Appreciating the World Cup

Long-live FIFA.

Of course, I’m looking through my own eyes.

                One fellow, on Fox News, was talking about the “problems” with soccer.  Immediately, I knew what was coming. Like many, he didn’t like the low scoring games, and I imagine, other aspects.  I decided this is a good time to address the game from one person’s perspective.

                Like many of my peers, I grew up playing street football and backyard baseball, among all the other adventures and games we played, none the least was my favorite:  tree tag.  And though I had some awareness of soccer, as there never were any real games in our neighborhood, to me it was just another game.  As such, I had no real understanding of the game.

                Fast forward.  I’m a school teacher when a fellow stops by and asks me to coach soccer.  Having absolutely no experience, I decide to coach one year.  And though I watched a few games on television, borrowed a couple books on the subject, asking a couple players for tips, I know I did a horrible job back when.  After the second season, I knew I had to do something different if the teams I picked were going to have a chance.  I couldn’t put another 15 players through these losing seasons anymore.

                So, I read books, studied training methods and game play, went to local games, watched it on television, and listened whenever anyone was discussing soccer.  And my eyes continued to grow larger.  I began to understand more and more the dynamics of the game.  I began to understand the player positions, methods of defense and offense, and how all they all work together.  Thankfully, during the next eight years, our teams improved, twice being in the top two, and I knew I still had much to learn. 

                The reason the fellow on Fox News doesn’t like the game is he didn’t grow up playing soccer.  He didn’t grow up in a city or town where everyone plays soccer.  It’s a mindset.  Soccer has a deep history.  It’s played all over the world.  And it’s one of the few world-wide games anyone can play if they have one ball:  any ball.  And to do well takes a ton of practice and skill.

                The reason players “celebrate” so much when they score one point is exactly because it’s so difficult to score a point.  That’s the game.  11 players try to kick a ball past the defender, and a goalie who can use his hands, while preventing the other team from any points.  And every single player has a position to play within the scheme of the entire team, which never stops, the part I like the best.  Except during penalties and injuries…, and half-time. 

                All eleven players are important.  If even one player isn’t on their game that day, that one player often costs the game.  To those just starting to watch, notice how all the players are constantly moving around.  That’s because, during the game, position is everything.  In other words, if one player is standing in the wrong position, even a few feet off, that’s all a good opponent needs.  And the skills required to play at the World Cup level is daunting.  Few will ever get that far. 

              **Why I like soccer more than football, basketball, and baseball is the non-stop action, the skills levels required for each position, and the incredible dynamics of game-play with well-coached teams.  And when someone does score on a very good team, we know the hard work, and often luck, necessary, but also the preparation and years spent.  Some players were already knocking the soccer ball around before they could walk, and many learned to kick the ball the same year they began walking.  It’s a lifestyle.  It’s a tradition.  And it takes a ton of work to reach the top.

                Any team who wins the FIFA World Cup did so through hard work and determination.  

**One last, but not least item: Talking with a neighbor, we were discussing the fundamentals, individual skills, group training, and strategies. It’s easier to see why Brazille, Portugal, Argentina are so good, along with a couple other teams, but why U.S.A., South Korea, Japan, and even Switzerland never really could be in the last game. The dynamics are just far so much sounder with the top teams.

**I told him my pick to win is Brazille, followed maybe by Portugal or France. To me, Argentina is a wild-card.

A Curious Distraction

Whether we look in the moment or with preconceived notions.

*To visit, travel, and view with present eyes.

                On occasion, while reading a book or writing, I have had the television on as well, though the sound is off.  Yes, I have been asked why I left the set on while reading.  Actually, with the FIFA World Cup and the later college football games, I sometimes am keeping track even though I am also reading a book:  or two.  I suppose, to some, that’s a curious habit.  Ah… what is life without whimsy and personality quirks? 

                But I’ve been noticing something.  I actually understand more what’s going on in these games with the sound off.  Out of curiosity, during one football game, I counted the number of “additions” (side story clips) between downs.  For instance, from first down to second down, and so forth, I noticed an average of 5 camera changes, the information pouring through the set like there’s no tomorrow.  However, after having kept the sound off for some time, I found all those additional information pieces “odd.”  Tons of distractions, side stories, retells, and so forth.  Like they didn’t want the audience one moment of calm.  Not a second would pass quietly. How much commentary do we need?

                We see a similar thing with commercials.  Instead of the long commercials we grew up with, we see shorter, faster, and constantly changing camera spots:  no time to ponder the advertisement.  Television shows have constantly changing angle shots and additions.  Curious.  And new movies!  Then, we also have people on their iphones and such.  Never-ending pouring of information.

                We ponder the value of all that information.  Watching far less shows these past months, never on the Smart Phone except to make or receive calls, turning off commercials, working on stepping stones, fishing, the garden, and more, I wonder how much of what we see and hear has any value.  Or just to keep distracted.  Perhaps keeping us moving in preconceived directions. Just a way of things in these times.  *Einstein spoke and wrote about the efforts to distract back in his days.

**One of Louis L’Amour’s well-researched stories, tying history, geography, politics, and an interesting story in one book. I read it last year, knowing I would read it anew.

