Showing posts with label Philosophy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Philosophy. Show all posts

August 25, 2018

An 80-Year-Old's Life Philosophy

So today an 80-year-old Algerian man sat our table for the Kiddush lunch after synagogue services. 

And he talked quite a bit about his life philosophy and told me I was a good listener. :)

1) TRUE LOVE IS LIKE AN ORANGE:
A man and women that are meant to be together are like two sides of an orange.  With his hands, he showed us putting the two sides together, twisting, and he goes, "You see it just clicks!"

2) WHEN LOVE IS NOT TRUE ITS LIKE TWO BIRDS IN A CAGE:
When a man and woman are not soulmates, maybe they just are meant to be together for a time to have children or make a home temporarily. But then, the birds need to leave the cage, and be free!

3) BURIED TOGETHER:
"When people are soulmates, they are buried together, next to each other. Otherwise, one is buried in Greece and the other in Hawaii, and it makes no difference because they are going their own ways in Heaven."

4) 80 HERE AND 20 HERE
He pointed to his belly and said, "I'm 80 here." And then pointed to his groin area, and said, "But I'm 20 here!"

5) WOMEN ONLY UNDER 40:
While he is 80, he claims to be robust in the bedroom, and "will never be with a woman over 40...not a day over!"  He said, "It's like an old Cadillac!" Moreover, he said, if a woman is "not perfect" and has a scar like from having her appendix out, "forget it!"

6) WRITING, PLAYING GUITAR, AND DANCING:
He said, "I like to write, play guitar and dance." And with his arms, he makes some swoops like he is on the dance floor having a good time. 

7) PEOPLE ARE LIKE CANDLES:
People are like candles.  The body is like the wax that burns down, but the soul is the flame that always rises up.  In the end, the soul ascends to heaven just like the flame. 

8) INFINITELY STUPID:
He pointed to the yarmulke on top of his head and said:  "You know what that means?  This means that there is no limit to how stupid some people can be!"  

8) YOU MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK:
I asked what he did for a living, and he said "Real estate, Jewelry, and even fashion salons."  I said, "Wow, you're very fortunate!"  He said, "No, in life, you make your own luck!"

10) RESPECT ME IF YOU WANT:
"You respect me, and I respect you. But frankly, I don't care if you respect me or not. You can do what you want, and so will I!" I said, "Ok, see you next week and we'll talk again."  He said, "Maybe I will or maybe I won't talk to you ever again."

Like his philosophy or not, I never saw an 80-year-old with so much energy, life, and personality. Honestly, there are a lot of people half his age, who act more dead than alive. It was incredible to see this ageless person and hear what that's like. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal 
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April 16, 2018

Me Myself and I

I thought this was really fascinating about how we interact with others.

It's a theory by Martin Buber called the I-Thou relationship.

In every relationship, there are really 6 people in the room:

- Who I am.

- Who I want to be.

- Who I am perceived as.

-----------

- Who they are.

- Who they want to be.

- Who they are perceived as. 

----------

Taking about a break between reality, fantasy, and perception. 

Is it any wonder that there are so many communication breakdowns and relationship disappointments. 

We need to coalesce around a unified persona of I and thou--and if we don't know, perhaps we need to ask for clarification.

We don't want to talk past each other. 

We want to talk to and work with each other. 

I am me and you are you. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 5, 2015

Big Data, Small Moments

There is a definite rhythm to our lives. 

And by analyzing the peak times of Google search terms, we can get a good picture of what it is (as Seth Stephens-Davidowitz notes in the New York Times Sunday Review).

- From starting a new day to taking care of bathroom business, looking for healing, and even goofing off. 

- Midday is some personal time for shopping, travel plans, and a news update. 

- The evening is a nice dinner and maybe some sexual intimacy.

- The night time is scariest with anxiety about health, leading to panic and thoughts of suicide, and easing off with drugs and pornography. 

- As we roll towards the early hours of the next day, we have a philosophical reawakening with contemplation about the meaning of life and our place in it. 

If we can get all this just from some data analytics of Google search terms, can you imagine what else we can learn about the masses and YOU, the individuals that make it up. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

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December 5, 2014

Paper Thin

I took this photo to show something "paper thin."

