Life Resource Theory

I developed a theory based on my experience in Myanmar back in 2005, it’s called the Life Reso

Inle Lake Favorites

Some of my favorite shots from my visit to Inle Lake, Myanmar. [Translate]

“Cash for Guns” An Illusionary Program

Cash for Guns is a program meant for people to turn in their firearms to local police in exchange fo

 

Life Resource Theory

April 15, 2012 in Life, Philosophy

I developed a theory based on my experience in Myanmar back in 2005, it’s called the Life Resource Theory. On my way to Mount Popa from Bagan, we stopped by the road in a small shack where a family, we will call them the Palm family, were selling liquor and candy. The Palm’s were very hospitable and kind. They offered water and food for free even if it was clear that they could not afford to do so. When I sat down with them and herds their story I understood why they didn’t worry about giving it for free.

The Palm’s showed me a large piece of lang behind their home, about 100,000 square feet. The grandfather used to own and work on that field until they lost it to the government during the Burmese Civil War in 1948. The Palm’s used to plant and sell sesame and peanuts to survive. Even after loosing their land they felt thankful to continue living in their home, the government allowed them to continue to live in their shack, unlike other families in the region.

Their home is very humble. The inside was very dark, it only had a couple of windows where little light sneaked. It had a small stone fireplace for cooking and brewing. The only real opening faced the street but it didn’t have a door. On the outside the home felt sturdy but not enough to survive a strong storm. They owned a cow that moved a grinder that was beside two large Palm trees with home-made ladders attached to them. The Palm’s the reason why they had small windows was because that way animals would not try to sneak in and that the entry was shut by a sliding door because door were easily broken down. They also told me that their confined environment allowed them to work more efficiently in their craft without the risk of thief’s, monkeys.

While I was sitting down with them, I told them that I was really enjoying their candy and asked what was it made of? The Palm’s said that they make the candy from coconut meat form the palm and that the liquor, that I was sipping, was also made from it. I started noticing that the walls, ceiling, chairs, table, beds, doors where all made from the palm. The trays, plates, bowls, hats and utensils were made from the coconut and palm leaves. At that point it hit me, the Palm’s found a way to survive out of two palms. They used their creativity to use the little resources that they had to find every possible use for them. At that point is when I developed the Life Resource Theory.

The Life resource Theory says that in order to live life at its fullest we should use one object or resource in every possible way.  You can also applied it to situations, relationships and opportunities with a slight difference, that we should learn the most that we can from them instead of using them. We live in a society that constantly persuades us to consume. We own multiple objects for the same purpose. I am not suggesting that we should stop consuming, but at least we should take advantage of what we already have. If you have one computers, do you really need a second one? If you have a phone, do you really need to upgrade to a new one? well maybe, if the new one allows you to be more efficient with your time and benefit your communication with your relations. But, if you already have five pairs of shoes do you really need a sixth one? We should not get another object unless it is really needed. Use your old shirts as cloths to clean your home and cars. Use the glass containers from your spaghetti sauce as containers to store food instead of toper ware. Learn the most that you can from your friends and family, their experience will only benefit you.

Today, after using the Life Resource Theory in my life I have found that my life is more simple and happier. I don’t have to worry about little things, like wearing the latest fashion to be happy or let social pressures get to me. Now, I understand why the Palm family were happy, turns out that the richest home and life that one can have. So, thank you Palm family for the teaching. And, are you willing to give it a try?

Inle Lake Favorites

April 15, 2012 in Photo, Travel

Some of my favorite shots from my visit to Inle Lake, Myanmar.

“Cash for Guns” An Illusionary Program

April 15, 2012 in News

Cash for Guns is a program meant for people to turn in their firearms to local police in exchange for cash. They can be dropped in local police department or churches affiliated to the program. The people who are pro Cash for Guns say that any gun of the street is a good idea, that it can reduce the accident by firearm risk in homes or even in street crime. It does seem like a good idea but is it really effective?

Research presented to congress by Lawrence W. Sherman in 1993 showed that gun buy back programs do not work. So, why do we still spend millions of tax payers money to fund these programs? Have things changed?

