Sunday, April 15, 2012

Rule IX - From Chapter 1 - General Rules for the Improvement of Knowledge

"IX. Once a day, especially in the early years of life and study, call yourselves to an account what new ideas, what new proposition or truth you have gained, what further confirmation of known truths, and what advances you have made in any part of knowledge; and let no day, if possible, pass away without some intellectual gain: such a course, well pursued, must certainly advance us in useful knowledge. It is a wise proverb among the learned, borrowed from the lips and practice of a celebrated painter,

"Nulla dies sine linea",

'Let no day pass without one line at least:'

and it was a sacred rule among the Pythagoreans, That they should every evening thrice run over the actions and affairs of the day, and examine what their conduct had been, what they had done, or what they had neglected: and they assured their pupils, that by this method they would make a noble progress on the path of virtue.

Nor let soft slumber close your eyes,
Before you've recollected thrice
The train of action through the day:
Where have my feet chose out their way?
What have I learnt, where-e'er I've been,
From all I've heard, from all I've seen?
What know I more that's worth the knowing?
What have I done that's worth the doing?
What have I sought that I should shun?
What duty have I left undone?
Or into what new follies run ?
These self-enquiries are the road
That leads to virtue, and to God.

I would be glad, among a nation of Christians, to find young men heartily engaged in the practice of what this heathen writer teaches." Dr. Issac Watts

This would be the perfect poem to read each evening before writing in a journal. What new follies were done, what worth doing was left undone that could have been done.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Lincoln and the American Dream - LAC and "the ability to discern the relationship between" workaday realities and highest principles. UNI LAC.

Lincolns genius lay in his ability to discern the relationship between
the workaday, economic realities of American life and the nations
highest moral and political principles.

In Lincolns mind, the
opportunity to improve ones condition was an essential feature of
the Declaration of Independences claim that human beings have
unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

To Lincoln, the economic, moral, and political elements were
inextricably intertwined. Together, they represented what is
distinctively American about our economy and democracy. I have never
had a feeling politically, Lincoln said,that did not spring from the
sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence.

The reason
that government of the people, by the people, and for the people was
worth preserving and even worth fighting a war to preserve was
precisely that it offered this opportunity to each American to improve
ones condition. More than any other president, Lincoln is the father
of the American Dream that all Americans should have the opportunity
through hard work to build a comfortable middle class life. For Lincoln,
liberty meant above all the right of individuals to the fruits of their
own labor, seen as a path to prosperity. To [secure] to each labourer
the whole product of his labour, or as nearly as possible, he wrote,
is a most worthy object of any good government.

Demagoguery and democracy and economic policy

The lack of information about the specific consequences of individual
economic policies opens the door to widespread demagoguery on these

Economic policy debate in the United States
can be likened to a big snake oil yard sale,
where what are offered are half-truths,
and canards.

Garfinkle, Norton. American Dream vs. the Gospel of Wealth : The Fight
for a Productive Middle-Class Economy.

From Chapter 1 - General Rules for the Improvement of Knowledge

Rule I.—DEEPLY possess your mind with the vast importance of a good judgment, and the rich and inestimable advantage of right reasoning.

Review the instances of your own misconduct in life ; think seriously with yourselves how many follies and sorrows you had escaped, and how much guilt and misery you had prevented, if from your early years you had but taken due paius to judge aright concerning persons, times, and things. This will awaken you with lively vigour to address yourselves to the work of improving your reasoning powers, and seizing very opportunity and advantage for that end.

II. Consider the weaknesses, frailties, and mistakes of human nature in general, which arise from the very constitution of a soul united to an animal body, and subjected to many incouveniencies thereby. Consider the many additional weaknesses, mistakes, and frailties, which are derived from our original apostasy and fall from a state of innocence; how much our powers of understanding are yet more darkened, enfeebled, and imposed upon by our senses, our fancies, and our unruly passions, &c.

Consider the depth and difficulty of many truths, and the flattering appearances of falsehood, whence arises an infinite variety of dangers to which we are exposed in our judgment of things.

Read with greediness those authors that treat of the doctrine of prejudices, prepossessions, and springs of error, on purpose to make your soul watchful on all sides, that it suffer itself, as far as possible, to be imposed upon by none of them.

