Quote of the Day, July 3, 2014: “The philosophy of the rich versus the poor is this: The rich invest their money and then spend what is left; The poor spend their money and then invest what is left.”

I’m going to avoid the obvious meaning of the saying, that is money, and I’m going to offer an alternative view, albeit a parallel one.

I play piano. Better than some, and worse than others. I’ll leave it at that. Without going into my long history with the instrument, which included lessons while I was a young boy that I loathed at times, I will say that I fell in love and got the bug during my time at university.

There I met many pianists, guitarists, bassoonists, and all types of musicians of varying skill levels. Some were professionals already hoping to hone their skills under the tutelage of those even more advanced than they. Some may as well have been beginners, seemingly having had decided to make music their major at the last minute while registering for classes. I would have fallen in the latter category, with the exception that music was not my major at all, just a newfound love.

Though I started out behind most pianists I met, my deep desire aroused in me a rare type of discipline. The kind one usually notices in a man trying to woo a woman. I had a goal and a drive to attain it that surpassed my desires for anything else at the time, women included. I found myself “borrowing” any sheet music I could get my hands on. I found myself ditching class in order to practice. I may have ‘allowed’ the secretary at the music department to believe I was a music major so as to have access to pianos to practice on. It was so bad that I even distinctly remember blowing of an incredibly attractive blonde cheerleader (whom I had a pretty sizable crush on at the time) for a party that she really wanted me to attend with her, so that I could solidify a piece of music that I had been working on all week. So instead of partying with her, which would have been the “logical” college thing to do at the time, I instead was running my fingers over the smooth ivory keys of a baby grand deep into the night on a sultry Friday evening.first steps pic

To put it short. What I wanted above all things at that time was proficiency at the piano. I asked questions about the piano. I dreamt about the piano. I played air piano on my binder in class. And most importantly I spend my time and energy on my goal, the piano. Looking back, until my father’s death, which deadened my drive for some time, I practiced piano for an average of 4 hours a day. When my fingers hurt, or when the practice rooms were closed for a holiday, and I had some free time, then I’d go to the party or hang out with the guys. They understood though. They had drives too.

There were those who didn’t understand though. They said they wanted to be good at the piano or perhaps another instrument, but every time there was a party you’d be sure to see them there. Any time there was a cute girl to be distracted by they were ready to give her their undivided attention. On the occasional Wednesday leading up to the Thanksgiving weekend you’d see them in the practice rooms, mostly because everyone else had gone home and they were getting some practicing in to stave off boredom.

Now years later, my close friends, the ones who understood when I wasn’t at the party every Friday night, mostly because they were also ditching the party, and in the practice room down the hall from me, gig all the time. Many have become professionals and live completely off their instrument, or the royalties from music they write or perform. They have become rich beyond their wildest dreams when it comes to opportunities to use the musical talents they have spent a lifetime developing. Our other friends look at us and say, “Well you’re just a lot more talented than I am. I wish I was born with as much rhythm as you,” always thinking that it was some sort of luck of the draw or a genetic disposition that created such a gap in the wealth of musical ability. At this point there is not much to say that they will believe or understand. After all, way back, when we only had two pennies of musical ability to rub together between the whole lot of us, they didn’t understand why we would spend so much time in the practice rooms, giving the piano the first and best hours of our day, and saving the left overs for the parties and the hanging out. They did exactly the opposite and gave the most to the women and the good times, and filled in the gaps with cultivating their skills.

But in the end both got what they desired. They truly wanted the women and the parties and they got them at that time, but now they do not have the musicality because they invested only the left-overs. We at the time, invested only our left overs in women and parties, and often felt left out when people forgot to invite us to get together, being accustomed to us not showing up in the first place. But we gave our best to the piano, and it is what has born fruit for us and continues to grow to this day, for after all, once you’re rich you tend to get richer.

So one gets a frat group of drinking buddies that extends deep into their 20s and perhaps 30s. The other gets a skill that if nurtured, keeps growing and satisfies both them and those around them. Each to his own philosophy, investing first one way, then spending the rest another, or visa versa. The thing is, by the time you’re this age, the musician is the party and always gets an invite, where the guy who’s got no skills but is merely a good time often gets forgotten. Oddly enough the old adage is true, that when it comes to the poor, no matter what type of commodity of currency you’re speaking of, it does seem that even what he has is taken from him. Invest wisely.

