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?

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.

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?

What Can You Learn From a Surfer?

April 2, 2012 in Life, Philosophy, Photo

On December 15, 2004 I had the pleasure of seeing, first hand, the power of our mother ocean in Maui (Jaws), Hawaii. It was a historical day, Dan Moore rode the third biggest wave in surfing history, it was 68 ft. The largest wave was 90 ft and ridden by Garrett McNamara in Portugal.

Surfers have been mostly portrait as beach bums, a person who does not want to do anything in life other than just hang on or around the beach, a person that has no dreams other than living in the moment but that could not be further from the truth. They are modern-day explorers traveling around the world looking to capture a unique moment-in-time. Just like a climber that wants to conquer a mountain and dreams to summit Mt. Everest a surfer dreams of riding the largest possible wave and wants to conquer his own fears.

Mt. Everest climbers prepare for years physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. They are weatherman, that study the mountain and its patterns until they understand it perfectly. They are patient and wait for the perfect moment to climb. They make sure that life threatening risks are at a minimal before taking the first step. They stay focused at every moment and they adapt rapidly to survive.

As well as the climbers, tow-in and big wave surfers follow a very strict workout and lifestyle regimen. I was surprise to find out how many of them stay away from vices and pay close attention to what they eat. They don’t take things lightly and are extremely determined.  They are dreamers that want to discover the greatest connection with nature. They want to put themselves to the test to discover who they are. They don’t expect the approval of a loved one to pursue their path and are not easily influenced by society. Think of them as bears, they hibernate when they are on land and, when the right moment presents itself, they jump in the water and use all of their energy to do what seems an impossible task at one point.

What stroked me the most was their process to prepare, it is extremely spiritual. Understanding that their life can end in any given moment, they undergo a deep meditation to accept death as a possibility. This acceptance is what keeps them calm when they are held underwater for minutes. Dan told me that “you need to keep calm because the more you stress the faster you burn your oxygen which leads you to a black out and worse.” Dan, is a person that holds the biggest respect to the ocean as most surfers do. He does not ride the giant to challenge Neptune or purely for the rush of adrenalin, he rides them so he can become part it.

What can we learn from Dan and sportsmen like him?

1. In order to succeed in life you have to understand and learn about your environment with dedication.

2. You need flexibility to survive.

3. Learning to keep calm under pressure will extend you life. Keep stress to a minimum.

4. Accept failure as a possibility. It will allow you to take risks without the fear for failure.

5. Respect your journey and be part of it without waiting for acceptance.

Innocent Choices

March 20, 2012 in Faith, Philosophy, Photo

In 2005, I met a group of kids between the ages of 6 and 12 in Yangon, Myanmar. They where deciding between pursuing the Buddhist monk life in a monastery or out of it. Growing up as a Catholic, it is very similar to the choice that nuns and priests have to make. During our conversation one of the kids said that “entering the monastery would make his life easier. Since his parents couldn’t take care of him and he already had nothing. In the monastery he would be part of a community that would give him food, room and education. But, he didn’t know if it was the right thing for him.”  It was not an easy decision, especially for a 10-year-old boy. This taught me that, in life, each decision taken with maturity, respect and commitment will lead you to prosperity and enlightenment.

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