The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Friday, November 30, 2007

All the world's problem's solved!

Well, not really...

I’ve often noted how much easier it is to solve other people’s problems than your own. Simple reason: it’s a lot easier to say: “do 100 push ups” than it is to actually do them. And it’s easier to think you have an accurate map than to actually explore the territory and find out.

And how much more does this apply to the larger arena, politics? Hell, as far as I’ve concerned, I’ve solved several major issues plaguing our country:
1) Health Care. A two-tiered system similar to the education system: government-sponsored health care for everyone, and the availability of private care for those who choose it.
2) War on Drugs: legalize everything less or equal in toxicity to alcohol. Have plain-label “package stores” sell it at 10% above cost. Use every dime of profit to fund anti-drug campaign and rehab clinics. Pushers out of business, gangs no longer able to buy guns, law enforcement no longer corrupted by drug billions, Central America no longer destabilized by narcobillions. Yeah, right.
3) Education: Pay the best teachers more than the worst teachers. Study what they do, and teach those at the bottom to model those at the top. Let a joint parental/student/administration/teacher board create the standards for “best” and “worst”
4) Illegal immigration: (well, it’s an SF solution, but I can dream. Even if the dream is a little nasty). Penalize employers who hired illegals, on a sliding scale: more every time they get caught. Offer green cards to illegals who turn in their employers (!). Deported illegals get affixed with “unremovable” ankle bracelets conducting mild electric current to their nervous systems, and an electronic fence along the border—and cellular broadcasts through the country, make it HURT for them to be here. Meanwhile, work on rehauling the immigration system to make it more humane and efficient. WARNING: I already know that this is outrageous. And that the technology would inevitably go wrong. And I admit that I had an evil smile while I typed it.

And so forth. I mean, heck—it all sounds reasonable to ME (except that last one, which had an Ellisonian feel to it.) World saved, problems solved. Yeah, right. I know it can’t, because as soon as I offer my list to one other person, she’ll point out everything she doesn’t like about it, and I have to modify. We spend a day hashing it out, and then we add another person to the mix, and spend TWO days hashing THAT out…
Sigh.
There’s a more important reason. Man, I’m fighting to ground my I.F. in reasons that go deeper than mere weight or appearance. Frankly, got both of those nailed. So my motivations for being a “good boy” at night weaken, and a little ice cream sounds great. Every have ice cream after a 36 hour fast? Talk about screwing up your blood sugar! And the next day I wake up feeling like crap.

So…my motivations have to clarify. Not a huge thing, just something we have to continuously do. I don’t believe in lazy people. I believe in people without clear goals and a belief they can have them. Some people don’t need goals—those had better be contented with their lives as-is, however.

Anyway, when I fall on my face in the middle of my own map, pretty naïve of me to think I have an accurate map of the REST of the world, isn’t it?
##
My “Five Minute Miracle” was interesting yesterday. I Bikram’d (and it was pretty good, actually. Surprising, as I hadn’t been in six weeks due to travel). And then at 3, 6, and 9 I did:
1) 10 “Television Meditation” Over-and-under punches. (Using the change in the t.v. screen image to generate a random reaction stimulus
2) 1 Clean and Jerk, each side, with 54 pound KB
3) 100 speed jumprope/set of FlowFit

All of this working to “be breathed” by the motion rather than consciously exhaling. Would have done more C&J, but wasn’t sure how I’d feel today. I feel great. Was a little worried about the jump-rope (did I have adequate warm-up?) Felt tight last night but fine this morning. Hmmm. Just playing here. Sophisticating the 5MM means I have a damned fine range of benefits:
1) Meditation (Be Breathed)
2) Tabata-style endurance
3) Fat burning
4) Coordination
5) Flexibility
6) Speed
7) Reflex
8) Skill
9) Strength

And more, all in teeny little 3-minute increments. More of a “15 minute miracle” but you don’t feel it because it’s scattered. Just checking. What would happen if I concentrated on Yoga in the morning (health), and then did skill/fitness stuff in increments during the day? Not sure I’ll try that…right now I’m ramping up for a M.A. seminar with Steve Mohammad next weekend. But maybe one day…

28 comments:

Pagan Topologist said...

The ice cream thing is interesting. I have read that ice cream is in fact a pretty low-glycemic food.

I am taking a little heavy cream in my coffee on fasting days; this is probably about 150 calories. I prefer coffee black, but this enables me to take my fat soluble supplements on those days, and I think this is better for my overall health. I have broken the fasting routine this week, since I have a cold, and I was not sure that it would be good to stress my body when it was fighting off an infection. But I have kept to fasting MWF pretty much for the last five and one half months. I haved lost only a little weight (202 down to 195, last time I checked) but my mind is much sharper on fasting days, which really surprised me. During the first month, this was not true in the evenings, but since my body has adapted, it has been really good. I have wanted more carbs on eating days, however.

