Being For Others blog
Daily Gems of inspiration

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1 ===== 27 Apr 2023
As we devote ourselves to making healthcare available to everybody, let us remember to be thankful that it exists. Ordinary people like me are blessed by the dedication of modern caregivers.

2 ===== 23 May 2023
The golden rule is said to be implied or explicit in every religion. Does that matter? Empathetic treatment of others is inherently mutually beneficial. Its value is not based on its inclusion in any religions. By paying attention, we get there ourselves, without teachers. We practice the golden rule because it works.

3 ===== 26 May 2023
Traditional Christianity is typically considered formulaic. Static rules prescribe behaviors. Heaven is a reward for checking off all the boxes. Contraception or abortion is right or wrong according to fixed moral principles.

In contrast, Ernstraud philosophy is characterized by dynamic reasoning where decisions are based on the sum of accumulated experience (science). We evaluate outcomes according to the totality of circumstances, allowing adaptive flexibility. Contraception or abortion might limit the growth of a desirable work force, or it might defend against extinction caused by overpopulation.

4 ===== 29 May 2023
Reciting commandments and reading scripture is not preparation for going to heaven. Preparing to go to heaven is to build it here. Instead of reading platitudes, we will read construction manuals and study organizational development. We will not walk past poor people on our way to a temple. Instead, we will analyze the problem of poverty until we find a collaborative response to it. That will change our current environment into heaven. Whether I live ten more years or ten more millennia, this is where I will devote my attention.

5 ===== 30 May 2023
Superstition and mythology attribute human failure to evil supernatural forces. We take responsibility for our actions when we acknowledge that lack of cooperation reveals our own ignorance. Once we collaborate as equals, we forsake selfish exceptionalism and achieve peaceful sharing, the constructive realization of human potential.

6 ===== 31 May 2023
Of course, I did not create myself; my existence is given. The question is not who created me, but instead what will I create. In the practice of happiness, this means focusing not on myself, but rather on what benefit I provide to others: the purpose of my existence.

7 ===== 1 June 2023
Mythology in literature expands the horizons of our imagination. It extends our vision and enriches our dreams. However, mindless adherence to the Bible and other mythologies impedes individual and collective human development.

8 ====== 2 June 2023
Passively awaiting revelation of the divine will feels like abdication of responsibility. In the aggregate, human achievement of understanding and clarity manifests divine will. It is a process of creation that proactively opens new material and new horizons. All of our minds combined on a true principle comprise "mind of God."

9 ====== 3 June 2023
While considering the Bible to be mythology, I can selectively find there deeply emotional satisfaction in story-depending on what I am looking for. My learning depends on my ability to perceive what is available. This is the essence of what we call literary value.

See! I can say something good about the Bible after all.

10 ===== 4 June 2023
Commandments are unnecessary and unhelpful. We do good acts to achieve good consequences, not because behaviors are externally forced upon us. We can be good without God simply because it is the right thing to do.

11 ===== 5 June 2023
Answers to significant questions do not come through religious institutions because those establishments give answers instead of pursuing them. The answers that already exist are not adequate to meet the questions of the future. Thoughtful enterprise consists of refining questions for the purpose of finding or developing answers. The questions and the answers are dynamic.

12 ===== 6 June 2023
Life is to promote my neighbors' welfare-not by competition, but by collaboration and sharing. Human intelligence is the capacity to apply love to the details.

13 ===== 7 Jun 23
People wearing virtual reality headsets reflexively scream or jerk as if they were experiencing physical reality. Early childhood inculcates perceived reality that is even more controlling than headsets. Lessons can later be analyzed and relabeled, but never erased. Bear that in mind whenever you find someone else's mindset to be incomprehensible. To that person, accumulated perception lingers as truth. However much we try, our minds do not easily inhabit unfamiliar worlds.

14 ===== 8 Jun 23
If your church promotes something that is not true, does integrity require you to renounce the church? What if we treated the government like that? What would we have left? Supportive social circles are necessary to mental health, and both church and country are better off when people with high standards remain aboard to participate according to conscience. Improvement originates inside you.

15 ===== 9 Jun 2023
Joseph Fielding Smith, the Mormon prophet during my early adulthood, was challenged by reporters for having conjectured that men would never go to the Moon. He was wise enough to say simply "I guess I was wrong." Too many people in our country pessimistically believe that wealth equality will never happen. That lack of vision is a continuing cause of our inequality. To change our results requires us to change our thinking.

16 ===== 10 Jun 2023
You can be pretty sure that the child sitting on the biggest pile of toys is the bully. Given equal opportunity, bullies monopolize resources. Egalitarianism, on the other hand, calls for equality of people.

17 ===== 11 June 2023
In this mortal lifetime, we are not in a fallen state. We are living in a preparatory state: we leave the earth better than we found it, and we metamorphose into our better selves.

18 ===== 12 June 2023
Remember that in Ernstraudian philosophy when you use the generic word god, you refer, among others, to your future self. A human being is a successful biological entity possessing intelligence capable of expanding to the enlightened state called godhood. This humanist viewpoint underlies, justifies, and motivates constructive human behavior.

19 ===== 13 June 2023
Free public education was a deliberate American choice to empower children to support themselves and perpetuate an informed electorate. The rising generation would have both livelihood and mature judgment. An even greater goal than the benefit to children and their parents was the establishment of a healthy society. Has this country abandoned its highest ideals? Why are so many children now in debt when they graduate into the work force?

20 ===== 14 June 2023
Natural features such as forests, geological formations, rivers, and meadows are designated as parks for public benefit. Norway dedicates its oil reserves to the common good. Indigenous cultures shared land without private ownership. This harmonious use appeals to humans, who are hard wired for collaboration.

21 ===== 15 June 2023
My humanist writing describes attributes leading to godhood. The Bible doesn't put the story quite the same way as I do; maybe the endpoint is different. Is either story in your path? My endpoint is not a harsh ruler who demands a fixed protocol before recognizing you. If prayer is to be your pure expression of reverence, how can you be taught to pray? Do you have to learn who you are? What are you exposing to God, your genuine self, or a false front?

22 ===== 16 June 2023
During my prayer many years ago, a powerful impression struck me: am I praying or doing English composition? Quickly I realized my definition of prayer: nonverbal communication with absolute being.

23 ===== 17 June 203
Overpopulation and greed drive mass displacement, spreading suffering. The US no longer asks for the world's tired and poor, or for persecuted minorities. There are noble efforts treating symptoms, but little progress on overpopulation. How can we demonstrate to people the relief of having fewer offspring to feed? Can't we uplift standard of living everywhere without the painful expulsion of unwanted populations to our overcrowded places? Too often, the American dream leaves the transplants (alongside locals) dying in our streets.

24 ===== 18 Jun 2023
In 2023 Medicare debit cards pay for dental, visual, and hearing care. I had been paying out of pocket for my "out of network" dentist. Appreciating the improvement makes me happier. Can you picture appreciating a government employee? Let's do it more often!

25 ===== 19 Jun 2023
Anything you tell me about a book I have adequately studied does not tell me much about the book. It tells me a great deal about you.

26 ===== 20 Jun 2023
The good you do reflects favorably on your parents. Your deeds reflect your values. The world you inhabit reflects you. In other words, you are not a product of your world; you create it. Reflect on this next time you make a negative observation. Do you see where change will occur?

27 ===== 21 Jun 2023
Does going to a party make you happy, or do you make the party happy? Compare the chicken and egg conundrum. Neither is the beginning point. Each evolves from the other in a slow progression of small changes. That is the relationship between happiness and social participation. Each feeds into the other until you are a fountain of joy everywhere you go. The progression is contagious.

28 ===== 22 Jun 2023
When candidates for public office speak badly about other candidates, they set the pattern for the way they will be remembered. Treating others with respect attracts respect.

29 ===== 23 Jun 2023
How happy are you to see me? Is that under my control or yours?

30 ===== 24 Jun 2023
When I was in fourth grade, immunizations were dispensed in public schools. One day the principal appeared at the door of our classroom and instructed us to pass out quietly and walk down the hall.

31 ===== 25 Jun 2023
Applying the label "cult" to a specific organization is not an easy yes or no answer. It is much more useful to ask how many cult characteristics you are willing to tolerate in the organization.

32 ===== 26 June 2023
Did Jesus eat fish after his resurrection? In the resurrection, a world without death, how can humans continue eating, as we do now, substances that were formerly living? Those Bible passages do not help my belief in anything.

33 ===== 27 Jun 2023
If being a pacifist socialist supporter of reproductive choice and identity freedom does not cause me to leave the country in which I was born, why should being a humanist cause me to leave the church in which I was born? Participation is not endorsement of policy or dogma, but instead is growth-stimulating enrichment of diversity.

34 ===== 28 Jun 2023
Viewing happiness as a journey, not a destination, enables me to take satisfaction with the direction I am moving rather than where I am along the path.

35 ===== 29 Jun 2023
Meritocracy claims to utilize and reward ability and talent. It is meant to promote constructive social order, but it must never mean that you deserve more because you are smarter.

36 ===== 30 Jun 2023
Sunday School taught me that Jesus knows me by name. The corollary to that is that I am on His watch list. For Jesus that might be OK, but for the jealous God of Wrath, NO WAY!

37 ===== 1 Jul 2023
Is it hard to be in unity when we are diverse? The jealous God of Wrath fakes unity by slaughtering nonconformists. That does not create unity. Realistic harmonious living is positive relationships among those who are different from each other.

38 ===== 2 Jul 2023
No two Americans, no two Democrats, no two Christians, no two millionaires, no two accountants, are identical. People who are similar in one characteristic differ from each other in another characteristic, whether it be religion, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, profession, intellectual aptitude, body/personality type, etc. Being in unity cannot require imposing uniformity.

39 ===== 3 Jul 2023
To associate with like-minded people, would you relocate to a country that does not speak your language, as in religious migrations? Could you instead reduce disruption by finding and relating to compatible interests where you are? This question is not limited to geographic relocation; it applies to any running away. Do you leave, or do you relate?

40 ===== 4 Jul 2023
Dogma is an answer provided in advance of refining the question.

41 ===== 5 Jul 2023
We look forward to increasing happiness, but putting off happiness until heaven is carrying the concept much too far. The happier future begins here and now.

42 ===== 6 Jul 2023
Do my Christian readers want to make Christianity great again? Acts 4:32 "but they had all things in common.-KJV" ("but they all shared with one another everything they had.-GNT") This is not a legal title; this is a mindset. How much courage do you have?

43 ===== 7 Jul 2023
Community prospers by sharing. Diversity does not have to spoil the fun; discord does, especially if we try to force agreement. We can have community with people who are quite different from us if we share something. Can we share and love our country even when we are not in control of it, when it tries to impose conscience?

44 ===== 8 Jul 2023
Usually, it is a good thing when I move toward you, when we "come together." That does not apply to dominating helicopter parents. Both sides develop better when they move away.

45 ===== 9 Jul 2023
Often a well-meaning parent extracts a child's promise to "keep the faith." When that faith becomes destructive, keeping the promise is harmful, not virtuous. Too much of the world is being reduced to rubble by people living out obsolete beliefs. Do we set an example by examining whether our own beliefs and practices, such as exceptionalism, contribute to violence?

46 ===== 10 Jul 2023
Any institution that directs your attention to sin is giving you a cough to sell you cough medicine. That is marketing, not education. Valid unrestricted growth does not involve the concept of sin.

47 ===== 11 Jul 2023
The overarching principle of enlightened reproductive health is to assure every human pregnancy is desired. It is unspeakable cruelty to force a child to be born unwanted.

48 ===== 12 Jul 2023
There is no mythological supreme being that lets children starve. We who have enough to eat are letting children starve, and we cannot shift the blame. Let us multiply our ongoing repair efforts.

49 ===== 13 Jul 2023
In respect for the "magical" appearance of food on the grocer's shelves, I am deeply indebted to many "magicians" who exercised their craft to put it there. You might be one of them. Feel appreciated and respected!

50 ===== 14 Jul 2023
Yesterday's post reminded me of my long-standing advice that those who pick strawberries deserve the same pay as doctors and lawyers (of which I am one). We are all equally needed, and our children deserve equal opportunities.

