Simple is often the Best Solution

Here is an example of a simple solution that helps everyone and everything:

Information from the hospital here.

Please share your thoughts. I look forward to hearing about what you think of this way to practice paneugenesis. They generate all good by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Email me if you want to discuss: 
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

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Did I predict 23 & Me’s venture into Health?

Please listen to the recent Freakonomics Podcast,23andMe (and You, and Everyone Else) (Ep. 378). It harkened me back to some of my previous work.  It seemed to indicate I had predicted the future.  In the Freakonomics podcast you can hear Anne Wojcicki, founder and C.E.O. of 23andMe, explained how her work in the health field led to 23 and Me.  She suggested she was upset how the system had monetized sickness.  I am unclear why she does not see that she is doing the same thing, except at the genetic level.  Please help me understand if I am missing something.

Health is defined in the constitution of the World Health Organization as a “complete state of physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”. If health is the presence of physical, mental and social well-being, how does known risk generate health?  I don’t understand how health can be generated by knowing or even ending risk. If health did result, it wouldn’t have been on purpose. The desired ending outcome of knowing a risk from a 23andMe test, is no or least lower risk, not the presence of health in the form of physical mental and social well-being.  The desired end outcome would not even absence of disease and infirmity, it is just lower risk.

Research suggests suggests other than deformed genes, outcomes generated by a gene happens based on how it is expressed.  How a genes is expressed has been shown to be related to how we live our life.  Can understanding risks cause health?

Several years ago I included this build as shown on the YouTube Video in a presentation.  I also provide a recommendation on how to generate health.

To create a better life, we must cause good things to happen and that means we must do more than just limit risks. It means we must engage in what causes desired outcomes.

While we know prediction of the future is difficulty, soon I will share an updated video that will show the processes described in my articles about how to improve the probability of getting the outcomes we desired.

Please share your thoughts. I look forward to hearing about the how you practice paneugenesis so you will generate all good by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Email me if you want to discuss: 
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

 

Be Fruitful and Multiply – Time That is…

This post can fulfill a dream – it will help you multiply your time.  Rory Vaden’s fantastic TED presentation  on “How to Multiply Your Time”  will help you get important things done. It will also help you say no to things you don’t need to be doing. I encourage you to watch, learn and put into practice these ideas.  Enjoy.

I liked this presentation because it suggested a better way to use our executive function. Executive function is our amazing ability to consciously control our thoughts, emotions and actions in order to achieve goals  For more information about executive function see Sabine Doebel’s good TED Presentation, “How Your Brain’s Executive Function Works – How to Improve it”. From my perspective, Rory Vaden explained how to improve our executive function by using the “Focus Funnel“.

Rory’s presentation teaches us how to multiply time by investing time today to give us more time tomorrow. This of course is how we can be a “Time Multiplier”.  These techniques give us permission to focus on the future, rather than the present, because it gives us ROTI (Return On Time Invested). ROTI is what multiplies our time.

For example, he explains that we have many automation tools to help us multiply our time. He explains how time invested in automatic bill pay gives us more time and is a time multiplier. I realized I use an automation time multiplier.  My wife and I used to use paper lists or try to remember what we needed at the grocer but inevitably would still forget things and or the list.  Now, so we don’t have to rely on our memory or a list for the store, we use the Notes function that is on all our apple devices.  We usually have a device with us so if we invest a few seconds to record the item on the list, we multiply our time.

We use the Notes function by putting items on the list when we notice we are running low or want an item.  Then when we shop we can open our grocery list on Notes at the grocery store and get what is needed.  We also are using the Notes function to list things to bring on our upcoming trip, movies we want to rent or see, and many more things that we want to remember.  Doing it on the Notes app now has helped us and created ROTI.

    Notes Shared on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac

Another great insight from his presentation was how his “Focus Funnel” helps people clarify what they should be doing based on what can be eliminated, automated or delgated.  More can be learned about the “Focus Funnel” in his presentation and here.