Did this after my daughter told me a quote she thought was pretty smart and which I immediately liked as well:

"No matter how thin you slice it, there will always be two sides."

- Jewish Philosopher, Baruch Spinoza

I think of the two sides in terms of peoples opinions.

And it's true, no matter how thin you cut the differences, there will always be at least two views about it--usually more! 

It doesn't make it easy to get to consensus, but I guess we all have to give a little. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal, excuse the glare)
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April 1, 2014

Why Do People Take The Cheese Off?

So my question of the day is why do people feel it's okay to take the cheese off the delicious macaronic AND cheese?

While I understand that it is the best part, isn't just a little bit of antisocial behavior that would drive people do something like this and leave everyone else with just the noodles underneath...


Anyway on the way back, one of my colleagues stopped me in the street to tell me some philosophy of life about how love makes the world go around, but revenge is the axis it turns on. Ouch@!


Perhaps this is April fools day making people a little snappy today. 


One last thought is from episode last week on The Vikings (great show on the History Channel)--excellent battle scene, but also memorable when the one of the characters says "Bad news travels a great deal slower than good news."


Maybe that's why no one told me before about the missing cheese on the macaroni today? ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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March 7, 2013

Eyes Wide Open


This is an interesting video on Plato's Allegory of The Cave. 

It is long-winded, but if you watch a little I think you will get the point.

In the video prisoners who are kept in the dark, chained, and with no real view of the outside world, have a limited perception of what exists out there.

They see shadows, but what is a shadow compared with the reality of true people, places, and things. 

When one prisoner is released outside into the light and the wonders of the world, he sees and experiences the greatness, the complexity, and the beauty of it all. 

The world, he sees, is much more than a shadow on a darkened wall. 

Watching this video, I think how fortunate I am to be able to have an education (and I am actually in a class this week). 

It is wonderful to learn and grow--and have one's eyes opened to all there is out there. 

True, not all the topics that I encounter and learn about are of great interest to me (sometimes, like everyone, I feel like I just want to get some Zzzzzs), but just being exposed to different topics and ways of thinking is a great opportunity in and of itself. 

I think sometimes, how lucky I am to live in the 21st century in an age of globalization, opportunities for advanced education, and all the technology to bridge time and space and see more than many who came before us. 

I imagine that compared to G-d, we are like the prisoners in the cave who only experience and see a minutia of reality, and G-d is out there over us, omniscient. 

Someday, G-d releases us from our mortal bodies and we ascend to heaven to partake of his greatness and then our eyes are truly opened as well. ;-)

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December 1, 2012

The Future In Good Hands


Ethics_bowl

I had the distinct honor to attend the first Washington D.C. High School Ethics Bowl at American University.

There were eight teams competing from local schools in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia areas.

My daughter's team won 2nd place!

(Note: the trophys were identical except for the engraving of first, second, and third places.)

I was so proud to see that the schools are educating our students in ethics--both the theory and the practice.

The student teams prepared and competed using 10 case study scenarios that covered everything from oil drilling in Alaska to the death penalty. 

In lieu of the education of yesteryear that relied all too heavily on rote memorization, it was awesome instead to see the students analyzing real life scenarios, using critical thinking, debating ethical and philosophical considerations, and making policy recommendations. 

The students were sensitive to and discussed the impact of things like income inequality on college admission testing, the environmental effects of offshore drilling versus the importance of energy independence, the influence of race of criminal sentencing, and the moral implications of the Red Cross teaching first aid to named terrorist groups like the Taliban. 

I was truly impressed at how these high school students worked together as a team, developed their positions, and presented them to the moderator, judges and audience--and they did it in a way that could inspire how we all discuss, vet, and decide on issues in our organizations today.

- They didn't yell (except a few that were truly passionate about their positions and raised their voices in the moment), instead they maturely and professionally discussed the issues.

- They didn't get personal with each other--no insults, put-downs, digs, or other swipes (with the exception of when one team member called his opponents in a good natured gest, "the rivals"), instead they leveraged the diversity of their members to strengthen their evaluation of the issues.

- They didn't push an agenda in a winner takes all approach--instead they evaluated the positions of the competing teams, acknowledged good points, and refined their own positions accordingly to come up with even better proposals. 

