Of Mice and Men

Bob enters a maze and works his way through to find a piece of cheese. Every day he restarts from the same place and works his way through to the same location to get the cheese. After a while he can navigate that maze with his eyes closed; and usually does.  A while later, Michael enters the maze, and ends up following Bob to the cheese; day after day.  Over time, a few more mice enter the maze and follow Bob and Michael through to the cheese.  Let’s call them the BMs, for short.

Recently, Steve entered the maze. One of his favorite squeakings is: “Stress and chaos yield truth and clarity”. Steve initially follows the same path as the BMs, but he pushes the boundaries and finds a partition that opens to reveal a corridor with a piece of cheese at the end; the cheese morsel being similar in size to that off of which the BMs feed.  But Steve has this one all to himself.  Steve tries to tell the others that there may be more such possibilities within the maze, but they ignore him and continue to feed on their one common morsel.

Steve grows rapidly, having that entire piece of cheese all to himself, while the others barely survive, sharing their measly morsel. Eventually, Steve grows so tall that he reaches the ceiling of the maze. And guess what? The ceiling is all cheese, from which the morsels have been falling. Steve eats through the ceiling and escapes the maze. What he sees, standing on top of the maze, is a near infinite number of mazes surrounding him; with a near infinite number of different types of cheeses covering them. But Steve is not surprised, because he has been through many such mazes in the past; similar to this one, but with different types of cheese.

50 years ago, when Steve gave his valedictory speech at the School for Exceptional Rodents, he talked about personal obsolescence. He warned his classmates that if they did not continue to strive to improve themselves mentally, physically, and psychologically, that they would wither and die prematurely, becoming zombies. When Steve went to his 25th high school reunion, he found himself in the middle of a zombie horror movie, where most of the mice from his past had not grown personally by any detectable amount. They still had the same isolated cliques, and still talked about the same people and things.

Steve has had several epiphanies during his lifetime that have formed his philosophy. Maybe he will type some of them out with his tiny rodent fingernails, as time permits. One such epiphany had to do with the meaning of life.  It does involve God, which is interesting since Steve is an Atheist, but the full treatment of that will have to wait for another time. Suffice it to say that it involves perfection, that Steve’s God is perfection itself, and that the purpose of life is to become God like. Those that follow that path reach Nirvana: a state of contentment that cannot be described, and that cannot be believed without being experienced. It is Heaven on Earth, which also includes an unshakable level of self-awareness and self-confidence. It took Steve, once he got started, nearly 40 years to form his philosophy. But it is never too late to start. Every small improvement brings you closer to Nirvana. So, start pushing boundaries and get out of that maze.


Steve Borsher Added Nov 5, 2013 - 9:58am
Thanks. I'm glad you found it inspirational.
Contractor Added Nov 5, 2013 - 10:10am
With the end goal being  "nirvana" the thesis fails. There is not now, nor will there ever be, "Heaven on Earth" as the contraints of the material world are absolute. Entropy prevails and all systems run downhill. 
"Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition" points to extreme extension of human awareness. However, it is simply that, an extension rather than eternity. I prefer the notion found in Sting's refrain ... "we are spirits in the material world." We are a spiritual being temporarily residing in a material world rather than a material creature struggling to become spiritual in nature.
BTW, there is no such thing as an "atheist" as those who badge themselves as such do worship a god ... their own puny intellect. See: Kriss Angel and David Copperfield for examples of just how frail the human mind truly is.
Furthermore, bodhi is guaranteed to all and comes naturally ... it's known as "death" ... and everyone dies.
Withdrawing from transient reality in the pursuit of self-development is an exercise in selfishness which is anathema to spiritual progress. Staring at a blank wall for nine years is simply a waste of precious time. End note - Buddha is D ... E ... A ... D.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 5, 2013 - 10:13am
You don't see the 0bama voters as having herd mentality as well?  IMO, 0bama's people manipulated the herd by giving them what they wanted, and targeting the people who would respond with votes. Money can, and does, buy votes.
As much as I would like to continue my political rant, I won't do it here. Start an article about it and point me to it, and I will chime in.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 5, 2013 - 10:19am
Mr. Force Pro,
That was a lot to digest, and I am a picky eater. I consider Atheism to be my religion. I believe just as strongly that there is no God, as described by other religions. as those who believe in a deity.
As far as the rest of your comment, you are certainly welcome to all of your own opinions.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 5, 2013 - 10:20am
You get an A in comprehension.
Autumn Cote Added Nov 5, 2013 - 10:36am
What if the mouse, in the search for more cheese where cheese does not exists, starves to death? Why wouldn’t the other mice begin following the mouse which keeps finding more cheese rather than the one that only leads them to a morsel? Sounds to me like a post about 20/20 hindsight or wishful thinking.

