Category Archives: Belief

Why Discussing Race and Class Continues to be Necessary | International Day for the Elimination of Discrimination

Getting up close to examine[1] why everyone everywhere needs to continue race and class discussions if we love one another.

Own it!

Through critique and criticism, I examine my thoughts and own what I believe–leaving space to modify my beliefs as new and truer information is received.

Finding purpose and meaning in life is human nature. The brain by its design generates thoughts about our experience of being alive. What does it mean to be on a planet, in what appears to be a cosmos devoid of other similar life forms? Are we unique? Is our presence here of some significance, whether grand or inconsequential?

Is it human nature for the brain to think about and then move individuals to act on those thoughts and form ‘out-groups’ based on biases like skin tone, sexuality, gender, abilism? Or to form ‘heirarchies’ based on heuristics like stereotypes, cognitive ease, the halo effect, et cetera? The human brain produces and processes thoughts that involve ideas and concepts about the future. What is the future for the planet where humans discuss the source of these biased and hierarchical thoughts and behaviors?

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (21 March). Thus, this reflection of the Oscar nominated feature film documentary, I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO.   What struck me most profoundly is author James Baldwin’s prescience in clearly understanding the dynamic at play in America regarding power’s use of racial bias as a means to economic gain while at the same time ignoring the oppression and suffering this brings to individuals and communities.

This documentary film does just that. It explores and examines the life of distinguished American James Baldwin. Baldwin devoted his life to understanding the nature of humans to racially discriminate and manufacture class hierarchies. Those thoughts formed his writings, his understanding of reality and his experience of the world. He lived a fascinating life. One that lead him to believe that only through acceptance that these biases and hierarchies are the product of the thoughts and actions of a few intent on achieving and amassing power, and then rejecting that power structure could humans live the realized shared aspiration to be equal and pursue happiness.

 Feel It!

I acknowledge the scientific fact that emotions influence the thoughts that inform my opinions.

Exposing myself to the thoughts of those who have dedicated their lives to exploring history, philosophy, ethics, religion, science, et cetera enriches my experience and understanding of what this life is. It gives me knowledge of what to do, how to live a life as an independent individual (with responsibilities to self) and how to live a life as a dependent individual in community (with responsibilities to others).

Watching this film was admittedly emotionally challenging. Seeing the history of America unfold in the murders of democratic society leaders Macolm X, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert Kennedy, Meadger Evers, civil rights activists Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and James Chaney, and so many more as it maintains race and hierarchy to provide a continuous source of cheap labor for capitalism’s economic system. It has become an increasingly deregulated, unaccountable economic system that has spread to the global community of all humans.

 Live It!

I can now more consciously act in ways that form my experiences of the world, the lens through which I see, the filter through which I understand others and myself.

The film has enlivened me to face the reality that generates these racial and class divides. I actively seek insights from fact-based and truer sources that tell me how, in America’s flawed democracy, how to resist and dismantle the limiting, biased thought and actions that keep humans everywhere from equality with one another and the ability to purse happiness. I resist anxiety-generating thoughts of my own and those of others that are not based in truth and fact. And, I act in the spirit of all humans are created equal, and the pursuit of happiness.

 Love It!

I’m now more fully aware of my thoughts, how they influence my feelings and actions. I experience life with more emotional well-being and happiness.

James Baldwin inspires me. His debate with William F. Buckley, Jr. remains an icon to discussion and logical conclusion to end racism and class hierarchy.

 

#jointogether #standup4humanrights #fightracism #AfricanDescent

[1] the Educating Gossip pioneered a way to approach life using critique, criticism, emerging science of how humans acquire belief through the processes of the brain (thoughts and emotions), and the spirit or energy of belief is expressed in the world. For more information, see SSRN Paper

HOLI, LENT, LAW & ME | Spring Festivals and Celebrations…

HOLI, LENT, LAW & ME

Spring Festivals and Celebrations – Getting up close to examine[1] spirituality, law and me as both an individual and a member of community.

Own it!

Through critique and criticism, I examine my thoughts and own what I believe– leaving space to modify my beliefs as new and truer information is received.

Spring ushers in the arrival of celebrations. Today, people are celebrating Holi, a Hindu spring festival known as the “festival of colors.” The festival signifies the arrival of spring and the victory of good over evil. Other people are well into Lent, a Christian spring celebration. Lent is a time of year when individuals and community reflect on how to live together as one, on this planet. The individual engages in self-refection to identify and sacrifice a personal behavior that impedes realization of this universal goal. (It is not self-punishment or extreme hardship.) Recurring rituals and traditions are designed to bring the individual and the community together to advance peace and harmony.

Laws alone cannot create a civil society. The individual and community also have a responsibility to develop local customs and set of behaviors, and to inspire to the spirit and aspirations of the democratic society.

 Feel It!

