Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Responsibility - Are you Smarter than a 7th Grader?

Catching up on some of my favorite blogs, I was recently taken aback on the aggressive support of promiscuity. The blog author vehemently defends the danger of such selfish activity. Following my response I thought about doing a simple Google search on "responsibility". On the first page, 5th entry I found this web site:


Immediately in front of the reader is a simple "Are You a Responsible Person?" checklist. 6 questions for self-evaluation with the last question being the most incredible in my opinion:


The site (goodcharacter.com) goes on to give discussion questions and writing assignments for the students. I found this concept of good character being defined by self-control reminiscent of Aristotle's posit that happiness requires virtuous thought and action which lead to a virtuous character. By the way Aristotle wrote this some 300 years before the birth of Jesus Christ and the development of Christianity.

Self-control is the antithesis of promiscuity.

Promiscuity is the bane of good Character.

It is time to stop the childish, temper-tantrum irresponsible behavior of "blaming" Christianity for not getting what you want, and demonstrate some self-control, some good character to do the right thing. "When I was a child, I spoke [and did] as a child."

Here is an Aesop Fable (again hundreds of years before Christianity) that seems quite applicable to promiscuity which simply is the lack of self-control, lack of good character, lack of responsibility:

The Flies and the Honey Pot

A jar of honey chanced to spill
Its contents on the windowsill
In many a viscous pool and rill.

The flies, attracted by the sweet,
Began so greedily to eat,
they smeared their fragile wings and feet.

With many a twitch and pull in vain
They grasped to get away again,
And died in aromatic pain.

Moral

O foolish creatures that destroy
Themselves for transitory joy. *


Food for Thought, if You are Hungry

Do not be found wanting as we are all without excuse.

Eagle Driver
check 6

*The Book of Virtues by William J. Bennett (New York: Simon & Schuster 1993, page 48), emphasis mine.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Human Being or Human Doing?

Over the weekend I picked up an old book whose title caught my eye: Ideology and Utopia by Karl Mannheim (printed by Harcourt, Brace, and Company in London, 1949). Although I have very limited knowledge of sociology, I have enjoyed the opening section on "Preliminary Approach to the Problem". On page 17 I highlighted a couple of insightful statements:

"Just as the most exact theory of cause and function does not answer the question as to who I actually am, what I actually am, or what it means to be a human being..."

"The mechanistic and functionalistic theory is highly valuable as a current in psychological research. It fails, however, when it is placed in the total context of life-experience because it says nothing concerning the meaningful goal of conduct..."

"The most important role of thought in life consists, however, in providing guidance for conduct when decisions must be made. Every real decision (such as one's evaluation of other persons or how society should be organized) implies a judgment concerning good and evil, concerning the meaning of life and mind."

Our emphasis on a modern mechanistically computer-controlled life cannot articulate to us and the generation to follow what Dr. Mannheim prophetically wrote in the 1940s, "what it means to be a human being". Corporations see employees as "unit costs", "human doings", "liabilities", etc. So how do we value the "life-experience" and define "the meaningful goal of conduct"?

Dr. Mannheim gives the reader a clue to the question of conduct - the role of Thought. What and how we think determines the value of life and the meaning of our conduct. What do we think? I know that thoughts are like planting a crop in the field of life. If you plant corn, it doesn't matter how much you wish, pray, hope, argue, fight, and curse you will not receive a crop of carrots. You plant corn you get corn. So what are we planting, what are we thinking?

I became aware of my thought life upon being forced to go to a radical movie showing at an independent movie theater years ago. The movie is What the Bleep do we Know? Although I may not agree with everything presented, I was intrigued with the responsibility of our thoughts. The following movie clip is from the movie and presents some of the data from Dr. Masaru Emoto's phenomenal work with water and words (from his book The Hidden Messages in Water):

video

Additional videos on Messages in Water can be found at:


We are not mechanical human doings! We are human beings responsible for our thoughts! Read and Think! The Eagle is Thinking.....

C'ya
Eagle Driver
check 6

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Virtue or Celebrity-hood

I am almost through the 1st volume of Winston Churchill’s “A History of the English Speaking Peoples.” It seems to be an endless cycle of one good King followed by 4-5 bad kings, finally a good King, then bad, etc. (amazingly similar to the historical books on the kings of Judah and Israel in the Old Testament). What is up with this 1 good and multiple bad? On page 399 of Churchill’s volume 1 says:

Thus the life and reign of King Henry IV exhibit to us another instance of the vanities of ambition and the harsh guerdon [old English word for "repayment"] which rewards its success.

