Why we need Philosophy

To many of my friends out there: I’m concerned you don’t appreciate the utility or function or nature of philosophy, apart from pop-culture’s pallid understanding.

When you say things like “Philosophers often have the luxury of thinking continually without conclusion or an end state” it is very concerning, because you are assuming all too much, and throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

There is good philosophy, and there is bad philosophy. But philosophy is chiefly concerned with getting to the bottom of things so that life and living can be improved upon. The word philosophy literally means “the love of wisdom”. And wisdom is defined as “the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment”. It is concerned with good “judgement” or the ability to decide the quality or soundness of things.

Philosophy is responsible for EVERY single school of thought or academic discipline today.

Biological sciences, mathematics, physical sciences, astronomy, psychology, economics, archeology, paleontology, neuroscience, anthropology, aesthetics, sociology, ethics, engineering, politics, etc etc etc etc.

And they all very much have an end in mind.

It’s called refining the quality of our thoughts, so that they reflect “reality” and improve our “utility” as humans striving to live optimally.

Discarding faulty or poor assumptions, uncovering false assumptions, shedding light on self-deception, probing deeper into arguments, into the nature of things, the relationships of things, etc.

Talking and asking questions is not necessarily “philosophy”. If its meandering or pointless or noise, its called “bullshit”.

Everyone should study philosophy, and practice it regularly, and employ it in their daily lives.

It would improve society from being so mindless, from not challenging bullshit dogma by self proclaimed and often deluded “experts” or “authority figures” that spew hot air which may sound good, and may be emotionally appealing or temporarily self serving, but is just…. total… utter… garbage. Because it’s false or deception or lies or fantasy or inaccurate or outdated, etc.

Philosophy is the process or vehicle of getting us quality information about our world and our relation to it, and refining and improving our understanding of this process.

Before mankind thought about these things, he asked questions: how? what? why? when? where? who?

The first philosophers conversed with his fellow man, who shared their reasoning and their experiences. They continually challenged each other’s experiences, their perceptions, their “reasoning” and came up with rules for good arguments, formulating formal and informal logic, and examined the very nature of perception and experience.

Overtime, from the Greeks until now (and before the Greeks the Egyptians and Babylonians and other civilization’s contributions we lost in the fire of the Library of Alexandria), these conversations coalesced and became more specific, with specific ends in mind, and they developed into separate conversations, or schools of thought.

These schools of thought now comprise the disciplines or studies or “majors” we encounter in academia today.

When you have exhausted the fundamental understanding of each of these disciplines, you are considered a “doctor of philosophy” or Phd. You can now expand the bounds of this school of thought, and add additional knowledge to the cannon of that specific discipline.

Unfortunately “modern” academia doesn’t teach people “how to think” or educate people on the process of philosophy like they once did, which was always considered the “queen of the sciences”.

Now they just force you to memorize what everyone else already thought, and you don’t challenge it. Just sit there. Read and memorize. Don’t question.

This is a problem.

This is a problem because we need thinkers, we need people who can think originally, who can generate new information and perspectives to problems all on their own, and not rely on others or outside knowledge to guide their way. This not only prevents the spread of false knowledge, it stimulates inquiry into new ways of thinking, and generates new questions about things and problems and dilemmas previously overlooked.

This is exactly why I believe our society needs more philosophy.

Reading for Growth

I don’t think the modernity of a book is a good judge of its value and wisdom. Wisdom is timeless, and fashionable trends fade with the fickle tastes of the times.

Below is a small list of the most inspiring and life changing books and essays I’ve had the fortune of reading:

1) As a Man Thinketh, by James Allen
2) Self-Reliance, by Ralph Waldo Emerson
3) How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
4) Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill
5) The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey
6) Five Major Puzzle Pieces of the Life Puzzle, by Jim Rohn
7) Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl

The ones above have had the greatest impact on my life. I can remember reading each of these books and the various moments when they provided me with life changing epiphanies. They’re all relatively short, but contain profound, timeless wisdom. They are cited as some of the most widely influential books and read by some of the greatest leaders in recent history.

The following books refined my perspective on life and myself, but require a good deal of intellectual energy to read and digest:

The Will to Believe, by William James
The Denial of Death, by Ernest Becker
The Genealogy of Morals, by Nietzsche
The Theory of the Leisure Class, by Thorstein Veblen

And aphorisms, reflections, and thoughts by a few of the greatest minds:

Ideas and Opinions, by Albert Einstein
Pensees, by Pascal
Maxims and Reflection, by J.W. Goethe

And lastly: why do you want to read? What do you think it’s gonna do for you?

The reason I ask is that if you don’t know “why” you’re reading or learning something, it won’t change you. It will simply leave superficial impressions on your memory, and not lasting changes on your character. And the “why” must be powerful enough to drive you towards growth, it needs to contain enough emotion and enough reason so that what you read sticks in your mind and literally attaches itself to your character and aids in the construction of your worldview. That way it’ll never leave you and you’ll be more of a person.

It doesn’t matter what we know. It matters who we are, because ultimately who we are dictates what we do with what we know, and that makes all the difference.

So I ask, if you’re trying to develop yourself into someone better, into your full potential, allow yourself to change. Suspend judgement. Admit that you don’t know anything. Allow yourself to be wrong. Only then will you able to gain wisdom and grow and achieve destined greatness.

If you happen to take me up on my suggestions and read these books, read them with an open mind. Spend time with them. Meditate and reflect on the implication of their message on your life. Be curious and passionate, and they will teach you.


Modern Education: The Efficacy and Necessity of State Dependent Learning

For a long time I’ve had qualms with our modern education system. My biggest complaint is the impersonal, dry, rigid, and seemingly irrelevant approach to memorizing and reguritating information. I often argue, as many people do, that formal education isn’t practical, that if fails to instill true comprehension and understanding, to fully engage a students mind and passions. I had an epiphany today that shed light on what this means exactly.

When I take tests, it’s typically in a hollow classroom on stiff chairs and cold desks. My ability to recall information with proficiency depends on massive inundation with a text, repetition of words and concepts, until I’ve drilled them far enough in my skull so that when I see a question with a certain combination of words, my mind retrieves the appropriate associated content. But this is not learning, per say; it’s regurgitation. My body and mind exist in a single state, an “academic” or school state, where all the information goes in and comes out the same way.

On the other hand, I often find myself in a certain context, a specific situation or circumstance, and I’m able to recall and converse and argue and expand on information and knowledge that many would be hard pressed to guess was residing within me. The ability to perform these acrobatic feats of comprehensive cognition requires that I’m in a specific state of mind which is engaged with the moment, the situation at hand. In every new circumstance, with every new set of problems I encounter, my perspective, and therefore mind, shifts and I enter into a state of consciousness that is perfectly adapted to produce solutions due to previous experience in that state.

What it all comes down to is recognizing the importance, nay, the all encompassing relevance, of state dependent learning. This is where school fails.

The ability to critically think requires engaging different perspectives. But school doesn’t necessarily teach diferent perspectives. Sure, they may encourage studying abroad and joing extracurriculars and what not, but real learning takes place within a specific state produced by a specific context, and all knowledge is born out these contexts and the problems inherent within them.

What modern education needs to emphasize is state dependent learning. Teach philosophy by philosophizing, by asking questions, by creating dialog and conflict and then seek resolution through thoughtful discourse. Teach math by providing postulates and propositions, then a problem, and have them prove the problem. Teach economics by evaluating a real company. Teach communications by role playing a real problem or agenda with real unpredictable variables. Teach accounting by throwing a person into a company and having them learn by going through and asking questions.

The reason for experiential learning is that all knowledge is procedural and therefore state dependent.

When education learns how to provide an environment that effectively presents material in this fashion, students will thrive.

The Concept of Mind: Structures of Experience

After many conversations with friends about experience vs. reflection, I decided I should attempt to extricate how it is I grasp consciousness and its inhabiting structures. These are simply ongoing notes and reflections written for my own personal reference. Though it may not be immediately obvious, there is a certain logic to the order in which these thoughts are introduced.


A living organism is a subjective being, and a subjective being possesses a body. A subject possesses a perspective, while an object is possessed by a perspective.


Stimulation occurs due to a change or transference of energy, otherwise called an affect. Stimulation acting on the body produces an affect which leaves an impression on the mind. Sensory stimulation occurs due to an affect on the sensory organs located on the body.


Memory is produced by recalling past impressions

Reflection is a synthetic process which integrates past memories with present experience; by retrieving past impressions, of varying quantity and quality, and creating new associations.

Reflection extricates concepts from their originally generated, or prior applied, context and introduces the concepts into the present consciousness.


Experience is a feature of all living beings, rendered by responding to stimulations derived from the external world.

Experience is feeling: the production of sensations on the mind.

Experience, prior to the introduction of any and all structural concepts, is a swirling chaos of pure feeling and sensation, with each sensation represented to varying magnitudes and degrees. The absence of any order is confusing, swirling, melting, blooming, variegating; a storm of senses, containing  every color, sound, smell, touch, taste; with all the accompanying pain and pleasure; boiling of shade, hue, tint, tone.

Experience can be conscious or unconscious.


Consciousness is produced by active reflection. Unconsciousness is produced by inactive reflection.

Consciousness is marked by reflection: it is the feature of reproducing impressions—memories— and hold them before the “mind’s eye” for consideration (for application or entertainment).

Reflective consciousness may produce the feeling of experience by reproducing memories of prior experience, otherwise known as imagining, but this experience is not actively “living”, but presently “dead”. According to the sensations produced, that which is living is fluid and changing; while that which is dead is static and persisting.

Consciousness has many levels: it is not simply being “alive”. There are many levels— or orders— of consciousness. Higher order consciousness arises in proportion to complexity: the greater the complexity, the greater consciousness.

The complexity of consciousness is proportional to the quantity and quality of reflection. By quantity I speak temporally of “how often”, specifically done. By quality I speak spatially of “how many”, specifically kinds.

The faculties of consciousness relate to both the sensory input organs and the sensory integration organs. The five senses constitute the input organs, while the integration organs relate to associative memory.

The sensory input organs are developed according to their sensitivity which arises from exposure. Each input organ develops independently from or in combination with other input organs. Independent exposure produces depth; while combinatory exposure produces breadth, with depth increasing in proportion to exposure of combinations..

