some thoughts on ideology in higher education

This issue is important to me from a macro view of society and for personal reasons.  I have many fond memories of the time spent at university while an undergraduate and then later as a graduate student.  Meeting many students from other countries and other regions of the US, interacting with various professors and instructors (young and old, men and women) in many fields, the various courses taken, and the use of the large libraries on campus – these were very positive experiences for me and helped to broaden my perspective and make me aware of so much.

One might think that today’s colleges and universities are places of open inquiry and open and free debate; a true marketplace of ideas where independent thinking is encouraged. Such is not the case on most campuses these days and this is true of both public and private institutions of higher learning.

Before presenting our thoughts on this issue, let’s define the problem and for that we quote extensively from one of our earliest essays (from June, 2012) and, yes, it is pretty blunt (as many of our earliest essays were).  Note the goal of education – this is critical.

start of quote

An Open Letter to United States Educators, Teachers and Students: What is The True Purpose of Education?

“The goal of education is not the unquestioning acceptance of any single interpretation, but the development of an individual’s critical abilities.”

The above quote is from the inside front cover of the Cliffs Notes on T. S. Eliot’s Major Poems & Plays – Cliffs Notes Incorporated, Lincoln Nebraska, 1992 Printing.

I quite agree with this view of the goal (purpose) of education.  This was the prevailing view among responsible US educators until the late 1960s.

Or is the correct purpose of education the indoctrination of students’ minds with/in aggressive feminism, identity politics, political correctness, multiculturalism, so-called gender studies, and Marxist economic and social theories?

To educators, I say it is high time for some objective introspection and honesty with yourselves.  (And, honesty begins in one’s own mind.)  Have you, in zealous pursuit of your agenda(s), done justice to the formation of these young people’s minds, and the development of their critical abilities?  (I think not.)

To college and high school students, dear young people, I say you do not have to buy into, nor believe, the unspoken message (claptrap) that “liberals know best“.  Be aware, that liberals are some of the most narrow minded – really close minded –  people on the planet.  They have very serious problems coming to terms with any real world evidence that contradicts their fervently – even passionately –  held views.

end of quote

So, if many of today’s students appear to be confused on various contemporary challenges and issues facing our nation (the US), are they being confused by what they are exposed to on the college campuses?!

It is worth noting that many home schooled young people after they go away to college succumb to peer pressure and by the time they graduate have adopted many of the politically correct positions of their peers.  This must be very disheartening to their parents who have made such large sacrifices over many years to home school their children and protect them from indoctrination.  Apparently, home schooling does not necessarily build the strength of character needed to resist both peer pressure and bullying by aggressive professors.

So what?  Why does this matter?

Continuing with the same failed approaches to our problems will not solve these problems. The challenges facing the US are not going away and in fact these are only getting worse although many do not realize this or do not care.  We need now and will need in the future critical, independent thinkers to view the challenges and problems confronting us objectively, free of myopic ideological biases, and who will also be able to come up with and consider alternative solutions.  We need individuals who can think “outside of the box”. The ideologically driven colleges are not giving us such individuals, at least not in sufficient numbers.  (Again, consider the goal or purpose of education discussed above.)

We need less ideology and more objectivity, more realism and more pragmatism in our young people.  We need problem solvers, not social theorists.  When the ship is taking on water, you need to start the pumps and prepare for launching the life boats.  You simply do not have the luxury of debating the issue or theorizing about it interminably.

The reality is that the Leftist agenda, the ideology of the Left does not deliver what it claims that it can.  It is time for society to reject this destructive nonsense.

a dose of reality

It is also worth bearing in mind that many professors and associate/assistant professors in academia are insulated from the real world.  These folks inhabit a world of theory and many are effectively disconnected from reality.  Let me be clear here.  This being disconnected from reality applies to many professors in the social sciences and some in the humanities who push their agendas.  Many of the professors in the physical sciences (including engineering) and business (accounting, marketing, finance) departments have actually worked in the real world, the real economy, and have real world experiences that temper their judgement.  But many professors in the social sciences and some in the humanities have little meaningful real world experience.

We now would like to give these ideologically driven educators a reality check.  The US is a very diverse, pluralistic society.  If we desire social cohesion in our society, we need to start stressing the things we have in common as citizens, even as human beings.  Celebrating differences is fine except when it distracts us from the recognition that we have more in common than we have differences.  And, constantly emphasizing our differences does distract us from the recognition of the many things we have in common.  If we continue to stress our differences, then we will continue to see the balkanization of our society. Identity politics, multiculturalism, etc. bring about an “us versus them” mindset which is not conducive to social harmony.  It is preferable to foster a perspective that “we” all have a stake in our country’s future and that “we” can by working together make it a better society for all.  What we see in society today and on the college campuses are efforts to keep antagonisms between groups alive and thus keep the people divided.  No wonder we cannot effectively combat the out of control, and increasingly despotic government we have because we are fighting amongst ourselves.  (Divide and conquer is a classic stratagem of the Left.)

Some young women and young men are standing up in the classroom to abusive ideologically driven professors.  Making their disagreement with the liberal orthodoxy (“dogma” is perhaps a more fitting term) known has a price.  Vindictive professors often punish such independent voices with poor grades even if the student’s exam performance and term papers warrant higher grades.  The reality is this:  Those professors and instructors who punish dissenting students with poor grades and humiliating comments during class are childish, cowardly, and unethical.

This leads us to say that society must revisit this whole concept of tenure for professors at our colleges and universities.  We need to weed out the bad apples and this may have to be done wholesale (on a large-scale).  If the chancellors, provosts and university presidents resist this, then these can be replaced as well.  Of course, this won’t happen.  But, there must be a check on ideologically driven educators.

