Personal Post: Space

I was struggling to come up with a topic for today’s article, so I figured I’d go back to one of the semi-series of articles I started in the form of personal posts that talk about something about me or one of my interests. There is quite a long list of randomly different things that I find intriguing, and while exploring our emotions and philosophies and other such things is certainly worthwhile, sometimes it’s nice to just talk about something that makes us tick. Taking a break from the seriousness of the world is necessary to keep from going insane.

Since I was a child, I’ve always had a fascination with space exploration. I grew up watching shows like Star Trek and movies like Space Camp and obviously Star Wars. Aside from the fact that the stories associated with these were designed to spark an interest in worlds beyond our own, there was just something intensely interesting about the idea of zipping around the galaxy in a spaceship. Of course, I’ve always spent a significant portion of my life in a world other than the real one we live in here, from fantasy novels to science fiction movies to any other number of different stories.

Aside from the escape from reality factor, however, as I became an adult and started learning more about things like cosmology my interest in anything space related only grew. I was fascinated to learn about things like gravity and supernovas and black holes and myriad other phenomena that exist in our universe. Every new piece of information grabs my attention, especially when we learn something new that we thought wasn’t possible before.

What is truly amazing is that we are at the beginning of a new age of exploration, and the final frontier of space is just over the horizon. As we prepare to put human being back on the moon and start getting ready to put the first people on Mars, we can imagine a future where we are no longer confined to this single, precious planet where we are constantly in danger of extinction from some cosmic disaster. The idea of visiting worlds other than our own will soon no longer be science fiction; it will be a part of our daily lives.

I’ve always dreamed of going into space. One of my hopes is that before my life is over I will somehow find an opportunity to get up there and experience our world from the other side of the clouds. Even better would be to actually pilot one of those amazing spacecraft, as I’ve always been interested in space simulators and I love flying airplanes. Space is obviously vastly different, but I love the idea of flying just about anything.

As crazy as it might sound, space travel could become quite routine in the not very distant future as our material science continues to progress. We are very close to having a material that is strong enough to create an elevator straight up into space. Our advances in technologies like carbon nanotubes has brought us breathtakingly close to making low Earth orbit more of a suburb than a destination. There is still a lot of work to do to make it feasible, but the physics and materials are solid.

Getting into orbit is only the first step, however, and the thing I would love most of all would be to become the pilot of a ship moving around the solar system. I would love to visit different worlds, but I have little interest in living on any of them. My preference would be to live on an interplanetary shuttle of some sort, moving people and materials around from planet to asteroid to wherever else it might be needed, enjoying the endless view of the countless stars and having my time punctuated by brief encounters with the various bodies of our solar system.

Of course, none of this is likely to happen. I am already old enough now and the skillset I ended up choosing for myself make it highly dubious that any space agency would find me qualified to do anything even remotely related to space. Anything can happen, obviously, but I’ve had to accept that the biggest dream I could ever have will remain as such. If regular passenger service to space becomes something real in my lifetime, perhaps I could realize a part of it, but making space my life is something I simply waited too long to zero in on.

Regardless, for the rest of my life I will continue to watch and wait as human beings push ever farther into the final frontier. As new technologies become available and we discover new aspects of physics we never knew were possible, I will follow along vicariously through those who are selected to brave new places and dangerous situations, living life about as far on the edge as is possible. With any luck, perhaps I can find my own adventure and experience at least a part of what I’ve always wished I could.

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Sometimes You Can Be “Too Efficient”

So I’m going to tell a real life story for this post. I woke up this morning to find my trailer floor covered with water. This wasn’t as surprising as most people would find it, as I’ve had some problems with leaking in the past. As I continued to investigate, however, it turned out that the problem was far more surprising…and gross…than my initial assumption would have garnered. It turned out my black water tank (for the toilet) had overflowed and spread water throughout the back half of my RV. Disgusting!