The integration organs break down further into two aspects of integration, being intelligence and creativity. Intelligence relates to efficient associative memory, while creativity relates to effective associative memory.

Efficient associative memory arises from similar stimulation, repetition, or repeated exposure, or routine; which produce strengthened habits of thought.

Effective associative memory arises from dissimilar stimulation, instances, or diverse exposure, or novelty; which produce weakened habits of thought.

Conceptual Structures

How concepts structure experience into knowledge:

Concepts render conscious experience; that is, concepts render experience conscious.

Concepts are the lens, the paradigm, the filter, the mold, the scope, the structure, the order with which experience is made conscious.

Conceptual structures arise from reflection.

Concepts order experience; they serve to distinguish distinctions among the spectrum of colorful feeling so that colorful feeling can be indexed according to its kind and utilized when the appropriate context calls for it.

All knowledge resembles a polyhedron bi-pyramid. Each domain of knowledge (experience or thought) is a triangular face on the pyramid, with every domain representing a specific context, or culture or social structure.

Concepts are geometric shapes or tools; they exist as structures that organize the integration of experience.

When I imagine what a single concept is within a single domainmy thoughts produce a two dimensional geometric shape that resembles a snowflake.

If the concept is complex and developed by experimental experience, and incorporates many domains of thought, I imagine a three dimensional solid, with one face visible to the domain, and the interrelations with other conceptual blocks hidden from sight, existing internally within the pyramid.


A context is the associations established among objects by circumscribing the area around the location of a given point.

A context is determined by the degrees of relation among objects proximate to the given point of a subject’s location.

A context is an ecology and system: an ecology is the entire sum of objective demands acting within the context; a system is a series of connections produced by cause and demand.

The context produced by conscious experience is a domain of thought; a perspective of mind.

Each context is a unique, temporally and spatially located, experience with specific environmental demands, being physical or social. Context is the situation of a given organism or subjective being, in present or past.

Context is defined as the problem; the environmental demands. Every organism is programmed to self-preserve: survival is an organisms priority. As such, every context poses a problem, with the ease of the problem increasing in proportion to the level of adaptation.

The greater the problem or struggle or chaos or confusion, the greater the need for reflection, and the greatest potential for generating new concepts.

Concepts are always generated within a specific context, to solve the problem of context and its individuated environmental demands; therefore concepts are anchored to the context in which they were generated. Concepts may be unanchored when they are reproduced through reflection, introduced to the consciousness, and applied to the context of present or past experience.

Division of labor diversifies contexts by delineating and indexing concepts according to the specific context in which they were generated. In this way division of labor acknowledges the utility of context and the accompanying specialization of concepts.

Each face of the geometric solid represents a the conceptual structure of a single perspective.

Environment is determined by the temporal and spatial location of a subjective being in an external world constituted by finite matter composing infinite entities.


All particulars are ideas of consciousness:: All facts are particulars of experience.

All ideas are indexed concepts; ideas are truth, and cannot be challenged by experience.

All facts are indexed experiences; facts are probable, and can be challenged by experience.

An untested fact is only an idea.

A tested idea is a fact only in the context in which is was tested.

All premises must be grounded in experience.

All facts must be grounded in experience.


Convergence occurs due to association.

Convergent lines  intersect at angles which represent logical connectors, or operators or associations.

Operators connect or hold the concept together and give it shape.

Dualities of Consciousness

I come to possess concepts in two ways: passively or actively.

1. Passive concepts are yielded deductively, as given ideas.

2. Active concepts are yielded inductively, as created facts. .

1. Knowledge is ideas that have been passively structured with concepts: knowledge is rote, analytic, two dimensional, logically sequential, abstract and monochromatic

2. Wisdom is experience that has been actively structured with concepts: wisdom is intuitive, synthetic, three dimensional, holistic, concrete and colorful.

1. I passively receive concepts through books or passively listening to lecture or discourse. These concepts arrive prefabricated and incomplete. In this way passive concepts exist a priori to experience until the extent of their full nature fully tested through experimentation and the geometric solid can be developed. These concepts are linked

When I receive a passive concept, each sentence or logical operation produces or adds black lines, points, or angles to the shape. The lines are the premises; and the angles are the operators. The concept itself is hollow and possesses no internal color and therefore no way of distinguishing it from other similar concepts without an external indicator. In fact, when I think about an abstract concept, it’s sometimes difficult to see where premised lines begin and where they end, which angles of logic are part of the line or part of two separate premised lines intersecting.

2. I actively produce concepts though the process of organizing chaotic or confusing experience. That is, a problem imposes disorder on my experience and by turning over the problem within my mind— by reflecting and describing and rotating its nature; and asking how and why and when it works and where it comes from and what it associates with— I produce an erect a structure which orders the experience. This structure is a concept.

Every actively produced concept is a result of applied pressure, applied work, constantly squeezing, testing, stretching, challenging, and undermining its ability to yield a concept that orders and explains experience.

Synthetic Unification

New concepts are constructed when the particulars of mind converge in a context, as a result of reflection.

Wisdom is synthesis of contexts, or disparate domains of knowledge, and the concepts located within.

The process of testing particulars yields experience.

The process of testing concepts within a context yields understanding.

The process of testing concepts in various contexts yields wisdom.

The bipyramid capstone is the unifying concept; the pinnacle is the all seeing eye; the concept located at the highest point is the higher order self, or a consciousness that is fully aware of its self, due to reflection.

The top of the pyramid is where synthesis occurs: all concepts exist under this synthesizing capstone.

Structuring Consciousness

No matter what the domain, there is always a single unifying concept at the top, which resembles a capstone, in which all other concepts are built upon. This concept possesses the same shape and is positioned in the same location for every domain. Reaching the very point of this  capstone requires emptying all concepts from the mind, and feeling entirely. When this occurs synthesis can occur among other domains of thought and their concepts.

The concepts extending from under this unifying concept all resemble irregular geometric shapes. The farther down, the more irregular, and the less compatible with concepts horizontal to it. Extending away from the unifying pinnacle located at the tip of the capstone, the base extends down infinitely as each additional concept justifying existing concepts indexes a new aspect of experience.

Each concept possesses very unique features that allow it to integrate seamlessly with other concepts that possess inversely congruent features, so that they rest stable on one another. In this way all compatible concepts are inversely related (dualistic), like puzzle pieces, possessing a supply or demand that links them together, a void or an instantiating, a cause or effect, a deficit or surplus. Every concept contrasts with an interlinking, compatible concept in which it is connected.

New domains of knowledge cannot be built up from passive concepts. They can only reconstruct an existing domain of knowledge. Passive concepts can build down, developing or elaborating new concepts, from existing domains of knowledge.

Only when the unifying concept located at the point of the capstone is established can active concepts build up new domains of knowledge.

Adaptation and Evolution

Adaptation is an equalizing response; adapting is a response which creates equilibrium between two objects.

Adaptation is the appropriate response to environmental demands.

Adaptation of a subjective being is the appropriate response to proximate objective demands imposed by the given context.

The necessities, struggles, and demands original to a context does not guarantee adaptation.  If the subjective being is perfectly adapted to its environment– the objective demands of its context–, appropriate responses will occur fluidly and seamlessly.

Energy must be supplied to a system to produce change.

If a subjective being  is produced by the context, it is perfectly adapted. Wherever energy is highest, adaptation is fastest. Potential energy allows for future adaptation.

Concepts allow for adaptation by producing appropriate responses to changing demands.

Access to concepts and active reflection is imperative to adaptation.

Concepts without reflection cause functional fixation because they only consider the concepts—and the context in which they were generated— presently occupying the consciousness, which is incompatible with the demands of the current context.

Some personalities possess a chronic struggle which produces creative thoughts and solutions: madness of creative genius, anxiety, bipolar, depression, and the like.


Talking Pineapples: Unreflective Education

Just finished reading an article titled Talking Pineapple on 8th grade New York State Confuses Everyone.

How does something like this happen? And how often? I’d like to know when the education system fully embraced its role to inculcate and train students with nonsensical, abstracted theory rather than educate students with sensible, relevant material rooted in experience. Has education replaced religion as the perpetrator of unreflective dogma? Or I am being too harsh?

Do educators believe students are simply too dumb and unreflective to realize that they’re being duped?  What is actually being tested here? Abstracted relationships with no foothold in reality. This leaves the mind way too open for programming. When you don’t have a foot in experience, when you’re holed up in a classroom, in a car, behind a computer, in front of your phone the majority of your life, you are liable to be believe the craziest, most nonsensical rhetoric.

When I train an animal— a dog for instance— I train it using extrinsic rewards. When it performs an instructed action, I say “good doggy”, pat it on the head, rub its belly, and produce a succulent morsel of food. When the dog behaves in an unacceptable way, I blow my whistle, scold him, place him in time out, give him a smack, or perhaps withhold food and treats. I use these rewards or punishments to condition his responses, however illogical they appear to be (what is logic anyway?). I could have him stand on a ball, balance a fishbowl on his nose, and have him howl a song. He doesn’t care how ridiculous it looks, just so long as he gets fed and a pat on the head. All he knows is that there is a reward at the end, every time.

When I train a human, I train him using extrinsic rewards. When the person performs an instructed action, I say “good boy”, put him on the back, give him a gold star, an A+ grade, or perhaps produce some dollars. When he behaves in an unacceptable way, I yell at him, scold him, place him in time out, take away his star, give him an F, whip him, or starve him.

It’s the same way for humans. When the instructions become so insane they don’t reflect our personal experience, and we’re alright with that, you can be sure you are being manipulated, that something is not right. “Why would I ever have to consider thinking about pineapples and cannibals in this way?” you might ask, “When have I ever in my past?” And they reply “Never mind, don’t think about the content of the story,” and say, “just remember what we told you in class, remember the answers, the response we told you to produce when you see the question.” It’s not education, it’s training. Education means  “to lead out”, such as when we lead someone to a new terrain, to new pastures. Training means to “drag out”, like when you drag a mule, or pull a slave by the collar.

(Educate comes from educere ex- “out”+ ducere “to lead”, from the PIE root *deuk- “to lead”, where Duke is derived. Training comes from trahere “to pull, draw,” from PIE root *tragh- “to draw, drag, move”)

I have been giving thought to similar problems I encounter throughout our education system and, more broadly, culture.

