category.

    I think the “spiritual awakening” happening now is partly an anti-christ phenomenon, a false counterpart to the second coming, the latter being an awakening of the higher self awareness within many of us. But I believe the momentum built by the agenda through its dishing out truth in hopes of steering it toward deceptive ends can instead be re-steered towards liberation.

    So, how will the infusion of New Age concepts affect the collective consciousness? Left alone, it would doom this planet to become willfully assimilated. But if carefully exposed and redirected it could do the opposite. The situation could be a divine plan potentially derailed by negative forces, or perhaps a negative agenda being overturned at the last moment by divine forces who had it planned all along.

    http://montalk.net/notes/faux-spirituality


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  • 10/24/17--21:00: Why Do We Get Bored?
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    Boredom is the natural state of humanity: the neutral ground between positive and negative where we don`t feel anything, and where we most often find ourselves when denied some kind of stimulus. From boredom, one can go in any number of directions, productive and destructive alike, depending on one`s mood or disposition. Languishing in boredom is seldom productive and usually leads to depressing or introspective thoughts (or a combination of both). To launch ourselves out of boredom we distract ourselves with some kind of action, whether it be a creative project or goal, or merely some passive “non-activity” meant only to help kill time.

    The productive effects of boredom come when we give ourselves a creative or productive task, and follow through with it. Upon completion, we feel a brief satisfaction at our accomplishment, or a longer-lasting disappointment and frustration if it doesn`t turn out the way we would have liked, or a sense of failure if we can`t finish. Then we return to the neutral ground of boredom until something else, internal or external, interrupts it.

    Boredom can lead to a lot of time-wasting if we seek to replace it with something that merely distracts us rather than stimulates or motivates. Watching TV would be a prime example, but only if we hold no real interest in whatever we`re watching. TV has been called a pacifier of humanity, because it saves us from the true state of boredom, which is to do nothing but ponder the emptiness of existence. So it keeps us from feeling depressed, but from doing anything else for that matter, which is dangerous in its own way.

    Workplace boredom is difficult to deal with, because if you either don`t have any work to do or for some reason can`t concentrate on the task at hand, your mind wanders to your outside life and the things you`d rather be doing, and you fast-forward to the end of the workday (when you can go home and presumably not be bored anymore, by doing whatever you want) with whatever means of distraction are available – again, wasting time.

    Boredom is a perfectly natural reaction to lack of stimuli, or, perhaps more aptly put, non-reaction to the state of being. It goes without saying that if we are actively engaged in something we are not bored. If a task is tedious and becomes mechanical, and we are able to do it without thinking, our body essentially goes into auto-pilot and our mind is free to wander. Unless we have something particularly engaging to think about, we find ourselves bored again.

    Boredom can lead to great things for creative, studious and self-motivated types, and conversely, self-destruction for those unaccustomed to thinking for themselves. If one is conditioned to being told what to do constantly, they are quick to boredom when authority is absent, and unused to giving themselves productive tasks. Here we find TV and video game addicts, alcohol and drug abusers, people who engage in passive hobbies which accomplish nothing but pass the time and perhaps provide the consumer with some fleeting feeling of well-being.

    It could be argued that the great thinkers of our society were often bored; perhaps if there had been internet in Ancient Greece, Socrates would have spent all of his time surfing for pornography. Think about this until it bores you, and then decide what to do next.

    http://www.pitlanemagazine.com/morals-values-and-norms/why-do-we-get-bored.html#more-13017


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  • 06/15/18--21:59: The Fat Lady
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    Hi! How are you?” The woman smiled as she took the seat beside me. She had to lower herself slowly, squeezing her ample bottom into the seat, filling all available space.

    Positioning herself comfortably, she plopped her enormous arm on our common armrest. Her immensity saturated the space around us, shrinking me and my seat into insignificance.

    I cringed and reclined towards the window.

    She leaned towards me and repeated her greeting in an upbeat, friendly voice. Her face towered above my head, forcing me to turn to look at her. “Hi,” I replied with obvious loathing.

    I turned away to stare out the cabin window, sulking silently about the long hours of discomfort I was going to experience with this monster beside me.

    She nudged me with her meaty arm. “My name is Laura. I’m from Britain. How about you? Japan?”

    “Malaysia,” I barked.

