Monday, December 21, 2009

Redefined focus

(Focus on what's best in life and blur the bad. Efficiency in life will never occur unless you focus on the right aspects of it and understand what to leave behind.)

A few new redefined focuses I've thought about that i had to share:

  • 1) Money does not equal wealth, and neither equal happiness.

  • 2) Being Busy isn't the same as being productive.

  • 3) The timing is never right for the most important things in your life. Doing things eventually or soon never happens unless you plan it.

  • 4) Being bold and doing radical changes to your life, for the sake of happiness and not at the expense of others, is probably the best thing anyone can do. These changes, as a point of necessity before you choose them, must make you happier regardless of the consequences.

  • 5) Be different but not ignorant. Walking on your hands is not the same as deciding to walk faster or slower, one is different one is ignorant and inefficient .

  • 6) Do it now. What is it? Whatever you want done. Dream it, Plan It, Do it.

  • 7) Perspective is what focuses life, like a camera lens. Remember the grave when you feel materialistic, remember others success when you feel proud, and remember the billions of others who have less than you when you feel greedy.

  • 8) Execution is everything. An idea changes shape as it's executed. The best final results come from the best execution, not the best ideas. I can have the greatest business idea for a store ever but if I don't execute it right and I go bankrupt, it's not the Ideas fault, but how I ran my business.
  • 9) Be thankful for your blessings because, truthfully, everyone is blessed. If you're religious like me you give your thanks for these many blessings to God who has been nothing but generous with us. Besides blessing us with our 5 senses, all our limbs, the ability to stay healthy, our family, our friends, protecting our honor by hiding our secrets, and spreading our success without us lifting a finger; God constantly forgives us for our lack of notice of His blessings and our many slip ups that are the result of our ignorance or irrationality.


Final Thoughts

My new focuses, My new outlooks, My new schedule. Take what you can philosophically of the above and contemplate, contemplate, contemplate.

Every nugget of knowledge has wisdom. There is no way I, or any other author, can extract all the wisdom stored in our data(nuggets of knowledge/observations).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Superficial is Easy

It's been a while but seriously this had to come out. Literally I couldn't sleep until I got this off my chest.

This isn't just ordinary run of the mill frustration you see on Philosophy by a Phoenix, this is disillusionment. This is loss of hope. This is full on disbelief.


I see it, What more do I need?

The superficial is SOOOOOOOOO easy to spot. The hair, the eyes, the face, the skin, it's all right there in front of you. But we stay on it. We obsess. We stare. We disregard the rest.

It's pathetic, shallow, and it's corrupting America.
It's infuriating.

Are we nothing but our shells? Can a person not live like their shell dictates they should?


Philosophy and why this matters

Philosophy, as Plato described it, was the inner workings of everyday ideas and thought. What philosophers were SUPPOSED to do was to LEAVE the cave of the everyday, transcend regular thought in a sense, and EXPLORE the outside.

With new ideas, points of view, and insight they came back into the cave to share with the world their epiphanies.

I'M IN A WORLD WHERE THAT ISN'T HAPPENING ANYMORE. How can I continue to live in a world where the topic of the day is someone's shell? A person's worth is simply their shell.


This isn't just looks

If all you've read into this so far is beauty, you're not reading far enough. This isn't just about beauty, this has to do with the masks we where. There are so many people who are so good at wearing masks that other people buy their stories and ACCEPT their SHELLS.

Their persona, their facade, their alter ego is what society perceives them to be. No one drives deeper, no one questions these presuppositions, and no one works to be critical anymore.


Why it's so personal

Sincerity is easier to spot for some than others. When some people see insincerity, the mask being put on, and a fake alter ego taking over, it's like watching someone sip poison.

Then it's like watching your friends sip poison as they buy that persons story.
The superficial is easy to accept but it's hard to be critical of, in this day and age.

The seemingly nice guy, is the prideful, always manipulating, selfish person who lies underneath his exterior mask.


Light shining from the distance

The only thing keeping me from loosing all hope together is a friend who is the exact opposite of their shell. In nearly every way I've poked and prodded they've chosen the higher path.
Most people don't see the value in such a person and they may be glanced off by you because you didn't prod deeply.

You might think they're just an ordinary preppy or valley girl, and would label them as such.
Most DO this. Most have written this person off. Most do not understand this person's value.

I live in a world where to be sincere, to sacrifice your superficial life, and to transcend out of our normal caves is the work of Mad men.

And ALL I mean by leaving the cave, is leaving the norm. Asking tough questions. Trying to examine people based on their TRUE feelings and ideas, not what they portray.

Testing what they portray.
Being Critical of what they portray.

Leaving the cave, hundreds of years ago, required much more work than that and required justifying your positions but philosophers nowadays don't even need that to be considered out of the cave.

Now just testing the waters, making sure someone is who they say they are, is extreme.

The superficial is easy, it's boring, it's a mask. Prod deeper into who someone is.
Don't be that stereotypical pig of a guy or that woman who needs the John Wayne cowboy.

LOOK BEHIND the superficial. You might actually find a person lying behind the veil.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Universe and God

(A nebula that serves as a cradle for the creation of stars. This particular one is called the Eagle nebula for it's shape. In essense this is a picture back in time as we can only see the light that took thousands of years to get here.)

Philosophy has danced around one particular subject more than anything else. I touched upon it in my last post but I’d like to touch on another aspect of it and create a type of series.

The topic as you might have guessed is God and how philosophy deals with the question of His existence. It would be impossible to call this a blog on philosophy if we don’t deal with the most important philosophical question of all.

There are other mini topics though that directly leads to our main one. These topics have at one time or another crossed everyone’s mind but now I’d like to periodically answer them all as I deem correctly. Today’s topic will deal with the universe and how a philosopher looks at it when dealing with the question of God’s existence.

The previous post mentioned how evil is allowed to coexist while God’s mercy is also manifest.

This post will speak on the universe and how its footprint helps answer the question of God’s existence.

