Saturday, May 28, 2016


Just a quickie this week to highlight the obvious: plan your life for great outcomes!
Make Your Schedule of Doom BLOOM!

Sure, it's great to have unscheduled freetime to organically wander in the great outdoors of nature or in the great indoors of stories.  Still, one of the best progressive strategies is to lead, seek out and participate in events that bring together positive change, social connection and healthy exploration!

I won't linger on the minutia this week, but rather by example here share a handful of near future events (mostly in PA) that I find worth sharing out to the world.  Catch the meme and share these or other events you find worthy within the inner circles of your friends or the outer circles of social media.  And most importantly get out there and volunteer, be active, and converse; participate always generously with heart and mind engaged!

Concerts are a great way to channel mindfulness, social fun, progressive fundraising, not to mention just let go and dance to the rhythms: X-Fest (June 10, 11 at Country Creek Winery in Telford, PA) and Piggypalooza (June 18 at Ross Mill Farm in Jamison, PA) are two great outdoor concert events hitting the countryside this summer!

If you're seeking out those who share a positive world view The Humanist Association of Greater Philadelphia (based out of Willow Grove, PA) and The Lehigh Valley Humanists (based out of Allentown, PA) are two humanist groups near me that have great gatherings, including book and movie discussions and picnic social gatherings.

Of course, seek out groups that are local to you to integrate positive activity into your life and augment, as you can, your likely very busy calendar. is probably the most prolific event website out there for finding great activities from boardgaming to rock climbing.  It's also a great place to meet new and like-minded people in your area as well as start your own activity centric group toward positive progressive change!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Invoke Your Inner Detective

Praise the Lord of Thoughtful Investigation
One of the most beautiful things about the human mind is its ability to consider and reconsider.  Such is the heart of critical thinking in everyday life.  Moments of genius and intuition will occur, but to base our daily decisions on these leaves our actions and their impact on the world at risk.  To be effective thinkers and doers in this world we need to ratchet up our investigative humility to eleven!

Research, reflect, reconsider, remark, repeat!

Sherlock and Jesus; Batman and the Buddha; their stories can motivate us and guide us to mindful places, but living in reality takes more than contrived tales of wisdom.  Only by patiently and kindly questioning everything can we refine our world views to reach higher ethical summits, summits which we as humanity can set and reset for the good of all.

Research, reflect, reconsider, remark, repeat!

Rather than teach our children and peers absolutes, we ought to teach them gentle consideration and mindful reconsideration that straddles cradle and grave, that transcends internal and universal, that unites heart and head.  And within that paradigm we must also always be open to be taught ourselves.

Research, reflect, reconsider, remark, repeat!


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

All That Is Golden Does Not Glitter

The Golden Rule is often touted to be at the altruistic heart of modern ethics.  In my christian upbringing and even in my subsequent atheist and secular humanist transformation, this "self evident" adage surfaced repeatedly.  Which begs the question: is there a heartfelt, mindful truth to doing unto others as you would have done unto yourself?

Delicious Ethical Contemplation!
At first blush the principle seems promising, particularly given it's precious metal namesake.  Gold is the archetype valuable substance. No matter that platinum, rhino horn, heroin and anti-matter all weigh in at a higher cost per gram than gold in the modern era.

The principle inherent in the Golden Rule rides on the assumption that treating others as you would like to be treated would be overall and in the long term good for the individual, community and world.  So if I would like a delicious, vegan, multi-grain scone with a side of granny smith apples served to me for breakfast, then offering up such goodness to others ought to encourage similar happiness and satisfaction.

And therein lies the rub.  How accurately does my internal desire reflect the desire of another individual, let alone the well being of the community and the world.  Some people cannot stand the crisp texture of granny smiths, while others (though quite few in reality) have allergies to gluten in wheat flour.  And when it comes to all things vegan (a simple synonym for humanely-sourced materials) unbelievably more than 97% of the world still have a negative response to that goodness imbued descriptor.