Despite those questions Robert Frost said it best when he wrote:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”
Your post clearly alludes to the benefit of taking the road less traveled. Or is that not what you intended?
Steve Borsher Added Nov 5, 2013 - 10:54am
I have a bad habit of going off on tangents. Sticking with cheese, a nearly infinite variety, was a trick to retrain myself.  And I removed a final paragraph that started off in another direction that I may write about later on.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 5, 2013 - 10:59am
There's a big difference between looking contented and being contented. One way of knowing you are contented is if you can look at your neighbor's lawn and it looks no greener than yours.
And the only way to know what you are sure of is to test it by interacting with other people; even to the point of role playing.  Want to change something about yourself? Try it on and take it for a walk. You'll know soon enough if it works.  And apply what you know. Test that too.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 5, 2013 - 11:11am
My mice, my rules. There is plenty wrong with my allegory. Is it the same morsel all the time, or does the same size morsel fall from the ceiling day after day; and if the latter, why doesn't the cheese finally break open on its own? Many movies I watch require me to suspend my analytical thinking, but with some of those I just can;t get beyond the obvious flaws. Some people will see analogies in my story; others will see only flaws. Still others will see familiar themes such as you did, and your interpretation is as valid as mine.  I might even like yours better; but I don't. I was trying to demonstrate the value of independence, and leaving the road altogether; following a trail that you blaze yourself. But if you got anything out of the article that makes sense to you, then I am pleased.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 5, 2013 - 11:13am
No problem.  Just don't read what I wrote.  Why did you? Are you a masochist?  If so, please write an article about that. I will have no problem commenting on it.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 5, 2013 - 11:27am
I apologize for calling you Marsha.  Allow me to blame my ADD. And, certainly, no one should be upset by something they have no interest in, but some people just need to find things that upset them. That is hardly a recipe for contentment.
And contentment need not be absolute. But if someone can say something about you that upsets you, then you are not content, because you are unsure of yourself. Someone disrespecting you is an entirely different thing; I don't stnd for that.  But my personal definition of disrespect is very narrow.  If soemone says something about me that is untrue, then, I don't care; but I might try to correct it in a civil manner.  The people I care about know it is not true, and I don't care what other people think. But if someone tries to insult me or bully me by saying things in a hurtful manner, then that is an entirely different thing.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 5, 2013 - 11:30am
It does not matter what you do to entertain yourself, as long as it makes you happy, and does not hurt other people. And I differentiate between happy and content, in that I consider happiness to be short term contentment. There can also be sadness within contentment, but not to the point it derails you.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 5, 2013 - 11:36am
Feel free to critique anything you like. I do not take anything personally; even insulting attacks.  I deal with everyone as they present themselves to me; not how I guess they are.  And my writing style is the same as it has been since I was a kid.  I am not a writer, but I write occasionally.  Mostly, I comment on others' articles.  I don't have the attention span to be a good writer.  The story came to me as the result of some recent interactions with others, and coupled with my philosophy, it just flowed out of me. And I don't edit myself much.  I usually get it write the first time.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 5, 2013 - 11:38am
Some people like heated milk toast.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 5, 2013 - 11:41am
I am merely telling you how I feel.  You can take it or leave it. I agree that Nirvana may seem Pollyanna to you, but it represents to me a comparison to where I started in life.  I was in Hell for the nearly the first half, and now I am in Heaven.  Feels like Nirvana to me.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 5, 2013 - 11:42am
And you get an A for insight.
Carole McKee Added Nov 5, 2013 - 12:03pm
I think it depends on what you think Nirvana is. Steve's Nirvana must be prosperity, because I believe in order to reach a divine Nirvana, it would be in his best interest to share his findings with Bob and Michael, as well as others. Spiritual self-improvement wins a place in divinity. Life-style improvement, without helping others along the way, gets a rodent a comfortable place on earth, but does nothing for him where it counts the most.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 5, 2013 - 12:12pm
My Nirvana does not include infinity patience. I frequently lead horses to water, but most of them just aren't thirsty. Of course, it probably looks like a massive ego trip for me to think that others need such enlightenment. But the fact is that I have no ego. I offer up what I think are important lessons, for your consideration.  Take them or leave them.  Matters not to me.  My grandchildren are my most important targets.
And my Nirvana is not prosperity. That I may be comfortable at the moment could all change instantly at the hands of the bankers and politicians; but that would not change my contentment.  Continuous growth and accomplishment are my Nirvana. The more arduous the better. But I am getting older, and my projects are now focused on ensuring continuing comfort; at least in as much as I have control over it. 
Steve Borsher Added Nov 5, 2013 - 1:52pm
I did create a near infinite number of mazes and types of cheese. That's gotta count for something.
And, did you know that Nixon was Clinton's mentor.  Bubba asked Nixon for advice, and Nixon wrote him a letter, which Clinton refers to everyday; even now. I would be hard pressed not to give up Nirvana to read that letter.
Carole McKee Added Nov 5, 2013 - 2:47pm
Well, Nixon, Clinton, Obama, Bush, whoever. Aside from politics, Steve could have offered to teach Bob and Michael how to achieve. Everything doesn't relate to politics and economics. Helping each other should come from the heart--not the conscience.
Contractor Added Nov 5, 2013 - 3:08pm
@ Steve - "I consider Atheism to be my religion."
