Saturday, February 04, 2006
01. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.
02. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with. That is something up with which you should not put.
03. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
04. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
05. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They're old hat)
06. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
07. Be more or less specific.
08. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
09. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
10. No sentence fragments.
11. Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used.
12. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.
14. One should NEVER generalize.
15. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
16. Don't use no double negatives.
17. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
20. The passive voice is to be ignored.
21. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
22. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
23. Kill all exclamation points!!!
24. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
25. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth shaking ideas.
26. Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when its not needed.
27. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know." (Journals, Vol 2)
28. If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.
29. Puns are for children, not groan readers.
30. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
31. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
32. Who needs rhetorical questions?
33. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
34. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
35. Paze thaz alongue two yer wryter fraindz!
And so it is...
The western world is full of people who are being deprived of a meaningful life -- simply because they lack a suitable sheet of "parchment". Credentials are (quite factually) increasingly meaningless.
Real KNOWLEDGE and an ability to apply it, is not meaningless.
Over the years, I have received volumes of correspondence from folks -- who (although already gainfully employed, would like to attain even greater position through the acquisition of enhanced credentials), but who lacked the time or inclination or money to go back to school to get them -- to go to the next level of some degree or other. Those who are already making a living for themselves, are usually not all that needy. Whereas, there are others who cannot make ends meet -- the ones who have trouble maintaining a place to live (or do not have a place to live) and a lack of food or clothing -- for want of a "degree".
Those are the people who have cause to take drastic measures in their pursuit of life; if a person cannot even manage the basic necessities of life, one cannot keep on living. But if one is already making a living and one merely wants a better job, then one could consider getting a "impress others" degree. This is not something I can suggest to you (or anyone) or to take lightly. It's expensive and it may well be a waste of your time. Some may try to convince you to the contrary.
Regrettably, there are many jobs in the world that should not require any credentials at all, but for which mindless employers will want a degree anyway. Watch out for the growth of "double-speak" -- where a Sanitary Engineer is a plumber, and a Logistics Specialist drives a semi-truck. Everything (these days) must adhere to non-spoken rules and also be politically correct -- and, to degrees (pun intended), linguistically sophisticated.
A favorite example of double-speak:
"Industrial Poultry Production Building" (AKA 'chicken coop')
Is that where a farmer becomes an engineer? I see...
In my own professional example -- as a computer expert (excuse me, an "Information Technology Engineer"), one of my many areas of expertise, I can attest to having seen postings for jobs in related fields which require knowledge that anyone could learn at home, yet which require a Bachelor of Science degree on the open market. And that's intrinsically stupid.
This is when it comes time to consider whether you really want to spend a lot of money to get an "over-the-counter" degree, or invest in the YEARS to have something that carries real REAL prestige and that requires REAL knowledge that will last for YEARS.
Real KNOWLEDGE -- like what a truly competent person can profess and can provide.
After all, only RESULTS count! But there are many jobs in the world which place a tremendous amount of responsibility in the hands of the employee. Many top scientists and engineers (AKA 'perfectionists') ultimately do create things that will affect the world around us for years to come (as I have done). And the importance of those developments places a great demand on the training and knowledge ability of the people who create them.
Or does it? That people in those positions could be willing to take over-the-counter shortcuts in matters of such importance is MORE than slightly disturbing. It is one thing to try and forgo a degree for a dinky job somewhere, but when people honestly think that they can become a medical practitioner or a genetic engineering scientist within a few months of study via the Internet, I really begin to worry... That's VERY "un-accredited" to say the least. But a degree for the degree's sake is NOT knowledge, nor prestigious, nor even a credential. I suppose that what I encourage is a form of vigilantism -- of taking the law into your own hands because of a perceived injustice. And while vigilantism may occasionally be called for in some circumstances, the problem with it is that it depends on the judgment of the general public.
People who see themselves as creating a justice that "The System" failed to create may actually be creating an injustice. This is because "justice" is all in the eye of the beholder, and what seems right to one person may not seem right to another. And if you've spent any length of time studying what people do in their lives, you will probably agree with me when I say that there are a great many people in this world whose judgment is rather questionable and even dangerous.
I would be one to formulate a call to arms of the oppressed people of this world -- to make a life for themselves without depending on the (financially, self-vested) educational system to create a phony baloney, false-representation of "having a life" ...on a piece of paper.
Whereas, for those who actually want to pursue jobs that win Nobel prizes, they'll need to work up from the bottom... acquire REAL knowledge through learning. And THAT may prove to be VERY difficult for some pretenders! If a person is actually decided upon becoming a scientist, then it will actually be NECESSARY to learn (and there's no faking real know-how).
When I've complained that the information taught in university classrooms is largely useless, I say this because it will only be of "use" by a small fraction of people in the world. It is useful to people who are going to actually get jobs in very specialized fields -- and even then, only useful if they KNOW how to APPLY what they (hopefully) learned.
