Default To Skepticism In Response To Affirmations

itemThis post is an elaboration of #3 from a list of things I’ve learned late in life.

How do we test the reliability of human knowledge? Don’t we have to first demonstrate what is true, then assess the percentage of the world that disagrees with that truth?

No. All we have to do is to determine the percentage of believers holding a world view that is logically exclusive of other dominant world views. Consider the logically exclusive religions of Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. Since Christianity has the largest market share of 33%, the percentage of humans who hold a false world view is at least 66%.

The interesting thing about this fact is that Continue reading

A Few Random Thoughts

  • I‘m sitting in a warm Starbucks in the middle of Tokyo on a Tuesday afternoon in the middle of a row of 4 computer users who are doing the following.
    1. trading stocks
    2. building websites
    3. blogging nonsense
    4. creating 3-D avatars

    I wonder what the 4 of us would have been doing 200 years ago….

  • I’d like to die at the height of living doing something I really enjoy. My departure from Tokyo, if it ever comes, will be a micro-death. I hope it will come when my life here has reached its apex. This certainly does feel like an apex…

  • I wonder how incomplete I would feel if I did not have 3 great kids…

  • I remember being very shy in high school, but when mentioning this to my current friends, I found few believers. Last week, a girlfriend from when I was 17 found me on Facebook and confirmed I had been very reserved. Those who claim you can not change your core personality are those who never change their core personalities.

  • After organizing one of the most amazing parties on Sunday, and serving as the designated Cupid, I still find myself without a girlfriend. It’s been a while. Am I too picky? Or blind to the virtues of someone already close to me?

  • I’m a generalist to the core. I seldom cry for individuals, but I find myself regularly crying for humanity in general. We are so susceptible as children to the ideological nets of childish adults who need the validation of our agreement to alleviate their own insecurities. However, there is sufficient cause for cautious optimism with the advent of a more global culture.

  • Why do I live so comfortably in a city known for its workaholism and materialism? I guess it is similar to my attending parties where I politely pass the spliff on…

  • I’ve been without a television for 8+ years. I must say I’m very pleased with the results. But I have noticed a cultural gulf between myself and other Americans that will probably affect my social life should I ever move back stateside.

  • I’ve reach an odd point in my life where I sometimes actually hesitate when asked my age. I first recall that I am either 38 or 48, then reason that, because I cannot remember, I must be 48.

  • Is there any other city in the world where a day in a coffee shop is almost always guaranteed to produce a romantic encounter for those so inclined?

  • The raw material world is such a more beautiful place than a world of artificial and invisible constructs that arise from run-away emotions. Learning to properly assess and self-regulate emotions yields far greater happiness in my experience. We have no souls. There is no sin and accompanying deserved condemnation. There is no higher purpose. The beauty of accepting our material and and consequently vulnerable being far surpasses that of any proposed by supernaturalists.

  • Is it possible that I’m so content with life that death is now simply irrationally afraid to cut its losses? I do sense I need one final long-term focus of my romantic affection. Perhaps death is waiting for me to take this risk.

Don’t Hide Yourself

itemThis post is an elaboration of #1 from a list of things I’ve learned late in life.

I advise friends who are looking for a decent romantic partner to be wary of those who lead obscure lives. My own litmus test is whether the person is active on Facebook. I’ve discovered the following about persons who are afraid to make their lives moderately public.

Never Feel Guilty For Living Contrary To Others’ Expectations

itemThis post is an elaboration of #7 from a list of things I learned early in life.

The world is full of other people who would benefit from your adoption of their worldview. And there certainly are significant synergistic benefits that arise from maintaining a common culture within a particular community. Conformity often leads to social harmony and a stress-free life.

However, the world is not entirely altruistic. There are unhappy individuals who have chosen to attempt to maximize their domain of power at the expense of the happiness of others. These people will attempt to force you to fall in obeisance to arbitrary rules of conduct that serve only their own interests. Here are some frequently-uttered phrases heard from the lips these sorry souls.

  • Stop trying to be someone you’re not!
  • You’re [nationality]! You should act [nationality]!
  • Why don’t you act your age?
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Phil’s Library 2009

reading I‘ve recently been asked to list the books that have been most influential to me. That’s a tough request. Most of you know that the Bible used to be the book on which I based my life. When I finally rejected the Bible as divine or even remotely inline with truth, I determined to approach every book I read with a heavy dose of skepticism.

Reading critically is essential. I can’t recall any books that I would consider to be pivotal in the progression of my thinking. It was a slow but steady evolution.

While I prune my library regularly, below are 2 lists of significant books still shelved in my library. The first is a list of books I’ve read, and the second is a list of books I hope to read soon. While I’ve been spending about 4 hours a day listening to educational podcasts, there’s nothing like sitting down with a cup of coffee and a good book.

Books I’ve read.

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The Best Sex Is With Someone You Love

itemThis post is an elaboration of #6 from a list of things I learned early in life.

Some friends think I’m crazy, but I’ve turned down more than a dozen offers of one-night-stands in Tokyo. And it’s not that I won’t take a girl home the first time I meet her if I find her fascinating in the required dimensions (no, not only those dimensions), but I need someone with whom I can emotionally connect.

I was a virgin when married at age 23, and was quite idealistic about the beauty of having sex with someone I planned to be with forever. A divorce and several relationships later, I still find myself happiest when I’m focused on only one interesting woman, though I acknowledge now that romantic love is not very obedient to expectations, and may not be as forever as I initially plan.

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Take Calculated Risks

itemThis post is an elaboration of #5 from a list of things I learned early in life.

Some enjoy taking risks that are largely uncalculated. These people are usually called teenagers. As we grow older, we usually settle warmly into the predictable. I’d like to suggest that shaking up our comfort zones a bit more often will result in experiences that will be much appreciated later on in life. Charles Dubois said,

The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.

This is not operating on blind risk in which we ski down an unexamined slope at top speed. Blind risk has its own pleasures, but is not an optimal modus operandi for most of life’s larger domains.

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