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Most research is meaningless and should be neither published nor celebrated. It’s conducted to learn how to do research and to practice doing “science,” but mostly to pad CVs. The process is a bit like students writing papers for their high school or college English classes  – it has to be done in order to finish the class, but the papers should almost never be read by anyone but the teacher and the student.

Unfortunately, our research journals are filled with research papers and studies that read like amateurish sophomore high school papers, and have even less value in terms of scientific merit. Imagine if every single English paper were published in journals!

The lust for a long CV has encouraged all sorts of machinations, none of them good. Garbage research, garbage publications, garbage volunteerism, garbage activities – none of which make a meaningful difference.

It’s okay to do research for the sake of research, just don’t publish it.

Also like CVs, our body of published research doesn’t tell the whole story: only the stuff we think is good, the successes and wins, are listed. We don’t put all the failures and catastrophes. The result is a hugely biased perspective for the consumer.

The moment you make any observation, you do not see the thing for what it is, you see the thing for what you need it to be. We all transfer some of ourselves onto the observation and our perception of it is formed in such a way to makes our brains feel comfortable. We are so good at this that we cannot be convinced that we have done it.

The deceit that one can observe any data objectively is responsible for most of the misunderstanding and error that happens in life. Science isn’t objective, data isn’t objective, judges aren’t objective – objectivity is a construct. We do not see the world as it is, we see it as we need it to be. We need it to exist in a way that confirms our understanding of the world in order to avoid cognitive dissonance. We reinterpret, reimagine, ignore, and invent reality in a never-ending effort to feel comfortable and see order where order may not exist actually exist. 

This doesn’t mean that objective reality doesn’t exist, just that you have to strive to see it in a way that might destroy your sense of self.

I would guess it takes about 7-10 times, on average, for someone to start ‘The Wave’ in a crowd at a game. Most try and fail to get it started at least 7 times before everyone catches on; then, it’s a huge success. Some people give up after four or five tries because they don’t know how many more it will take, or even if it will ever work at all. But others persist and become successful. The first several times they get excited about the prospect of how far it will go because some people join in but not enough to make it huge. But it keeps getting bigger until it catches on.

Of course, one person starting the wave won’t be successful without others’ involvement. I think that’s kind of how life works too.

Each of us are trying to start our own wave. We try four or five times; after a couple of times, things seem like they are going well, that we will be successful. Then we let doubt creep in, we feel alone, and we question how many more times we can keep trying to start it before we just sit back down, feeling like a fool.

But we can’t forget that others are counting on us to keep trying. Because they want to do The Wave too – but don’t have the courage to start it.

Most people make life too complicated.

Let’s say you have a goal. Good. But that’s not enough. Most goals are so onerous and grand that they are never accomplished. A goal is good, but subgoals are better.

A goal is a problem, like any other problem. How do you get there? How do you solve the problem? Those are the real questions. The creative thinking (and creative action) that can answers these questions requires breaking up something complex into its smaller parts

Take calculus. Calculus is really simple if you divide it up into a series of subgoal, subskills, or subroutines; work to master those smaller components and the rest follows easily.

Put another way, don’t try to perform surgery if you can’t tie a knot first, or build a cabinet if you don’t know how to use a saw, or pay off a mortgage if you don’t have a job, or get a date if you don’t know how to have a conversation.

Successful people usually have this one talent in common: the ability to see the parts for the whole and master them.

The problem with progress is it assumes that the current state is inadequate or incorrect. Worse, it assumes that the state being advanced toward is better. Progress or change for the sake of progress or change should never be a goal.

Evolution is an example of progressive process but it tends towards a functional homeostasis. Once that homeostasis is achieved, further change tends to be dysfunctional. We call it disease.

Technology is very progressive and will continue to be indefinitely. But morality shouldn’t be progressive. Ethics aren’t progressive. Rather, something is either moral or immoral, ethical or unethical. Morals don’t change, it’s just that most people alive today or at any point in human history lacked morals.

We shouldn’t usually use the word progress; change is the correct word. The word change doesn’t imply good or bad, just different. Many people can’t tell the difference between progress and regress or between building up or tearing down. Many times we won’t know the difference until it is late.

Can you make your opponent’s argument for him? If you can’t see your opponents’ viewpoint, understand it, and repeat it, then you cannot be firm in your own conviction (or at least you have no right to be firm in your own conviction).

Get out of the echo chamber. Echo chambers breed bigotry.

Try this: Make an argument against something you firmly believe with convincing support. If you can’t do this without being sarcastic, condescending, or smarmy, then you really have no place in polite conversation and reasonable discourse. You don’t know how to debate; instead, you excel at shouting-down and ending debate. You will never advance your own viewpoint, even if it is correct, and you will never progress from your viewpoint if it is wrong.

Life is defined by struggle.

Overcoming obstacles and conquering challenges makes us feel fulfilled and “happy,” not because we have conquered, but because we are conquering.

Happiness isn’t a destination or a state of being, it’s a journey, it’s kinetic. Nor is it something we choose, it’s something we strive after and work toward. Our Founding Fathers understood this; they didn’t say that we had an inalienable right to Life, Liberty and Happiness; rather, they said we have an inalienable right to Life, Liberty and the “pursuit” of Happiness. It’s all about the pursuit.

If you’re unhappy, maybe your life is just too easy, too good. Take on a new challenge; don’t fear failure or risk. Be willing to throw everything away and start anew. That’s the stuff dreams are made of.

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep” – Prospero, The Tempest

It’s amazing how many ideas/beliefs/books/theories/dogmas/opinions are based upon facts that are out-of-date or that have been replaced or disproven. There is far too much permanence of ideas. Most ideas are so firmly established that even when an important building block is removed, the idea still stands.

This happens in every aspect of life. As a person continues with the entrenched narrative, it’s easy to not notice that the fact set has become different.

How many Bible scholars realize that it is no longer believed that the gospels were written in Hebrew/Aramaic? How many arguments and assumptions still exist that were invented based upon this belief?

How many Obstetricians in 1981 believed that alcohol could stop preterm labor? How many believe that magnesium does today?

We must deconstruct every belief carefully and analyze its core components; we must analyze every card that makes up a house of cards. When two people firmly believe opposite things, one or both of them are likely wrong about something that they don’t even realize they are wrong about, some obscure fact that long ago helped establish a false narrative.

It takes courage to deconstruct your core beliefs.

Imagine a president like this:

Despite all of this, he continued to be loved by his adoring fans and his wife, whom he once had committed to a mental hospital for electroshock therapy after she found out about an affair, also played her part, standing by her man.

Yes, of course, I am talking about President John F. Kennedy. Who else?

What’s the difference between light and darkness?

You cannot shine darkness. Darkness cannot penetrate, it cannot drown out, it cannot overwhelm. You can only shine light. Light displaces darkness. Darkness doesn’t exist unless the light is covered. Light does not fear darkness because darkness doesn’t exist in its presence. Light doesn’t know darkness as long as it shines. Light must quench or be quenched for darkness to exist.

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