                This is a well-recommended book.  There is much I could go into, our own history tied with another country, geographical information, political view-points, and more, but this is more for readers to discover along the way.

                The basic story line is of a United States Air Force pilot becoming a prisoner in Russia, caught for the information he has, and the long venture to be free again.   And within all of this is woven the lives of other people and their concerns. 

                I must say though, like many, I’m probably a “critical” reader:  in the sense that I enjoy the story, appreciate thoughtful writing, more so if it ties real aspects of life as was in this novel.  I suppose that’s also why I like reading Albert Einstein’s writings for, in those pages, I believe in one who truly is looking to understand and communicate.  Not that I agree with all of his viewpoints, but that I sense one who looks at issues from many angles, including his experiences, and genuinely shares what he feels are salient points, encouraging others to truly talk, discuss, and share. 

And that, in part, is how I see the importance of a less-distracted life. I imagine, alone in his work studio, figuring equations, the time also allowed to ponder other areas of life. And as he engaged the social world, he also reflected upon real experiences. 

                Returning to the original focus in this article, I believe we’re more and more losing the ability to ponder.  Pondering, as I see it, has nothing to do with noise, information, and distraction.  Everybody thinks, all of the time, and people do ponder, wonder, but often not from an original place for lack of a better description.  Yes, the noise in our heads are often “borrowed” from the media, distractions, and so forth. I actually think far too may people don’t know how to be alone, less distracted, and pondering their days.

                For instance, and I’m no soccer expert (I only played on a co-ed team for one year, as an adult, but coached little league for ten or twelve.  I was a horrible coach early on, but learned such that our teams were competitive, twice being in the top two.).  However, like many couch potato fans, I can often see which teams will win, or go far, and which won’t, by the way they position, play, and work the games:  in all facets.  Individual skills and determination.  Set pieces.  Working together.  Attention.  And more.

                For instance, and people can judge for themselves.  In the FIFA World Cup, Brazille has it over everyone.  Why?  Because the players are experienced, many crazy in their playing, pass like no tomorrow (Fanstastic at one-touch passing.), know one another, and have the answer for most situations.  Uruguay is good.  Portugal is good.  I don’t think the United States will move past the quarter finals, if they get there, but certainly will not be in the finals.  Why?  Their passing, while good, needs work.  Their play is predictable.  With Brazille, no one knows what they might do and they keep the pressure on all of the time, relaxing to lull the other team into making mistakes.  But all aspects of the game are improving.  France is very good, and they might win again, but currently, we see a couple hitches that need correcting if they are to win it all.

                And that’s what, in a sense, we’re discussing in this article.  Real observations.  Real noticing.  Learning.  Not noise.  Not distractions.  Not emotion-based commentary. Not being a media piece for their propaganda.  Like, when reading the above book, later looking up information to determine the accuracy of historical information.  Certainly, we can see, Louis L’Amour did his homework.  But in reading his book, along with other authors, it lends information from which to read some of Albert Einstein’s letters and writings on the topic.  While in certain arenas, he knows a ton more, we can also realize his life kept him from the experiences of those he could have learned more.  He encouraged decision-making by intellectuals, but practical experiences have much to add. But none of us are perfect. 

                Following the rabbit of reason along the trail of understanding.

From a Perspective

An interesting and very short conversation.  We had a new couple move into the nearby neighborhood very recently, and as usual, we said hello.  They now live next door to another recent couple (retired) neighbors, one we’ve known for a couple of months now, and they shared a couple conversations with the very recent additions.  And it dawned on me as is has before in times past, though we don’t think about this.  Our perceptions are different.  But with discussions, they’re closer now.

Later, I had just finished an Elk painting on a stepping stone, and a friend and I were discussing.  Then again, something occurred to me.  He was looking at the picture similar to when I first finished the painting, but it was different.  Bear with me as I attempt to find the best words to convey the meaning.

You see, when I had completed the painting, I did not think it was as good as I could have made it.  So, I left it to the next day, looking at it from time to time, and finding myself “liking” the painting on the step stone more and more.  Then, this morning, I made some touch-ups and liked some things about it more, but some things not as much.  But I covered it in with a clear-coat, let it dry, and now it sits in the garden.  And I like it. 

Okay, here’s part of the article.  Our neighbor friend was looking at the picture for the first time:  without any experience or participation in the making of it.  He was seeing it with “new” eyes, having not yet determined the picture or his opinion.  But that reminded me of the parrot I’d painted months ago, when he had “talked” himself more and more into liking it.  Of course, now, he always points it out.  However, as I talked to him, both of us looking at the picture, he found himself liking it more.  Somewhere, along with the dialogue he and I were having, his eyes and mind were adjusting to the painting.

What we “see” is also what we make of things.  In other words, I think the first time we see something is the most “accurate,” depending upon our state of mind.  Before opinions.  However, even in that, our own minds, together with our experiences, play a big part in how we perceive things. 

I think that’s why when two people see an accident, though they might be right next to each other, they see different things.  They had no time to prepare.  They had no time to look, ponder, observe different aspects, then look again.  No, it’s all instantaneous.