Oxymoron or contradiction of terms, take your pick. You suck up inside your head and worship what you find. Good luck with that.
Contractor Added Nov 5, 2013 - 3:12pm
@ Masha - " I have to disagree. It is in fact possible to find personal bliss, "personal" being an operative word."
I tend to disagree. The definition of "bliss" is a state of ecstasy and "ecstasy" is defined as a state of emotion so intense that one is carried beyond rational thought and self-control.
Therefore, if you truly in a state of bliss you would be non-functional ... about on par with rats given the choice of cocaine or food. They consistently choose cocaine and starve themselves to death.
Contractor Added Nov 5, 2013 - 3:16pm
@ Steve - "Of course, it probably looks like a massive ego trip for me to think that others need such enlightenment. But the fact is that I have no ego."
If your "fact" that you have no ego is true then you  have no sense of "self" and are clinically mentally ill. You might want to re-evaluate your position or seek professional help ... whichever applies.
Jeff Kunkel Added Nov 5, 2013 - 3:36pm
@Autumn Cote: regarding your email earlier today, I think Steve Borsher is "spot-on."  How do you think our U.S. plutocracy rose to power?
Also, I interpret Robert Frost differently from you.  While there might be a hint of biographical altruism in Frost's poem, I understand it as: it doesn't make a damned bit of difference which road one takes; that there is no particular merit in taking one road, or the other; that it's merely the road one takes that lands one where one is today.  The road each one of us takes makes all the difference to each one of us.  It's just that "I" (presumably Frost) happened to take the road less travelled by.  But, he could just as easily taken the other one.  
Steve Borsher Added Nov 5, 2013 - 3:53pm
My, oh, my. Where to start. I went away for a few minutes and got hammered; no, I haven't started drinking yet, but that is close at hand. So this will be my last response for the evening, and then I am out most of tomorrow.
The Zons created the cheese and everything else.  The particle physicists will never have enough power available to drill down to "discover" them; so you will have to trust me on that.
I help those who I think deserve it. Even though I have suffered from a rare and life ending disease for the past 11 years, I still try to do what I can.  One neighbor that I used to help where I previously lived once said of me: "He would give you the shirt off his back; twice".  Anyone ever say that of you?
I don't have a sense of self, I know myself completely.  I just don't have an ego that needs feeding.
All good points and possible interpretations. You have interpreted it for your own peace of mind.  Whatever your experiences have taught you should affect your interpretation, as mine do mine.  What ever makes you personally content; and that can be different for each and every individual.  But when I tell a story and it makes someone uncomfortable, such that they become angry and argumentative, that tells me that they are not content, and might benefit from a change of direction.
I tend to take the road with the least traffic, depending on the time of day, and other factors.  The drivers down here are just awful.
Contractor Added Nov 5, 2013 - 4:34pm
Masha - I count at least 8 synonyms to the word "Bliss" that don't involve drugs or attending a Revival service.  
And I count one post where drugs or Revival service were never mentioned ... mine. Seems you got your blonde on a bit early today.
Contractor Added Nov 5, 2013 - 4:38pm
@ Steve - I don't have a sense of self, I know myself completely. 
Yet another contradiction of terms at best and most likely reflective of muddled thinking mistaken for authentic insight ... it happens.
Jeff Kunkel Added Nov 5, 2013 - 9:02pm
The older I get, the surer I become that I don't know anything and that there is no such thing as objective reality.  I have my doubts about empiricism, too.
Contractor Added Nov 5, 2013 - 11:11pm
@ Jeff - "The older I get, the surer I become that I don't know anything and that there is no such thing as objective reality.  I have my doubts about empiricism, too."
Well stated and I agree. What we call "reality" is in essence an exercise in collective schizophrenia. We do not "see" with our eyes as they are only sensory input gathering devices.
We see with our mind as that is what organizes sensory inputs into recognizable and useful constructs. What separates the lunatic from the rational person is the degree of agreement their utterances and actions gather and nothing more.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 6, 2013 - 8:57am
Maybe Plato has been reading me. I don’t read the writings of the ancients.  Modern times call for modern thinking.  Yes, some things never change, especially when it comes to humans; so, the issues I brought up, and Plato stole form me, should be obvious.  I am continually surprised that they aren’t to many people.
You have a unique talent for reading the worst into things.
I like keeping things chaotic too, but I remain content throughout it all, because I cause the chaos. In my case, having control over my life, and I almost said absolute control, fuels my contentment. Even in the chaos I feel in control; especially after I resolve it.
It is a life ending disease, but I have been holding it at bay for 12 years. I fired two doctors so far because they bungled my treatment. I am now on a recently FDA approved monoclonal antibody semi-annual infusion. I had to research and find that treatment myself. Still, the disease could flare back up at any time, as it has several times in the past. Much of my perspective has come from reconciling my life in the face of that disease and two other life threatening incidents, including melanoma. I’m not looking for sympathy or any special treatment by telling this. It’s just FYI.
But are you content?
I don’t think of it so heavily; but yes.
All very technical, but with no hard evidence.  Be sure to check out my next article; it should really set you off.
Jeff and FP,
Do you believe in free will?
Exactly.  ‘The Satan” is fear itself. The trick is to conquer your fears. “Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself – FDR. On the other hand, “There is a pleasure sure in being mad which none but madmen know” – Dryden.
Very clever. Good luck with your campaign. But, please do me a favor and stop using the phrase “I approve this message”.  IMO, it is just about the stupidest thing I have ever heard a politician say. And now back to our regularly scheduled program.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 6, 2013 - 9:32am
As in circle of life.
Contractor Added Nov 6, 2013 - 9:52am
@ Steve - Maybe Plato has been reading me. I don’t read the writings of the ancients.
And this from the guy with no ego.
@ Steve - Modern times call for modern thinking. 

