Monday, 28 February 2011

The simple way towards a long and happy life (Part 1 of 7)


If human beings were happy all the time, there would be little need for philosophy. If transactions never went wrong, there would be no market for lawyers and arbitration services. If individuals never became sick and died, few persons would choose to become medical doctors. In this light, death is not only the ultimate justification for medicine, but also its most crucial subject of study.

Statistics tell us why people die, but we have to realize that there is much more to death than what the eye can perceive. Road accidents, heart failure, stroke, and cancer occupy prominent positions in every country's causes of decease. Contemporary data point out as well the growing death toll taken by age-related sicknesses such as Parkinson and Alzheimer.

Those statistics show the immediate causes of decease, but do not address the fundamental question of why people have to die in the first place. This issue should not to be dismissed as trivial. On the contrary, unless we get a clear idea of why we must die, statistical data become irrelevant. After all, one could argue, if we are doomed to pass away at 80, who cares if you die of cancer or diabetes?

To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by insane photoholic under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Sunday, 27 February 2011

The critical accelerator of human happiness (Part 6 of 6)


The experience acquired in a few years of continuous action will teach you more than several decades of exquisite motivational talks. Reality is too complex to be reduced to pure theory. This is why personal growth can be achieved only through experience.

Knowledge is spread in the market like minerals are contained in sea water. If you wish to become a great surfer, you will have to taste the water hundreds of times. Your reflexes will become faster as you learn how to profit from the changing wind.

In your search of happiness, let practice take precedence over speculation. From mistakes, you gain insight and a sharper vision, while empty talk will just eat up your limited time. Choose the way of action.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by corrieb under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The critical accelerator of human happiness
(Part 6 of 6)


The experience acquired in a few years of continuous action will teach you more than several decades of exquisite motivational talks. Reality is too complex to be reduced to pure theory. This is why personal growth can be achieved only through experience.

Knowledge is spread in the market like minerals are contained in sea water. If you wish to become a great surfer, you will have to taste the water hundreds of times. Your reflexes will become faster as you learn how to profit from the changing wind.

In your search of happiness, let practice take precedence over speculation. From mistakes, you gain insight and a sharper vision, while empty talk will just eat up your limited time. Choose the way of action.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by corrieb under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Saturday, 26 February 2011

The critical accelerator of human happiness (Part 5 of 6)


Discard motivation and let action drive you to a better life. What you do counts more than what you dream about. Gaining efficiency and speed on your path to happiness are desirable effects connected to the choice and extent of your actions. If you wish, spend some time cultivating your motivation, but do not let it develop into a game of its own. Talking is not tantamount to doing.

Fast and cheap mistakes are the cardinal accelerator of human success. Inexpensive errors are the sweetest way to happiness, in particular when those errors are rapidly admitted and corrected. Learn a lesson from each of them and avoid repeating the cause and effect. This factor alone can compound the positive effects of your work and lead you to levels of achievement that you previously thought beyond your reach.

To be continued in Part 6

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Stefano Mazzone under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The critical accelerator of human happiness
(Part 5 of 6)


Discard motivation and let action drive you to a better life. What you do counts more than what you dream about. Gaining efficiency and speed on your path to happiness are desirable effects connected to the choice and extent of your actions. If you wish, spend some time cultivating your motivation, but do not let it develop into a game of its own. Talking is not tantamount to doing.

Fast and cheap mistakes are the cardinal accelerator of human success. Inexpensive errors are the sweetest way to happiness, in particular when those errors are rapidly admitted and corrected. Learn a lesson from each of them and avoid repeating the cause and effect. This factor alone can compound the positive effects of your work and lead you to levels of achievement that you previously thought beyond your reach.

To be continued in Part 6

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Stefano Mazzone under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Friday, 25 February 2011

The critical accelerator of human happiness (Part 4 of 6)


What is the best approach to adapt the rhythm of our personal growth to our own conditions and situations? Can we define a formula that applies to all men, all countries, and all historical periods? Experience has taught me that best strategy is to identify your target, start moving immediately towards it, and correct mistakes along the way.

Relentless action will take you farther on any road you choose, but the crucial aspect in the happiness quest might not be motivation but efficiency. Everybody can raise his motivation level, at least for a while, by attending rallies and listening to speeches. You can chant and dance around, you can dream and speak your heart out, but very little will be achieved.

Other people may support your endeavours or oppose your initiatives, but in the long-term, their actions play only a minor role, like the noise of a train running on its track. Indeed, the sound accompanies the train, but what moves the wagons is the engine, not the noise.

