Is It Possible?

 In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.                                                                                                      George Orwell  (unconfirmed)

Is today a time of universal deceit? A year ago an issue of Time magazine released acover story that asked the question: “Is Truth Dead?” Since then we have been reading about a “Post Truth World.” Perhaps one could argue that a post truth world is a world of universal deceit. Post truth is defined as relating to a situation in which people are more likely to accept an argument based on their emotions and beliefs rather than one based on facts. Oxford Dictionaries declared “post-truth” as its 2016 international word of the year, reflecting what it called a “highly-charged” political 12 months.

“I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” This is an oath required of witnesses in court. Maybe it should be required of politicians in congress. Actually, the voting public does not even expect politicians to tell the truth. And it is not possible to require, and we don’t expect, citizens to tell the truth. But shouldn’t we at least expect the president to tell the truth? Or at least tell the truth most of the time? But in order to tell the truth, one needs to know the truth. This is the interesting question about our current president. Is he lying or does he believe what he is saying is true?

Now post-truth has expanded well beyond the president. Post-truth has become the new normal (a previously unfamiliar or atypical situation that has become standard, usual, or expected.) “Don’t confuse me with facts, my mind is already made up” Can anything be done about our post-truth world? Or do we need to learn to live in a post-truth society? If telling the truth is a revolutionary act, let’s have a citizens’ revolt. But it will take a major revolution, because: A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth Is putting on Its shoes. Mark Twain.

On March 8, Vox, a general interest news site, published an article: “False news stories travel faster and farther on Twitter than the truth” by Brian Resnick. A huge new study shows why Twitter’s fake news problem will be so hard to solve. Resnick says: False news on twitter spread faster, deeper, and more widely than true news. False news is more novel and more emotional than true news. That’s always going to make it more clicky. I wonder if this is a problem that social networks can ever really fix.

Is a major truth revolution likely, when truth telling will outnumber the lies? Having a truth telling revolution won’t be easy because people will believe to be true what they want to be true. And, like the president, many politicians and citizens actually don’t believe they are lying, but believe they are speaking the truth.

Men, women and teenagers are marching in protest. The media is beginning to challenge. Politics is a hot topic in many arenas, including education, entertainment and sports. A Post Truth, new normal is being widely challenged. Can it become a “telling the truth revolution?”

Any predictions or suggestions?




Posted in Democracy in Danger | 1 Comment


And Wonderful   

 You think because you understand one you must understand two because one and one makes two. But you must also understand and, Sufi saying.

Consider this: Everything is interconnected to everything else in an unbroken wholeness. What this means is that nothing is separate: mind and body, you and me, us and them, believing and seeing, inside and outside, left and right, liberal and conservative, etc. etc. etc. (Separate, by definition, means not connected).

And what this also means is that interconnectedness requires such things as interdependency, togetherness, inclusion, collaboration, cooperation, equality, unity, compassion. These are human traits that are not well known right now. Self-interests and other interests are also interconnected, but we don’t like to admit it. Can you imagine what it would mean if we acknowledged that everything is interconnected?

I have written a lot about interconnectedness and admitted that I don’t understand it. Although I promote open-mindedness and inclusiveness, I really don’t fully understand inclusiveness. Systems science tells us that the whole is equal to more than the sum of the parts. As I was beginning to understand this, quantum physics now tell us that each part IS the whole. How am I expected to understand that? No part is separate???

This not understanding helps me promote my uncertainty and open-mindedness. Some of the most significant and wonderful things in our history are hard to completely understand, maybe even unknowable: the origin of the universe, quantum physics, human consciousness, God, what happens after death, etc. Perhaps this story told by Neils Bohr, a founding father of quantum physics, will help explain my title and subtitle.

The story is about a young student attending three lectures by a famous rabbi. The student says the first lecture was very good, he understood everything. The second lecture was much better — the student didn’t understand, but the rabbi understood everything. The third lecture was the best of all; it was so good that the rabbi didn’t understand it.

Bohr tells this story because he says he never understood quantum physics, even though he helped create it. To me this illustrates that what we are learning about the universe and human existence in it is “so good” that nobody really understands it all.

The interconnectedness of everything to everything else is a wonderful unknown story we are living. The unknown part is the reason science and religion were invented. And both now are beginning to realize that neither has yet completely solved the unknown.  I don’t think we should abandon the interconnectedness as unknowable or be incapacitated by not knowing. We need to keep trying to understand unknown interconnectedness and to enjoy living the mystery.

Life is not a puzzle to be solved but a mystery to be lived, Thomas Merton.