I noticed that with a tree.  I was walking by, a tree in my peripheral vision, and for some reason my mind had filled in all the boxes as to how it looked.  Well, when I stopped, turned around, much of what I saw was as the tree, but some things were different.  But my mind had already filled in the design, colors, and even some angles and such prior.

Regarding our neighbor friend again, that’s what I pointed out.  The way he sees the stepping stone changes with time.  If he looks at it again, finds things he “likes” about the picture, including the tree and flowers I painted into the picture, and if he likes elks, he might find himself liking the picture more and more because, in part, his own mind and opinion will affect how he sees the picture. 

When I was painting, I did also make sure to put together a context pleasing to the eye, but also some colors and texture, and flowers, that I found people liking.  As such, the “things” I placed in the picture, with the elk, provides a pleasing context.  In other words, those “additions” helps cause people to like the picture more than if the elk were standing alone.

**I think, in part, this is why so many people are very conscious of make-up (women) and clothing (all). They are creating a picture influenced by their own experiences, but also, attempting to create an image in other people’s minds.                 However, as I’ve said, perhaps the first time I might happen upon such a person might be the most accurate.  Maybe.  Before they’ve had time to act the image:  in that image.  Yes, I’ve heard people say such things that they’re “expressing themselves” through their make-up, clothing, and tattoos.  And there may be something, to a degree, to that.  But whatever the case, whenever we’re talking to anyone, we’re looking the person in the eyes to see where they’re coming from. 

**It seems to me, there are always two things going on at the same time.  What exists and the people looking.  For me, that’s something to ponder.  When I think about that.  And to some degree, this goes with the last article. 

What is in Communication? Continued.

Following along the river.

                While reading a few blogs, one or two caught my attention, which led me to reread a letter from some time back.  I won’t go into the details, but something struck me.

                When we are writing (or talking) what is conveyed?  Honesty?  Or something else?  If honesty, often the clarity shines through, understanding taking place. As a teacher, I learned the importance of teaching to understanding. When I listen to anyone, I’m looking for understanding. When a conversation or letter is written, there are at least two involved:  one speaker or writer and one reader.  Which then entails something I’ve pondered from time to time.  That relationship.  Something is communicated:  both ways.  What is the reader supporting in the writer, and visa-versa? For to varying degrees, that mindset is everywhere.

                I have to clarify my meaning on that last sentence.  What we practice in communication, whether writing, speaking, or other forms is then what takes place in society:  to varying degrees.  Obviously, we have different interpretations and ways of expression.  But I’ve seen far too much commercialization, mimicked behaviors, and trends over the decades to not realize the connections.  And to varying degrees, I get why some people tend towards a smaller social life.  Some people are simply far too genuine to seek attention:  other than what is real. 

                However, in society, we often see exactly what I alluded to above.  Perhaps it’s insecurity.  Perhaps it’s learned behavior.  Perhaps a need for a social life, even if only to appear so.  Even to feel like part of society.  But what is that “society” one needs to feel a part?  It’s a ponder.  But that’s what we see.  Wall to wall.  Because what takes place grows throughout society. **I think a certain level of unconsciousness is going on because I believe “awareness” would prevent such behaviors.

                As I see it, whether it happens, the only communication worth its time is honesty.  And I might say the same for books with entertainment value.  And I know this part may be difficult for some to agree:  More important than whether people read a blog, purchase one’s books, or listen to her/his talks is honesty.  In other words, if a person has anything of real value to say, if only one person remains in the audience, then that honesty is imparted from one to the other.  However, if the person begins putting on the “charm,” spinning ways and means, and then as a result, more and more people arrive to listen, perhaps hundreds, what is being communicated? Because audience should never affect honesty. In the best sense.


               If one is writing to sell, then the question regards the motivation.  When I’ve read letters and such from Einstein, I really believed in his sincerity, whether I agree or not.  The same goes for Natan Shiransky.  But if either were writing for attention, or to sell, or to feel good about themselves because they’ve sold books or were listened to in audiences, we would quickly pick up and stop reading. We appreciate their experiences, thoughtfulness, and insights. 

               This is the purpose of the article, though I hadn’t yet put words to the music.  What many do is often influenced by the world around us.  But that goes with honesty as well.  For when more and more people speak, write, and communicate is varying ways honestly, that shows itself in society as well.  Over time, honesty grows in popularity, and this is good for society.


                Here’s something that came up in a discussion. 

                There is that, in life, which many, if not all, find a quandary from time to time.  In the “effort” to be honest, people find it not so easy.  Certainly we can speak and write with clarity.  Then there is everyday life.  And if I’m correct, that is not so simple. 

                Here’s an example.  Let’s say one works in the field of his/her training (perhaps in medical), supporting his/her family.  With time, the economy takes a downturn and they have high bills to pay, including medical and a mortgage.  At work, they discover the politics are becoming increasingly problematic.  It’s not so easy to simply move from one career to another.  What does a person do when the pressure to compromise becomes part of their everyday existence?

                The same can be said with many other type circumstances.  While we can speak and write honestly, the “real world” out there isn’t on paper.  Then, I suppose, it’s a matter of doing the best we can, but in that, we might not always know if we’ve done the best we can.  We also might see our own shortcomings, areas we aren’t as forthright though we talk ourselves into believing, and see times when our motivations aren’t as strong as at other times.  We realize we’re not so perfect.  We might even realize we sometimes work against what we believe.  And often, people attempt to compensate or excuse. It’s a quandary.  It’s something to ponder.  And I certainly don’t wish to “alleviate” the reality.