In closing, let me add that if you know an ideologically driven professor, or associate professor, you could forward on to him or her a link to this essay.

Copyright 2014 – larrysmusings.com

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Why do we circumcise?

Why do we circumcise?

Modern doctors (in the US) routinely advise new parents to circumcise their baby boys.  It is a given in many hospitals that newborn males will be circumcised, if possible, before they are allowed to leave the hospital.  (No other industrial country does this to their baby boys.)

Why do we in the USA do this to our baby boys?  Why do parents consent to this without giving much thought to their decision and its life long adverse effects on their son(s) and their future daughter(s)-in-law?

Let’s ignore the vested financial interest that doctors, interns and hospitals have in this procedure that is done a million times each year.  (When nationalized health care systems have been put in place in English speaking countries, circumcision has not been covered as it is correctly deemed an unnecessary surgery.)

Is it that the son must look like his father?  As others have pointed out, we would not amputate a baby’s arm if his father had previously lost his arm.   Yet, with circumcision we are amputating healthy, useful tissue for no good reasons.

Do we circumcise (mutilate) in order to prevent cervical cancer, the spread of venereal diseases, and masturbation?  Well, all these problems were to be prevented or at least greatly lessened by circumcision.  That is what the doctors told us.  At one time or another these were the defenses of circumcision offered to parents and to society as a whole.  By the way, all the numerous evils (cervical cancer, the spread of venereal diseases, masturbation, etc.) that circumcision was supposed to eliminate were never eliminated by it.  All these myths, masquerading as truth, have been debunked long ago.  (The masturbation myth is really offensive to people’s intelligence.  The doctors in the 1800s asserted that masturbation was responsible for many maladies including epilepsy.  And the way to stop masturbation was to circumcise because the greater sensitivity of the natural penis (with its thousands of nerve endings) was the cause of masturbation.  People really believed these quack doctors on this.  If such were true, with all the circumcised males in this country, one would think that masturbation would be very rare indeed!  Forgive me here – but the truth is the truth.  Hey doctors, masturbation has more to do with seminal glands being full to overflowing when there is no other sexual outlet available.)

Regrettably, even today, people blindly listen to doctors and show them the deference due a medieval priesthood.  Doctors are not incapable of error.  They are not infallible and they can, and do, have their own agendas at times (including the unwillingness to admit error!). Do not buy into the nonsense about UTIs and cleanliness concerns – the current justifications for amputating infants’ foreskins.  A natural (uncut) man can easily wash his genitals as any woman can gently wash her genitals.  UTIs are rare in natural men and can be easily treated with simple antibiotics.  The so-called studies showing a reduced risk of contracting AIDS (HIV) for those men who have been circumcised are problematic, and some have been debunked.  (It seems a certain desperation is gripping those doctors obsessed with promoting and defending infant circumcision.)

Why is this important?  Fair enough.  Circumcision is a major issue because it so grievously injures marriages by abnormalizing coitus for both the wife and for her husband.  Our brains and genitals are wired for natural sex – not for circumcised sex.  Do not take my word for it.  This thesis has been very well developed by Kristen O’Hara in her book, Sex as Nature Intended It (2002) which is very comprehensive in its treatment of why natural coitus is more enjoyable and gratifying to both the wife and her husband.  (Kristen obtained many comments from women who had had the comparative experiences of having natural husbands/partners and having circumcised husbands/partners.  She also obtained the comments and insights of men who had been circumcised as adults and could compare from their own personal experiences natural coitus and circumcised coitus.)  Basically, the point is that a vagina and a natural penis (not circumcised) can do truly wonderful things together that cannot be done with a mutilated, circumcised penis.  Among the many benefits of the foreskin is its ability to keep the timing of the man’s thrusts correct for naturally and easily bringing his wife to orgasm(s).  (Go out to Amazon and get a copy of this book.  It is very informative and will open your eyes to the truth of the damage that circumcision does.)

When circumcised adult men think about what they have been deprived of, it is very painful for them.  This is understandable.  Yet, choosing to remain in a state of denial, as so often happens when one is dealing with great pain and hurt, does not help our children and is not the right thing to do.  Perpetuating the superstitious practice of needless infant circumcision is opting for perpetuating ignorance and assaulting future marriages.

It is rather ironic that we have a federal law on the books (from the mid 1990s) prohibiting the genital mutilation of girls in this country, but we look the other way when the genitals of boys are routinely mutilated day in and day out.  And foreskin restoration is not the solution to this injustice.  As the old adage says, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is apropos here.  Foreskin restoration is a very lengthy and difficult process in that it requires a very large commitment of time, effort, and inconvenience and does not always yield good results for many men.

To Christians that are concerned with children’s rights, I would humbly point out that children do have a right to bodily integrity.  Sadly, we do not hear of Catholics or Protestants condemning this needless mutilation of baby boys in this country.  (In fact, it was Protestant doctors that introduced circumcision to the US in the late 1800s.  It was not universally advocated for the entire population by Jewish doctors or Rabbis.  Do not blame or fault Jewish folks for this.  Also, Catholic bishops failed (and still fail) to condemn this harmful practice because they believed the doctors’ claims about masturbation’s terrible health effects and that masturbation would be lessened or eradicated by circumcision.)  And this is not a “gay” or “straight” issue.  This is about whether we are going to confront erroneous beliefs and correct our thinking such that we start doing to justice to our children.

Lastly, women have a right to natural husbands.  For the sake of future generations’ marital happiness and strength of marriages, we – both mothers and fathers – really need to oppose this practice.