Future posts will touch on morality and where to get it’s construct (The mystery post) along with a range of other topics.


Absolute knowledge of the Universe

Though no one can absolutely know the future, it seems that as of now science has hit a brick wall when it comes to studying the universe.

The wall is known as Plank time. It’s 1.0 x 10^-47 seconds after the universe was created.
That’s basically a very small decimal with 46 zeroes. So it’s tremendously less than a millisecond.

All current models of our universe end there. Why? The best theory is because that’s when all the Universe’s laws came into existence and a moment before that there was absolutely nothing governing the universe.

So if the laws of your construct, or system, fall apart it’s like trying to explore a home that’s so weak its foundations threaten to drop the whole thing and when your reach the second floor everything collapses before you can get a look.

This wall is important to understand because all the constants of the universe were created right then and at one interval. To think that such an ordered universe with such self sustaining properties could roll the dice so quickly and decide so effortlessly on its future and end up winning on every gamble; is mind boggling. This will be discussed in more detail later because first we need to prove there was a beginning to the universe in the first place.


The Steady State Theory

A friend of mine centralized his world on this theory. He wasn’t necessarily a science whiz but the world made sense to him when this theory took hold. It was something he picked not because of science but because it helped order his world.

Maybe that’s why it’s so popular today, even if it’s completely abhorred by the vast majority of scientists. Science has totally and utterly destroyed this concept even though it keeps lingering in our minds.

So what did my friend’s world revolve around? He felt, as the steady state theory tells us, that the universe didn’t have a beginning and it had always been around. He felt it that in an infinite amount of time life eventually developed.

See if the universe had no beginning there was no need for a creator to create it. It doesn’t need creating because it was always there, he’d think to himself. My friend was still open to other opinions and ready to listen so I used a well known proof against his theory to shake up his world.

I simply told him to consider Hydrogen. Hydrogen as you probably know is the most abundant element in the Universe. When it clumps together and the gravity is strong enough it creates Helium inside Stars. This is known as nuclear fusion and it’s what powers our sun.

I then mentioned the law of conservation of matter and energy. It simply states that Matter and Energy are neither created nor destroyed but always converted from one to the other. Even in a Nuclear bomb, the atom that is split releases a set amount of Energy that can be measured by E=MC^2.

I then asked him what would happen if for an infinite span of time Hydrogen continued bonding with hydrogen. Or another way I put it, “How much hydrogen would there be in the universe if for an Infinite amount of years before your birth, hydrogen became helium. How much hydrogen would be left after your birth?”

After a few seconds he realized that with an INFINITE span of time, there would be no hydrogen left and the fact that Hydrogen is the most abundant element currently stands as a clear testament to the Universe’s creation.

He quickly asked me, “But if the universe was created, what was there before the universe?” I simply told him what scientists say, nothing. By nothing I mean there was no matter, space, or time. As scientists put it, according to the Big Bang theory, matter, space, and time were created when the universe was created.

“But how could there be nothing, especially no time or space?” he seemed to say pleadingly.

I simply told him to ponder on those thoughts and now wake up to his new world. He would have to re-mold his thinking and ideas around new principles and new concepts. One new concept he’d now have to take very seriously was God and how a universe this great simply came from nothing.


Self Sustaining

As you can probably tell the universe takes care of everything it needs on its own. The water cycle on the earth is a great example and many other great examples can be given.

As one scientist put it once, “The universe is self sustaining, what would God need to do anyway?”

He was looking at the question the wrong way. He should have asked himself, “How did the Universe become self sustaining in the first place? Where did these laws and qualities come from?”

What makes the universe self sustaining in the first place are the laws that guide it. There is a set mathematical number for the strength of gravity, the inner molecular forces, the amount of matter in this universe, and hundreds of other laws.

Because these laws were fine tuned correctly, we live in a universe that functions well and has these self sustaining qualities.

Regardless of the actual decision that went into picking each law, there are interactions with the laws themselves that help produce stability.

For example there was the choice of how much matter to put in the world and the choice for the strength of gravity. Imagine two knobs and a dial underneath which could choose from an infinite span of numbers. Remember that you must be correct by mere fractions or the whole universe is no longer self sustaining.

Like if gravity was 2% weaker and the amount of matter in this world was correctly picked, we’d never form stars because Gravity would not have enough force to cause nuclear fusion.

Or if the earth was just 5% further or closer to the sun, that life would be impossible. Besides distance, you must take into account the size of the earth which determines its gravitational pull. There is also the problem of the moon, without which we could not exist. Should the moon disappear we would have 2 extreme sides to the earth, one with extreme heat and one with extreme cold.

Just these small details alone pale in comparison to the constants you must pick which have dire consequences if picked wrong.

Thus as you can see the mere fact our universe is self sustaining in the first place is a marvel.

The probability for this to happen by chance works like this:

We have lets say 1,000 or so set constants that need to be picked + details that were required to make life for us self sustaining.
____________________________________ Divided by

An infinite amount of possible chances and numbers to choose from.

So what do you get when you divide a finite number by an infinite amount of chances? You get infinity which means it’s completely impossible that these choices could have come out correct on their own by mere random chance, every single time. How can this be done especially when the margin of error is so small? How can this be done when you have to consider all the interactions of the constants themselves with each other?

The universe is self sustaining but never forgot that obtaining these properties is a miracle in its own right.


Final Thoughts

What we can gather from this discussion is simple and yet very thought provoking.

1) At one time nothing existed; no time, space, or matter.
2) A self sustaining universe was then created from nothing.
3) Plank time occurred and after it all the constants were chosen instantly.
4) Life formed and asked how all this took place.

Whether God exists or not is for you to ponder on. But what remains clear is a myriad of astonishing events took place before the advent of our creation. How they took place is a question that remains central to the question of God itself. Also what constitutes nothing?

Are we truly the final descendants of a void; of nothing; of a vacuum more empty than that of space?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Evil and why God allows it

(Why must the sun be blocked by evil's shade and what causes the shadows to rise as the light fades away?)