To be continued in Part 5

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Hünerauge under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The critical accelerator of human happiness
(Part 4 of 6)


What is the best approach to adapt the rhythm of our personal growth to our own conditions and situations? Can we define a formula that applies to all men, all countries, and all historical periods? Experience has taught me that best strategy is to identify your target, start moving immediately towards it, and correct mistakes along the way.

Relentless action will take you farther on any road you choose, but the crucial aspect in the happiness quest might not be motivation but efficiency. Everybody can raise his motivation level, at least for a while, by attending rallies and listening to speeches. You can chant and dance around, you can dream and speak your heart out, but very little will be achieved.

Other people may support your endeavours or oppose your initiatives, but in the long-term, their actions play only a minor role, like the noise of a train running on its track. Indeed, the sound accompanies the train, but what moves the wagons is the engine, not the noise.

To be continued in Part 5

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Hünerauge under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Thursday, 24 February 2011

The critical accelerator of human happiness (Part 3 of 6)


Imagine a young man who, growing in the most favourable environment, identifies his lifetime ambitions when he is fifteen years old. He may well spend the rest of his life pursuing his goals, but there is no guarantee that he will achieve them. Anyone entering a professional field has to learn the trade and assimilate its written and unwritten rules.

Sooner or later, lack of knowledge, bad luck or misunderstandings will slow down his professional progress or bring it to a complete standstill. Any biography that you may read will provide evidence of the universality of this principle. Trains stop from time to time, careers stall, and fortunes are sometimes lost.

Occasionally, evil forces may play a role in the demise of a great ambition, but those cases are more rare than popular accounts tend to portray. More often than not, discouragement is the visceral response to failure. Summer grows the seeds nourished by spring rain and winter kills the trees weakened by autumn storms. However, when it comes to human beings, our mental versatility allows us to develop extreme resiliency and surmount all disappointments.

To be continued in Part 4

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Mara 1 under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The critical accelerator of human happiness
(Part 3 of 6)


Imagine a young man who, growing in the most favourable environment, identifies his lifetime ambitions when he is fifteen years old. He may well spend the rest of his life pursuing his goals, but there is no guarantee that he will achieve them. Anyone entering a professional field has to learn the trade and assimilate its written and unwritten rules.

Sooner or later, lack of knowledge, bad luck or misunderstandings will slow down his professional progress or bring it to a complete standstill. Any biography that you may read will provide evidence of the universality of this principle. Trains stop from time to time, careers stall, and fortunes are sometimes lost.

Occasionally, evil forces may play a role in the demise of a great ambition, but those cases are more rare than popular accounts tend to portray. More often than not, discouragement is the visceral response to failure. Summer grows the seeds nourished by spring rain and winter kills the trees weakened by autumn storms. However, when it comes to human beings, our mental versatility allows us to develop extreme resiliency and surmount all disappointments.

To be continued in Part 4

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Mara 1 under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The critical accelerator of human happiness (Part 2 of 6)


Should we let anxiety drive our lives? In the pursuit of our goals, how can we strike the optimal balance between peace of mind and personal growth? An hour always has sixty minutes and every new day offers us another twenty-four hours. Exaggerated time-consciousness and focus on achievement may lead men to a psychological misery not better than the destitution of the idler.

Personal growth requires balance as much as it demands passion. The path to happiness should be first drawn with charcoals and then brought to life with oil colours. We learn as we walk. Mistakes are inescapable as we sometimes take the wrong turn of the road. Nobody possesses the ability to make all the correct choices.

No man can at the same time concentrate all resources on his future and enjoy the hours of the present. Each individual is born and raised in different circumstances. Genetic, family, and personal qualities vary heavily from one person to the next, even within the same family. The philosophical approach to happiness should not deviate from the hard rules of reality.

To be continued in Part 3

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by s. sawada under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The critical accelerator of human happiness
(Part 2 of 6)


Should we let anxiety drive our lives? In the pursuit of our goals, how can we strike the optimal balance between peace of mind and personal growth? An hour always has sixty minutes and every new day offers us another twenty-four hours. Exaggerated time-consciousness and focus on achievement may lead men to a psychological misery not better than the destitution of the idler.

Personal growth requires balance as much as it demands passion. The path to happiness should be first drawn with charcoals and then brought to life with oil colours. We learn as we walk. Mistakes are inescapable as we sometimes take the wrong turn of the road. Nobody possesses the ability to make all the correct choices.

