Oct 9, 2015

Open Mindedness

By doing this, I will be adhering to the following spiritual principles:
Rationality, Integrity, Independence, Honesty, Justice, Productiveness and Pride.

From these will naturally follow OPEN MINDEDNESS, Courage, Optimal State Management, Willingness, Conscience, Imagination, Self-Awareness, Style, Grace and (expletive) Attitude!

Well, I now realize that it has been almost six months since my last entry into this blog, so, obviously I have not been very diligent. Since my last entry, I have made a fairly major career change.

While remaining in the same industry, my new role is quite different from the one that I left. In continuing along the topic of taking individual parts of my personal mission statement, as blog entries, I arrive at the topic of OPEN MINDEDNESS. It is interesting timing for me to be speaking of this.

It is a trait, which is sometimes associated with having no coherent philosophy and being open to any new idea, without having a rational filter with which to evaluate them, thus jumping potentially from contradiction to contradiction like a ship without a rudder or sails being led in whatever direction the wind or current takes it.

On the other hand, even when being consistent to principles, one can make errors, and with those same principles, find the means to correct those errors and come to a greater understanding of reality.

What I mean by open mindedness is continually evaluating conclusions, to determine if they continue to stand up to logic, given the addition of new knowledge, to what one was aware of when first drawing those conclusions.

In Galt's speech, he points out that, using logic, when two people disagree, one will be right and one will be wrong, but no one loses, as, if the person who is wrong has made an error of cognition, he can only benefit from learning from the other.

In my previous role, I had set short and long term goals, and I felt that I had not yet achieved my full potential in this role. I'd often told people that the reason I was staying in the role was that I hadn't yet accomplished what I had set out to do, and that if and when I ever made a change, I would do so only after I felt I had reached my goals.

I felt that making a change before that, was akin to failure, even though I had questioned on a number of occasions whether my goals were truly realistic, at least for me.

Only by stepping out of that role, could I ever have gained a new perspective, in which I now believe, that sometimes, it may be a matter of not being in the role that truly uses your greatest strengths. Einstein said something to the effect, that everyone is a genius, but you shouldn't judge a fish by his inability to climb a tree.

One could certainly accuse me of rationalizing giving up before I reached my goals, but, and I know this may not seem entirely rational, but as I am entering the third month in this new role, I truly feel like this is a far better fit. I'm learning new things every day, which is something I enjoy and excel at. I am getting an opportunity to use my analytical side far more, as well. I feel more passionate about what I'm doing than I have in a long time, In other words, I'm having a riot!

Also, my former role, for the last several years, increasingly included a growing need to be a compliance officer, and all indications were that this trend was to continue growing exponentially in the future. This included enforcing a regulatory environment, with which I felt no sympathy, in fact quite the opposite. A growing number of people in our industry feel this way, and there are definitely signs of Atlas Shrugging as people choose to retire earlier, and are sometimes reluctant to bring in sons an daughters into the industry.

What I've always loved is being able to provide value to entrepreneurs striving to success, and to clients who desire to achieve long term, rational financial goals, and this is where my focus is, in in this new role.

So I'm referring to open mindedness, in the sense of actually considering and deciding to make a change which I had previously thought of as "giving up", when now, I am increasingly convinced it was a matter of making a rational decision of aligning myself better with my strengths and values.

It is true that all worthwhile endeavours will be challenging, and the rhetoric of not giving up until one reaches a goal certainly has great validity, but if it begins to feel as though the challenges outweigh the passion for the goals, it may be wisdom, to consider if there is a misalignment (as in a bad romantic relationship).

Ultimately my goal is to achieve personal excellence, and whatever career I choose is simply the vehicle to achieve that. I am now feeling as though I am in a new vehicle that suits me better, and I am more committed than ever to the ultimate goal of achieving personal excellence!

Thanks for reading.

