Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Art of Listening

There is Goodness in taking a step back from the conversation and drinking in what the world is sharing with you, whether it be the spoken thoughts of friends, current news, or the whispering of nature wherever you happen to be.

Sometimes it takes all ones concentration to find and sometimes one simply stumbles upon that shut up and listen state-of-mind.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


“No man is an island” --John Donne

Goodness being a subjective assessment implies there are many individuals personally assessing what exactly Goodness is for themselves, for the ones they are surrounded, and for the actions along the journey that ostensibly will bring greater Goodness personally, for others and the world at large.  

Troy and Abed Connect!
(Community RIP)
That being said, I think it is absolutely important to highlight the mediums themselves within which we seek to nurture diverse Goodness, our communities.

Having evolved as social animals, we are predisposed to communicating with those close to us.  Evolution itself is indifferent to what exactly is being communicated, so long as a thriving next generation adapts sufficiently to its surroundings to reproduce once more.  

From the perspective of human individuals on the other hand (and arguably many other species), we find it useful to exchange a whole range of specific ideas that aren't necessarily concerned with our survival. Humans in particular exchange a wide variety of thoughts that have very little to do with continuing the species, and instead address thriving as individuals and groups for our own sakes, not necessarily our progeny's.

There are many levels of community. At its simplest we communicate with ourselves, perhaps through journaling, contemplating our next life move, or simply reflecting on being grateful (or ungrateful) for what our lives have become or promise to be.  An inner circle of very close friends further permits one to share a unique assortment of private ideas to the benefit of all involved. Slightly larger circles composed of family members or comfortable friends provides a rich zone within which once can celebrate traditions, conversations, and just hanging out, as the moment requires.  Even larger community groups bind us together in cultural ways that can be unifying or divisive.  And so on....the largest groups become global, crossing interests, world views and even in the extreme including species that we keep as pets, harvest for food, or simply occupy the same geographic location or planet. In fact, we may not even be consciously aware that we are members of some of these communities.

At the end of the day, we find ourselves belonging to many diverse, overlapping communities, which one might label Community, an assemblage of numerous and hopefully positive alliances in which we consider carefully, or not, what our next act of Goodness might be.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

One War to Destroy Them All!

Okay, it’s time to get a bit more aggressive with my Goodness First ponderings.  

As my blog’s namesake implies, our primary intention is to bring Goodness into this world, for ourselves and others; upon those journeys we are constantly prioritizing what is important in our lives from flossing our teeth (an act of questionable efficacy per evidence based dentistry) to dedicating forty plus hours a week toward a vocation that provides some balance of Goodness of economic and world affirming benefits.

To that ends I declare war (metaphorically) on the non-Goodnesses of the world.  Presidents of the past have declared war on other countries that sought world domination.  Presidents since Johnson have declared a war on drugs (except for those of the alcoholic variety).  President Bush and Obama have declared a war on terrorism (with their own flavor of nationally sanctioned terrorism).  

Each of these wars seem honorable on the surface.  In our imperfect world, one might consider certain complex situations having sufficient non-Good to consider (with great sadness and disregard for inclusion of immense profit margins) that necessity calls upon us (U.S.?) to implement state sponsored violence to turn the tide of the perceived “evils.”

In contrast, I believe the most honorable war is truly metaphorical and truly just!  I propose a massive, unified response that in its awesomeness does not require anything physically violent whatsoever.  And yet, the non-Good adversary I call out is nothing short of the ultimate nemesis of human society: Ignorance.

The War on Ignorance is one that requires our collective attention, especially since working toward such a victory will render all other violent wars simply unnecessary.  The War on Ignorance will require the most developed skills of our human populations and will leverage our economic investment in a future that includes a rich diversity humankind AND all our cousin species AND a consideration of our global environment.  In the War on Ignorance, Education and Diplomacy are the warmachines we need to construct to win the numerous battles ahead.   Educating our children of their history and of what reality consists of and striving toward truer understanding of our world as adults is paramount.  Forging Diplomacy that recognizes each human as an individual while working toward a global society that eschews arrogant speciest positions is equally critical. By focussing on such grand peaceful pursuits we will strive toward the ideals of what civilized society can be!

Ignorance as an adversary is more a plague than a thinking enemy, and I believe the analogy holds, in that we can quarantine and eventually eradicate Ignorance.  Imagine a world where the Trillions of dollars spent toward machinery designed to eviscerate, incapacitate and imprison other humans (and other animals) is leveraged toward the best educational institutions and exploration of our Universe.  Imagine a world where every would be parent examines their heart in conjunction with human population challenges before choosing to have a child.  Imagine a world where thousand year old beliefs perpetuated in divisive cult followings of supernatural entities (religion) is transformed into multicultural appreciation and a ever more unified humanistic ethic.  Imagine a world where each individual is encouraged to explore and create outside the systematic economic enslavement by corporate oligarchs.  

Each of these scenarios may seem like a stretch ("I know perfect's not for real. I thought we might get closer." --Rush), alas, society is what we make of it, not what some system of artificial rules dictates to us, whether those mindless rules be economic, religious, or even evolutional. (I'll save free will for another post)

In any case, I ask you to take a step back and contemplate the core ideals you subscribe to, ideals that rely on what is Real and Good, not on dogma that has been preached and reinterpreted again and again since humans first created myths as a substitute for (though perhaps a heart felt stepladder to) real knowledge and wisdom.  Together we can do it, we can aggregate the best evidence available to permit us to act wonderfully in the present and to design an amazing future that thrives for all humans, animals, plants (and AIs?) alike.

What idealistic effort might you nurture to help win the War on Ignorance!?!?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

From Blah to Goodness in One Easy Step

I will keep this week’s post short.  

Goodness, it can be argued, is a state of mind, one we all assuredly seek.

I’m also sure we all find ourselves at numerous times dazed and confused, looking for inspiration on the journey, or simply just in need of some method to help us through a sluggish, mind numbing, WTF moment.   

Playing music from a favorite band, taking in a fluffy magazine article, a viral video chuckle break, or going for a walk amongst patient trees are all techniques I’ve used.

And with that, I ask for your favorite blah moment killer.