51 ===== 15 Jul 2023
Voluntary redistribution of wealth can succeed so long as those in possession volunteer adequately to establish equality. This may be defined as fairly meeting the needs of all people. It starts with food, shelter, health care, and the dignity of a job. It is as possible as we think it is.

52 ===== 16 Jul 2023
I still disagree with my parents about certain aspects of my upbringing. Nevertheless, I am thankful for my devoted parents and the upbringing they provided. Gratitude for gifts that are less than ideal prepares us to appreciate ourselves.

53 ===== 17 Jul 2023
Some organized religion concerns itself primarily with overcoming sin. That depressing negativity is a tragically distorted view of human potential.

54 ===== 18 Jul 2023
The University expands the life of the mind by concentrating on science to the exclusion of superstition and cult practices.

55 ===== 19 Jul 2023
I am happy, hopeful, and energetic about the future. This is also my view of the human condition. In other words, I live in the world that I perceive to be as I am.

56 ===== 20 Jul 2023
A tax cheat is projecting himself onto the government. He says he cheats because the government does, but I would say he assumed the government cheats because he does. His world looks to him as he sees himself.

57 ===== 21 Jul 2023
Somebody who refuses to pay taxes because government wastes money is disrespecting the taxes I pay. A constructive approach is to repair government, not abandon it.

58 ===== 22 Jul 2023
God sends my blessings to holy ground. My role is to be standing there when they arrive. This is "god language" for the universal principle that our thoughts arise according to the mental state in which we abide.

59 ===== 23 Jul 2023
Usually the "light bulb moment" cannot be scheduled. However, I can invite it by being in a creative mental state.

60 ===== 24 Jul 2023
Forgiveness of my deficiency does not waive the requirements for achievement. Loving me is to teach me to become sufficient because I cannot become perfect on somebody else's merits. Learning empowers; "being saved" is meaningless.

61 ====== 25 Jul 2023
We do better in cooperation than in isolation. The very foundation of survival and progress is helping each other, putting the other ahead of self. Who can be against practicing happiness?

62 ===== 26 Jul 2023
If we do make the grass greener on the other side of the fence, we are in less danger of being overrun on this side.

63 ===== 27 Jul 2023
Executive salaries and corporate profits are morally unsupportable. I do not feel good about paying more than necessary for products so that somebody else can have 200 times as much income as I do. Perhaps that is why Christianity requires us to be equal in material things.

64 ===== 28 Jul 2023
Best results do not follow from the most money. People blossom when applying their passionate convictions to a shared social purpose. The $1 / per year volunteer is happier giving service than during the accumulation of a financial foundation.

65 ===== 29 July 2023
Commandments are unnecessary obstacles. If you give humans the power to reason, it is redundant and demeaning to command them to go where their discernment leads them.

66 ===== 30 July 2023
We have a basic need to be producers as much as we need to be consumers. This fundamental rule of self-esteem assures that there will be something to consume. Each of us has joy in what we contribute to society.

67 ===== 31 July 2023
We need to belong. Happiness is finding people who are a good influence. Being a good influence leads to the best connections and fosters healthy belonging.

68 ===== 1 Aug 2023
There is no room for ego in leadership. We must feel that we are all in this together. Everyone has a voice.

69 ===== 2 Aug 2023
My customers do not want to be price gouged and therefore they will support my survival because the golden rule governs their spending choices. It is called win-win, the basis of social order.

70 ===== 3 Aug 2023
If Aesop showed us that persuasion is stronger than force, why are humans still engaging in the use of force? Don't human beings learn anything?

71 ===== 4 Aug 2023
If I show people around me how to love, I become surrounded by loving people. It starts with me.

72 ===== 5 Aug 2023
Stability of governments contributes to worldwide public safety and lessens provocation to war. Defense consists of improving the lives of those who might otherwise threaten us, whether inside or outside our borders. People are less likely to kill their benefactors.

73 ===== 6 Aug 2023
My five children, more than I could support adequately, were blessed with generous scholarships and other benefits from an enlightened society. They have all risen above me, contributing more than they consume. Should the US be expected to provide the same largesse toward worldwide populations that overrun their own resources?

74 ===== 7 Aug 2023
Compare Plato's form of the good: No external essence is the original cause of my existence, just as nobody caused matter and energy. Rational belief in god is acceptance of our own shared nascent godhood emerging in our existing spacetime.

75 ===== 8 Aug 2023
Easy riches (think lottery winners) are quickly dissipated in "living it up." Great wealth concentrated in wise people builds educational institutions, public libraries, hospitals and clinics, community improvements, satisfying human needs that government in gridlock cannot address. Can we become a society of wise people?

76 ===== 9 Aug 2023
Basic morality: Think what society would be if the money spent on marketing health care were instead spent on health care.

77 ===== 10 Aug 2023
1. Assume that because of democracy, some tax money will be spent in ways you personally do not approve. 2. Do you pay taxes (a) for social approval (to stay out of jail) or (b) to promote the welfare of the society that includes you?

78 ===== 11 Aug 2023
Are you truly glad that there are fresh vegetables in the store? Do you show farmers your appreciation? the stock clerk?

79 ===== 12 Aug 2023
Do you have to hear a sound several times to appreciate it as music? Do some sounds never work?

80 ===== 13 Aug 2023
The road was lined with the cars of birders, binoculars and all, who were watching a huge flock of birds-UNTIL one motorist arrived and slammed a car door. Can you think of any other human activity that requires us all to cooperate?

81 ===== 14 Aug 2023
Pollinators like bees are threatened. Some people study that and help us take action. However, we can't join a service day for every possible harm that could possibly affect us. How do you choose which conditions you will help improve? Problem urgency? Your capability? Social influence?

82 ===== 15 Aug 2023
We love people who spread their light and warmth to everyone. Is it ever possible for that to make a small space too hot? What if we completely absorb the positive attention?

83 ===== 16 Aug 2023
It might be easier to solve the problem than it is to find someone to blame.

84 ===== 17 Aug 2023
While I'm giving out smiles, I don't notice so many frowns around me.

85 ===== 18 Aug 2023
When my own child approaches me with a request, the innocent expectation disposes me favorably to grant what is asked. What happens if I approach the mayor/senator/president with the same open innocence? Do I expect a courteous reaction?

86 ===== 19 Aug 2023
My father taught me the "as if" principle: treat a person as if ze were my friend. The suggested mindset was usually correct.

87 ===== 20 Aug 2023
The "starfish" story (throw a beached starfish back into the sea to make a difference to that one starfish) doesn't always mention the one who receives the greatest benefit from my kindness: me!

88 ===== 21 Aug 2023
Much of our environment is endangered. We doubt we can stop every harm at once. How about making the changes first that reduce the most instances of harm? Does reducing carbon emissions help more than just the flooding of my basement? We could call it multiplying of effects.

89 ===== 22 Aug 2023
Do you address an issue, or a person? Telling me a raw fact has no traction. Showing me how to solve my problem captures my attention; it grabs me.

90 ===== 23 Aug 2023
I have been taught "if you did not change behavior, you did not teach." Perhaps there are times in life NOT to do that kind of teaching. Shall we instead demonstrate something good and let the viewers decide whether to change, and how? That is not command structure; it is empowerment to do better voluntarily.

91 ===== 24 Aug 2023
People won't call us enemies if we help them get what they want. Can people be inspired to have uplifting wants? Then we are motivated to help.

92 ===== 25 Aug 2023
"How can this be improved?" is inviting disaster. After all, it implies that improvement is necessary. Often the helpful answer is "Keep it coming!" When you are asked, don't launch into pseudo-expert mode.

93 ===== 26 Aug 2023
Customers might harbor unfulfilled wishes. New market prospects are welcome and useful. However, instead of asking "How can this be improved?" please ask "what shall I do next?"

94 ===== 27 Aug 2023
You can avoid telling loved ones and vendors "I don't like this." How about cheerfully suggesting something innovative? Launch new adventure together.

95 ===== 28 Aug 2023
If you could invent something that raises GDP but kills 46,000 people per year in the US, would you offer it to the public? Someone did that with cars.

96 ===== 29 Aug 2023
I am the visionary who sees things as they are not-yet.

97 ===== 30 Aug 2023
We love bullies. It is the love that heals them.

98 ===== 31 Aug 2023
When you are not on the same page, open a new page and write on it together.

99 ===== 1 Sep Aug 2023
Organized religion exercises only as much mind control as you surrender.

100 ===== 2 Sep 2023
Reason disempowers the man-made myth of a jealous god of wrath, or of any god who is to be feared.

101 ===== 3 Sep 2023
Speaking truth to power: Truth #1 = I love you unconditionally. Absent this truth, the others don't matter.

102 ===== 4 Sep 2023
Laws do not change who we are; they reflect who we are.

103 ===== 5 Sep 2023
Profit-motivated self-interested capitalism claims to be the strongest motivator of growth and development. My life experience contradicts that with case after case of people who would have given up but did not because of those, frequently their children, who depended on them. Food is most nourishing when we feed each other.

104 ===== 6 Sep 2023
My ability to persuade depends on you, not on me. No amount of my skill can validate a message that does not speak to your need. This even applies to the Bible. The measurement of value lies in you.

105 ===== 7 Sep 2023
The Bible has handicapped multitudes with fear of an imaginary god. Donald Trump has shackled multitudes with fear of truth. I recognize the Bible as literature and allow Donald Trump his beliefs, but I weep for the loss of human potential resulting from the shackling of so many minds.

106 ===== 8 Sep 2023
In the US, the Northern states made the historical argument that they should force the Southern states back into the Union. China has historical reasons to claim Hong Kong and Taiwan. The Russian empire has historical nexus with Ukraine. George Washington had no such relationship with indigenous people in America when he ordered their extermination. Likely he is the true aggressor and bears the greater fault.

107 ===== 9 Sep 2023
Entry level wealth is necessary for access to food, shelter, and healthcare. Accumulating this wealth depends on food, shelter, and healthcare-originally supplied by parents. If individuals do not have resources or parents, must they be punished by death? Does answering "no" involve your wealth? If not yours, whose? Answering this is the primary function of society.

108 ===== 10 Sep 2023
Absent life purpose, physical objects and experiences are fleeting entertainments. Dedicated to a purpose, physical objects and experiences are tools for bonding and constructive collaboration.

109 ===== 11 Sep 2023
There are martial arts video clips showing how to redirect the body momentum of an attacker to render it harmless-for example, throwing the attacker to the ground. "Turning away wrath" is the corresponding intellectual maneuver that redirects ill-intended hostile energy and points it toward moral healing. Caring enough to be angry is redirected to caring about a better path forward. Don't kill the energy. Turn it around!

110 ===== 12 Sep 2023
Feeding each other (international millennium goals) is more important than national boundaries.

111 ===== 13 Sep 2023
The world's population needs to become one in deed. This does not mean surrendering individual identity; it means succeeding. How do people become one? They voluntarily undertake an achievement they cannot accomplish alone: the Sustainable Development Goals. It is this, not government, that makes us ONE humanity.

112 ===== 14 Sep 2023
In religion, "prophet" is a conduit to "god." In reality, my relationship to the "prophet"--whatever that authority figure might be--is governed by my concept of "god"--whatever cosmology that might be.

113 ===== 15 Sep 2023
Your life experience and your truth are different from mine. So what? Does that stop us from riding the same bus to work? paying taxes? being kind to each other?

114 ===== 16 Sep 2023
I am inundated with impolite sales calls and with advertising emails containing broken links. Don't people know anything about marketing? NOT TO WORRY! I have lived long enough to find the good without letting human errors cloud my appreciation. When people who approach me are sincere, they can sense that I give them credit for that. I don't buy most products, but the people feel good about interacting with me. Do they pass that gentleness on to you? I hope it spreads.

115 ===== 17 Sep 2023
You cannot overcome smoking by repeating "I will not smoke." That behavior further impresses the injurious practice on the mind. Hawthorne's "The Great Stone Face" can be read to mean that we become that which we admire--that with which we fill our minds. Conclusion: we cannot uplift our society by complaining about politicians. We need to hold in our minds a bright vision of the nation we want to become.

116 ===== 18 Sep 2023
Does the nation make you beautiful, or do you first make the nation beautiful? The chicken-and-egg answer is that neither comes first; they evolve step by step together. You have the power to make the first move.