No man can at the same time concentrate all resources on his future and enjoy the hours of the present. Each individual is born and raised in different circumstances. Genetic, family, and personal qualities vary heavily from one person to the next, even within the same family. The philosophical approach to happiness should not deviate from the hard rules of reality.

To be continued in Part 3

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by s. sawada under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The critical accelerator of human happiness (Part 1 of 6)


It takes a while before a man realizes that he is going to die some day. Some people never become conscious of their mortality and continue to waste their days until the very last moment. Drug consumption, including alcohol, is a failed attempt to appease the anxiety created by the fundamental truth that time moves in only one direction.

Accepting that your days are limited is a precondition for making the best use of your time. With happiness as a long-term goal, personal growth becomes a short-term objective. With longevity as a desirable aim, good nutrition becomes a crucial element of the good life. The trend is given by Nature, but each individual must define his own strategy.

Gaining understanding of the fact that each passing day is irrecoverable exerts enormous pressure on the insecure. They wonder incessantly if they are doing the right thing or enough of it. They speculate about a myriad of other activities that they could be carrying out instead. They terrorize themselves with statistics of who is doing what, how fast, and how well.

To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by jtriefen under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The critical accelerator of human happiness
(Part 1 of 6)


It takes a while before a man realizes that he is going to die some day. Some people never become conscious of their mortality and continue to waste their days until the very last moment. Drug consumption, including alcohol, is a failed attempt to appease the anxiety created by the fundamental truth that time moves in only one direction.

Accepting that your days are limited is a precondition for making the best use of your time. With happiness as a long-term goal, personal growth becomes a short-term objective. With longevity as a desirable aim, good nutrition becomes a crucial element of the good life. The trend is given by Nature, but each individual must define his own strategy.

Gaining understanding of the fact that each passing day is irrecoverable exerts enormous pressure on the insecure. They wonder incessantly if they are doing the right thing or enough of it. They speculate about a myriad of other activities that they could be carrying out instead. They terrorize themselves with statistics of who is doing what, how fast, and how well.

To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by jtriefen under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Monday, 21 February 2011

The wisdom of rational action (Part 4 of 4)


Don't devote your worthy hours to speculate about undefined psychological factors, arbitrary theories, and nonsensical advice. Professional salesmen know that, given enough time and effort, they will find more customers. Watching, hoping, and talking seldom help. Only relentless effort can bring you closer to success.

Athletes are motivated when they compete, but in the end, it is their past training what usually determines who will win the race. Instead of speculative advice, choose the wisdom of rational action. Let others wonder if the world should be this or that way. Move on, redouble your attempts to reach the place you want to be, and let your actions speak for themselves.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by indywriter under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The wisdom of rational action (Part 4 of 4)


Don't devote your worthy hours to speculate about undefined psychological factors, arbitrary theories, and nonsensical advice. Professional salesmen know that, given enough time and effort, they will find more customers. Watching, hoping, and talking seldom help. Only relentless effort can bring you closer to success.

Athletes are motivated when they compete, but in the end, it is their past training what usually determines who will win the race. Instead of speculative advice, choose the wisdom of rational action. Let others wonder if the world should be this or that way. Move on, redouble your attempts to reach the place you want to be, and let your actions speak for themselves.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by indywriter under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Sunday, 20 February 2011

The wisdom of rational action (Part 3 of 4)


What you expect primarily from your doctor, lawyer, plumber, or car mechanic is not that they are greatly inspiring, but that they do a good job and deliver competent service. Action is what we want to see. Service is what we want to receive. Predictable, rational action is one million times more valuable than attitude and motivation.

Action is the essential factor that gets things done, sold, and delivered. The candidate who has not been selected for the job should not spend too much time wallowing in self-recrimination about what he could have done better. If he can draw some useful lesson for the future, so much the better, but in most cases, a failed interview was just a sale that didn't close.

To be continued in Part 4

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by smaedli under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The wisdom of rational action (Part 3 of 4)


What you expect primarily from your doctor, lawyer, plumber, or car mechanic is not that they are greatly inspiring, but that they do a good job and deliver competent service. Action is what we want to see. Service is what we want to receive. Predictable, rational action is one million times more valuable than attitude and motivation.

Action is the essential factor that gets things done, sold, and delivered. The candidate who has not been selected for the job should not spend too much time wallowing in self-recrimination about what he could have done better. If he can draw some useful lesson for the future, so much the better, but in most cases, a failed interview was just a sale that didn't close.