                In the bible, Paul said something which I have remembered from time to time.  I won’t quote.  However, what I remember was something akin to what we sometimes know is right and want to do, we find ourselves not or incapable of doing.  However, what we know we shouldn’t do, nor want to do, we sometimes find ourselves doing that.  He also shared, if I remember correctly, that as such, it is sin that has made a home within. 

We’re working against what we know is right and honest.  Life is not always so simple as to say do the right thing.  However, I have greatly appreciated some prayers that were answered.  As I said to a friend, we are not our own.  Our Father in heaven knows more about us than we could ever.


They See as a Mirror …

*From here to there.

                Just a couple things before the weekend.  One I remember from a relative.  He said we know what is right in our hearts.  Always. 

                The other memory was regarding times and places.  If a person is willing to talk behind others’ backs, even when times are difficult, they cannot be trusted when times are good.  That came from a short talk this morning, a friend mentioning the difficulty today in trusting anyone.  I believe she was talking about some people she has met more recently and began to trust.  What she said was akin to not knowing who people are.  For what so many say and do in one situation is not what they say and do in all situations.

                With the times we live, as we have noticed this “ponderous” observation, realizing the faces too many people place before different audiences, I very much appreciate those who are genuine wherever they happen to be.  Reading people like Natan Shiransky, Albert Einstein, and talking with a few good friends, we’re reminded often of integrity. 

We’ll add one more thing. It regards money, but I imagine encompasses other gains. I was younger. I thought I might happen upon a lot of money. I then saw greed, mistrust, and thinking outside the moment. I know of a couple people who would never be changed by money or anything else. I realized then to always be the same in whatever place you find yourselves is best.

                As Ronald Reagan once said:  To thine own self be true. 

                I believe, if one cannot be trusted by others, that person doesn’t know who they are and can never be happy. 


Noticing and Observing

While just looking about.

**I believe often what people see is with their eyes closed.

**People also often see what they’re looking to see, but not with clarity.

                I hadn’t thought to write upon this topic, finding the words weren’t there, and I also considered what the words might appear to some as they’re simply on a screen.  As such, often people interpret through their own filter. But perhaps, it might be worth the time, letting each person consider for themselves.  So, we’ll try it this way:

                I think to a great degree, much of our thinking and attention is “store bought,” media driven, and commercial, and there is a kind of peer/social pressure to be so. There is also our “conditioning” that “colors” how and what we see and think we perceive. However, it is also driven by the people all around us: wherever we go, and not only among co-workers and friends.  What I mean is that pondering isn’t something common, at least, hasn’t been in a long time.  In actuality, much of our thoughts, fears, worries, and ponderings are from the world around us, which wouldn’t be if we had been living our lives as say…, in the picture above.  Or think of the movie Jeremiah Johnson and such.  As I see it, much ponderings are often “worry” or manufactured ponderings: not real and thoughtful. **I’ve framed this last sentence as commercial thinking: that many people become “extensions” of marketing and propaganda, yet never realizing the influences.

                Some time back, I think it was early on in a career, I was hunting birds with a friend.  While walking along a trail, we got to talking.  He mentioned one time, I believe years before, when he was walking along the hills and a crow was watching him.  Interestingly, this happened several times, each time, he believed, the same crow.

Let’s “freeze,” or pause that for a moment.  When I heard him talking, I believe he was being honest:  at least speaking from his perspective unclouded by others’ ideas.  Whether it meant anything we will never know. 

Now, to a degree, I can now understand that, for I have seen some “oddities” or things I haven’t yet explained over the succeeding years.

                Yes, at the time, I did think he was a bit “off,” but left the discussion there.  I didn’t believe or disbelieve him.  I just left it alone.  After all, I hadn’t seen the bird, so what do I know about what he saw save the talk?

There have been times in my life when I sensed something, often at the same time, yet can’t explain. As such, I beleive there are things we know or sense without knowing consciously what we perceive. As such, I tend not to add additional words but leave it as a ponder.

                Recently, I have been noticing a “preoccupation” of sorts.  And I pondered upon that.  Why should certain things that never would have occurred to me years ago occur now?  More so, why even ponder about those things, which upon looking as from a distance, have no real relevance other than to occupy time and space?  As I see it, they’re “busy-thinking,” “brain noise,” and distracting.  Instead of noticing, following the real rabbit of reason down the trail of understanding, and asking good questions. **But even in that, I realized there must be a reason. So, we continue fishing, gardening, making stepping stones with art (Just finished a McCaw, Toucan, and Grizzley Bear.), going for walks, and letting any reasoning arrive in their own time.

                This article is not about what some readers might consider.  I was reading a book from Louis L’Amour the other day, and there was some of that “stuff” in it, about things we don’t see and other lives and such.  I’m not holding to that, nor turning away.  People can imagine all sorts of things, and as I believe, it’s just that:  imagination.  And I believe there is something dishonest in such pursuits, hard to explain, but we’ll save it for another day. Or not. And people can live their entire lives that way, thinking this and that, believing they understand something when it’s only their imagination.  How that occurs, I’m uncertain, but that’s for each person to figure out.  If they do….