Quote of the Day, June 13, 2014: “Wealth gained quickly will dwindle away, but the one who gathers little by little will become rich.”

We all want to get rich quick. That’s because we all either are in a bad financial situation, or simply lack the amount of resources to do what we truly want to do, and either way we want that problem alleviated now. Enter every get rich quick scheme imaginable to play on your emotional desire to have more resources, much more resources with the promise of delivering overnight. That kind of promise gets our emotions to flare and gets us to give in to whatever the scheme is in a frenzy, not because we actually think it’s a smart idea that will actually work, but more because we want it to work so bad we almost think we can will it into existence. We become the guy who spends his rent money on an exotic stock tip that’s supposed to beat the market, or the lady who loses all her friends pushing bath soaps for some MLM, or even the guy who buys a fixer upper and thinks by adding a coat of paint and some drapes he’ll turn around and sell it for $100k more than he bought it for. Or worse yet, the person who simply thinks that by hoping and praying and going along to get along that they will someday simply be given a promotion from their job, or get another job that pays an outlandish salary and then all their prayers will be answered. And of course the worst of all, the habitual lottery ticket purchaser.

Don’t get me wrong. All of these things have a place. Investing in the market is good if you actually have the money to spare and are realistic about the potential returns. This may be heresy to some but there are even a few multi-level marketing businesses that are worth their salt, provide value to their customers and put extra mailbox money in the middle man’s pocket. A couple adept at the ins and outs of real estate who aren’t afraid of a little hammering and sawdust can make millions flipping houses. People do get raises every day, and if they are smart about their extra money, an extra few dollars an hour could mean a complete change in lifestyle. And of course while most of us don’t know anyone personally, somebody out there does win the lottery every once in a while and aside from the taxes and the lottery curse, they could fill a pool with gold bars if they wanted to (although that would be a cool concept for a magazine photo shoot but dumb idea overall).

The point with all this is this. Wealth isn’t the word I want to choose because while it’s accurate, it doesn’t paint an accurate picture in the mind. Resources fits better. There are those of us who have a serious deficiency in resources. There are those of us who are fine but also lack the resources to do certain things that we dream about or want to do. But to suddenly get those resources overnight, while it would seem to be a God-send, and granted there are those of us out there who would do well, for the most part we wouldn’t really know what to do with them. When something grows over time we watch it. We learn its habits. We learn what slows its growth down and what seems to accelerate it. We learn just how much water and sunlight it needs so to speak. It’s almost a relationship, whether it be with a plant or with money and we watched the whole process. This way we know exactly where it came from and how to keep it going. When something springs up overnight we have a rough concept of where it may have come from, but we don’t have that deep understanding that comes with watching something with patience and discipline. I might by a stock today, and for some reason the market makes a jump and I sell it in a week and make thousands. In theory that can happen and that would be very fortunate, but it would be luck more than anything else. It kind of just happened and while I might say that I had a feeling or that company’s logo is my favorite color or whatever, the fact is I don’t really understand how and where that thousand bucks came from. I won’t be able to do it again. And even if I could the odds of keeping that up are astronomical.

Now if I took the time to study changes in the different markets. Look for indicators of booms and busts over several different industries over say, 80 years, then I might have a fighting chance at making some consistent money that doesn’t just grow and then drain out with every cycle. But that wasn’t quick. I had to take the time, a long time, to develop a relationship with the numbers and the financial climate and all of that to become proficient. I know where the money comes from and how it works. Now I can make it grow dependably.

It’s almost like coming into the age of science and leaving the age of magic in the past. When our ancestors relied heavily on the inconsistency of gods and goddesses that lurked within every rock or tree, all with conflicting agendas and different sets of powers to control the environment we lived in, the world was a much darker and seemingly confusing place. The concept of magic worked simply because it worked sometimes and it didn’t work other times. Life was, as they say brutish and short. Enter the age of science and reason, and yes while it has its own problems, for the sake of the illustration I’ll point out that people began to see that there was order to the universe. All things work together according to natural laws, not the arbitrary whims of a goddess over here battling against the desires of a god over there. There was a time when horseback was the fasted mode of travel, and while we saw birds covering great distances in short timespans, we could only fantasize about riding on the back of a Pegasus through the sky to our destination. We hadn’t put in the time yet to understand that those birds weren’t using magic, they were simply using laws built into the environment. The idea that perhaps with the right magic dust or the right incantation one could fly for a moment perhaps. Thousands of years later, after much trial and error, many crashes and many deaths even, we can fly anywhere we want in the world with such consistency that you are more likely to get bucked off a horse today than fall from the sky in a plane. This is because over time we’ve put in the effort and the discipline to have a consistent resource that only keeps getting better and better as the years go by because we have an intimate understanding of how and why it works.