I acknowledge the scientific fact that emotions influence the thoughts that inform my opinions.

I can easily feel discouraged and isolated and alone when I am seemingly in community with people. I attend conferences and seminars, book club meetings and other gatherings. Yet I leave with no lasting connections. What I realized in reading about Lent is that the scheduling and looking forward to engaging with groups and individuals who share a common desire for inclusive love, without judgment, creates a different dynamic. It can create more satisfying feelings of community and shared accountability to others, and myself.

Live It!

I can act more consciously in ways that form my experiences of the world; shape the lens through which I see the world; that filters the thoughts that form my understanding of others and myself.

So for Lent, my self-sacrifice and repentance is to release behaviors that keep me from maintaining a deeper awareness of my human nature (that is, to produce thoughts that can be biased; to feel and be influenced by emotions; to need to be connected to something greater than myself). I will sacrifice anxiety about current events and instead, face the reality of uncertainty. I will sacrifice doubt about expressing spirituality.  I will accept that it is a human motivational need. I will sacrifice my fear of death (non-being) and instead, act in ways that affirm that all humans are created equal and it is their nature to pursue happiness.

Love It!

I’m now more fully aware of my thoughts, how they influence my feelings and actions. I experience life with more emotional well-being and happiness.

[1] the Educating Gossip pioneered an approach life using critique, criticism, emerging science of how humans acquire belief through the processes of the brain (thoughts and emotions), and the spirit or energy of belief is expressed in the world.

Live It! | New Online Courses

Legal Practice and Feeling Go(o)d: #1 California Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 3-110 Failing to Act Competently

Legal Practice and Feeling Go(o)d: #2 Critical Race Theory – Introduction to the Genre, Intellectual Influences and Emerging Issues

Legal Practice and Feeling Go(o)d: #3 Competence Issues

Legal Practice and Feeling Go(o)d: #4 Practice, Praxis and Connecting with Feelings of Well-Being

Own It! How appropriate it is on International Women’s Day to face the world as it is.  Making this conscious  choice to go up close, and examine our beliefs today and everyday is empowering.  It takes courage to critically ask:  Where did these beliefs came from? Do these beliefs now need to change in light of new understandings?  This journey must be prepared for before it is begun.

Feel It!  It can feel scary and unsettling to have our core beliefs challenged.  Especially when those beliefs are revealed to be untrue or based on bias and mistakes.  Yet, it is the honor of being human to learn, stretch and grow.  Making space for our thoughts, feelings and actions to constantly develop is a sign of maturity, and a civic responsibility.  Yet, it is emotionally hard to do sometimes.

Live It!  These online courses are designed to prepare those who are willing to undertake this classic human hero’s journey that results in seeing life as it is.  The courses are one hour each, with transcripts and audio.  Completion of the courses can lead to personal and social transformation because it reveals how to live a human life that is rich with purpose, meaning, and a truer understanding of others and ourselves.

Love It!  Sign up for the courses and embrace the new beginnings that await.

 

Ryan Lochte, Moral Panics, Dog Whistles, Oh My! | the Educating Gossip ™

RLotche“Moral panics” and “dog whistles” are used by capitalist power holders to distract citizens and scramble their thinking. The result is a loss of energy and focus that could be used to sustain demands for political equality.

The Ryan Lochte story is a power-wielding capitalist’s dream come true.  A story of white privilege played out by three Olympic medalists, filled with violence, racism and lies. This supposed moral panic (an instance of public anxiety or alarm in response to a problem regarded as threatening the moral standards of society) is another instance of distraction.  Learn to identify and ignore these stories.

Stay focused on moving the government (Executive branch, legislative branch (e.g. Congress), the courts, and the citizen lobbyists) to appoint a Supreme Court justice now (govern); enact polices that will overturn Citizen’s United, stop fracking (stop the poisoning of life sustaining water reserves in America), move from oil, gas and coal to solar and wind (reduce the production of life threatening ozone and carbon emissions), re-negotiate the federal subsidies to insurance companies (stop the corporate greed that profits by raising the cost of health insurance, creating the dual evils of bankrupting individuals while at at the same time denying them life sustaining wellness).

This is an incomplete list of where American attention needs to remain focused. Yet it is a place to start, were American fundamental values of fairness, freedom, equality, responsibility, integrity and security can be strengthened. Empathy and responsibility for oneself and others are core values of America. Healthcare, education, food on the table, and social systems are essential to the social-psychological well being of America.

Who’s got time for irrelevant moral panics and dog whistles? I don’t. Own it, Feel it, Live it, Love it!