To be continued in Part 4

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by smaedli under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Saturday, 19 February 2011

The wisdom of rational action (Part 2 of 4)


What is surprising is people's reaction to failure and rejection. Chances are that the candidate who has not been selected for a particular job will get to hear from his family and friends that he should improve his attitude, manners, clothing, hairdo, and who knows how many other aspects.

Salesmen who go through a difficult period also get served a menu of motivational speeches and meetings to discuss their attitude. In other professions, such as sports, acting, or management, the story runs a parallel course. The problem, you will be told, is in how you see the world.

Well, luckily, this is not true. Motivation and attitude play a certain role in performance, but their importance should not be overemphasized. If you pause to think for a second, you will realize that the professionals whom you most trust don't seem to be excessively driven or motivated.

To be continued in Part 3

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Al Ianni under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The wisdom of rational action (Part 2 of 4)


What is surprising is people's reaction to failure and rejection. Chances are that the candidate who has not been selected for a particular job will get to hear from his family and friends that he should improve his attitude, manners, clothing, hairdo, and who knows how many other aspects.

Salesmen who go through a difficult period also get served a menu of motivational speeches and meetings to discuss their attitude. In other professions, such as sports, acting, or management, the story runs a parallel course. The problem, you will be told, is in how you see the world.

Well, luckily, this is not true. Motivation and attitude play a certain role in performance, but their importance should not be overemphasized. If you pause to think for a second, you will realize that the professionals whom you most trust don't seem to be excessively driven or motivated.

To be continued in Part 3

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Al Ianni under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Friday, 18 February 2011

The wisdom of rational action (Part 1 of 4)


When someone is looking look for a job, he sends his resume around, replies to advertisements, and finally, he gets invited to interviews. Being the employment market what it is, candidates are rejected in nine out of ten cases. A week after the interview, they receive a phone call informing them that another applicant has been chosen to fill the open position.

Sometimes, there is a good reason why another person has been selected for that post, but a certain element of randomness influences a large proportion of hiring processes. On many occasions, the choice cannot be rationally justified and one should not waste time trying to figure out mysterious reasons that do not exist.

An element of arbitrariness is not foreign to those cases, as it happens in countless human activities. Why did you buy this make of car and not that one? Would you repeat that purchase today? How did you come to choose your family doctor? Do you remember how you met each of your best friends?

To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by BozDoz under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The wisdom of rational action (Part 1 of 4)


When someone is looking look for a job, he sends his resume around, replies to advertisements, and finally, he gets invited to interviews. Being the employment market what it is, candidates are rejected in nine out of ten cases. A week after the interview, they receive a phone call informing them that another applicant has been chosen to fill the open position.

Sometimes, there is a good reason why another person has been selected for that post, but a certain element of randomness influences a large proportion of hiring processes. On many occasions, the choice cannot be rationally justified and one should not waste time trying to figure out mysterious reasons that do not exist.

An element of arbitrariness is not foreign to those cases, as it happens in countless human activities. Why did you buy this make of car and not that one? Would you repeat that purchase today? How did you come to choose your family doctor? Do you remember how you met each of your best friends?

To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by BozDoz under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Share the same road, move in the same direction (Part 7 of 7)


A realistic approach to friendship must begin with a commonality of interests and values. A life filled with empty social engagements is tantamount to an endless nightmare from which you never wake up. Instead, seek out people who appreciate profound discussions and share your rational beliefs.

Offer consistency between form and substance and fly high the flag of your convictions. Be yourself and you will not fail to attract your perfect social match. True friendship is what binds those who share the same road and move forward in the same direction.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by docentjoyce under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Share the same road, move in the same direction (Part 7 of 7)


A realistic approach to friendship must begin with a commonality of interests and values. A life filled with empty social engagements is tantamount to an endless nightmare from which you never wake up. Instead, seek out people who appreciate profound discussions and share your rational beliefs.

Offer consistency between form and substance and fly high the flag of your convictions. Be yourself and you will not fail to attract your perfect social match. True friendship is what binds those who share the same road and move forward in the same direction.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by docentjoyce under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Share the same road, move in the same direction (Part 6 of 7)


In practical terms, this is what an open attitude entails:
  • Reserve your acts of kindness for people you like.
  • Do discuss about ideas, principles, and ethics.
  • If you believe that you are objectively right, take a clear position.
  • Remain open to examine evidence that contradicts your views.
  • When you make a mistake, apologize, and learn for the future.
  • Be polite, but if someone tries to force something upon you, just say no.
  • By pointing out contradictions to people who are willing to listen, you might prevent a catastrophe from occurring.
  • Choose deep, involved conversations over nonsensical, time-wasting trite.
To be continued in Part 7

