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Philosophy and what it means to me

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The Thinker upper body as sketched by me for this blog piece. Sanjana has set me thinking.  She threw me a wicked googly!  At first, it seems to me that asking the question of philosophy and what it means to me is like asking how significant air is in my life.  Where to start? Reduction!  There is too much that philosophy seems to cover in my head. I must reduce that to specifics, something that I can actually talk about without lapsing into poetic wonder.  Ah!  A dictionary definition ... a search for a general understanding of values and reality by chiefly speculative rather than observational means So, I've cherry picked from many definitions available.  Other definitions dealt with wisdom or the specific studies you might see in a class listing, but I've chosen to reduce it to the specific realm of the pure thinker, the mental learner and wanderer.  Science folds in afterward with its processing of observations by theorizing, experimentation and analysis.  It is the philo

Doing the wrong thing at the right time

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Our work was hard, working with emotionally disturbed children in a residential facility.  It was a particularly bad day at work.  So bad, I won't even discuss it here.  That bad ... My apartment mate and I decided to meet with a fellow child care worker - that I just happened to be attracted to - at a coffee shop in Berkeley to unravel what had happened.  The bonus would be that this was the first time I had gotten together with her outside work.  I needed this! She called us at the coffee shop and said a friend of hers going all the way back to Kindergarten was coming early to meet her.  Would it be ok if the four of us just got together at another place, a Mexican restaurant and bar, to just relax and unwind.  We said sure. So, my friend and I got to the restaurant first.  When the two ladies walked in, I was dazzled!  Not by the lady I was after, the friend with her.  We had a delightful evening of conversation and she was as enjoyable to be with as she was lovely.  Turned out

How is today's world compared to the 21st century you imagined as a child?

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  Showcased at the Lick Observatory is a glass bookcase with Willy Ley books displayed.  Heaven! This is a map to Mt. Hamilton 50 miles from our house.  It is the home of the famed Lick Observatory.  Willy Ley was part of the German scientific diaspora around the rise of Nazi fascism.  Some stayed loyal to the Fatherland, but others abhorred it, Ley being one.  In 1944 he became an American citizen.  In 1949 a young American citizen was born in the American heartland and he was introduced to Ley through his books.  A love affair began! As a child in 3rd or 4th grade, I was fascinated by Golden Books talking of the Solar System and books by Willy Ley!  Ley was not just a writer, he began as a real and renowned scientist in his own right.  Many of his books were written in collaboration with the great Werner Von Braun, the father of NASA rocketry.  Together, they presented a clear vision of the future of space exploration. So, I was a boy cutting the eye teeth of his imagination in an ex

Has the pandemic wrought any positive changes?

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Looking at what the pandemic has brought, it has brought pain, death to many and tragic loss to families, isolation of those needing human touch.  Still, there is a silver lining that emerges from all the dark clouds of adversity in life and I sat back this morning to see if I could peg a few that have appeared in my world. I think it brought the end of the Trump Presidency .  I know some will be offended by me seeing that as positive, but so be it.  We all have to stand somewhere. Patience , for all else would be futile negativity.  It's amazing what you can develop, sometimes against your own nature, when there is no good alternative.  Some have chosen to stay impatient and declare their freedom in the face of this ... at the significant risk not just to themselves, but to others.  I turn my back on their selfishness. Reflection and time to consider with little interference .  With nothing filling your day, activity and tasks to accomplish, it becomes much more easy to reflect. 

The Most Heartbreaking Thing in my Life Now

I have never responded to a topic suggested for our group like I have to this one.  Ramana suggested the topic and it is a worthy one.  However, my response will be short for personal reasons. For seven years, my dear daughter has been afflicted with an illness syndrome still not solved.  The nature and extent of it she could tell if she so chose, but I will not do so myself out of respect for the extremity she faces so bravely and respect for her privacy. My job is to stay steady and true until a solution is complete. I will, though, visit my other blogging mates at their sites to see what they have to say.  I encourage you to do the same at: Maria Padmum Raju Ramana Sanjana Shackman Srinivas

Bad Luck or and Karma

Padmini has brought us a topic oh-so-Indian today and I sit at the disadvantage of being surrounded by Indians as I write upon it.  Surrounded by Indians?  Where have I heard that before?  But, I digress ... I am neither Indian nor Hindu (in this life), but I rather like many of their concepts of the universe.  It is simply a statement that not being born to that tradition and teaching, I can only approach the ideas from a Western perspective, being American.  So, rather than being helpless, I approach it from the perspective I am born and bred to, the study of Physics, using its understandings to approach one of the core concerns for all beings, the question of what does all that happens to me come from and what is its meaning. Padmini picks the dilemma well, for it is argument between the accidental universe with randomly created physical laws and results and the argument of meaning in greater depth in the affairs of man.  In the first case, events just happen in sequence and so it w

The Vaccination Drama

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  A true global pandemic in modern times is a rarity, especially one claiming so many lives, although the HIV/AIDS pandemic has claimed 30 million lives.  Each brings humanity itself into a glaringly sharp focus hidden during calmer times. AIDS is a nasty example of how we cheaply and cruelly protect our psyches.  We compartmentalized and made it a gay man's disease and thus, those of us straight could conveniently set aside emotional trauma.  It affects THEM, not us! That cheap compartmentalization comes with a price, a price of bigotry and cruelty, a price of the loss of part of our human compassion.  It is easier for those who have already compromised those qualities, but it is common to many.  It is especially easier to cast evil and stress onto someone we already have decided was evil anyway, such as the judgment of evil on the gay man. Covid-19 had an evil straw man in America, the entire Chinese population.  Every time it is referred to by a leader as the China Virus, it is