This is an example when theory trumps experience. What the hell does that mean? I mean schools don’t teach you how to reason from open experience, they train you to reason from closed theory. They prioritize syntax, structure, and empty relationships among symbols, among words. Pure abstractions.  There is no emphasis on content, semantics (associated meaning and feeling), and comprehensive understanding. Am I being too hard?

I don’t think I am. In our classrooms it doesn’t matter if you know what the worldly implications of an answer are so long as you answer it correctly on the test. It’s not like students ever experience or encounter the object— that is, what the words and relationships among them actually refer to—  as they sit for hours in their crammed classrooms. Most of education is abstraction. They teach you how to reason from principles, and the constructed relationships between them, that you’re instructed assume, ad hoc, to be true. When we simply believe words or principles are true, we commit the same error that religion commits. Words and authority don’t make something real. Just because the pope says the bible is the word of god doesn’t mean that Jesus was the son of  god— like we even know what god, which god, or who Jesus meant when we spoke of “god”; God could simply be enlightenment, desire for understanding, thirst for knowledge, or faith in your self, which is my favorite interpretation since it contains explanations for all the preceding.

As far as I’m concerned, there is one reality, one god, and it’s found deep within each individual if they dare to venture within and search it out. Reality does not exist outside of the mind: to be is to be perceived. Symbols, words, tokens, signs— they all seek to transcend the authority of personal experience with impersonal theory, and they are very persuasive, especially when “logic” knits the story together so convincingly.

What makes something real must be real according to you. I always suggest that you peer review your experience with others who have shared that experience, but ultimately the utility of your conclusions must be left for you to decide. Do not give the authority of your experience over to the authority of another due to complex justifications or compelling rhetoric.


Regarding this article and our culture, I believe we’re in a time where the sovereignty of an individual’s internal experience is on its way out, where individualism counts for nothing anymore.  We’re witnessing the rise of pedantic educational, political, and economic institutions that are similar to the rise of parochial religious institutions, all of which serve one purpose: enslavement.

How is this possible? How can this be?

I would bet it’s the natural corollary of civilization. Every civilization reached a point where ridiculous dogma and metaphysics governed the masses. And we think we’ve escaped the ignorance? We think that science has somehow saved us from ourselves? That is prideful ignorance.

Repetition causes words to lose their meaning. Scarcity creates value. And values prescribe action. But when there is no common experience, and control must be exerted, you must appeal to some values, some feeling for influence. What feeling can universally move the masses? We’ve discarded religion due to its incompatibility with the profits that science and technology can provide— But religion did work so well for so long! Wage labor a far better way of incentivizing work and extracting wealth than tithing is anyway: so what is the common value of industrialized society, for America? Materialism! i.e.  money and the “things” we can accessorize our experience with!

All that we do revolves around the pleasure of goods, the gratification of indulging in “things” or pleasing corporeal experiences. But what happens when there is no more scarcity, there is no more value, there is nothing unique about the human experience? What happens when your individualism becomes null because there is nothing in the world that hasn’t been felt by everyone else?

That’s why experience is so important, that’s why feeling is so significant, why authenticity is the reigning value of all values. Where you are your own god who creates your own meanings.

And what to I mean by god? I do not mean perfectly “omniscience, omnipotent, omnipresent”. That is for fairy tales. The god I am referring to that you possess within you is the ability to create meaning and value and visions and worlds and relationships for yourself. Without having to rely on some external superior power or governing authority.

Yes. You are your own god. Does that terrify you? It should. Is a slave terrified without his master?

You must learn to become, as Emerson said, Self-Reliant. The power exists within you, within the imagination, the depths of reflection, where memories mix and meld with reason and will, the desire to thrive and flourish.

manifestum philosophiae

I want to start a culture. Specifically, a school of thought. This school will operate independently from any existing cultural institution; moreover, it will remain free from the influence of any existing governmental, religious, academic, or community organization. It will be a community school ipso facto, a social organism composed of collaborating individuals. To attend, you must be a participating citizen who lives and works within the community.

The following is a preliminary framework in which this culture will embody:

This evolving draft is the culmination of all the principles of wisdom I have distilled throughout my life.

These are the core ideas embodying this manifesto: Subjective, Objective, Synthetic, Exponential, Evolution.


I exist. Specifically: the statement I exist posits the objective from the subjective.

Existence is paradox.

Paradox is contradiction. Specifically: Paradox is conflict.

Within the space of the present moment is duality:  a priori and a posteriori: infinite and finite, divisible and indivisible, continuum and locus, composite and prime, even and odd, whole and part, totality and partiality, relation and position, dimension and point, possibility and necessity, subjective and objective, relationship and entity, essence and existence, type and population, abstract and concrete, concept and fact, mental and physical, inclusive and exclusive, spiritual and corporeal, mind and body, passion and reason, deduction and induction, wisdom and knowledge, intrinsic and extrinsic, holism and perspective, monism and pluralism, conclusion and premise, God and man, ad inifinitum. (Consider exploring the following: sufficient and necessary, antecedent and consequent, fluid and static, life and death, )

Composite is the whole.

Prime is the parts.

The greatest number is one, 1. Specifically: One establishes a subjective perspective.

The second greatest number is two, 2. Specifically: Two establishes an objective perspective.

Each subjective perspective establishes a relationship with the other. Specifically: the apprehension of a second perspective is impressive.

Being the first odd prime number, three, 3, Δ, is the most divine, the most excellent, the strongest.  exemplī grātiā: triangle, logic (two premises, third conclusion), et cetera.

The number three represents change, as delta, Δ.

Given two points, any third point may be deduced. Specifically: given an infinite series of points, the existence of any two points establish a third point. More precisely: Presented with a third, the established relationship between any two exclusive subjective perspectives establishes an inclusive objective whole. The triangle signifies this inclusive relationship, Δ.


terminus a quo: all “matter” exists as static energy. Specifically: “matter” is equivalent to static energy.

Energy is present totality. Specifically: energy is the existing universe.

Energy is an indirectly observed quantity. Quantity is an assigned value, a symbol denoting a numerically assigned point of magnitude or multitude.

Energy is observed as a transference, a change, Δ, in state, between objects.

“Matter” is an object that occupies space and possesses mass.

Space is the n-dimensional extent dictated by underlying structures within a boundless continuum in which objects and events possess a relative position and direction. Specifically: Space is context.

Mass is a quantitative measure of an object’s resistance to change, Δ. Specifically, the greater the mass: the greater the inertia; the greater the gravity, ergo the greater resistance to change.


terminus a quo: the universe exists in perpetual flux. Specifically: the natural world exists as continual change. 

Flux is change.

Change is exponential. Specifically: change is signified by increasing returns. More precisely, change: progresses or regresses, increases or decreases, expands or contracts, develops or diminishes.

Where there is no change, there is equilibrium. Specifically, the absence of change is: homeostasis, preservation, status quo, routine, habit.


terminus a quo: all life, all living organisms, exist under a single axiom: “Self-preservation”. Specifically: the preservation of body and/or mind.  More precisely: the preservation of the living organism’s body or mind; genetic or psychological information. “Self-preservation” is homeostasis.

“Self-preservation” is the product of evolution. Specifically: the ability of an individual organism to adapt to its natural world. More precisely: the capacity of an individual organism to adapt to the context in which it is presently situated.

Adaptation is evolution. Specifically: Adaptation is flourishing. Ergo, evolution is flourishing.


The ideal culture must embody two axiomatic principles: “Know thyself” and “I know that I know nothing”.

Combined together they form paradox. 

Paradox is conflict, contradiction. The presence of paradox produces the elemental state of the evolutionary life: synthesis.

Synthesis is creation. Specifically: understanding, resolution, harmony, union, learning.


Regarding the first axiomatic principle: to “know thyself” requires apprehension of self. Specifically: acknowledging the extent or bounds of your individual subjective consciousness. The subjective consciousness is finite part.Thus, terminus a quo, “know thyself” is finite knowledge. It exists in parts and i through action, through experimentation, through testing of your self, your reactions.

Regarding the second axiomatic principle: “I know that I know nothing” requires apprehension of world. Specifically: the extent of the general objective world.  The objective world is infinite whole. Thus, terminus a quo, “I know that I know nothing” is ignorance.

Thus, the synthesis of the first two axiomatic principles is paradox. 


The process of mental evolution, termed “learning” or “education”, will embody a key tenant: “praxis“. More precisely: a posteriori inductive experience and a priori deductive reflection. Specifically: action and reflection, empiricism and theory, experimentation and hypothesis, divergence and convergence, doing and thinking.

Praxis embodies two features: “novel experience” and “meditative reflection”. More precisely: broad stimulating exposure and deep introspective thought. Specifically: gathering new sensation and establishing existing memory.


Synthesis is a process that individuates conscious experience, holistic phenomenal consciousness, individual subjective perspective.

The external world provides the parts. The internal world provides the whole. The process of synthesis occurs through reflection.

Synthesis is a product of the will to power.


Will to power is a manifestation of the first axiom: “self-preservation”. Specifically: will to power is the manifested intention to “self-preserve”.

Will to power is the driving mechanism of the process of synthesis. Specifically: synthesis is a result, a consequence, a corollary, a conclusion

Will to power is produced through a conflict of intention: through struggle, through frustration, through challenges, through obstacles, through pain, through confusion.


Conflict is exists either externally or internally. Specifically: the phenomenon of conflict exists a posterior experience or a priori thought; body or mind.

Conflict of intention achieves synthesis through active inquiry, through inquisition, through curiosity, through wonder, through asking questions.

Critical inquiry or critical thinking is the process of recalling the two axiomatic principles as a means of identifying subjective theory, or latent mental assumptions, and criticizing or challenging new experience or information about the world.


Recall: The more mass the more resistance to change.

Education and Genius: Boredom and Learning

If you are having a conversation with someone and you find yourself struck with boredom, chances are it is not a failure on your part, not a result of your mere laziness. I would bet that the failure rests with the person your speaking to, your interlocutor. I’m under the opinion that there no boring ideas. Just boring people.

After all, we’re sensual creatures. We thrive on stimulation. Nearly all of communication is nonverbal (Knapp). Sight and sound comprise 94% of our sensory inputs, 84% and 11% respectively. The American educator Marva Collins said that “The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious, to have one idea spark another.” I couldn’t agree more. I believe that at the heart of this contagion is a resonating passion, an enthusiasm that generates a visceral reaction, a mutually shared connection with another person.