This new round of inspiration occurred while i was watching a video of a christian scholar who was speaking about the inadequacies of the bible. You'll see more about him in a future post about the bible itself.

But when he was asked about how religious he was after having learned of the fallibility of the bible he mentioned he was an agnostic.

He also went on to mention he wasn't an agnostic because of finding these holes in the bible but because he couldn't understand how such a loving God could allow such evil and pain to occur on earth.

Just for reference an agnostic is:
1. One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God.
2. One who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism.
2. One who is doubtful or noncommittal about something.

The popular version used vocally and probably referred to by the above christian scholar is someone who is skeptical or unsure if God exists or not.


What exactly is evil?

Before we actually get into the reasons of why evil should exist and what it has to do with free will it's best to define evil itself first.

This is a whole other discussion all together but in the interests of time evil is simply:
  • 1) The lack of good.
  • 2) It in and of itself is nothing. Just as there is no darkness but a lack of light and no cold but a lack of heat, there is essentially no evil but a lack of good.
To prove the above and assert that evil always hinges on some good, I propose the following sentences:

  • I always tell the truth
  • I always lie

The first statement is easy enough to understand and is believable. But the instant you try and rationalize(make sense of) the statement you find yourself in a never ending circle of confusion.

1) If your statement is true and you truly always lie, than you just told the truth making that statement false.
2) If your statement is false and you always tell the truth, well then you just lied, again confusing us with the second statement.

I propose that the above happens simply because one can not always lie.
There must be some shred of truth to build off upon, just as there must be some good for evil to take root in. Without that good, what is evil but nothing?

So why does God allow this lack of good especially if He is as loving as most of us say He is?


Purpose of Life

Christianity has a hard time answering this quesion because they have a hard time answering why we're on this earth to begin with and what our purpose in this life should be.

If you look at it from a slightly different perspective though it all seems to make sense as the pieces fall neatly in place.

From an Islamic perspective we're here to serve God and better ourselves through this service and through following his correct and well laid out path.

If then your purpose in life is simply to become better, how do you do so without evil?


A person's worth

Imagine two students. One struggled for 10 years to get his doctorate from Princeton and another didn't struggle at all and after 2 months got an online doctorate from an unknown college.

Just based off the above information which student would you say is better or probably more knowledgeable?

Of the two which is more useful to an employer? Of the two which would you want to be?

As you can probably tell the student who struggled more and earned his degree definitely deserves more credit and is the better student than another one who did the bare minimum to get a doctorate worth nothing.


Now imagine a human born in heaven, who never struggled and lived there all his life versus a human who came to earth, and through his choices ended up going to heaven. Which of the two have worth more?

It's simple to create a thousand humans in heaven and let them live in bliss and do nothing but it's hard to get the same number of people to all get to heaven through their choices and good deeds.

Through these struggles, trials, and tests man can become better and raise his status. Without such tests and tribulations a man can't better himself. Thus evil is needed in order for man to struggle against.


Evil's Source, Choice, and Free will

So then we naturally ask ourselves, where this evil comes from that we need to struggle against?

Is God it's source? Absolutely not our logic would tell us right away. That is probably the furthest from the truth. The real source of evil is ourselves and our choices.

By giving us free will God also gave us the ability to do great good and great evil.
We're given free will in the first place because without it we would never know who genuinely is good and who is being forced to be good.

If God were to interfere every time someone was being raped or murdered than people would lose that free will and you would never know who truly was evil and to what extent.


The Great Construct

By construct I mean the laws and inner workings that form our Universe.

Free will creates evil by allowing people to do whatever they want. Some following their passions to their extreme ends regardless of who they hurt. Others bloating their pride by increasing their wealth regardless of who they leave hungry. And still the few who sacrifice the temporary good for what is best in the long run; the truly patient ones.

This then allows people's choices to manifest themselves into good or a lack of good which then either makes them better or worse people.

Then once they die they see what they have earned and either suffer in hell or find bliss in heaven.

The only other option to the above construct is to either remove free will and create essentially robots who only follow commands or have all humans be born in Heaven in which case they are worth nothing.

This construct, our universe, our world, is simply created to better ourselves and that is our purpose on this earth.


Final Thoughts

It is because of our fellow man that people suffer, it is because of our fellow man that people die, and it is because of our fellow man that the world can not remain at peace.

God allows all this to better ourselves in the long run and not to create a bunch of robots or worthless humans living in heaven.

In the end we are the source of this strife and it is our internal lust and drive for power that creates evil. If we can overcome the bad and live our lives according to good moral principles and values then in the end we will have succeeded and we will have bettered ourselves.

We see evil because we have created it and we have created it because God has let us do what we want and He has let us do what we want in order to better ourselves.

Then as many religions say, on judgment day, justice will be served, all people who stole will have to give back, and divine retribution will take place as people are sorted into their proper homes where they will live for the rest of their lives; either in heaven or hell.

Again the only other choices are to be robots or worthless beings and God gave us free will to elevate us, it is up to us though to do the elevating, through our choices.

Monday, May 11, 2009

How Money Trickles Up

(Money trickles up much faster than down. If not kept in check and if allowed to run wild eventually a plutocracy is born.)

A lot of people understand how businesses and even the government can trickle down money to the masses but what very few people realize is how money trickles up.

People speak all the time about billionaires and multi-millionaires but when they truly grasp how large those amounts are, they are stunned and in awe of exactly how these people make so much money.

When you look at how money trickles up the economy though, this will become less of a surprise and more of an epiphany. After diving into exactly how money trickles up it's important to note the consequences of the cycle.

There are 2 main ways money trickles up. The first is obvious and includes the profits people make on the goods they sell. The second is more mysterious and is the profit an owner makes off his employees.

1) Profit on Goods

Most companies produce goods from toys to cars to shampoo. There is the cost it takes to make the item by the company itself and the Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price which is what the product is sold for.