117 ===== 19 Sep 2023
When we "make happy" we are really addressing ourselves by spreading to others the cheer we want to receive from them.

118 ===== 20 Sep 2023
Let's talk! What do you love about your country? What would you most like it to become? That conversation is currently the best way we can use our time together here. Please offer your ideas.

119 ===== 21 Sep 2023
On a typical day during undergrad years, I used to stare out the dorm window for an hour or two. That was the most valuable, creative time in my life. Of course, it had value because of the challenge the curriculum presented me.

120 ===== 22 Sep 2023
Restraining people from injuring themselves or others can be classified "protective custody" to indicate the intent of providing safety and healing. It must be more humane than, and fundamentally different from, imprisonment--encouraging, rather than wasteful of, human life.

121 ===== 23 Sep 2023
The word "prison" is not usually defined as "helping individuals become better people." It is the worst thing society can do to people who need to become better. Self-improvement (article 3) grows in positive environment.

122 ===== 24 Sep 2023
Imposing beliefs and practices on me does not authenticate those principles. Validation relies on reason.

123 ===== 25 Sep 2023
Theists claim to be faithful. Atheists claim to be faithless. I don't believe either one. What I believe is our good actions.

124 ===== 26 Sep 2023
Zig Ziglar is famous for his statement that you will always have what you want if you help other people get what they want. That immediately indicates that I should not concentrate on what I want. Instead I must ask what do other people want and then be employed by providing it.

125 ===== 27 Sep 2023
Personal mental health requires at least one room with a lock on the door. This need not be physically owned property, but it must represent a personal space that cannot be invaded by someone else. For me, that includes a safe place to meditate and sacrosanct computer space for organizing my information processing. All other substances and spaces, including a car, can be shared for maximum utility

126 ===== 28 Sep 2023
As a lawyer I am a professional truth seeker. Truth is not established by prophets; it is discerned by educated reason.

127 ===== 29 Sep 2023
Applying Ernstraud Philosophy, companies are sole proprietorships or worker cooperatives. Profit motive does not exist. The community's need for health care is met by society at large. Therefore, no individual or nuclear family ever possesses opulent assets or accrues more than very few million dollars of private income over a lifetime. The world population enjoys clean air and water, food, shelter, health care, and education.

128 ===== 30 Sep 2023
My existence does not begin with or depend on physical substance. Humanism is my conscious philosophical perspective that opens with my physical existence, but I encompasses more than that, just as the Big Bang is not the beginning of physics or metaphysics.

129 ===== 1 Oct 2023
I live in a world where we do not do things to each other; we do things for and with each other.

130 ===== 2 Oct 2023
It is natural to choose that which is easiest--the path where we do not have to grow. Appreciating life means we persistently build even while people are tearing down what we are building. If we falter, who will teach self-centered people to do better, so that there will be a habitable world for our great-grandchildren?

131 ===== 3 Oct 2023
My magazine (article 4) and my blog have taught that we must not survive at the expense of other people. When employment leads to pollution, we must re-deploy the workers as we end the pollution.

132 ===== 4 Oct 2023
Buying dollar-packaged junk food is not a poverty of money. It is a poverty of education. Rather than outlawing the products, let us educate ourselves out of the morass. Home economics training in the school or the home is more important than STEM courses.

133 ===== 5 Oct 2023
Appreciating Dr. King's description of the Promised Land is helpful to understanding the visionary language used in Ernstraud Philosophy.

134 ===== 6 Oct 2023
After giving away love, we have more left. When Donald Trump lives to spew vituperation and hate, it is up to the rest of us to bathe him in unconditional (and tough) love. We have to initiate the loving to provide him the ante (stake) for joining our transformative game.

135 ===== 7 Oct 2023
If you think hubris is a human fault, consider a God who takes credit for the laws of physics! [actuality: Power of creation is applying the laws of physics.]

136 ===== 8 Oct 2023
The 1959 movie "On The Beach" depicts the end of humanity brought on by nuclear warfare. The 2023 present scenario is that human overpopulation and greed are accomplishing the same end brought on by environmental degradation.

137 ===== 9 Oct 2023
The mental illness of wanting more provides a stark contrast to the mindset of equal distribution of resources, which posits our common survival by sharing. We possess and consume only that which is fairly available to be possessed and consumed. We do not pretend there is more than the planet can provide.

138 ===== 10 Oct 2023
I did not invent democracy, but where it is our chosen morality, the prior two messages are fundamental requirements: population in harmony with resources which are equally distributed.

139 ===== 11 Oct 2023
--Warfare: A attempts to control B.
--Rule of law: A and B voluntarily adhere to mutually agreed self-governance. We fairly enforce the rules on ourselves.
--Is it inevitable that civilized population must defend itself from those who refuse the rule of law? Does "defending" require killing humans? Does that make both sides savages?

140 ===== 12 Oct 2023
My humanism posits a required higher power: the ability to cooperate, which transcends our differences. This higher power, not warfare, is key to common survival.

141 ===== 13 Oct 2023
Years ago I dreamed of hiking through the night to see the sunrise from the top of Mt. Fuji. Sometimes I wonder whether that sensation compares to watching a stream of potatoes flying into the harvester. Although the rewards differ a little, both projects fit the pattern: do the work first.

142 ===== 14 Oct 2023
Humans are social beings who suffer in prolonged isolation such as solitary confinement. I see something similar in children who feel they are never good enough. They may have human interaction, but if the feedback is all negative, they are in unhealthy isolation.

143 ===== 15 Oct 2023
Conflict in Gaza has become yet another occasion calling for a humanitarian corridor to provide exit for civilians. In the US it can take many months for the courts to determine whether one person is a co-conspirator. If a person's civilian innocence were instantaneously visible, uncivil actors could be kept out of the general population from the beginning. Hatred is slippery in any society.

144 ===== 16 Oct 2023
A Buddhist teaching proposes that angry drivers can teach you patience. Let us not rush to a world where there are no imperfections or setbacks. We learn more here.

145 ===== 17 Oct 2023
As a small child I noticed that if I slightly moved a board or wagon on which my dog was resting, the dog very quickly jumped off. I still have that instinct. If a foundation under me starts to move, my instinct is to jump off. Flight is not a useful impulse if my weight is on a conveyance designed to carry me to a better place--for example, education.

146 ===== 18 Oct 2023
While I was in grade school, the word "computer" was advertising magic. Products were featured as superior because they were created by computer. The mystique permeated all the way to handwriting analysis. Today we face the same situation with the magic word "AI" (artificial intelligence). Once again, the hype does not compensate for lack of thoughtful human experience.

147 ===== 19 Oct 2023
For many years my writing theme has been "others ahead of self." It is a constructive mindset with many practical benefits. "Me first" is destructively selfish. For a politician to put zir own ethnicity first ("America first") is morally questionable political suicide.

148 ===== 20 Oct 2023
Illinois operates a driver license facility exclusively for crusty old seniors like me who are slow understanding directions. The staff specialize in courtesy and patience. My experience there was heartwarming, reassuring me that society cares.

149 ===== 21 Oct 2023
Robber barons were in ill repute when labor unions resisted their tyranny. Today resisting tyranny means withstanding a united minority of stubborn political opposition to the basic human rights of the common man. When will our uniting principle be to respect individual conscience?

150 ===== 22 Oct 2023
Physical and mental health improve with several times daily deep contemplation of our gratitude and happiness. The linked TED talk elaborates on this formula that is transforming the world.

151 ===== 23 Oct 2023
My mother did not use an automatic washing machine. I remember feeding clothes through the ringer and hanging them out to dry. We had time for conversation in the evening. Modern conveniences now fill my life with labor-saving devices, and I have no leisure time. How can I return to my previous higher quality of life?

152 ===== 24 Oct 2023
I lived four high school years spreading myself too thin on insufficient sleep, stressing over too many attempts to be "well rounded." Sixty-two years later, the values that remain are character formation and intellectual originality. The rest of the frenzy was unhelpful. Slowing down facilitates more creativity and depth of appreciation. Please join me in this happier world; it will benefit everybody.

153 ===== 25 Oct 2023
Do you want a fulfilled life in a place of peace and plenty? It is impossible to realize by getting riches and power. One creates it by giving.

154 ===== 26 Oct 2023
We are all passengers on a physical planet with diverse occupants. We create individual worlds by evaluating and combining the elements available to us. Life develops meaning as we leave (monastic) isolation to meld those silo worlds into a collaborative tapestry we call society.

155 ===== 27 Oct 2023
Let us not surrender thought control. Tyrants are stronger than our bodies, but not stronger than reason and science. Our country can still survive the tyrants by embracing reason and science.

156 ===== 28 Oct 2023
I serve in imperfect social institutions, namely, this country and service organizations. Their imperfections cannot squelch my offering of peace to those around me. I do not abdicate my responsibility. My meaning is the peace that radiates from me.

157 ===== 29 Oct 2023
The purpose of radiating peace is not to promote my own benefit. My value is sending out the blessings that benefit you. "Denying self" is too negative a description. Let us rather call this reason for existence "being a good person." It is not denial.

158 ===== 30 Oct 2023
There is a video of a chimpanzee eating a small monkey that wandered away from its mother. Sadly, human offspring face similar threats from other humans: not usually cannibalism, but abduction, kidnapping, seizure, hijacking, child snatching, physical and mental child abuse, slavery. Let us honor caregivers, especially parents, who provide uninterrupted vigilance. Humans are fragile.

159 ===== 31 Oct 2023
Sometimes humans inflict permanent harm on their own children: bodily injury (FGM) or self-limiting beliefs such as fallen man theory. These are major obstacles to health.

160 ===== 1 Nov 2023
Occasionally I express an idea quite similar to a famous saying, adding a difference that is the essence of my comment. I am using the familiar as a springboard to my creative idea. Often the listener hears only the well-known expression, not my nuanced variation. If I clarify my difference, it appears that I am the one being argumentative. Peace, anyone?

161 ===== 2 Nov 2023
My children are completely understandable when they want me to personify everything I have taught them. When my direction changes with my increasing awareness, they do not automatically update their expectations of me. Does integrity require continuing the old dogmas, or demonstrating the new ones more effectively?

162 ===== 3 Nov 2023
The atheists are sorry for the religionists because religionists are duped by their fantasies. The religionists are sorry for the atheists because atheists are devoid of values. Aside from the foolishness of both assumptions, why can't BOTH parties be happy with (a) themselves and (b) the fact that the other party is happy?

163 ===== 4 Nov 2023
I do not notice that some people do not wish me well, because I am so intensely grateful for the people who do treat me well.

164 ===== 5 Nov 2023
If a person who hates me feels anger at my well-wishing, we call that "conscious reaction." Then we propose the words "unconscious" and "spiritual" to describe the world that is made better by my positive wishes. As a humanist, I populate that "spiritual" world.

165 ===== 6 Nov 2023
Ernstraud Philosophy teaches putting others ahead of self. In the extreme, this behavior distorts "self" into savior complex, a compulsive need to sacrifice personal needs in order to rescue or redeem every negative condition that exists. In contrast, correct application of empathy requires a realistic sense of identity leading to rational and reasonable service: I have value by being, not by being indispensable.

166 ===== 7 Nov 2023
Childhood malnutrition and starvation are so extensive that they exceed the scope and suffering experienced in armed conflict. When the human family unites in meeting human needs (achieving millennium / sustainable development goals), there will be less conflict over national boundaries and ideologies. Do you choose to fight or to feed?

167 ===== 8 Nov 2023
When we gain sufficient intelligence, we appreciate the necessity of relating positively with our environment, which includes cooperating with the other inhabitants of that environment.

168 ===== 9 Nov 2023
We coexist with people who are different-from each other and from us. Every person cherishes a unique appreciation of reality. It follows that cooperation is not merely simultaneous action by two people. In fact, cooperation requires the accommodation of two or more realities.

169 ===== 10 Nov 2023
Individual humans experience diverse realities. It does not matter whether all worldviews are contained in one universal or supreme ontology. Each human is aware or sentient of a unique personal reality. Collaboration consists of relating (Ernstraud Philosophy calls it melding) those non-identical perceived realities.

