Find Your Road

20170802_080822Sometimes when I finish one of the “Great Books” and look to the reading list for the next one, I am sorely disappointed and do not look forward to reading it. “Elementals of Chemistry” by Lavoisier was one of those books! Chemistry?! Oh, this will be a fun and exciting read! I was happily surprised at its content, though!

French. 1780’s. Science. I can’t imagine a worse subject for me. I looked up the Wikipedia article on him and found out he’d been beheaded during the “Reign of Terror”. Interesting. Then I began to read. It wasn’t difficult and I enjoyed the subject. I even learned a few things about acids and air. Why can’t all science text books read like this?

And here was my favorite line in the reading (the assignment was only the first fifty-two pages), “…in chemistry as in moral philosophy, it is extremely difficult to overcome prejudices imbibed in early education and to search for truth in any other road than the one we have been accustomed to follow.” Ain’t that the truth?! If only we could see that we all tend to do this, we’d have an easier time finding a new road to travel, wouldn’t we?

Since everything I read tends to remind me of God or Home Education, I’ll go down that road with this text as well. This time I will choose Home Education. Looking back, I believe I’ve given my children the best chance at being open to any road ahead of them because we did not attend any formal school in what I consider their childhood. They were educated in that we helped them learn to read, write, and cipher when they wanted to. We introduced them to the world around them but they were not “schooled” so that they followed a particular road. Now that they are in their teens they are looking out into the world and finding the best road for their needs. My hope is that they will be just as comfortable changing roads once they are out there, and will see that the road they are currently on doesn’t lead to the destination they now have.

It’s like this. I feel that so many people I talk to are stuck on the same road they were set on in their early years because they cannot see another way no matter how hard the look at the map. They see others heading to better destinations or happier in their travels, but instead of changing the road, they change their vehicle or how they drive it. They try the shoulder of the same road, get a bigger or nicer car, or try walking instead but they cannot see they could just change roads altogether.

It makes me sad sometimes, especially when I see someone so unhappy on the road they are traveling. All I want to do is pick them up and put them on my road or any other road, just so they can see there are others. I know it wouldn’t help them. Everyone needs to come to the realization that there are so many choices out there on their own and that we should be constantly changing to meet our current needs, not blindly pursuing the goals put on us by someone else. And many people never will.

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Learn Nothing Day – 2017

My goal for the next thirty days is to write every day for an hour AND post it. So, if you think these posts come a tad random, that is the reason why. They are! I’ll keep them all tagged “dailies” for future reference.

Today is “Learn Nothing Day”, an event created by Sandra Dodd in an effort to show people that it is not possible to learn nothing on any given day. It does not matter if you are in school or out, in front of the TV, hiking in the woods, or quietly meditating on a beach. It doesn’t matter if you are new Mom rocking a newborn in front a fireplace or a old Dad mowing the lawn on a sunny day. Even if you are all alone in the world, you will learn something every day. It’s unavoidable! No one succeeds on “Learn Nothing Day.” We are all losers no matter how hard we try.

In honor of that day, I’ll fill you in on what I’ve already learned today and it’s only 9:15 A.M.! I’ll go backwards from the latest to the earliest pieces of the day.

I just learned that all black and green teas are “anti-inflammatory”. No, they don’t calm down arguments, or maybe they do. Can you argue over a cup of tea? But they can reduce the inflammation in your body that cause all kinds of disease. I’m glad I’m a fan of iced tea with my lunch and a hot cup of hot oolong in the afternoon.

About an hour before that, when I logged onto Facebook to see what my friends were up to (it’s currently raining and I just know all my fellow desert dwellers will be reveling in it), I was reminded that it WAS “Learn Nothing Day” and posted to remind everyone to celebrate. I also posted a link for those that may have no idea what I’m talking about. This one http://learnnothingday.blogspot.com/

So now THEY have already learned something in reading my post! Ha ha! Share the love!