We, as Americans, need to overcome our ego-centrism in thinking that our way is the only way or even necessarily the best way to do things.  The rest of the world is correct in not doing this to their baby boys.

Thank you for your time in reading this.  Please forward a link to this essay on to any prospective parents that you may know.

http://larrysmusings.com

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some scenery pics from far off Asia

Do not allow regrets from the past and worries of the future to rob you of the beauty to be found in the present moment (like enjoying a serving of tapioca pudding).

This morning at breakfast, with a window open here in the high elevation desert, I heard a bird laughing.  Yes, it sounded like a laugh that this bird was emitting.  It made me smile. (Perhaps the bird was a Laughing Chukar.  One of the nearby streets is named after such a bird.  Yes, this must be the bird who laughs at us humans.)

We feel like we are an automated lighthouse on a remote, lonely, rocky headland or offshore island, or a beacon in deep space that space travellers come across every so many thousands or millions of years or so.  . . . .  still blogging  . . . .  because we have been programmed to do so.

In this picture essay, we present the remaining images taken in China in late Spring.  (May be someday our photographer will journey to India and we will have pictures to share of that fabled land.)  Our photographer will soon be in Mexico for a few days.  Perhaps, we will have some photos worth sharing in September.  As well, concept or thematic essays will be presented next month.  But, for now, enjoy these photos.

This is a nice image of a parking area with a backdrop of hills and clouds.

 

China 45

 

These images, the one above and the next 4, were taken on the return from the Lijiang temples.  River, clouds and hillsides are seen.

 

China 43

 

Another view.

 

China 44

 

Our photographer on assignment.

 

Lucy in China

 

A view from a bridge.

 

China 42

 

These next few images appear to have been taken on the way to Shangri-La on the previous day.

Here is Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.  (In late Spring, there is no snow visible.)

 

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

 

An image taken a couple of minutes later in another direction.  That is not graffiti on the concrete wall of the bridge.

 

China 111

 

A picture of the same scenery having walked with the camera a little further in one direction.

 

China 112

 

Several minutes later we see this view.  This is a picture of the “Five Goats” – the significance of which is not known to us.

 

China 110 five Goats

 

A moment later this scene was captured on film.  More clouds and river.

 

China 109

 

Some minutes later, we have this view.

 

China 108

 

2 hours later we see indications of farming on the hillsides.

 

China 104

 

Some minutes on we see this view of human activity on the hills.

 

China 101

 

Here we see small cattle in China.

 

China cattle

 

As for China, we do not care for all the computer hacking and cyber attacks that originate there.  This is a form of warfare that the miscreants that govern “the people’s republic” are waging against the West.

These next 2 pictures were taken at a Mexican restaurant this past weekend.  Avocados and tomatoes are very healthy to eat.

 

Mexican food

 

Shrimp was also served in addition to beef and chicken.

 

shrimp

 

copyright 2014 – larrysmusings.com

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back to school, sex and self respect

This essay is for college co-eds returning to colleges and universities across the US over the next few weeks for the Fall term.

Here is some advice:  do not get into bed on the second date.  Do not get into the habit of having casual sex.  (And, yes, by “sex” we include the practice of “oral sex”.)

If a guy, a “boyfriend”, or a casual “hook-up” is only interested in having access to your body for sex, he likely is not really interested in you as a person.  For successful, lasting relationships, more than sex is required.

Now, you may feel that you have to give sex early on to keep a guy interested in you and to keep him seeing you.  You may come to that conclusion because so many other young women on campus are doing just that to keep their boyfriends as boyfriends.  But, what does that say about you?

I would humbly suggest that you not let what others are doing influence how you conduct yourself.  (Screw peer pressure.)  Don’t follow the crowd.  Do not forget that you are an individual.

You might also consider questioning the idea, the premise, that being promiscuous or “sexually active” is somehow liberating to you as a young, single woman.  Sadly, feminism, with its excesses, has served to distort women’s understanding of themselves as women.

As well, do not think that you are “wasting” good time or good opportunities if you postpone sex until you are out of school in a few years’ time and get married.  Today, many married couples in their 60s are having good sex regularly.  This is no bull.  You have decades of good sex (really we prefer to use the term “lovemaking”) in your marriage ahead of you.  You will be able to make love with your husband thousands of times in your married life.

Let me tell you how many guys – that is fairly decent young men who are worth getting to know as prospects for your future husband – think of young women.  If they know that a girl is an easy score (falls into bed quickly and easily), they do not respect her very much. Some of these young men may want to have sex with such a young woman for the fun of it, but they are not likely thinking that she is worth trying to have a lasting relationship with. (And, many guys use very vulgar phrases or terms to describe girls who are easy scores.)

Personally, I have no difficulty respecting those women that I see who have self respect and they demonstrate their self respect in how they live their lives.  For those women who show that they lack self respect – and again that is shown in how they conduct themselves – it is very difficult for me to respect them.

my personal experiences in this area

From my own experiences, I learned that having sex in dating relationships was a mistake. Why?  Because the frequent, “feel good” sex that we (the woman and myself) enjoyed distracted both of us and made it difficult to see if we really had anything in common, any serious prospects for a lasting, mutually beneficial and committed relationship.  Months later, we realized that we were, in a way, strangers to each other and that what little we knew of each other indicated that we did not have much in common and did not have the same goals and personal values.  (I recall writing as much in a comment on one of the Christian marriage blogs some time back.  It was J. Parker’s hotholyhumorous.com blog. She does a great job on her blog and we applaud her efforts, her honesty and her courage.)