I like the “another instance of the vanities of ambition” part. In order to run for office one must be Narcissistic and yet the subtitle to Christopher Lasch’s late 1970s work “The Culture of Narcissism” succinctly describes the consequence of such "necessary" narcissism:

“American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations”

Do we elect “non-leaders”, “non-statesmen” because we have diminishing expectations? Or is it because we as a collective people (oh there is a new concept: collective people) have eliminated the value of “work ethic”, “individual initiative”, “discipline”, “moderation”, etc. from our standard in search of prosperity? Virtue has been replaced with Celebrity-hood.

What is, or better yet - what should our standard be? Mr. Lasch accurately describes the current standard written back in the late 1970s on page 53:

"In an age of diminishing expectations, the Protestant virtues no longer excite enthusiasm. Inflation erodes investments and savings. Advertising undermines the horror of indebtedness, exhorting the consumer to buy now and pay later. As the future becomes menacing and uncertain, only fools put off until tomorrow the fun they can have today. A profound shift in our sense of time has transformed work habits, values, and the definition of success. Self-preservation has replaced self-improvement as the goal of earthly existence."

What is the goal of our earthly existence? Are we as a people becoming the valley of Dry Bones found in Ezekiel chapter 37? Have we lost our eternal perspective in worshiping the Golden Calf of Celebrity-hood?

Again the realization must come to us now, not later (better to have learned this at 52 instead of 62) of we OUGHT to do regardless of the current, popular cultural norm. Where is the idea of maturity (virtue) over selfishness (Celebrity-hood)?

C'ya

Eagle Driver

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Alamo

As I am located at the lay over hotel in San Antonio, I am cognizant of what happened in this city back in 1836. Men and women stood against tyranny with the knowledge that General Santa Anna would give "no quarter" (no mercy, no clemency in effect all would be killed). So how does one make the decision to stay knowing death arrives tomorrow? Where is the "instinct" to self-preserve?

According to the Bible, man is created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis chapter 1). This includes an important distinction from the other animal life - intelligence. We are intelligent of the eternal. When we look up at the stars at night we wonder, whereas a cow looks up and simply continues cud chewing.

Intelligent of the eternal - there is something more and this is not the final destination. The eternal facilitates our sacrifice. The Alamo where a few gave their life to save the many. The cross where one died to save all.

Intelligent of the the eternal - do what we ought, not simply what we want.

Food for Thought, If you are Hungry
Eagle Driver
check 6

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Principles or Politics - Your Call

Over at the blog of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen I read and responded to an excellent discourse on this mosque issue near Ground Zero gripping the politics of the pundits. The article was written by Rick Ungar and titled "To Mosque or Not to Mosque". In my reply I likened today's political Congressmen as playing a football game ignoring the rules. Our government is based on a set of rules titled The Constitution of The United States of America. On page 12 of the .pdf document link you can read Amendment 1 that was ratified on Dec. 15, 1791:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

What caught my eye on Rick's discussion was his observation that there are porn shops and other non-hallowed shops located around the site. So obviously this issue of a mosque at Ground Zero is simply a political football by non-leaders and non-statesmen (called congressmen, analyst for Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, candidates, etc.) whose only intent is to swoop down on the emotions of citizens to stir them into a frenzied mob for the sole purpose of getting elected or ratings. Notice that:

There is no call to principle only the yelling of politics.

As Americans we have principles to govern our nation by and it is called The Constitution of The United States of America and we must require our representatives to follow. Although I find the location disagreeable, I recognize the rights of the Constitution as an overriding principle. If I do not stand and follow the principle I will fall for whatever passion or politics comes along. Principle removes the passion to maintain the rational.

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things." (Philippians 4:8)

Let our minds dwell on these things - principles not politics must rule.

C'ya
Eagle Driver
check 6

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Reality TV

Christine Rosen (writer at Big Questions Online) wrote an excellent article on Reality TV and the destructiveness that is plaguing our culture, our youth. Her accurate discussion of this phenomenon is exemplary. Thank you Christine.

http://www.bigquestionsonline.com/columns/christine-rosen/what-is-reality-tv-doing-to-us


C'ya
Eagle Driver
check 6

Friday, August 13, 2010

Character fixes our Destiny

Louis L'Amour, a famous western cowboy author (1908-1988) is quoted:

"There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.''

Our words, deeds, actions, continue for generations to come. What narrative we leave?

Tyron Edwards minister of the Second Congregational Church in Connecticut from 1845-1857 said,

"Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions for habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny."

Over 150 years ago, and this truth has not changed. That is a key component to truth - it does not change regardless of the "tolerance of the day".

Character fixes our destiny,
Eagle Driver
check 6

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One's Heart is set on What?

