Thursday, May 28, 2015

Bacon's Novum Organum

A few quotes:

Those who have taken upon them to lay down the law of nature as a thing already searched out and understood, whether they have spoken in simple assurance or professional affectation, have therein done philosophy and the sciences great injury. For as they have been successful in inducing belief, so they have been effective in quenching and stopping inquiry; and have done more harm by spoiling and putting an end to other men's efforts than good by their own. --Never quench inquiry.  Innovation is necessary to the survival of our society.  Look at what happened in Atlas Shrugged when everyone became mediocre.

But this remedy comes too late to do any good, when the mind is already, through the daily intercourse and conversation of life, occupied with unsound doctrines and beset on all sides by vain imaginations. And therefore that art of logic, coming (as I said) too late to the rescue, and no way able to set matters right again, has had the effect of fixing errors rather than disclosing truth. There remains but one course for the recovery of a sound and healthy condition — namely, that the entire work of the understanding be commenced afresh, and the mind itself be from the very outset not left to take its own course, but guided at every step; and the business be done as if by machinery.  --Our past experiences sometimes cement in our minds false beliefs.  We need to come at a topic with an open mind, willing to believe that our own ideas may be inaccurate. 

Thoughts on Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand

Let's begin with the positives, shall we? 

I think Ayn Rand got some things right in her book, Atlas Shrugged.  In terms of the economy, the best way to "stimulate" it is to get out of the way.  We need minimal laws and complete trust in the free market system.  The economy will regulate itself if left alone so that innovators and thinkers are free to create. 

She also did a great job of depicting human nature, it's tendency to be lazy and feed off of another's success or ideas.  Men do often want to reap the benefits of another man's work, even if it hurts said man.  We can see this very plainly in the current state of affairs of our country.  President Obama was largely re-elected because he promised hand-outs.  Why should we assume we are any different than hundreds of other civilizations that have existed throughout history?  We are as Rome during the "bread and circuses" period.

That said, there is very little else I agree with.  Ayn Rand was clearly an atheist.  She did not believe that we are held accountable to anyone other than ourselves.  It bothers me that in the entire book none of the heros/heroines have children.  Though there is one paragraph given to a mother raising two children, the remainder of the book is void of them.  If she really believes that her "Objectivism" works for all in the world she should have spent more time showing how this applies to the 50% of Americans that have children.

It also bothers me that the heroine, Miss Dagny Taggert, sleeps with whomever she is impressed with.  Having lived in a world where most are mediocre, she does not encounter many men that do impress her, but once she does it becomes ok for to sleep with him whether he is married or not.  Ayn Rand actually makes it sound like Dagny is justified for doing so.  Again, Ayn does not feel we as humans are accountable to anyone.  Being faithful to a spouse or obeying such commandments as, "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery," don't apply.  A person must only do what leads to their own happiness.

If people began to follow Ms. Ayn Rand's philosophy we would soon have a world where...well, look around.  Many people ARE following exactly this idea of objectivism and families are disintegrating all around us because of it.  With the destruction of the family we are seeing the end of a moral society.  Children suffer from a lack of parental support/supervision. Selfishness abounds and people can't trust each other or rely on anyone.

Though she paints it in a good light, not being held accountable to anyone--having a world void of duty and honor-- only leads to destruction in my opinion.  As ancient Rome fell when they followed the idea of Objectivism, so to shall we if we do not alter our course and become a little more human, compassionate, and bound down by duty.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens

History continues to go through a cycle.  Every 100 years (give or take 20) our society tends to make it through four different "seasons".
Season 1:  The Founding
Season 2:  The Awakening
Season 3:  The Unraveling
Season 4:  The Crisis
(For more information on this subject read The Fourth Turning by Strauss and Howe.  They researched over 3,000 years of history and found this cycle to be consistent)

Guess where we are?!  That's right.  Smack dab in the middle of Crisis.  It began with 9/11 and continues with the current decline in our economy,  We are facing some tough times ahead.  Duh!  Right?  We've all figured that out by now (I think).  But, have you figured out how to survive in our current season of Crisis?  Or how we can make the upcoming season of Founding a successful one?  If your answer is no (and even if your answer is yes)  you need to read this book.  Especially if you are a teenager or the parent of one.

Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens outlines what our youth need to do to prepare for and survive through the Crisis and Founding seasons of our country.  And the advice is great for adults as well who are NOT narrow-minded and set in their ways.  Having lived in a time of Awakening and Unraveling most adults have the wrong philosophy for how to survive in current times.  This book can help you break down your paradigms and actually help you and your teen thrive in these difficult seasons.