No, if we take New York city as an example, New York has one of the toughest gun control policies in the country. You are not allowed to posses a gun unless you are in the law enforcement and NY is the third highest city in gun related deaths in the country. Cash for Guns in NY have recovered guns, but are usually legal guns. The problem in NY is the amount of illegal guns that come in from Philadelphia, Virginia and North Carolina. Recently an undercover cop bought 151 illegal guns from gun traffickers, for me that is better use of our money. In NY when the program was at its peak is when crime was at its highest and did it helped it bring it down? no, actually it motivated criminals to break into homes to steal guns outside the city. Lastly lots of buzz and publicity has come out of this program and for a million dollars in a public safety budget of $5 billion might seem like a great opportunity but we have to think how much TV and print time would’ve been used in programs that do work.

An officer in New Jersey said that “collected guns will be melted down and destroyed.” Sounds great, well not quite. The guns received by Cash for Gun has a policy of “no questions asked” and they only run the gun registration to see who the owner is. This policy can affect cases that are still open of people killed by a firearm. The  program is destroying the only evidence that the victim has to rest in peace. In NY a third of the homicide cases are still unresolved, that means that there are still docent of killers out in the streets and will continue to do so if they destroy the evidence.

Brooklyn has the highest crime rate by fire arm in NYC. In 2011, Trevonne Winn, a 24-year-old man from South Carolina visiting NYC, was outside his uncles Crown Fried Chicken Restaurant in East Flushing, Brooklyn when a man approached him and shot him twice to death. He widowed his wife and left fatherless a 18 month old baby. His family believes that it was a case of mistaken identity since “he didn’t knew anyone in NY” said his sister. The whole incident was recorded by a security camera and showed people walking by Trevonne’s side without helping him. Trevonne’s mother said, “What kind of city is this? No one helped my child. I saw my child fall on the floor, and nobody tried to help him.” Police still haven’t found the man or he’s identity and with the Cash for Guns program active, Trevonne’s killer may in stay free.

There are more productive programs than Cash for Guns for our government to invest in. Like the Big Brother and Big Sister program where $250,000 dollars can help match 250 kids with community volunteers. It has been found that the Big Brother Big Sister program cuts drug use by kids by half.

Marine Life In Risk of Extinction

April 15, 2012 in Health, Life

In less than twenty years you won’t able to buy seafood without going broke. Enjoying a healthy piece of fish or be able to go scuba diving to see the marine life around us, looks slim. Research by The International Programme of the State of The Ocean  showed that “We are taking about 9,000-10,000 tonnes of fish from the Ocean every hour (based on a catch of 80-90 million tonnes per year).” The Guardian reported that “it is believed that 90% of the worlds fish has been cut due to over fishing.” Many people and scientist think that it is due to climate change, since a similar situation occurred 50 million years ago, when half of the marine life became instinct. But, this time it is not the only reason, people have made things worse.

Fishing and consuming fish is a main part of the Japanese culture.The resent nuclear leakage in Japans, due to the tsunami, spiked iodine levels to 3,355 times the legal limit for seawater safety officials said to Associate Press. Radiation has dangerous implications to marine life. Fish mutation, such as fish becoming sterile, is the biggest concern for scientists. Radiation is not the only thing that is affecting marine life, ocean pollution is as devastating as radiation. The  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and their partners recently recovered 500 tons of marine debris of the coast of Hawaii and found out that “80 percent of ocean pollution originates from activities on land.” If we don’t pay more attention on how we are affecting marine life i our daily life we will witness marine life extinction. This will generate major changes to worlds cultures like the Japanese, imagine no more sushi.

There are ways that you can help like, don’t litter, keep clean beaches and boating docks, recycle and limit your seafood intake and when you do eat ask for farmed fish instead of wild.

Are You Over Medicated?

April 15, 2012 in Health, News

You know that you’re in for a ride when you find the diagnosis you want and not the one you need. Today, more and more people try to self diagnose by researching their symptoms in online forums, blogs and websites. Online self diagnosis, give people the vocabulary needed to convince their primary physician of a specific problem instead of allowing them do their work. The combination of self-diagnosis and the pressure that doctors have from pharmaceutical companies to prescribe their pills have made ”antipsychotics are now the largest revenue producers among all classes of medicines – bringing in $15 billion per year– “ Huffington Post.

Children in the US are being over-medicated “Between 2001 and 2005, the number of children under 19 years of age taking antipsychotic medications rose 73%” according to research conducted by The Hastings Center. It was ”found that stimulant medications were prescribed to more children without ADHD than to children with ADHD.”