If you know anything about how RVs work, then you might be confused as to how this could have happened. The toilet drains into the tank, not the other way around. The answer to this question is my own stupidity and laziness. My sewage tank has the separate flush feature that sprays water inside the tank to help clean it when I need to do my regular emptying of the waste. For those who don’t own RVs, you can’t just use your toilet like a regular house version; the waste can’t flush away like we’re used to and you have to let the tank fill up with waste and mostly water so the water rushing out of the tank carries the waste with it. Otherwise the waste dries out and piles up in the tank.

At any rate, I tend to try to find ways to make my regular tasks as efficient as possible to they are less of an irritation when I have to do them. One of the steps I took was to get a splitter that allowed me to permanently attach a hose to the sewer tank cleaning inlet so all I had to do was flip a switch to turn it on. That alone would have been fine because you can hear when it’s on and you just turn it off when you’re done.

Unfortunately, I also live in a long term trailer park with a yard that requires daily watering, and I own an automated sprinkler controller to make sure I don’t forget to keep the lawn hydrated. The splitter was also connected through this, which wasn’t particularly smart because I forgot to make sure I switch everything back the way it is supposed to be with the sprinkler supply on and the sewer tank supply off. Hence, when the sprinkler system turned on this morning, instead of my lawn getting much needed water my tank got much less needed filling.

As with most things, in hindsight I can see where the mistake was, but at the time it seemed like a very efficient way to make things work. I get extremely bored with doing things over and over, especially when they’re tasks I don’t particularly care for like cleaning, so I tend to try to find ways to make things take less time or remove me from the equation altogether. The automated sprinkler system is one such example, as now I don’t have to stand out in the yard to water the lawn. A computer does it for me.

This is, however, an example of a time where placing efficiency at the forefront of everything came back to bite me because, even though it is logical to remove steps from a process, when one of the steps involved a fallible human being you will invariably end up with a mistake of some kind. The mistake can be trivial or very costly, but it is a near certainty that something will go wrong.

This quite disgusting story, which I am actually still working to clean up after at the time of this writing, is a perfect example of how trying to find the easy way to do things doesn’t always work out. If you put enough work in on the front end to place preventative measures in your system, then it usually works out fine. The problem is that for most things we only take a cursory glance at the process before signing off on it. This usually leads to unintended consequences later on.

The lesson here for me is that I need to revisit my water management plan for my trailer so I can prevent further issues from here on. On a more grand scale, the lesson for all of us is that we need to temper our impatience and desire to make things easy with a more thorough plan up front to make sure that we minimize the mistakes that inevitably crop up when we fallible human beings decide to do something. I for one don’t intend to have to clean up after my toilet again…at least not for anything that is my fault.

What do you think about being efficient? Do you come up with ways to avoid unnecessary tasks only to have the results turn out not the way you wanted? What kinds of things do you hope to avoid, and is it sometimes better to do it the “old fashioned way”? Sometimes it’s just better to do it the more difficult way, because sometimes the results of doing things the “easy way” end up being far harder than if you just did it the old way in the first place.

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Life as a Lazy Person in a Work Hard World

One of the principles I’ve wanted to maintain on this blog is to provide an unfiltered view of the world from my own perspective in the hope that being real with my readers will cause what I have to say to resonate with people. It’s easy to get up on a platform such as this and try to claim that I have all the answers to everything trying to get people to follow me. The hope is that by not pretending to be something I’m not, I can avoid the inevitable judgement later on when it comes to light that I’m flawed just like everyone else, as if you didn’t already know.

I bring this up because the subject for this particular blog post is about a topic I’ve covered in the past and still struggle with to this day. In fact, I will likely struggle with it for the rest of my life because I’m old enough now that the habits of my youth are pretty much ingrained in who I am. I can certainly strive to mitigate it as much as possible, but in the end I will always be afflicted by that terrible curse of laziness.

As I stated in my previous post, my laziness does have limits. I would never allow the quality of any work that I do for others to be unacceptable, partly because I don’t like looking bad in front of people, but mostly because despite my desire to avoid hard work I still have a very contradictory side of me that demands that things get done right. This puts me in a very awkward position because I end up having to do a lot of things I’d rather avoid doing because I take too much pride in getting things done to shirk them.