Resources that come quickly and easily usually fade just as quickly and easily. That’s simply because we don’t really understand how we got it. Stocks feel like gambling. MLMs feel like money just grows out of feelings. Flipping seems kind of like playing Monopoly HGTV Edition. A raise or a promotion tends to feel arbitrary, and winning the lottery just means for whatever reason God likes you today. None of these things mean anything particularly useful to the recipient if they come easy or quickly. But if the skills and luck required for these and other forms of gaining resources are learned over time so that they actually stick in the mind and the mystery fades behind how they work over time, then even when things do happen quickly, the recipient has a firm understanding of the whys and hows and can use lucky breaks to continue to gain more resources is a much more controlled way.

Quote of the Day, April 21, 2014: “Go to the ant, consider her ways and be wise! She has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet she stores provisions in summer and gathers her food in harvest.”

How to build you’re own ant farm:

Spring is here, and with the change in weather many of us are finding that we had better make sure to clean up extra well or we might find a surprise the next morning on the dining table; ANTS. But spring is also an opportunity to get outside and start new projects, and while you’re at it, turn these little critters from pests to pets…in a sense.

First you will need all this equipment, most of it you can probably find laying around your house.

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  • Thin pieces of wood cut to lenghts of about 6 to 10 inches (or longer depending on how big you want your ant farm to be.
  • Glass taken from an old picture frame
  • Clear Shower Calking
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Small wood screws
  • Cardboard or plywood (or another piece of glass)
  • Dirt
  • Seedlings (optional)
  • Ants

First you’ll need to make the frame for your farm. These pieces of wood are about 2inches by 1inch so I turned them sideways so that I could put the thin parts together. The first step is to mark out how thin you want the space for the ants to work in to be. You’ll want it pretty thin so that you can see them as they dig.

After you’ve decided that, mark where you want the glass to sit on the bottom piece of wood. Then use a knife or screwdriver to notch along that line just large enough to be able to slide the piece of glass long ways into the wood for stability. Then use the caulking to secure the glass in place in the wood. You can use glue but I prefer the nice finish clear caulking gives.10259542_10100183122378650_1395219299_n

Then find your piece of cardboard or ply wood and place the glass and the bottom piece of wood against it. This will be the back of the farm. If you want a farm that you can see from both sides then use another piece of glass. Make sure your plywood is cut to the right size and then place the side pieces of wood on either side of the glass and caulk the edges to the glass. You may need to place a rock or something roughly the size of the space between the glass and the plywood under the edge of the glass to keep its shape while the caulking dries. Then use the screws to secure the wood to keep the farm from falling apart. Depending on where you want to display your farm you can build legs from wood as well or secure it to something else with screws.

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Next is the dirt. Try and find dirt that is similar to the kind of dirt that you will find your ants in as well. Don’t get dirt with too many clumps in it as the finer the dirt is the more obvious the tunnels will be that your ants create.

If you’re like me then you may want to add some plants for a more realistic, or at least more scenic environment. I found some weeds growing in my garden and transplanted a few of them into my farm. The roots end up looking cool as well.

Now it’s time for the finally, ANTS. Now if you look hard enough you can usually find an ant mound or perhaps a colony of ants living under a rock or a piece of wood. You can try and collect them by hand but depending on the species this can range from simply difficult to painful. Not to mention you usually end up killing more ants that collecting, and the ones you do collect end up pretty damaged.

 

 

 

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My prefered method is to make the ants come to me. Again depending on the species of any this will be more or less effective but with most ants, they are attracted to sweets and oils, especially animal fats. I create a lid out of wood and I caulk the sides to create a seal over the glass but I make sure to let it dry while off so that I can take it on or off. Then I cut a small hole in the lid, or I choose a piece of wood with a knot whole in it. Then take a long piece of wire and bend it so that you can stick it down into the dirt in your farm on one end, and then make an upside down ‘u’ shape that ends in the dirt outside the farm, near a place you there ants frequent.