Before you self diagnose yourself or your children, use online research for informational purposes but not for diagnosis. When you go to your doctor let him ask the questions and answer with single verbs. Don’t try to convince your doctor of a certain illness, let him be the judge. To make sure that your doctor is not influenced by pharmaceutical companies ask for a second and third opinion to other physicians. With the information researched and your doctor’s diagnosis the possibility of over-medication drops substantially.

Is Happiness a Consequence

April 14, 2012 in Philosophy

John Stuart Mill said that “happiness is the only intrinsically desirable thing.” I share with him the belief that happiness is not something that comes in when desired but when we learn to value it. Happiness is the means for our end. The other values that we embrace, such as virtue and freedom, exist because they give us happiness. Proper ambiance is the only thing that stall us or allow us to experience happiness. Virtual happiness is when there is instant gratification from a basic need but lacks the long-term satisfaction which leads us to deep happiness.

There is two ways that one can live life.

1- Living in the moment without the thought of tomorrow. A choice made with this philosophy can lead you to a momentary gratification but once the moment has passed you will be back to your original emotional state, if it was happiness great but what if it was depression.

2- Living in the moment thinking of tomorrow. A choice which this mentality might not get you the nirvanic feeling every time but it will feed your overall emotions so you can eventually be in a calm state. It allows you to think about the repercussions of your actions and allows you to decrease your regret level and increase your long-term happiness.

I believe that our happiness in the future will depend on the voices we make today. Living in the moment can create many regrets that can affect also affect the feeling of weightlessness and freedom that come with pure and constant happiness.

Stop Child Trafficking in Cambodia

April 14, 2012 in News

In 2005, I went to Cambodia with my wife for our honeymoon. Cambodia wasn’t initially in our plans but we decided to go and see Angkor Wat. It was a humbling experience, not because of the temple but by the amount of poor kids living in the streets.

When we went to the floating village, a village built on the water of the Boeung Tonle Sap lake. On our way there we saw many kids on the street and we asked our guide if they were orphans? His answer left us speechless, he said that “Parent have kids because it is good business. When a kid grows to the age of 7 the tourists give less money to them, so they continue to have kids. Most families in the region end up having an average of 9 kids. When the kids reach age 8, they are sold for marriage, sex or slavery and if they cannot sell them they are left homeless.”

I can not imagine the suffering and desperation that people have to experience to do this. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it shows that food, water and sex are part of our basic needs. But, the frustrating part is that most of the homes I saw, in this impoverished region, had dish TV antennas hooked to their humble homes. So, I do not believe that they did it for survival but as our guide said “it’s good business.”

I can understand why most people who have traveled to Cambodia feel the need to adopt a child. But I believe that the child deserve parents that adopts them out of love and not out of pity or compassion. since my visit to Cambodia I have the highest respect for Angelina Jolie, say and think whatever you want from her, but she has given her children a secure home away from this inferno.

There are close to 30,000 children in Cambodia sold for sexual purposes. Their ages are between 4 and 15 years of age. Mu Sochua, Cambodia’s former minister of women’s and veterans’ affairs said “child sex will continue as long as the Cambodian People’s Party government is in power.” Tourism is a major source of revenue for the country and the ones that come for child trafficking give lots of money to local authorities and the government.

ABC News recently went to the region with the highest number of child trafficking. It was found that in Phnom Penh, US citizens where the largest group of people involved in child trafficking.

Our government and we have the power to put a stop to this. Travel restrictions should placed for men traveling alone to Cambodia especially if they are pedophiles. We can write and enforce a law which send to jail any person that has sexual intercourse with any child in the US or abroad. We can donate or volunteer in non-profit organizations like the Agape International Missions (AIM.) Children in Cambodia and around the world deserve the same rights as our own children in the US. To find out how can you help click here.

 

Will There Be Democracy in Egypt?

April 14, 2012 in News

Democratic elections in Egypt are on their way, or at least that’s what we think. The people that have entered the presidential race are from the former Mubaraks’ cabinet and Islamists seeking to enforce their beliefs to all countrymen. To our surprise, there are no young leaders from last years revolution that have step forward to become their candidate. The main reason is because they do not have the institutional organization to run a country. But it might be also for the lack of maturity according to Aristotle.

