Saturday, March 3, 2007

Introduction to Sailing

We are carried though the sea of influences like a snowflake. There is not a way to our destination that is not buffeted by wind, trees, other snowflakes...

We continue on our way as if nothing could deter us from our goal, our target. We even take the credit for where and when we arrive, as if it were our goal from the start.

And so we should, to some extent. Within the boundaries that are unchangeable, and then narrowed by the countless influences of the environment, there is something that is in our power to manipulate.

The walrus says that we are able, if we are in tune with our environment, to alter our direction a little at a time like a sail bends the direction of the wind. With intent, our influence on the environment purposely interacts with other environmental influences to propel us in the direction that we choose. We use the unstoppable momentum provided by the passing of time and the environmental influences around us to fine tune our journey.

Some of the sailing is done without intent. A baby will determine for himself when he will have his next meal. His reaction to the feeling of hunger will influence his providers. The baby did not know that he was ordering his dinner.

Some people naturally develop finely tuned reflexive influence. Others may see these special people as perceptive or charismatic leaders. As influential as these naturals are, they have difficulty maintaining the same direction for very long. Their reflexive manipulation does not have the steady bearing provided by the rudder of intent.

The walrus says that one can intentionally develop the skills to use his own and his environment's influences in complementary ways. These intentional manipulations, once mastered and then internalized, become the reflexive sail that permits one to make the journey of his own choosing.

Any thinking walrus would prefer to choose his favorite from the menu, rather than sit idly at the table waiting to see what the cook brings out!

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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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