However, and I must add to the above, we also might notice things, but then make the mistake of over-thinking. There’s something to be said for patience, pondering, and not adding when there might not be anything to add. Just noticing. Then, when we are patient, not looking to make meaning where none exists, we are honest. Just patience. And I suppose, we might eventually realize what those noticings are about.

                What we’re sharing is the evident distraction all around, that much of our thinking is inundated by the media, commercials, and “created” fears and worry, such that all too many people have very little time for thoughtful perspectives, taking the time to read a good book, discussing, and looking about and noticing what all too many are distracted to see and observe. 

                I suppose that might explain, in part, why one of our neighbors rarely is seen.  She works from home, however, and other than visiting family from time to time, is rarely seen out of the house.  We’ve talked to her from time to time, and she’s a nice person, but I think she tends to stay away from what we’ve been writing about.  I say, if that’s so, good for her.

                I’ll leave this article with the following.  Sometimes, as I am considering, a thought is not just a thought.  There is meaning, but the meaning might not be how we interpret at the moment, or for many moments.  As such, I have learned to notice, ponder, then leave alone for the most part. I don’t always succeed.

                For instance, the other day, I was noticing a “concern.”  However, I was “interpreting” it to mean something more present, even putting words to the music though I don’t know how those words came to be.  In other words, I asked, why was my brain putting those words to the music?  How did those thoughts arrive?  As I could tell, I didn’t see a connection between the thoughts and the concern, but I also could see I probably, in times past, went with those thoughts.  However, as I sat, I saw a memory from my youth, and I remembered the same “thing,” and to me, it was clear:  the connection.  Except this time, there were no “thoughts,” just the realization.  An “ah haa” moment so to speak. In other words, without words was realization. Words can often “mimic” realization, but there is no real “ah haa” moment. Realization and understanding has an honesty all it’s own.

Now, returning to my college aged friend long ago and the crow. I do think, back when, he was more observant and thoughtful. At that time, he wasn’t so busy with the business of distracted life, worries, and other things.


 **I think, when we’re not “moved” by the world, when that happens, we’re free to see and observe.


A Day in the Life

*Sometimes, we just sit and look.

**Why does one person fish from the shore while another chooses a boat? We’ll never know. Decisions are made daily, thousands of them, and we aren’t privy to all the influences, reasons, and personal ideas. And we never will be.

                Something Mr. Albert Einstein wrote that I very much appreciate.  While bringing forth thoughtful understanding to several subjects, including war, solutions to the atomic engineering issues, anti-Semitism, and beliefs, among others, he also realized what he sees doesn’t necessarily mean solutions: in the realm of this world.  I believe the time he spent alone, the time he spent reading and considering, the discussions he had with other intellectuals, are also areas he realized was to him (and them at times) alone.  In other words, what he understood and believed does not spread across the globe as he might have wanted.  For various reasons.  Some are related to past experiences, peer pressure, work surroundings, practical ponderings, fear, anger, hope, thoughtfulness, real-life considerations, alternative beliefs, family, gauging the times we live, and personal motivations along with other ideas.

                Let’s look at this from another perspective.  As one who has read, tried this and that job, I came to realize ways in which anyone can learn anything from the perspective of understanding. In other words, understand a topic first, apply yourself, and each person can do many things. But that only succeeds with choice and motivations along with other reasons and influences.  For instance, I’ve read about electricity, circuitry, and read diagrams, but I’d be bored taking on such a career. So, personal interests and circumstances are part of why we make choices. As such, I explained this to my students in a variety of ways, through a variety of lessons and projects, and taking the time to await opportune moments.  And I realized, what I see will never be what everyone else sees.  And that works in reverse as well. But also, it may be that it’s better we are different, provided we’re responsible. 

                As such, while what Mr. Albert Einstein proposed regarding possible solutions for world peace, it works in theory, but in the real world, we’re talking to people of varied beliefs, experiences, and motivations.  And as I once said, if world peace were possible, then we should also find countries demonstrating the success in singing arm-in-arm around campfires, supporting one another, and happy faces throughout the day.  However, reality rarely matches with theory.

                Now, going back two paragraphs, why will it never be what everyone else sees?  Because little things occurred to me while different things occurred to others.  Some things are significant to me while other things are significant to them.  Our lives are different.  We chase different rabbits. We follow different trails. And some things are so subtle, one has to be very watchful and patient before realization takes place. We have different interests, experiences, and read different books.  As such, we won’t all see eye to eye on everything.  Why is that good?  Because that’s the way of life.  And through people having varied interests, experiences, and outlooks, we can also learn from one another, hopefully in responsible ways.   But I don’t believe we’ll ever have all countries believing the same things. That doesn’t mean we don’t try. But we do our best, communicate, and live life a year at a time.

                For instance, on my own, I doubt I would have ever wanted to learn how to fly.  Oh, I would have been still fascinated by birds and bees, pondering, but I’m not one to venture into the air.  However, because others have and there are training centers, I took the opportunity to learn, and the experience of personal flight was pretty cool.  And that was because of others’ interests and motivations.             

