Name: C. W. West

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Impact of Filtering

The flow of influential elements in the environment are like snowballs. We will unavoidably be hit by some, and we will step aside and let some miss us if we see them coming. And we will step in front of the ones that we wish to strike us. By stepping aside to avoid some snowballs, we move into the path of others. Our choices are impacted by the snowballs that do strike us, and the ones that we have avoided.

If a person is chooses to be receptive to the impact of one group of elements in the environment that is mutually exclusive to another group of elements, then the desired elements may make more of an impact than the less desirable elements. This serves to reinforce the original decision to allow certain elements of the environment to make greater impact. It conversely causes the less acceptable elements to be avoided or deflected with greater efficiency. Some elements of the environment can be directed toward one effect or another, depending upon the intent of the individual; call that interpretation.

Does this explain radical extremism, or even the slow development of enlightenment? Couldn't this help to explain the advances that one civilization makes while another languishes in misdirected barbarism?

The walrus believes that this automatic selection process works as a kind of compass that guides our existence in the direction in which the filter is currently oriented. If we are headed toward one point of view, to the exclusion of other perspectives, then the path is difficult to change. It is like a heavy ball rolling on a level surface. The direction of travel may be changed, but the faster the ball is traveling, the more difficult it will be to deflect the momentum. The ball, or one's perspective, gathers speed by the pushes of the influential environment that are allowed to have impact.

Remember, says the walrus, the filter does not operate entirely without individual effort! Each individual makes choices within the parameters of his fixed environment, and those choices bend the momentum created by the filtered impacts of the environment. Time, history, strength of will, and other elements of the influential environment, all serve to hinder or enhance the choice of the individual.

At what point, you may ask the walrus, will we discuss the way to set our filter, our compass, to turn the momentum in a desirable direction?

The walrus says you will be ready to think about that soon enough. But more understanding simply removes the obstacles from the path. And remember what we have discussed? The path is much more important the the destination. So stay focused on the path.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Influential Environment

The walrus explains that the influential environment is not only the person's involuntary surroundings, the activities for which he has no control, the events of the universe that occur without consulting the individual. The influential environment consists of those things that are fixed, and those that are fluid. It is also made of the flow of elements generated by the actions and choices of people, and the compounding impacts of environmental elements that intersect with others. The influential environment is then naturally refined by the many choices made deliberately after careful consideration, or quickly and with little forethought, by each individual. And the final cut is made by the individual being influenced.

Start with the uncontrolled elements of the influential environment. A person's family, his general time and location on the planet, the general description of his body, and other peoples' uncontrolled elements, are all factors that create the framework for the controllable portion of the influential environment.

The choices of others, limited by parameters set by their uncontrolled elements, adds color to the environment. We are all separate beings, and therefore must find and create our own course of action. That action is not without consequences in the environment. A person continues through the course of his life with little consideration of the impact of his daily decisions on the environment. But his path, his unstoppable momentum, causes ripples that disturb the environmental waters and others cannot avoid the ripples as they follow their own paths.

A person cannot avoid another person's ripple, another person's impact on the environment, if his path intersects the ripple any more than he can stop time. And the effect of one person on the environment is altered by the effect of another, and his was altered by another, and so on. At any point in time, a person must encounter countless layers of many peoples impact on their environment at varying degrees of volume, that is, the number of ripples impacting a person at any one time.

Humans are endowed with the ability to filter some of the environment so that some of the impact has greater effect on them than others. If a person chooses to be receptive to the impact of one group of elements in the environment that is mutually exclusive to another group of elements, then the desired elements may make more of an impact than the less desirable elements.

The walrus explained it with an example of a gold miner sifting the creek silt for nuggets of gold. The sand and dirt do not settle as quickly as the gold in the miner's pan. He can slosh out the unwanted material and keep the gold. Even if the gold is in smaller particles, it separates from the sand and dirt and settles to the bottom of the pan. The miner can then separate the large nuggets of gold from the small ones, and put them in separate bags, and throw out the sand and dirt. But in order to find the gold, he must scoop up all of the material in the creek bed. He cannot get the gold without the sand and dirt. But what if the gold miner turns out to be a sand and dirt miner? Isn't the same system of selection effective? Of course!