I recently finished two books on the Spartans and the Battle of Thermopylae as I had recently watched the movie 300 again. Being a military man I was impressed with the tactics to further the strategy that King Leonidas demonstrated in holding off the Persian hordes, reminiscent of the Battle of the Alamo. King Leonidas, along with James Bowie and William B. Travis had set their mind on defending the greater good of their nation. These men did what they had to do to protect the freedom for others. We have heard it spoken in terms of: "Duty, Honor, Country".

The time-line of the Battle of Thermopylae got me into the Old Testament book of Ezra and I was taken aback by what I read in chapter Ezra 7:10

"For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD, and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel."

Wow, what an incredible statement that reflects the questions I have posed on my previous posts:
What have we set our heart on?
What do we practice?
What are we teaching the generation that follows us?


Profound questions requiring honest answers.

C'ya
Eagle Driver
check 6

Legacy - what will we leave?

Continuing with my previous post on leadership and Winston Churchill's History of the English Speaking Peoples (Vol. 1, "The Birth of Britain", Dodd, Mead & Company, New York 1956, pg. 242-243), Sir Churchill writes a chapter on the birth of the famous Magna Carta. He begins this chapter with King Richard the Lionheart and the next heir King John of England.

"Richard had embodied the virtues which men admire in the lion, but there is no animal in nature that combines the contradictory qualities of John... Moreover, when the long tally is added it will be seen that the British nation and the English-speaking world owe far more to the vices of John than to the labours of virtuous sovereigns; for it was through the union of many forces against him that the most famous milestone of our rights and freedom [the Magna Carta] was in fact set up."

As I read this chapter I began to reflect back on my 50+ years. What will be my legacy, my "long tally is added it will be seen that..."? Will I be remembered as King Richard who "embodied the virtues which men admire" or as King John who is remembered for the vices of his reign? These are terribly difficult questions that one asks of oneself demanding an answer! If only I knew this when I was in my 20s.

I have learned to ask myself these profound questions and whether I have the ability to change. Change is a good thing, but one must change for the better. So the obvious next daunting question is, "What is the better?"

A life lived in selfishness is not "the better" as evidenced by King John of England and the remembrance of his life. Selfishness is characterized by such synonyms as egotistic, greedy, piggish, covetous, hording, mean, uncharitable, etc. Throughout history and numerous books written on selfish people, the recurring theme is a life ending in misery.

If misery and being remembered for one's vice is the result of selfishness, then the opposite must be "the better". What lifestyle, what worldview, what standard for one's life has been recorded time-and-time again as honorable? Well the word "honorable" says it all. The only lifestyle, worldview, standard that is consistently honorable and recorded over time is one based on the New Testament (notice I did not name a specific religion). Only the teachings of the New Testament decry the excesses of selfishness and extol the virtue of self-less-ness.

A life based on honor "is the better". Now I must change and do the right thing regardless of the situation. I am learning to become more honorable by spending time in the Word of God and attempting to live it out in my remaining years.

"All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify." - 1 Corinthians 10:23

What will be your Legacy?

Better to have learned this at 52 instead of 62.
C'ya
Eagle Driver
check 6

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Leadership verses Today

Winston Churchill writes in Volume 1 of The History of the English Speaking Peoples (Dodd, Mead & Co., New York 1956) on page 141 speaking of King Canute around 1027 AD:

"These remarkable achievements, under the blessing of God and the smiles of fortune, were in large measure due to his own personal qualities. He again we see the poser of a great man to bring order out of ceaseless broils and command harmony and unity to be his servants, and how the lack of such men has to be paid for by the inestimable suffering of the many."

My, how nothing has changed, for without vision the people die. Somehow I cannot see the popular candidates and our society's focus on rock-star popularity contests as someone who can bring order out of ceaseless broils and command harmony. Earlier Sir Churchill wrote of the death of King Edmund Ironside and the lack of follow-on leaders:

"... but in 1016, at twenty-two years of age, Edmund Ironside died, and the whole realm abandoned itself to despair."

Our actions have long lasting, generational effect. The question we must ask ourselves is:

Am I bringing order out of ceaseless broils and commanding harmony?
or
Am I causing my people to abandon themselves to despair?

What legacy do we want to leave?

C'ya
Eagle Driver
check 6

Friday, August 6, 2010

Got to have a Plan!

Pilots have been taught from the early stages of flight school to have a plan to arrive safely at the destination, and to be ready when (not if but when) something goes wrong. Major plans are during takeoff, at cruise, and when landing. Simulators are outstanding planning resource where the pilot can hone his/her skills at reacting to mechanical failures. One of the nice options when I was flying fighters was the ejection seat. This feature always gave you an out as the flying was very irregular to say the least. The following photos clearly show the advantage of the ultimate option - a Canadian CF-18 pilot ejects at a recent airshow.