170 ===== 11 Nov 2023
Confused teachers call man the enemy of God, then call God "creator." That is utter nonsense. I was not created by the enemy.

171 ===== 12 Nov 2023
Heartwarming efforts to serve suffering populations counterbalance the sadness of violence. These laudable efforts must not suck the energy out of our more important efforts to learn and address the origins of violence. The former is keeping up with suffering. The latter is reducing suffering, yielding far greater return on investment.

172 ===== 13 Nov 2023
By stoking fallen man theory, isolationism, exceptionalism, and genocide, the Bible (along with other mythologies) has heated up human hostilities just as the burning of fossil fuels has heated up climate change.

173 ===== 14 Nov 2023
1. What do you give away most easily?
        a) what you have most of
        b) what you have least of
2. What do you give away most regularly?
        a) love
        b) hate
If you give it away, you end up having more.

174 ===== 15 Nov 2023
So if we give away that which we have most plentifully, what does that say about people who cause others to suffer? It certainly does not heal them to impose suffering on them as punishment. They need abundant love to prime them with something to share. But who can love a sinner? Jesus has a reputation for doing that, and humanists follow the constructive example.

175 ===== 16 Nov 2023
In waiting rooms, I am always too busy to look through the coffee table reading material that is there. My telephone contains several books that contribute more substance to my life. However, when I am not required to read specified materials, isn't meaningful meditation or rumination more important than the written word I carry around?

176 ===== 17 Nov 2023
My highest social function (with related moral duty) is to educate-that is, to persuade people to choose constructive behavior that it would be immoral to force them to do. Effective education is to empower decision making, not to prescribe it.

177 ===== 18 Nov 2023
The happiness in your world is not something you take from there. It is something you put there to grow.

178 ===== 19 Nov 2023
Manufacturing windmills and solar panels is not a known cause of black lung disease. We owe it to economic slaves of industry to liberate them from the coal mines.

179 ===== 20 Nov 2023
Conscientious case workers are essential to success of social welfare programs. They likely face impossible caseloads. If you know anyone whose needs are not being met, you might be the best gatekeeper for the situation. Helping us to coordinate this effort effectively is a primary function of religious and humanist associations.

180 ===== 21 Nov 2023
Theist: God extends everywhere and pervades everything. We can become aware of the Spirit in all that surrounds us. Ernstraudian: I, too, believe in science.

181 ===== 22 Nov 2023
Genetics probably determined the number and dexterity of the fingers on my hands. That provided capacity but did not determine whether I would play piano. Because of personal choices, there is more to humans than genes.

182 ===== 23 Nov 2023
The collective subconscious is not unique to or based on one individual. Because of genetics, there is more to humans than personal experience.

183 ===== 24 Nov 2023
Summarizing #181 and #182: We promote children's self-confidence by telling them how special it is to be unique. That is important, but not the whole story. Let us not forget that there is even more about us that is shared that makes us highly interdependent. We must be unique and social.

184 ===== 25 Nov 2023
Forgiveness of sin is meaningless. Peak motivation lies in the benefit others receive from my existence. By helping you, I enjoy existing.

185 ===== 26 Nov 2023
My exercise walks stimulate healthy circulation and the profound appreciation that I am spending this time in this place. As a grateful guest, I hope my presence in this world is worthwhile to you.

186 ===== 27 Nov 2023
Are some people so depraved that they seek godhood as power over others? That opposes the Ernstraudian meaning of godhood, creating for others.

187 ===== 28 Nov 2023
I know by personal experience that I am not sinful by nature. I exist, and am happy, to be helpful to you. Any God who insists that I am a sinner is not a friend. I promise that if you study yourself sufficiently, you will realize that the same goodness applies to you.

188 ===== 29 Nov 2023
Selling principle: To sell someone cough medicine, you have to give zem a cough. Marketing of organized religion gives you a sinful nature in order to sell you its phony product. Completing the homework of Gem #187 sets you free.

189 ===== 30 Nov 2023
Instilling self-limiting belief (sinful nature, fallen man theory) in victims is a common form of cult gaslighting.

190 ===== 1 Dec 2023
Let us not falter on words of argument like belief, theism, agnosticism, atheism. I use the less emotional word humanism to describe the path from the normal human being you are now to your future godhood. Faith in this scientific human development grows as you concentrate entirely on the good already in you. This winning mindset is usually called Positive Mental Attitude.

191 ===== 2 Dec 2023
Not many humanists claim explicitly that they are pursuing their future godhood. Nevertheless, their conscientious practice of good principles satisfies the necessary criteria. To experience the joy of this path, they do not have to realize completely where it is going.

192 ===== 3 Dec 2023
Divine mercy that one has to beg for is not only sadistic; it is oxymoronic.

193 ===== 4 Dec 2023
Prophets who cannot see the present glory humans already have are not qualified to describe the glory of a deity.

194 ===== 5 Dec 2023
The military action of the State of Israel is an example of what the United States, indeed most powerful countries, will do if they perceive themselves under existential threat. Insecure people and governments resort to violence instead of learning to meld self with others. Humans are deadly until they become one.

195 ===== 6 Dec 2023
I would not dump my load on Jesus. In the University model of development, if the professor does all the work, the student does not get the degree.

196 ===== 7 Dec 2023
Dumping our cares on Jesus leads to waiting for God to feed the hungry when in fact God has provided resources that we are expected to distribute.

197 ===== 8 Dec 2023
The most common self-fulfilling prophecy is the self-image that a child believes. May it always be "I bring good into the world."

198 ===== 9 Dec 2023
Empathy includes the human capacity to see parts of yourself in others. Therefore, it is indispensable that you love yourself.

199 ===== 10 Dec 2023
If you see yourself as "a sinner," it follows that you take a dim view of everybody else. The closest "good" to you is the good that resides in you. Seeing that encourages you to see the same in others.

200 ===== 11 Dec 2023
I have heard Daniel Barenboim in a Q & A session say "if you play a wrong note with conviction, it sounds right." He did not mean the wrong note improves the score. Instead, he recognized that dwelling on a mistake disrupts the flow of the music. This applies to daily life: we improve while we keep the melody going. We do not let a wrong note spoil the performance.

201 ===== 12 Dec 2023
Happiness is not paying lip service to the sacred cows of materialism; it is rather deeply experiencing my worth to humanity. May it manifest to you as nest warmth.

202 ===== 13 Dec 2023
Ideally, laws are our agreements to improve the here and now. Never pass a law that forces me to qualify for your heaven, because my heaven is what my here and now becomes as I grow through successive venues over time. That growth never stops.

203 ===== 14 Dec 2023
Sometimes I need to ask myself two pointed questions: First, what impressions of good have I received today? Next, how many have I expressed today?

204 ===== 15 Dec 2023
Stockholm syndrome: victims identify with and empathize with their captors.
Primary example: Victims devote themselves to organized religions whose first order of business is to convince the victims that there is something (called sin) wrong with the victims. The religions pretend to be the exclusive cure.
Liberation: victims see through the marketing ruse and decide "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Fresh life as good people begins.

205 ===== 16 Dec 2023
Examples speak louder than words. I cannot teach in anger.

206 ===== 17 Dec 2023
A favorite hymn tells of sowing seeds of good and ill that bear fruit when the sower's hand is cold. Ernstraud Philosophy will have increasing impact when I have gone on. Can you see your work carrying forward? Welcome aboard!

207 ===== 18 Dec 2023
Discouraging things I do not like is a negative activity that drags us all down. Encouraging things I do like is a positive activity that builds us all up and has a happier impact on the world. I prefer the happier approach.

208 ===== 19 Dec 2023
You appeal to me by demonstrating understanding, compassion, kindness, and generosity. We unite with leaders who bring us together on these qualities. Therein lies the survival of the state, the function of society.

209 ===== 20 Dec 2023
I am highly skilled at bringing a piano to its best condition. That skill has no value if there are no musicians with pianos. In turn, they have no value if there are no audiences. Likewise, political leadership has no value apart from the people whose lives it improves. Do not rule over me; rather, make my life better!

210 ===== 21 Dec 2023
There is no rigorous proof of eternal consciousness. That does not matter. The pinnacle of happiness (that covers all bases) is to experience a life that we want to expand forever.

211 ===== 22 Dec 2023
If fear occupies most of your time, you can guess what constitutes most of your output.

212 ===== 23 Dec 2023
Definition of creation: Can you identify one specific thing that is happening because you are thinking it into being? That applies particularly to happiness for self and others. Before you do anything, think of something that would increase happiness.

213 ===== 24 Dec 2023
"He never opened his mouth without subtracting from humanity's knowledge." So says a flippant put-down of negative speech. In all seriousness, it applies to derogatory statements in general. To add to human sapience, discuss the good, not the bad.

214 ===== 25 Dec 2023
Does climate change occur in physical response to human activities like polluting? Is drought a punishment for not paying tithing to the right deity? Which viewpoint gives humans greater control?

215 ===== 26 Dec 2023
Can you make it start or stop raining by addressing the proper words to your favorite deity? Does everybody else get the same privilege?

216 ===== 27 Dec 2023
Army: "be all you can be." Air Force: "service before self." These values are also primary standards of pacifist Ernstraud Philosophy, where they are implemented by compassion, not compulsion.

217 ===== 28 Dec 2023
I receive more requests to save the planet than I can fulfill: wolves, orcas, bees, drought, overpopulation, polar bears, tundra, glaciers, island nations, etc. We share a common environment with all life forms. An umbrella agency should study their interrelationships and develop a global unified plan to sustain life. Isolated studies must be evaluated and correlated. Is it worthwhile to designate the Environmental Protection Agency to protect all of us? An international university? Another version of the question is "where is your faith?"

218 ===== 29 Dec 2023
When I sit in a car, my body's matter (noun) contributes passively to the inertia of the payload. This does not give me identity. When I sit in a meeting room projecting my emotions and expressing my thoughts, I matter (verb). This does give me identity.

219 ===== 30 Dec 2023
Children who are taught that they are sinful by nature are being mortally sabotaged. Children who are taught to express their innate goodness will endure.

220 ===== 31 Dec 2023
Can we learn to rehabilitate those who accept more than their global fair share of resources? In other words, can we heal the greedy? Instead of crafting laws, mounting investigations, and conducting campaigns to shame, could we rather inspire changes in behavior? Generous giving is most healing when it is voluntary.

221 ===== 1 Jan 2024
In Article 50, I dream of operating a difficult illuminating device to navigate a complicated structure. (Those who design products for immediate consumption may feel the pride of present success.)

In the dream, I call this failure because I was unaware of the presence of others. (Visionaries in the arts and sciences live to illuminate the way for those yet to come.)

222 ===== 2 Jan 2024
Fair use of our Mother Earth supports life, not unequal lifestyle.

223 ===== 3 Jan 2024
After Having Prayed Fervently
[... through a glass darkly]

Faith remained fixed on a light at the end of the tunnel
while obstacles provoked my capabilities.
Now I have arrived.

The light is a different color.

224 ===== 4 Jan 2024
I cannot ask God to help me fight or defeat any one of God's children--that is not what God does best.

225 ===== 5 Jan 2024
George Fox inspired millions by identifying "that of God in every [person]." That viewpoint related all of us to each other. In my humanist understanding, I identify "that of me in every person." My viewpoint reminds me not only to have empathy for all humans, but also to control my feelings when I see my failings in them.

226 ===== 6 Jan 2024
Forgiving our fellow (imperfect) humans does not mean we make ourselves vulnerable to their aggressive behaviors, and it does not mean we facilitate all their behaviors. We do not redefine aggression as acceptable. Instead, we firmly hold the course without returning the evil. The forgiven perpetrator is still expected to improve, with our help.

227 ===== 7 Jan 2024
There is a theology that describes birth as coming from a heavenly state. My humanist vision of innocent beginning is compatible with that. I depart from theology which declares that someday a peaceful (heavenly) state will suddenly be dropped on us. That goes against reason and experience. Eternal existence cannot change the fact that we build and enter whatever peaceful state we experience. Let's do that here and now, sooner rather than later. Otherwise, we miss the ongoing party.

228 ===== 8 Jan 2024
People who turn everything over to Jesus are preparing themselves to despise God for neglecting the poor. Humanists realize that it is up to us to feed the poor, and we set about doing it.