Posted in Beliefs | 2 Comments

 Science and Religion as Worldviews

My Beliefs

 This blog is about science and religion, not science vs. religion. It is about my beliefs of science and religion as worldviews. Remember my blogs have been promoting a collective worldview that is open and inclusive in order to change the direction the world is heading.    My question is: “Are the science and religion worldviews open and inclusive?” I believe science presents an open-minded, partial view of the world; I believe religion presents a closed-minded, exclusive view of the world.

Science: The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena. Religion: A belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe. (Dictionary). These two worldviews, which profoundly influence our lives, will both need to be expanded if they are to be open and inclusive. A worldview is: A collection of beliefs about life and the universe; an overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world. Science is open-minded because it seeks to be objective and it is partial because the scientific method cannot solve the non physical problems such as human consciousness, spirituality and the interconnectedness of everything to everything else. Religion is closed-minded because it relies on faith rather than evidence and it is exclusive because there are many, separate religious worldviews; and each religious version is the only one that is true.

Science and religion were both invented by humans — in that sense they are both subjective worldviews. Science and religion did not exist before human consciousness created them; we must not forget that. Since they were invented we have learned a lot about the world, the universe, the planet earth, the sun, the human brain, mind and body. What we have learned should make a difference in our current science and religious worldviews — if these worldviews are open to new learning.

It seems clear that science, religion, beliefs and all subjectivity are products of human consciousness. But this presents a strange irony. Science and religion were both created by human consciousness yet neither science nor religion knows what human consciousness is. I believe we need more than an expanded science and religion. We need a hard-to-define relationship with the mystery of life. Maybe that is what spirituality is.

Science plus religion, as they are, cannot provide us with an open and inclusive collective worldview. I believe we need something else. Maybe what is missing is a collective worldview with a better understanding of spirituality and/or human consciousness. And a  desire to investigate ways of comprehending interconnectedness’ and of achieving the common good — changing the direction the world is heading. Or maybe complete understanding will remain a mystery.

All worldviews are based on human beliefs and knowledge. To me, this raises the question: “Do you and I have a worldview that is open and inclusive?”




Posted in Beliefs | 3 Comments


No Thought Is An Island

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. John Donne

No thought is an island; it’s an ocean of ideas. Louis Flood   

The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.                             Ralph W Sockman 

 The three island metaphors might help us to better understand the interconnectedness of all things. Although interconnectedness may actually be too complex for the human mind to fully comprehend. An island is considered to be something that is isolated. These island metaphors suggest that people, thinking, and knowledge are not isolated or separate. They are all interconnected, just like everything else.

Because metaphor is so big on my list of useful concepts, and because disunity, division, disagreement, separation, tribalism and lack of unison is so prevalent today in America, the island quotations motivated me to write another blog on the unifying idea of interconnectedness.

People are interconnected to other people. Thinking is interconnected to beliefs, attitudes, emotions and other thoughts. Knowledge is interconnected to other knowledge, to illusions and to the unknown. If everything is interconnected to everything in an unbroken wholeness, then there are actually no islands, metaphorically.

I am hoping that this blog will influence others to join me in admitting we don’t really understand the interconnectedness of everything to everything else. However, I believe we need to keep trying to better understand and to increase our sense of wonder.

My strategy is to be in awe of interconnectedness. At times I do think about the relationship between the planet earth and the universe. I have no problem admitting I don’t understand and that I marvel in awe, wonder, respect, inspiration, admiration.

If we could admit that nothing is an island, nothing is separate, everything is connected, then we would not be divisive, we would not separate or exclude anything from anything else. Everything would be “part of the main”. Can you imagine what the modern day American culture would look like?

No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive. Mahatma Gandhi

Posted in Words to Live By | 2 Comments


Admit It

 Wherever you go, there you are. Jon Kabat-Zinn

 There is an old joke about a man, who asks a stranger the way to Edinburgh, to which the stranger replies: “If I were going there, I wouldn’t start from here.” Although none of you have ever asked me for directions, I can tell you that wherever you decide to go, you have to start from where you are. And it helps if you know where you are. Not only know it — but acknowledge it.

This blog is about where you are mentally; it is about self-awareness. Where you are mentally now may not be where you think you are because much of a person’s worldview lies outside of awareness. Self-Awareness is defined as the accurate appraisal and understanding of your abilities and preferences and their implications for your behavior and their impact on others. It’s reality-testing.  

Self awareness is important because when you have a better understanding of yourself, you are able to experience yourself as unique and separate individual. You are then empowered to make changes and to build on your areas of strength as well as identify areas where you would like to make improvements.

