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Beware and Aware

As we enter into the nastiness of campaigns on both sides of the 49th parallel be on the look out for illogical arguments, empty rhetoric and logical fallacies. All these mean that the speaker has nothing of substance to say and is resorting to childishness.

debate

Some specific things to watch for;

ad hominem: Latin for “to the man.” An arguer who uses ad hominems attacks the person instead of the argument. Whenever an arguer cannot defend his position with evidence, facts or reason, he or she may resort to attacking an opponent either through: labeling, straw man arguments, name calling, offensive remarks and anger.

appeal to ignorance (argumentum ex silentio) appealing to ignorance as evidence for something. (e.g., We have no evidence that God doesn’t exist, therefore, he must exist. Or: Because we have no knowledge of alien visitors, that means they do not exist). Ignorance about something says nothing about its existence or non-existence.

confusion of correlation and causation: (e.g., More men play chess than women, therefore, men make better chess players than women. Or: Children who watch violence on TV tend to act violently when they grow up.) But does television programming cause violence or do violence oriented children prefer to watch violent programs? Perhaps an entirely different reason creates violence not related to television at all. Stephen Jay Gould called the invalid assumption that correlation implies cause as “probably among the two or three most serious and common errors of human reasoning” (The Mismeasure of Man).

non sequitur: Latin for “It does not follow.” An inference or conclusion that does not follow from established premises or evidence. (e.g., there occured an increase of births during the full moon. Conclusion: full moons cause birth rates to rise.) But does a full moon actually cause more births, or did it occur for other reasons, perhaps from expected statistical variations?

statistics of small numbers: similar to observational selection (e.g., My parents smoked all their lives and they never got cancer. Or: I don’t care what others say about Yugos, my Yugo has never had a problem.) Simply because someone can point to a few favorable numbers says nothing about the overall chances.

Let the toxic and ridiculous begin,

B

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Is Social Media Really Social?

social media

I manage 4 Twitter accounts, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, … and some  days have a reach of more than 2 million. Does it make any difference? Am I engaged in important discussions with a few, many, lots? Are there people who have influenced my thinking or who I have touched? Are seeds planted or is there too much fertilizer? If I wasn’t using Hootsuite I couldn’t possible stay connected to any of my tweethearts because the stream of updates is rolling past at a rate of one every 3 seconds. Using search criteria reduces the number of updates per minute but eliminates anything that isn’t tagged with my categories. does this mean I am ignoring you? Are you ignoring me?

Maybe I’m not supposed to stay connected to thousands (thank God) but to find a few new contacts every few weeks from the array of tweets and updates. Let serendipity reign and trust that I will ‘meet’ who I am supposed to meet. I have met hundreds of new people over  the past few years. Some I have gone on to meet in person. Some I have worked with as a result of meeting. Some I consider colleagues, some acquaintances, some friends. I consider my social media friends every bit as valid as those I only know in the f2f world even if I have never(may never) met f2f. Those relationships have all the aspects that I expect; caring, challenging, celebrating, curiousity and a bunch more words starting with c.

Social media is really social if you handle the relationships the way you expect f2f relationships need to be nurtured.

Make Today Remarkable, by celbrating with a social media friend,

B

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This I Believe (an act in progress)

I was browsing podcasts yesterday and found “This I Believe” ; A public dialogue about belief – one essay at a time. The Jason Oda essay that I listened to was only about 10 minutes but masterfully done and has me thinking about uvisms (sorry you are going to have to listen). It also has me thinking about what my essay would say.

Would I write/speak about my faith in God? Would I expound on the capability of all people? Would “I believe in family” open the piece? I am still mulling the possibilities but will write a post soon but have concluded that my believes are an act in progress. If I went back to anything a 16 year old Bob wrote, I would probably be horrifies. At 26 I was deep in parent responsibilities and life was too chaotic to give time to pondering anything. 36 and 46 was about trappings of life and ego and I am not sure I could have reasonably reasoned my beliefs. Now, in my 60s, I should be fully formed but find that I am less certain about almost everything. If I dedicate time to thinking, reflecting, writing and rewriting maybe an essay will emerge. It seems well worth the effort and I invite you to join me.