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Umberto Fistarol under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Share the same road, move in the same direction (Part 6 of 7)


In practical terms, this is what an open attitude entails:
  • Reserve your acts of kindness for people you like.
  • Do discuss about ideas, principles, and ethics.
  • If you believe that you are objectively right, take a clear position.
  • Remain open to examine evidence that contradicts your views.
  • When you make a mistake, apologize, and learn for the future.
  • Be polite, but if someone tries to force something upon you, just say no.
  • By pointing out contradictions to people who are willing to listen, you might prevent a catastrophe from occurring.
  • Choose deep, involved conversations over nonsensical, time-wasting trite.
To be continued in Part 7

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Umberto Fistarol under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Share the same road, move in the same direction (Part 5 of 7)


Being yourself is the first step to build satisfactory relationships. If you choose to dissimulate your interests and beliefs for the sake of conformity, you might be accepted by a certain community, but only as an empty human shell. Is it worth it to give up your personality in order to enter a space where you essentially don't belong?

From time to time, when a situation so requires, it may be advisable for you to refrain speaking out your mind. Those cases tend to be exceptional in modern society. As a general rule, a man is better off by letting his philosophy inspire his words and gestures so that others can see him the way he is. In practical terms, this is what an open attitude entails:

To be continued in Part 6

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Wolfgang Staudt under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Share the same road, move in the same direction (Part 5 of 7)


Being yourself is the first step to build satisfactory relationships. If you choose to dissimulate your interests and beliefs for the sake of conformity, you might be accepted by a certain community, but only as an empty human shell. Is it worth it to give up your personality in order to enter a space where you essentially don't belong?

From time to time, when a situation so requires, it may be advisable for you to refrain speaking out your mind. Those cases tend to be exceptional in modern society. As a general rule, a man is better off by letting his philosophy inspire his words and gestures so that others can see him the way he is. In practical terms, this is what an open attitude entails:

To be continued in Part 6

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Wolfgang Staudt under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Monday, 14 February 2011

Share the same road, move in the same direction (Part 4 of 7)


The list could be extended to comprise a hundred commandments. The issue is to determine whether those recommendations lead to friendship or to something else. What are the results of following such advice?

Exhortations to avoid personal conflict may be meant to protect your career, but they possess a fatal weakness. Their effectiveness in hiding your true opinions becomes, at the same time, the poison that prevents you from developing any kind of deep, satisfying, involved personal relation.

Rational people do not choose their friends amongst those who avoid firm commitments, appear self-effacing, and sugar-coat their remarks. Playing down your personal views in order to please strangers will certainly minimize the amount of conflict in your life, but it will also render you invisible to potential friends, that is, those who share your values and convictions.

To be continued in Part 5

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Klearchos Kapoutsis under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Share the same road, move in the same direction (Part 4 of 7)


The list could be extended to comprise a hundred commandments. The issue is to determine whether those recommendations lead to friendship or to something else. What are the results of following such advice?

Exhortations to avoid personal conflict may be meant to protect your career, but they possess a fatal weakness. Their effectiveness in hiding your true opinions becomes, at the same time, the poison that prevents you from developing any kind of deep, satisfying, involved personal relation.

Rational people do not choose their friends amongst those who avoid firm commitments, appear self-effacing, and sugar-coat their remarks. Playing down your personal views in order to please strangers will certainly minimize the amount of conflict in your life, but it will also render you invisible to potential friends, that is, those who share your values and convictions.

To be continued in Part 5

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Klearchos Kapoutsis under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Share the same road, move in the same direction (Part 3 of 7)


Here are some bromides that are often served as entrée, main course, and dessert:
  1. Smile to random strangers.
  2. Do not express unpopular ideas.
  3. Avoid making controversial statements.
  4. Listen to others and never contest their views openly.
  5. Do not attract undue attention.
  6. Show interest in whatever stories people choose to tell you.
  7. Be flexible and avoid making clear-cut statements.
  8. Do not antagonize others by bringing up sensitive subjects.
  9. Cultivate small talk and avoid criticizing people.
  10. Do not embarrass others by pointing out obvious contradictions.
To be continued in Part 4

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by CharlesSF under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Share the same road, move in the same direction (Part 3 of 7)


Here are some bromides that are often served as entrée, main course, and dessert:
  1. Smile to random strangers.
  2. Do not express unpopular ideas.
  3. Avoid making controversial statements.
  4. Listen to others and never contest their views openly.
  5. Do not attract undue attention.
  6. Show interest in whatever stories people choose to tell you.
  7. Be flexible and avoid making clear-cut statements.
  8. Do not antagonize others by bringing up sensitive subjects.
  9. Cultivate small talk and avoid criticizing people.
  10. Do not embarrass others by pointing out obvious contradictions.
To be continued in Part 4

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by CharlesSF under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Share the same road, move in the same direction (Part 2 of 7)


Isolation creates psychological vulnerability, which, on many occasions, turns into long-term dependence and subservience. Sociologists have come up with sophisticated theories to explain why people fall prey to heartless manipulators, but do we need a long chain of reasoning when direct observation can provide the answer?