The difference between the two is the profit the company makes each time it sells one of it's items.

Mass production, basically creating lots of product really fast, also helps lower the price it costs for companies to make their goods.

2) Profit on Workers

To see the origin of this idea you actually have to look back at Karl Marx's writings and read about the abuse of the average worker.

What he basically states is that all companies rely on exploitation of their workers to make money.

How is it that they exploit their workers?

Here is an example of how it might be done:

I own a factory and I employ 100 people.

Those 100 people create 1,000 pairs of shoes a day(10 pairs of shoes per person per 8 working hours).

Because of their hard work I make $20,000 dollars a day($20 profit per pair of shoes).

If I paid the workers the amount they made for me, I'd be left with nothing, therefore I must exploit them. Again if I spread $20,000 dollars to my 100 workers per day, I'd be left with nothing for myself or my savings.

So what is it I do? I pay them less then they make me. I take their surplus value which is essentially the unpaid wages that my workers earned for me but that I'm personally keeping for myself.

Stanford's more elaborate explanation:

Suppose that such commodities take four hours to produce. Thus the first four hours of the working day is spent on producing value equivalent to the value of the wages the worker will be paid. This is known as necessary labour. Any work the worker does above this is known as surplus labour, producing surplus value for the capitalist. Surplus value, according to Marx, is the source of all profit. In Marx's analysis labour power is the only commodity which can produce more value than it is worth, and for this reason it is known as variable capital. Other commodities simply pass their value on to the finished commodities, but do not create any extra value. They are known as constant capital. Profit, then, is the result of the labour performed by the worker beyond that necessary to create the value of his or her wages. This is the surplus value theory of profit.

So in the end, of the $20,000 dollars in profit I made, I only give back $15,000 dollars to the workers.

It seems very unfair that after I pay back all the costs to make the shoes and I get my $20,000 dollars of profit per day, that I only give back 75% of it.

Especially because 99% of the work was preformed by the 100 workers in the factory. I barely did anything and even saying I did 1% of the total work to make 1,000 pairs of shoes is a bit of an exaggeration.

The Worker v.s the Owner

So each worker in the above plant would make $150 dollars a day (ignoring taxes on income to make the numbers easier to handle). That comes to $750 dollars a week(5 working days) or $36,000 a year.

How much am I making though? Well I'm getting $5,000 dollars a day, which comes to $25,000 dollars a week, and which leads to $300,000 dollars a year.



So as you can see from the above example, exploitation is really inevitable. If every owner paid his workers the amount they made for him, he would be left with nothing.

That is both the miracle and risk of capitalism. It can bring you great wealth but it also has to siphon it off from somewhere.


Our Daily lives

So how does this effect money trickling up?

In our daily lives we buy lots of commodities. From food to gasoline to games, we constantly give profit to companies.

Every single transaction you make is always more than the cost it took to give you that commodity or that service. So every time you buy something you're trickling money up to the top.

So you buy some cereal and the cash trickles up to the store and then to the manufacturer and then to the owner.

Each worker at that store buys cereal, which trickles up to the store, which goes to the manufacturer, which takes a slice to the executive.

Every single time someone buys something they're immediately sending money up the ladder.

When it comes time to send the money back to you, it never comes back in full, because the owner took a cut for himself.

If you continue the trend of 110%(the profit you paid for the commodity is the extra 10% I add) up and 90% down (the cash you lose to your boss is the 10% i removed) you see a fast flowing column of money trending in one direction.

You always overpay when you buy something and get underpaid when you work.


Buying Power

So why is it even important to pay good wages to our workers in the first place; a greedy owner may ask.

When all this money is getting funneled up to the owners of all these companies, they have to ask themselves who is buying their products.

It's their workers and other ordinary citizens that buy their products that allow this cycle to continue.

If people stopped buying pairs of shoes, from the above example, than the owner of the shoe factory wouldn't make anything either.

To put it plainly, Cars don't buy cars, and Food doesn't buy food, it's people that buy these things and when they are not paid good wages, the whole cycle breaks and no one is then able to benefit.



In this world where owners start abusing their workers too much and where wages aren't enough to sustain ordinary people, you get a plutocracy.

There is a huge income gap between owners and workers, while ability to become a factory owner gets harder and harder.

If this system continues too long the whole system comes crashing down because people are then unable to buy the goods they need.



So you can see how easily and readily money makes it's way up the ladder. It's now also clear about how unequally the money falls back down to the workers.

The whole system continues as long as the workers have a living wage and their buying power remains uninterrupted.

But when their buying power becomes significantly decreased and a plutocracy is born, then the whole system starts slowing to a standstill.

In the end people shouldn't complain about money trickling down to the ordinary citizen. They should be complaining about how fast the money trickles up to the owners who do such a small share of work for such a large share of profit.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Legality is useless

(One Person's will against the law of the land. Should he be silenced?)

Before I start I have to mention why there was such a long break and why the weekly postings stopped.

It seemed that being forced to write about the last topic was the problem. Although I do want to go in more detail about the morality I mentioned before, and even though I know exactly what to write about, I wasn't inspired to write it.

There was no drive to put ink to paper or in this case fingers to keyboard. :)

I'll make sure in the future I keep philosophy where it should be, the tipping point of inspiration, where the writers ink is at it's least dry.

To hold writings over for another day and force yourself to a topic, it seems, is a no-no. :D

Many times I'd be inspired and I wouldn't write here simply because i knew I had to write the previous topic first and then move onto the one I was truly inspired to write.

Eventually the inspiration became too much and this post worked it's way out of me.

Legality to give credibility to your stance

The titles topic is important to understand in context. I'm not anarchistic and I don't believe that laws are useless.

The legality I feel that is useless though, is using legality to prove your point or to back up your claims.
  • Why can't we use legality to back up our claims?
  • Doesn't the law reflect the majority of people's opinions in a given area?
  • If a law truly were wrong, why would so many people support it?

All credible questions and all worthy of an answer.