A person consciously and unconsciously is influenced by elements of the environment according to his long and short term choices. And that influence slides along a scale of impact; no element is completely ignored and no element can completely dominate. A person cannot keep from being influenced by the environment, but a person does have input into the the level of influence that the environment will have, if that is his choice.

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Do You Agree?

"It is always easier to believe than to deny. Our minds are naturally
affirmative."
- John Burroughs

The walrus would say that an affirmative mind would find it easier to believe than to deny, but a negative mind would find it easier to deny, and that both perspectives are natural. The owner of the mind may easily choose for his starting position to be affirmative or negative. If no choice is made, however, the mind naturally follows the choice of his influential environment, and may even fluctuate from one end of the scale to other, depending upon the direction of the winds.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Ascension

Ever hear of the quest for Ascension? The discovery of the higher form of consciousness that leaves earthly concerns behind, and promises an understanding of the universe far greater than our mortal selves are capable of. As in Jesus' ascension on the 40th day. The ultimate goal of the enlightened.

The walrus observes that the quest is the hot topic of the conversation. Not what happens once one is "ascended". It's the path that matters. It's the discoveries and gems of wisdom that are uncovered on the journey to the unknowable destination of ultimate enlightenment.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, the best route to one's ultimate destination is the longest one, not the fastest one. Don't tell the AAA people.

And pack an extra pair of socks.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Tao of Heaven and Hell

The Tao perspective is well known, well analyzed and well over-used to answer many questions by forming opposite ends of the same matter. Heaven and hell (whether they actually exist will be discussed at a later time) is explained by a simple Tao model without the varying scale that accompanies other Tao explanations.

As with other matters subject to the Tao analysis, there are two opposing extremes that are completely incompatible. As in the walrus' earlier observation (see The Inescapable Balance) regarding the integrity of human contentment, there are fully opposite poles that must be considered together to understand either individually. The two extremes of heaven and hell exist individually, but because they are necessarily paired in our conception, our nature is to look at the two as if they were connected by a measuring rod. We make our observation of heaven and hell from a vantage point that is somewhere along the measuring rod that connects the two extremes.

Which pole am I closest to? Am I moving toward heaven or hell? Is heaven really as good as it is supposed to be? Is hell really all that bad? How long do I have to decide? I used to be a lot closer to ____ but now I seem to be moving toward ____. (fill in the blank: a. heaven or b. hell)

All that seems a little silly to the walrus. In the case of heaven and hell, there is no middle ground. We have moved way beyond the point of rational balance. There is simply heaven and there is simply hell. No halfway. No intermediate balance. No progress toward either pole. No more choices to be made. The balance is there, but only because there are two poles. There is no balance between the poles because there is no between. And therefore no one can truly improve the odds of achieving his desired destiny before it arrives.

Does that mean that no one should try? Have you forgotten the walrus' words so quickly? Is it the effort or is it the achievement that holds meaning? Should one focus on reaching heaven or work toward avoiding hell? The walrus says no.

It is the effort, the journey, that will be the reward. The destination is not negotiable.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Quote to Note

"It is our responsibilities, not ourselves, that we should take seriously."
- Peter Ustinov (1921 - 2004) - English actor & author

Monday, January 15, 2007

Funeral Fantasies

There is nothing that will put your life in perspective quite like spending the afternoon at a funeral. Make it a habit to visit one at least once each year.