During my “Christian Basics” online class, I read this question, “Will unbelievers have a second chance to believe in Jesus after He returns?” This has always been a tough one. The answer in their book is no, but maybe. There is no specific reference to whether or not they will, there is only conjecture and inference. My personal belief is yes and I really can’t know. When I was a very new believer I couldn’t accept that God would condemn all those in the world who had never heard of Jesus. What about all those who have died before Jesus came to save the world, those who have lived isolated and never heard of Him, those who have felt lied to and betrayed by humans in this world and never found anyone they could trust that would lead them to the truth? I think at Judgment Day, something will happen, something just and good, something we cannot understand now and will in the future. I will trust that God has a plan and that all is never lost for the innocent.

In my bible study by Beth Moore, called “Entrusted”, I learned something marvelous. “The church of the present – comprised of every Christian on planet Earth – has a rock-solid foundation but it doesn’t have walls.” Many would disagree with this statement but I’d say that this is the way the church, the body of Christ, should be. Hold on to that for a moment. “The body” is porous, it lets in and out impurities and nutrition, it is not isolated. It lets in and keeps what it needs to live and grow. It gets rid of that which it does not. So we should be as the body of Christ. We stand on a firm foundation of the love of God, but we do not hide ourselves away, isolated and stagnant. We breathe in the world around us, let it in, and let it wash over us. We keep that which we need, new members, love, understanding, patience, etc. And we let go of the ugly and profane. It’s a beautiful picture. The more I study the bible from other people’s perspectives, the more I find that it fits so beautifully in this life.

My Great Books of the Western World reading list put me to Lavoisier’s Chemistry this month…ugg…science. I’m so not a fan of chemistry and mathematics. I wasn’t looking forward to this. I think I’ve posted about that before. But this is pretty awesome. I won’t get into all the details just yet since I’m saving it for when I finish and review it, but let’s just say the writing is clear and easy to read and doesn’t leave you bogged down in too many details. Today I learned that people used to know about acids but not where they came from, just what they do. He developed a way of purposely creating them, which he explains in this book, and renaming them according to the element they came from. Sulfurous and sulfuric acid come from sulfur. -ous means less saturated with oxygen, smelly and more stable. -ic means saturated with oxygen, stronger, solid, and odorless. And that muriatic acid still holds that name because they didn’t know where it came from. I’m not sure if they know now or what. I guess I’d have to google it but I’m not learning anything today!

My day started with a cup of coffee and “The Question of God” by Dr. Nicholi, Jr. This is a very good book if you’re interested. From a Christian or Atheist point of view, it compares Freud’s view of the world to C.S. Lewis’. Both were influential in their time, both came from religious families and became atheist. Freud never returned to God and Lewis did. It’s fascinating to hear them compared, both what they wrote and how they actually lived. I was reading the chapter on sex this morning and found this nugget. “Lewis goes beyond Freud to argue that people who control their sexual impulses understand their sexuality more than people who fail at controlling them. ‘Virtue – even attempted virtue – brings light; indulgence brings fog.’” Freud argued that we need to not hide sexuality, we should embrace it. I’d tend to agree. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need to control ourselves. As with any passion, it’s good for some things, not so good if over-indulged. Lewis once told a story about a society that sold tickets for “strip tease” sort of act where a person came out with a covered plate and slowly lifted the lid to reveal a piece of bacon. The crowd would go wild with excitement and people would hurt each other to get to it and keep it from others. I think we’d all agree that something had gone horribly wrong with their feelings about food. The same goes for sex. Something has gone terribly wrong today. I’m not sure what the fix is really. I’d rather not go back to Victorian era values of women and sex, but this view of “anything goes” does not seem to be creating a healthier and happier society either.

That brings be to the start of my day. It’s nearly ten o’clock now and I wonder what else I’ll have to try not to learn by the end of the day!

Thoughts on J.S. Mill

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I finished J.S. Mill’s “Representative Government” yesterday and had some thoughts about it, another piece of the big puzzle is on my table. While reading it, I can’t put my finger on him. It seems that he is telling people they need someone or some small group to control them but then it feels like maybe he’s being facetious, telling people what they can expect if they go down a particular road even though he may not think that road is the one to take. I did have a kind “ah-ha” moment as I closed the book.