When it comes to the things I do for myself, I tend to have a much lower standard. At heart, I’m very much a “good enough” kind of person, and as long as whatever the result is will be something I don’t have to pay much attention to, I’m usually fine with however it turns out as long as it works and doesn’t look too bad. This is especially true when it comes to projects around the house. I just don’t have enough concern about such things to put much effort into them.

Where I really run into struggles with this is in the workplace. In a world where everyone wants everything right now and in a perfect way, I struggle to cope. Many times I end up having to put effort into things that don’t really need to be worried about solely because someone decided it needed to get done and get done in a certain way. The number of hours I’ve wasted putting effort into trivial things that really don’t matter makes me shudder to think about.

I mentioned in another post that the concept of the “bare minimum” is something that has always been perceived as a negative, despite the fact that the term itself implies that the result is still within the realm of acceptable work. When it comes to my laziness, it’s less about not wanting to work at all and more about my time being extremely valuable to me, and the less time I have to spend grinding out work for someone else the better. Every minute spent doing someone else’s work is a minute not spent doing what I want to be doing.

In the end, my laziness will continue and the world will go on, but like many people I’ve had to learn to cope with living in a world that is incongruous with who I am as a person. I don’t believe this makes me bad or useless or any of those kinds of things, but it does tend to paint me in a negative light with people like employers and anyone who believes in the idea that hard work at any cost is important. For me, all I want is to put in just enough effort to have the kind of life I want, and that life is pretty modest because I’m not willing to put in the work for anything more.

What do you think about working in situations that don’t line up with the way you are? Do you put effort into things that aren’t really that important and struggle with it? Or are you on the other side of the fence and believe in putting in as much effort as possible in everything you do. Perhaps neither approach is wrong and it is simply a matter of personal preference. In the end, as long as the job gets done, how you do it is immaterial.

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When Science Gets It Wrong

As we move forward in our push to ever greater heights of scientific achievement, it is easy to assume that what we are told is the truth and that we can count on the people who are coming up with all the new theories and developments that make our lives better. We trust that they are putting in an objective effort to find some new truth to be discovered, and we rarely question their integrity. So much of our modern world is made possible because of the honest efforts of many people who simply wanted to figure out something new.

However, the strange reality is that science has become something of a religion over the past couple of centuries. Because the information gained through years of research takes nearly as many years to truly understand, we rarely look into the findings of the scientific community to verify that their conclusions are correct. It simply isn’t possible for any one person to know everything, so we have to place our faith in the hope that people are doing the right thing.

COVID-19 has now shown us that this can lead to some pretty dangerous consequences. Despite the claims of highly regarded scientist in important positions around the world, it turns out after all that the virus was created in a laboratory in China and escaped into the population, leading to the infection of people across the globe and a massive disruption to the lives of nearly every person on the planet.

That human beings lie is no secret. We are all guilty of it in one form or another. The scary part of it is that we have become so trusting of the scientific community that it never seems to occur to us that they might have ulterior motives for claiming what they do. They do so much to help us with many things in our lives, so why would we doubt them?

The sad part of all this is that the people create things like the coronavirus conspiracy make it harder for the rest of us to believe anything that might be more legitimate. People wonder why many of us don’t believe in global warming when “the science is in”, but this belies the fact that there is plenty of scientific evidence out there that directly contradicts the claims of the eco-nuts. We just can’t trust the “facts”.

Science is a search for an objective truth and the results of pure scientific research are objective fact with no room for argument. This is something that is not only logical but also intuitive. There is nothing wrong with believing in scientific theory because when it is done right, we are getting pure, unadulterated truth. The problem is people who find something to gain from claiming to have completed scientific processes who slant their information for personal gain.

It would be nice to be able to place our full faith and confidence in our scientific community, but like everything else it is full of human beings with critical flaws that corrupt almost invariably corrupt the final result with their own fallibility. Be it from mistakes made during the scientific method, or simply lies told at the end because they need the result to look a certain way, we can never blindly trust anyone who claims to have a scientific fact. At least not until we rule out every possible way they could gain from a lie.