Regarding education, why do we find that the responsibility for learning and adequate understanding rests with the student? Assuming that students have a vested interest in gaining knowledge of the material, why would we dismiss them as merely lazy or unmotivated when they find it unbearably difficult to fight through boredom and apprehend a classroom lecture?

When a student enters a classroom prepared to learn new material, they begin without a context. Even when reading the text is a prerequisite to coming to class, there is still an absence of ultimate relevant context: why should a student be expected to understand the relevancy and relationships within the context being presented? They shouldn’t. But this is the prevailing attitude maintained by formal education.

The result of an attitude insisting that the better part of learning rests in the hands of the student rather than with the teacher is a system of education where disengaged teachers instruct and lecture to students who are discouraged to engage in critical, mutually beneficial dialog, but sit as semi-passive observers to be inculcated with remote, vague ideas devoid of a context that is immediately relevant to the schema they bring with them to the classroom.

What kind of thinking does this promote? I would bet that the direct manifest of this classroom emphasis produces analytic, auditory-sequential thinking. This type of thinking is rote, routine, automatic, and poor in relevant context necessary for robust comprehension. Outside of what meaning is directly issued by the dictated insistence of the educator, there is no meaning. As a result students know all the words to all the questions, but they fail to ever develop a comprehensive semantic web that poises all the questions, and therefore lack the capacity to critically inquire, to ask original questions, for themselves. The contrary of analytic, auditory-sequential thinking is nonsequential, visuo-spatial thinking characteristic of geometric visions of reality.

I recommend reading Two Ways of Knowing for a preliminary elaboration on the virtues of auditory-sequential learning (left brain hemisphere) versus visuo-spatial learning (right brain hemisphere). To briefly note, highly gifted individuals utilized visuo-spatial thinking, exhibiting greater brain activity in the right brain hemisphere. But allow me to continue this line of thought a little further down. (Also another interesting article on Temporary and Spatial Processing)

Wonder. This word encompasses the attitude of children— model geniuses in their own right. They are absorbed with curiosity, captured with wonder, and intensely interested in the prismatic, multifaceted world around them. Children learn at exponential rates, partly due to their physiological development, but even more importantly, due their excitement for discovering novel experiences and the process of knitting new understandings regarding how these experiences work.

But what happens to that childlike wonder? Where does it go in age? In the past psychologists speculated that the brain is programmed for critical periods of development that allows for exceedingly fast neural growth in childhood that eventually tapers off with age. They posited that brain plasticity and cognitive fluidity wanes as knowledge becomes more crystallized with age. Due to recent research dispelling notions that brain plasticity declines and ceases with the onset of adulthood, and due to my own experience with learning, I do not embrace this paradigm.

Instead I would like to introduce a paradigm that explains how sparkling wonder for the world fades as individuals become more enculturated, as their questions about the world are met with more of the same answers, the same flat predictable responses. The corollary? They grow more desensitized, their brain is starved of stimulation, and their minds slowly harden and calcify into a crystallized understanding of the same old  phenomenon they find themselves routinely bombarded with.

In effect, the loss of childlike wonder, the lack of curiosity for the world and all its treasured enthusiasms for understanding, is a result of mental oppression. Sounds harsh, right? While this may sound like an overt plot by big brother, I assure you it is not. Rather it is the natural progression of culture.

Allow me to digress momentarily and introduce my thoughts on the sociological philosophies of Bourdieu and Althusser.

Bourdieu discusses the phenomenal progression of enculturation that begins before we are born, beginning with a room and crib and name and clothes assigned to us by our parents. As we emerge from the womb and into this world with an open mind, tabula rasa, we adopt the world that has been carved out for us. Aside from the aforementioned articles, our parents may even have an idea of what kind of person we’ll be, what personality and character they believe we should possess, what religion we’ll practice, and maybe even what job they envision us to have one day, perhaps as a doctor, or lawyer, or entrepreneur.  As we grow older, we learn the various cultural conventions that should govern our behavior appropriately within the context of our given family practices, within school, within church, or within the public domain, such as how to think, how to speak, how to act. We are corrected whenever we venture outside the realms of customary convention, such as when we use foul language in certain public settings, and are reprimanded and corrected, otherwise censured.

This external censure slowly becomes adopted and internalized by individuals until they no longer need external ques for regulating inappropriate and appropriate behavior. In a sense, we learn to censure ourselves. We learn the act (or art) of self- censorship. The proper behaviors we adopt are cultural capital endemic to the social or cultural context in which we find ourselves most exposed to and influenced by.

Bourdieu describes this as the habitus, or the set of socially learned dispositions, skills and ways of acting that operate unconsciously without our awareness. When we do become aware of this habitus, it is often when we find ourselves in a foreign or unknown context that allows us to recognize the incongruencies in behavior, say when a well groomed wealthy elite finds herself at a barbecue in the deep south.

I apologize for the digression but the point I’m making is all important, so allow me to state it plainly: the education system of today fosters a habitus that discourages self-guided open-ended critical inquiry in favor of directed, closed, routine memorization. I am speaking in absolute abstracts, of course, but if you take time to draw parallels to your experiences with formal education I am sure your true conclusions will be the same as mine. The reason why this is the case falls with the aim of education: to produce a work force proficient at undertaking assigned orders, finding answers to given questions, and completing a set of tasks dolled out by superiors. If you look at the hierarchical structure of the classroom as a training ground for the hierarchical structure of the workplace, this doesn’t seem like such a preposterous explanation of education’s existing state.

The individuals proposing and influencing education policies, the wealthy elite, can only think in terms of their own self-guided interests. What benefit would it serve them to have a free thinking, critically minded, independently motivated work force? While I would argue that it would do our nation a great service in terms of creation, innovation, and invention, from an executive’s perspective I can’t see how that’s the most desirable employee. On the contrary, they want workers who work quietly and do the exact job they are given. More precisely: to passively accept what they are told and perform accordingly to expectations.

But in my opinion that’s an outdated paradigm organizational and labor systems. Societies are organisms, like cells or animals, where every part of the whole is as important and valuable as the next for operating at maximum efficiency and effectiveness. To deny the capacity to openly challenge and critically think about work processes is a form of self-sabotage. Fortunately there are organizations such as Google and 3M that employ the practice of critical and creative thought in their workplace.

But again, I digress. And allow me to clarify a point: I am not diminishing the role of intelligence in formal education and the work place either. In fact, it is the only facet or trait of an individual of any worth in contemporary education. What is intelligence? Does it differ from problem solving? Let’s explore these questions.

In the mainstream sense, intelligence is the ability to arrive at correct answers. Sounds good enough. In Greek, intelligence translates as intelligere which means to “select among” from inter meaning “among” and legere meaning “to gather”. More precisely, intelligence is a convergent style of reasoning that utilized deduction to arrive at conclusions. It is analytic and sequential. Does it differ from problem solving? Not if the problem is defined among a given set of premises or facts.

But what if a problem exists as open, without any apparent premises or facts with which to reason from? What if the questions are not given? This is where the utility of intelligence breaks down and an indication that some other important element necessary for problem solving begins gaining apparency.

Allow me to cite Leonardo de Vinci’s response when asked of the secret of his creative genius: saper vedere. In Latin this translates as “to know how to see.” From this brief phrase we can draw some tentative conclusions about what he might have meant, namely that creative genius, or rather problem solving, is the ability to formulate a novel perspective, an original point of view, that rearranges and reprioritizes the saliency and valuations of phenomenon, of facts, within the context of a given problem. This is where visuo-spatial thinking is paramount.

It would seem that the ability to gain the proper perspective necessary for solving open-ended problems rests with the ability to think divergently through a visuo-spatial context of thought. That is, to diversify and differentiate different modes of thought, perhaps through analogy or metaphor, in order to gain an alternative and, ideally, an original point of view.

So I must ask: What type of thinking does our contemporary formal education system encourage? One that deviates from the “norm”? One that tests various processes of reasoning through problems? One that explores alternative solutions to a given problem? Or how about the most striking question of all: Does contemporary education encourage independent thought or novel perspective in the classroom?

If I were to generalize all my experiences in education, and even defer to the data regarding increases in standardized testing, my answer to all these questions would be a resounding no.  Is more standardization, more conformity and uniform perspective the answer? No and no again.

What we need are better teachers who are more adequately equipped to facilitate open discussion and lead critical thinking. In addition, we could do away with rigid, inflexible curriculum’s and standardized tests, as well as the stifling behavioral expectations of structured class settings. We also need to toss out this notion that intelligence— the ability to utilize deductive reasoning to converge at correct answers from a set of given premises— is not the only measure of value, and that other critical thinking skills— such as those that produce an ability to transcend bias, create new perspective, and generate novel questions and original solutions— are being totally overlooked and underutilized.

A Curious Life

A life is a life. A year is a year, a day a day, an hour an hour, a moment a moment. Everyone is subject to time. No one experiences the effect of its measure any differently. The impact is the same on all. What differs is the quality of that time, the quality experience contained therein. And quality is dictated by intensity, in thought and feeling. Intensity is submersion, utter consummation with your thoughts, whether they are derived from immediate impressions and sensations, or past memories and intuitions. What is paramount is quality, the purposeful yearning to yield some understanding, the intensity to string it all together into a beautiful synthesis, a harmonious portrait that expands universally, whose canvas grows larger and larger as questions arise and multiply exponentially. This is the good life. Not a life of answers, but a life of questions.

But only curiosity generates questions, and you must be willing to know, be willing to accept that you don’t know, that you don’t have shit figured out, that your understanding is but a caliginous ink blot on the mural of life. You must part with self-conceit, hubris, certainty and decisiveness every now and again, probably more often than not, in order to possess an open mind, a mind that is receptive to being critiqued, to being wrong, that recognizes itself as slanted and askew. If you think you’re free how is there any hope for escape? If you think you retain no bias, that you’ve got it all figured out, how do you expect to gain correction and progress you’re insight?

Curiosity is the cure all for life’s ills. Curiosity comes with risk, but where there is no risk there is no reward and I refuse to live life in the petty dark corners of safe sanctuaries.