Most people echo. They do not learn. To REMEMBER is to KNOW. Knowledge can be applied. Titles are quite meaningless. Yet there are a few people in the world who do in fact get such jobs, and if you want to be one of those people, then you too could go to an accredited university and get your degree the "real", four-year, six-year, eight-year way. If you are fortunate enough to be deemed as "gifted", maybe sooner... Those courses were made specifically for the motivated, so the wise use them wisely.
By the way, I have also had a great many people ask me for personal recommendations about specific accredited and non-accredited universities. My answer is always the same: I have no specific recommendations. I never sought any "mail-ordered", non-accredited degrees myself, because I saw myself as a scientist who wanted to design components for space and the avionics that control supersonic aircraft -- and I did just that.
For today, I've become a simple worker -- one who is happy to be THINKING for a living, and not leaning on a meaningless piece of parchment that "says" that I know what I know -- when I already knew that I knew. Meanwhile, if I ever want to flaunt what society "thinks" is needed to show-off what I KNOW, then the parchments can be produced at will.
There are other (far more important) things to think about. For most people, God given intelligence and innate aptitude count -- nothing else really does.
And so it is...
Friday, February 03, 2006
We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We 've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things. We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.
We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less. These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships.
These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete?
Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent. Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it.
A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER: Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
And so it is...
I correspond with people from around the world, and of late, many are quite deeply and properly perplexed. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our turbulent world, because our world is simply the way it is.
Ours is a time of almost daily amazement and often (righteous) rage over the latest degradations of all what truly matters most to civilized people and even to the visionary.
Stand straight and seek to be right in all assessments. The glitter and hubris some have aspired to (while endorsing heinous acts against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless), is incredible. Yet, I urge you (ask you, gentle you) dear reader, to please not bankrupt your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times nor those who are responsible for such chaos. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is - we were made for these times.
Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing – we’ve been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plane of engagement. And those of us who grew up around the Great Lakes or by the shores of inland lakes, recognize a “seaworthy” vessel when we see one.
With respect to awakened souls, there have never been more able crafts in the waters than there are right now, right around the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal to one another -- as never before in the history of humankind...
Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats -- righteous souls on troubled waters with us. Even though our veneers may shimmer upon every wave in this stormy roil, we may rest assured that the long timbers composing one’s own prow and rudder, come from a far greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.
We have been in training for a dark time such as this, since the day we assented to come to Earth. For many decades (and worldwide) souls just like us have been felled and left for dead in so many ways -- brought down (over and over) by naiveté, by lack of love, by being ambushed or assaulted by various cultural and personal shocks -- to the extreme. We have a history of being gutted, and yet remember this especially -- we have also (out of necessity) perfected the knack for spiritual self-resurrection. Over and over again we have been the living proof -- that which had been exiled, lost, or foundered can be restored to life again.
In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward collapse over how much is wrong or un-mended in the world around us. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency too to fall into being weakened by choosing to persevere onwards -- to whatever is outside our reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That’s a blowing wind without a raised sail.
We are needed, and that is all we can know.
Although we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn't you say you were a believer – but a believer of what?
Did you not say that you would pledge your listener’s ear to a Greater Voice? Did you ask for grace? Do you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice of universal Greatness?
Understand the paradox: If one studies the physics of a waterspout, you will see that the outermost edge of the vortex whirls far more quickly than the inner edge. To calm such a storm, means to bring quiet to the outer layer, to cause it to swirl much less, and to more evenly match the velocity of the inner core - until whatever has been lifted into such a fluid funnel falls back to Earth, lays down, and is at peace again. One of the most important steps a person can take to help calm the storm, is to not allow one’s self to be taken in a flurry of overwrought emotion or desperation thereby accidentally contributing to the waves and the swirl.
Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend small parts of the world that are within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts (or by whom), will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.
After all, even the flap of a butterfly wing ultimately affects the direction and strength of the winds that make the weather. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of many such smaller acts, adding, adding to, adding more, and continuing. We know that it does not take "everyone on Earth" to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.
One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these -- to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both, are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.
Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you too will help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do. There will always be times when you will feel discouraged.
I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it; for like Thoreau, it is best to keep two chairs in a room – a chair for one’s for self, and another for a guest. I will not entertain the solitude of a room, outfitted with but a single chair of no community.
Similarly, it is not allowed to eat from my plate -- when a setting is for two or more. The reason is this: In my bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you are not alone and when you remember why you came to Earth -- who you serve, and Who sent you here.
The Good words we say and the Good deeds we do are not ours: they are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here.
In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall, and into your heart, and lay it out before your mind’s eye: when a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.
May this come to you with much love. May you always remember who you are, who you came from, and why you were brought into this wonderful, beautiful, needful Earth.
And so it is...