Examples of where we went wrong

If we kept our laws the way they were we would be stuck with:

  • 1) Slavery of all African Americans
  • 2) Inability for Women to vote
  • 3) No Social Security
  • 4) Non land owning individuals unable to vote
  • 5) No minimum wage
  • 6) No ends to the terms of office of the President (Be re-elected as many times as possible)
  • 7) Alcohol continuing to be prohibited
  • 8) No Limit on immigration (Constitution and their amendments originally allowed unlimited migration to the U.S)
  • 9) No Child Labor Laws
  • 10) The Cuban embargo

There are many more examples but 10 should be enough for now.

I'm thankful I never had to have a discussion with a person arguing in favor of slavery. I wouldn't know how to contain myself if they mentioned legality to me and told me "Slavery is legal, it should remain that way and our country would fail without it."

All of the opponents for the above laws could simply say "Our founders didn't want this and thus we should not legalize it".

They might also say that "The law is the law, and we have to follow it and defend it and protect it, it's our duty as American Citizens to do so".

We've made many mistakes with our laws.
Making something illegal doesn't mean it has to stay that way forever.
Making something illegal also doesn't necessarily make it evil.



If we just conform to all the laws and refuse to analyze them we could be doing harm to ourselves and to the people of our community.

This lazy mentality means we ignore the problems of our city or country and we keep the status-quo.

We may spend 100 years saying "Such and such is illegal, just don't do it" and find out what we were doing was enabling the deaths of millions of people.


The People's Will (Essence of Law)

The law in it's purest essence is just the people's will. It's an order established of the people, by the people, and for the people.

To say that my opinion or any other person's opinion doesn't matter, or is wrong, because it's illegal means you don't understand the essence of law.

If all of America feels something to be legal, and yet it is truly illegal, there will be nothing to stop it.

A good example is copying pages from a copyrighted book. It's substantially illegal, but no on enforces it, and if a police officer saw you doing the above crime he would hardly give it a second thought.

It takes political and public will to make a law, a law.

A piece of paper means nothing.


A step in the right direction

In the end you have to understand the essence of law and how it's related to the will of the people.

It's completely ignorant to say something is illegal and therefor evil.
It creates a lazy mentality and will never force us to re-evaluate our positions.

If we want to head in the right direction we only need to follow a few simple rules:

  • 1) Analyze all laws and base proper opinions about them using concrete details and facts
  • 2) Remember that our opponent is not automatically wrong if he argues in favor of something illegal, because it may soon become legal.
  • 3) Understand that the essence of Law is the will of the people not the ink of a judge on paper.


Popular issues where you will hear this legality argument

1) Immigration (This was the source of my inspiration, someone mentioning that we must enforce the laws of this country. He didn't understand that our will is the law of this country.)

2) Gun Control
3) Abortion
4) Stem Cell Research

In all the above cases, people stand where the law currently resides, if it agrees with their point of view, and they simply say we should be patriotic and respect the laws of this country.

Again there is a loss of this essence of the law which says our will should dictate how society is run not necessarily what the law currently is right now.


How the law should be treated

It should be respected as it stands currently but the opinions of those working against it should always be heard.

At the end of the day we can't be anarchists and all follow our own rules. We submit to each other and submit to the majority opinion.

We should keep our minds open though to the other side, soon enough it will be their turn to be the majority and you will regret then you gave no time no listen.

Keeping an open mind is essential but even more so is keeping an open heart.

The feelings of a few can topple the dictates of a hundred tyrants.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mystery post

(The picture for the next post. Can you guess what it might be about?)

Morality is the only hint I'll give. But what does morality or ethics have to do with water, or islands, or possibly the world?

Stay tuned to find out :)


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Value of an Item

(A shirt can be made for 10 dollars and sold for a million dollars, as long as people are willing to pay that much for it)

It took an online game to teach me what the value of an item was.

It's one of the most valuable lessons I have ever learned and that is both because of it's significance and because of the fact that I learned it on my own, it wasn't refined from a book or word of mouth.

People always say, "Something is worth what someone is willing to pay for it".

In essence, that is what I figured out. Even after having left that virtual world ages ago, these small treasures remain with me.



The game I was in was simple. You go out and kill animals and gain loot. You sell the loot for money and you buy items and upgrade your stats to kill more efficiently.

There was one problem though, everyone needed weapons but there were no dealers around.

Not only did that make things worse, the only people who could help us with a price were NPC's (Non playable Characters, essentially robots) who would offer to buy our weapons from us.

Everyone in the game agreed on one thing though, the price the robots paid for our weapons was significantly undervalued.

Weapons that were very hard to obtain would sell for next to nothing.
These highly sought after weapons also dealt much damage and anyone would be crazy to sell them to a robot.

So what were we to do?


Following new paths untraveled, The Rangers way

So like a lot of people in the game, I had a lot of weapons to sell and wanted to get rid of them to train my character faster.

What would I sell them at though, and where would I start?

Here is what I did:

1) I guessed: I literally one day went up to a person, gave the strength of a certain weapon, and asked him if he wanted to buy it, for 4,000 of the currency we had available.

I had very little information at the time and there were literally no other weapons dealers to consult with, so pricing the object was as simple as a guess.
The particular customer above was overjoyed with the offer and quickly purchased his new weapon.

2) The economy's response (Money Supply): At the time a lot of people had money but the exchanging of weapons was pretty rare. When I offered to sell that item, an above average loot, people could afford to lose a bit of money and invest it in a better weapon.

I noticed after time, as people had less money, the amount I could charge for a product fell.
After a while I changed the price a bit to correct for demand and total population wealth.
Those corrections kept my customers coming back, knowing I'd be a good deal.

3) What you expect to get: I didn't do what you might expect in a normal business scenario. 4000 of that particular currency was a very good amount for that weapon. I could also get the weapon back with an average amount of work. So I didn't raise my price much. As long as I was getting a pretty good pay off and unloading my supplies, I was happy.