Spoken like someone who lacks appreciable education and knowledge of the eternal nature of Wisdom as opposed to the "next great thing" Pop Culture. 

You really are not particularly bright ... however, what you lack in knowledge your easily make up for in unbridled arrogance.  
Steve Borsher Added Nov 6, 2013 - 10:02am
"What's the matter with you people? I was joking! Don't you know a joke when you hear one? HA-HA-HA-HA." - Young Frankenstein. Speaking of pop culture.  Yes, I am a pop culture maven, and learned much of what I "know" from music and movies.
And please keep directing your negative energy at me.  I absorb it and convert it to good energy I can use to maintain my health, and the health of my family and friends.  How's that for ego and arrogance?
Steve Borsher Added Nov 6, 2013 - 10:59am
Let's visit the various definitions of ego, shall we? From the Free Online Dictionary:
e·go  (g, g)
n. pl. e·gos
1. The self, especially as distinct from the world and other selves.
2. In psychoanalysis, the division of the psyche that is conscious, most immediately controls thought and behavior, and is most in touch with external reality.
a. An exaggerated sense of self-importance; conceit.
b. Appropriate pride in oneself; self-esteem.

If you want to score me based upon the entire definition then you are correct; I have an ego.  But when I say I have no ego, I am referring only to 3a. On the other hand, I have oodles of 3b.  In fact, as I get older, the most important thing to me is that I die with my self-esteem fully intact.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 6, 2013 - 12:42pm
Prejudice, bigotry, and racism are all in the eye of the beholder as well, whereas obsolescence can be determined more objectively. And I have have heard the concept of unconditional love mentioned throughout my lifetime, but it is lost on me.  My love is earned, and I am very stingy with compassion. But I do appreciate that there are people who can give those things freely and willingly.  Doesn't sound very "Godlike" of me, does it? But, of course, that depends on one's definition of God.  For more on that, please read my latest article: "A God For Atheists".
Jeff Kunkel Added Nov 6, 2013 - 1:02pm
re: your Nov 5, 2013 - 11:11pm comment: thanks for your wisdom and insight!  I was beginning to think I was really losing it!

Steve Borsher:

re: your Nov 6, 2013 - 10:59am comment: I disagree with ego definition no. 2: "In psychoanalysis, the division of the psyche that is conscious, most immediately controls thought and behavior, and is most in touch with external reality."

Studies have shown that it is the non-ego division of the psyche (unconscious=Jungian model / subconscious=Freudian model) that "most immediately controls thought and behavior" 95% of the time.  That's right, folks.  Most of us live 95% of our lives on 'auto-pilot.'  We utilize consciousness---which might be thought of as introspection---only about 5% of the time.  This actually reinforces your article, Steve.

Also, Steve, in your Nov 6, 2013 - 8:57am comment, you asked, "Do (I) believe in free will?"

At age 52, it's taken me at least four of those decades to dismantle my "Self," altogether, as it was defined by everyone around me, and reconstruct it according to who, or what I "think" I really am.  I'm both disappointed and ecstatic over what I finally found at the end of my long and arduous "journey," if you will, which is "I am nothing."  

I've got an esoteric view of Christianity.  "God," for me, is a symbol of the unconscious mind; the imagination; where individual genius resides.  "Satan," for me, is a symbol of consciousness, or the human ability to introspect.  Of Satan's few appearances in the Bible, he's never inherently 'evil;' only the "voice of reason."  "Jesus," for me, is a symbol of the "go-between;" the connection between the unconscious and conscious minds: illumination.  "Salvation," for me, is a symbol for the reconciliation of the human "Dual Mind;" getting the two minds to agree with one another.
In, purportedly, God's chastisement of Adam for eating the "Forbidden Fruit," "...the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat..." (Genesis 3:22 KJV).
So, as a "God," I have the ability to create.  And, that's how I spend my days, now; creating; bringing ideas in my imagination into tangible form.  I approach most everything in life in terms of "creation;" even walking my dogs, believe it, or not.
To have "Free Will," one must have a true "Self" and truly know what that true "Self" desires.  I would say, as a younger man, I only had an illusion of free will because I only had an illusion of "Self."  I was only "chasing after the wind," as Solomon put it.  But, now, as an older man, with a clearer definition of "Self," I think I can say, yes, I do believe in free will and know how to implement it.
Following, is a link for anyone having difficulty breaking out of perpetual patterns of behavior.  I found it enormously illuminating.  

Contractor Added Nov 6, 2013 - 1:18pm
@ Steve - But when I say I have no ego, I am referring only to 3a. On the other hand, I have oodles of 3b. 
"Okay, makes sense and I'll go with that."
@ Steve - "In fact, as I get older, the most important thing to me is that I die with my self-esteem fully intact."