    “I’m so sorry! Will you accept my heartfelt apology? Come, shake my hand. If we’re going to spend six hours side-by-side on this flight, we’d better be friends, don’t you think?” A palm waved in front of my face. I shook the hand reluctantly, still silent.

    Laura started a conversation with me, taking no notice of my unfriendly reactions. She talked excitedly about herself and her trip to Hong Kong to see her frinds. She rattled off a list of things she was going to buy for her students in the boarding school where she was teaching.

    I gave her one-word answers to her questions about me. Unperturbed by my coldness, she nodded as she made appreciative comments to my answers. Her voice was warm and caring. She was considerate and obliging when we were served drinks and meals, making sure that I had room to manoeuvre in my seat. “I don’t want to clobber you with my elephant size!” she said with utmost sincerity.

    To my surprise, her face which repulsed me hours before, now opened into extraordinary smiles, lively and calm at the same time. I couldn’t help but let down my guard slowly.

    Laura was an interesting conversationalist. She was well read in many subjects from philosophy to science. She turned a seemingly unimportant subject into something to explore and understand. Her comments were humorous and inspirational. When our topic turned to cultures, I was pleasantly surprised by her intelligent comments and well-thought-out analysis.

    During our conversation, Laura managed to make every cabin crew who served us walk away laughing at her jokes.

    When a flight attendant was clearing our plates, Laura cracked several jokes about her size. The flight attendant roared with laughter as she grabbed Laura’s hand, “You really make my day!”

    For the next few minutes, Laura listened attentively and gave pointers to the flight attendant’s weight problem. The grateful attendant said before she rushed off, “I’ve got to work. I’ll come back later and talk to you about it.”

    I asked Laura, “‘Have you ever thought about losing some weight?”

    “No. I’ve worked hard to get this way. Why would I want to give it up?”

    “You aren’t worried about cardiovascular diseases that come with being overweight?”

    “Not at all. You only get the diseases if you’re worried about your weight all the time. You see advertisements from slimming centres that say, ‘Liberate yourself from your extra baggage so that you are free to be yourself.’ It’s rubbish! You’re liberated only if you’re comfortable about who you are, and what you look like any time of the day and anytime of the year! Why would I want to waste my time on slimming regimes when I have so many other important things to do and so many people to be friends with? I eat healthily and walk regularly; I’m this size because I am born to be big! There is more to life than worrying about weight all day long.”

    She sipped at her wine. “Besides, God gives me so much happiness that I need a bigger body to hold all of it! Why would I lose weight to lose my happiness?” Taken aback by her reasoning, I chuckled.

    Laura continued. “Folks often see me as a fat lady with big bosoms, big thighs and a big bottom that no man would even bother to cast a glance at. They see me as a slob. They think I’m lazy and have no willpower. They’re wrong.” She held up her glass to a passing flight attendant. “More of this magnificent wine, please.” She smiled sweetly at the attendant. “Great service from your crew. May God bless all of you.”

    She turned to me, “I’m actually a slim person inside. I’m so full of energy that people won’t be able to keep up with me. This extra flesh is here to slow me down, otherwise I’ll be running everywhere chasing after men!”

    “Do men chase after you?” I asked jokingly.

    “Of course they do. I’m happily married but men still keep proposing to me.

    “Most of them have relationship problems and they need someone to confide in. For some reason, they like to talk to me. I think I should have been a counsellor instead of a school teacher!”

    Laura paused before she said thoughtfully, “You know, the relationship between men and women is so complicated. Women worship men and call them, ‘Honey’ until they find out they have been lied to, and then they turn into bitter gourds! Men love women so much that they see them as their soul mates until they look at their credit card bills, and then women become devils with tridents!”

    Laura’s enthralling conversation had turned the flight into something thoroughly enjoyable. I was also fascinated by the way people were drawn to her. By the end of the flight, almost half the cabin crew was standing near the aisle by us, laughing and joking with Laura. The passengers around us joined in the merry-making too. Laura was the centre of attention, filling the cabin with delightful warmth.

    When we waved goodbye to each other at the arrival lounge at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Airport, I watched her walking towards a big group of adoring adults and kids. Cheers sounded as the group hugged and kissed Laura. She turned around and winked at me.

    I was stunned, as the realisation set in: Laura was the most beautiful woman I had ever met in my life.

    By Chong Sheau Ching

    https://academictips.org/blogs/the-fat-lady/