Apr 3, 2015


I first read of Objectivism in the early 90's. I had abused drugs for much of my life, primarily marijuana and alcohol. In the 80's I began to exercise regualry and to think about health. (some semblance of growing up)

This led me to the writings of Mike Mentzer, a bodybuilder who regularly quoted Ayn Rand in his books and articles. It also led me to give up drugs and alcohol, at first on my own and eventually through 12 step programs. I picked up Atlas Shrugged quite by coincidence when visiting a relative, seeing it in his bookshelf, and recognizing the name due to the references from Mike Mentzer. As for many reading this, it was a life changing experience and I've not looked back.

During this time, I continued to attend 12 step meetings, and became aware of apparent contradictions between Objectivism and some of the principles in 12 step groups. I use the term "apparent" because I would argue that there is much alignment as well.

I also realized that had it not been for 12 step groups, I would never have discovered Objectivism, as this would not have been possible in my drug induced fog. (Evasion is necessary to use drugs, and drugs facilitate evasion, a vicious circle)

I discovered with delight the essay by Ayn Rand in which she spoke of the Serenity Prayer in a positive way. (I believe this may have been in the essay "The Metaphysical versus the Man-Made".)

I also wrote Leonard Peikoff asking about what what I thought may have been a dilemma for me, but explaining, among other things that my "higher power of my understanding" was Reality itself and not any mystical god.

My interpretation and paraphrasing of his reply (this was a while back, and I don't want to put words in his mouth) was that my interpretation and continued use of this support system was not unhealthy.

All this to say, that my blog entry today, is my first attempt at taking the "12 steps" and reinterpreting them in a manner that I believe comes closer to correctly expressing their underlying basic principles, in a manner that I think most Objectivists would relate to.

Having said that, I post this, openly requesting suggestions for better wordsmithing to achieve what I am attempting, pointing out to any potential errors in my thinking or choice of words.

So here it is:

1. We admitted that "evasion" of reality was not only impractical, but was either the actual cause of every problem in our lives, or at the very least made those problems much, much worse, and prevented any solution.
2. We realized that dealing with reality through reason, was the only sane way to deal with all challenges and achieve happiness in our lives.
3. We made a decision to align our lives with focusing on and cherishing reality, avoiding rationalization and justification (evasion) at all costs.
4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our strengths and weaknesses to the best of our awareness and ability.
5. We admitted publicly and especially to ourselves, with absolute honesty, the exact nature of our wrongs, to the best of our knowledge.
6. We assumed an attitude of complete commitment to lifelong character improvement.
7. Humbly realizing that this process would involve lifelong learning about ourselves, as well as making additional distinctions about our character and how to deal with them, we continually looked for sources of wisdom to aid us in our quest.
8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and took the responsibillity to make amends to them all.
9. We made direct amends to such people, wherever possible, except when to do so, would injure them or others.
10. We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
11. We sought through inquiry, and continual learning to improve our conscious focus, cherishing and alignment with reality, not only obtaining knowledge, but acting on it in accordance with reason, purpose and self-esteem.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Mar 18, 2015


By doing this, I will be adhering to the following spiritual principles:
Rationality, Integrity, Independence, Honesty, Justice, Productiveness and PRIDE.

In the 25th anniversary edition of The Fountainhead, in Ayn Rand's preface to that edition she cites a quote from Nietzche, (after disavowing herself from his explicit philosophy) and if I recall, she speaks of her hesitance to use his quote because she did not want to be associated with him, however she did feel that this particular quote captured part of her sense of life, and that is, "A noble soul has reverence for itself."

If and when I succeed in living in accordance with reason, purpose, self-esteem and the principles above, the culmination will and should be PRIDE.

My goal in Being the Hero of My Own Life is to be Happy, which will come from the achievement of goals aligned with my values, then what I will feel will not only be Happiness but also Pride in having accomplished this Happiness.

I am writing this on a cruise ship on which I recently finished John Allison's book "The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure" which I can't recommend highly enough.