Roger that and I intend to go out with what I came in with ... my personal integrity. 
Steve Borsher Added Nov 6, 2013 - 4:56pm
I am sorry your journey ended unsatisfactorily. Let me tell you about mine.  At 27 my first marriage, with two kids, had broken. I was a very accomplished liar and cheater. I could have been a very successful career criminal.  On 12/30/73 we had an NYE party, and I took some LSD; not for the first time.  I felt great.  So, I was fascinating some people with some spiel about hifi equipment, which I repaired in my own business at that time, and I stopped mid-thought and said: "Don't listen to me; I'm full of shit".  As I was concocting a tale about how I had done this and that in electronics, I had an epiphany about how all the lying and cheating had ruined my life, even though I thought I was doing OK. And that started my on a nearly 40 year journey of enlightenment. I fought my lying and cheating constantly, and still do today.  I had a major problem when my grandkids came along because it is just not possible to always tell them the truth early on; but I correct that a soon as possible.
The biggest changes came after I cam down with Wegener's Granulomatosis, followed by melanoma, followed by some abnormal kidney cells all in the space of 3 years, and all potentially deadly.  It forced me to reconcile my life to myself, catch up on personal changes I always meant to make, and get over being afraid of death. The latter segued into losing almost all fear; and I was a fearful person most of my life. So, this is a new me starting about 8 years ago, and I am enjoying every second of it.
And, yes, I used to say that I was my own God, but you can see how that has changed in my new article. I never believed in a supernatural God over my entire life, but I danced around it a lot by saying a believe in a God.
And you are everything.  Without you there is no life.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 6, 2013 - 5:00pm
Me too; and there is a true reason for ego and arrogance: very few people can say, honestly, that they made it through with their integrity intact. But the SCrOTUS has made it within their 1st Amendment rights to lie about your history, so maybe St. Peter won't notice.
Contractor Added Nov 6, 2013 - 5:14pm
@Steve - "But the SCrOTUS has made it within their 1st Amendment rights to lie about your history, so maybe St. Peter won't notice."
St. Peter is a non-entity for me. Straight Path to All Mighty God ... no intermediates needed or wanted.
Pamalien TW Added Nov 6, 2013 - 8:47pm
You can count on two things for most of humanity.

A. People are physiologically inclined to do what is easy.
B. They are not willing to step out of their comfort zone.

It's easy to follow someone who has it all figured out for you.

Why would you leave a sure thing for the unknown?

People still believe Fox News.

Pamalien TW Added Nov 6, 2013 - 9:04pm
I wish I could edit that. I'm not in all the right sorts to write.

The herd needs a shepherd. We can't all be politicians, CEOs, bankers, bosses, kings, or lords, cardinals or tyrants. Whether it's a herd of cattle, pack of wolves or a tribe of monkeys; there are leaders and followers.

It's the natural order of things.

Our civilization in its current state is no different from what it has been for the last 10,000 years. Now we just live under the illusions of freedom and choice.

More choices than we've had in eons.
Overwhelming choices.
I want cheese.
I go to the grocery store.
Do I go to the deli or the dairy section?
I go to the Deli.
Which of the 30 types of cheese should I buy?
I picked cheddar.
Is picking cheese the most complicated part of your day?

Contractor Added Nov 6, 2013 - 10:28pm
@ Pamela: "People still believe Fox News."
Yeah, and some others buy into the garbage that is CNN. 
I was in Desert Shield/Storm and my Father recorded all of CNN's coverage.
When I returned home I sat down to watch a few hours of it with him. Wrong dates, wrong times, wrong units, wrong places, wrong sequences of events and wrong outcomes. Total orchestrated propaganda. Most of you have absolutely no clue what really went on over there. Thank the sots that run CNN for your kool aid induced warped perspectives.
I like honesty and completeness and resist distortion whenever I encounter it be it by conservative or liberal. 
Robin the red breasted songster Added Nov 7, 2013 - 5:54am
In reality the mouse, having gorged himself stupid on a high fat and salt diet, becomes obese and unable to forage for cheese any longer.  He now lives in a home reliant upon other, leaner, more stupid, yet hard working mice, to feed him.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Nov 7, 2013 - 5:57am
In marketing you follow the herd at your peril.  Think differently from the mass or you will not survive.
Every time I hear someone say that everyone is moving into "dot com", "social media" etc etc... I ask myself where I should really be going.
And personal Nirvana is unlikely to come from success in collecting cheese
Steve Borsher Added Nov 7, 2013 - 7:58am
Sounds like you have an inside track to God.
And the movie “Wag The Dog” is a great example of the kind of propaganda that is possible through the accommodating media.
Since you are generalizing, let me add C. They can’t tell truth from lies; anymore. When I was young, there was never a question when someone was lying; and much earlier in our history, liars would be tarred and feathered. Now, lying is de rigueur. I haven’t lost that “sense”. What changed? The politicians invented Politically Correctness, and all the news, not just Fox, swallowed it. IMO.
In order to edit, you must delete and change. You can Ctrl-C your comment, then delete it (in your profile), then Ctrl-V it into a new comment and edit it.
Freedom is not an illusion; but it can appear to be so because it is transitory. You must continuously work to maintain your freedoms.
“Is picking cheese the most complicated part of your day?” It could be if you like cheese.  Some days, my most complicated choice is picking wine. And I have a To Do list with several hundred items on it, and I must make choices every day about which is the most important; and that is often the most complicated part of my day. But I do have freedom of choice.
But the mouse maintains his svelte figure through exercise. Running all those mazes takes a lot of energy.
And, “And personal Nirvana is unlikely to come from success in collecting cheese”. Sounds like you have tried and failed.  So, try again.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Nov 7, 2013 - 8:12am
Achieved Nirvana once I realised the pointlessness of collecting cheese (past a certain point that is)
Contractor Added Nov 7, 2013 - 8:32am
Steve - "Sounds like you have an inside track to God."
Everyone does. The whole "need" for priests, clergy, etc., is an artificial contrivance. Read the authoritative text for any of the five primary religions and you won't find a single sentence along the lines of "And ye shall consult with ..." 
Steve - "And the movie “Wag The Dog” is a great example of the kind of propaganda that is possible through the accommodating media."
Having lived outside the US for years it's readily apparent that what we call "news" is more often than not simply propaganda. I get the whole "4 people see a car accident ..." thing. However, "facts" should remain at least somewhat constant.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 7, 2013 - 8:52am
That is why I never argue, unless it is about agreed upon facts; true or false. The only thing you can argue about is a logical conclusion based upon those agreed upon fact. In order to argue about the validity of facts, you must have agreed upon criteria for determining whether facts are true or not; but that is merely a degenerate case of my previous statement.  That is why you see me as uninformed.  I just don't waste my time spew things out where there is no chance of making a valid point.  I just state my opinions, based upon my logical conclusions, and provide evidence as needed. That said, I will admit that I am not as well informed as you on certain things we have discussed; but in such cases I always defer to those who obviously know more than I do on the subject. I generally will go along with things that make sense to me, until they are proven false. But I have a very good sense of what makes sense.
Pamalien TW Added Nov 7, 2013 - 3:05pm
Steve, Force Pro,
Don't get me wrong. My posts were poorly worded. Had I worded them more succinctly, you would have gotten me. I'm on the same page you are. I typed out another response but, it ended up being 3 pages long. Hardly appropriate for a comment. 