What do you think about science? Can we trust what we’re told, or do we have reasons to doubt? Has there been a time when you believed what the scientific community has told us only to find out it was a lie? We base our modern lives on what comes out of this highly technical and confusing field, but sometimes the walls come crashing down. What else don’t we know?

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Seeing What We Want to See

There has been a lot of talk recently about unidentified flying objects (UFOs) in our news media recently. This is specifically because of a report that is being issued from the Defense Department this month that will supposedly detail what the government knows about such strange phenomena. As is usual with secretive government information, we can expect to be told that they don’t know much about anything, regardless of what information they might have at their disposal.

The big question that is on everyone’s mind at the moment is whether these strange objects are man-made, or do they come from somewhere else. People have been speculating for decades about alien spacecraft in our proverbial backyard, and the theories go from plausible to incredibly insane. We can’t rule out the possibility that we have visitors from another place hanging around and observing us, but at the same time our current understanding of physics tells us this is unlikely.

While the subject of aliens is certainly an interesting one, the focus of this article is about a different aspect of this trending issue. Regardless of what the report ends up telling us, we will all take away something different from what is revealed. The information will be the same for every person who comes into contact with it, but that doesn’t matter. We will all have our own idea of what the information means and what we will believe going forward regarding unidentified flying objects.

One of the interesting things about human beings is that we have the capacity to look past cold hard facts and put our own perspective into how we see things. Unlike a cold, logical computer, we have the ability to extrapolate beyond the obvious and imagine more than what exists here in reality. This ability has given us the chance to advance far beyond what we could have without it because we start with a dream and then figure out a way to turn it into a reality, regardless of how absurd it might seem.

The problem with this arises when we apply this way of thinking to issues for which we have limited information. We are given a certain amount of information and we end up filling in the blanks with our own perspective. Sometimes this works out just fine because we have enough information to make very good educated guesses. Other times it leads to wildly incorrect and even dangerous theories as we grasp about to connect the proverbial dots.

One of the unfortunate tendencies we human beings struggle with is a habit of seeing what we want to see regardless of what evidence is available to us. Even if the government comes out and flat out tells us that the UFOs aren’t extraterrestrial, there will be a significant portion of the population who refuses to believe because they want aliens to be real. Of course, the opposite is true because there is another portion of the population who will suffer a crisis of religious faith if visitors from another world turn out to be real.

We all see what we want to see, but it is important to recognize this fact about ourselves and learn to implement strategies that mitigate the potential dangers of it. Healthy skepticism is a good start regarding any topic, but we must have care not to take it too far. Objective analysis of available evidence can be very difficult for we emotional human beings, but if we realize this from the start we have a much better chance of getting closer to the truth than we ever imagined.

What do you think about how we see the world? Do you believe what is in front of you, or do you tend to see something more? How hard is it to accept what other people tell you? Sometimes we can struggle to get an understanding of the world around us when we have limited information, but it is important to keep a level head and use what little information we do have in a responsible way.

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Looking to a Future We Don’t Want to See

We live in an interesting, crazy, scary time. In the last century we’ve moved from most people living in rural areas producing food for their own use to nearly everyone living in major cities and depending on others for their own survival. Our mode of transportation has progressed from horses and carriages moving less than a handful of miles per day to motorized, high tech vehicles that can cross half a continent in the same time period. The knowledge we have access to has exponentially increased from the printed media we once relied upon to a nearly infinite amount of digitally available information via the internet. Things are so different from what they were just a short time ago.

It’s easy to look at the future and wonder what will come next. What will be the next great invention that completely changes our lives and revolutionizes how we do some basic task? There is a great deal of hope in that particular thought, and I spend a great deal of time thinking about the various possibilities that might crop up in our near future. Technology almost always makes our lives better and it’s easy to see a future where there is nearly no undue stress because we’ve figured out ways of mitigating it.