In his final chapter, which I have to assume contains the seeds of his next book, which I now have to get, (I believe it is called something to the effect of "The Leadership Crisis and the Free Market Cure"), the author very eloquently shows why productive work must be not only a person's main focus, but also the root of a person's happiness and self-esteem.

My blog is non profit, and I am quoting the book only because John Allison is doing so much better a job of expressing the views I believe in, than I can. I hope in doing do, I am not transgressing any copyright laws, and hopefully encouraging more people to go out and buy his books.

I believe the reason he wrote these books is "to make the world a better place" (which he describes as a "selfish" goal), and my guess is that he will welcome any opportunity to have his ideas spread. However, if I am mistaken, I will gladly remove these quotes.

Thanks for reading.... in the next entry I will speak of "Open-Mindedness".....

Feb 22, 2015

AC DC.... A Sense of Life

"I had drive. I wanted to do it, and I knew I'd do it. I just wanted people to sit up and take notice of me. The CHALLENGE. I never mellowed. I never changed. I just stuck at it."
Angus Young

I'm taking a break from the planned sequence of my blog entries which follow the outline of my personal mission statement, to say a few words about some of my HEROES, the rock band. AC DC.

I have often pondered whether it is a contradiction for me to love Objectivism and AC DC. Somehow, I could easily see Ayn Rand, not appreciating this music, and yet, I do see commonalities.

Certainly, AC DC may not be consistent, and I doubt they have intellectually analysed their sense of life, (neither did Howard Roark) but I believe they, and their music, personifies a sense of life that emphasizes love of life, happiness, as well as reason, purpose and self-esteem.

The sheer length of time that they have been as successful as they have been, is a testament to an alignment with some proper principles that are the essence of their appeal. (the Rolling Stones may have been around longer, but AC DC's latest record opened at #1 in 11 countries, and their upcoming tour dates sell out in one day.)

When you hear their music, whatever else you may think of it, I think you would be hard pressed not to see that these individuals are "giving it all they've got". One of my favourite quotes about them, is "if no one showed up, they would play just as hard as if it was a packed house".

If the sight of an achievement is the greatest gift that one human being can give another, then I think their appeal is largely based on this. One cannot help getting caught up in the passion and the energy that they put into everything they do. (including moving forward with an amazing album after their founding member, Malcolm Young was forced into retirement, which I understand was his wish for them to do).

A few years ago, I saw them two days after having seen a so called supergroup, called Chickenfoot composed of musicians arguably far more talented but still unknown at the time and largely to this day. They played for just over an hour and then got off the stage. AC DC who were among the top grossing acts in the world at the time, played their hearts out for well over 2 hours, as though they were a new band with something to prove.

Critics have pointed to the simplicity of their music, and the limitations of their musicianship. This is absolutely accurate, and I've heard Angus Young describe many of his influences as being "much more talented" than he, but while others may have more raw talent, it is about what they accomplish with the resources that they have to work with, and the fact that they don't even consider allowing any limitations to stand in their way, and to me, that makes them even more heroic.

Having said that, simple is not necessarily inferior. As I've listened to them for most of my adult life, I can pretty much recognize any of their songs within a note or two, and I believe that genius is not too strong a word for what they write, as I believe they capture the essence of a sense of life that states, "the question isn't who is going to let me, but who is going to stop me?"

It's not about some kind of second handed glory seeking, as over the years they have persevered beyond horrible critical reviews, and resisted changing who they are to fit in with any fashion of the day.

Some quotes that to me speak of their integrity and consistency with principles:

“We've always been a true band. You won't find one any truer. AC/DC will always be AC/DC.”

“The word ‘natural’ comes up a lot with us - if something doesn't feel natural to us, we don't do it.”

“Sometimes I pull the earpieces out and say, 'Awww, let's just go for it, and act young!'"