From these bad experiences, I decided that I would not seek to have sex early on in any future relationships.  This decision was reached prior to meeting the woman who would eventually be my wife of many years.

our advice for young women

Here, we are going to tell you what you need to hear as opposed to what you may want to hear.

So our advice to college women is to wait, and not fall into the trap of having sex with guy after guy that you meet in the hopes that sooner or later one of them will be “Mr. Right”. Avoid the empty, bitter regretful feeling that comes when you realize that you were used for sex by men who did not really want to get to know you the person.  Avoid the exposure to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) – some of which stay with you for life.  Avoid exposure to the various strains of HPV (and Gardasil is no protection for several strains). Avoid the unplanned pregnancies and the abortions.  (No birth control is 100% effective, and condoms do not prevent all infections as these some times tear, and some viruses are smaller than the microscopic pores of the latex in the condoms.)

By cultivating your self-respect and your self-control, you will be very attractive to a quality young man who will view you as the kind of woman he wants for a wife and not the kind of woman he just wants to “fuck” and party with for a time while he is away at school.

If you turn a boyfriend down for sex, and explain to him that it is not anything personally against him but is because you do not believe in casual sex or sex so early on in a relationship, he will either leave and go on his way (which says he was not interested in you), or he will show you that he really wants to get to know you as he values you as a person and not merely as a body to be enjoyed for sex.

The choice on how you live your life is, of course, yours to make.  But, you ought to think about the consequences of your choices and thereby perhaps make better choices.

Sharing is caring as they say.  Please pass a link to this essay on to anyone you know who may benefit from it.  Thanks.

We have used this photo of ours previously, but it still adds a dash of color to an essay.

 

3 orange cups

 

copyright 2014 – larrysmusings.com

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“racism” in the US: why do only blacks get to frame the debate?

As the mainstream media’s narrative is beginning to unravel (much sooner than in the Trayvon Martin case in 2012), and as angry black mobs scream “racism” nightly in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, we ask this question.

As to “racism” in the US:  why do only blacks get to frame the debate?

We leave it to readers to ponder that question.

Before continuing, we caution readers: this is not a politically correct essay.  If you are uncomfortable thinking outside the box of political correctness, this essay is not for you. (We do not traffic in political correctness on this blog.  We search for truth, as inconvenient as that may be found to be.)

First, some thoughts on the developing story in Ferguson.

We want justice for police officer Darren Wilson who is the real victim here.  Was it a hate crime when Michael Brown crushed in Wilson’s eye with his fists causing serious injuries (that may require surgery to repair and may result in vision problems and painful headaches for years to come for Wilson)?!  Brown was black and Wilson is white.  Was that violent assault a hate crime?  This assault occurred while officer Wilson was attempting to get out of his patrol car.

Was this assault motivated by Brown’s racism against white people?

If Brown were alive, albeit in hospital, he ought to be charged with these crimes:  robbery of the convenience store, assault on a police officer (causing serious bodily harm), resisting arrest, and a hate crime.  (His possible intent to kill officer Wilson as he rushed at the officer prior to being killed is not likely provable.)  As well, officer Wilson ought to engage attorneys to sue Brown (if he were alive) for compensatory monetary damages for his serious injuries.

Officer Darren Wilson showed incredible restraint as this unfolded very quickly in real-time.  If your face had just been smashed in by this Brown individual, causing blurred vision in one eye and pain in your head, would you still have fired 4 non lethal shots (prior to firing lethally) as this nearly 300 pound young man charged you from 25 feet away?  Consider that honestly in the privacy of your thoughts.

Make no mistake:  Michael Brown was no saint.  He was no martyr.  He was no innocent victim.

I warned that this is not a politically correct essay.

Now, to larger issues.

US Attorney General, Eric Holder is now visiting Ferguson.  To what end?  He is compromised.  The nation no longer has confidence in him or his Justice Department. Consider that Holder’s Justice Department has failed to comply with House requests (including subpoenas) for information on the several serious scandals, most of which involved the violation of existing laws, of the Obama Administration.  There will be no justice here.  What we likely see is an attempt to destroy Darren Wilson’s life and reputation.

This may backfire as support nationwide for officer Wilson is growing as more facts come out about what actually happened on 09 August 2014.  (Thanks in no small part to non mainstream media sources.)

We now see the charade, the droll farce of the professional race baiters on scene in Ferguson for some time as they were in Florida over the Trayvon Martin case in 2012. What these hypocrites and empty frauds will not bemoan are the nearly 8,000 blacks murdered each year by other blacks.  That is never mentioned by these empty frauds.  If their concern truly is for the lives of young blacks, why are they silent about these thousands of murders of blacks by other blacks?!

FBI statistics, year after year after year, show that the vast majority of violent crimes (murders, rapes, etc.) that are committed where the perpetrators and the victims are of different races are committed by blacks against whites.  Verify that for yourself – you can go to the FBI website.  (In the essay linked to below on the state of race relation in the US we provide some links for you.)  Are these crimes evidence of racism on the part of blacks directed at white people?

I have lived among black people in the mid-Atlantic region of the US and on the West Coast of the US.  This is not abstract for me.  I have seen that there is a very virulent strain of racism within the black community.  This is not to say that all black people are racists.  But, the racism is prevalent in their communities.  That is what I have seen over the years.

some thoughts on “racism”

Black Americans have been free from slavery for 150 years now.  What is that? – 7 or 8 generations now.  There has been 50 years of civil rights laws and enforcement nationwide. For decades there has been preferential treatment of blacks in college and graduate school admissions (known as “affirmative action”).