On the other hand, it’s hard to look at human nature and have much hope at all. As technology advances and is supposed to be solving our problems for us, we figure out new ways to make our lives more difficult. The problems of the past may have been dealt with through automation or some other form of advancement, but there is no technology that can resolve the issue of one person trying to get what they want at the expense of someone else. As long as there are a finite number of resources available to us, this will continue to be something we deal with.

This is where I start becoming more pessimistic about our future, because as we progress in our technological ability we are also progressing down a road that reduces the importance of individuality in favor of the group. Our nation was founded on the idea that each person has a right to forge their own way and live their own life the way they see fit, but as technology continues to grip us ever tighter we are seeing a push by many to erase individual identity in favor of ideological agendas. It is no longer up to the individual to decide what we want; we’re apparently not intelligent enough to make decisions on our own.

What it really comes down to is that human beings are very arrogant creatures. We have mastered the world as we know it, at least as far as our understanding of mastery allows us to conceive. As the dominant species on the planet, we are convinced of our own superiority in every fashion, and this naturally bleeds over into our dealings with each other. We aren’t content to be the highest animal on the food chain; we have to compete with each other in our selfish need to get our own way.

Many people look to the future and see utopia, but I have difficulty seeing us ever reaching that state of existence. No matter how far our technology advances, as long as one person has something that someone else wants, or one group is acting in a way that another group disagrees with, there will be conflict that results in the subjugation of the weak to the strong. I suppose that’s fine if you’re on the strong side, but it isn’t so great for those who are forced to change everything on a whim.

I haven’t given any specific examples in this article, not because I don’t have any, but because we each have our own idea of how the future could be great, and also not so great. Society seems to be moving in a direction that many find amazing, but I struggle to see the benefits of the path we seem bent on walking down. There doesn’t seem to be any way to avoid it, but perhaps we can hold out hope that other options will present themselves before we’re stuck living in a world we can’t reconcile with.

What do you think about the future? Are we heading toward a great and amazing existence, or are thing taking a turn for the worse? How do we deal with sweeping changes that are in conflict with our values? There are a lot of questions on the other side of the blank wall that is the future, and we can either sit back and wait to see what happens or start doing something about it. The question becomes: what do we do?

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Setting the Right Goals for Yourself

There is a great deal of conflict when it comes to the dreams we have for our own lives. Part of this is because we come up with amazing visions for what our future could look like that simply don’t have much of a chance of being a reality. The other part is that we tend to understand that our dreams probably aren’t going to work out like we hope they will and we accept that we have settle for something less.

The problem is that most of us tend to settle for quite a bit less than we really have to. As we come up with many dreams over the course of our lives that seem completely impossible, we become used to accepting that we probably can’t do the things we wish that we could. It all seems so out of reach and it sometimes feels like the whole world is out to stop of from achieving the things we really want. When this becomes out mentality, we end up settling for far less than we should.

How do we resolve this problem and find the right balance between dreams and reality? The trick is setting the right goals for yourself. Notice I didn’t use the word “realistic”. When we focus on what is likely to happen rather than what we are passionate about, the chances of making that dream come true are next to nothing. It’s all about setting goals in your life that are right for you.

What this means on a practical level is that you have to do some of the self reflection that we discussed in our last post to figure out who you really are and what you really want. It is only then that you can find out what you’re passionate enough about to put the kind of time and energy into to turn that dream from a vague idea into reality. In the end, the only thing that turns our thoughts into an actual part of our lives is putting in the time and effort.

That’s really the crux of it all. It is only when we have a passion for something that the chances our dreams will come true rise to any measurable level. Rarely does what we want just fall conveniently from the sky into our laps. In almost every case a person had to put in some level of effort to make their own dream come true. Depending on your goals, the amount of that work can range the gamut from a mild strain to a life consuming, excruciating load that can break you of you’re not careful.