                Albert Einstein, like many thought, observed, pondered, read, researched, and found his ways of describing possible methods of improvement.  While I can see, in a sense through his eyes, why he liked the idea of a world government, I believe wholeheartedly that would be the worst to take place.  It possibly works in his mind, but it doesn’t transfer to everyone. And I have my reasons, as he has his, based upon readings, experiences, and observations. One is that what works very well in theory does not often make it to the practical, everyday world.

                Take anti-Semitism to consider.  I’ve asked this question before.  Why on Earth would people target Jewish people, who comprise a small part of the world?  What could possibly be their reason(s)?  Well, I can only look at a few things, for now, but I think it will make the point.

                In recent days, I’ve noticed a reaction (in myself) to something in the past and present, which I won’t go into here.  I believe it goes back many years, seems subtle, but it’s there just the same.  And I asked myself, why is that reaction in existence?  There’s no logical reason for it, doesn’t help anyone, and certainly I can see a thoughtful answer.  And yet, it still exists, like something apart yet there.  That’s enough for this. I believe others have seen illogical or reactions in themselves they may not be able to explain. Like fear of spiders, which I love watching, or preference to social or to working alone as did Einstein.

                Take any individual who is anti-Semitic, and there will be reasons none of us might understand logically. In fact, I believe an anti-Semitic person could not explain themselves, logic having nothing to do with their feelings.  Einstein alluded to a small percentage of the population, one that can’t possibly defend themselves against a majority.  I’ll stop there.  I thought about that.  And it brought to mind the times I’ve seen stronger people attacking weaker, or higher numbers suppressing smaller numbers.  There is something in “human nature” that often expresses itself in a bully role, and they like it.  In other words, some people like suppressing, attacking, and putting down groups for reasons of their own, but which apparently they enjoy for whatever reason(s). And I’ll wager this: some people find themselves behaving thus without comprehension, some wishing things were different.

                He also alluded to many Jewish people’s love of learning, working to excellence, and making wherever they are better, including business.  And while I appreciate that, not everyone does.  Why? In fact, some people would seek to remove, cast out, and/or destroy those who follow the beat of a different drummer. Why?

                In various working scenarios, I have seen people who like their status quo.  They want things to go a certain way because “things” have always worked out that way.  They don’t want change. However, someone comes along who doesn’t toe the line, who remains themselves, is honest, and finds better ways, and the others are scratching their nails on the chalkboard, gnashing their teeth, and looking for ways to either destroy, get rid of, or suppress.  In other words, they fear excellence, independence, and thoughtful deliberation.  They fear change. They want to be the top of the line, but at a lower level, and keep anyone new down with them.  We’ve all heard of the concept: big fish in a little pond. Some people won’t allow higher quality.

                When I was a teacher, I sometimes met a co-worker who was amazing in certain arenas of education.  So, I observed, listened, and from time to time, asked questions.  I was never threatened by excellence. However, I also noticed others gnashing their teeth, working towards getting rid of that person.  And sometimes, they succeeded.  For myself, I wanted to learn and understand, but also to employ the things I’d learned and understood, for I also knew each instructor was an individual with individual talents, but also that students could learn something different each year: from different instructors.  And I thought, that is good.

                Einstein had some very good and thoughtful ideas.  And many of us have some good and thoughtful ideas.  But I believe, including myself, none of us have all the answers.  Why?  Because there are as many views and ideas as there are people in the world.  And all too many will never listen to any one person who has all the answers.  I guess, we’re not built that way. 

                Here’s one thing I believe.  It’s the heart.  If the heart of a people is good, overall we’ll make better decisions.  But we won’t know what each and every decision will be.  We only believe, overall, they’ll be good, which in the long run, makes for a better country.  And I believe in prayer. The founding fathers understood.

***We can learn so much from what is around us. Patiently.

**It’s a funny thing. The more we age and observe, the less inclined we are towards most or all advertisements. Speak plainly we say.

Walking in the Neighborhood

A bit of rain, today. People going about their day.

Just around the corner. Looking out over the lake.

                There are many things, little things, that come to mind from time to time, that brings questions leading to some answers.  I suppose, if one is patient, observant, over time, little things keep returning, sometimes bringing a question.  Perhaps, I have thought, some things keep returning for reasons I may not be as yet privy to.  And so, we’re patient.

                For instance, and this one I won’t go into, but I think many can relate from their own lives, little things I seem to recall, from time to time, but which didn’t seem to have any significance in those times of pondering, little things have come together to bring some answers.  Little things mind you.  Often little answers.  But to me, they answer something I hadn’t seen before, but which, explains so much.  And I just continue to follow the rabbit trail whenever it shows.  And yes, it can take decades, but I also gathered, some things I may never fully understand.  And that’s okay too. 

                Here is one question I’ve been asking.  In recent articles, I’ve shared a bit of Einstein I never knew.  Oh, growing up, we thought of him as the smartest man ever, one who knew many of the mysteries of the cosmos, and worked equations like there was no tomorrow.  And that’s what public school, the library, television, and the media shared. That’s what we learned from some posters in classrooms.