The fundamental cause of such pernicious relationships is a false theory of friendship. It is a fact that, from infancy to retirement, men get together, talk, and cooperate. Although we see friendships begin everyday and fail every hour, in advantageous or disruptive conditions, we seldom take the time to reflect how the process works.

When it comes to making friends, commonplace advice has become integrated in the dominant culture to such an extent that it reigns uncontested. Traditional guidelines have been recycled and rehashed without much regard to veracity or scientific proof. Here are some bromides that are often served as entrée, main course, and dessert:

To be continued in Part 3

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by MACSURAK under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Share the same road, move in the same direction (Part 2 of 7)


Isolation creates psychological vulnerability, which, on many occasions, turns into long-term dependence and subservience. Sociologists have come up with sophisticated theories to explain why people fall prey to heartless manipulators, but do we need a long chain of reasoning when direct observation can provide the answer?

The fundamental cause of such pernicious relationships is a false theory of friendship. It is a fact that, from infancy to retirement, men get together, talk, and cooperate. Although we see friendships begin everyday and fail every hour, in advantageous or disruptive conditions, we seldom take the time to reflect how the process works.

When it comes to making friends, commonplace advice has become integrated in the dominant culture to such an extent that it reigns uncontested. Traditional guidelines have been recycled and rehashed without much regard to veracity or scientific proof. Here are some bromides that are often served as entrée, main course, and dessert:

To be continued in Part 3

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by MACSURAK under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Friday, 11 February 2011

Share the same road, move in the same direction (Part 1 of 7)


Every few years, investigative reporters uncover scandals of some movement which, under the pretence of improving the world, serves only to enrich its leaders. This sort of exploitative phenomena are not new. Abundant examples of similar cases can be found in sources from previous centuries.

Why do these abusive situations repeat themselves so frequently? What allows those harmful schemes to attract thousands of victims in different countries and historical periods? The response lies before our eyes: individuals feel alone and want to belong to a closely-knit group, even if that entails paying the highest price.

Men and women wish to be part of a community. We all desire to feel needed and appreciated. In a harsh city environment, a polite sentence or gesture may constitute a shocking act of generosity. Even self-serving, abject flattery can work once in a while in situations that have become so dehumanized that people are starving to hear a few nice words.

To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by ralph and jenny under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Share the same road, move in the same direction (Part 1 of 7)


Every few years, investigative reporters uncover scandals of some movement which, under the pretence of improving the world, serves only to enrich its leaders. This sort of exploitative phenomena are not new. Abundant examples of similar cases can be found in sources from previous centuries.

Why do these abusive situations repeat themselves so frequently? What allows those harmful schemes to attract thousands of victims in different countries and historical periods? The response lies before our eyes: individuals feel alone and want to belong to a closely-knit group, even if that entails paying the highest price.

Men and women wish to be part of a community. We all desire to feel needed and appreciated. In a harsh city environment, a polite sentence or gesture may constitute a shocking act of generosity. Even self-serving, abject flattery can work once in a while in situations that have become so dehumanized that people are starving to hear a few nice words.

To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by ralph and jenny under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Thursday, 10 February 2011

The key to emotional stability (Part 4 of 4)


How should one face individuals who are evil or misinformed, in numbers large or small? For those cases, we need to define clear guidelines for ourselves and our children. For instance, when we have a duty to provide accurate information, what we should do in case of doubt, and so on.

No morality should demand individuals to tell the truth to those who are trying to do them harm. Equally, no ethical system should require people to disclose private details to random strangers. Contradictory ideals lead to random reactions. The key to emotional stability is ethical consistency.

We have seen too often what prejudice has to offer. We have experienced too frequently how chaos arises from contradictions and waste from inconsistencies. Let us place our principles under reason and our actions under logic, for no other approach can ever meet the demands of reality.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by conner395 under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The key to emotional stability (Part 4 of 4)


How should one face individuals who are evil or misinformed, in numbers large or small? For those cases, we need to define clear guidelines for ourselves and our children. For instance, when we have a duty to provide accurate information, what we should do in case of doubt, and so on.