It is important to consider how much effort you’re willing to put into anything before you start choosing which dreams to focus on. If you want something that requires far more effort than you’re willing to put in, you will inevitably fall into that cycle of discouragement that forces you to settle for less than you could potentially achieve. Knowing where to draw your own line will help you pick the best dream to pursue, not only based on the chances it could happen, but also on the fact that it’s something you’re actually willing to do.

A personal example of this is that I wrote the first in a trilogy of fantasy novels, but never made it past that first book. The story is still there in my head, and I might actually get it written down one day, but the dream of being a fantasy author requires quite a bit more effort in tasks I don’t particularly care for than I really want to put in. I love to write; editing, publishing and marketing are on my list of things I don’t really want to do. Those tasks aren’t particularly difficult objectively, but my distaste for them makes it very difficult to do. My unwillingness to put effort into the secondary tasks of writing a book makes that dream unlikely to happen.

However, my desire to write is still there, hence why this blog exists. I have learned that I’m only willing to put in a certain level of effort into any task that I do, and short blog posts are much more in line with the way my mind works. It is much easier for me to take a topic and do a brief, but thorough run down on what the topic is along with some things to consider about it. It is something that is far more sustainable than trying to force myself to write a book that I know I’m not willing to put the work in on the back end to for.

That’s the trick, really. Like everything in life, we have to exist in moderation. Aim too high and you’ll never be happy, either because the level of work to maintain that dream leaves you with no time to enjoy it, or because your dream isn’t possible and you never end up achieving it. Aiming too low ends the same way because you spend your life wishing you could have done more. Each of us has a balanced goal that we can pursue that is both realistic and fantastic. It just requires a bit of thought.

What do you think about pursuing your dreams? Do you have a dream you tried for and failed? Or do you tend to doubt that any of your dreams are possible? Dreams can be a very good thing that propels us into a future that is better not only for us, but for the people around us. Learning to figure out which dreams are best for us can be the key to finding the kind of happiness in our lives that we all hope to attain.

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Minimizing Your Life

As Americans, we have a certain idea of what our lives are supposed to be like based on how society has portrayed the “average person”. We picture a separate house with a yard, a couple of cars in the driveway, and a secure job that we go to every day that pays the bills and gives us enough extra to have a little fun. This isn’t a bad view of life, but the problem is that we tend to think of it as the only view of how life should be. It doesn’t necessarily have to be this way.

I’ve struggled with what is “normal” for a long time. Following the rules set by others tends to irritate me, placing arbitrary limits on what I want to do in an attempt to force me into the box that everyone else lives in. The problem is that for the most part I don’t really like being in that box, crammed in with so many people. I tend to want to escape; to find some space to do my own thing in my own way and be free from the expectations of others. Some people would call this a “loner”, but in reality no one is an island.

Where we can start to exert some of our own individuality in our life choices is in what jobs we choose and in what dwelling options we decide to take advantage of. Some people choose the standard, cookie-cutter life never knowing that there are other options out there. When you look around the world, you can see a multitude of examples of different ways of living, from primitive farming to “earth ships” to sailing the seven seas. There are so many options.

The way you choose to go will primarily depend on what type of personality you have. If you like having lots of things around you, that limits your options quite a bit. You may need a full size house to store all the things you want to keep. Even if you aren’t into keeping memorabilia or similar things, just having room for things like major appliances and entertainment setups requires a more traditional living situation.

On the other hand, perhaps you are more like me and as you get older you start wanting to find ways to simplify your life. Having all that stuff is great for a time, but as you gather more and more and your living situation becomes cluttered, you might begin to feel like it’s time to downsize. When you get to the point where the life you chose is starting to suffocate you, it might be time to start thinking about how to minimize your life.

I went through this after my marriage ended. I realized all the stuff I had to deal with separating my life from another person, and as I looked back on my life before that I shuddered at the amount of effort required to move all that so many times. My vague recollection of that era is that we never spent more than two years in any one home, so moving was a regular occurrence. Getting an entire household of goods from one location to another requires quite a bit of effort, which you either need to put in yourself or pay someone else to do.