Debiasing 2016 Election | A Hero’s Journey

When debiasing oneself from intuitive thinking—System 1 the fast, automatic and emotional, and System 2 the slow, deliberate and systematic –one can understand and accept that it is indeed the beliefs and ideology held by the candidates that matter. Ideology, the integrated assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program
is different from beliefs (defined as a degree of conviction of the truth of something especially based on a consideration or examination of the evidence.) Both a candidate’s belief and ideologies matter. Although in this coming election, people may feel that there is not a significant difference between the candidates, there are in fact very significant differences both in beliefs and ideologies. In the hero’s journey that is life, one takes up the courage to explore the differences in the candidates as it relates to ideology and beliefs about democracy, and the people whose lives will be affected by the selection of a candidate. This process often challenges one’s own biased, intuitive thinking. It is often uncomfortable yet necessary as an informed voter. Own it! Feel It! Live It! Love It!

View Now at DemocracyNow!

Debate on Long-Term Assisted Care Insurance Part 2

On February 1, 2012, at 7:05 p.m. the U.S. House of Representatives members voted to repeal a part of the 2010 health care law, the CLASS Act that provides long-term health care services. In October, the Obama administration said that it would not implement this portion of the law.  The bill was sent to the Senate for consideration.

America is about empathy and responsibility: people caring both for themselves and for one another, and acting responsibly on that sense of care. When I hear otherwise, I wonder if the speaker really understands and wants this vision of America. There is certainly room in America for those who can afford it to purchase long-term assisted care insurance. And they are free to do so. The real question here is: What about those Americans who can not afford to purchase long-term assisted care insurance? And, we’re talking about the majority of Americans – hundreds of millions of people.
American democracy has two roles: protection and empowerment for all its citizens. It’s a myth only recently created in American that people make it on their own. In fact, nobody makes it on his or her own. Yes, the individual is responsible to pursue happiness, and in doing so, meets countless individuals who have made contributions to their success.
Your Exercise
Own It: What are your moral values when it comes to others in our society? Whose ideas in this debate do you identify with most?
Feel It: How do these values make you feel? (Review the list of emotions on this blog site)
Live It: Contact your Senator(s); share your experience with long-term assisted care insurance; and let them know what you value in the life of aging adult living in America.
Love It: Be happy about your contributions to the debate. Tell six other friends about this site, the CSPAN video and your hope for America.

Philosophy 1A- To Whom Do We Owe a Duty of Care?

Debate on Long-Term Assisted Care Insurance

On February 1, 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives members debated a bill to repeal a part of the 2010 health care law, the CLASS Act that provides long-term health care services. In October, the Obama administration said that it would not implement this portion of the law.  You can read more at CSPAN.org. Read More

Everyone should enjoy listening to this debate.  It’s an easily accessible discussion in basic philosophy.  And, it is discussed by some House members from a conservative strict moral values perspective, and by other House members from a progressive affectionate care and attention moral values perspective.

As you read, listen or view the debate, see if you can pick out which moral values perspective each speaker is “Owning It.”  How does it make you feel when you hear the moral value perspective?  For anyone who has tried to contract  for long-term care insurance, they will tell you the coverage is limited, the insurance premium costs are high, and there is no certainty that the company will be economically stable to pay benefits by the time coverage is needed.

Your Exercise

Own It:  What are your moral values when it comes to others in our society?  Whose ideas in this debate do you identify with most?

Feel It:  How do these values make you feel? (Review the list of emotions on this blog site)

Live It:  Contact your House of Representatives member(s);  share your experience with long-term assisted care insurance; and let them know what you value in the life of aging adult living in America.

Love It:  Be happy about your contributions to the debate.  Tell six other friends about this site, the CSPAN video and your hope for America.


Debate on Long-Term Assisted Care Insurance

Did You Hear? Democracy Needs Trustworthy and Impartial Information|the Educating Gossip™

Feel It, Love It!

Ohhh this makes me feel sad but also more determined

“Gone with the Papers,” written by Chris Hedges ( http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/gone_with_the_papers_20110627/)  noted: 

 “We are losing a peculiar culture and an ethic. This loss is impoverishing our civil discourse and leaving us less and less connected to the city, the nation and the world around us.”  And also, “A democracy survives when its citizens have access to trustworthy and impartial sources of information, when it can discern lies from truth, when civic discourse is grounded in verifiable fact.”

The writer holds passionate beliefs about the role of a free and impartial press especially now as “[T]he increasing fusion of news and entertainment, the rise of a class of celebrity journalists on television who define reporting by their access to the famous and the powerful, the retreat by many readers into the ideological ghettos of the Internet and the ruthless drive by corporations to destroy the traditional news business are leaving us deaf, dumb and blind.”  Powerful stuff.  Love It!

Teachable Moment: Moral Panics, Anthony Weiner and Seal Team Six Insights

Can we separate political ethics and morality from personal ethics and morality?  This seems to be the question America has been struggling with for some time.   “Moral panics” are what George Lakoff refers to them in his book The Political Mind Why You Can’t Understand 21st-Century American Politics with an 18th-Century Brain.