A quality life, a life lived with intensity, may arise unintentionally or intentionally, indirectly or directly. A person thrust into hardship, into uncomfortable or painful or unfamiliar settings and situations, is forced to live life with intensity, they are forced to think deeply about resolving the incongruencies, about reconciling inconsistencies. By chance, through indirect circumstance and unintentional occurrence, they are thrust into situations that elicit feelings and thoughts they would never otherwise have. This forces them to submit to experience, providing them with the quality experience that, more likely than not, can leave them with a better understanding of things. But this understanding is not a guarantee and many people, especially in our culture, where conflict and discomfort is shunned, put off reconciling those thoughts and feelings into their life. They medicate, they avoid, they rationalize, they make excuses. These difficult situations may occur when someone close to them dies , or if they face a tumultuous upbringing, or they are forced to work with someone they disagree with, or they are introduced to material that doesn’t align with their world view. But by unintended consequence, you are given the opportunity to grow because of these things.

Contrast this characterization with the person who intentionally seeks out quality experience, who seeks disequilibrium, experimentation, who creates conflict and crisis and is looking to critique the status quo assumptions in an effort to uncover understanding. They probe the depths of thought to discover insight into the inner-workings of life, in all its objects and ideas, all its tangibles and intangibles. These people set a different bar for themselves. They see the good life as something to be earned through work, through absorption, through consummation with all experience, all thought and feeling. These people seek understanding through discernment, they seek knowledge through wisdom. They place themselves in disorienting situations so that they may gain the ability to orient themselves. They view safety as tantamount to settling, and reward tantamount to risk. But in time, as wisdom grows with understanding, risks become more calculated and outcomes more predictable. Their humility is the key to true foresight, true prophetic ability, true wisdom, true power. (The word for male youth— the reflection of their perfect human— in Archaic Greek was Kouros (κοῦρος), from which the word Kurios (κυριος) is derived, meaning lord, master, and guardian.  Most interesting is that this word also translates as “far sighted” and “powerful”.)

I like to think that the first half of my life was spent obtaining understanding gleaned from unintentional circumstances, from unfavorable conditions that forced quality into my thoughts as a result of my concerted efforts to bring about resolution, and that the latter part of my youth and adult years I have been caught in the fever of autonomous inquiry and intentional experimentation.

I ask myself whether extreme openness and my propensity for thrill seeking was a way of declaring my mental fortitude, my psychological resiliency to the world; so that all the desultory activities characterizing my past— all the promiscuous sex and fiery romance, the poignant intimate encounters, the self- exposure to people of wide ranging personalities and disparate socioeconomic classes, the varying occupations, the entire gambit of school settings, the binge drinking and substance abuse, the manic peaks and melancholy valleys, the indulgent dosing of dozens of hits of acid for consecutive days or weeks or months— were simply a way of confirming my ability to retain composure and maintain control and sustain equilibrium. It was these experiences that I used to prove my capacity, my vigor, my elasticity and tenacity in the face of success or failure to myself. Perhaps this is a biological mechanism at work? Perhaps females are drawn to this type of fortitude and subconsciously my primal instincts have been the driving force behind these developments? But perhaps it was I that allowed this primal instinct to express itself? Maybe it was a continual conscious decision of mine to disregard the oppressive suppressive tendencies to hold back  in favor of fully expressing my desire to completely consummate mind and body, self and world.


Draft: Cultural Landscape and Innovation

I just finished reading a NYT article titled True Innovation that discussed the trajectory of innovative trends within our culture. It prompted me to think about Paul Feyerabend, Thomas Kuhn, and  Imre Lakatos’ philosophy of science, Nietzsche’s prophetic will to power and the thematic elucidations of Panagiotis Kondylis.

They say necessity is the mother of invention? What kind of necessity? Personal necessity for psychological equilibrium? Necessity for physiological equilibrium? Social necessity for conformity and adoption?

Logic is equilibrium: each new theory comprising a paradigm comes with statical axioms that present endless combinations of puzzles for solving. These puzzles allow us to work out discrepancies between axioms so that theories can be reconciled and smoothed out. Progress takes place linearly rather than horizontally. When novel theories are introduced that clash with present conventional logic and historical science, they are most often brushed aside or discarded. In time this giant system of science, these puzzle solving enterprises, run out of combinations. Reality is perceived to be consistent with the facts. This hubris indicates the beginning of the end. Thinkers, being so enculturated and inundated with the present paradigm, totally preoccupied with pursuing universal truths, fail to account for individual experience in the process. As a result, change occurs unnoticed. First, small subtle and incremental changes, and these are only felt at the periphery of society. But these fractional degrees of change compound across a society losing touch with itself and soon reality becomes a vicarious fiction of role playing, where types and genres and paths provide navigation, where our thoughts are purchased and our ideas reflect consensus, where individualism is a cruel catch phrase.

The corollary is a culture who have grown efficient at perpetuating more of the same, more of the good and, in turn, much more of the bad. You must remember that every experience is unique, that what was good for today may not be good for tomorrow. Weather is the harbinger of change and climates never stays favorable for long, be it cultural or geological.

Institutions are good and bad: must be adaptive. Freedom is necessary. Time must be plenty. Purpose is paramount. The collaboration of collective disparate experiences, but similar values, is necessary for creation.Vision provides direction. Autonomy to explore along the way. Intrinsic motivation towards understanding will always triumph over extrinsic motives for profit. Plenty of resources.

Revolutions happen fast but dawn slowly. To a large extent, we’re still benefiting from risks that were taken, and research that was financed, more than a half century ago. -Jon Gertner, True Innovation

Think Thomas Kuhn.





More later

QUOTED passages of interest:

In his recent letter to potential shareholders of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg noted that one of his firm’s mottoes was “move fast and break things.” Bell Labs’ might just as well have been “move deliberately and build things.” This sounds like the quaint pursuit of men who carried around slide rules and went to bed by 10 o’clock. But it was not.

fundamental belief was that an “institute of creative technology” like his own needed a “critical mass” of talented people to foster a busy exchange of ideas. But innovation required much more than that. Mr. Kelly was convinced that physical proximity was everything; phone calls alone wouldn’t do. Quite intentionally, Bell Labs housed thinkers and doers under one roof. Purposefully mixed together on the transistor project were physicists, metallurgists and electrical engineers; side by side were specialists in theory, experimentation and manufacturing. Like an able concert hall conductor, he sought a harmony, and sometimes a tension, between scientific disciplines; between researchers and developers; and between soloists and groups.

Another element of the approach was aspirational. Bell Labs was sometimes caricatured as an ivory tower. But it is more aptly described as an ivory tower with a factory downstairs. It was clear to the researchers and engineers there that the ultimate aim of their organization was to transform new knowledge into new things.

Mr. Kelly believed that freedom was crucial, especially in research. Some of his scientists had so much autonomy that he was mostly unaware of their progress until years after he authorized their work. When he set up the team of researchers to work on what became the transistor, for instance, more than two years passed before the invention occurred. Afterward, when he set up another team to handle the invention’s mass manufacture, he dropped the assignment into the lap of an engineer and instructed him to come up with a plan. He told the engineer he was going to Europe in the meantime.

THERE was another element necessary to Mervin Kelly’s innovation strategy, an element as crucial, or more crucial even, than all the others. Mr. Kelly talked fast and walked fast; he ran up and down staircases. But he gave his researchers not only freedom but also time. Lots of time — years to pursue what they felt was essential. One might see this as impossible in today’s faster, more competitive world. Or one might contend it is irrelevant because Bell Labs (unlike today’s technology companies) had the luxury of serving a parent organization that had a large and dependable income ensured by its monopoly status. Nobody had to meet benchmarks to help with quarterly earnings; nobody had to rush a product to market before the competition did.

But what should our pursuit of innovation actually accomplish? By one definition, innovation is an important new product or process, deployed on a large scale and having a significant impact on society and the economy, that can do a job (as Mr. Kelly once put it) “better, or cheaper, or both.” Regrettably, we now use the term to describe almost anything. It can describe a smartphone app or a social media tool; or it can describe the transistor or the blueprint for a cellphone system. The differences are immense. One type of innovation creates a handful of jobs and modest revenues; another, the type Mr. Kelly and his colleagues at Bell Labs repeatedly sought, creates millions of jobs and a long-lasting platform for society’s wealth and well-being

The conflation of these different kinds of innovations seems to be leading us toward a belief that small groups of profit-seeking entrepreneurs turning out innovative consumer products are as effective as our innovative forebears. History does not support this belief. The teams at Bell Labs that invented the laser, transistor and solar cell were not seeking profits. They were seeking understanding. Yet in the process they created not only new products but entirely new — and lucrative — industries.

But to consider the legacy of Bell Labs is to see that we should not mistake small technological steps for huge technological leaps. It also shows us that to always “move fast and break things,” as Facebook is apparently doing, or to constantly pursue “a gospel of speed” (as Google has described its philosophy) is not the only way to get where we are going. Perhaps it is not even the best way. Revolutions happen fast but dawn slowly. To a large extent, we’re still benefiting from risks that were taken, and research that was financed, more than a half century ago.

Will Technology Save Us All, or Will It Tear Us Apart?


COMING SOON: ‘Teaching & Learning Guide for ‘Can a Knowledge Sanctuary also be an Economic Engine? The Marketing of Higher Education as Institutional Boundary Work’’ by Prof. Steve Hoffman (University at Buffalo, SUNY) – PROVISIONAL ABSTRACT: The marketing of higher education refers to a structural trend towards the adoption of market-oriented practices by colleges and universities. These organizational practices blur the boundary between knowledge-driven and profit-driven institutions, and create tensions and contradictions among the three missions of the 21st-century university: knowledge production, student learning, and satisfying the social charter. In this article, we highlight the historical contexts that nurtured the marketing of higher education in the U.S. and Europe and explore the dilemmas that arise when market logics and business-oriented practices contradict traditional academic values. We demonstrate that managing these dilemmas is a contested process of policing borders as institutional actors struggle to delineate the proper role of the university in a shifting organizational climate.

Myopic Zeal

To the Zealots:
— which may include the Religious, Pious, Orthodox, Evangelical, Fundamentalist, Dogmatic, Scriptural, Ecclesiastical, Sectarian and the like–

I don’t identify with a single myopic vein of thought, and any hopes of converting me into the herd would not only be regressive and detrimental to a healthy flourishing mind seeking wisdom, it would be futile.