Get it here

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Pushing to the Front

This book, by far, is the one that has impacted me the most.  Though Marden's writing is choppy to me at times and, therefore, hard to follow it contains so many nuggets of wisdom that I would recommend this book to every adult.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

"Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities.  Seize common occasions and make them great."  These words were speaking directly to me.  I am very good at waiting for the extraordinary opportunities.  For example, having fun.  I wait for vacation to really play with and enjoy my children; a girls-weekend out to relax and let my hair down; the ability to afford college to get my education, when the truth is I can seize common occasions and make them great.  I can put down the dish rag and seize a few minutes to really play with my children.  I can spend 5 minutes laughing with a friend on the phone or create a spontaneous "play date."  I can read a book today, right now, and learn instead of waiting, waiting, waiting. 

(chapter 3)"Many a father's son," says Thurlow Weed, " has found the best opportunities for mental improvement in his intervals of leisure while tending 'sap bush'."  Who am I to complain of not having any time to study?  These "farmer's boys" kept a book in their back pocket and read any chance they got.  I can do the same.  I can listen to audio books while I'm doing my mundane chores like folding laundry or driving to the store.  I can keep a book in my purse always so that I can seize an opportunity to read while waiting in line or waiting for Karate to get over, or whenever I am just waiting, waiting, waiting. 

(chapter 3) I love the story of William Lloyd Garrison.  "In the first issue of his paper, Garrison urged an immediate emancipation, and called down upon his head the wrath of the entire community.  He was arrested and sent to jail."  After spending 49 days there did he relinquish his plan of securing freedom for slaves? No! "In Boston, with no money, friends, or influence, in a little upstairs room, Garrison started the 'liberator' "  And he included this declaration in the very first issue:
                     "I will be as harsh as truth, as uncompromising as justice.  I am in earnest.  I
                     will not equivocate.  I will not excuse;  I will not retreat a single inch, and I will
                     be heard." 

(chapter 8) "Great advantages bring great responsibilities.  You cannot divorce them."  It seems today that our society tries to avoid responsibilities or at least does not take them very seriously.  Children are neglected.  Civic duty isn't even thought about.  Paying one's debts is no longer a matter of honor - "we'll just file bankruptcy."  Am I to behave in a similar manner?  I have been blessed with so many great advantages: the gospel, good parents, a wonderful husband, healthy children, food, knowledge, etc."  I have a responsibility to take care of my blessings and to pass on what I can to others.  I can choose to do nothing, but I still cannot divorce my responsibilities.  I will be held accountable for them one day.

Monday, April 28, 2014

What I learned from Clouds

 Clouds was a play written by Aristophanes (about 445 BC -380 BC).  It is important to note that play-writes at this time wove into their plays current issues and personalities that citizens were dealing with.  For example, Aristophanes wrote about Cleon, Socrates, and the contrast between old and new systems of education because those were things of import at the time.

What I gleaned from "Clouds"

  1. The main character, Strepsiades wants his son to get an "education" so that he can use persuasive logic to keep from having to pay his debts.  How common is that in our day?  People everywhere are not concerned if something is right they are only concerned with "Is it legal," or "can I get away with it?" People hire lawyers to get them out of "paying their debts" whether to society, or to the one they have harmed.  Dishonesty is rampant in our world.
  2. Strepsiades so easily sets aside his belief in God.  His teacher merely tells him that there is no God and he accepts it as true without question. This is common in our places of higher-learning.  Young minds enter the university as sponges and quickly seem to absorb any idea that their professors rain on them.  Why wouldn't they?  They have been taught for most of their public school education that the teacher is the authority.  "Don't question the teacher!"  Or, "But he is the professional - he should know." We need to be careful who we listen to and who we believe.  We need to teach our young people how to think for themselves.  Most importantly we need to give them a measuring stick that they can measure all new information against.  Some absolute truth that they can go to with this new bit of information and evaluate, "Does this fit?  Is this truth?"  For me that is the scriptures and modern day prophets.  For others, it may be something else - but can only be useful as a measuring stick if it is absolute truth.
  3. Logic does not necessarily mean truth.  "Wrong logic," or twisting things to make them work in your favor, only leads do the eventual erosion of your soul, your family, and/or your country.
  4. Greece and Rome fell because they became an immoral people.  They became immoral because their Gods, or the people they looked to as examples, were immoral.  Our country is following a similar pattern.  We must become people of integrity and that would be best done by turning our gaze from todays "heroes" in sports or Hollywood and fixing it upon the perfect example - Jesus Christ.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Started school at Monticello College

On April 10, 2014 I started attending Monticello College online. I am learning a lot about freedom and the great people of history.  This blog is now going to become the place where I record the things I am learning from my readings as well as my classes. My hope is that my education will benefit more than just myself.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Healing this nation

It is so tempting to quit this sick country and form a new, yet if we would but follow the constitution and its original intent our country would be miraculously healed.