Make Today Remarkable, by pondering,

B

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Maybe It’s Time

Maybe it’s time to storm out of the room angry and frustrated. Maybe it’s time to rant and moan about how unfair your lot in life is. Maybe it’s time to complain that no one understands that you are the greatest. Maybe it’s time to curse and swear and shout. Even though it seems to work for Kayne West (I don’t understand why), it is never time for the above.

Frustration and impatience are okay but responding in a childish, disrespectful way isn’t. When you have the eyes and ears of a generation on you it isn’t okay to model self importance, selfishness, or self indulgence. If you are given the opportunity to show others what you are made of and demonstrate how others can behave then take the highest possible road. I am not saying you should be a doormat but keep you drama and complaining for a private meeting with those involved.

Maybe it’s time that we don’t celebrate, endorse or support bad behaviour. Maybe it’s time that we invest our time, money and interest in celebrating respectful, honest, sincere and talented individuals. Maybe it’s time to make the world a better place.

Make Today Remarkable,

B

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Maybe

It might be, it could be… it is! A home run! ~Harry Caray

Hall of Famer Harry Caray started his broadcast career at 19 and was  still calling the games at Chicago’s Wrigley Field well into his 80’s. He had lots of catch phrases but this one seems apt for today.

This should be your/my mantra of optimism and possibility. Taking on a new challenge today? – Think “it might be, it could be… it is.” Of course most things don’t get started and accomplished in a few seconds but beginning with a “it might be” attitude will lead to ” it could be” progress and eventually after practice, missteps and more hard work into “it is” success.

Once you commit to a path towards it is, stay the course, making adjustments along the way with one eye on the moment and another on the home run. Once the ball leaves the bat, the batter doesn’t have any control over its arc but if you follow this mantra you can make small changes every day to keep flying towards the fences. It begins with an “it might be” that isn’t as audacious as “it will be” but is equally powerful in the heart of a determined and remarkable people.

Make Today Remarkable, by believing it might be,

B

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Things That Make Me Go Hmmm and Sunday Selections

Hmm-

cell phones, GPS, zucchini, red pandas, Malcolm Gladwell, nationalism, globalization, Greece, people who think they can drive but don’t know how to merge

Sunday Selections

The Idea of Europe – George Steiner a short 60 page essay that everyone should read and think about. My big idea that came from my reading ” Europe committed suicide the day it formed the European Union”. and a great line of Steiner’s in discussion of liberal education ” when God talks to himself, he sings in algebra.”

The Red Tent – Anita Diamant still one of my favorite books of all time. It would definitely be in my sacred bundle of 5 books that I would take with me if I could only have 5 to read for the rest of my life. Opens an amazing conversation about tradition, values and inter-generational transfer of knowledge.

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Tempered

Tempered is an interesting word that it seems can have contradicting meanings. “The glass was tempered” refers to a process of improving the strength and quality of something through the mixing of certain qualities in the right proportion. When I am mentored or coached (and I listen and accept) I am tempered. More of certain qualities are accentuated and I hopefully receive better results – greater reception to ideas, faster 5k time, increased productivity.
The second definition is about lessening, compromising, collaborating as best as I can figure it out. “I tempered my position to make it palatable to more participants.’ That doesn’t ring the same as strengthen or improvement. It feels like concession.
Regardless, I feel like I have experienced both this week (hence the post). The reading I have been doing this week and subsequent reflection has tempered my intellect and brought clarity to some difficult ideas that I have been thinking about. I have added qualities from other thinkers to improve my thinking.
I also needed to temper my comments in a public forum so as not to offend everyone (I know that doesn’t sound like me) and felt like/feel like I was complicit in reinforcing the status quo.
The latter caused my temper to flair and I was/am angry with myself for not standing strong and making a well reasoned case for my alternative.
Thanks, I needed to writer this out and hopefully have someone read it. Releasing it to the world has been cathartic and reinforcing. I am better for having you hear my voice and concerns.