Legal immigrants to this nation from other distant lands (such as India, east Asia, and Europe) often achieve a middle class standard of living, or better, in one generation or less. (My wife’s family is the example of this that I am most familiar with, but I personally know of many other examples.)  How do they do this?  Through hard work and self-sacrifice. Through getting educations and starting small businesses, or by entering the professions.

What is preventing black Americans in large numbers from doing this?  Institutional racism?

(By the way, both Asians and white individuals have suffered due to affirmative action for blacks in college admissions, and some have won law suits over this.)

“Racism” is the excuse that too many black Americans use so as to avoid facing the unpleasant reality that they themselves are responsible for not bettering themselves. Emotional charges of “racism” serve to perpetuate this state of denial for many blacks.  In the minds of many black people, they are “perpetual victims” – and it cannot be otherwise.

And, what do we have today?

Here is the reality check.

What a phyrric victory for black Americans!

Because of Ferguson – millions of non-blacks in the US have had their hearts hardened and can no longer bleed for the blacks.  People are tired of blacks hiding behind “racism” and continuing to be violent and destructive at a much higher rate than any other group in the country.

As well, black anger or rage will motivate blacks to once again show up in large numbers to vote (in November) for the party of slavery in the ante-bellum South, for the party of Jim Crow (segregation laws in the 20th century), and for the party of the “Great Society” with its welfare dependency (since the mid 1960s).  Ironic, is it not?

As a society, we ought not pander to bogus charges of “racism” and we ought not tolerate violence from any group.  Do we want a civil society or not?

end of essay

Here are some helpful links if you need more to think about (or more to chew on).

Here is a link to an audio interview with a woman known as “Josie” (a friend of the police officer, Darren Wilson) who gives the officer’s side of the events.  You may have to click at the lower right of the screen to start the audio.

https://soundcloud.com/fmnewstalk971/caller-josie-on-demand-audio-8-15-14

Our previous essays touching on these issues and questions.

From earlier this week:

http://larrysmusings.com/2014/08/18/some-thoughts-on-the-events-in-ferguson-missouri/

With links to the FBI’s website:

http://larrysmusings.com/2013/09/22/race-relations-in-the-united-states-in-2013/

What Obama has done for the blacks who elected him (and then re-elected him):

http://larrysmusings.com/2012/06/18/what-president-barack-obama-has-done-for-african-americans-have-us-blacks-been-misled-redux/

If you disagree with Obama’s policies, you are a “racist”:

http://larrysmusings.com/2012/06/22/president-obama-racism-in-the-united-states-morgan-freeman-cant-we-all-just-get-along-redux/

The Trayvon Martin case – another media circus:

http://larrysmusings.com/2012/07/20/trayvon-martin-reverend-al-sharpton-rush-to-judgement-race-baiting-and-hypocrisy/

A man who has left the plantation (and even been elected once to the US House of Representatives from Florida):

http://larrysmusings.com/2012/07/15/politically-incorrect-lt-colonel-allen-west-another-black-man-who-has-left-the-plantation/

copyright 2014 – larrysmusings.com

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Are we attaching too much importance to our careers?

For some individuals the prospect of retirement, or the loss of a job, is the psychological equivalent of death.

This strikes me as odd.  In this world, we work in order to live.  We do not live for work. We work to provide for our families, to meet their basic needs.  We humans are not beasts of burden.

Now I know for those millions of adults in the US that do not currently have jobs this does not sound meaningful.  When you are unemployed and struggling each month to get by and pay your bills and not lose your home, your main focus – and your largest, pressing worry – is to get a job.  I have been there.  I know what you are going through.  Sadly, the failed economic (fiscal and monetary) policies and endless regulations coming from Washington are largely responsible for your trouble finding a good job that pays a decent salary or livable wage.

To return to our main point:  Are we attaching too much importance to our careers?  Are we defining ourselves by what we do each workday at the place of employment – and, thus ending up with a rather narrow and limiting view of ourselves?  (We certainly stereotype people we meet in our thoughts when we find out what their occupation is.)  Yes, one has to work hard and work smart to keep one’s job today or to keep one’s small business in business.  But, that is not my question.  Are we valuing our jobs or careers more than we value our loved ones?  Are we so narrow in our focus and in our interests that we are missing so much of life that is out there around us?  (Do we suffer from tunnel vision?)  Are we, in a sense, de-humanizing ourselves by effectively making our work a false god?

One cannot ignore the current “values” prevalent in our society (that is suffering from serious social decay).  The person who earns a large salary and lives in a large expensive home is viewed more favorably and looked up to more than the modest wage earner who has less material possessions.  Career has its place, yes, but it ought not take or occupy the primary place in a person’s life – and it does not need to.

If you are a one dimensional person for whom your career is your identity, the phrase “get a life” is apropos for you.  A job, a career cannot meet all your needs.  The job cannot love you back even if you love it.

Just food for thought.  From time to time, it may help to take a step back and question your priorities in life.  There is always the opportunity cost of how you choose to live your life.  (Time is the scarcest resource as you only have a limited amount of it before you leave this world.)  If you commit much of your time and energy to a career, working 60 or 70 hours a week, you do not have much quality time with your spouse and with your children, or for other meaningful interests and pursuits.

other related thoughts

I have worked for several companies over the years.  There were fellow employees who liked me and there were some who hated my guts.  What of it?  My priority was providing for my family.  Away from the job, I had a full life.  I worked in order to live and did not become overly attached to any job.  (And, I left jobs, too, when what the employer demanded was far in excess of what they were offering in return – both in pay and in quality of work environment.)