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I cooked some bacon that day and took a small piece of bacon and left it in the oil for a bit. Then I cut it in half, placing one piece at the base of the wife outside of the farm and the other piece at the base of the wire inside the farm. Then I took the eyedropper, sucked up some grease, and dribbled it all along the wire, creating a kind of trail of grease. (I also use the eyedropper to add water to the plants.) Then I make sure everything is secure and I leave.

The next day, check your ant farm, if you’ve placed it close enough to an ant source you should find a trail of ants going to and fro along the wire, and tons in your farm working on harvesting the bacon and digging all through your dirt.

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Quote of the Day, March 9, 2014: “Don’t seek gain, seek growth.” (Extended Version)

This quote comes from my pastor, but it harkens back to a conversation I had two weeks ago with another gentleman about what the trouble is with our society and business, and in particular, with Christians and business. It all stemmed from him speaking about how when he first had kids he found an interest in finding out what the best way to educate them would be. He started out looking for a concise definition that he could accept for the word “eduction.” Education is something that we speak about all the time in our society. Our politicians talk about it and how they are going to fund this school and that set of teachers, and all in the sake of education, but they never really speak about what education is or what it’s for. Our parents want us to get a good education, and our teachers push us to get good grades and go higher and higher in our education but it’s still never quite defined for us. Is an education literally that piece of paper they give you at the end stating that now you have an education? Does it mean you can recite poetry and recall obscure battles and what dates the occurred. The definition that this man said he finally settled on after years of search was this: (Paraphrase) Education is preparing someone to respond to and engage with the world in an appropriate manner. I can guarantee that is a paraphrase although I’m doing my best to recall his exact words. I do believe the ones I’ve chosen speak to the heart of what he said though. He found that the idea behind education was teaching a young person that there is a big world out there with all kinds of ideas, and tools, and facts, and dangers and wonders and that person will need the intellectual and emotional tools to be able to interact with that world in a way that is #1 beneficial to them, and #2 should be beneficial to those they are interacting with.

Now in today’s day and age we usually harp on education for one thing and one thing only. Yes sure we pretend that you should get a good education so that you are a well-rounded person, or a productive member of society or something of that lofty and idealised nature, but the real reason people say get a good education because they believe that is the way to make money, and money is how you get what you want and need in this world. It is true that without some kind of education, you definitely will not have what you want, nor what you need in terms of money or much of any other type of success. But that education does not need to come from a class room. It can come from what has become far too much of a cliche for me to use without blushing; “the streets.” It can from from wisdom passed on from your parents. Or it can come from an institution set up for the purpose of educating young (or old) people. It can come from many types of places but the reality is that if you don’t learn how to engage with the world in a manner that correlates with what you want, which usually means giving someone what they want first, then you will not make it, nor will you make anything better.

How this carried over into business, and therefore connects with the quote is this. He said that whether all of us like it or not, and whether the other half of us believe it’s still the case or not, the fact remains that our society is heavily Christianized. This means that while there are plenty of us that do not subscribe to Christianity, or even subscribe to a deity at all for that matter, the culture we find ourselves in has been created and sustained by Christian peoples for the last several hundred years. Whether you think of it as lasting influence or baggage, the fact remains that the majority of our ideals are Christian ideals. This is on a subconscious level and wont’ easily be taken from us as a culture, though on the conscious level we may seek to attain these ideals in what appear to be radically secularised ways. For example, both our political parties seek to help the poor and the needy. One party simply thinks that the other is going about it the wrong way. One says the only way to help is to teach people to help themselves. The other says the only way to help people is to sort of do it for them in a way. Independent of which one is right and which one is wrong, both  take for granted that it is a good thing to help the needy and they get their reasoning in the first place from their shared Christian cultural ideals. If we didn’t have these ideals then we would be having debates on whether is was right or not to help the needy in the first place. Aside from being taken over by a culture that has radically different religious roots we will never see a debate on whether taking care of the poor and needy is a good thing or not in North America or Western Europe. We will however debate on how  to get this done, but never whether it should be done. Christianity teaches that those who are strong should take care of and make accommodations for those who are weak. Christianity teaches that those who have plenty should take care of those who are in need. Those are the givens in our society at a subconscious level, whether there are many other cultures who teach that those who are weak should show deference to those who are strong. This is why men hold doors for women, slavery of minority ethnic groups is outlawed, and children can’t work until they are 16. The confusion comes in when they play out on a day to day basis and we can see that we still have some maturing to do as a society. One place where we seem to have gotten confused, as a people, and as a still subconsciously Christian people is in business.