Here's an excerpt:

To say liars were all tarred and feathered until recently is grossly inaccurate. One person telling the truth among a village of uninformed peons being egged on by the Catholic Church was burned alive for being a heretic. Organized religion has always been just another way to hold control over the masses, ruling with fear and stifling their questions by holding their faith hostage; threatening them with death and the damnation of their immortal souls.

Pamalien TW Added Nov 7, 2013 - 3:07pm
Another exerpt:  Please, dear mentally ill people of my life, why do I get a different answer to the same question every time? There are really only so many outcomes to a simple yes or no question. Why is what you saw, and what happened so warped by what you wanted to see and what you wanted to happen? Why would you want to believe what you know is a lie? Because it's easy; because believing the lie is easier than questioning your own sanity or, looking crazy to the masses.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 7, 2013 - 4:17pm
Well, I didn't say all were tarred and feathers, and in the case of those pied pipered villagers, they thought it was a lie.  OK, so recognizing lying was always a problem for the weak willed; I guess growing up I lived among very strong willed people.
"Please, dear mentally ill people of my life, why do I get a different answer to the same question every time?" Because they are mentally ill?  Here is another very unpopular saying of mine: "Everyone is mentally ill, because there is no perfect brain."  Why do you expect consistent answers, when many people can't remember what they had for breakfast. And trying to get consistent answer from a group of "experts" is even harder. Ever call tech support for anything?
I put a trip to Disneyworld together for 19 people 6 years ago. We did everything that was available: meals with characters, the Luau, the parade, and all the rides.  It took me a year to put it together.  The biggest problem I had was getting a straight answer. So, I would ask the same question at various times whenever I would call in, until I had a consensus. This is a global problem.
Contractor Added Nov 8, 2013 - 9:36am
Hey Steve, okay, I get it. Have you ever read "Thinking Fast, and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman? Here's the URL to a free PDF version of his seminal classic, I "think" you might enjoy it. I've read it a couple of times thus far and will probably read it a few more times ... fascinating stuff.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 8, 2013 - 9:59am
Thanks. I'm downloading as I write this.
And if you mean you get what I said about not wasting time arguing the unarguable, Let me add this.  I am convinced that I have reached the maximum capacity of my brain.  It runs 24/7; and I'm always working on a lot things simultaneously. The more I add to that list, the more I seem to forget.  Could be "old age", but I don't think so. It has happened throughout my life, but earlier on my ADD and depression was probably the culprit. So, I we have limited amounts of RAM up there; and some of us use more of it for memory, and others use more of it for processing.  I am the latter.  Real geniuses, IMO, have more brain cells to use for both simultaneously.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 8, 2013 - 10:56am
I read the beginning of the book, and will get back to several chapters of interest as time permits.  I found the concept of the fast and slow brain interesting.  I have spent my life developing tricks to make up for, what I consider to be, a relatively short processing stack. Where I said I kept many projects in mind in various stages of completion, that is in a longer term memory than is used for computation, for instance. The very first computational example that was given, 17 X 24, I did almost instantly by factoring the 24 and fist multiplying 17 by 6, and that result by 4. That is a technique I developed in grammar school, Such techniques got several people in trouble when they would copy my answers during math tests; especially my handling of polynomials. I also thought nothing of using infinity and 1/0 in computations where I knew they would cancel out; pissing off at least one of my high school math teachers.
Contractor Added Nov 8, 2013 - 5:44pm
Steve, check out Win Wenger, Ph.D., one of the foremost authorities in the world on accelerated learning protocols. Back in 2008 I was working with him to bring his methodologies to the public education sector. www.winwenger.com
I think you will enjoy Win's techniques, approaches and rationale.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 8, 2013 - 7:35pm
Someone else pointed me there recently; maybe it was you in another thread.  I'm glad you found his teaching methods useful, but I'm not that impressed with him from his website. It does sound like he thinks about some of the same things I do, and that he has gotten as far as I have; which is not very far. I'm working on a new article about fixing DC.  I don't expect that to get very far either.