                However, I’ve recently learned he was very much involved in the effort at peace.  Working together with other nations to bring about cooperation, but also to help the plight of the Jewish people everywhere, he travelled, talked, and was part of many organizations with the purpose to bring about the end of wars, to bring about cooperation between nations, and to encourage thoughtful deliberation.

                And I found myself asking why I hadn’t known this until recently?  Of course, that also goes with many other questions.  For instance, our extremely sparse knowledge of communism, the Soviet Union in particular, along with a host of other world events and circumstances.  The Apollo missions, the efforts prior, and the amazing growth of learning within NASA and other agencies.  Much more, of course.

                While I say learning about Mr. Albert Einstein regarding the theory of relativity, the energy harnessed by the atom, and the incredible growth of understanding in physics is fantastic, the other efforts, to me, are equally important if not more.  As I see it.  And I think my peers and I would have appreciated learning of the roads he and others followed.    

                Something I realized years ago, though not as far back as I’d have liked.  However, when you do realize, we’re thankful just the same.  I have said this before to others.  You will never learn as much waiting for others to teach.  Never.  And that is what we hope more and more for others to realize.

                I have, in recent decades, believed we all learn far more by patience, pondering, observations, and taking the time in our lives to understand.  And yes, sometimes, it seems to take forever.  But regarding to some above paragraphs, those little things, over time, came to understandings, some small, and some bringing clarity.  And over more time, realization that helps to understand other areas of life.

                With Albert Einstein, regarding his “humanitarian” efforts, I find myself reading more and more.  Oh, I don’t agree with everything he wrote and shared.  In fact, I believe, had I been fortunate to have sat in the same room, I would have carefully listened, took notes, and then went on to listening to others, reading, and researching.  For he brought up, through his time and effort, subjects about which we ought (in my opinion) to read, discuss, and ponder.

However, I do agree with much, for I see an honesty in him, an aspect that is willing to correct when more information and insight is brought forth. Some of that I noticed as he was approaching the 1940’s. For things he proposed earlier he realized didn’t apply in full with changing situations, some dramatically different.

                This part of the article is separate from above.  It is simply something I’ve observed, read on, researched a bit, and thought about.  There is a problem when people think they have the answers to the world’s problems.  I think it’s part of why people believe in fighting global anything, because it’s so big and they haven’t figured out how to deal with small problems.  Something in their psyche I imagine.

                There are people, including Mr. Einstein, that attempted to create organizations where all the nations (or most) come together (i.e. their representatives) in order to cooperate, prevent wars, and bring about a better tomorrow.  And while I think the efforts should continue, I think we also have to be mindful of what we’re talking about.

                To a great degree, it won’t work.  And here’s why, as I see it, the U.N. included.  If people don’t get along with their family, with their neighbors, why are they attempting to solve their community’s problems?  If people within a nation can’t get along, constantly are at odds with each other, why do we believe we have the answers to other nations’ difficulties?  And if many nations with many problems attempt to create a mediator that attempts to coordinate all the nations to the benefit of all the people, why do we think they can do any better?  Because I have to observe, all along the road, from families, to neighborhoods, to local communities, to states, to counties, we are a community of individuals, each with their own issues and problems, but we also have the organizers, some good, some not so good, and some very bad.  And they influence by their own methods and purposes. 

                When each nation, each with their own problems, send representatives to a mediator, one with the responsibility to pronounce judgements and solutions to the whole, why do we believe those representatives, coming from problematic nations, will do any better.  All the problems still exist, even in the representatives, who sent them, and who will hear back home.  Of course, honest effort is good.  But we all know it is honest cooperation that makes for possible better days.

                But, I will agree with Einstein on one thing.  We should always try.  We should always work to communicate and discuss.  However, I do believe a well-armed United States will have more strength to come to tables with cooperative efforts. 

** The founding fathers knew that before each meeting to pray to our heavenly Father for guidance, direction, and blessings. We are not capable, nor were meant to be, of running a country on our own. Everything good comes to us from our Father above. Prayers.

The Little Things Too…

Taking some things too seriously.

Life has many lessons.

                How often people find something weighing a bit heavily on their minds, and often, rightfully so, and at other times, the answers lie elsewhere.

                While pondering upon something, perhaps a bit weighed down with thoughts, I walked into my usual store for coffee, and heard one of the cashiers say to a co-worker something along the lines of:  You know how we eat or diet until we get to our weight?  It’s times like these that one is thankful for walking into a discussion, for I nearly broke out in laughter.  I replied something like:  Wait a minute.  Isn’t the weight you’re at, whatever that is, your weight?  Ahhh… well, it got me out of over-pondering something that probably didn’t need contemplating. 

                Well, I got my beverage of choice, walking to the counter to pay, and she said something along the lines of:  Can’t seem to stop eating.  It’s just like, the food’s there and I keep picking up.  Don’t want to turn into a fatty.  So I said something along the lines of, well, maybe because it’s winter, it’s part of our survival nature.  I was thinking, maybe evolution is true and we’re descended from squirrels, packing food away for the winter.

                Ahh… well.  Like I read someplace.  Laughter is good medicine.

Time and tide.


Principles From History

The benefits from those who’ve travelled many trails.