Business has become a dangerous word because it’s a slippery slope toward the word Big business which is certainly a curse word. And if big business is a curse word then ‘profits’ must be one of the most vulgar of all. In short this is because our subconscious religious heritage teaches us that there is more to life than what can be seen or touched. That is to say that there is not only more to our existence than material world but that there are things that actually supersede the material world. And all that money can buy are material things. It also teaches us that those who place too much importance on the material, at the expense of putting importance on the immaterial are fools and can lead to wickedness. And to top it all off, we have a directive to take care of the needy, and we almost always think of the needy in terms of material resources. There are plenty out there who ignore this religious and cultural directive to the point of doing the exact opposite and actually oppressing the needy. Because our culture is rather duplicitous at the moment, being intent on freeing our conscious behavior from the tyrannical shackles of Christianity and religion, but being forever subconsciously tied to it, we start to lose track of why  we believe some things are right and somethings are wrong, but still have an innate drive to carry out those rights and avoid those wrongs. When this confusion sets in, as it has for some time our society grows more and more politically chaotic and culturally schizophrenic. Instead of the potential oppressor being kept in check so as to never fall into the temptation of using his strength for ill, he becomes the very oppressed himself, in an effort to combat the ill dreamed up in a nightmare of one of the potentially oppressed, to give the oppressor a taste of his own medicine, a medicine that he hasn’t even necessarily concocted yet. Like a doctor sues book where fictional creatures are getting stars tattooed and then removed on them so fast that nobody can quite tell who the original perpetrator was, or if there ever was one, we take what is good, but has potential for evil, and then do that evil to them in the name of what is good, convoluting both entirely. Over time this develops not only a natural hatred for those with strength, any kind of strength really, which allows for many different kinds of people to fall into the category of being loathed by a confused society that is grappling with an innate sense of right, without acknowledging its source: corporations, men, whites, the rich, the religious majority, the educated, those with white collar jobs, the banking industry, the oil industry, attractive people, tall people, popular kids in school, whoever. If they have power, even if they aren’t wielding it, even if it’s only perceived power, because we’ve kept our ideals but thrown out the ‘manual’ so to speak, they are suspect and probably got that power from doing something bad.

Business and profits are no exception. The idea behind profits though, is that in the truest sense of the word, it does not mean gain, which is n excess of wealth, of fat really. And admittedly so, it has become that to many of us. When profit becomes gain, the acquisition of more and more, the consumption of more than is sufficient, then they are tainted and not only seen as greedy or distasteful by our fellow man (usually because of his own greed and jealousy) but it also goes against how God wants us to profit. That is because it is hard to gain in the sense of acquisition without taking form others. The true sense of the word profit is to grow. When we succeed in business or in any other part of life, we often retain excess with which we use to grow the good we are already doing. Success in business finds the growth of not only the business but the customer and the laborers as well. That is why the demonization of business and profit is understandable, seeing as we are culturally too confused to recognize good strength being used well versus ill-gotten strength being used poorly, and the fact that there are plenty out there who would prove this demonization to be justified with the way they conduct themselves. But this demonization is ultimately incorrect because it cannot recognize the need for and the command to grow as being contrasted against, but equally important to our command to take care of the needy. Growth strengthens those involved, while gain decays.

In business it is always better to focus on growth rather than gain. A child that ‘gains’ retains fat that is of little use to him and often slows him down. Aside from genetic reasons this often happens because of a sort of gluttony or a greed with food or the wrong types of food which ultimately makes the child weaker and weaker. A child who grows is eating the right kinds and the right amounts of food allowing him to get stronger and grow and do even more things as he approaches adulthood.

A business have profit, presumably because they are providing a service or a product that others need. They are not only providing this to people but doing it in an organized fashion that is dependable for their customers. This is a good thing and this good earns them profits. Some heads of companies take more and more of these profits and squander them on frivolities or keeping up with the business owner down the street. This luxury will eventually turn into fat because it is neither a wise nor helpful way to use those profits. But a company may also use those profits to do the good they are already doing, but more of it, or better. This is growth which in turn helps even more people on the outside but strengthens the company on the inside. Growth and change for the better is always a good thing. Acquiring for the sake of having more and more is not and usually leaves us with less or in a weakened state in the end. That’s simple enough.

Quote of the Day, February 20, 2014: “Truth is truth. There is no truth for you and truth for me. You may have beliefs. I may have opinions. But both of those are designed to reflect reality, so when they don’t (which is often), then that’s called being wrong…which is ok, but it’s not the same as true.”