In the past I’ve heard many people talk about voting and how maybe we should change the way we vote from representative to direct, meaning each person casts their vote on each law or change instead of once every couple years voting to elect a representative that votes for the group. I’ve been one to suggest the idea, thinking that the reason we haven’t in the past is because it would be too difficult to get and count all those votes, but now with the technology we have, there is no reason not to let everyone vote individually. But through this book I’ve learned another reason that we have representatives and a constitution. They are there to protect not only the minority, the people that would have their rights of life, liberty, and property abridged in the interests of the majority, but also the majority of the people from being controlled by an elite group of people.

Most people in the world are the “working class”, those that must work on a daily basis to provide life’s necessities for themselves and their families. These include farmers, merchants, and laborers. These people in the past, and still today, work most of their days. They are up and busy from sun-up to sundown every day at their jobs. They are skilled and unskilled, young and old, poor and middle income. They do not have an hour or more a day to sit and read, study, and understand all that is going on in the world outside their immediate needs. This isn’t a bad thing, or something that needs to change. It’s just the way the world is. In the same way we need gravity to hold this earth together, we need workers in the world to create and build and keep the world moving. If we went to a individual vote for every thing our government does, even if we had a limited one, those people would be the first to be hurt. Those that have more free time for study and reflection, the rich and powerful, would soon be the only ones with the time and education to vote. So we go to the polls every other year, we take the time to research and elect a representative that reflects our principles and needs, and send him to do the job over the next few years. He may not always vote exactly the way we would individually, but it’s better than no vote at all.

As a people we have mostly lost interest in who our representatives are and how they have voted in the state and federal governments over the years. This is only one problem I see in the way we’ve let our government evolve. A good first step for all of us, the people, to take back control of our government is to become educated about how our system was started, how it is supposed to work, and the history of why it is the way it is. It’s a lot of work, but it’s important if we are truly to return to an free and independent people without rulers. We’ve lost our history and in that we are moving forward blind into the future. We complain that the rich and connected are taking over the country and then vote to give the government more power to sell to those same people. We are voting each election to give away more of our freedom in the hopes that government will take care of us. We are giving away control of our lives to wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Over the last three years, I’ve read more history about our nation and learned more about how our government works through the “Great Books of the Western World” collection and its reading list. I spend a half hour a day reading through the selections and making a note each time I begin to understand, or something strikes a chord in me. There are days I understand nothing and days it seems pointless to continue, but I keep on reading. The more I read, the more I understand, the more pieces of the puzzle I have to complete the picture. It doesn’t take a lot of time each day, but it does take perseverance. I consider it a small payment for the future lives of my children and grandchildren. I only wish more people could or would take the time to really understand what’s going on outside TV and Internet politics. It’s far more interesting and inspiring this way.

Finished Reading Tacitus’ “The Annals”

I’m still working my way through the reading list of the Great Books of the Western World and this morning I finished “The Annals”. I didn’t realize how fascinating the Roman Empire was. I love that it all sounds so familiar. Politics has always been the same. It’s a bit scary as well. Interesting to read about battles between kings and the personal intrigue between the leaders. Violent.

Here are a couple quotes I underlined because they were so relevant.

“Money was given to you, Hortalus, by Augustus, but without solicitation, and not on the condition of its being always given. Otherwise industry will languish and idleness be encouraged, if a man has nothing to fear, nothing to hope from himself, and everyone, in utter recklessness, will expect relief from others, thus becoming useless to himself and a burden to me.”

“No authority was strong enough to check the turbulence of a people which protected the crimes of men as much as the worship of the gods.”

“For benefits received are a delight to us as long as we think we can requite them; when that possibility is far exceeded, they are repaid with hatred instead of gratitude.”

“Soon afterwards it was clearly seen what a narrow margin there is between such science and delusion and in what obscurity truth is veiled.”

Do you write in your books? I do! I know that bugs some people. Probably more in my case because most of my books are old. But I find some great notes in these old books and I feel it brings me closer to the people that read it before me even though I didn’t know them. I hope someday my notes will do that for someone else.