America likes to gossip about the personal details of a public person’s life—the more outrageous, the more perplexing, and the more morally confounding the better. Such talk is considered “juicy” and America could talk about it all day long.

Representative Anthony Weiner is at the center of the current moral panic.  Should he resign?  Should his wife divorce him?  Can he be trusted as an official elected to represent the voters of New York?  Is he “true” to them?  And if he indeed walks his political talk, should his actions within his marriage matter?  Can we separate his morals and his ethics?

We can make a distinction between the two that I think is useful.  Ethics refers to a theory or system that describes what is good and, by extension, what is evil.  Morals refer to the rules that tell us what to do or not to do.  Morality divides actions in to right and wrong.

Ethics are more theoretically focused:  How do we judge white-collar crime versus violent crime?  How do we allocate health care when demand and costs out strips resources?  Mythology and theology are the oldest sources of ethics, though philosophical systems are often more discussed today.

Ethics are about theory, while morals are about practice.

Morales are the rules you live by; ethics are the systems that generate those rules.  Morals have to do with your personal life:  What is appropriate behavior on a first date? Is taking a ream of paper from your job home for personal use a crime?

Teachable Momemt: SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper author Howard Wasdin said to Jon Stewart on the 6/9/2011 Daily Show, that although he is a republican and did not vote for President Obama, Wasdin would consider doing so in the future because the President had it right on three accounts: keeping the mission operations secure, burying binLaden’s body at sea, and not releasing the pictures.  Wasdin admired the President’s political actions.

Should we really care about a politician’s personal actions?  Some say we should, for it gives insight into that person’s theory or system by which they judge good and evil and thereby decide what to do.

Stay tuned.  As we enter another presidential election cycle, the major weakness of ballot-box elections will once again become glaringly apparent:  the voters decide on a candidate by making an X rather than by exploring what it means to be the best candidate for the job.

The influence of smear campaigns, misleading political ads or the force of party-line habit voting, will make it a struggle for voters to possess a deep understanding and consensus on policy issues and thus elect the best candidate for the job.

Attack on Religion or a Call to Discovery?

 I have a friend, a learned scholar, who brought this engaging exchange to my attention posted at The Science Network.

File:Neil deGrasse Tyson - NAC Nov 2005.jpg
Neil deGrasse Tyson

It’s a talk by  Neil deGrasse Tyson basically saying that religion is what some early scientists turned to when they could not explain the unknown and was used to fuel their creative thought.  The talk is lively and fun.  Tyson tells us to keep in mind that some of the greatest minds that have preceded us expressed notions of  intelligent design  when faced with the limits of their knowledge. “Science is a philosophy of discovery, intelligent design is a philosophy of ignorance. “     He encourages us to acknowledge that people are feeling at the limits of their knowledge when they invoke the notion of intelligent design.  He also encourages us to be self-aware of when we are at the limits of our knowledge and not let our belief systems limit our creativity, our search for knowledge.   Fun, fun, fun.

File:Shermer wiki portrait4.jpg
Michael Shermer

Dr. Tyson is joined on the panel by speakers including  Michael Shermer, author of “Why People Believe Weird Things.”  Michael Shermer takes a social scientist’s point of view, asking the question:  what are the different variables that go into a person’s belief system?   He states that smart people believe weird things “because they are better at rationalizing beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.   Which is to say that most of the beliefs that most of us hold we arrived at because we were raised that way, or we were influenced by peers or mentors.”   It’s human nature to want to find reasons to justify what we believe. 

Another panalist states that business interests understand that science and innovation is important for the economy but they don’t particularly care if there is a large number  of uneducated people.  However, from the public policy and government affairs  point of view, it is critically important that citizens are educated.  In the United States, elected officials are tasked to represent and put into law policies and practices that the voters want.  If the people are uneducated on the most basic of human affairs, bad policy and government will result.  Business and government need educated people–business may need a few, but good government requires many more.

I started this blog to encourage myself and others to challenge beliefs.  First, acknowledging and modifying beliefs in light of new discoveries (“Own It”).  Then, acknowledge how the updated beliefs make us feel (“Feel It”), put those new beliefs into daily practice (“Live It”), and then be happy with our lives (“Love It”). 

It’s worth the 75 minutes to view the program because it makes you think about religion and beliefs in a different way. For me, this program was a reminder that wisdom (religion, philosophy, psychological) is a means for people to seek a deeper human experience and be encouraged to press forward, even in the face of seemingly overwhelming confusion, doubt, and unknowns. I felt both hopeful that public policy will balance the teaching of science and intelligent design in schools and happy that there is a role for belief in play in people’s creative lives. Watch the program and let me know how it made you think about what you believe, if it made you modify what you believe and how that makes you feel as you deeply connect with people and the world around you.