No morality should demand individuals to tell the truth to those who are trying to do them harm. Equally, no ethical system should require people to disclose private details to random strangers. Contradictory ideals lead to random reactions. The key to emotional stability is ethical consistency.

We have seen too often what prejudice has to offer. We have experienced too frequently how chaos arises from contradictions and waste from inconsistencies. Let us place our principles under reason and our actions under logic, for no other approach can ever meet the demands of reality.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by conner395 under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The key to emotional stability (Part 3 of 4)


There is no answer to this dilemma except for that provided by logic and evidence:
  • The ethical requirement to tell the truth under any circumstances does not hold water and there is no evidence that it has ever worked. Such requirement lacks solid grounds, since it fails to acknowledge the difference between good and evil.
  • When dealing directly with nature, it is in our own interest to remain faithful to acquired data and confirmed observations. Machines and chemical processes operate according to the laws of identity and causality. In those cases, if you lie, you will simply get different results or none at all.
  • When dealing with other men, truth is morally due to those who are themselves authentic and reliable. The proportion of genuine and benevolent individuals in your life might include, depending on the context, a few or most people. Indisputably, you should be loyal and faithful to those who are honest.
To be continued in Part 3

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by stevehdc under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The key to emotional stability (Part 3 of 4)


There is no answer to this dilemma except for that provided by logic and evidence:
  • The ethical requirement to tell the truth under any circumstances does not hold water and there is no evidence that it has ever worked. Such requirement lacks solid grounds, since it fails to acknowledge the difference between good and evil.
  • When dealing directly with nature, it is in our own interest to remain faithful to acquired data and confirmed observations. Machines and chemical processes operate according to the laws of identity and causality. In those cases, if you lie, you will simply get different results or none at all.
  • When dealing with other men, truth is morally due to those who are themselves authentic and reliable. The proportion of genuine and benevolent individuals in your life might include, depending on the context, a few or most people. Indisputably, you should be loyal and faithful to those who are honest.
To be continued in Part 3

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by stevehdc under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The key to emotional stability (Part 2 of 4)


In this context of straight virtues and twisted reality, becoming an adult frequently leads to disillusionment, cynicism, or sectarian self-delusion. As a result, truth is reduced to the realm of talk, actions become unpredictable, and promises unreliable. What an ethical mess, what an intellectual nightmare.

The moral confusion of our age is the natural consequence of contradictory premises in our thinking. You cannot expect people to tell the truth while you overwhelm them with equivocations and misrepresentations. There is no excuse for eluding the issue. There is no answer to this dilemma except for that provided by logic and evidence:

To be continued in Part 3

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by RonAlmog under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The key to emotional stability (Part 2 of 4)


In this context of straight virtues and twisted reality, becoming an adult frequently leads to disillusionment, cynicism, or sectarian self-delusion. As a result, truth is reduced to the realm of talk, actions become unpredictable, and promises unreliable. What an ethical mess, what an intellectual nightmare.

The moral confusion of our age is the natural consequence of contradictory premises in our thinking. You cannot expect people to tell the truth while you overwhelm them with equivocations and misrepresentations. There is no excuse for eluding the issue. There is no answer to this dilemma except for that provided by logic and evidence:

To be continued in Part 3

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by RonAlmog under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Monday, 7 February 2011

The key to emotional stability (Part 1 of 4)


In traditional education, lying is universally abhorred. Children are taught that one should tell the truth under any circumstances. Such paradigm is usually reinforced with morality tales of liars who suffer terrible punishments. However, when children grow up and become adolescents, they realize that some details do not match in the story they've been told.

The extreme emotionality of teenagers is linked to their moral awakening. At thirteen, they complain that people don't follow the principles they preach. At fourteen, they point out inconsistencies between ideals and facts. At fifteen, they long to see alignment between purpose and means, but where should they find it?

To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Sandeep Murali under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The key to emotional stability (Part 1 of 4)


In traditional education, lying is universally abhorred. Children are taught that one should tell the truth under any circumstances. Such paradigm is usually reinforced with morality tales of liars who suffer terrible punishments. However, when children grow up and become adolescents, they realize that some details do not match in the story they've been told.

The extreme emotionality of teenagers is linked to their moral awakening. At thirteen, they complain that people don't follow the principles they preach. At fourteen, they point out inconsistencies between ideals and facts. At fifteen, they long to see alignment between purpose and means, but where should they find it?