I do love you, and I love that you always think of me and share these little bits of biblical joy you come across, but I’m not looking for answers. I’m looking for understanding. So while these may contain little nuggets of biblical wisdom and feel good rhetoric, they will not be an end for me. As an evolving creature it is my duty to adopt all the wisdom of the world so that I may adapt to and overcome challenge and flux and obstacles most appropriately.

Contrary to religious ideology, understanding the human condition is the beginning of all wisdom. But this requires that we consult not only external sources, but explore our internal sources as well. In Greek culture religion was not an individual journey nor a spiritual encounter but a collective enterprise to create a uniformity of experience via the dissemination of a consistent historical narrative which detailed social values and collective moral agreement. The gods of the pantheon were not seen as real or existing, but only as anthropomorphic representations which preserved aspects of the human condition; that is, they were the idealized values and virtues incarnated into typological beings and symbolic situations (myths, fables, parables) that could communicate and explain the world to each generation in society through oral or written language.

The preservation of this culture and its order was predicated on a cultures ability to retain this language, which they called nomos. In Greek nomos means “law” and refers to the structural ordering of experience, specifically relating to daily living and normative activities. Religion was simply an institutional vehicle that served as a way of preserving and perpetuating nomos, or social order and law. The nomos provided explanations and resolutions in the face of anomos, or chaos, conflict and turmoil. The individual appealed to this collective social law for explaining and handling problems arising in their conscious experience that was outside their ability to resolve themselves. In this way individuals sought the advice of the priests or prophets who knew the oral or written tradition exquisitely and offered their personal or propaedeutic interpretations– interpretations that would be absorbed into the tradition for later consultation, much like a contemporary judge’s ruling becomes canonical common law.

Language is all important. The limits of your language dictate the limits of your world.

Man is not made in the image of god: God is made in the image of man. “In the beginning was the word and the word was with god and the word was god.” (John 1:1) Interestingly, ‘word’ here is Gk. logos derived from the Proto-Indo-European word *leg- meaning “to collect, bind, gather”. The word ‘religion’ is a combination of the words re- “again” + lego “choose, gather” or “I go over or go through again in reading, speech, thought, read, relate or recite again, revise, recount”. In this way we see the intimate connection between repetition in binding words to the mind in order to create a consistent world view, a structured ordering of experience. Religion is the institution charged with the preservation and diffusion of a language via enculturation. Throughout history religious institutions have been replaced by various community organizations and governing bodies, most notably Academic institutions that actively inquire about the world with a more precise and thoughtful methodology.

On an interesting side note, the first institution of higher learning, Plato’s Academy, was established in the olive gardens on the temple grounds of Athena, the goddess of wisdom. It is no coincidence that the first school of philosophy– the love of wisdom– and the first institution of higher learning (beyond the gymnasium) was affiliated with the cult of Athena. The Academy derives its name from the legendary Greek Attic hero Akadamos who defected to the aid of the Tyndarid’s Castor and Pollux when they invaded Attica to liberate their sister Helen. As a result, the Lacedaemonians devoted a plane of land in homage to Akadamos planted with Olive trees in the spot where he revealed to the Divine twins where Thesus had hidden Helen of Troy. This plot of land was located just outside the walls of Athens and was later the site where Athena’s temple stood throughout the Bronze Age.

Through this brief sketch I hope it becomes obvious of the potential trappings of cultural institutions like religion. As their perfunctory duty to society, they seek to preserve the status quo, to present man to himself through a slanted portrait of the past. In a “stable” society the only people who can offer legitimate interpretations are those in positions of authority, i.e. priests, professors, professionals, politicians or any other title. Every so often a prophet arises from the herd and expresses the collective opinion in a fell swoop of the pen or brush or voice. These are the artists, the leaders, the creators, the visionaries– all subversive forces of established authority, all necessary agents of evolution and change. These are the disestablishmentarianists, the revolutionaries, the rebels, the terrorists. They are impelled to express the change they see around them, to lead the blind into the light. They are called by nature to tip the scales in favor of progress, despite the howls from stagnating pools of thought and undeterred by the biting guilt of defection, of desecrating antiquated tradition and custom.

The Greeks maintained that the past contained the understanding necessary for adapting to the present. What is important is that, like the Greeks, we view our culture as an instrument of understanding and ordering experience and maintain a tolerance and openness to other cultures and veins of thought. All language, all culture, all knowledge aims at providing explanatory power and utility for navigating through the world. To remain prejudice is to retain a myopic view of the world, deficient in variegated color and devoid of curvaceous depth, and we rob ourselves of another instrument for charting our world.

Sincerely Yours,


Revolutionary Humanity and Progress: Atheism, Skepticism, Man, Mind

There appears to be a growing number of people converting to skepticism and atheism in recent years. My concern is that the ‘bankrupt’ values of Christianity are just supplanted with the ’empty’ values of materialism.

The atheism and skepticism being adopted mainstream, in my opinion, isn’t properly justified: it’s simply because religion is inconvenient. There are no values to bolster the atheism, no justification to support the skepticism, no emphasis on understanding, reason, learning, mind. It’s just the best way to accommodate a nihilistic relativism. And I’m referring to the mainstream movement, the cultural phenomenon of suddenly self-identifying as a skeptic or atheist after reading one Dawkins or Hitchens book because it was a NYT best seller.

But perhaps that the average atheist does everything I questioned (read, reflect etc.) Suppose they do more than the average christian does. Studies show that the more educated you are the more likely you are to be an atheist, so I must question whether this phenomenon is simply the result of peer pressure or conformity. Perhaps being an atheist for an inspiring number of people is a product of thinking critically, logically etc. It may be that these atheists can have moral codes and strong beliefs grounded in a hope for humanity (not nihilistic).

Could it be that a lot of the surge is because there is more discourse about these issues and that it’s less taboo? We also understand a lot more about natural day-to-day phenomenon that at one time seemed supernatural. It may not be the case that people are necessarily better at thinking critically overall, but they most certainly have the tools to think more critically about religion and their place in the world now more than ever before.

But why do people think atheism is preferred or justified? What does it mean to be a skeptic? Do people (new self-proclaimed atheists) understand how science works or why its methods justify its claims? Why science is ‘good’?? Or why it is better than Christianity? Does science provide any values? Explain how to live? Do these mainstream atheists know any more about justification of atheism than the justification of Christianity they gave up? Do they know anything about their history? As a country? A world? Their ancestors? Do they read any of the humanities seriously? Philosophy? English? Classics? Economic theory? Do they read at all? What are the reading? Pop or mainstream garbage that’s mass-produced, perpetuated and fed to them? Only the myopicly interesting, the narrowly fascinating, astigmatically entertaining? Do they know the arts? Know the significance of art? Historically? It’s impact on our culture?

Do these self-proclaimed skeptics know what logic is? What sound arguments look like? Do they know what man is? Do they know who or why they are? Do they know the relations between themselves as an individual and others in their community, state, country, culture, or in relation to other cultures? I would say, no, most generally. Or not to the satisfactory extent they should to be any more justified in believing in atheism and skepticism over religion. There seems to be an absurdity to the the mainstream trends of atheism and skepticism that are just as absurd as Christianity or any other religion they gave up. Though I would like to think so, I am not convinced that this movement is a result of a more intelligent, better read, more cultured populous. Actually, I would love to think so, but given what I observe, their habits, how they spend their free time, I can’t let myself be persuaded.

I don’t believe we have a generation culture that is anymore critically adept at thinking than the past. I believe these skeptic and atheistic trends are more of a product of our emphasis on relativity, of values or perspectives, and the respect we owe to tolerate such perspectives, than because we’re any more knowledgeable or thoughtful as a culture. I may be gravely mistaken, but most atheists I speak with can give me reasons why Christianity and religion is intolerant and oppressive and dangerous, but they can’t provide much justification for why their position is sound or correct or justified. On the contrary, they usually provide cliché responses derived from their teachers or textbooks or the history channel, much like people similarly repeat their pastors and priests or the religious texts. They don’t provide any more justification for why their reasoning trumps that of any other reasoning.

Our culture, our emphasis on tolerance and openness is great, but as a culture I don’t believe we’re taking advantage of its value. Instead it seems convenient, or allows for a nihilistic relativity, an “anything goes” mentality where all is equal and free. But I believe such values embodied in freedom and equality provide us with the vital ability to progress to a higher plane of consciousness and living than the past afforded, not simply accommodate all perspective irregardless of whether they actually contribute to this progress.

But what values are being replaced? Christianity not only offers a world view, an etiology, it provides many important values that allowed our culture to progress, puritanical values and ethical values, most of which are necessary for progress, for guiding action, although there are arguably just as many that hinder it. But in replacing Christianity, specifically its values, what will take its place? What values will allow community and a uniform drive for enlightenment or higher understanding and action?

Most, I tend to believe, would agree that the nihilistic or “anything goes” mentality is harmful and present in atheism today, and that’s something they get a lot of flack for. Many hope for a kind of humanist “faith” that has a combo Kantian-utilitarian twist. But that seems to be asking a lot. Could the “ignorant masses” handle that thinking? Can we have faith in human reason? Can we love thy neighbor without being told to do so in some superannuated religious texts? Many believe we can all be inspired by human achievement and have a faith in the utility and power in this construct of human understanding that is bigger than us, and all the extraordinary things humans can do and have discovered and all the exemplary individuals who exist and have existed to inspire. Do we need a god for this? Does intellectual refinement or a push towards “civilized” living really ground us in something other than base, brutish impulse? Perhaps scholasticism, religion or theism did not civilize anything. Perhaps it is this will-to-power and a better than thou art mentality or goal did that.

If atheism, skepticism, or whatever is supplanting religion is to be taken seriously there needs to be a more cohesive idea of what direction the human race should be going. People need to “give a shit” and self reflect, but they can’t unless they are comfortable doing so. They don’t care to care. It seems that, for the poor and down trodden, or because of them, atheism won’t work.

I suppose what I am fearful of is a cultural regress that disregards the historical tradition for understanding, for better living, for man and mind. A regress that overlooks thousands of years of study in the pursuit of understanding man, his free imagining mind of infinite possibilities, as well as his relation with the world and others. It seems our culture does not appreciate the traditions that provided us with these democratic luxuries that hold the individual mind, the self-reflective consciousness, as the highest aim for understanding and progress, luxuries such as freedom, equality, autonomy, etc. I am fearful that this regress will take us to barbarism, where sensuality, instinct, passions, and the like are the rule. I feel that I observe this manifest in our culture with our emphasis on the material, the sensual, the pleasurable; this overlooks thousands of years of intellectual refinement, of cultivating the mind, refining the passions to function through thoughtful reflection, sound reason and expression, instead of brutish impulse, emotional living.