Throw it in the Focus Funnel

I also found it interesting and valuable to hear how he saw Time management techniques evolve. He explained the First era focused on efficiency and it came about with Fredrick Taylor who was the industrial efficiency engineer during  the industrial revolution. That time management philosophy evolved because it was believed if we did things more efficiently it could be done faster and this meant we would have more time.

The second era was in the 1980s. The second era was brought into existence by Stephen Covey. This era allowed us to focus on what was most important by prioritizing our list of things we had to do based on urgency and importance (see Matrix). While valuable, this approach helped but didn’t give us more time or create time, it only gave us an effective way to re-organize our to do list.

From his perspective, now we need a way to multiply time. This third era of time management, where we are now, needs to help us multiply time. To multiply time he suggests we need to add a third dimension, significance, to urgency and importance. Significance requires us to think about how long what we are planning to do will matter. In other words, what is its significance.  In this third era of time management, the time multiplier teaches us to do today things that will make tomorrow better.

Using this focus funnel should help us improve our executive function as described by Sabine Doebel.

If you didn’t watch Rory’s presentation, I encourage you to watch it now or watch it again – I have.  Watching it has a high ROTI (Return On Time Invested)

Implementing these ideas has helped me invest my time on generating comprehensive improvements through the creation of pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits, or by practicing paneugenesis.  In other words using this idea has helped me take action today to make tomorrow better. I look forward to hearing about the how you invest your time today to make tomorrow better for everyone and everything.

Please share how you multiply your time so we all can benefit! Thank you.

If interested, lets talk, please contact me:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Is Altruism Disingenuous?

I try to be straightforward when I talk about health. I explain I am doing this for selfish reasons, not altruistic reasons (For more on Altruism see,Altruism is Advanced Selfishness). So many in health say they do it because they like helping others, or they say they do it because they are altruistic. From my perspective this is disingenuous.

Evidence suggests we like helping others because it makes us feel good about ourselves for doing something good. By saying I am selfish I mean that I want others to learn things that can help them have a better life and be better at what they do. Of course that means I start with the assumption that people are good.  Existing evidence confirms that most people are good.  If not, society could not function.

Altruism can also be thought to be disingenuous because we feel good for doing good.  As George Bernard Shaw explained:

and also explained…

To me he is describing the ideas of Selfish, Selfless, Synergy, in other words we want to feel good for doing good. We help others because it makes us feel good. Best actions help the whole system is work better, because as John Muir discovered, everything is interconnected:

For me John Rosemond also made this point in his column on April 8th, 2018.  In his column on Attachment Parenting, I understood him to explain how we are all in this together:

Monday, April 8th, 2019
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On Attachment Parenting

 

“So, what do you think of attachment parenting?

My inquisitor was a 30-something mom. I sensed she was testing me, trying to determine whether I was worth her time.

“Not much,” I said. “I don’t see any objective research that would verify any short- or long-term benefits; therefore, I don’t think the effort – on the part of the mother, primarily if not exclusively – pays off.”

“Well, I disagree,” she replied. “I practice attachment parenting and I see lots of benefit.”

“To whom?”

“Uh…to both me and my child.”

“How many kids do you have?”

“He’s my first.”

“So you have no control group or other point of comparison.”

“Maybe not,” she said, bristling, “but I have a right to raise my child any way I choose.”

“Actually, no, you don’t.”

“Well, isn’t that narrow-minded of you!” At which she stormed off.

Yes, it is narrow-minded of me. If one’s thinking doesn’t “narrow” as one grows older, then one is simply not paying attention, much less truly growing.

Anyone who thinks they are entitled to raise a child any way they choose is wrong. In the raising of a child, one has an obligation to one’s neighbors, broadly defined. That obligation over-rides one’s obligation to one’s child, in fact. Furthermore, the parent who understands and practices what I just said is going to do a much, much better job than the parent who believes his or her child is the beginning and end of their obligation. The child who learns, early on, that he is not worthy of being the center of attention, that the world does not revolve around him, is going to be a much happier camper than the child who is caused to believe otherwise.