Make Today Remarkable,

B

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Being True to Yourself – Part 2 – Responsibility

Love the line “This includes being responsible enough to recognise when you need to admit that you are not actually the right person who can help. “

Michelle Hanton OAM

Responsibility. The word is loaded with connotations. There are so many ways that we can view them, and there are so many different types of responsibility. Sometimes people look at responsibilities as a burden. I choose to take a different perspective. I look at them as a gift.

You might well be saying to yourself, she’s an idiot! Perhaps I am.
I’m an optimist by nature and believe that, whatever we are given, we have the ability to handle. Maybe not all by ourselves, sometimes we need a little help from others. Whom we turn to for help usually depends on the nature of the help required. Seeking help is a sign of strength.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there seems to be a proliferation of individuals and companies professing to offer solutions to any problems that we face in our lives. There is also a myriad of…

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Finish This Sentence

I started reading Daniel Gilbert’s @DanTGilbert ” Stumbling on Happiness” yesterday and am excited to spend the weekend devouring the 300 pages. He opens with The Sentence TS ” The human being is the only animal that …” (spoiler alert – I will give his answer at the end of this post). I jokingly said this morning that I would finish TS with “creates PowerPoints.” I was attending a Sustainability Breakfast ( I am not sure what sustainability means – is it perspective?) and the three speakers all expounded on their position with/by filling the visual void with charts, stats, pictures and text. One presentation animated itself and ran in an uncontrollable loop. So maybe PowerPoint isn’t an example of our uniqueness.

question

There are lots of responses to TS ; speaking, laughing, crying, thinking, falling in love, showing empathy, believe in a higher power. I suppose that a philosopher could prove or disprove any of these. Gilbert conclusively sets aside some myths in Chapter One. The act of completing TS is part of what makes us unique and I encourage readers to take their own stab at reflecting and sharing their perspective.

My real answer (this morning) is ” The human being is the only animal that is capable of committing to higher order habits”. When we are able to consider and anticipate barriers to success and motivation around personal change and then look to a bigger question, we are exhibiting a quest for Higher order habit. Gretchen Rubin, in ” Better Than Before” convinced me that if I choose to “Live a heathier life”, for example, I never need to decide between an apple or a piece of cake or going for a run versus watching TV. I can not think of an example where other co-inhabitants demonstrate higher order rationalization. That is what I believe (today). How do you complete TS?

Make Today Remarkable, by figuring out uniqueness,

B

PS – Gilbert completes TS with ” The human being is the only animal that thinks about the future.”

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Store Up Experiences

Piles and piles of stuff, piling high. We accumulate, gather, seek, and lust for more stuff. Houses, cars, clothes .. More possessions than we can keep in one place so we store stuff in lockers and have museums in our home that go unused.

experience

When my mother turned 75, I decided that we would only give her experiences – travel, theatre tickets, books, great meals and remarkable company. I reasoned that once you reach a certain age, you don’t need more stuff.I think I was right except that we don’t need to wait for a ripe old age – we can begin whenever we are ready; 20,30,40…

I am learning that experiences and the memory of them outlive the momentary joy of a new possession. By the time the shine of a purchase fades we are on a quest for the next thing.

I remember sunsets from years ago. I recall lovingly time spent trekking across the Orkney Islands. Days spent together with my beloved. Books that caught my imagination that still glimmer from decades ago. Walks on the beach. Holding hands with grandchildren. Riding bikes through the streets of Montreal. Amazing works in museums. Music, live productions, writing, creating. Experiencing life, holding cherished memories is a choice. One that I am endeavoring to make as often as I can.

Make Today Remarkable, by experiencing it,

B