Contractor Added Nov 9, 2013 - 9:26am
Okay, if you're tracking on Win and do not think much of his offerings at least you are aware of them.
It seems that many, if not most, people really think what they were taught in school is the Alpha - Omega of thinking.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 9, 2013 - 9:42am
As in the end all/be all?  People were trained in school to think the same; just as depicted in Pink Floyd's The Wall.  I did well in school, but I didn't really learn anything much of value, that I would not have learned on my own; faster.  I am torn about the education of my grandkids.  Should I send them to private school and hope they get an education, or should I leave them in public school to become socialized?  There are pluses and minuses to each choice.  There are some "alternative" schools in the area too.  The 11 year old is now playing football, and really likes it.  I think it is to balance his intelligence, so he does not become a nerd.  He is lean and mean and an A student.  Hard to top that.  Any change or acceleration of his education would affect that.  We had all discussed him moving up and through college as quickly as possible, mostly because he doesn't like school and wants to get on with his life. My 6 year old grandson will be as unteachable as I was.  He was coming up with "inventions" when he was 3. He's also as ornery as his brother was; and I was. Of course, I am talking as if I really have much to say about it. I don't, and I know it.
Contractor Added Nov 9, 2013 - 10:57am
My formal education convinced me that learning how to "think" was the greatest asset I could obtain with "thinking" understood to be sustained critical thinking.
Not sure about the private education sector these days ... I've been out of it for a good minute.
As an Educator, Trainer, Instructor, Facilitator, I fall into the Individualist/Constructivist school of thought regarding human learning. My formal education lead me to this path as well. I studiously avoid the "Sage on Stage" didactic instructional model.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 9, 2013 - 11:38am
Gotta love those catchy phrases.  "Guide on the side" too.  How about just "teach and learn". I strongly believe in the KISS principle; and Occam's Razor.
Contractor Added Nov 10, 2013 - 6:49pm
@ Steve - Gotta love those catchy phrases.  "Guide on the side" too.  How about just "teach and learn". I strongly believe in the KISS principle; and Occam's Razor.
There are some institutes attempting to resurrect the skill set known as "critical thinking" with an emphasis on sustained critical thinking ... there's hope.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 11, 2013 - 7:34am
"I do not agree with mixing conversations if it can be avoided"?  Then why did you do that in your comment?
I've been waiting for a comment like yours so I could respond by describing exactly how I write.  I am not a writer, but I do write occasionally; when I have something interesting, to me, to say.  And successfully writing something, to me, is like a satisfying BM.  When I think I have fully thought out a topic that I want to write about, I sit down on my Aeron throne, and see what comes out.  Sometimes it is just a little gas, in the form of further ideas; so I jot them down. But most times, I just relax and let the words (rhymes with?) glide out. I don’t force them if they are not forthcoming.  After my thoughts are fully evacuated, I do a little clean up, and I’m done. I then flush it all away from my mind, to make room for the next brain dump.
Jeff Kunkel Added Nov 11, 2013 - 10:43am
Bryce Miller, re: your Nov 11, 2013 - 4:14am comment in defense of Steve Borsher:

Your continued subscription to the antiquated idea of  "Republican -vs- Democrat" demonstrates a "lack of preparation" on your part.

Please explain to me what makes a "lib-tard" any more retarded than a conserva-tard.  Conserva-tards exalt corrupt communism by voting for big oil via their owners, David and Charles Koch.  Lib-tards exalt corrupt communism by voting for their owners, Lehman Brothers, Goldman-Sachs, etc., via healthcare.  The only difference between the two owners/parties is who has most of our money.  Otherwise, the result is the identical: Plutocracy, in which we all lose irrespective of party.  

Sorry to inform you that the party exalting "America," "Grandma's home made apple pie," and "Chevrolet" is the same party dumping $millions of dollars into all kinds of American-dividing issues.  "Grassroots," my ass.  "...divided we fall."  

And, speaking of "God:" I think it's a "God"- damned shame when I, as well as many other Americans, go to the polls basing our voting on which corporate/political agenda will kill the fewest people.  At least with the Democrats, it's a slow death through poverty induction and healthcare control.  With the Republicans, it's instantaneous death through war.