Possibly a better entrepreneur might have grabbed that chance and increased prices, but like i mentioned above, I was more than satisfied with what I had received.

4) The Market: Other dealers soon started popping up and everyone had the same question I had. I was asked what they should price their items at and regularly gave them my store prices.

As new dealers entered the market and competition started looming pricing became more and more variable.

5) Demand and Math: I noticed something odd in the economy and basically it was that certain weapons would not be bought, regardless of price.

Certain weapons that were of average efficiency were not selling and I never even bothered pricing them because of this lack of demand.

You could probably graph the efficiency of my better weapons and their price then graph these weaker weapons and the math would give you a good average of what these weaker weapon's price should be around, but the problem is, if i offered this price, no one would buy it.

There were a few reasons for this:

Why pay 500-1000 for a weapon that is average and won't help you fight much, when you can easily afford 4000 for a nice and strong weapon that will eventually pay back it's cost?

So the money supply was high and the supply of good weapons was good, in essence destroying any need whatsoever for these average weapons.

Don't be fooled though these average weapons would still be good and useful, but everyone always said, "Why pay 500 or 1000 for them, when 4000 will do for a very good one".

Also our weapons didn't degrade, to buy a good weapon was to have it for life. (They degrade now though, and it would take a long time to explain this new factor in our economy)

I just found it odd that a whole range of decent weapons were essentially wiped out and any mathematical price you could put to them would not meet the test of the market. It was eye opening for me, a lesson I hold to this day. It proves that everything is worth what someone is willing to pay for it, not the mathematical figures of an Economics Professor. I think the best example of something being worth more than an Economist says it is, would be the concept of Book Value.

I can understand that concept a lot easier now thanks to my experiences in this virtual economy.

6) Maturity, the Middleman: After a bit of time I found that competition in the market was very fierce. It was harder to sell weapons with people under selling you and customers always questioning your price.

After a while most customers felt they knew the price better than you, even if they had never sold weapons in their whole life.

As time went on I found a new business, something I was sort of forced into and something that flourished within me because of my networks. By now I knew a lot of dealers and a lot of customers and one day my friend comes to me telling me he needs a very very high quality item sold.

This is an item that i had personally never looted. This item existed in very low quantities in the game and therefore was extremely hard to sell.

Price wise it was about 250,000 of the above currency I mentioned. Just to give you some perspective, most people carried about 10,000-20,000 and I personally stayed at about 40-50k. So 250k was A LOT of cash in that game.

With a bit of work, I found a buyer and I charged the seller a fee for my service. This was a totally new industry for me, one where I could make large amounts of cash for a minimal amount of work.

I started charging static percentages for items that I helped sell and I ONLY dealt in high price items. It was a great market because I found out that a good number of people could afford these very nice weapons but could not find anyone willing to sell them.

I also found a good number of sellers who just wanted cash quick. Together I helped initiate a number of transactions and I had started making more doing this than initially selling weapons to begin with.

The Real World

I learned to look at the real world differently. Everything seemed to look different, every object seemed t have it's own story, and brand new markets starting appearing before me.

This virtual game had in essence forced me to move with the market and understand it's workings.

That was something that would have been impossible in the real world.
I wasn't selling any products in the real world, and I had very small networking capabilities.
But in this virtual game I connected with scores of people and inquired into their needs.

Strong lessons

I found the Value of an Item truly is just whatever people will pay for it.
  • What they will pay for it is affected by how much cash they have.
  • What they will pay for it is affected by how badly they need it.
  • What they will pay for it is affected by how rare it is to find.
  • The most important lesson though was knowing that NO one could accurately price anything.
  • Everything is mispriced. Why?
  • Because everyone has a different price they are willing to pay for something.
  • Even with a small degree of difference, that means a huge shift in profits and returns, especially as you increase your volume of buys or sells.
Maybe that is why the stock market is so powerful in creating wealth.
Knowing how the price of an object will shift can create a millionaire overnight.
You have to remember though, even if you perceive a company as being strong, if the world continues to disagree with you, and even if you are right, their stock price will never go up.

That doesn't necessarily mean though that you should usually go with the market because the market has shifted in favor of companies that you knew were strong from the beginning.
The market is also infamously random.

But what it does mean is that you should stay open minded, so as not to build your pride to a hurtling and devastating collapse.

Things aren't worth what you think they are, they're worth what people are willing to buy them for. Something I didn't just read, but lived, and therefore appreciate more.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Donating 1.5 billion per year

That's the estimated value of the amount of stock Warren Buffet will be giving to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.

Also here is an interview with a little more information about the largest donation in the history of Mankind, especially by a living donor.

Would most people give 1.5 billion dollars, in stocks of their own company, away to a foundation?
Sure he is giving it away at a late stage in his life, after his wife's death.
Death is interesting, in that it gives you the proper perspective on life.

As Andrew Carnegie once said, "The man who dies rich thus dies disgraced."

Or as Islam says(paraphrase), It would be more beneficial that a man give an apple of his orchard while he lives, than give 1,000 trees away after he dies, when they are no longer useful to him.

Warren Buffet, the second richest man in the world, thus will be giving away nearly 40 billion dollars, almost all his fortune. Yet, if you had read my last post, you would have read that he would not have fully actualized himself.

The fully actualized person, would never have had that high of a net worth, and would definitely not have sacrificed nearly as much of his life for wealth.

So in essence, he will die a second class citizen, because of his wealth, and the sacrifices he has made for it, and the desire to satiate his unending greed.

That said, he will still die with more dignity, than most of humanity will.


Infatuation with Wealth

(Happily ever after seems to come with a mansion nowadays)


A record of our time

I think when people look back at this time in history, they will look on with amazement. Not because of the technology or the people, but because of the decisions we made and the infatuations we had.

I've hinted before that this blog particularly serves as a window into the mindset of my time and my people, for future generations to poke at and analyze.

It also is used as a tool to analyze the philosophy behind a number of commonly held beliefs.

Today's topic stirred the inspiration in me like I haven't felt in months.