So it seems the Golden Rule stance has its problems.  In effect, it reflects the somewhat misguided belief that each individual has an internal sense of goodness, and that implementing that awesomeness on the world would benefit all.  The primary flaw in this self-reflecting, altruistic rationale is the uncertainty in knowing the inner thoughts and feelings of others and the needs of the greater community and environment.

Thankfully, thousands of years of civilization has refined tools that transcend simple personal judgement to guide choices for personal, community and global lifestyles. In particular, diverse scientific methods and multi-faceted ethical standards are at the golden heart of ratcheting up future global well being.  Through these rational, thoughtful means, the efforts and legacy of those who have come before can contribute to a gradualistic improvement for all, if only we engage our minds with alacrity and behave correspondingly.

So perhaps we need a revised Golden Rule, perhaps forged with anti-matter, or at the very least platinum instead of gold.  A Platinum Rule ought to convey this complexity of mindfully generating well-being, while rolling off the tongue eloquently.

"Do unto the world as creates goodness for all!" is one rephrasing which captures the essence of striving for idealistic ends with realistic expectations.

One might also aver "Goodness First!"

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Paradox of Procelytizing

So, you're a convert to a particular activist pursuit that feeds into The Millennium Vision.  Maybe it's pursuing a vegan lifestyle for humane and environmental reasons, maybe it's bicycling whenever possible to reduce carbon emissions and increase personal health, or maybe you think purple and red tie dye military uniforms are the answer to demilitarizing the globe toward an era of greater peace.

Spin your wheels colorfully and effectively!
Whatever your conviction, you'll need to consider your approach to being an effective activist.  The practical options range from permitting your behavior to advertise itself to actively spreading the word to pursuing enforceable, progressive legal policies.

Take care! Even the gentlest encouragement of mindful behavior can be perceived as jerk-style proselytizing.  You may find yourself losing friends that disagree with your lifestyle choices; you may find your closest friends judging you as being judgmental to con
sider alternative behaviors; and occasionally you may even find your passion for implementing a rational solution becoming irrational and overly emotive.

Leading the life of an activist isn't easy.  Tweaking your persuasive skills over time and at a moment's notice can enable you to capture people's interest more effectively.  Certainly, presenting just enough logic and science alongside your intriguing anecdotes can help others see your arguments as rational rather than the latest pseudoscience fad.  Perhaps, most importantly you need to lower expectations of changing individual's behavior in the short term; instead, if you can successfully plant a seed of critical questioning in their minds you run the highest probability of inspiring thoughtful people to research the topic on their own to inform their personal journey.

Of course, people are complex and there are plenty who dial their cognitive dissonance up to 11 at times.  Choosing ones battles is a difficult lesson to learn.  Sometimes if we care about someone who is either apathetic to a cause or simply hold on to irrational premises, we may need things go, and pursue a live and let live attitude.  At other times, you may find yourself feeling especially strong about a progressive issue, and may have to consider ending the relationship for the sake of sanity. Certainly, refocusing ones energy on connecting with other progressive people can in the end accomplish more than trying to overcome stubborn inertia.

Sharing progressive ideas on social media is yet another way to reach out and inspire others. Whether retweeting contemplative ideas, posting volunteering and progressive event links to volunteer opportunities on Facebook, or sharing inspiring photos on instagram, we can have an impact by spreading positive energy within our circles. Perhaps even a weekly blog can have success. ;-)

Perhaps the most effective way to effect change is to pursue a career either directly or indirectly involved with ones ideals.  Numerous non-profits, government funded programs and even corporations have progressive goals that require dedicated personnel.  Actually working in a job that supports a component of global, sustainable long-term vision has both the benefit of committing sizable effort to activism and earning ones living.

In the end, proselytizing doesn't need to be absolutist, uncaring or irrational.  On the contrary, successfully winning people over to a cause with gradual expectations alongside a sense of humor and mindfulness can make all the difference for future goodness.