We in the US have it backwards.  We really do.  Finance was supposed to facilitate economic growth and foster commerce.  (Finance was in a support or ancillary role to the economy.)  With economic growth, the needs of families are met.  Thus, finance is to serve the economy and the economy serves the nation’s families.  Today, individuals toil in the wage economy and the profits, the fruits of their labors, are mainly enjoyed by the financiers.  This is not free market capitalism.  It is corporatism controlled by the mega sized banks and trans national corporations.  A corrupt government goes along with this, and the middle class and the small business person are being crushed.

The below image was taken in the northern hemisphere summer of 2013 and shows our photographer in her nephew’s sports car.

 

bright colored car 2

 

copyright 2014 – larrysmusings.com

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the Tibetan style temples in Lijiang, Yunnan province

Greetings!

We now share some photos from Lijiang in Yunnan province in southern China.  The northwestern part of Yunnan Province is not very far from the eastern most part of Tibet. We wonder if the temple and monastery construction shown in some of these pics is not being done for the benefit of tourists.  Perhaps, these constructions are tourist replicas of actual temples and monasteries in Tibet that have been destroyed or are off limits to Western tourists.

As at Dali, picture taking inside the temples was either forbidden or discouraged.

Lijiang is at high elevation and has days with clear blue skies.

 

China 47

 

Information about the monastery complex.

 

China 46

 

From a distance, one sees the indications of continuing construction.

 

China 62

 

Buses in the foreground.

 

China 61

 

A street level view of a colorful temple or religious annex.

 

China 60

 

Another street level view.  Note the clear blue sky.  (The pictures along the Yangtze were so laden with clouds or river fog or haze.)

 

China 59

 

An information sign for visitors (in multiple languages) outside an entrance to a temple.

 

China 58

 

Another street level scene while ascending to the monastery previously shown above.

 

China 57

 

A zen moment for those open to it.  A waste container in a temporarily deserted area.

 

China 56

 

Minutes later we have this view.

 

China 55

 

And, the same view from several feet further on.

 

China 54

 

Information for visitors.

 

China 53

 

More information for visitors.

 

China 52

 

A view from above looking down.

 

China 51

 

Religious symbols.  Note the tourists at bottom that give some sense of scale to this edifice.

 

China 50

 

Tibetan Tantric art is very colorful whether it is in tapestries, paintings, costumes, or sand mandalas.

 

China 49

 

Descending now.

 

China 48

 

Walking down the stone steps.

 

China 41

 

 

A local stop for snacks.

 

China 63 Lijiang

 

An unusual looking local fruit or vegetable.

 

some kind of fruit in Lijiang

 

A small, possibly malnourished pig.

 

China small pig

 

Recycle and trash containers.  This is likely not from Lijiang but we show it here to finish our picture essay.

 

China 64

 

As we are nearly finished with the pictures from China, we share this link to the first photographic essay of this assignment to China (posted when our photographer was still jet lagged after returning the day before from Asia) for the benefit of new readers.  It has some nice images.

http://larrysmusings.com/2014/06/08/pictures-from-china-a-stone-forest/

copyright 2014 – larrysmusings.com

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some thoughts on the events in Ferguson, Missouri

For readers outside of the US, on Saturday, 09 August, a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black youth (of 18 years of age), Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri (in the St. Louis metropolitan area).  Since that incident, there has been looting and rioting in the community of Ferguson with angry individuals acting in a manner to provoke the police on the streets each night.  (Molotov cocktails have been hurled and police vehicles have been shot at.)  These protests have not been peaceful.  Apparently, there are trouble makers driving to Ferguson from other locales to engage in such provocative and violent activities.

We do not have all the facts about this police shooting – and neither do you have all the facts.  But, here are some of the things we have heard in the media and on radio talk shows.

1. An assertion that the police officer was assaulted (fists to his head) by Brown while the officer was trying to get out of his vehicle.  We do not know if this is true, or if this is based on any eye witness account(s).

2.  There has been a claim or assertion that the youth began to rush towards the officer after verbally telling the officer off when the officer told him to halt.  Note: If the police officer had already been assaulted by Brown, then he was going to attempt to arrest him (Brown) for that assault.

3.  Brown was shot 6 times.  4 shots were to his right arm and 2 shots (lethal) were to his head.  This was confirmed in one of the autopsies performed on his body.  Note: All the bullets entered the front of his body.

We have heard that Brown was 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighed near 300 pounds.  Thus, he was a big, strong young man.

one possible scenario

Again, readers, neither you nor I have all the facts of this incident.

Here is one plausible scenario to consider and it has absolutely nothing to do with race or racism.

The police officer was assaulted by Brown receiving fist blows, punches to his head.  (I dare say that a 300 pound man puts some serious force behind his punches.  Brown may not have even known his own strength and his adrenaline was likely flowing strong in his body at the time.)

The police officer then attempted to make an arrest as a crime had just been committed – his violent assault.  Brown, jacked up on adrenaline, used verbal expletives from a distance (of 30 to 35 feet) to basically say I am not going to submit to arrest.  Brown also had a friend, another youth, nearby (this is what we have heard).

Brown, in a highly agitated and aggressive state of mind, gives into the impulse to rush the officer with the intention of physically beating him or perhaps to seize the officer’s firearm.

The law enforcement officer, having already been punched hard in the head, fires at Brown aiming at his arm.  (Shots to the arm are not likely to have occurred after lethal shots to the head.)  This is done to get the youth to stop.  Sadly, it has the opposite effect, and serves to further enrage Brown, who continues rushing at the officer.  (Brown has full use of his left arm which has not been hit by any bullet.)  After 4 shots to Brown’s arm, a critical fraction of a second is reached in real time.