My current way of thinking is to put myself into a situation where even if I end up having to move around a lot, I don’t have to do much to make it happen. Part of the reason I purchased a travel trailer to live in was the potential for adventure, but and even bigger reason was the fact that to move myself from one place to another simply requires closing the slides, putting everything away, hooking it up to a truck and driving away. An hour or less and I’m on my way. Compare that to four to six hours of loading a truck and then the same thing to unload it on the other side. It isn’t much of a contest for me.

The real point isn’t that everyone should be selling their stuff and their homes and getting as basic as possible. What I’m really getting at is that you don’t have to follow the pattern template that we’re told is “normal” when deciding how to live your life. As long as it works for you, that’s all that really matters. What you should really be doing is thinking about what you want and considering options outside of what you think might work. You’ll be surprised at just how many doors are open to you.

What do you think about downsizing your life? Do you have too many things and are ready to pare things down? Or are you happy with what you have? Sometimes you reach a point where you really want to make a change, but you might be afraid to think outside the box. You might not need as much as you think to live the kind of satisfying life you crave.

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Existential Questions: The Soul

I’d like to think that this is the start of a new arc of articles covering some different thoughts about many of the philosophical ideas human beings have come up with over the years, but we’ll just have to wait and see how that pans out. As I was ruminating over ideas for the next article, I was reminded about how lately I’ve been thinking about one of the biggest existential questions most people wonder about: do I have a soul? That question immediately sparks other ideas to write about, but only time will tell if that can turn into a complete series.

It is interesting how our perceptions change as we age. When we are young, we are hardly concerned with the later stages of our lives, fully focused on the moment and what we want for the near future. Our attention is easily snared by shallow, unfulfilling things like attractive members of the opposite sex or partying or any other number of other “fun” activities. Barely more than children, most young adults never really think about anything beyond the here and now.

The time eventually comes, however, when we are beginning to approach the second half of our lives, and certain questions start coming up that we never really put much thought into during the first half. Among those questions is what happens after we die? It wasn’t much of a relevant issue when we still had so much of our lives in front of us, but as the number of years we have left continues getting smaller than the years we have behind us, the question becomes much more pertinent.

There are many differing viewpoints on the topic, ranging from one end of the spectrum to the other. Some believe that you cease to exist at the moment of death. Others believe that you live forever in perfect happiness. The truth is likely somewhere in between. Extremes don’t tend to be the norm in nature, and it seems likely that whatever follows our existence here will be something reflective of what we’re experiencing now.

Certain schools of thought try to use existing scientific evidence to disprove anything spiritual, claiming that our inability to quantify it means there is no reason to believe it exists. This is a rational viewpoint to some extent, but it could be argued that biology itself should discourage this viewpoint. One of the primary factors in biological evolution is the idea that a trait is only retained if it increases a species survivability over time. While basic intelligence obviously meets this criteria, the level of consciousness that we humans enjoy seems more of a luxury than a survival advantage, and biological evolution typically filters out unnecessary traits.

It is certainly true that we could be a case of “luck of the draw” and we just happened to get lucky enough to develop consciousness through a nearly impossibly large set of variables. Mathematicians will tell us that anything is certain to happen at least once if you get enough tries at it. However, making the assumption that there are an infinite number of attempts available for a particular thing never really made much sense to me. It seems more likely that consciousness is something outside of our biological development.

If this is the case, then we have to start wondering where our consciousness comes from. If we reject the idea that our consciousness is simply a function of our biology, it has to reside somewhere outside of our bodies, or at least separate from the physical functions of it. This is where the idea of the soul comes from. It is a separate part of us that can’t be quantified in our physical world, but has an effect on it all the same. When we are talking about anything spiritual, it is this part of our existence that we are talking about.

Like anything in life, going down the path I’ve taken in this article makes a number of basic assumptions. Unfortunately, you can’t arrive at any position in life without making at least one or two of them because we never have complete enough information to make a fully informed decision. It gets even more murky when we get into all things spiritual. At some point, you simply have to decide to accept certain things more based on feeling than fact because you know you’ll never get a completely true answer to all the variables surrounding it.