(ForcePro: thank you for illuminating me on the bank-healthcare relationship in a different article). 
Carole McKee Added Nov 11, 2013 - 11:13am
"Lib-tards"? "Conserva-Tards"? Name-calling is inexcusable and unacceptable.
Bryce--Just to let you know that I am a Democrat and I have never taken a dime of government money. I have always worked hard, as most Democrats do. People like me just happen to believe that looking out for others is far more superior to making the rich richer. Would I give someone in need my last dollar? Damn right I would, and I have. I put people before material things. And I sleep well every night. Do I think the government should give away the store? No, I do not, but I do have compassion for those who are a lot less fortunate than the millionaires.
Here is question that has been running through my mind: Repulicans don't want abortions to be legal, and they want to cut out
Carole McKee Added Nov 11, 2013 - 11:20am
Sorry let me continue that. My computer messed up.
But here is my question: Republicans don't want abortion to be legal, and they want to cut out planned parenthood, and they want to cut food stamps, Medicaid, and cash assistance. So who would take care of all these unwanted, unaffordable children that would be out there? No abortions; let the children be born only to either starve to death or be killed in a war?
Contractor Added Nov 11, 2013 - 12:22pm
@ Jeff - "Please explain to me what makes a "lib-tard" any more retarded than a conserva-tard." 
Easy answer my good man. Lib-tards favor Brooks Brothers suits, and BMWs. Conserv-tards go with Armani suits and Bentley.
Seriously, the "difference" is one of "choose your poison" as both will kill the majority in pursuit of their agenda which ultimately distills to "control" ... of everything and everyone. 
To me, dead is dead no matter how it comes about.
You're welcome on the Bankster - health care connection. God damned banksters have been a pox on the earth since they first set up shop.
Question: What is the one time noted in the New Testament where the Prince of Peace just got fed up and kicked ass? Even the most holy have a bread point with the banking industry.
"Greed is a deadly Sin." ... I'm all for imposing sentence ASAP. And on their head stones it reads "He was wrong ... it is not a Machiavellian Universe."
Jeff Kunkel Added Nov 11, 2013 - 4:11pm
ForcePro Nov 11, 2013 - 12:22pm:

You're funny!  I have a feeling that after 31 March 13---when Obamacare goes into full swing---it will be the 'lib-tards' wearing the Armani suits and driving the Bentley's, and the 'conserva-tards' reduced to the Brooks Brothers suits and the BMW's.  But, two things will remain constant: 1) the lobbyists will always wear the alligator shoes, and, yes, as you say, 2) they'll still be trying to kill us all.

Also, ForcePro: the answer is, "What is the Gospel of John 2:14-16?"  Do I win the kewpie doll?

Carole McKee Nov 11, 2013 - 11:13am and Nov 11, 2013 - 11:20am:

Not to insult your intelligence.  But, to attempt to apply logic to any political issue is to ignore the very essence of politics, which is 'double-dealing.'  The Ron Paul's, the Bernie Sanders', the Elizabeth Warren's are few and far between.  And, sometimes I wonder if even they are not just a bunch of political theater; nothing ever came of the Senate-SEC hearing on HSBC's $820-million dollars worth of drug money laundering and U.S. international sanctions violations.

Otherwise(?), if you think anyone in government gives a damn about 'women's reproductive rights,' welfare, climate change, same-sex marriage, abuses of Walmart and Apple workers, a balanced budget, 'save the sea turtles, etc., you're sadly mistaken.

The issues, themselves, are irrelevant.  What is important to politicians is the underlying philosophy: wherever there are two opposing sides, there are opportunities to further 'divide and conquer,' and profit in the middle.  It's all about power.  The "issue du jour" is nothing more than an instrument for acquiring more of it.

Politicians will even betray their own parties by switching their party affiliations, as we've seen recently, depending on where the power is leaning.

The whole "Divide and Conquer"/"Profit in the middle" philosophy is the whole reason we've got a "Two-Party System."  

There is only one rationale to apply to any political issue: How are we getting screwed?  Look up the campaign contributions and you'll have your answer.    

Steve Borsher Added Nov 11, 2013 - 5:35pm
Carole et al,
"Lib-tards"? "Conserva-Tards"? Name-calling is inexcusable and unacceptable.  It is also overused and boring, and shows a total lack of originality, IMO.  But. then. I like to call the parties: the RIPS and the DIMS. So, who am I to complain.
And, yes, that the DIMs are pro-choice and the RIPs are pro-life seems completely incongruous to me, considering their economics.  If that was the only thing that I did not like about the parties, it would stop me from being a RIP or DIM; but there is oh so much more to dislike about them and politics in general.  Did you know that someone from the Whig party was just elected in Philadelphia?
Contractor Added Nov 11, 2013 - 5:53pm
@ Jeff - Also, ForcePro: the answer is, "What is the Gospel of John 2:14-16?"  Do I win the kewpie doll?

Indeed you do ... take your pick.
Steve Borsher Added Nov 15, 2013 - 11:48am
I think you should correct yourself again. Children have become the gift that keeps on taking for many parents; with no repayment ever. If what you have said in the past is true, then you have no direct parenting experience; just childing experience. I have a couple adults that take care of themselves and have not come back to roost. And they have kids that I can parent, occasionally, with an entirely different perspective from both what my kids see in them, and what I saw in my kids when they were that age. If you find that "love of you life" and have kids, you will understand all that better down the road.
And allow me to make a suggestion.  If you are looking for answers, you should not shroud your questions in pseudo-new age bullshit. Write seriously, and people will take you seriously. I've seen you do it; so, "just do it".
And my being an Atheist has nothing to do with needs or resources. It is simply a preference in believing in a super-natural being or not; I could just as easily be a Theist. It's belief itself that is the important thing, and the most important belief is in yourself; because without you, there is no life.