“By sticking to what we do, that's being brave. The pressures we were under in the '80s and '90s to use wind machines and wear leather coats, those were hard times. People thought we were dinosaurs, that we lost the plot because we weren't sparkly and cutie-wootie enough."

All I can say to summarize is that when I pick up a copy (or turn on the audio version) of Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead, I am always blown away by the genius and the way those books can carry me away. I believe, Ayn Rand (my apologies for inaccurate paraphrasing), said that she wrote those so she could spend time with the type of heroes and in the type of world she knew "could and ought to be".

I get a very similar feeling when listening to or watching AC DC.

Thanks for reading!

Feb 15, 2015


THINK, DECIDE, ACT. "By doing this, I will be adhering to the following spiritual principles, Rationality, Integrity, Independence, Honesty, Justice, PRODUCTIVENESS and Pride."


PRODUCTIVENESS is a natural human state.

In beginning to write this, I looked for a quote from Atlas Shrugged that I remembered reading, that I felt would fit well into this blog entry. When finding it, on my ipad (Atlas Shrugged app), I was pleased to find that it came directly from the portion of John Galt's speech that deal with .... Productiveness.....

This list of principles of course, comes directly from that book, and in rereading that quote, I am struck, as always, by the sheer genius of Ayn Rand, and how my attempts to share my thoughts, which of course, are heavily influenced by her ideas, are so amateurish compared to her amazing work. I'm like somebody drawing stick figures compared to Michael-Angelo. And so, I've simply added some screenshots of that part of the speech. Hoping I'm not infringing any copyright. There is no monetary gain from this blog, I just wish to promote life enhancing ideas. Thanks for reading.

Feb 8, 2015


THINK, DECIDE, ACT. "By doing this, I will be adhering to the following spiritual principles, Rationality, Integrity, Independence, Honesty, JUSTICE, Productiveness and Pride.


As I continue through this part of my mission statement, dealing with spiritual principles, what occurs to me, are the similarities between them.

In fact, it seems to me that they are all words to describe objective reality. Not that they are synonyms per se, but they are used (or should be) used to describe the same thing. Objective reality is best described by Aristotle's "A is A", and all these principles naturally follow from this.

And because A is A, none of these principles can actually be broken, only evaded, but evasion does not change the consequences. While it may seem weird for me to use a biblical quote, I like Moses' "Man cannot break the law, he can only break himself against the law."

In my personal life, I have made great use of 12 step programs. I know many people have dismissed these as quasi religious organizations, that promote powerlessness and a status of being a victim. I actually disagree.

One of the principles of these programs is the freedom to choose a "god of your own understanding". The way I have aligned my atheism with these programs is to choose my own "higher power" or "god of my understanding" with "A is A" or objective reality.

So, the much maligned idea of "powerlessness" in my view, is not about being powerless per se, but in having no power to circumvent reality.

In fact, the root of my problems with substances, I've come to realize, had much less to do with physical dependence, and much more to do with "reality evasion" and "whim worship". When I accept Reality as my higher power, I stop trying to control things I can't control as per the serenity prayer, and move into the power that comes with....

"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed".

A farmer has the power to command nature to produce a harvest, but only if he obeys the rules about planting in the spring, watering adequately, weeding and fertilizing if needed, and shielding his crop from freezing.

In fact, that is only rational, integrated, and honest (loyalty to the facts) farming, and no amount of whim worship on the part of the farmer will produce a crop otherwise.

Ayn Rand, I believe, spoke of a benevolent universe, to which I understood, rational, purposeful actions will tend to produce desirable results.

That sounds like Justice to me.

Would justice, then not simply be a way of expressing how the universe actually works.

One could argue that natural, uncontrollable events can cause suffering, which is of course true, but that doesn't change the fact that the solution to preventing those things in the future still lies in discovering and taking of rational, purposeful actions.