Sit in the front of the room so that you have to listen to what is said by the preacher and by those who have been asked by the family of the deceased to talk about him behind his back. The sensitive walrus will find his thoughts wandering around inside his head just so he can avoid the inevitable tear that will get pulled out by those well-meaning monotones. Wandering thoughts will grab shreds of the somber messages that are floating by, and seek to match themselves to something that rationally applies to our current state of affairs.
  • Psalms 121. God is watching over your life. Just watching? Who is making things happen? I can pretty much do my own watching. I need help with the doing part. Who's going to make the changes around here anyway? I wonder if I can get God to interfere a little more often. Or maybe it really is up to me.
  • Have you ever received one of those emails that want you to click a button, but every time you try, the button scoots away? Try to soak up more of the life around you. God's painting. Put there just for you, but the more you try to get it all, the further away it gets. Or something blocks the view. Try to experience all of your emotions as deeply as you can. They evaporate. Try to see the beauty in your surroundings. You just can't get a good view. Maybe it’s the effort that is the reward. Maybe the goal is the means to the effort, instead of the effort as the means to the goal.
  • What could be more valuable than memories? It is true that if you work on your memories, you work on your life. But, unlike the bank account, no one gets to keep your memories when you die. Work on someone else's memories and you can leave something valuable when you die and enjoy the benefits while you are alive!
  • I've often heard that one should approach each day as if he were writing his own obituary. The idea is that, by consciously evaluating one's intentions, a person's efforts will be directed toward truly worthwhile goals. The walrus says that advice is weak, and "weak" advice should be banned from your life. To follow the "obituary" directive will cause you to strive for only those results that you can see, or imagine. That is powerfully self-limiting. You cannot possibly know the extent of your impact on those writing your obituary. You cannot guess your impact on those that will never know you, but will have their lives changed by the cosmic ripples generated by your actions. Do not allow yourself to be limited by your own view of what can be accomplished. Instead, know that your contribution to this world is immeasurable, regardless of its extent. Working to make your contribution known can only take energy from the entire, unknowable, life impact. Direct your life with goals, but never allow yourself to think that achieving the goal is all you have accomplished by your effort. Once again it is the effort and not the accomplishment that will make the difference.

Show’s over. It’s time to go back to work. That wasn’t so bad, was it?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Clock Of Life

The walrus didn't tell me about this one, but he could have.
 
The clock of life is wound but once, And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop At late or early hour.
Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will.
Place no faith in time. For the clock may soon be still.

 
Optimist or pessimist?

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

The Bus

We all ride the bus, the walrus said.

We all don't get on at the same place, but we don't have much choice in that. As a matter of fact, many of us don't even choose the bus route. We just stay on until the end of ride, wherever that happens to be.

Most will choose a seat and stay there for lots of miles. Many people like the window seat, just to sit back and take it all in. Sure, they turn their attention to the person next to them and talk for a while, or read a magazine, but they eventually turn back to the window and watch the scenery.

Some sit near the back of the bus so they can spend the whole trip talking with the other riders. Others they sit near the back so they don't have to talk to anyone. The ones that choose the front of the bus spend lots of time giving the driver advice on which shortcut to take to make the trip go faster, or how to deal with the other drivers on the road. The driver doesn't talk much, though.

A few riders will mix it up. Ride in the front for a while, then the back, ...

Very often some of us get off at bus stops for visits with friends or just to see the sights. It doesn't really matter to most of us if we don't know what to expect at a bus stop. We get back on the bus soon, or at least we get back on a bus. This one might have a different route, depending on the town we stopped in, but it still has a destination. Might be a shorter or longer trip, but it still gets to where its going. Sometimes we know that the trip got changed, sometimes we don't. We get back on the bus pretty much without thinking about what the layover did to the route.

We all ride the bus, the walrus said.

We don't have much choice about where we start our trip. But we all know there are stops along the way and we might decide to get off for a while. We all know that sooner or later we're going to get back on the bus; we will make it to our destination.

Where are you going to sit?

Monday, January 8, 2007

Re: Understanding the Walrus

On 1/8/07, Melissa wrote:
Hmmm, Wee-hopper, you're pretty good at speed-reading too! Assuming that x and y actually exist as named (do they??) - even though they are interdependent, they are still opposites and move you in opposite directions. Good v. bad, beautiful v. ugly, etc. It's the perception that is the key to rising upward on the scale. If you can eliminate thinking in opposites, then all is in harmony ---- moving forward (or upward), rather than up & down ---- leading to happiness!
OR -- perhaps because they move you in opposite directions, they totally (dude) cancel each other out, leaving you with only your comfort level... But is that happiness?
BTW - no hard time taken! :-) This is fun! I've never blogged before - figured I didn't have anything interesting to say - but it might be fun. I'll need a web page though.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Understanding the Walrus

OK, you got the speed reading part of the course in the bag. Its the comprehension that you still need to practice!

If you read slowly, the x and the y are completely interdependent! One can't increase without the other decreasing. That's as yinyang as my last night's cow mein. The kicker is that it doesn't matter how much x or how much y. The n - the comfort zone - is always the same. Comfortable. Or at least stable. (Just remember that one persons comfort zone is likely different than the next person's, but its the same amount of comfortableness never the less.)