GRIC - General Rules for the Improvement of Knowledge is chapter one from the book that so influenced and inspired Michael Faraday:

by Dr. Issac Watts

Seize every opportunity and advantage toward that end.
Toward what end? What is the goal?

Reasoning powers and democracy. Citizenship. Science. Education. Friendship.
Ghostbusters. Martial Arts.

Our powers "yet more darkened, enfeebled, and imposed upon by" what?

Does this relate to the Reza Bahraheni poem?
"The vulture invades us.
We become the fiber of his bowels.
We eulogize his appetite..."

Nutrition, entertainment culture, advertising, conformity,

"our senses, our fancies, and our unruly passions, ..."

Not these alone darken and enfeeble us and impose upon us several centuries
after Issac Watts wrote these lines, with quill pen did ink flow forth.

"make your soul watchful on all sides,
that it suffer itself, as far as possible,
to be imposed upon by none of them."

Who are they upon which we do not want to be prey?

These predators that kill reason,
close off growth, lessen our potential,
make for needless follies and sorrows upon self and others,
upon community and country, what are they?

"prejudices, prepossessions, and springs of error"

Essay needed on prejudices.
Essay needed on prepossessions.
Essay needed on springs of error.

Humility. The humble programmer.

"how much guilt and misery you had prevented,
if from your early years you had but taken due paius
to judge aright concerning persons, times, and things."

What is a UNIversity? What is UNI? What is LAC?
What is an education?

Judge aright concerning persons!
Judge aright concerning things!
Judge aright concerning times!

What forces there are and always have been for reason to triumph over.
And two centuries later more can read, more have many years of education,
yet how skilled are the enemies of reason and how powerful
are those with vested interests in veiling the truth and in misleading
citizens into fighting to maintain sorrow and injustice and unfairness.

Read, improve the mind, think and learn and challenge yourself, discuss and argue and write and listen. Debate and discuss in such a way as to respect the
opposite viewpoint and always humbly accept that in these complicated matters and issues arising there is more to learn and read and that you may be right and certainly I might be wrong when we disagree. An open mind and a passion for truth.

Be thankful, it is thanksgiving time, it is suki, it is gift, it is green pasture, truth is my shepherd, my guiding principle, when I realize

"how much MY OWN powers of understanding are yet more darkened,
enfeebled, and imposed upon by MY OWN senses,
MY OWN fancies, and MY OWN unruly passions"

when I see another behaving this way. I am thankful to the Lord
for this reminder, its a gift for me to grow and learn from and be
reminded how deep and subtle the same process is in me.

Don't take it personally. Be an example. If that person never
responds to the example, fine. I have responded and grown more
aware of my own darkness, pride, unruly passions. They rule me less,
they hide in the shadows not as dark or long because I respond not
defensively but use it to see MY OWN similar frailty. And others
who may witness this debate, this disagreement, will perhaps
be influenced in a positive direction. Communication, democratic ideals,
friendship, passion to learn and for truth - all fostered and spread.

I am a source of all this, not a desperate complainer who is always wishing
our society and government and UNI discussions and 21st century humanity
were like this. I can be the change I wish. That is my responsibility
and contribution.

Michael Faraday is such a huge inspiration! GRIC.

GR as in GRow, I owe myself and the spirits of spring to grow, be green,
lie down in green pastures, the Lord is my Shepherd, submit to what Watts
suggests and urges in "The Improvement of the Mind".

IC as in I SEE, or as in ICY, icy, cold, melt the winter and grow into spring,
I SEE as in Shakespeare and learning to see and overcoming the don John,
and seeing aright after causing so much misery Claudio could well do after
rejecting Hero when he was easily misled by don John and his faithful followers.

GR as in "Gee our" country, our world, our UNIversity, our city, our church,
our friends, our ecosystem, our coworkers could use and deserve a better world,
better reason, better science, better methods, better examples. I am a source
of that, as is each one of us. Stop letting the market economy mislead me into
thinking I need to have, to consume. Focus on produce. Focus on happiness
is serving and is within.

GRIC Gee our, GRow, owe yourself to GRow, icy, IC, I see, Yossarian, Catch 22,
Shakespeare, 23rd Psalm,

The right path might be the only path for me or you, but not the only path for all.

"We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It's one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it's another to think that yours is the only path."

— Paulo Coelho