Also, happiness (the ultimate desirable result) is not based, in my opinion on the absence of suffering but rather on the sense of purpose and self-esteem that comes from living a purposeful, rational life.

Of course, a free society does require a legal system based on objective legal principles, in order to allow men to deal with each other in a peaceful manner when these is a disagreement as to what is just. This is critically important to avoid all the unnecessary suffering that has happened throughout history and continues to happen today in countries that do not have a rule of objective law.

However, even in the absence of such a system, I don't believe anyone actually ever gets away with anything. The so called victor pays the price in untold ways, because of his second handedness, his self-esteem is destroyed, while the so called victim or loser retains his dignity, and if he is truly a person of integrity, will, like Howard Roark, only allow it to "hurt down to a certain point".

I guess I'll conclude by repeating that I think Justice is simply a matter of acknowledging that whim worship can't work, and that in my life, I will only "get what I pay for."

Thanks again for reading.

Feb 1, 2015


THINK, DECIDE, ACT. "By doing this, I will be adhering to the following spiritual principles, Rationality, Integrity, Independence, HONESTY, Justice, Productiveness and Pride.


Two posts ago was about Integrity, in which I contrasted integrity and honesty by stating that I felt that part of integrity was being true to yourself, whereas honesty is about being true to others.

The simple definition for honesty is about not telling lies, and is sometimes referred to as a moral absolute. However, it is obvious to any reasonable person, that there are in fact examples where lying is warranted and moral. Two that are often cited is lying to a mugger about having money hidden in your shoe, or to a nazi asking if you are hiding Jewish people in your cellar.

The definition that I prefer is "loyalty to the facts". I apologize in that I don't remember the exact source of that phrase, but my guess would be either Ayn Rand or Leonard Peikoff.

Loyalty to the facts truly is the only rational choice, which should be obvious by considering the opposite, "loyalty to .... an illusion?..... a whim?....."

A is A.

Being rational involves logically dealing with facts, or at least our best interpretation of what the facts are, if we don't yet have access to sufficient reliable information.

So, therefore "think" means considering all the facts (that we know of), and making decisions about our actions that we then follow courageously.

Like all these principles, trying to get around them, as previously stated, is like trying to ignore gravity. There will be a consequence, regardless of our whims.

Last night, I happened to watch a movie called Arbitrage, in which Richard Gere plays a billionaire businessman, who has been dishonest to business associates, the government, as well as his wife and family. As the movie ends, after seeming that he is headed for certain disaster, in terms of being apprehended by authorities, and being publicly exposed as a fraud, not to mention being divorced by his wife; through a complex series of manipulations he appears to evade all these, and my daughter, who was watching with me said, "what a terrible ending, he got away with it!"

However, I corrected her by saying that he truly didn't get away with anything, in that, he has completely lost any respect from his daughter (who is his business partner and is initially innocent but is pulled into his transgressions and could have faced prison due to choosing at one point to protect her father, and her future self-esteem is now ruined, and he has to live with having done that.) plus his wife has no real love for him, and most importantly, his self-esteem has to be decimated, as he realizes that, despite, public fame and fortune, he is nothing more that a facade.

Some would argue that his money and position compensate for this, but I strongly disagree, because like a drug addict, who tries to fill a void (where self-esteem should be) with chemical substitutes, but fails dismally, no amount of fame, fortune, etc. can compensate for the self-esteem needed to be truly happy.

Of course a person can delude themselves and perhaps achieve some semblance of occasional peace of mind by rationalizing that they were being pragmatic and that the means justified the ends. (an all too common practice)

Others may point out that some people are sociopaths, people who are supposedly born with no conscience or have no concept of right and wrong. All I can say about this, is that whatever is achieved by self-delusion is not what I would call happiness. As for sociopaths, I'm not a psychologist, and could stand to be corrected, but whatever that person is, is not a human being, and the unacceptably high price for not feeling guilt is to also be devoid of any happiness.