But I feel that there is a serious responsibility that comes with freedom, equality, etc. And I believe that this responsibility is not being realized. Atheism, skepticism, and critical inquiry most generally, requires work in my opinion; it’s not a convenient label, it’s not a religion that just accepts what you’ve been handed as unquestionably true. It’s not what’s popular or accepted. It’s a serious position that, in my opinion, needs sound and thoughtful justification.

And what of this will-to-power? We all have, as did great thinkers in the past, our subjective perspectives of consciousness, of the good and understanding, but, in my provisional opinion, they were accommodating to other perspectives, they tried to synthesize other veins of thought, other historical traditions to render a higher more complete understanding. They did this through dialogue, discourse, dialectics, and careful study of their culture and history,  as well as its relation with other cultures and their histories. So long as their pursuit for understanding and refinement was selfless, as far as that’s possible, they were not megalomaniacs who wanted the world to think as they did. That, I believe they realized and appreciated, would lead to the opposite of their aim.

I suppose that’s my problem: There’s needs to be a cohesive idea of a general direction for humanity, or at least our culture, that is accommodating yet very clear in its aim. But, as I mentioned, this requires critical and thoughtful reflection and “giving a shit”.

So what of Plato’s philosopher king to guide the ignorant masses? The philosopher king idea was, in theory, pretty magnificent. Could it be that, for atheism to work, we all need to be philosopher kings? Or at least impress others so much that we function as their gods? This idea sounds cult-ish, and it sorta makes me cringe at the possible tyranny of thought that could result if improperly applied, but there is something reasonable to having great thinkers, selflessly devoted as a civil servant to asking the right questions and solving societies problems. As we observe time and time again, people are too unreliable to do so on their own. “Let someone else tell me what to think and do, etc.” Religion is easy, and since the weak are supposed to inherit the earth, everyone seems to buy into it, even the weak or poor or disadvantaged.

But more importantly, regarding our most significant societal needs, it is necessary that we possess a culture that reflects as a whole and give a shit collectively, like the Greeks embodied to some extent at one time. Leaving it up to the philosopher kings is probably no better than leaving it up to the politicians or priests. What is required is elevating the collective consciousness, the public awareness. But this lack of self-reflection, lack of critical thought, lack of culture and knowledge and self-understanding is, I believe, a result of a cultural malaise rather than a problem inherent to individuals, or the poor or disadvantaged. Our culture has misplaced values, i.e. materialism that fuels sensualism rather than mindful reflection and reason that fuels understanding. We value things more than ideas. Matter more than mind. Or so it seems

We might be closer to knowledge than in the past, but having the luxury to reflect on this stuff either requires money (you’re comfortable anyway) or being humble (you’re not pissed others are “above” you) or bona fide enlightenment. It’s inarguable that the internet is transforming things. But for all the good it does and can do, the Internet can be just as debilitating. How do the majority spend their time on it? Entertainment more than self-improvement. But I’m generalizing again. Perhaps, regardless of whether people spend more time bullshitting online, they’re spending more time doing ‘productive’ stuff, or at least being exposed to more views than their neighbors or the church Parrish hold. But that may be far to generous.

I suppose it’s simply because of what mainstream media and culture perpetuate, and I may be taking that as a reflection of our cultural values and priorities. Maybe it’s not and simply a reflection of capitalism, but I may be finding it difficult to make a distinction It seems right to say that this materialism and greed hinders mindful thinking. It also seems right that Capitalism is a major part of it. Though, perhaps it is “human nature” that’s to blame. What is success? Possessing and dominating? Is this biological? While this is another debate, I’d like to think, to a large extent, this is the case.

But I don’t think that the will-to-power necessarily is the primary impetus of humanity’s progress. I believe it was another, selflessly distinct  ‘drive’, or “will to understand” man and mind, as embodied by very few individuals throughout the ages. The will-to-power manifests quite naturally and beautifully in autocracies and dictatorships, but I’d argue these are hardly periods of humanity’s growth. Quite on the contrary. But I may be mistaken.

I agree that the will-to-power is most likely responsible for the capitalist’s contributions to humanity. But the corollary, in my opinion, isn’t to the benefit of humanity as a whole
Maybe short-term, maybe for few, but not long-term for everyone. I think I’m being too Pollyanna. I feel like these dilemmas are what Plato and all the other thinkers have contemplated for all time. However, with technology and semi-universal access to
so much info, I think the environment may have changed in an incomparable way to the past.

I’m just unsatisfied with how I observe people and our culture handle or deal with these values of freedom and equality. People seem to take them for granted, like they are inherent in everyone, but I don’t believe people are necessarily free and equal. I believe that this comes with work, with education and refinement and understanding. It’s not something we already possess, it’s something we must acquire, an expectation to be realized. We have a responsibility to earn freedom, earn equality. It may sound crazy, but I believe if we don’t work to realize and understand them, we’re more animals. How can someone be free if they don’t know what freedom is or looks like or behaves? What a free mind or consciousness undertakes, reasons or contemplates?  We don’t inherently possess freedom or equality, but we all agree to grant it to each other (ideally) when we form a society because the alternative is “fucked up”.

A slave is a slave because he is born a slave, believes himself to be a slave. He never challenges his condition because he doesn’t know to think differently, isn’t acquainted with any alternative. It is an impoverished state of mind, a deprived state of being. And I believe that our cultural consciousness is exactly that: impoverished and deprived.  But when it isn’t realized, when we take it for granted, at what point do we realize, or are capable of recognizing, that we’re neither free nor equal? (I may be being too harsh, too critical, too general and uncharitable, but I’m experimenting with these ideas)

Perhaps this occurs when we look at what other people have or control and are like, “fuck.”(Wall Street protests?) I think this is a growing sentiment, but even though people may be able to identify incongruities I’m not sure they know how to articulate the issue collectively. I’m not sure if they can articulate the fundamental problems without looking and pointing and grunting in vague mass protests. And I’d probably argue that those people may be part of the problem, may be creating or contributing to it. But I have to think more on this point.

Perhaps in a generation, when it gets bad enough, when people are forced to consider these ideas and understanding out of necessity, we’ll witness an awakening, a revolution of sorts.

I guess I’m not sure how you change things any other way. A lot of ignoramuses certainly join in and act all silly because they desire to be a part of something larger than themselves but don’t know what they’re doing, but I like to think the ideas behind them are solid. I would probably go so far as to say that there seems to be an intuitive injustice that even the most ‘undeveloped’ mind could pick up on by simply observing the inequality in light of our cultural democratic tradition. But I’m also fearful that this will simply lead to socialism, that the correction will be a superficial remedy that allows passive unreflecting sensual thought but saves equality. That the knowledge of a problem without the understanding of a why will cause more problems when we attempt to fix it. I’m also fearful that we’ll be high jacked by demagogues, by soothsayers, and end up even less free. Is it wrong that I think these scenarios are unavoidable? That’s not to say we can’t strive, but do I really think 300 million people can get their shit together in our lifetime?

I guess I believe in the power of influential leaders to cull the social consciousness from its stupor, to awaken it, to appeal to higher good and better living. But I may be being Pollyanna again. Think of the Gandhi’s, the MLK’s, the Socrates, etc. But this leader would have an unprecedented, monumental task like never before. It may be far too big of a task for any man, even a Jesus.  I guess similar, crazy things have happened in the past, but definitely not on this scale. As far as I can tell anyway.


My favorite activities, in serial order, consist of: ‘Increasing my value as a person’, through meaningful work or study, and engaging in relationships. I do not enjoy relationships if I do not believe I have any value to bring to them. My relationships are most enjoyable when I believe I am positively contributing some of my own value to them. I am most fulfilled when I am studying, accreting new experiences, or achieving some worthwhile purpose or aim.

These are random thoughts- know that I’m a humanists, not a male chauvinist, and that I believe in equal rights and conceptions between men and women:
In The Republic Plato wrote that literature is feminizing and that combat is masculinizing. I’ve wrote about this before, but I think that education, on a certain level, is feminizing because it requires the passive consumption of information. This is why, I think, there are more women in school and, on average, they do better than their male counterparts. Men as not passive, on a whole, but more active. They challenge and are not as receptive to authority.  In this way men are creative and more apt to spread their influence and dominate through their own authority. Even though there are more women in the education system and even though they do better than males on average, it is not often that they contribute to higher knowledge in a profound and paradigm shattering way. If you look at Nobel Prize winners, the vast majority are men. This may be because we live in a gender biased world. However, it seems that men are more apt to create and dominate and challenge accepted views and authority more often then women. This may be attributed to the common notion that men are, on a general whole, not passive consumers but active creators. More later.

Goal of Education

“The principal goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done; men and women who are creative, inventive and discoverers, who can be critical and verify, and not accept, everything they are offered.”
— Jean Piaget

Do you think this is being accomplished? What can be done about it? What is the utility of raising generations who only know how to repeat rather than think? A well trained and well behaved populous? Perhaps the cause of a generation caught in cyclical misfortunes?

I just read an article by NPR that detailed the lack of critical thinking, reasoning and writing skills being learned by college students today:

“….[the study showed that] more than a third of students showed no improvement in critical thinking skills after four years at a university was cause for concern…”

“Part of the reason for a decline in critical thinking skills could be a decrease in academic rigor; 35 percent of students reported studying five hours per week or less, and 50 percent said they didn’t have a single course that required 20 pages of writing in their previous semester.”

I am inclined to say that it is of no fault of the university. Rather, it is indicative of the protypical American culture. Payment does not guarantee education. It requires work, vision, and sacrifice, something that very little of the populous is inclined to embrace.

At every university, however, there are students who defy the trend of a decline in hours spent studying — and who do improve their writing and thinking skills. The study found this to occur more frequently at more selective colleges and universities, where students learn slightly more and have slightly higher academic standards. Overall, though, the study found that there has been a 50 percent decline in the number of hours a student spends studying and preparing for classes from several decades ago.

This is sad.

I’ll add to this post and write more later.