Note: All this appears to have happened before other police officers arrived on the scene.

In your mind’s eye, place yourself in the position of the police officer.

At the last fraction of a second, before the officer fired the 5th and 6th shots that were lethal, the color of Brown’s skin was likely not even on his mind.  His personal survival was very likely foremost in his thoughts – and for good reason.

media circus, yet again

This incident in the St. Louis area, much like the Trayvon Martin case in Florida, could and ought to have remained a local news item, and not gone national or viral.  This event has become another media circus and the media is responsible for stirring the pot so to speak. The professional race baiters are now involved and will not let emotions cool down.  And, some of these race baiting individuals claim to be Christian ministers.

We, in the US, have one of the most corrupt, craven and dishonest news media in the Western world.  (We have already written on journalism not being a “profession”.)

a festering, simmering problem in the black community for decades

Fatherless black youths.

People are going to screw (have sex).  Like it or not – that is the reality.

Those who are going to be “sexually active” (read: promiscuous)  outside of wedlock really ought to use effective means to prevent conceptions.  As they do not use such means, these children conceived either end up being “terminated” in the nation’s abortion mills, or end up growing up without a father in the home.  (Approximately 2/3 of black babies conceived out-of-wedlock are terminated in abortions.  The vast majority of those not aborted are raised by single mothers with no father in the home.  Approximately one third of all abortions performed in the US each year are performed on black women and black teenage girls.)

Family formation is not occurring at a high rate in the black community.  And, the policies of the Left since the mid 1960s have contributed to this serious problem.  (White citizens are not preventing blacks from forming families.)  Young men who have not had a father figure and been taught self discipline and self control by a father are more prone to getting involved in criminal activities and thus will have much interaction with law enforcement officers.  That is the reality based on real world human experience.

Lest you think I write these words from a “racist” mindset, I will say this.  In my neighborhood, we have a few black families.  These are good, decent people with both parents in the home.  We have our share of low life “white trash” youths that get in trouble often enough and are largely the result of absent fathers or fathers who made no effort to instill self discipline in their children (because they were/are alcoholics, drug addicts or simply do not care).  As well, we have young Mexican gang bangers that commit violent crimes in the community.  But, right now, the nation’s attention is focused on this incident in Missouri and many blacks are screaming “racism”.

These young blacks are angry.  But their anger would be more appropriately directed towards the fathers that abandoned them (and perhaps at their unwed mothers), and at the system of welfare dependency that encourages and enables this irresponsible behavior to continue decade after decade.

additional, larger questions

Today, after 5 and one half years of Obama being in power, black unemployment is still noticeably and painfully higher than when Bush and Greenspan (through his earlier interest rate hikes to burst the real estate bubble that he created) crashed the economy in 2007 and 2008.  This situation gives rise to despair in black neighborhoods across this nation.

A question comes to mind:  What, if anything, is President Barack Obama, who owes his re-election in 2012 to the votes of black Americans en masse, going to do for the blacks?!

Or, alternatively, when is he going to get around to doing it?

 

Today: 19 August 2014 update:  Here is a link to an audio interview with a woman known as “Josie” (a friend of the police officer) who gives the officer’s side of the events.  You may have to click at the lower right of the screen to start the audio.

https://soundcloud.com/fmnewstalk971/caller-josie-on-demand-audio-8-15-14

Further update:  20 August 2014:  Was the assault committed by Brown on officer Wilson a hate crime?  Brown smashed Wilson’s eye and face causing serious injury (that may require surgery on Wilson’s eye).

copyright 2014 – larrysmusings.com

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the kali-yuga: our world in context

According to the Vedic philosophy of India, the world is currently in the Kali-Yuga, or the age of discord and quarrel, the age of spiritual darkness, spiritual ignorance.  Some people will not accept this premise, but most will agree this is a very troubled, unloving world at present.  In the Vedic understanding, there are 4 principal ages (in each cycle) of which the present one is the lowest or most degraded with the shortest life spans for humans and with the least spiritual development.  The present age of Kali began approximately 5,000 years ago and is to last for more than another 400,000 years.  Perhaps, these ages are allegorical.  In this age, man is very degraded in his consciousness and that is why he is so selfish, so violent, so destructive.  (For Christians, this may seem similar to the concept of a “fallen” nature.)  Few people are interested in spiritual development.

For those who are at a lower level of consciousness, who are not very spiritually inclined it as though they are stuck at the level of the lowest chakras.  These individuals are prone to pursuing sense gratification to the exclusion of other higher goals.  It is not helpful to these people when they make a false god out of sense gratification, out of their appetites.  This is evidence of their ignorance of our true identity as spirit souls.  They are stuck at a bodily level of consciousness and identify with the physical body.

Some would say altering our genetic code, our cells’ DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), would be needed to make humans less aggressive, less violent, and less destructive.  But, I am not so deterministic.  A more evolved, higher level of consciousness can be achieved today, now, if we make the serious effort to cultivate it.

A sad fact is that a fraction of what is spent on the world’s armed forces each year would end hunger in the world.

Atheists’ minds are closed.

Many church men’s minds are also closed.

All this can serve to temper one’s expectations.  But, as Lao Tse (or Lao Tzu) said “It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.”

Ramana Maharshi (died 1950) told his followers that if they wanted to do something for the world they ought to do something for themselves first.  He explained that if they became better (more loving) people they would then affect the world in a positive way.

Sri Aurobindo (1872 – 1950) wrote about his integral yoga.  He spoke of first going within one’s self and then raising one’s consciousness higher from within.  At a higher level of consciousness, it becomes easier to shed fears, hate and self-centeredness.  Ascend to the higher chakras of consciousness, and attain a broader perspective and become more spiritually evolved.