Either of these people may also rationalize that pleasure, hedonistic or otherwise may be the same as happiness, but they may have forgotten, (if they ever knew) what true happiness feels like, or perhaps in their dismal sense of life, accepted that happiness is not attainable for anyone and that pleasure is the best anyone can hope fo, as a fleeting respite from desperation, and the gripping fear that they may ever have to truly look at themselves honestly. This recalls the part in Atlas Shrugged when James Taggart, in the room where John Galt was being tortured, finally sees his true self absent of self-delusion and ratinalizing , and is destroyed at that moment.

Thanks again for reading.

Jan 25, 2015


THINK, DECIDE, ACT. "By doing this, I will be adhering to the following spiritual principles, Rationality, Integrity, INDEPENDENCE, Honesty, Justice, Productiveness and Pride.


When I go through my mission statement, and I get to the word INDEPENDENCE, for me, the first meaning is of thinking independently, ie. not being a second handed person who lets others do his thinking for him.

Truth is that I've spent far too much of my life being a second hander, and I've paid a price for it. In fact, when I first read the Fountainhead, I had to admit that I had more in common with Peter Keating than with Howard Roark.

In my youth, I was definitely worried about peer pressure and fitting in and this led to some very poor decisions. Upon reflection, I was definitely guilty of what Ayn Rand referred to as believing in "Reality by Consensus" or thinking that reality was up for a vote. In other words, I thought if I could manipulate people into thinking I was "cool", that would make it so, or if I was ostracized, that would somehow mean that I wasn't "cool". Classic reversal of cause and effect.

Many people simply accept something because everyone else does. I've since learned, that if an idea becomes widely accepted, that is often a good cue to start questioning it. (I think Mark Twain may have said something to that effect.) The incredible danger of second handedness is that it is so pervasive in the world, and this is something that those who seek to manipulate (second handers themselves) are well aware of, and they use this to their own ends. We've seen this throughout history, and more recently with politicians, environmentalists and terrorists.

I will admit that I still rely on certain people I respect for knowledge, and don't always check out all facts for myself, but when I do this, I acknowledge, that I don't know these things first hand, and as a result could well be mistaken. I try to pick these sources very carefully.

As an advocate of rational self interest, I believe my own happiness is the ultimate purpose of my life, and that this will only be accomplished through independent thinking. This doesn't mean that other people don't matter to me. People are actually one of my greatest sources of happiness, and I know that interdependently, I can accomplish far more that I could alone through proper communication and synergy.

Proper communication with others requires HONESTY, which will be the topic of my next entry. Thanks to all for reading....

Jan 18, 2015


THINK, DECIDE, ACT. "By doing this, I will be adhering to the following spritual principles, Rationality, INTEGRITY, Idependence, Honesty, Justice, Productiveness and Pride.


Integrity as a principle, is often stated as a synonym to honesty. However, I think the distinction has to do with a couple of different things. I think honesty can be described as "loyalty to the facts" and "being truthful to others".

Integrity on the other hand, has more to do with "being truthful to yourself" and "thinking and behaving in an integrated manner".

Thinking and behaving in an integrated manner should mean that I avoid "compartmentalizing", ie. acting and thinking in one way, in one area of my life, and then having a different standard in another area of my life. This could be a matter of acting competitively in my business life, and then altruistically in my personal life, or being very orderly and focused in my business goals and neglecting my health and fitness.

Also, I think having integrity means that my goals are my own, and not attempting to live up to the expectations of others.

As a social animal, I think it's normal to appreciate recognition, but it is second handed to compromise one's principles in order to please others and/or to win approval.

Therefore, when one "thinks, decides and acts", these are all aspects that must be considered if one is to act with integrity.

Also, of course what must be integrated is what we claim to espouse and how we actually behave...."walking the talk" or "practicing what we preach".