229 ===== 9 Jan 2024
The generous, kindly ladies in Sunday School classes I have attended denigrate themselves for their weaknesses. They beat themselves up for causing Jesus pain. In his January 1, 2024, convention, Brendon Burchard taught about confirmation bias: we keep choosing wrong because we hate ourselves. Improvement usually requires therapy. Putting self-loathing religion behind me gives me a new confirmation bias: I am performing better because doing well manifests the good inside me.

230 ===== 10 Jan 2024
We can stem the flood of immigration by helping adventurous people improve their countries of origin instead of leaving them. Failure to upgrade the local scene leads to tragic brain drain (talent exit) from the places where initiative and energy are needed most. The United States became strong through immigration. Now it is time for other countries to benefit from their high-energy populations: bloom where you are planted. Freedom requires effort here; it will require effort there. Americans offer support, but freedom requires people to control their own destinies.

231 ===== 11 Jan 2024
To make deity necessary, theistic religion ruthlessly conditions its subjects to be inadequate and therefore dependent. Because of that Big Lie of self-limiting belief, I have always performed and earned vastly below my aptitude. The little Buddhism I have read helps me appreciate the struggle to freedom that has made me the independent person I am. Escaping Plato's cave is more achievement than the accolades that might have been.

232 ===== 12 Jan 2024
You are ignorant of the affairs of State and must let the government make the important decisions for you. When the Russian Communist Party taught this to the people, Americans around me called it brainwashing. When American religious leaders made the same claim about spirituality, we were taught to label compliance as obedience.

233 ===== 13 Jan 2024
Being told I am right is neither necessary nor sufficient to make me right. My status of truth is intrinsic, not external. Is inner peace one way of being right? If so, inner peace lies exclusively within my power. Why do some jolts appear to disturb it?

234 ===== 14 Jan 2024
People who are occupied perform tasks for me better than I can perform them for myself. Engaged in this specialized occupation are countless employees, the self-employed, and volunteers. I remind myself many times per day that I am blessed because others are occupied. My personal interactions accept goodness from others, and my occupation (being occupied) provides goodness to others. Are you aware of being in that peaceful place with me? Indeed, we are doubly blessed.

235 ===== 15 Jan 2024
Unfeeling people will not care how many migrants are in a place. Other people feel overwhelmed by arrivals precisely because they care.

236 ===== 16 Jan 2024
Through trade and training, our country is bolstering economies all over the world. Rather than being jealous that they are growing faster than we do, we rejoice with their emerging self-sufficiency. That is the power that can make migration unnecessary.

237 ===== 17 Jan 2024
Get one central authority to endorse the best science available. Get the world's population to suspend disbelief-that is, to support without objection. Learn rapidly what is not effective. Be universal. I proposed once that this sequence could physically feed the human population within two years, and house it within five years, adjusting for improvement from there. Dictators are eager to try this. Does free choice incapacitate us? Are we choosing not to be fed and housed? Is there a dilemma?

238 ===== 18 Jan 2024
I frequently hold up Switzerland as an ideal to emulate. The population there have been working out their collaborations for more than 600 years. America does not have the background and population stability to do that. Another 400 years spent copying still would not make us the same. I remind myself to take my audience as it is and contribute to our own individuated solutions. If we create and re-invent cooperatively, then another 400 years appear hopeful. Let us not depress ourselves by hurrying. Eastern philosophy thinks in millennia. Imagine what we can become!

239 ===== 19 Jan 2024
Gem #238 links to #144 to give two viewpoints on progress. It is heartbreaking that so many human lives are devastated in the learning progress, but in the long view that appears to be part of the emergence of the human species. We may individually perish while we spend our lives improving the world. We do have purpose.

240 ===== 20 Jan 2024
It was necessary to let my children "squander" their first allowances immediately because doing so was part of their first-hand education. They all learned well.

241 ===== 21 Jan 2024
One philosophy starts with a fabulous, unimaginable superpower called God (appealing to human appetites for thrones and kingdoms) and works backward to show humans as fallen below that state. In contrast, I call myself a humanist because I begin with appreciation of what I am and project that forward without limit. Given an eternity to develop, that image yields a more realistic concept of divine wisdom. That god, my future self, exists!

242 ===== 22 Jan 2024
Gem #241 implies that my future self exists. I identify it with Plato's Form of the Good. The tense I use is less important than the quality I am describing (me).

243 ===== 23 Jan 2024
When I was blessed by education at the University of Chicago, we students clearly understood that the future professors at the back of the room were as important as the professor in the front of the room.

244 ===== 24 Jan 2024
Do we underappreciate others? That accompanies underappreciating ourselves. Let us begin by being generously thankful for the work done by other people. Doing so encourages shining the same appreciation (self worth) on ourselves and gives us energy.

245 ===== 25 Jan 2024
During my 52 years tuning pianos, I was able to rise to customers' expectations. They had confidence in me, and I lived up to it. It is unhelpful to demand unrealistic performance, but within reason, positive anticipation is self-fulfilling. Try this technique on the people who work for you.

246 ===== 26 Jan 2024
For me, mellowing with age is being thankful that I have come so far. The positive achievement overshadows being sad that I did not accomplish more. "Might have been" is not a useful measurement because it stokes the appetite that the Buddha identified as suffering, which I overcome by giving the world what I do have.

247 ===== 27 Jan 2024
Running water does not stagnate. Resting on one's laurels does. "For hope springs not from what we've done, but from the things we've just begun." -Kent Busse? (Plagiarisma ranks this 100% original. I wrote it in a letter in 1966 thinking I was quoting a sermon I had once heard.)

248 ===== 28 Jan 2024
The Trump cult attracts those who have been conditioned to dogma and brainwashed to believe that all outside sources of information are lies, reason is fake, and together they constitute persecution. That is denial of truth. Therefore, to the victims, the cult is reality.

249 ===== 29 Jan 2024
I do not transition from believer to unbeliever. I readily transition what I believe to higher intellectual ground.

250 ===== 30 Jan 2024
My friends appreciate apparent validation when I share their beliefs. When my beliefs move on, true friends rejoice as I am able to serve them more honestly and love them more genuinely without validating what I no longer believe.

251 ===== 31 Jan 2024
In society, we honor the human values underlying our shared behaviors while tolerating differences in how we express those values. If we are open to our differences, we all learn from them.

252 ===== 1 Feb 2024
In Platonic theory, our questions and our answers exist eternally, independent of time. In practice, "Mind of God" is developed in real time in the form of harmonious discerning by multi-processing Seekers. We are the constituent components of reality, and sameness in all things is not required.

253 ===== 2 Feb 2024
The beauty of a mathematical expression or of the sunset is evidence of intelligence inside me, the beholder. Natural beauty does not prove existence of a big guy in the sky whom I must beg for forgiveness because I am a sinner.

254 ===== 3 Feb 2024
"We love you anyway" is not accepting behavior. It is a demeaning pronouncement of judgment.

255 ===== 4 Feb 2024
If my god is a set of principles and your God is a person, we still belong on the same work crew when helping to clean out a basement. We share food and chores and sing together, even though our deepest philosophical thoughts are expressed in distinctly different languages.

256 ===== 5 Feb 2024
All of my children and I have been educated by prestigious universities thanks to the vision and generosity of those with more income than my family has ever had. I thank the donors with the assurance that educating dedicated, bright, conscientious youth is the best investment you can make toward a happier, better functioning, world.

257 ===== 6 Feb 2024
How can anybody who loves and believes in this country be willing to evade taxation? Do we not trust each other?

258 ===== 7 Feb 2024
I repent of being too critical of rich people. It is all right for you to have all the money in the world so long as you, like a wise parent, help people grow by letting them participate in what you provide for them rather than giving them only what you think they should have. When you give a hospital to a neighborhood, be sure the neighborhood wants it and will contribute to it.

259 ===== 8 Feb 2024
People with above average means do not need further shaming. They need the personal experience of enabling the underprivileged to become productive. The power lies within you...

260 ===== 9 Feb 2024
Rivers can change course by eroding or overrunning their banks. Aside from that, a river never moves, but one never steps into the same river twice. Dualism requires us to consider viewpoint: which entity is moving? Candle gazing as meditation similarly contemplates the dualism that a candle flame is stationary motion.

261 ===== 10 Feb 2024
The search for moral absolutes commonly starts at "thou shalt not kill." It seems universal to oppose murder. Then somebody comes along and institutes capital punishment, trying to break the absolute. That never succeeds.

262 ===== 11 Feb 2024
The search for moral absolutes posits stewardship over our own selves. Then people untrained in medicine try to regulate what you do with your own body. That never succeeds.

263 ===== 12 Feb 2024
We expect people to be expert in what they do (for us ) but do not give them leeway to do it. It does not make sense for this urban dweller to dictate agricultural policy. I grew up "in the country" on a small farm, but I never participated in farming decisions. I have had no specialized training in agriculture. This establishes that I am not qualified to regulate farm policy.

264 ===== 13 Feb 2024
Doing good for an external reward, i.e., obeying a commandment, is not good. The successful state of being that we call "good" is its own internal reward. You don't experience the reward to get a reward. I do the same actions people do to obey commandments, but I do so because of the happiness that I am, not because of the commandments.

265 ===== 14 Feb 2024
I am progressing toward, and will attain, godhood. No being, past, present, or future, depends on me for existence. It follows that my being does not depend for its existence on any other being. This is a fundamental characteristic of my humanism: regardless of physical manifestation, individuals exist eternally.

266 ===== 15 Feb 2024
University model of growth: OF COUSE the professor has greater knowledge and power than I do. That does not establish that the professor created me.

267 ===== 16 Feb 2024
Human individuality is eternal before and after earthly manifestation. Life does not begin in the womb. Abortion disrupts a potential manifestation but it cannot terminate an individual existence.

268 ===== 17 Feb 2024
Evaluation of organized religion: Once you have seen the man behind the curtain, it is hard to go on pretending.

269 ===== 18 Feb 2024
Dumbo the fabled elephant was physically endowed with the ability to fly, but he had been taught that the power lay in a magic feather he carried. When the magic feather blew away suddenly, Dumbo experienced a transformation of courage and took control of the power within him. Do you rely on a God who depreciates you so that you will depend on Him instead of appreciating your own power?

270 ===== 19 Feb 2024
I have internalized a moral standard that requires me to obey speed limits with "exactness and honor" (directly quoting my religious upbringing). Religious values are not limited to the insides of church buildings; being inner-directed applies this mundane principle to everything I do. I am accountable to myself!

271 ===== 20 Feb 2024
It is impossible for me to defend myself from harm-particularly from people of ill will. They will always find ways to overpower me, even if I join with others. Survival on this planet depends on creating relationships that remove the desire of other humans to dominate or kill me. Not appearing as a threat (eliminating weapons) is a beginning, but durable protection comes when I am perceived as a value. Failing that, I will sooner or later be eliminated.

272 ===== 21 Feb 2024
American fiction should by now have established that it is a grave danger to be perceived as the fastest gun in the west. The title makes someone a target to be challenged.

273 ===== 22 Feb 2024
Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life tells us that nobody is poor who has friends. We can turn that around to say that nobody is safe who has no friends.

274 ===== 23 Feb 2024
Jesus grew up on stories of a leader who must give his life to save his followers. He learned how to offend enough people to make that (suicide by cop) happen to him. For the rest of us, radiating friendship keeps us alive and there is no glory in dying over differences.

275 ===== 24 Feb 2024
I carry on in a world that is uncomfortable by my standards, because that world is better off with me present than with me absent. I haven't fled to Canada yet, and maybe Canada also has people who do not welcome this pacifist.

276 ===== 25 Feb 2024
Scripture I have seen is typically written for recalcitrant, backsliding, stubborn, selfish people. That level of thinking has become dangerously toxic to my mental health. Instead, if it keeps me alive, may I simply see myself as a kindly good person and live up to that image?

277 ===== 26 Feb 2024
All of us struggle to see ourselves as kind, good people. Sadly, that is not how we are usually addressed. If we were, that would open the floodgates to human progress.

278 ===== 27 Feb 2024
How many learning opportunities do we miss simply because we decline to ask?

279 ===== 28 Feb 2024
People who like certainty thrive in pinning down what is. They don't do so well imagining what is not (until we create it). Invention is uncertainty, and it has its place.