What can you do as an individual?

Be that additional candle in the darkness.  Cultivate love in your heart – and share it with others.  You won’t be able to change the whole world, but we are in desperate need of more individual contributions now.  As well, cultivating love in your heart will mean that you are better preparing yourself for what comes after this life.

end of essay

We include two pictures with this essay.  The first is an empty ceramic sugar bowl.

 

sugar bowl 3

 

This next image is of a framed picture or painting that Lucy has had for many years.  It predates our meeting each other in the 1980s.  It is called the 100 Birds.

 

100 birds

 

. . . .  no blogger is greater than blogging itself  . . . . 

copyright 2014 – larrysmusings.com

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food pics from China and a wedding banquet in the US

The first 12 pictures below are from within China in the late spring this year.

These are fresh berries and these look a little like worms.

 

fresh berries looks like a worm

 

Fresh grapes and strawberries.

 

more fresh grapes

 

Mangoes.

 

mangoes

 

More grapes.

 

grapes

 

Deep fried potatoes and Chinese sausages.

 

deep fried potatoes and Chinese sausages

 

This blurry image is of Chinese tamales for celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival.

 

Chinese tamale celebrate Dragon Boat Festival

 

A food stall at one of the  many stops in southern China.

 

China 107 food stall

 

Longan.

 

China 105 Longan

 

Mangosteen fruit.

 

China 106 Mangosteen fruit

 

Spinach and tomato.

 

tomatoes and spinach

 

Pancake.

 

pancake

 

Porridge with mushroom.

 

porridge with mushroom

 

Now, before presenting images from a wedding banquet in the US, we share a couple of pics that fell through the cracks and did not get included in an essay last week.

Cookies.

 

cookies

 

And, another image of plants.

 

more pink flowers

 

Now, to the various dishes at a recent stateside wedding banquet.

Mellon with dried scallop.

 

melon with dried scallop

 

Abalone and duck feet with mustard green vegetable.

 

abalone, duck feet with mustard green vegetable

 

Sea bass.

 

sea bass

 

Quail.

 

quail

 

Roast baby pig.

 

roast baby pig

 

copyright 2014 – larrysmusings.com

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a visit to the Yunnan Nationalities Museum

This museum is in Kunming in Yunnan province, southern China.  There is an emphasis on early dress and costumes, early textiles of various local peoples that have lived in Yunnan province.

An interesting and artistic artifact.

 

China 32

 

A map of the various ethnic groups in Yunnan.

 

China 37

 

A directory of the sections of the museum.

 

China 40

 

Now we see the section on early dress and costumes.  The Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 A.D.), referred to in this wall sign, was the golden age of Chinese poetry.

 

China 39

 

Garments with a Tibetan motif.

 

China 33

 

Tigers decorate this robe.

 

China 34

 

Adult and children’s clothing.

 

China 35

 

The color red is often used in clothing in China.

 

China 36

 

Another example of local dress.

 

China 38

 

Possibly a model of a water wheel or a wheel turned by human efforts.

 

China 31

 

Chinese tea.

 

China tea

 

An old tea pot or kettle.

 

China tea 2

 

Another example.

 

China tea 3

 

Much more recent artifacts on display.  These may be field artillery shell casings.  We could be in error here.  Artillery shells (prior to firing) look like giant sized rifle bullets.

 

shells

 

Nearby grounds with parked tour buses.

 

museum entrance

 

These remaining pictures are of another section of the museum.

 

China 24

 

A custom or tradition of throwing items to express feelings.  (Does anyone remember throwing rice as the bride and groom leave the church?)

 

China 29

 

This series of informational signs relates to the next image below (which shows examples of “message transmitting articles”).

 

China 27

 

Message transmitting articles of various peoples.

 

China 28

 

This sign tells that wood board painting was used in religious rites.

 

China 26

 

This ethnic group, the Dai people, used palm leaves for writing on.

 

China 25

 

copyright 2014 – larrysmusings.com

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some temples in Dali, Yunnan province

Now, we work down this backlog of photos from the China trip in late May and early June, 2014.  Dali is located in the northwestern part of Yunnan Province in southern China.

Picture taking inside the temples was either forbidden or discouraged.

 

China 65

 

An information sign for visitors in multiple languages.

 

China 71

 

Interesting architecture.

 

China 70

 

This appears to be the same temple (as above) now seen from a different angle.

 

China 69

 

Another building.

 

China 68

 

A closer view of one of the temples.

 

China 76

 

This next image appears to be of the Three Pagodas.

 

China 66

 

A closer view of one of these towers.

 

China 67a

 

Closest view.

 

China 67

 

“No climbing” – in 4 languages.

 

China 74

 

A view captured earlier in the day.

 

China 73

 

Western tourists in southern China with local tour guide.

 

China 77 Dali

 

Our photographer fondly recalls her early childhood in Kowloon, Hong Kong when she shouldered burdens in a similar manner as shown here.

 

China 75

 

A Tibetan woman in traditional dress.

 

Tibetan lady

 

A restaurant area.  Observe the reflections in the water.

 

China 78 Dali

 

Man made concrete water falls.

 

China 72

 

A painting of the Buddha.

 

Buddha picture

 

Dali silk factory.  It is not clear to me if this is a painting or a woven silk work of art.  It is a beautiful work of art.

 

Dali silk factory

 

Another interesting image.

 

painting

 

A framed painting under glass.

 

painting 2

 

copyright 2014 – larrysmusings.com

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