Failing to do so, is an obvious breach of ingegrity, and there will necessarily be consequences for doing this. As mentioned previously, a true spriritual principle is self-evident but also consistent. In other words, it is not up to opinion. So one is free to disagree with the law of gravity if one chooses, but this will not change the outcome should he or she choose to step off the edge of a tall building.

One inevitable consequence to trying to breach integrity (among many others) is the loss of self-esteem, as no matter how hard we try, we will know that we don't have it, and our self-image will accurately be lowered as it should be.

Any attempt to deny this by evading that conclusion will further lower one's self-esteem. Better to admit to one's self that there are areas where he lacks integrity, than to rationalize the breach.

Truthfully, I think there will always be breaches, as becoming a fully integrated person is a life goal. There will be times when we have that extra piece of cake or act lazily and not in accordance with our goals. Hoepfully these events are minor and exceptions rather than the rule. But at the very least, when we fall short, we must admit it to ourselves and others and resolve to do better in the future.

Again, this blog and my mission serve as a reminder to correct when needed. Thanks for reading.

Jan 11, 2015


Ayn Rand said of her heroes that they would "hold reason as their only absolute".

In my last post, I mentioned that the 'spiritual' principles' in my mission would be self-evident. One only needs to think of the opposite, i.e. being irrational to recognize how obvious it is that rationality needs to be a primary principle, and yet, rationality does not seem to be revered universally by any stretch. I admit that I have not done my homework in deeply studying various philosophers, but I believe there are some who have gone to great lengths to show the limits of logic.

The irony of this, as has been pointed out, is these arguments are such obvious nonsense, simply by the fact that they have to utilize logic to make an argument against it.

Also, of course, religion and mysticism have long preached that faith is superior to reason, and even denigrated logic as being a "tool of the devil" to trick us. "Don't use your brain, use your heart", and "Happy will be those who believe without seeing". In the various myths, the devil's crime is getting people to taste from the tree of knowledge.

The rate of human progress, or lack of it, can consistently be measured in terms of how prevalent these ideas have been at various times in history.

In fact, at the time of this writing, the great conflicts in the world are essentially based on the actions of mystical maniacs, who unfortunately, are far more consistent in their adherence to what they believe in, vs. those who 'somewhat' represent rationality. I say 'somewhat" because they represent rationality in such an inconsistent way embracing mongrel philosophies, never fully pronouncing what they believe or reject, because they don't even know themselves. Until this changes, I believe the future of civilizaiton and human progress is in grave danger. While I believe this is true on a global scale, it is no different with us as individuals when we don't embrace rationallity.

Evil begins and ends with the irrational. I agree that our fundamental choice is first and foremost to think. Thinking, meaning that we utilize rationality to make our decisions in what we choose to do or not to do before committing any act. Thinking allows us to consider the consequences of our actions to ourselves and others. I believe that before we commit an irrational (evil) act, we must first make the choice not to think, which is usually summarized by the conscious or subconscious "f__k it!". (Ayn Rand used "blank out") This is done in an effort to have our cake and eat it too, what Ayn Rand called whim worship. Of course if you ascribe to the mystical, then you have been told that logic is inferior, and that somehow you can have your cake and eat it too, if you "believe" enough.

I repeat and write about my mission so that I continually remind myself of the life or death importance of staying rational in my every day actions.

This entry has been longer than most, so I will leave off here, but hopefully I've made a case for why Rationality is first in the spriritual principles that I believe are essential to my happiness.

Next entry will be on "Integrity".


The next part of my mission statement, after "Asking with Intent, Listening Without Excuse, and Acting with Courage" is "By Doing This, I Will be Adhering to the Following 'Spiritual' Principles".

Before starting this, I need to qualify my use of the word 'spiritual'. I have no belief in anything supernatural or mystical, and so my use of this word pertains simply to distinguishing from the corporeal, i.e. things you can see, feel, touch, etc.