280 ===== 29 Feb 2024
Are people unsure of each other, or unsure of themselves? We are always studying ourselves. Can we apply the same tolerances to our studies of others?

281 ===== 1 Mar 2024
The more I write, the larger your exposure to a unique world. I might not live long enough to describe all of it, but I hope to leave enough traces so you can go beyond where I am. It becomes more beautiful as you progress.

282 ===== 2 Mar 2024
I am surrounded by people who believe differently from me, but I am not in a toxic environment. Where I live, our bonding is the good deeds that we do together. Will you be happy to join me?

283 ===== 3 Mar 2024
Near Death Experiences and resurrection dreams usually tour the peaceful features and beauties found in a haven of eternal rest. Those details don't interest me. Instead, in or out of a body, I "preview" my postmortal future by requesting to see the library and meet some of the project supervisors. My university model of progress extends endlessly forward; my creative eternal being will never stop learning.

284 ===== 4 Mar 2024
I did not come to this planet to be forgiven for my sins. Cosmology runs deeper than that.

285 ===== 5 Mar 2024
Certainly, I receive gifts from my friends: attention, companionship, occasional trinkets or food, sympathy. However, it does not have to be all one-directional. A friend can be someone TO WHOM I GIVE GIFTS. Giving can be more life-encouraging than receiving. Too much of one side can be unbalancing.

286 ===== 6 Mar 2024
Can you remember giving your mother an unexpected present? Did that make you feel empowered, able to do something creative and voluntary?

287 ===== 7 Mar 2024
It is possible to give someone too much if you are just showing off.

288 ===== 8 Mar 2024
If there is a dance going on and the participants look happy, are you inclined to join in? Would you invite someone to join in with you? Does that apply to performing random acts of kindness, which is a kind of dance we can do together?

289 ===== 9 Mar 2024
Giving an unexpected present gives you joy-maybe. What if the recipient does not shower you with thanks? What if the recipient gives the gift back? (Perhaps that has happened to all of us.) For random acts of kindness, what if the recipient never finds out who gave the gift? Now try to apply these questions to politics while asking yourself whether some people are selfish.

290 ===== 10 Mar 2024
Considering the risks in gift-giving [Gem #289], view yourself as strong enough to give because you want to, not because of rewards you receive in turn. Now suppose you want to do this while holding public office. Will voters sense who you are and support you if you do not brag and tell them how good you are?

291 ===== 11 Mar 2024
Reviewing the past few Gems, are you motivated to do good only because you are good (with no other rewards)?

292 ===== 12 Mar 2024
Can we find and honor the goodness of others if we find none in ourselves? Be generous with yourself first so that you will become generous to (see the good in) others. Yes, love yourself. That spills over onto others.

293 ===== 13 Mar 2024
Being equal does not mean we all sing equally well. It also does not mean we have numerically equal bank accounts. It does mean we all have a safe place to live and enough to eat. We achieve that without causing anyone to be poor.

294 ===== 14 Mar 2024
Greed can result from uncertainty. Being greedy is attempting to be so self-sufficient that no threat can be overwhelming. ("I must assure there is enough for me.") If I am otherwise assured of education, health care, food, and shelter FOR LIFE, does that leave any justification to be greedy? In the better view, the self-preservation motivation to amass wealth disappears because we make all people secure (misfortune-proof). We do that as a mutual care team, not as fast-grabbing individuals. Let this definition of "family" include everyone.

295 ===== 15 Mar 2024
Gem #294 explains why we use the term "church family." Those who are not religious have the same need for a "family" that will see them through everything. Meeting that need is our happy lot when we decide to be a society.

296 ===== 16 Mar 2024
If our government is not a "society" in the sense of Gem #295, we are not governed.

297 ===== 17 Mar 2024
Calling the system of Gem #296 "godless communism" does not alter the fact that it is the fundamental behavior required by Jesus and the other outstanding moral teachers, religious and not. The words "godless" and "communism" are worldly experiments that have nothing to do with the proper description, "love."

298 ===== 18 Mar 2024
A certain guidebook has promoted the slogan "God is love." A secular ethical humanist is also love.

299 ===== 19 Mar 2024
My parents taught me that the first person to raise zir voice loses the argument. Politicians are currently demonstrating that volume is a bad substitute for reason. We also observe that preachers who yell are only trying to convince themselves.

300 ===== 20 Mar 2024
Clinging to a demagogue is wishful thinking. Followers worship the soothsaying language although it is far from the historical achievements of the cult.

301 ===== 21 Mar 2024
Do you know any organization that teaches you will be blessed for obeying the leaders even when they are wrong? Modern logic embraces the Nuremberg Principles under which individuals (think "we") bear responsibility for individual actions. Cults undermine this truth to subjugate followers.

302 ===== 22 Mar 2024
Abdicating personal responsibility stunts personal growth. A "spineless creature" does not stand tall.

303 ===== 23 Mar 2024
A human pyramid illustrates that each layer of additional participants is supported by an earlier layer. With human bodies, the structure is certainly limited. In contrast, society is an unlimited structure when each generation preserves the strength of its foundation and adds a layer to that. Let us hope that the homo sapiens foundation is strengthened at each layer so that the top will not be a narrow point.

304 ===== 24 Mar 2024
Is happiness a state that is different from some other state? Do we have to know the other state to appreciate the state of happiness? Is a homeless person who has never seen somebody housed neither happy nor unhappy?

305 ===== 25 Mar 2024
Seeing someone who is better off than I can have three results: (a) denial, (b) jealousy, or (c) emulation. If I am at the top of what I can conceive, do I invoke imagination to create an even higher level to emulate (pursue)? Invention is a positive result of this discontent.

306 ===== 26 Mar 2024
Consider gems #304 and #305. If every person is occupying a cave, does that end invention because nobody can imagine better?

307 ===== 27 Mar 2024
As we seek "truth," we tend to become stuck in it as if it were a place rather than a developing organism.

308 ===== 28 Mar 2024
Today is a life pivot. Starting at this turning point, I pave the way to my goal with the remains of the lesser goals I am discarding. I am focusing.

309 ===== 29 Mar 2024
Why do people vote for unpleasant people? My candidate is the pleasant one, naturally. That makes me equivalent to every other voter, but there is still disagreement. Apparently, beauty lies in the beholder. We would accomplish more if I paid better attention to the pleasantness in you.

310 ===== 30 Mar 2024
States gravely embarrass themselves by electing emotionally deranged legislators who act out their insecurities instead of engaging in political discourse.

311 ===== 31 Mar 2024
We need not complain. Our intelligence is stronger than the obstacles we face. "We do not need to speculate on the purpose of the creation in which we find ourselves. We give it purpose by what we do with it."

312 ===== 1 Apr 2024
We must study our problems carefully to solve them effectively. However, it is even more important that we study ourselves.

313 ===== 2 Apr 2024
Gases expand to fill the space available. We zoom in on pictures to give certain details the total screen. Using a restaurant menu involves narrowing down to specific items. Whatever our current capacity, we leave out what does not fit in. The alternative to selecting is remaining altogether empty (selecting nothing) because we cannot contain everything.

314 ===== 3 Apr 2024
After making your selection, are you ever concerned about the road not taken? Do you strain to know every road, to test every alternative? That is not an option for finite beings. [92] Do not dabble your way through infinity. We are always choosing. People who do not specialize lack definition.

315 ===== 4 Apr 2024
Insight into the vastness of the universe may represent a personal epiphany, but it is not a treatise to exhaust in a one-hour philosophy exam. Let us respect the totality of existence while we progressively accumulate and process consecutive experiences.

316 ===== 5 Apr 2024
My high school civics class attempted to require me to say that the first function of government is defense. The word implies "against." How negative! In Positive Mental Attitude the kernel of government is not "restrain," but rather "enable."

317 ===== 6 Apr 2024
A passive state of rest commonly called heaven that rewards people for denigrating and setting themselves aside, to be directed exclusively by some external being's will, is fortunately only an imaginary nightmare. Godhood has its origin in creative power, manifested by fulfillment of internal individual potential, that is presently beneficial to mankind. It is realization of meaning, not reward.

318 ===== 7 Apr 2024
In recent weeks my stress level has come down dramatically. This week I realized how everybody with whom I do business has become so much nicer to get along with. Scheduling, purchasing, working together is now dramatically easier. Guess who has changed!

319 ===== 8 Apr 2024
To gain power over the human mind, organized religion brainwashes people into believing that their eternal progress depends on somebody else. To clinch that control, it then establishes itself as the exclusive conduit to that higher power. Both premises fail, as explained in Gems 195 and 266]. As you utilize educational input from others, growing up is what you do.

320 ===== 9 Apr 2024
An all-powerful God, by destroying His children who disagree with him, sets a pattern for human autocrats. A public conditioned to believe authority readily elects a dictator who falsely promises certainty. In contrast, democracy places responsibility, along with opportunity, on individuals. Humans grow when they exercise freedom in their life choices.

321 ===== 10 Apr 2024
"Thy will be done," a form of fatalism, is an opiate that deflects responsibility for uncertain outcomes. We more actively influence the future by engaging (applying) scientific investigation of our circumstances and abilities, as we do in sound medical practice, for example.

322 ===== 11 Apr 2024
Stop telling people they are bad! Sales training teaches us to give people discomforts that motivate them to pay for remedies. That is deliberately creating discontent. Imagining something better drives invention, but an uninterrupted diet of dissatisfaction is deadly! Along with taking time to smell the roses, we must spread the contentment that the roses give us. Being thankful might not sell more product, but it sustains life.

323 ===== 12 Apr 2024
Stop telling people they are bad! We tend to do as well as we think we are doing. If I think I can ride a bicycle, I'm on my way to doing it. Let's not praise each other for silly behavior, but let's work at finding the good in others and reinforcing that. We live up to positive expectations.

324 ===== 13 Apr 2024
Stop telling people they are bad! If the preacher tells me I am inherently sinful, I leave and go where I hear the truth instead. Life actualizes the inherent creativity in me. Mentors who recognize and encourage that goodness find in me an eager student and supportive admirer.

325 ===== 14 Apr 2024
One way to influence outcomes is to grab the flag and run with it. If I am zealous in supporting the social welfare (if I share with others), I am showing candidates what outcomes I will support in elections. (Thinking only of the size of my paycheck is sending a very bad message.) A candidate without a generous spirit is not on my wavelength.

326 ===== 15 Apr 2024
Tax day is an opportunity to celebrate public service. Think where I would be if I needed individually to buy every service that I now receive by having a government. I'm so glad somebody else places the orders and pays the bills, and I highly admire the dedicated, praiseworthy servants who do that for me. Do you see the thorn or the rose?

327 ===== 16 Apr 2024
Thesis: All humans have a unifying core of goodness that they will recognize in each other. Figuratively, there is no bad dog; some dogs are corrupted from outside by mean people. Antithesis: Meanwhile, the big fish eats the little fish. If there is an underpopulated biological niche, some organism occupies it. Synthesis: Is it possible that these premises are unnecessary, and the natural spectrum of behaviors happens without being caused?

328 ===== 17 Apr 2024
Continuing yesterday's question, is it possible that people do not have a common uniting goodness? Are they inherently different from each other in ways that will never mesh? Perhaps I must survive least damagingly and let the condition of others go unredeemed? If I try to merge or unite the entire human family, am I attempting anything more than imposing my fantasy on it?

329 ===== 18 Apr 2024
One doctrine says that we are not free until everybody is free. At any point in time, it seems human beings somewhere are suffering cruelty. Does our empathy (survivor's guilt) prevent appreciation of the liberty we have?

330 ===== 19 Apr 2024
Humans are greedy because they are in a fallen state. Does that mean they once were not? Let's put the question differently: can education bring humans to an enlightened condition that empowers them to cooperate at all times? In other words, did the species become bad, or is the species evolving to a state more conducive to peaceful survival?

331 ===== 20 Apr 2024
The law speaks of moral culpability. It can be the difference between ignorant misadventure and conscious intentional destruction. I decline to be humanity's defense attorney and prefer to devote my effort to inviting appealing behavior without condemning the past. Rather than undoing, let us learn by experience and evaluation-that is, let us choose what we become.