Anonymous said...

Just what is an illegal immigrant? The total idea of a nation-state is so outdated. I'm pushing for a global metroplex with little ethno-cultural pockets. Citizen-identity is what causes so much oif our problems. But if we developed a global identity (which would be nearly-impossible because people love division) we could focus on the final frontier=space exploration.
-Shawn

Steven Barnes said...

Hey, all laws are artificial. So either people have the right to establish them, or they don't. That's separate from whether they are ethical, of course. Or whether the concept of the nation-state is outdated, which I think it is. That said, I think that any country that doesn't determine who can and cannot enter is pretty much going to die, and I have no interest in being in the middle of a nation's death-throes. We have as much right to determine who comes to our country as does Mexico or Canada or any other nation. Its gonna have to be worked out, sure, but my attitude is definitely Citizens First. I care a hell of a lot more (on the average) about my next-door neighbor than the guy across town. Nothing personal--I just have a limited amount of care-juice.

Frank said...

Steve Barnes said Penalize employers who hired illegals, on a sliding scale: more every time they get caught. Offer green cards to illegals who turn in their employers (!). Deported illegals get affixed with “unremovable” ankle bracelets conducting mild electric current to their nervous systems, and an electronic fence along the border—and cellular broadcasts through the country, make it HURT for them to be here. Meanwhile, work on rehauling the immigration system to make it more humane and efficient. WARNING: I already know that this is outrageous. And that the technology would inevitably go wrong. And I admit that I had an evil smile while I typed it.

Hey! I like it.

Josh Jasper said...

"I’ve often noted how much easier it is to solve other people’s problems than your own."

Also, you get much more public smug satisfaction over having solved something for someone else. It's frequently (in my experience) a dominance thing. I find people who teach frequently have that dominance drive as well. They want to prove how alpha they are to everyone.

Steven Barnes said...

You know, I've seen that as well. It's something I have to be careful of in myself. A question for you guys: how can you tell the difference between someone who teaches for love, and one who teaches for ego?

Steve Perry said...

That's easy -- somebody who teaches for love wants his students to surpass him.

If you have students who do that, you win.

A teacher who does it strictly for ego wants students to admire him, and is probably threatened by the idea that they might exceed his abilities, whatever the subject.

Ego-teachers tend to hold stuff back, keeping something secret as an edge.

I suspect that most teachers are a mix of the two -- I've only know a couple in my life who were without any ego that I could see. And in some areas, if you don't have a strong sense of self, it's harder to succeed.

Pagan Topologist said...

Ego-teachers tend to hold stuff back, keeping something secret as an edge.

Steve P, that is an oversimplification. Very often, the best teachers hold a lot back because certain kinds of things students will only get if they figure them out for themselves. Also, the teacher cannot generally assume that his or her insights are the only ones or even the best ones, and sharing too much information with a student can stifle a student's creativity by preprogramming thought processes that are better left open. Remember Socrates.

Steve Perry said...

Most of the stuff most of us write here are over-simplifications. Nature of the medium.

When a student is ready for the knowledge, the teacher is -- theoretically -- supposed to know and parse things accordingly.

Barnes's comment was about ego versus those who teach for love. In my experience, what I said holds true.

A teacher who is waiting for the student to be able to grok things is not the same as one who is keeping the knowledge in order to maintain a sense of superiority.

The former might be doing it for love. The later is not, and -- again, in my experience -- ego-drive teachers tend to hold stuff back.

The Socratic method has a lot of value, but it isn't the only way to pass things along ...

Frank said...

It seems to me, that being enlightened means knowing the right thing to do, at the right time, with regards to the prevailing situation.

Granted, not all teachers are enlightened.

Josh Jasper said...

You know, I've seen that as well. It's something I have to be careful of in myself. A question for you guys: how can you tell the difference between someone who teaches for love, and one who teaches for ego?

In my experience, it's someone who loves learning from students, and takes the teaching hat off outside the classroom. Also, what you said about it being easier to solve other people's problems than your own, that's key - a teacher without too much dominance issues will continue to work on his/her problems, and won't be afraid to admit they exist.

I'm sure it's a combination of love of teaching and desire to be dominant in most teachers. I don't think we can resist the urge to social pecking order games easily. Knowing that you do it, and that it can be problematic is important.

Steven Barnes said...

Frank-

Just to clarify the terminology I use:
An enlightened person would certainly see the situation clearly, and see the range of options, without clouding by ego or fear. But in my mind, so would a person who is simply "Awake," a state I'd place at least one level below Enlightenment. Enlightenment would be sustained "awakening" accompanied by non-dualistic awareness and dissolution of the Ego state. A newborn baby's mind combined with the knowledge of an adult might be pretty comparable.

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Everything you are writing about it good. But where to find time at least for meditation? I need it, but I cannot relax in the house, where the three kids are running and jumping all over the time, and where the dog and cat are not the best friends...

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