Since most of us run on auto-pilot, we don’t pause to think about what we are thinking, or why we are thinking what we are thinking, or what effect our thinking has on our doing. Diligent self-awareness involves observation and inquiry; this is the duality of self-awareness. Observing is paying attention to what is going on inside you, and what is happening outside you. Inquiry is asking questions of yourself about what is going on inside you and questions of others to understand yourself better. Because this seems to take too much time and distracts us from doing, it is usually avoided.

Because you are here now and you will be wherever you go, awareness of where you are mentally is important. Being aware of yourself, where you are and why you are there, may be the most important factor in determining how you get to where you are going. I understand that expecting all of us to admit that we need to pay attention to where we are and who we are is unrealistic. After all, self-awareness is one of the hardest things to do. But it is worth the effort.

“There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.”  Benjamin Franklin

He who knows others is learned; he who knows himself is wise.  Lao-Tsze

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When You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

 Wrap your arms around uncertainty and accept it. Focus on the process instead.                          Anne Duke

 Once again, this blog is the result of an article I recently read, “The Resulting Fallacy Is Ruining Your Decisions, by Stuart Firestein, who interviewed Annie Duke, a successful poker player, who was a graduate of Columbia and later studied cognitive linguistics in graduate school. Nautilus Magazine, Dec. 7, 2017. This was an interesting article for me because of its focus on probability and uncertainty, which exists because of the hidden information problem. And it makes the point that the decision and the outcome may not be related. I like the way Annie Duke says things; I hope you do too.

Here is what she says about uncertainty:

We know the facts we know, but there may be facts that we don’t know. Then the job of the decider is to reduce the uncertainty as much as they possibly can, but to understand that they’re always working within a range and they have limited control over how things turn out on any given try.

  Here is her great metaphor explanation:

Say I have a fair coin. I can tell you exactly what the probability of heads of tails on the next flip is. But I can’t tell you what the next flip will be. That’s what accepting outcomes is like. In life, it’s usually more complicated because in most cases we haven’t examined the coin. We don’t know if it is a fair coin. That’s the hidden information problem. We can’t see everything. We haven’t experienced everything.

 Here is what she says about outcomes:

We’re rational beings that think things should make sense. It’s very hard for us to wrap our heads around a bad outcome when we didn’t do anything wrong. Or that there’s a good outcome that’s just random. If we know that outcomes infect us, we want to separate ourselves from outcomes as much as we possibly can when we’re thinking about decision quality. Sometimes the decision is incredibly remote from the outcome.

Anne Duke is saying things I have been writing about for years. Because I like the way she says them I am hoping that the way she says these things will give you a different view that improves your understanding of probability, uncertainty and the decision and outcome relationship.

 Remember my theme:

The minute you make up your mind that the way you see things makes a difference, it will make a difference in the way you see thigs — and do things.




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What’s Yours?

Seek first to understand, then to be understood.  Stephen Covey

Most of us are ready to tell others what we think, but slow to find out what others think. Stephen Covey’s famous quote above (1989) attacks the human tendency to rush in, fix things up with advice. He suggests you diagnose before you prescribe. “What’s your opinion?” comes before “That’s mine.”

Finding out what others think before you tell them what you think is not common practice.That’s an attitude of independence, not an attitude of interdependence, which is mutual dependence. Interdependence is a belief, attitude, practice that is missing in America today. Certainty you don’t find it in government; and you don’t find it is public discourse. You may not even find it in your neighborhood.

The problem with the absence of interdependence today is that it makes my opinion and your opinion equally valid. Facts are hard to come by. You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Most people don’t listen with the intention to understand. They are deciding what they want to say in order to be understood. Because this seems to be a human tendency, it is hard to overcome, even hard to recognize. It is an example of “my side bias”: only my opinion counts. Although this is easy to see in politics, it is also common in everyday communication, and not easy to see in oneself, but easy to see in others.

Covey says that to listen with the intent to understand is empathic listening. Empathy is defined as: identification with and understanding of another’s situation, feelings and motives, Dictionary.  Can you imagine what politics, public discourse and inter-personal communications would be like with empathy. What the world needs now is empathy.

In America today, the country is becoming more and more divided because of more and more opinions, that often appear to be dogmatic beliefs. They are not usually considered tentative or open to feedback from others. What would happen if empathy became the standard operating procedure in interpersonal relations? If this vision seems like an unrealistic fantasy, what does that say about humanity?

 Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each                                    other’s eye for an instant?   Henry David Thoreau


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