Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Perpetually Perplexing

Another year has come and gone.

With Christmas now in our rear view mirror, the sights are re-set to the road ahead – to the new year we will call 2012.

Time continues to march forward. The world continues to spin, the sun rising and setting continuing to march forward – never stopping – effortlessly plodding on.

The spin of the Earth – as with all the other planets in our local solar system – continue to their relentless path around the sun.

The ultimate perpetual motion machine.

Seemingly never slowing. Seemingly holding each component’s position perfectly.

Yet we believe that creating a perpetual motion machine here on our big blue marble to be impossible. The friction created by passing through the air, and the constant force of gravity created by the spinning of this planet we live on its axis and the pull from the planets around it – the very perpetual motion machine that makes life on Earth possible – is the reason we cannot reproduce perpetual motion of our own.

Or maybe we are just not smart enough yet?

We can remove the impact of air on such a machine by simply building the machine in a vacuum. But we don’t know how to turn gravity off in a given location.

We could build the machine in outer space?

“Why do you want to build a perpetual motion machine?”

Well, it’s the holy grail of engineering. Such a machine – one provided the right amount of energy to get started, would regenerate that same amount of energy with the completion of a cycle, an engine that would only need to be started that would run forever.

Learn how to make such a machine, and all our needs for energy would be answered.

“But we have solar panels now, and wind turbines powered by the slightest breeze, and water turbines that are powered by the energy of the oceans?”

Yes we do. But they are still very inefficient. They do not yet produce enough energy to account for the human races tremendous thirst for power.

But the good news is we are getting there. A perpetual motion machine would take us to that next level that could allow us to end our dependency on fossil fuels – and nuclear power.

“But wasn’t the universe created by nuclear power?”

The big bang? Yes I guess that’s likely true.

The universe appears to have harnessed that power tremendously efficiently, little if any wasted as our own Sun as an exhibit proves – continuing to burn for eons yet to come.

We as mankind are so arrogant to think how intelligent we are. But in comparison to the bang that God set off that one single bang those billions of years ago? We hook a couple of pistons and gears together and dig out the fossil fuels from the earth from life that lived here a millennium before us, and we make a big explosion to make the stuff move, only to have to make another explosion milliseconds later to keep it moving – to drive to the store to get milk.

What we have been able to accomplish however is to provide the means for all of humanity to connect their collective thoughts – ideas – dreams – concepts – stuff in our heads – headstuffing – so that we can collaborate on these next steps forward.

But in our most inefficient way – we squander this technology on menial sentiments – telling the world that we just had a bowl of Cheerios for breakfast – or that we are out walking the dog.

I am no better, do not get me wrong and think that I am spouting off here in some superior voice to say the rest of man is fat and lazy. I am a prime example of the epitome of inefficiency.

I take more than I give. I use more than I make. I am like a termite consistently eating away at the very resources – in my own gluttonous pace – until all are exhausted.

We need that perpetual motion machine.

We need that divine revelation – that inspiration that removes our dependency on fossil fuels. We need to be smarter.

I am not that smart.

Nor likely are you.

But if we put our collective minds together – and push full steam ahead to brainstorm on a singular common goal … we need to overcome ourselves.

We need to overcome what we have become.

And we had better hurry. Because the Earth continues to spin, and the sun continues to rise and set, the moon continues to circle us, as days to into months then into years.

Because time, as relative a concept as physicists insist it to be, time waits for no one. But while time is limitless – our quantity of time is not.

We expire.

And time will continue on without us.

Seemingly perpetually.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Which Wolf Are You Feeding?

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.

"A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

I love this story.

I read it the other day. It was taped up to a friend’s cubicle at work.

And I realized what I have been doing for the last four months. I have been feeding the wrong wolf.

But feeding the right wolf is hard. Especially when you face personal challenges. Feeding the wrong wolf is so easy, because the wrong wolf is always begging at your feet. And the wrong wolf rewards you with a lick on the face to say “it’s okay to feel that way”.

But it’s not okay.

The good wolf does not come to be fed so easily. He can be delusive. To the point that the bad wolf asks you why you bother to try.

You could carry this metaphor on forever. It fits so well.

We are measured by our ability to fend off the bad wolf – and banish him from our lives.

Or at least keep him at bay.

In our daily strife and toil, it is rare to find a person who takes bad wolf to task instead of rewarding him.

So how does one acquire such discipline? What drills can you do, or course can you take? Where does one learn discipline to the degree to fend off the bad wolfs.

Can it even be learned?

Or is it in you already, in some deeply hidden in small doses. Is it there for you to pull out and practice?

Do you simply have to spend time dwelling on why you let the bad wolf console you?

Or is it really better to dwell on the good dog and how to feed him? To go through the list of attributes the old Cherokee listed for the good wolf. One by one. And dwell instead on how each of those attributes could be better employed by you.

Dwell on the question that you have given so much attention as to how you want to be treated – how do you fare in treating others?

I’ll bet it’s like anything else you practice – as you exercise the muscles you need to make you better – exercise the muscle between your ears – it might resist the change in direction – but with time you will train it.

… if you can keep your wits about while you change them.

Wits are often the first to abandon you when you are faced with a conflict. When the bad wolf shows his teeth, your instinct is to calm the beast and reward them – in this case with your own self-pity.

The strongest defense one has from the consequences of consorting with the bad wolf is faith. Faith in the good wolf.

Faith in yourself.

Faith in your own self is the direct reward of self-confidence. And since self-pity or any of the other traits of the bad wolf destroy a person’s feeling of self-worth, self-confidence erodes like the sands of beach as tides of self-pity washes in and out.

Until the beach has no sand.

I have not mastered this myself.

Not yet.

But I do have faith that I will. Now that I know what the bad wolf looks like. And I will stop feeding him, saving my chow instead for the other one.

Now, let’s discuss cats …

The Legend of Two Wolves was borrowed from the website called “First Peoples - The Legends” -

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