What brought on this surge?

(If you haven't seen the movie, stop reading now, Spoilers ahead)

I had read the summary for this movie a million times and it completely turned me off.
The summaries on Imdb and all the other popular sites are horribly off. By that I mean they barely touch on what the movie is really about.

Regardless I finally decided to see it today, especially after seeing so many positive ratings on a number of sites. The final blow before making this decision was my favorite movie rating site, which gave the movie a 96% approval rating.

So I watched it, and I enjoyed it a lot. The themes it hits on were amazing and not even hinted at in the summaries of the movie.


Philosophy finally starts here

So where did that magical inspiration come from? Why was so much background given?
What exactly brought on this particular surge?

A simple theme; Our infatuation with excessive amounts of money.

A lot of stories nowadays it seems, are riddled with this theme. The 21st century theme that The hero or protagonist becomes immensely rich and they live happily ever after thanks to this new found fortune.

It's so prevalent that we're seeing this trend start in societies and cultures that expressly FORBID this form of greed.

A religious movie, that I was invited to see ended with this exact theme.
Somehow the main character couldn't continue living unless he inherited a huge amount of money by luck or chance or destiny.

What is it with our society? Why can't we have a happy ending without someone becoming rich?
In the Days of Walt Disney, finding your true love or finding true happiness was the goal in the story. With Disney, when you had reached that peak, money was of no use to you.

What has happened to our goals? Why must our happiest endings today come with a rich bounty?

(I've touched on this topic before btw, in more detail about the greed part. Click here to read it)

Greed (Avarice)

Time and time again we've been warned by millions upon millions of people that greed is bad.
We've lost touch with that.

Here is a small window into the mindset of Wall street and mandatory bonuses given at the expense of the American tax payer:

WSJ Article "Greed is good"

TYT Discussion about it:

An eye opener:

I was told for the first time in my life that the never ending struggle for resources is not the way to ultimate actualization(Being the best you can be).

It's sad that my religion teaches this but our followers are so blinded by the need for resources, that they don't feel the need to rehash this point. They will rehash a million other things, but they seem to neglect their duties when it comes to greed.

I was reading the commentary(Tafsir) on the Quran when I came upon a passage said to have been narrated by the Prophet. It had to do with a particular verse asking Muslims to not desire this world too much. The Prophet reiterated this point in his narrative.

To summarize; it stated:

There were three people in this world (Ranked from best to worst)

1) There are those who only made enough to sustain their lifestyle without going into debt or making a lot of profit. These are the best of people, they find satisfaction with their life.

2) There are also those that are on this run for resources, will gain as much wealth as they can, but will also scrutinize every penny making sure it goes to good causes.
You'll routinely see these people donating to noble causes or financing other projects. They will be rewarded for the good that they buy and punished for the bad that they buy on Judgment day. They actively strive to do good in this world.

3) There are those that are also on the run for as many resources as possible. Yet this group will spend it how they like. These are not philanthropists and if they are, they are so in money only and will never give their time to good causes. They will spend how they like on what they like in exorbitant amounts.

My eyes had opened to a new reality:

  • Surely it had to be those that paid millions of dollars to charities and worked hard for them, that were the greatest people on earth.
  • Surely because I was in America, I was expected, more so than anyone else, to succeed where millions of others did not even have the chance to fail.
  • Surely I was to try and make as much money as possible.

Yet here i am, being told, that the greatest of people make modest amounts, are not accruing debt, and yet are also not rich.

If you are not American, you might not be able to grasp the severity of this problem because from the moment we start walking, we are told to make as much money as possible.

It is a constant run for resources, so much so, that some people forgo honest work in order to take less righteous paths to fulfill this goal.

Yet here we are being told, if you want to be the best you can be, do not run so hard.

What I took from the passage was:

1) Pay off what debt you owe and try not to go into debt.

2) Buy what you need to buy, that isn't exorbitant(excessive).
  • Home worth less than $400,000
  • Car worth less than $15,000
  • Computer worth less than $1,300
  • Make sure your normal bills are not extreme(example: buying $500 worth of clothes a month is too much.)
3) Be satisfied, don't want or act like you need to obtain large and insane amounts of money, especially to be happy.

I had never hungered for being rich before, so this idea wasn't a hard transition for me.

But I was now being told to specifically NOT go for large amounts of money.

Before it was, Do it if you can, but don't be so greedy, money in the end is worthless.
Make sure you use your wealth wisely and not at the expense of others.

Now it is, Do not strive for it, do not want to be excessively wealthy, and never worry about it.

Yet what is funny and truly ironic is that a religious movie I saw, matches the ending with Slumdog Millionaire.

An ending that does not walk toe to toe with the religion the movie was made for.


Computer Status update

This really shouldn't be a place to rant about my computer, so i basically held off.
A small summary though, should sum up some explanations.

It is impossible to describe how hard it was being inspired and not being able to take it down as i normally do.

Windows restore eventually failed, and 2 incompetent technicians later, I'm left with 2 ghost users on my computer and my original user profile.

Why the ghost users? A few HP restores, that went terribly wrong, that is shielding 80 gigs of files, unable to be deleted, with a number of unusable programs.

Solutions? Full format and reinstall, hopefully finished by the end of this week.

If you don't know about hp restore, be thankful. It promises to restore your computer, but gives you a ghost user account, with all your previous programs corrupted, most of the time being unable to uninstall.

Anyways, that's the update, and the next post is the real reason why i logged on here.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Computer Safety Red Alert

(I welcome the day our computers can be half as safe as a new born baby chick)

We all take computer safety for granted.

I did for years, and i became complacent after a while.

Sure there were those massive computer attacks during the early 2000 era, and they continued up till about 2004, but those days are over now arn't they?


I just had my first major attack in about 5 years today.
(Getting Trojans or port scans is not a major event for me. But having Window's files corrupted definitely is)

Most people see my computer specs or my programs and don't bother pinging me or port scanning me.