**Always aware of the world’s goings-ons….

**When you notice, there’s something you noticed worth noticing.

**I call them psychic vampires. The anti-virus is honesty and wonder.

*****This paragraph was written a day or so after posting the article: perhaps for later readers. A koala bear, fish, or katydid lives knowing what it knows and no more. We live knowing what we know and come to understand.

                I thought to attempt sharing a perspective, perhaps readers seeing through our eyes so to speak, which is through their own eyes.  In one area, I understand, but in the second, I have very limited experience and knowledge.  But what I’m attempting to do is “frame” a principle that works in one area, also in others.  And through experience, I have found the principle holds true, and with patience and time, by following, we might get a glimpse of the latter, perhaps appreciating and looking forward to listening and reading from time to time.

                **I’ve written on the concept of fractals, learning from others, then sharing the idea of what we see repeated in a variety of ways. Even in cloud formations, water movements, and the very air we breathe. I’ve thought of thoughts as a kind of fractal.

                It goes something like this.  While growing up, I was learning how to count, and with time, could tell time, then learned adding, subtracting, the multiplication tables and more.  Each step led to the next, and along the way, I understood a little bit more.  Word problems could be solved. Then onto trigonometry. And with that trail, practical experiences, readings, and ponderings.  Everything working together. 

                What have we learned?  That no matter how far one learns, there is always more.  In fact, we discover the more we do learn and understand, the more we realize we’re barely at the beginning.  We might even get to the realization that we really don’t know anything:  a tiny bit at most.  And to me, this is wonderful.  Why?  Because it is.  To look at a sunset and smile.  To see leaves falling, responding to gravity, yet the leaves all have their own passage to the grass. And though I might “think” I know a lot, that’s just in my brain, the world, universe, and ideas telling me otherwise.

                Let’s use a tiny example.  Along the way, we learn about animals.  Then we learn about species and what differentiates.  Then, we learn about cellular structures, blood types, and different abilities and life skills.  With time and tide, we learn about DNA, the mitochondria, and more, genes, proteins, acids, and a language within…and more.  We might even realize there is a “foundation” throughout living organisms, and a little change here and there creates something new.  We learn about replication, mutations, and more.  The process continues on and on.  The more we learn, the more we discover, often discovering what we don’t yet understand, and the more questions arise. Like why proteins behave in certain ways?

                This article is somewhat tied to the previous.  Mr. Albert Einstein, as I continue reading some of his papers and discussions, I find thoughtful at times, but certainly not fully comprehending all of the facts.  I don’t know if anyone could.  The papers I’m looking at have more to do with wars, human behavior, science and politics, the struggles of the Jewish people, and wonders in the universe.  And this is, I believe, a very good realization:  that he’s like you and me: in a sense, also having worked very diligently.  He’s human.  In physics, he found something he could not turn away from, books were written about him, and people refer to him in movies and such.  But that’s not how he saw himself. 

                Einstein shared himself that much of his work was built upon those who came before.  That, as I see it, is a profound statement.  He also shared that what he “learned and discovered” is just a drop in the ocean of wonders.  Something he wrote I greatly appreciate.  It was something akin to wonder.  I believe, every step of the way, he wondered, often amazed, and sometimes felt like a kid in the largest toy store ever built.  What I mean is, he enjoyed learning, but was honestly looking to better understand what he was studying, and the more he learned, the more complex things became, but also lights of comprehension came through, and all this was dazzling to him.  As it should be.  He also said something along the lines of when some people lose this wonder, this pondering, it’s like a death or something.  I think I agree.  For I still, when looking up at the stars or moon, find myself pondering. 

                Time and tide. But I hope many remember that Einstein himself was aware of his extreme limitations, apprecicating the little he learned compared to all that might be understood. And perhaps, that realiztion is better.

                But there’s something else.  I don’t want anyone getting the wrong message for lack of better words.  Some might remember a passage in the previous article.  Something along the line of taking one topic, one idea, and able to go on for hours.  Yet, it’s not intellectual.  It’s not book learning, although from books we might gain and use with what we see.  Like the concept of crossing Utah.  It’s just so big.  And from that, I don’t think I could share all the branches of thoughts that came from that one.  And it’s never-ending interesting.  The wonder, the ponder, the observations, ever going and perhaps ever growing.  But for me, honestly.

                I think, if I had it my own way so to speak, I would never have wanted to work for money or anything else.  Grow vegetable gardens, hunt for food, design cabins, travel the open country: on foot, fish, and so forth, always looking up at the sky, watching the hawks and hummingbirds.  Currently, we’re making a couple stepping stones with forest kind-of backgrounds, a hummingbird among the flowers.  The parrot eating an acorn on another. The Apollo 11 landing on the moon. Perhaps, we’ll paint something on music. Hmm… I just thought about that last one.

Time and tide.

**Taking the time to notice, wonder, ponder, but not intellectual. Appreciation happens on its own.

**The other day, while writing, I turned the game on mute. Then, after writing, continue watching without sound. And I noticed someting. I had a better understanding of the game without all the commentary. All the noise, comments, back stories, replays, and retells are distractions. *How we become distracted by so many thoughts and ideas that have little or nothing to do with noticing and wondering: seeing and understanding. Yet, if we do take the time, patiently observing, what we might appreciate.