None of the principles that I will speak of will require any type of faith either. In fact, they are all self-evident and I can't see how any reasonable person, will question their existence, require much in the way of a definition (with some exceptions), or question whether they are all desirable.

The next part of my mission, elicitng these principles is: "Rationality, Integrity, Independence, Honesty, Justice, Productiveness, and Pride. From these will naturally follow: Open-Mindedness, Courage, Optimal State Management, Willingness, Conscience, Imagination, Self-Awareness, Serenity, Style, Grace and '*&^%( Attitude!!"

Choosing one as an example, that I spoke about in my last blog post; Courage: No one would deny that such a principle exists. They know what it is, and they know what it is not, and when they either act with it, or wihout it. And yet, of course, it is not corporeal.

So I hope this explains my use of the word 'spiritual'. so in the next entry, I will start with the first one on the list: Rationality.

Thanks for reading!

Jan 7, 2015


Ask With Intent
Listening Without Excuse

As a continuation of that part of my mission that deals with rational thinking, decision making and implementation, I come to the third part, "Acting with Courage"....

Recapping, once I've "Asked with Intent", meaning that I'm looking for the actual answer to the question, and not the one I might want to hear, then "Listened without Excuse", meaning that I have not tried to rationalize my way out of said answer, even though my "whim worship" may not like what I hear, then I have to move on the final step in the process. "Act with Courage".

The short form of these three is simply,

"Think, Decide and Act."

Courage is a fundamental principle, and can be difficult but, as I've said in previous posts, typically, the consequence for not having courage is worst. That's why I quoted Ayn Rand's, "I'm not brave enough to be a coward".

I believe it is important to note that the "Act with Courage" needs to be preceded by rational thinking, as it not simply a matter of acting against fear, as fear can be a useful signal in showing us what to avoid, and ignoring can have dire consequences, but if rational though has preceded a decision, and it becomes clear that an action is the correct one, (or at least the best choice, based on the available information), then taking action is a critical step, in order to reach any desirable outcome not to mention one's person integrity and self-esteem.

It is all too common for people to know, in many cases, quite specifically what action or actions they need to take to improve their lives, and to simply procrastinate, which is at the root of poor outcomes, and low self-esteem.

Whether we habitually take actions or habitually procrastinate, there is a cumulative effect in our lives, our self-esteem, and our overall happiness, the latter of which I believe is the moral purpose of our lives.

Even taking wrong actions, which is inevitable, as we are not omniscient, is better than procrastination, as it will help us to make distinctions to take better actions, and continually being a person of action will increase our self-esteem, even if we make mistakes, which of course we can't avoid.

That is why I love another Ayn Rand quote:

"And because, were she lying crushed under the ruins of a building, were she torn by the bomb of an air raid, so long as she was still in existence she would know that action is man's foremost obligation, regardless of anything he feels - "

Thanks again for reading!

Jan 2, 2015

Listening Without Excuse

Ask With Intent
Listening Without Excuse
Acting with Courage

This will be part one of "Listening Without Excuse".... Want to go back a little bit, and explore what I am asking...

The above 3, Ask, Listen and Act are realy the process of purposeful thinking.... the opposite of rationalizing.

As such, I have to give debt to Vince Evangelista who pointed out in a talk he gave a few years ago....that when making decisions, he asks,

"How will this affect me in 3 hours..... in 3 months..... and in 3 years. This is a great way, in my opinion of rationally assessing whether a decision is a good one or not. Of course, when projecting into the future, many times the consequences of some actions will be obvious and other times, it will be a matter of speculation. Either way, it forces one to consider consequences before acting.

That is of course, the opposite of "whim worship", where one intentionally (whether you admit it to yourself or not) avoids thinking of consequences, because, like a child who simply wants candy, we want to blank out reality so that it will allow us to have our "candy".

So Listening without excuse, is simply, that when our rational conclusion is to either take or avoid a certain action, we do not attempt to justify or rationalize but move on to the next step which is to "Act with Courage."