- They didn't walk away from the debate bitter--but instead not only shook hands with their opponents, but I actually heard them exchange appreciation of how good each other did and what they respected about each other.

I'll tell you, these kids--young adults--taught me something about ethics, teamwork, critical thinking, presentation, and debate, and I truly valued it and actually am enthusiastic about this next generation coming up behind us to take the reins. 

With the many challenges facing us, we need these smart and committed kids to carry the flag forward--from what I saw today, there is indeed hope with our children. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 22, 2012

L'Chaim--Live It Well!

I found an article on the consolation of death "buried" in my papers from a couple of months ago--and I'm glad I did. 

The Wall Street Journal (10 April 2012) has a very interesting book review of "Death" by Shelly Kagan.

The book is about how do we live knowing that some day we will die--how do we console ourselves?

Here are a combination of the the ideas reviewed and my thoughts on them:

- The Hard Stop--Since life and death, for each of us, cannot coexist, we are either alive or dead--"no one will ever encounter their own death"--so there is nothing to worry about.  

- Not Me--We live life never really believing that we will die--instead, "death is something that happens to other people."

- Live Without Attachments--As Buddhism teaches that we should cast off attachments, self-concern, and suffering--hence, the loss of own self is a "nonevent."

- Live The Moment
-- We should live in the present and enjoy life, rather than mourn the past or worry about the future.


- Live a Full Life--Live a full and meaningful life, and then perhaps, we "don't cry because it's over, [but rather] smile because it happened."

- Leave a Legacy--If we leave a legacy of our children and good deeds, then we live on even once we are physically gone. 

I was always taught that since no one ever really came back from the other side to tell us what happens to us when we die, we should not be overly focused on it.

I remember overhearing some old men in synagogue debating what happens to us when we die--one taking the position that we go heaven and the other stating that death was the end (he put it more crudely though-something about us being dead no different than a dead dog!)

In the end, since it doesn't pay to worry about what we don't know and perhaps can't even really fathom, I think all we can do is our best every moment that we are alive--and leave the rest to sort out to G-d, afterward.

The consolation then is if you tried your best, what more can anyone ask of themselves or others?

In terms of the picture, the L'Chaim candy bar is a little reminder not to take everything in life so seriously either--live life and live it well. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Uberculture, Jeremy Noble)

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March 15, 2011

Getting To Happy

In spite of all the wealth creation and technological progress we have experienced in recent times, the real stickler is that most people seem unhappier than ever.

This is not just an observation: According to the results of the World Values Survey and the General Social Survey of the National Opinion Research Center, "people have grown continuously more depressed over the last half-century." (Psychology Today, April 2011).

And the depression and unhappiness that we are suffering as a society has been linked to overinflated and unrealistic expectations.

I guess the average home size of approximately 2,400 square feet, more than DOUBLE that of fifty years ago, hasn't made that much difference in people's level of happiness.

Why? Because we focus on what we don't have, instead of what do have. Marketers take advantage of this by selling, for example, the iPad 2 three months after everyone just got the iPad for the holiday. (Thanks SNL!)

Reminds me of a timeless Jewish saying: "Who is rich? He who is happy with his portion." (Talmud: Avot 4:1) -- Then again, the Cossacks taking all of our stuff didn't help the situation any :-)

Psychologist Tim Kasser states: "The more people focus on the materialist pathway to happiness, the less happy they tend to be."

And more forebodingly, "The less happy they make others."--Can anyone say "50% divorce rate and rising?"

Writing about America in the early 19th century, the French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville already observed: "I know of no other country where love of money has such a grip on men's hearts."

I remember growing up in a modest way, but walking past all the mansions in the community regularly. In my mind I lived "on the other side of town." On the one hand, this was motivating to me in the sense that I felt like I could "make it" too. On the other hand, thinking about it left me feeling empty, because materialism was not what I believed to be REALLY important. I still don't.

Over time, I came to see money practically, for what it was: a way of paying the bills. But my true passion lay elsewhere. Commitment to G-d, family and nation, and productive hard work in its own right--is more meaningful and joyful to me.

Today, I still enjoy looking at the mansions on Bravo's Millionaire Listing or HGTV. But I only let myself do that when I'm working out on the treadmill!

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