Monthly archives: July, 2012

Everything in extremes…

Everything was awesome today…but extreme acts in other places make much it harder to feel good about.

After what was nothing short of an extremely awesome day for me today, I was so busy that I didn’t pay attention to the news…and then once I did, I obviously found it drastically disheartening to hear about the tragedy in Aurora last night.

Of course every political machine on the continent is now using this tragedy as a platform, and it makes me think.

It’s as if we’re given the impression that our sense of security is an illusion.
It’s as if we’re given the clear means with which to feel secure.
We hear about upcoming laws and acts that will take these away.
We’re pummeled with the idea that our rights can and will be taken away.

But when it comes down do it…it just seems like everyone has been programmed to react to this instead of actually choosing.

I would like to point something out…the minute you allow another person to determine your rights, you’ve forfeited them already. With the uncertainty and revelation of having such a level of self-autonomy, the real effects of social responsibility and accountability shines clearly.

Every living being knows the difference between right and wrong. Every single one. Unfortunately, the power of the human mind is such that it can muddy moral waters so much that convincing ourselves to commit horrible acts is only one violent movie away from tragedy.

Do I think the movie was involved with it? Hell yes.
Do I think the movie caused it? Hell no.

To hold blameless the obvious relationship is definitely ignoring part of the problem, but not in the context that “the movie did it”. That’s just stupid.

But then how do we “fix” the problem? The deranged lunatic could have just as easily used a far more insidious and indefensible means…so regulating the weapons isn’t going to work. Regulating the movies will not work, as the movie companies will simply make the ratings even less useful, and the theaters will not enforce them anyhow.

I honestly think that the only method in reacting to this type of problem proactively is in education. Where we not only teach but believe in them, an idea or value prevails. We already have all the laws in place we need, I think now it’s time people we taught to value those boundaries. If we’re going to be a society of gun-toting self-autonomy fanatics…we must impress upon ourselves values that will give us the mental fortitude not to walk into a building full of defenseless people and take life indiscriminately.

Why do I phrase it like that?…because not clarifying that there are situations where defending one’s self and loved ones is entirely appropriate.

We praise an industry that glamorizes the violent and immoral.
…and place blame on the individual that succumbs to it.
We render judgement on the mind that no longer knows better.
…and hold blameless the society that fostered the mind.
We dispute the tools of war we all now lovingly bear…
…pray continually that we all are lucky enough to never have to use them.

To me, this is living in fear. I do honestly uphold everyone’s right to keep and bear arms, but do not feel that everyone has the moral and mental fortitude to keep and bear them responsibly. In their gambit to glamorize violence, the film industry now teaches children the basics of stealing cars, the basic rules of stealing without getting caught, the idea that what happens in those movies is not only possible, but probable or certain.

We’re talking about a guy that planned all this. His apartment was wired with so much explosives that the news implied it could have taken out several of the apartment buildings. Why did he chose that venue? More importantly…what happened that he felt this was necessary?

This tragedy makes me wish I knew more about and had greater faith in people, because then I might be aware of and maybe stop whatever it was that caused that guy to feel this was necessary…

-T



Yearning for Learning…

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We all have those points we reach where we re-evaluate where we are and what we want. I honestly think that it’s part of the process by which we make sure we’re not repeating mistakes and are on the path we want to be on.

As you all know, I started my own consulting business about a year ago, and it’s been a learning experience to say the least. I’ve learned more about the business world and finance and taxes in the last year than I had in decades prior.

It occurred to me that one thing I truly love to do is learn…be it people…trees…the wind…math…okay…maybe not math much anymore, but you know what I mean? My spark is still there…in scenarios where I have to immerse myself into an environments where I have no bearing, and no experience. While I am hardly getting rich by becoming my own boss, but I am enjoying a level of freedom that I didn’t even know when I was a kid. Part of that freedom has been having the time to take on learning TONS of subject matter I didn’t have time for beforehand, and recently, I’ve even started inquiring about tuition costs for school because unfortunately, some of the world I want to know lays buried in the books and lectures of professors I normally wouldn’t have access to otherwise.

The bottom line, I miss learning, I miss that feeling where I’m entering a completely new arena and have to soak in absolutely everything. It keeps my mind from getting too bored, which unfortunately is very easy for me if I don’t have a conversation going on…or a book to read…or the internet to soak in and learn about…well…everything. Well, as I’ve learned recently, an undergraduate degree acquired online costs over $70k. Yup.

That is what I said. HOLY CHRIST ON A POGO STICK…SEVENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS…

…and that is 100% do it yourself computer based training.

Unfortunately, as I stated above, I have time – but money like that – not readily available, especially considering my health problems and trying to buy a house this year…I know it’s simply not an option at rates like that.

So here comes that spark…

I’ve been a TED subscriber for quite some time, and the messages you hear on it are incredible…there are soooooo many people out there trying to broaden our horizons and make this world a far better place, it’s pretty inspiring. So much that I’ve tried to make sure I watch at least a few TED video’s every week or two so that I know what they know, or at the very lest can draw some ideas or inspiration.

And earlier today I saw this article on free courses offered online…

TED Blog – Completely free online classes? Coursera.org now offering courses from 16 top colleges

TED.com - Ideas Worth Spreading

And after that I checked out Coursera.org and found that t wasn’t the degree I longed for…it was the education, thee information, and the opportunity to soak more of the world or turn my brain to jello trying.

I went on to find a number of other organizations that offer free education and courses. I realized that some people and organization were finally trying to improve the world, by allowing the mind to grow. In a society that puts a price on access to virtually any information, there are finally a number of organization that are trying to share that wealth instead of profiteering from it.

Again. Me. Inspired!

So where did all that take me?

I have the time, I am going to take it and learn as much as I can while I still have it. There are already more courses out there than I could finish in the next decade, and I think that within the next few years the amount of curricula available will grow exponentially.

You’re probably reading this and thinking Jeez Tony you could have just said, “I’m going back to school.”

True, I could have, but then I wouldn’t have shared all these nifty links to all these places online that provide free education.

The Khan Academy – TONS of video and stuff…LOADS…I also found these guys from TED.

OpenLearn- I haven’t tried these guys yet but they have a huge course selection.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health – Open Coursework from a great Medical School. Prize material for med students!

Tufts University – More Med school offerings


Stanford University
– That’s right, Stanford has buku lectures free via iTunes!!!!

UC Berkeley – More from UC Berkeley, available via iTunes!

OpenCulture – Has a FEKTON of courses listed available online.

Education Portal – Good information regarding online coursework.

What did I find for myself? A sustainability class, some newer Philosophy classes, loads of history classes I might actually like learning from…bottom line…enough for me to really enjoy regardless of where I learn it.

;)

-Tony