To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Sandeep Murali under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Sunday, 6 February 2011

How long-term thinking enables simplification (Part 4 of 4)


In contrast to animals, human beings cannot let their instincts guide their actions. While dogs and cats perceive a narrow part of reality, our brains are aware of hundreds of interconnected details, past or present, that are relevant in each situation. We do not have the choice of ignoring our rational nature.

The refusal to think long-term is man's attempt to become less than human. Leading an effective life begins with the selection of rational goals that comprise the whole lifetime of an individual. A vision that reaches into the next decades is the most reliable tool for making optimal choices in the present.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Rob Aguilar under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

How long-term thinking enables simplification (Part 4 of 4)


In contrast to animals, human beings cannot let their instincts guide their actions. While dogs and cats perceive a narrow part of reality, our brains are aware of hundreds of interconnected details, past or present, that are relevant in each situation. We do not have the choice of ignoring our rational nature.

The refusal to think long-term is man's attempt to become less than human. Leading an effective life begins with the selection of rational goals that comprise the whole lifetime of an individual. A vision that reaches into the next decades is the most reliable tool for making optimal choices in the present.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Rob Aguilar under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Saturday, 5 February 2011

How long-term thinking enables simplification (Part 3 of 4)


In the short term, randomness can be pleasurable, but very soon, problems begin to appear:
  1. Money is wasted in useless purchases.
  2. The motivation to develop specialized skills is missing.
  3. Entertainment becomes an end it itself and turns quickly into boredom.
  4. Projects that require long-term efforts are abandoned or not undertaken at all.
  5. Erratic behaviour leads to loss of credibility.
  6. Maintenance tasks are neglected or ignored.
  7. In the absence of a proper perspective, excessive risks are taken.
  8. Contradictory desires lead to paralysis.
  9. Past decisions cannot be explained or justified.
  10. In the absence of strong convictions, one cannot connect deeply with other human beings.
To be continued in Part 4

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by perrimoon under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

How long-term thinking enables simplification (Part 3 of 4)


In the short term, randomness can be pleasurable, but very soon, problems begin to appear:
  1. Money is wasted in useless purchases.
  2. The motivation to develop specialized skills is missing.
  3. Entertainment becomes an end it itself and turns quickly into boredom.
  4. Projects that require long-term efforts are abandoned or not undertaken at all.
  5. Erratic behaviour leads to loss of credibility.
  6. Maintenance tasks are neglected or ignored.
  7. In the absence of a proper perspective, excessive risks are taken.
  8. Contradictory desires lead to paralysis.
  9. Past decisions cannot be explained or justified.
  10. In the absence of strong convictions, one cannot connect deeply with other human beings.
To be continued in Part 4

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by perrimoon under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Friday, 4 February 2011

How long-term thinking enables simplification (Part 2 of 4)


The principle can be stated in just one sentence: what you need to do is to develop a clear objective for the remaining decades of your life and then make all choices, substantial or minor, in accordance with that goal. If you manage to get that right, chances are that your years will become an outstanding success.

The formula is difficult to apply, but its results can be spectacular. Few people make the effort to establish a definite direction for their life. As a result, they lack the capacity to move consistently towards a specific goal. In the short term, randomness can be pleasurable, but very soon, problems begin to appear:

To be continued in Part 3

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by kyle simourd under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

How long-term thinking enables simplification (Part 2 of 4)


The principle can be stated in just one sentence: what you need to do is to develop a clear objective for the remaining decades of your life and then make all choices, substantial or minor, in accordance with that goal. If you manage to get that right, chances are that your years will become an outstanding success.

The formula is difficult to apply, but its results can be spectacular. Few people make the effort to establish a definite direction for their life. As a result, they lack the capacity to move consistently towards a specific goal. In the short term, randomness can be pleasurable, but very soon, problems begin to appear:

To be continued in Part 3

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by kyle simourd under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Thursday, 3 February 2011

How long-term thinking enables simplification (Part 1 of 4)


The great advantage of Aristotelian philosophy is its universality. Nevertheless, for everyday decisions, who has the time to check the validity of long chains of reasoning? The fact is that modern life requires instantaneous choices, professional and private. If we do not possess an effective way to deal with complexity, we run the risk of letting random events determine our priorities.

Is there a way to simplify the thinking process without making it lose its accuracy? Can we summarize philosophy in a brief practical guideline that can be applied in all cases? Whatever your personal situation and constraints, I believe that, in life, one can achieve excellent results by means of a simple rule.

To be continued in Part 2

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by emrank under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]