Ignore the terms if you don't exactly understand them, but just think of a thief looking at the outside of a home, and through the windows.

But someone finally got in, and his program executed, something that rarely happens with Nod32 (my anti-virus) around.

Anyways my anti-virus got it but by then the damage was done and my system32 folder was partly currupted.


So after being forced to restart and finding that my computer is freezing, and using system resources like no tomorrow, i get the "server busy" error, which is 2009's Blue screen of Death lol.

Anyways, with that kind of problem, you can't run anti malware or spyware programs; because you can't run anything.

System restore came to the rescue for me, i found a way to execute it in safe mode.

1. Restart your system
2. When the system first boots, type F8 to bring up the boot menu
3. Select the Safe Mode with Command Prompt option
4. Log-on as administrator if needed
5. At your command prompt type %systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe
6. Hit Enter
6. This will open the system restore wizard…


That seems to have fixed the freezing and I'm all set now, but i have to wonder when computers will get more proactive then reactive.

Our body survives because it proactively goes after threats and puts up very strong defenses.

If computers could harness a tenth of that power, we'd have a new age of computer security.

Stay on the look out everyone, for your computer safety.

I recommend Comodo Firewall and Nod32 at the very least.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

They're "just words"

(J.k Rowling wrote words worth billions)

Someone said some very offensive things about the Virgin Mary, as a joke to which i replied:

"And btw saying something offensive and then saying "It's just words" means nothing in 2009.

Words start wars and the deaths of millions.

Choose your words wisely, that virgin Mary thing, very unwise, and very rude.

And you speak of tolerance too... wow, talk about irony."

That was a reply to a video, where a person spoke about tolerance for a good period of time, and then later, on a tangent, mentioned a very offensive comment about the Virgin Mary.

If it was just a small shot, or a small joke, I wouldn't have said much but it was very offensive, and even if the whole world isn't offended by it, a good 1/3-2/3'rds of it is.

When i know something will offend that many people, I won't make the joke at their expense.
As for morality and ethics, people already know not to make jokes at the expense of others, so there really isn't any good excuse he could have made.


Anyways, someone else protects the offensive comments by saying:

"His point was that all that stuff SHOULDN'T happen because of words, although it does; the world just needs to grow up and stop being so hung up on every little thing someone says. Because they ARE just words."

To which i replied:

""Just words"
Isn't our society based on words?
Isn't the only way you talk to someone, just words?
Isn't the best medium for discussion, that of words?
Haven't millions of people died, over a few words?
Doesn't the president and the pope, only give out words?
Words matter, I learned that back in 3rd grade, maybe you didn't.
If that offends you, don't worry, it's just words. "


The Philosophy of Words

Words are truly intimate and shape your appearance to others.

The lack of words can make you someone's enemy and later with a discussion, make you their greatest friend.

Words shake the very foundations we stand upon, shifting our strongest beliefs, and humbling the proudest of people.

They have the power to make you appear as one of the greatest people living in the eyes of society.

Words in essence are everything.

You could see the most beautiful person in the world walking down the street to talk to you.
You could imagine them being your spouse and living the most perfect life.

Then they could open their mouth and start talking, mentioning completely useless things, and acting like they were a little kid.
Besides being immature, they would have their head in the clouds, not being down to earth or having good perspective.
Their only goal would be to have as much fun as possible at anyone's expense.

A few words in essence shattered your dreams. Those words were pretty useless weren't they?
That is of course if you don't just want a partner for their beauty, because looks fade, but you'll still have decades left to live with that person.


Physical v.s Emotional

So do sticks and stones really hurt more than words?

Is it true that if you get a beating, that it will sting more than an emotional conversation?

Don't they say that physical pain eventually goes away but emotional pain stays with you?

Just through my personal experiences, I've found that emotional arguments and words have damaged me many times more than physical beatings ever could.

I've broken my leg, had my wisdom teeth removed (Twice without proper anesthesia), and had a number of other painful things happen to me, yet they all pale in comparison to certain words people said to me.

They were just a few words but they had the power to inflict that much pain.

What we should say:

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words won't go away.
It should be what we all say, from now on til judgment day.



Some people will continue saying that "words" are nothing and will continue to caution us to not get offended.

But why would you caution me, if logically most people should not be offended?

It probably means that most people will get offended, and you want them to understand, you're just using words.

But how can you expect humans to not feel something when you're using the most intimate and deepest form of expression, against usually something they love or hold dear to them.

It's like an artist who paints 10 works full of inspiration for their hate against someone and tells them not to get offended.

It's like a musician who writes some lines in their lyrics dedicated to their hate against someone. Then they ask that person not to get offended.

But rather than write lyrics or paint a painting, you're using the most intimate form of medium we all possess; language.

Simply said, don't get offended if you see your name in the paper, with the bold words "American Traitor" next to it; remember it's "Just words".


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Courtesy with Sincerity

(Courtesy with Sincerity lead the boat of life towards the realms of peace and tranquility)

Courtesy with sincerity is the most treasured commodity in this world to me.

That along with constantly struggling to following the truth, is what every single human should strive for.

"Courtesy costs nothing and buys everything"(1) and to do so sincerely means to put your heart into it.

You can be ruthless, you can be cruel, and you can force your opponent to bow to you.

But then you end up no better than a coward, hiding in a hole, selfishly trying to take whatever you can from the world, while your life slowly ticks away.

The world stands firm with 6 and a half billion people.

The strongest of these people raise their brothers and sisters around them.

The weakest oppress and suppress them.

In principle, we are always one or the other.

This year, evaluate your decisions, and analyze yourself, so you will not become one of these oppressors, leading to the suffering of your fellow brethren.


(1) All the inspiration for this post came directly from Hassanain Rajabali, on his third night of Muharram speech in Toronto, Canada.

He simply had said, "Courtesy costs nothing, it buys everything", for all these principals to come rushing forth to me. That man could inspire me, every second of every day, for the rest of my life if he was near me.

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