A quote:

“Modern schools and universities push students into habits of depersonalized learning, alienation from nature and sexuality,obedience to hierarchy, fear of authority, self objectification, and chilling competitiveness. These character traits are the essence of the twisted personality-type of modern industrialism.They are precisely the character traits needed to maintain a social system that is utterly out of touch with nature, sexuality, and real human needs.”

–Arthur Evans

Learning styles

My learning style requires that I have a context in which I operate in order to assimilate new facts. Without a context, memorization is nearly impossible. Information floats aimlessly without any anchor to significance and meaning. Most new studies don’t present an understandable context at the start. They present a vague, unfamiliar direction and proceed with facts. While it is effortless to absorb facts when a context is known, it requires a great deal of effort to establish a context from facts. The latter builds a totally new paradigm while the former simply adds facts to existing paradigms. New paradigms are essentially the rise of new perceptions. While the facts remain objectively the same, they are seen in a different light and can be functionally used differently. The construction of new paradigms is a creative act. It is the essence of creativity. There is nothing knew in the world, only new ways of looking at things. When you see things differently, the world becomes different, and previously unknown facts become salient.

For those with super efficient memories, context doesn’t seem to play a tremendous role in learning. Often times they may be extremely proficient at representing the facts, but fail to see the larger interconnectedness of their significance. They are expertly trained in giving the right answers, but fail to ask questions that relate to their significance. They don’t wonder ‘why?’ as much as they wonder ‘what?’ given a why. I’m under the opinion that learning to ask the questions ‘why?’ provides much more adaptivity when addressing new challenges or problems and difficult situations. It allows for a starting point for gathering new facts unique to that situation or dilemma, Those only trained for providing ‘what’ are given up to using preexisiting knowledge or out dated answers not appropriate within the context of the new challenge. They say: “A well trained man knows how to give the right answers. A well educated man knows how to ask the right questions.”

Pedagogy of the Oppressed Review

Chapter One

  In chapter one Paulo Freire addresses the matter of humanization, or the problem of dehumanization. Initially the reader is left wondering what it means to be fully humanized. As he talks of these hierarchal roles of subject-object, of oppressor-oppressed, he refrains from explicitly prescribing what it means to be fully human. This is not unintended, for such a prescription would vitiate his message by qualifying the very structure he seeks to eliminate. For Freire, humanity is not a thing to have or possess, but rather a responsibility towards freedom that allows being more fully.
Continue reading “Pedagogy of the Oppressed Review”

tinkin tings.

well… I miss being in love with learning. The acquisition of knowledge for the sheer sake of furthering my understanding… motivated by sheer passion and will.

I recognize that I’m often confused. I don’t know if that makes me any more or less of a man, but I’m open to it. I do know one thing for certain. I will be successful. In what way? I usually struggle to find that answer… but I do know I’ll never ever settle. At the end of the day I strive and reach and grab that which is most excellent. I always call on the best I have to offer. Sometimes I undermine myself but such is life. It’s a learning experience.

I don’t want to be one of those people you see that’s all smart.. and has all this potential… but you look at him and he’s not doin too much. You look at his life and he’s in some kinda perpetual transition. Still finding himself, or the ideal situation. I recently read that if you’re waiting for something to turn up, the first place you should try is your sleeves. Nothings gonna happen for you unless you make it happen.

I always wonder if I’ll find those ideal circumstances that I dream about. Then I wonder if it’s just about me making those ideal circumstances. So I do my best to hone the skills and attitude and emotional resilience to make the absolute best out of my situation. I practice seeing the best in every one, everything, everytime.

I won’t lie.. I’m not flawless at this. I lack patience and sometimes throw my hands in the air and let it all out. Maybe my integrity gets jaded for a time being but thats ok. Thankfully I always remember that which I value most- passion to excel. Arete.

If you’re gonna spend time and energy thinking, exerting your influence upon the world through your thoughts and feelings, mine as well do it on your way towards something worthwhile. Like a goal, or an ideal. My fruitless thoughts, superfluous time wasters, and fickle attitudes should be given a direction.


Making up our mind is powerful. Putting yourself around the right people might actually be more powerful. It is easier to pull others down than to pull others up. Doubt it? Try dragging someone up a hill. Now drag them down it. Hm.. not the same you say? Put yourself around a group of people. Now try being as happy and optimistic about your ideals, goals, aspirations as possible for a week. Notice their response and reaction. Now be morose and careless and negative for a week. Notice the response.

That paragraph above is silly. I just needed to illustrate the importance of choosing your friends and influences wisely.

Every thought we think is who we are.

If you want to change who you are, change what you think. Moreover, change how you think.

It’s that simple- you can be anything. Do it long enough and these thoughts become habitual, and you start acting on them. Next thing you know your character changes. Your integrity, the collection of your past actions and their influence on your present and future actions, changes.


9 More days till I go home to FLORIDAA! Can’t wait! Sunshine, beaches, warmth, relaxation!
I’m buckling down this week. It’s tough. I’ve been very lax the past few weeks with Thanksgiving and all. That’s over now. I’m a machine. Tranchina Machina. I get things done. I am proactive. I control my attitude which, in turn, controls the outcome of my life.


Can’t wait to go home and read my books! Read read read! Write! No pressure! No guidelines.. no one tellin me what they wanna hear. Just me and my opinion weighing against my experiences. Lovely!

learning to live.

everyday I’m learning to live. It’s no wonder I feel so inadequate from day to day. At the moment I’m trying to flush some imagination into my life. I have trouble dealing with doubt and fear of the unknown. This is why I read and explore and yearn experience. I find myself too serious. Whats the other alternative? I suppose balance is a good thing, and recognizing when to do what. I have an open mind that always me to see as far ahead as I’m willing to delve, but it ends there. There is no deviation that allows me to surprise myself with serendipitous happenings. Whenever I talk to myself I’m reminded of how much more there is to learn about life, what I want, what I need to give, and what’s rightfully mine to claim.

Successful and Lazy People: The Learning Process

Learning is an incremental process. Most people trying learning things all at once, or expect to get it all at once. The only way this ever happens is if previous understandings of similar concepts are in tact and referenced to the new information to construct a similar schema. Even this isn’t true understanding. To really learn or understand something, the idea and concept behind it, repetition needs to occur. Seeing something once only provides sense of information that stores in the rote memory. It has no meaning and therefore the information cannot be fully elaborated on and expounded upon.

True, learning is exponential, but anything new needs to be continually analyzed and thought to explore the dynamics. This sheds insight on the relational behavior of the information. Life is about relationships. Identifying what works with with and when and how and why. When you understand this and the unique functionality of information you can explore any new reality with a new set of eyes. Information takes on multiple dimensions and new possibilities and understandings erupt into a display of viable processes.

I say this because anytime I see new information I know in my head that i need to continually hammer at it and entertain creative possibilities, maybe induce some analytical trial and error experimentation within my mind in order to test my conjectures. I know, however, that its through this repetitive dwelling on the content that I gain this better understanding. Learning isn’t meaningful if it just happens. Ofcourse you can draw similar conclusions to information is tons of relatable information and schemas are available to contrast and compare to (I call this being able to bullshit really well) and I can do that, but I am no better off than I was before I knew the information to see its unique place. The behavior of information may not be that distant from any other piece of information, but it’s place and why it’s there is vitally important. It’s what gives it meaning.

People need to take a more proactive approach to learning. To see it as a process, a active process, instead of a job of memorizing someone elses ideas. Someone to thought into creating the concept based on very real premises- and anyone who encounters the information: it should be thier job to question and challenge the validity compared to your own very real experiences, as well as being open to thiers. Never question if what you know is right- BUT- make sure you metaphysical and semantic understandings are based on a philosophy seeking truth.

Incremental. Learning occurs in stages. Its not a overnight thing. It doesn’t happen in one sitting. You need to be observant and you need to think conceptually. You need to be actively involved and you need to .create ideas with each experience. When this happens you can learn from every moment of your life, every situation, every action, and every thought you decide to conjure. When you don’t do this…. you are falling farther and farther behind with every chance to grow as a person.

Don’t ever approach something with the attitude ‘ I can’t’ or ‘It’s hard’ or ‘It’s taking too much time’ or any other pathetic excuse to get you out of thinking and actively experiencing life’s challenges. Every challenge is unique opportunity for growth. If we never took them on we’d never grow. Imagine if life was easy. If we didn’t have to need to know how to much of anything.  We’d never need to grow. Imagine never having to learn anything. We’d honestly have no need to add knowledge to our data bank. Unfortunate the knowledge we have, and the reservoir of experiences and intuitive understanding we’ve gained to this point, is a result of the challenges we’ve faced and overcame in order to cope and survive. The more successful you are as a person, the better job you’ve done being able to decipher what work’s from what doesn’t.

Jump into every situation you can to grow. STRIVE to accept challenges. NEVER approach situations or experiences with the idea that it is a waste of time or it will be useless. Everything you know will help you in some way and make you better than the next.

Good Article- Interesting take on effective teaching techniques and learning

Bad Link 😦

Fascinating article I found about the stimulating effects of ‘controversy’ (challenging arguments) as a constructive- more efficient- teaching technique in the academic world.
A recurring thought I constantly find myself stumbling over is that class is usually boring and unstimulating ( I do believe that you get out whatever you put in); and teachers, in my opinion (despite what they might say on the contrary) don’t challenge the students to think for their own good and find intrinsic value in material relative and personal to them. As this article indicated, controversy is vitally important in the learning process. By challenging predisposed perceptions of information, you need to think deep using logic and many other thinking abilities to dig up knowledge that would support or end the argument or stance. I sorta feel that teachers are so rhetorical with their course we don’t put much thought into it for ourselves. We more or less let the information ‘float’ on our thoughts- so its there to recall when we have a test or just till the end of the course- when it should be saturating itself in our mental faculties as we weigh importance and significance to our lives and every day thought processes. By challenge, I want to “figure out” why I’m being told what I’m being told as opposed to being told why I know, and why I shouldn’t know.
I could go on but you get the idea. Interesting article if you also don’t think that the academic environment of college or highschool or “the formal education system” is engaging as it probably should be. I get more out of reading the material of interest on my own time and simply surrounding myself (hanging out) with people who have the same interest to exchange ideas and controversies ( shoot the breeze) about why I interpreted it as I do. You know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever had a good conversation with someone that left you with those feelings of certainty, confidence, intellect, and a wider world view of things. You challenged your brain and you rose to the occasion, fully engaging all your mental faculties.