Apr 4, 2017



In Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Habit #1 is "Be Proactive."

He defines one of the aspects that differ humans from animals is the ability to choose to proact rather than react.

He points out that in a reactive model, there is virtually no gap between stimulus and response.

Whereas in a proactive model there is a space that contains humans' "ability to choose". The traits, unique to humans that allow this, are

1. Self awareness
2. Conscience
4. Independence

Humans can be aware of their own feelings and mental state and compensate for them.

Humans have a sense of morality. (See previous post on Conscience)

Humans can IMAGINE multiple possible outcomes in advance as they assess appropriate actions to take.

Humans can think and choose independently.

I love how Covey addresses the controversy between whether we are more influenced by nature or nurture (genetics or conditioning).

"Is it nature or nurture?" "It's your choice."

Einstein said that imagination was more powerful than knowledge.

Ayn Rand "Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received — hatred. The great creators — the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors — stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won."

One could replace the above "vision" with "imagination"

Feedback always welcome.

Apr 1, 2017



Are we born with an inherent sense of right and wrong?

Or is it conditioning?

A google search produced the following:

"The inner sense of what is right or wrong in one's conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action: to follow the dictates of conscience. The complex of ethical and moral principles that controls or inhibits the actions or thoughts of an individual."

"Inner sense" and "right or wrong" are very broad topics for a blog post, but I will attempt to summarize.

I don't believe right or wrong is a function of any divine revelation but rather a logical determination whereas life is the standard of value. Anything that enhances your life without harming someone else's life except in self defense is the good. Anything that harms your life is the wrong and that would include harming others unless in self defence, because there is no conflict between rational people. Exploiting others in any way will always be detrimental to yourself, in the long term.

An "inner sense" of the above must first come from a consistent view of ethics as described in previous paragraph. Otherwise, your "conscience" will leave you always in doubt from what you think will be ethical dilemmas. These will actually be the result of holding conflicting and or ill defined beliefs leaving you in a perpetual state of "self doubt, like a ball and chain, where your mind's wings should have grown." (Quote: Ayn Rand)

So CONSCIENCE can and should be "impelling toward right actions" like a moral compass but this can't work unless true north is objective.

As infants, we may have a sense of fear of perceived danger or attraction to perceived nourishment or pleasure but these are generally distorted by short vs long term as well as genetically inherited traits that cause us for example to recoil from a harmless garter snake and be indifferent to malevolent ideas. In other words, CONSCIENCE must be developed and it must be developed properly.

Feedback on what I've missed always welcome.