332 ===== 21 Apr 2024
Honor our heroic FIRST first defenders: our MOTHERS.

333 ===== 22 Apr 2024
Electrons exhibit wave properties. That does not prevent discussion of electrons as particles. Making liberal use of theological phrases does not spoil an atheist argument. Theologians and atheists must understand how both languages use terms of faith and skepticism. As it is with properties of electrons, fundamental truth is not required to be expressed in one mode to the exclusion of the other.

334 ===== 23 Apr 2024
After listening to a philosopher's TED talk, I am impressed that this field of learning is still growing. I had thought each of us fashions a philosophy of life and uses that to carry out invention on the things we do. Today I appreciate new developments in the field. We are not learning a completed system that is the work product of prior generations. We are indeed creating new areas of knowledge and reason that go beyond historical appreciation of this important field of study.

335 ===== 24 Apr 2024
So what do I study in philosophy? Awareness of any intelligence begins in me. Therefore, I study myself first and expand outward to the whole interconnected web of all creation. Then necessarily I create even beyond that.

336 ===== 25 Apr 2024
Do you affect the world? That question does not ask about taking the world out of poverty or taking poverty out of the world. Let's focus closer to home than that. Would you call it improving the world if you help ME? Take that as a generic question: Did you help ANYONE today? That is the most intimate way to make a change in the world.

337 ===== 26 Apr 2024
Let us assume that somebody helped you today. Are you aware of that? If you look, you become aware of an unlimited list of your benefits that result from somebody else's actions. Creatures exist in a social order to the extent that they contribute to the well-being of others.

338 ===== 27 Apr 2024
If I am of benefit only to myself, the world will quickly learn to live without me. That does not work in the other direction: I cannot live without other people. Nobody is an island.

339 ===== 28 Apr 2024
Planning includes cost-benefit analysis. We maximize the good that comes from any use we make of resources. Is there any benefit for which there is no cost? No matter how small the benefit, that would be an infinite benefit to cost ratio. Does it cost anything to give somebody encouragement?

340 ===== 29 Apr 2024
It is simple arithmetic that you cannot increase the food per person by increasing the number of people.

341 ===== 30 Apr 2024
Would you kill (a human) to save another person? This does not seem to be a question of saving lives. It merely asks who the survivor will be. It bothers me to think that I exist because a certain set of people were killed to make the world safe for me. The world is overcrowded, but making room for me should not require killing someone else, and making room for you should not require killing me.

342 ===== 1 May 2024
In a windmill (wind turbine), rushing air moves a blade. In aircraft use, a blade propels air. These parts represent my world and me. Neither is ever static or independent of the other. Which is moving which?

343 ===== 2 May 2024
Does the process of changing the world change you? Is that betterment of both parties?

344 ===== 3 May 2024
Motivation: Is the desired outcome of work that you have improved the world, or that work has improved you?

345 ===== 4 May 2024
If millions of people read my writings, will I be a different person because of their reading? If nobody ever reads my book, will it still be a success because writing it changed me?

346 ===== 5 May 2024
During my grade school years, I solemnly declared that there is not enough wealth in the whole world to entice me back to an earlier time in my life. The more I learn, the more intense this declaration becomes. I expect it to grow until and through my very last breath.

347 ===== 6 May 2024
Gem #346 expresses happiness because human intelligence, like matter and energy, cannot be created or destroyed, but only changed from one form to another. I will not go backward in time; the benefits of my experience cannot be taken away from me. My complete identity includes my future self beyond mortality. Gems 18, 241, 242, Article 88.

348 ===== 7 May 2024
Gem #347 makes a huge intellectual leap by citing physics principles as types for sentient life. The metaphor is not proof of anything, but it expresses my eagerness as I move forward in time. I am committing to an indestructible life (sentient existence) forever.

349 ===== 8 May 2024
Do the elementary particles in physics (quarks, leptons, bosons) have personality or personhood? Why should we associate personhood ("God") with the principles governing how they work? Laws of physics or any other field of research do not have personality. Calling cosmic reality "God" does not simplify it.

350 ===== 9 May 2024
Contemplating a non-finite state which we might call godhood can be done by realizing we are all developing in that direction. Existence has non-finite duration, giving us time to practice.

351 ===== 10 May 2024
I never knowingly drive faster than the speed limit. Do other drivers consider me a conscientious, responsible, law-abiding fellow citizen or an obstacle to be overcome? This question applies to many areas of my life.

352 ===== 11 May 2024
Fish are said not to be aware of the water. We swim every day in an ocean of good deeds. Are we sufficiently aware of it to keep it unpolluted?

353 ===== 12 May 2024
Some inhabitants of this world are not aware of the heaven in which we now dwell. They fear spending a next life separated from loved ones who do not share their deepest beliefs, not realizing that in any future state of existence we will again share our environment and not our innermost presence. Heaven and hell, then as now, will be separated only by our perceptions of where we are.

354 ===== 13 May 2024
Some religious tradition represents the hereafter as three kingdoms called degrees of glory. Present mankind, while occupying a common space, is already thus divided: (1) those who make things happen; (2) those who watch things happen; (3) those who wonder what happened. Review Gem #353.

355 ===== 14 May 2024
All of us want most to be ourselves although we have unsophisticated understanding of the parts: "to be" and "self." Ernstraud Philosophy begins the study of ontology (being) with "self" and very quickly incorporates the related concepts of "other" and "society." Without deep comprehension of those elements, we remain trapped at underdeveloped self.

356 ===== 15 May 2024
Consciously or not, you are spending today perceiving. If you perceive beauty, is that because there is an abundant supply of what you love, or is that because you are selecting what to perceive?

357 ===== 16 May 2024
Exercise is self-care. It is also the most caring thing I do for others because it maintains my ability to help them. The fountain cannot quench the thirst of visitors if it cannot replenish itself.

358 ===== 17 May 2024
I make a big deal of thanking clerks, tellers, bus drivers, servers, receptionists, nurses-all those who provide me benefits. I feel important when I make their day. Increasing their happiness and confidence certainly makes the world better.

359 ===== 18 May 2024
Becoming self-aware is a major blessing of being human. As a child I stopped thanking my shoes at the end of the day when I figured that they were not self-aware and could not respond to my appreciation. Over time I figured out that people are self-aware. That prompted the practice of Gem #358 (thanking people).

360 ===== 19 May 2024
Some indigenous communities harmoniously occupy land in common with no concept of private ownership. No one individual makes land use decisions. As an example, community conscience forbids that one person (company) should ever have power (exploitation for profit) to destroy the last remaining grove of giant sequoias or mahogany!

361 ===== 20 May 2024
My adequate use of resources does not depend on ownership of those resources. If I have safe, reliable access to my computer functions, I do not need to own the computer. Indeed, most of my professional functioning relies on the internet which I do not own. The principle can be applied to my other needs such as housing, transportation, and food production.

362 ===== 21 May 2024
An argument for private ownership is that people take better care of their own property than of community property. I have always been taught social conscience, which is the opposite: neglecting property upkeep is a more serious violation when others depend on that property. Common ownership increases my duty of care and sense of responsibility.

363 ===== 22 May 2024
Of course I enjoy thanks when I do something generous. However, if you make too big a deal of it, I begin to worry that you would not do the same for me. It is better to be simply appreciated for doing what any thoughtful person would do.

364 ===== 23 May 2024
Faced with a teenager who wanted to eat only chicken nuggets and nothing else, a judge severely reprimanded the parents for failure to teach a basic survival skill. Governments that merely distribute money to incapable self-managers commit the same error as parents who say, "go buy yourself something you want to eat." They enable people to continue their self-destructive suicide by ignorance.

365 ===== 24 May 2024
My parents devoted less attention to my individual infractions than to my understanding of why I should obey. Empowering needy people involves this step: education and counseling are fundamental elements of enabling successful management of material assistance.

366 ===== 25 May 2024
While other cities have been offering "a hand up instead of a handout" standalone projects, Helsinki, Finland has undertaken a broad combination of programs that make its housing first model a world leader in reducing homelessness.

367 ===== 26 May 2024
According to the Bible, there was once an oppressed underclass on behalf of which God told Pharaoh, "Let my people go!" Today, God tells the plutocrats, "Let my people IN."

368 ===== 27 May 2024
I have no interest in waiting for heaven to happen to me. (It won't.) To learn to create worlds, I'm perfectly happy creating this one where I am now--and I'm getting better at it.

369 ===== 28 May 2024
I do not benefit myself or anyone else by being all wrapped up in myself. Purpose lies in learning from, and interacting positively with, my environment which includes you. If that benefits you, my life is being well spent.

370 ===== 29 May 2024
People are taught that God is all powerful. They pray to God to make things work out. When things don't work out, the people say, "It can't be done." If we are to change our results, that is the thinking we need to change. Those things will work out which we work out. The details cannot be left to God.

371 ===== 30 May 2024
Preachers sometimes dismiss difficult concerns as "not meant for humans to know." That is systematic failure! We owe our progress to the scientists who refused to follow that model. Above all, we must not limit ourselves to the questions that have already been asked, or to those for which a resolution can be articulated.

372 ===== 31 May 2024
We depend on natural biology to function so that food grows. Once that is established, feeding the human population must be done by humans. No intervention is going to do it for us. Moreover, we do not want to abdicate our responsibility; we hunger to succeed.

Gems above here appear in Ernstraud Trilogy. Current material appears at no charge on for easy discussion (click on the banner).
In other words, extends the content beyond the published book, and enables our conversation.

373 ===== 1 Jun 2024
At age 81 I realize I am not the property of my parents. I do still benefit from their wisdom, but I belong to myself, where I am accountable. There is a comparable realization in theology. Some people believe that we exist in the mind of God, the locus of reality. Instead, the concept God resides within us. We are accountable within.

374 ===== 2 Jun 2024
Purpose in life is not forced or bestowed upon us. We develop it over time as we learn to evaluate our own powers.

375 ===== 3 Jun 2024
Following the example of the cult leader requires chanting "lock him up" in the halls of debate. Out of respect for civil discourse and good judgment, the rest of us do not stoop to that level of behavior.

376 ===== 4 Jun 2024
God language (all names assigned to all deities) realistically refers to an internal monitoring function of the human psyche. It is not given to humans to impose this function on fellow humans. I cannot live by your values.

377 ===== 5 Jun 2024
We exist in a well-ordered reality. Fundamental principles of philosophy and science are not the playthings of a personal being.

378 ===== 6 Jun 2024
There was a TV movie long ago in which a crew was constructing the future one minute at a time, like the assembling of a series of stage sets. At the beginning of one minute, each object had to be at the position it occupied at the end of the previous minute. That plot line was a contemplation of continuity. No matter how much we embrace change, we must get there from where we are now. Continuity is required.

379 ===== 7 Jun 2024
Was the previous Gem about continuity of time clear and persuasive? There is an online discussion at Quora asking whether at some quantum level space and time are granular. Decades ago, physics instruction asked the question whether at that level particles or energy can jump from one state to another with no passage of time. On the other hand, in strict stasis (everything is stationary) the passage of time would be undefined. Our observation of time is dependent on relative motion, meaning fast-moving observers count the passage of time differently from each other. The thirst for continuity must not overwhelm our flexibility to deal with uncertainty-either in physics or in human psychology.

380 ===== 8Jun 2024
The previous two gems raise up a straw man and knock it down. Instead of retreating into hopelessness, physicists and philosophers steadily search for underlying principles. The manifestations look confusing, but perhaps fundamental reality is stable after all. We do expect our existence to continue.

381 ===== 9 Jun 2024
"Expect existence to continue" may even be the physicist's definition of god.

382 ===== 10 Jun 2024
The steady chorus performed by cicadas contains a low-pitched ground bass that sounds distant and almost invariant. Above that there are two or more higher pitched regularly pulsating lines. I cannot discern whether they are both localized and directional. That impression might be a change over time happening relative to my movement. This analysis comes from a would-have-been musician. An entomologist could articulate more detail. I contemplate two questions: (1) Is there more going on than perpetuation of the species? Is there a philosophical depth to the communications? (2) I am 81 now. Will I be here the next time the concert is performed?