Now this type of assertion is most commonly found coming from some sort of religious entity or a politically conservative one, however usually because of their religious ties, and it is used as a weapon in the argument against the acceptance of multiculturalism in the sense that multiple religious viewpoints are accepted within one society. While I do assert Christianity to be true, I am not coming from a particularly religious angle when I say this, and that is because I believe that any particular religious affiliation is secondary when it comes to the logic necessary to assert that there is in fact a universal truth and that truth in its denotative form does not exist in a particular personal or customisable manner. one of the great follies, hypocrisies, and plan out fooleries of our modern society is the temptation to accept the notion that there may in fact be a truth for me and a truth for you, both of which can be differentiated from each other. To use that phrasing there is in fact a truth for me, and a truth for you, but only in the sense that both you and I have a relationship to the world around us and must come to terms with the same truth as we go through life.

The idea that there is not truth in a denotative sense, but only perspective is fundamentally incorrect, not only from a Christian or any other religious viewpoint, but also from any type of agnostic atheistic, or for that matter, anyone whose thinking has any semblance of logic at all. The reason the line of thinking that there is only perspective is a temptation is because from a human standpoint there is only perspective. Humanity has 5 senses naturally, and has developed even a few more with which it can discern and extract observations about the world. These observations can only be made from a particular vantage point in space and history and particularly from the locality of our own minds. But the idea that we because we can only view the world from particular vantage points and therefore the world only exists encapsulated within those vantage points is not only arrogantly human-centered, but its hubris goes beyond naiveté to sheer foolery. They are mixing up an individuals inability to se and discern universal truth with the idea that perhaps universal truth does not exist. This is like a person who is color-blind stating that true or more vibrant colors do not exist simply because they as an individual cannot see them. It is not their truth that sees different colors than others who are not color-blind but in fact their handicap that keeps them from seeing the whole truth that is there because of their unique perspective. And therefore perspective as a word is in a way, synonymous with the idea of a handicap because it means that our ability to observe the world around us has been narrowed down by our particular locality and experiences, keeping us from seeing the whole of what is truly there.

Therefore anyone person or any society for that matter is far better off claiming that one cannot ever know truth because it exists independently of our perspectives than claiming that there are multiple truths depended on an individuals perspective.

In honesty, the only way an individual or society that has locality can ever hope to obtain any type of universal truth is for it to be revealed to them by a source that is not limited by perspective. This is why the idea of truth is so important to religious peoples and why frankly religious peoples are the only ones with the intellectual right to claim any type of universal truth at all. Simply because by being religious peoples in the first place, they claim to have tires to a god or creator that is not limited by perspective neither in space nor in time. And while religious peoples may annoy us with their quibbling about their different interpretations of what truth has been revealed to them, they are the only ones that can even enter the ring of debate in the first place. The rest must bow out at the get go if they want to maintain any type of intellectual integrity.

Quote of the Day, December 20, 2013: “Pride is the most dangerous of vices and all other vices can be boiled down to just that.”

Pride comes up a lot in life. It’s not a surprise as it’s the original sin, and can be found in the roots of all other sins. Pride is the essence of all that is evil, because pride is a refusal of reality, and a placing of self above your environment. Seeing as we as humans, have bits and pieces of logic, and have bits and pieces of rationality, but are by no means rational or logical in our core, Pride, or this inability to accept the true cause and effect nature of life, is an inhabitant of all of us. It has a hold of each of us to varying degrees to be sure, but it does exist in all of us. That’s not the surprising part.

 

What’s troubling is that these days Christians and non-Christians alike have built up a whole encyclopedia of the nuances of the do’s and don’ts of life, starting a telling little white lies, taking a pit stop at thou shalt not murder (unless asked to by your federal government), and ending  with the most heinous of all sins…looking at porn. But the weird thing is, the root of all these bad thoughts, terrible plans, and disgusting acts is a sin that is so often overlooked as a vice of the young and fool-hearty, something that a young man will mature out of, and that a young lady will simply loose in time. It is lurking in the shadows of all sin, feeding it and nurturing it into habit and lifestyle, but we treat it as a harmless or at best, and annoying and unfortunate personality trait that one will simply grow out of.