Ah, only if life itself was as easy as pulling up on the ejection handles and squeezing the triggers and have the parachute deploy allowing you to safely land back on earth. No life is more akin to the airliner in that you do not have an ejection seat and where you have to solve the problem in the air and then safely recover the airplane on the runway. Why, am I bringing this up? In the fighter jet it is just simply you, while in the airliner it encompasses much more: you, your crew, and your passengers. That is life - it is not just about you!

This flight experience has transferred to my life in general. The studying of history, philosophy, and theology have given me a learning perspective that I had lacked in my younger days. This perspective is now long-term as opposed to that of my youth with a devotion to the "now." The long-term has trained me not to panic but to persevere for I know there is a reward for working through the present hardship.

My plan is to continually ask these questions, of which sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail:

How are my actions today going to affect those around me and the generations to follow? In other words are my actions honorable, ethical, praiseworthy - furthering good? If so continue developing, if not change it as I don't have much time.

What have I learned (good and bad) that I may pass on to those around me and the generations that follow? In other words have I the nobility of character that friends and family feel at home with and can they learn without being ridiculed? If so continue developing, if not change it as I don't have much time.

Where is my heart and mind? In other words are my thoughts and actions reflective of the standard or am I like so many - a hypocrite? If so continue developing, if not change it as I don't have much time.

Who do I serve - me or God? In other words are my actions reflective of a lifestyle that knows that earth is not the final destination? If so continue developing, if not change it as I don't have much time.

Why am I here? In other words do I believe in something/someone higher than me - Is Jesus Christ real and is the Bible real? (Many who attack the Bible have never read it from cover-to-cover they just grab a verse out of context or grab the Cliff Notes). If so continue developing, if not change it as I don't have much time.

My plan includes the study of the Bible itself, theology, philosophy, etc. so that I have the knowledge to successfully handle the next abnormal systems failure in the airliner of life. Additionally I will actively practice life and not sit back as a passenger and say "woe is me." The treasure of one's character must be invested in the future, by acting appropriately today. That is my plan, do you have a Plan?

"For our citizenship is in heaven..." (Phil. 3:20) and "... for they [the Pharisees] loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God" (John 12:43).

Food for Thought if You are Hungry
Eagle Driver
check 6

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hate Sells

Half the year is over and we are that much closer to 2012, where the world will end as we know it (I know because I saw the movie). I find it very interesting how many people really hate this or that. Those who are of the "tolerant" camp hate those who are intolerant and are not like them - intolerant of the intolerant (as Mr. Spock of Star Trek would say, "Illogical."). There are those who are intolerant of the tolerant (again Mr. Spock, "Fascinating."). Seems to me everyone is simply intolerant and employing their view as the "Only Correct" position (again by definition - intolerant).

So I propose that everyone stop with the "tolerant/intolerant" facade and acknowledge the hate that is spewed. Will someone explain to me how the current rants of hate (from the tolerant and intolerant camps) solve anything? Has it ever solved anything in history? This current rant of "tolerance" is simply disguised Hate! Once again we are guilty of not learning from the past and now we are destined to repeat it with the Hatfields and McCoys, the North and the South of our past Civil War.

We are (or use to be) a nation of ideas not ideologies. I guess Hate Sells - wasn't it a simpler time when it advertisers said that sex sells? Disagreeing without being disagreeable is a mark of civilized behavior within a society. Spewing hate from the Right to the Left and from the Left to the Right accomplishes the Hatfields and McCoys ideology.

I am free to believe; however, I am not free to harm. Freedom is not free and carries significant responsibility. The question we must ask ourselves (as opposed to demand from others) should be something to the effect of, "Are my actions generated from my beliefs physically harming others or the society at large?" The key words are My Actions and Harmful.

Hate, disguised in any form, is unequivocally harmful! Are our actions/words spewed with hate?

On page 246 of Power vs Force - The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior (Carlsbad, Calif., Bay House, Inc., 2002), Dr. David R. Hawkins writes:

"Frequently, the only way one can reach this willingness to change [from hate] is when one "hits bottom," that is, by running out a course of action to its end in the defeat of a futile belief system. Light can't enter a closed box; the upside of catastrophe can be an opening to a higher level of awareness."

If the pen is mightier than the sword (along with our words) and actions speak louder than words, then where does our hate-filled language take us? Or as Mr. Spock said in the TV series Star Trek from the episode titled "Errand of Mercy":

"It is curious how often you humans manage to obtain that which you do not want."

C'ya
Eagle Driver
check 6