383 ===== 11 Jun 2024
If I were to believe in the depravity of man, I would amount to very little [324] indeed. A dignified and respectful self-appreciation gives me the confidence to contribute [245] significantly to mankind. Expectation advantage (whether the world is expecting good things from me) begins inside me [323] and necessarily bears fruit.

384 ===== 12 Jun 2024
When a company support advisor says "be assured that I will absolutely fix your problem today," profound panic sets in on my end. The corporation instructs its support team to say that just as churches instruct missionaries to gain a testimony by telling people the church is true. The pretended confidence does not improve the reliability of the statements made.

385 ===== 13 Jun 2024
On a technical support call, the technician and I get so much more done by reinforcing each other. My praise makes the person glad to have come to work today.

386 ===== 14 Jun 2024
We do not study philosophy to strengthen the cage that holds us in. We study philosophy to question the cage in the process of outgrowing it. The key is to be led by imagination.

387 ===== 15 Jun 2024
Existence of god does not follow from something Plato wrote. The function of the philosopher is not answers, it is questions. The philosopher's discussion helps us to understand the question. From that, we develop our own answers.

388 ===== 16 Jun 2024
I like a person to be grateful for a favor I do, but I prefer that the person not consider my action extraordinary. I feel more comfortable when the recipient of the good deed considers it normal behavior and thinks "I would do the same thing." Otherwise, I fear that the other person might not be generous.

389 ===== 17 Jun 2024
I am so thankful for my parents who lived their lives in a generous way. They did not by any means take the generosity of others for granted, but they did pass on to me the idea that generosity is the natural way people are. It's easy for me to fit into that picture of reality.

390 ===== 18 Jun 2024
In the Socratic dialogues, the interlocutors occasionally move the conversation forward by saying "yes, there is no other way. " A better translation might be, "You may pursue that thread, after which I will evaluate how much it adds to my thinking." That is the openness with which Ernstraudian philosophy is to be read.

391 ===== 19 Jun 2024
Do God's children subdue the earth or nurture it? Is there a difference? Intentional positive lifestyle is to pursue a deliberate program of leaving the environment healthier than it was when we came into it.

392 ===== 20 Jun 2024
Gem #90 quotes the adage "if you did not change behavior, you did not teach" - suggesting instead that a good example lets viewers choose to follow. However, there are behaviors that urgently need changing! How forceful should teaching be? If we achieve change by force, can that still be considered teaching? Can the result be an improvement? [1/5]

393 ===== 21 Jun 2024
Illnesses such as obesity brought on by bad eating habits reveal a teaching failure because bad behavior has not been changed. Families and schools did not teach nutrition in a way that effected acceptable behavior. Does Gem #392 require effective teaching to be more forceful in changing behavior? [2/5]

394 ===== 22 Jun 2024
I consider it a monumental success that the United States has been much more effective than Europe in curbing smoking. The previous two Gems have framed the question whether Americans are therefore better educated. [3/5]

395 ===== 23 Jun 2024
Public health minded people, including me, answer Gem #394 positively: the healthier population is better educated. A good result follows a good method, right? Next, consider authoritarian states that confine dissidents to "re-education camps" in light of the dictionary maxim "criminals are to be re-educated." [4/5]

396 ===== 24 Jun 2024
Gem #395 sets a language trap around the words "good result" and "better educated." This is not resolved by using a dictionary to parse those exact words. The tension is in the terms "health," "crime," and "dissent." The conundrum asks us to be sensitive to the values we bring to the words we use. [5/5]

397 ===== 25 Jun 2024
The joy I experienced by online sharing in Annual Sessions (a Quaker gathering in the location that is my physical picture of "heaven") is an intense pain, namely, not being there in body for the full experience of serving and being fellowshipped by my fellow seekers. If I have self-awareness after death of my physical body, that could intensify the pain as I lose two-way participation with these Friends. [Compare the graveyard scene in "Our Town."]

398 ===== 26 Jun 2024
Today I awake as the humanist teacher opening new insight for my students. Yesterday I was the stalwart pillar of a local church. Before that, I was the dedicated father serving the welfare of my family over all else. Tomorrow I will be the poet inspiring my public. Indeed, these characteristics are always and without conflict my identity. We underestimate our own responsibilities if we perceive ourselves as simplistic monofunctional role-players.

399 ===== 27 Jun 2024
When a new leader, such as a pastor, begins to serve an organization, it is often hoped that the former leader will move out of that organization as part of letting go, turning over the responsibilities, and giving the new person an unfettered fresh start. What does it mean when a church advises me to "turn it over to God?" Am I to let go of, or stop working on, my issue-to vacate, or step out of, the picture? What does that improve in me? [Gem #195; #370]

400 ===== 28 Jun 2024
Don't let your standing in the church (your rank as "believer") depend on how many improbable claims you believe. (By the way, participatory religion is not about believing; it is about doing.)
Ernstraud Philosophy is never to be "believed." It is rather the process of evaluating propositions for possible expansion of your field of comprehension.

401 ===== 29 Jun 2024
The function that people commonly call God is a set of metaphysical principles to which the multiverse or cosmos adheres. This entity or capacity is intuitively sensed; it does not impose itself on humans. Mind of God, as explained elsewhere, is not a static ordering or pre-existing conclusion; rather, it develops dynamically (in real time) from the multi-processing carried out by human minds cooperatively applying fundamental principles to current practical or philosophical questions.
[I apologize for becoming technical. Sometimes I must stop glossing over details and relieve tension by attempting a more accurate comprehensive statement.]

402 ===== 30 Jun 2024
My church upbringing concentrated on cultivating personal worthiness which would qualify me for eternal rewards. I directed all my attention to myself. In my maturity, I participate with Quakers who care deeply about others, seen individually and as a society. Our guiding principle is not working by ourselves for ourselves. Instead, we pursue unselfish motivation and steadfast action toward the common good. That encompasses being aware of, sensitive to, and engaged with, our fellow occupants of the planet.

Free online discussion links begin here.
Please join the community with comments.

403 ===== 1 Jul 2024 Monday
Opposite views, still neighbors - mutual respect and cooperation

Any proposition might be appreciated from more than one viewpoint.
A) The sun god drives his fiery chariot across the sky every day because of his love for his children.
B) Humans find themselves (evolved) dependent on a solar system in which the energy radiated by the central body is beneficial to their existence and activity.
Conscience permits me to identify with one viewpoint in preference to the other.
Basic humanity requires me to respect fellow humans who identify with the other perspective.
Ernstraudian practice is to harvest our crops cooperatively.

×         Ø

404 ===== 2 Jul 2024 Tuesday
Enforce conformity?

Teenage years are the time to develop independent identity, blossom as an individual, and offer society something new and unique. During that time, subjects suffer crushing expectations to conform, to fit in, to be like everyone else. Being different is self-definition; being the same feels like self-preservation. The resulting balancing act lasts a lifetime, hopefully becoming manageable with practice. It is not only the stuff of human development, but also the very essence of society.

Countless adults who are afraid to stand out resort to compelling others to be just like themselves. Intolerance is a response to the fear of being different. Those who can't relate attempt to regulate--specifically, to regulate others. On the positive side, the genius, survival, and blessing of America is pluralism.

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405 ===== 3 Jul 2024 Wednesday
Freedom OF     &    Freedom FROM are inseparable

The term religion has become a catch-all word to describe tales and taboos that have no basis in logic. Describing society, freedom of religion must indicate freedom from religion. To satisfy logic of inclusion, the class must include a null entry or the empty set. Therein lies the American ideal of freedom. [#38; #162]

This comports with the teaching that some other concepts (omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence) are words without corresponding references in reality; they describe an empty set.

×         Ø

406 ===== 4 Jul 2024 Thursday
From every perspective

The Ernstraudian ideal is to comprehend every issue from every perspective. Perhaps that is another meaning of godhood, a journey rather than a state of arrival.

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407 ===== 5 Jul 2024 Friday
Beyond Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) search engines explore more information sources than I can possibly access effectively. They go broad, but not deep. For example, I asked a question and received a multipart answer, including a suggested follow-up prompt. I used that prompt, and part of the answer directly contradicted the answer to my original question. I receive thanks daily from AI for identifying its errors. AI goes broad, but human intelligence goes DEEP. Let's accept responsibility for applying that intelligence!

This principle applies to political cults. They find one anecdotal evidence and spew it out as established fact, statistical analysis be damned. Intelligence (acceptable journalism) requires us to go more deeply than that. Thinking includes the statistics, and more care leads to better results.

×         Ø

408 ===== 6 Jul 2024 Saturday
Creation is originality

When someone tells you "I never heard of that before," does that weaken or strengthen your confidence? For this writer and speaker, it is the highest compliment I can receive. If somebody else has already shared an idea, then why should I write it? Those who practice originality are regularly called the creator community.

It is not expected that people will necessarily agree with something they hear for the first time. They might recognize my statement as a solution to their concerns, but it is equally likely that they will be uncomfortable with new material. Just ask Socrates, Galileo, Darwin, and the countless others whose groundbreaking work was originally rejected.

Sometimes a teacher must go beyond what was requested. Progress requires adding to that which is already known. Society needs creators.

×         Ø

409 ===== 7 Jul 2024 Sunday
How to improve the world-ask someone to join you!

Whoever you are, regardless of how creative, you need companions (not subjects) to improve the world. How is this togetherness achieved? While loving parents are the foundation of functional society, each nuclear family remains a silo. What puts the silos together into a functional electorate?

Governance skills are developed in schools. During formative years, children learn behaviors and outcomes. By achieving results together, they gain the tools that grow a productive social order. The intended outcome is not selfish enrichment. Instead, it is a better world for the whole population.

×         Ø

410 ===== 8 Jul 2024 Monday
Schools -- are they useful?

Libraries including the internet are excellent learning tools. The role of schools in education is the interactions among active participants. The primary function of a school is socializing students from being competitors to being collaborators in the common good.

×         Ø

411 ===== 9 Jul 2024 Tuesday
Do you deliver happiness in your business?

A young energetic mother can happily wear herself out providing a memorable birthday party for her child. Is she motivated only by her own happiness? Of course not. She is more intent on her anticipation of the child's happiness. Her primary focus is the benefit to an external person whom she loves.

Do you love your customers? Are they your primary focus? Remember, you cannot hide or fake your answers here. Customers have a way of knowing.

×         Ø

412 ===== 10 Jul 2024 Wednesday
How to be highest value to your customers

As a customer, I want to be the primary focus of my vendors, as suggested in Gem #411. That reassurance is far more important than low price.

One way or another, we are all in sales, selling something that we provide in the marketplace. Vendors, take heed to give customers genuine love.

×         Ø

413 ===== 11 Jul 2024 Thursday
Most persuasive sales tool? Be genuine!

The ideal of a perfect market requires perfect information. Everything is known and objective selection can proceed based on rational choice. The operating principle is not clever sales gimmicks, but rather straightforward honesty. Effort is spent on accurate communication, not advertising. Buyers don't have to be persuaded to maximize their benefits.

After 52 years of close relations with piano tuning clients, I use Gems #411 and #412 to identify the most important truth I must communicate: that I love my customers. (Yes, I did select them as much as they selected me.)

×         Ø

414 ===== 12 Jul 2024 Friday
Discontent is productive - but only so far

I grew up seeing ads for "milk from contented cows." It was a catchy way for the dairy to sound progressively humane, and it resonated with viewers because humans seek to be contented.

Seeking to be contented is an active state. Being contented is not. If you are completely contented, what will you invent next? Nothing; you will cash out.

However, if you invariably fall short of satisfaction after all your seeking, frustration sours the goal. To escape mental overload, you must be flexible and let go of the unproductive discontent as you shift to a more satisfying goal.

×         Ø

415 ===== 13 Jul 2024 Saturday
Reflecting on reflection

The light you give out reflects back to you. If you live and work surrounded by cranky people, what is the probability that you are the cranky person? Do you have a hint how you can change them?

×         Ø

416 ===== 14 Jul 2024 Sunday
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417 ===== 15 Jul 2024 Monday
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418 ===== 16 Jul 2024 Tuesday
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419 ===== 17 Jul 2024 Wednesday
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420 ===== 18 Jul 2024 Thursday
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421 ===== 19 Jul 2024 Friday
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422 ===== 20 Jul 2024 Saturday
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copyright © 2024 Kent Busse
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