Don't misinterpret my attempt at giving you a hard time as a put down. Quite the contrary. You usually do respond to my ungrounded comments in a way that makes me keep the engines turning. (And all this time you just thought I had a weird sense of humor!)

You can respond to posts, in your usual insightful and acedemic way, by "commenting" on the blog.

Thanks.


On 1/7/07, Melissa wrote:
OK. You apparently have too much time on your hands -- and the wrong idea about what women think! Haven't read those Tao books I gave you - have you? Very Western of you. Very x vs. y. No continuous circle. Perhaps x & y have been mislabelled... Think yin & yang - no opposites, only complements.
How do you create a blog???
M

On 1/6/07, C. wrote:
You might want to subscribe to the feed from my new blog.(The new IE has a built in reader at the Favorites star.) This is an experiment in theraputic exploration.Its bound to get interesting, and you never know if I'm telling the naked truth or trying to interpret the Dead Sea Scrolls while cleansing the impurities of my soul via the cactus juice commandments.
But keep it quiet. You are the only one that knows about this. And I really don't want too many people to look that deep inside my head.
C.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

The Walrus' FAQ's

Category: Women
 
Why do women believe that all problems, obstacles, conflicts, and social events are preordained and unavoidable occurrences that are a result of the position of the planets at the time of someones birth and must be resolved by psychics, therapists, counselors or psychiatrists. And furthermore, the rotation of the world must cease until such time as the solution is uncovered by the aforementioned Twinkies, or another problem of equal severity arises to take its place.?

Thursday, January 4, 2007

The Inescapable Balance

I have recently read several articles that mention the inevitable tendency of the human character to drift toward the dark side, the evil ways, the negative perspective, immoral or illegal actions...

The truth, according to the wise walrus, is that in the comparison of good vs. evil, or light vs. dark, or any description of the virtuous compared to the less virtuous, is a dead heat. For the sake of explaining this unattractive point of view, let's call one end of the scale "light" and the other end "darkness". You can guess which end is good and which is evil, or substitute any other extremes of personal character evaluation.

Did I mention a scale? OK, its a vertical scale. At the top end is full of light, goodness, virtue, happiness, etc. At the bottom of is the scale is emptiness, no goodness, no virtue, you get the idea. All of the good in the world of men is a result of people with character that resides above the bottom of the scale. The higher on the scale you are, the more goodness and light you are able to experience. But at what cost?

It seems to the walrus that the only real free choice that a person can make is to determine where, along our vertical scale, he intends to live his life. He can do little to raise his character up the scale toward the light and live in a relatively unhappy state. But, he didn't have to make the effort, do the work, do the character building, to go against natural tendencies and move up the scale. Less light means less happiness; less "work" means more happiness. The net is called n. And n = comfort level.

Lets look at the other free choice that could be made. This person decides that he wants to do the things that will move him up the scale towards the light, goodness, and virtue. He has decided to live a relatively happy life, but put forth the effort, do the work, do the character building to counter his natural tendencies to stay at the bottom of the scale. The result is the reverse of our earlier unfortunate fellow. More light means more happiness; more "work" means less happiness. The net is called n. And n = comfort level.

Hence the age old adage that one reaps what he sews. His reward is directly proportional to the effort invested.

x = the happiness provided by the character level on the vertical scale
y = the level of happiness that is a result of the negative impact of expending effort to achieve x

x raises the level of happiness (pushes up the scale)
y lowers the level of happiness (pushes down the scale)

x + y = n

The comfort level that a person chooses is a constant. What, are you nuts? No. Wherever a person chooses to be on the vertical scale is his comfort level. Comfortable is comfortable. What is comfortable to one will most likely be different for another, but it is the same amount of "comfortableness" in every case.

So if n is a constant, then x and y must have an inverse relationship. As x (character level on the scale) goes up, y (happiness level resulting from the expended effort) must go down.

Now, the walrus knows that isolating the results of individual choice from the impact of others' choices is a philosophical exercise, at best. But knowing that each person's n is his chosen balance of x and y, and all are equal in their level of n, can help explain the infinite variety of sparks that may fly when two or more shall make contact.

More on the variables of personal interaction to come... I'll ask the walrus.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

In The Beginning

If this works as expected, I can get on with creating the rest of the universe. Must hurry! I have to be done by Sunday.