Aristotle said that in the political realm, the young should not be considered for a political position since they do not have the “experience for the actions in life.” That their judgment can be clouded because they are driven by feelings and not reason. He might be right in certain ways, but I also think that older politicians first look to help their party, themselves and their friends interests and then maybe the citizens.

If Egyptians want a true democratic country, they have to support the young and the old. But first the young have to step up and run for president. It is hypocritical from them not to run, even if they lose. They overthrew Mubarak for a better country and now they have the possibility to lead in real changes and no name appeared to lead them. A country changes when you have a long-term commitment not just a momentary reaction that are driven by feelings. Citizens of the world deserve for democratic debates to occur between all parties before a governmental decision is made. So, step up and commit if not you’ll see history repeat itself just with another name at the top.

The Likes and Differences Between Socrates and Martin Luther King Jr.

April 13, 2012 in Philosophy

There is a great difference between the structure of the “arguments” between Socrates and Martin Luther King Jr. Socrates did not have a conclusive though by answering a simple question, he questioned the questioned until there was no more questions to question, he arrived to the core of the thought. When Socrates was persuaded by Crito to escape, he question his rational and made him doubt his own beliefs. Socrates made him believe that his thoughts were corrupted and his actions were not abided by an plain truth. Dr. King in the other hand was able to persuade by justifying the reasons for his actions. He mainly offered his point of view with examples from the past to show that history repeats itself but at no point he would question his own beliefs and others followed.

Both men acted in a sacrificial and even a martyr way but the difference was the reasons why they acted the way they did. Socrates helped shaped the laws in which the man should abide by them. He considered himself as a civilian with rights that he needed to follow, this is why when the opportunity to escape came he didn’t do it. Dr. King thought that the law was unjust and didn’t consider him as a civilian with rights. Dr. King fought and gave voice to people like him. For Socrates his principles stood until the last second of his life and helped him stay unbiased to shape the law.

Dr. King states, “the means we use, must be as pure as the ends we seek”, and is similar to Socrates argument about corruption that says ” actions create others to corrupt to gain their liberty. But, the principles would be not pure and dishonest to which the principles he stood by.” Socrates as well as Dr. King would not agree in compromising their  principles to make a deal for a positive outcome for their cause. They believed that if you want to have real acceptance by society you stand my your principal.

Truth is Relative

April 13, 2012 in Philosophy

I believe that philosophy is the introspective dialogue that each one of us have to find our truth. Truth is relative, because our version of the truth depends on the emotional state that we experience in a particular situation. Dr. Andrew Carpenter raised a question about truth, that there are some situations where it is “not morally significant” whether or not one lies or tells the truth and gave as an example “lying or not lying to kids about Santa Clause or the Tooth Fairy?.”  So, one can argue that making a kid believe in a fictional character is morally right because he finds happiness in that thought. But, also argue that it is morally wrong to lie to a kid even if it means taking away the illusion of a superior being that watches over us and protects us. What is the strongest truth?

1- To have a blinded faith on a fictional character that allows proper behavior during the year. And, allows that person to have a positive influence on society.

or

2- The fact that lying is morally wrong. Even if it means that the person can have a negative repercussion in his community by bullying kids for their belief in the fairy tale and will likely lose all the good values that come which fictional stories such as sharing and helping others.

It all depends on the ethical norms that’s accepted by your community. Some ethical norms that are generally accepted in society are honesty, loyalty and fidelity.But, these norms can also be bended such as, when a person has an extramarital affair that is allowed by his partner, even if it’s considered morally wrong by the community. Basically, ethical norms and values are a set of generalized agreements within each society. One can argue that one thing is how society views and judges the situation compared to a personal agreements that we have with reach other without considering society.

Immanuel Kant said that ”Categorical imperative must be done purely out of duty, without looking for any self interest”and that the “power of reason helps us in two critical ways: by helping us to identify how we ought to act and by providing us with rational motivation for acting ethically.” I believe that we have to act out of reason. I do agree that we have to abide by the laws of duty. But only until there is another rational reason why there should be change. It is likely that if you go against the ethical duty of society, for example infidelity, you will most likely affect someone other than your direct partner. And, when that happens is when it becomes ethically wrong but if there is agreement between all people who can be affected by it, well have fun.

Kant said that our decision is driven by reason to focus ourselves in our mind. And, Aristotle’s said that proper judgement is driven by experience. So do you think you have better judgement because of our experiences or because of our rational?

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Picture: How many faces can you see in the image posted?

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