 

But I assure you, the rich man never sins until his pride compels him to believe that his riches give him superiority and rights above those of others. That’s where he begins to abuse his wealth and hurt other people. The publican (politician) is on the straight and narrow to selfless public service until pride gives him license to abuse his power and use his clout to manipulate both citizen and country for his own personal gain. The young man on the street, poor and abused as he may be is still an honest person desperately searching for the tools to get out of his situation until pride allows him to believe that his need and desire takes president over that of the woman walking nearby whose purse he’s about to snatch. Even the woman whose unhappy with the husband of her youth is still an honest lady struggling to do right by her man and her children until pride tells her that her desire for happiness and satisfaction is more important than the pain it will cause to her husband and her children when they discover that she’s started seeing her yoga instructor on the side.

 

All these things we distain openly, but why do we treat the root cause without much concern? Pride, as a wise man once put it, is simply a refusal to accept reality as our environment presents it to us, coupled with an unrealistic elevation of our own being within that new reality that we’ve constructed for ourselves. From this small tweak in perspective springs forth all forms of racism, sexism, bigotry, and malice.

Quote of the Day, December 19, 2013: “Why does a woman choose a man for his passions and strengths, and then one by one take them away from him?”

This quote of the day instantly struck a chord with many people. One thing that I find interesting is that I do not get many likes or comments on many of the Quotes of the Day but I get absolutely tons and tons of feedback in my private inbox.

I’m actually surprised at the number of women that are surprised by this quote. Just to be clear, this is not some secret message to my wife or to a past girlfriend or anything. To be honest my wife heard it on TV on a show but I could instantly relate, and I know many many men who can as well.

Basically what this quote is saying, something that I go into much more depth in in my book, that there are two competing desires and drives in a woman that influence her mating behavior. Women are attracted to the same things that they fear. They desire to be close to and connect themselves to the same things that also make them uneasy and insecure.

By this I mean, that women like men who are dedicated to something, disciplined, have a deep passion for and chase after goals. They like men who have honed skills that can entertain, or evoke admiration, or that can take care of them, or that can do any number of things for them. The problem arises when women fail to realize that all these things come from a passion and devotion and lots of risk taking that is focused toward those things, and not the woman directly.

And did I mention that many of them involve risk taking. Many women are all to eager to enjoy the spoils of a man’s war, but would never be involved in the struggle itself, and really would rather he didn’t bother with it either. The trouble is you cannot have one without the other. You cannot be a rock star without first having bloody fingers from hours and hours of practicing. You can’t sign an NBA shoe deal without first, and continuing to do thousands and thousands of suicides up and down the floor.

There are many women who get this, for they themselves have their own calloused fingers, and have to ice their knees after every game, but there are many women out there who will hunt down the pianist at the concert because his skills can fill them with desire, and yet lament the day they ever met a musician when he wont’ stop practicing so that they can go out to a party.  Both become unsatisfied and confused as the woman realizes that she turned down all the party guys for the disciplined guy who wasn’t so interested in how low cut her shirt was to begin with, but now that he’s exactly the same as he always was, she finds herself thinking about going to a party with a guy who just wants to drink and have a good time.

Those kinds of women, and there are lots of them, see all that horsepower pulling in a certain direction and find it irresistible, but don’t realize that they really have hopes that they can somehow redirect that horsepower toward them. And to be sure a good man will redirect a great deal of it toward the woman of his choice, but that kind of man is already on a journey. The woman herself isn’t a journey. She can come along if she likes and enjoy the fruit of his efforts. But she doesn’t want that. She wants to be his efforts. And so without even knowing it, she slowly wittles away at the very things she once desired him for, all the while thinking she is completely justified in rerouting this obviously neglectful or irresponsible man. Because in her mind, the definition of irresponsible, is anything that diverts his attention from her and what she wants to do. The sad part is these men are more responsible than they ought to be, and will often allow themselves to slow down in an effort to better tend to their woman’s wants. The couple grows old together, and the women looks at this now aging man, splendor and vigor all but taken from him, who once showed so much promise and potential, and she’s all but bored and disgusted. He never became what he could have become. She’s not now reaping the benefits of a full and adventurous life, that she seems some of her friends enjoying. She confused on how he could have let her down so. Yet she cannot complain, for she has her reward. She lived it the last 20 years or so. Now it is over. Her other friends are just beginning their 20 years of reward. Yet still she feels cheated. And so does he.

It’s quite a complex concept to explain. I’ve not done well at all at it here, but I challenge you to find that uberly talented guy in your life (everybody knows one) and ask him about it. You’ll be surprised how familiar he will be with the concept.