That said, since we can’t really prove scientifically whether or not our consciousness is separate from our biology, but it makes more logical sense that evolution would have trimmed that fat off, then it is fair to make the assumption that it is separate. If it is something outside of our physical form, it must exist in another place or form outside of something we know and understand. The logical end point for this line of reasoning is inevitably that we have a soul in one form or another.

Of course, this isn’t the complete answer to the question of the soul. It would be arrogant to think that any single article could ever exhaustively explain something so esoteric and complex, but that really wasn’t the point. I am not here to convince anyone of anything, and your personal beliefs are yours alone. The goal is to put out ideas that my readers might not have thought about, or to present them in a way that provokes additional thought on the topic. Sometimes it just takes hearing one thing to get us thinking differently about things.

What do you think about the idea of the soul? Do you lean more towards a biological explanation, or might there be something more? What would you need to see before believing in something more spiritual? We tend to need quite a lot of evidence to accept most things, but when we can’t get those answer we must sometimes bridge the gap ourselves. The answer we get from those leaps of faith can certainly be wrong, but if you have a solid foundation of logic behind the way you see the world.

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How Should You Carry Your Firearm?

In the current “popular” push against law enforcement, more and more states are beginning to pass laws that advance the rights of their citizens to keep and bear arms. Many people will see this as a bad thing, specifically because they feel that the erosion of a system of policing the public increases the chances something bad will happen. It’s difficult to know with any certainty just how bad things might get based on the change of one variable.

At any rate, it’s happening and it’s something we’re going to have to learn to live with, for a while at least. As certain people gain access to fewer restrictions on firearms, it is important to take a moment to consider all the aspects included in that very complex decision. Many people will simply buy a pistol, shove it in a cheap holster and go on about their business. The reality is that responsible carry of a dangerous weapon requires a bit more thought than that.

There are myriad things to go over when it comes to buying and carrying a firearm, but the focus of this article is the difference between openly carrying your firearm versus concealing it on your person. Both sides have pros and cons, and most people don’t think enough about what they’re doing before choosing an option, assuming both are available to them. Let’s take a moment to go over what these options mean and why you would pick one or the other.

Openly carrying is the most basic and versatile way to carry a handgun. This is usually place on the hip attached to a belt in a holster specifically designed for the size of weapon you are carrying. It provides the quickest access to your weapon in an emergency, and potentially provides a deterrent to criminals who might be considering you for a target. On the other hand, it also draws a lot of negative attention, and if a situation erupts into violence you will likely be the first person attacked in an effort to subdue the most obvious threat.

Concealed carry is the act of placing your weapon on your person in such a way that it is not clear that you are armed. This is typically done in similar fashion to the basic open carry method, except that the weapon is covered in some manner, typically with a shirt or other article of clothing. This concealment makes accessing your weapon more difficult, but has the positive effect of removing the constant tension associated with interacting with a public not comfortable with firearms. It also avoids undue attention by people with violent intent, as well as the attention of law enforcement.

As a person who believes in maximum individual liberty, I will always advocate for the most options to every person. Both open and concealed carry should be maximally available to all citizens, but I would also highly recommend that a method of concealed carry be used when going about your daily life. Many times it simply isn’t worth the trouble you might get into walking around with a publicly visible weapon on your person.

This is not to say that you should be timid about defending yourself. It is not cowardice to conceal your method of self defense, simply strategic planning. If your goal is to show off your weapon, you might want to rethink why you carry. Being smart about the methods you use to prevent harm to yourself or others is simply the best way to think about things, and when it comes to a tool as deadly as a firearm, more caution is always better than less.

What do you think about carrying a weapon? Can you think of reasons why you would choose either carrying openly or concealing it? What method do you think would work best in your daily life? Most of the time, we don’t really think about the details of how we do things and we are able to get away with it. This might work for a time when it comes to your firearm, but the consequences are simply far too high to leave things to chance.

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