Another way of saying the same thing: Esteem of self – once known as pride – makes only ONE person’s world go around. Humility – a willingness to serve others, no matter the inconvenience – is what glues culture together. Humbleness also makes for the highest level of personal satisfaction. For those reasons, the highest of all child-rearing goals is to raise a humble child. There are not multiple, equally viable ways of accomplishing that. There is one. Therefore, there is one proper way to raise a child and the Almighty YOU do not have a “right” – self-conferred, of course – to raise YOUR child any old way YOU choose. That is narcissism, plainly speaking. It could be argued that one has a right to be a narcissist, but if so, the right ends when one’s self-absorption impacts another person. The only functional narcissist is a hermit.

Attachment parenting is the latest postmodern parenting aberration. Women who have practiced it and then escaped its cult-like grip attest that there is no way a child so idolized can draw any conclusion other than that his needs surpass everyone else’s. It is HUMANism pushed to a pathological extreme, the epitome of not understanding that the proper raising of a child is an act of love for one’s neighbors.

It’s quite simple, actually: By keeping one’s obligation to one’s neighbors uppermost in mind, one will do the very best job of raising a child. When said child finally realizes why he’s so happy, he will not be able to thank you enough.

 

Please share your thoughts.  I will continue to work to create all good by generating comprehensive improvements through the creation of pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits, or by practicing paneugenesis.  I look forward to hearing about the how you help generate good for everyone and everything.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

If you want to contact me:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Bonus: Why Create a Better World?

My colleague sent this to me so I am sharing this as a bonus post this week.

The rhetorical question!

I want a better world so I will work for to create good by generating comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits, or by practicing paneugenesis.  I look forward to hearing about the how you help generate good for everyone and everything.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

If you want to contact me:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Creat More Good First, Means Less Procrastination

We often continue to engage in actions over and over again because they make us feel good.  We engage in behaviors again because we want that good feeling again.  This functions on a conscious and unconscious level and is how reinforcement works.  It is also how we create habits, good or bad.  Using this to drive action, we can think that if we feel good for doing good, we are more likely to do good again.

Procrastination however evolves because it feels good, temporarily to put off an assignment or task we know we have to do that may be hard.  It feels good because we are concerned we may fail or not meet our own expectations.  This however is transactional can only provide temporary relief.  To really feel better and to have evidence that you deserve to feel better, engage in the task.  As Charlotte Lieberman’s March 25, 2019 article, “Why You Procrastinate (It Has Nothing to Do With Self-Control): If procrastination isn’t about laziness, then what is it about?”explains, we procrastinate because we misbelieve it will help us feel better, it does not. To feel better, get into action doing what you know needs to be done.

In other words, rather than creating less bad (or what is perceived as possibly bad), work to create good. I will work for to create good by generating comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits, or by practicing paneugenesis.  I look forward to hearing about the how you help generate good for everyone and everything.

For more information about procrastination, I encourage you to read Charlotte Lieberman’s column below:

 

Why You Procrastinate

(It Has Nothing to Do With Self-Control)

If procrastination isn’t about laziness, then what is it about?

If you’ve ever put off an important task by, say, alphabetizing your spice drawer, you know it wouldn’t be fair to describe yourself as lazy.

After all, alphabetizing requires focus and effort — and hey, maybe you even went the extra mile to wipe down each bottle before putting it back. And it’s not like you’re hanging out with friends or watching Netflix. You’re cleaning — something your parents would be proud of! This isn’t laziness or bad time management. This is procrastination.

Etymologically, “procrastination” is derived from the Latin verb procrastinare — to put off until tomorrow. But it’s more than just voluntarily delaying. Procrastination is also derived from the ancient Greek word akrasia — doing something against our better judgment.

“It’s self-harm,” said Dr. Piers Steel, a professor of motivational psychology at the University of Calgary and the author of “The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done.

That self-awareness is a key part of why procrastinating makes us feel so rotten. When we procrastinate, we’re not only aware that we’re avoiding the task in question, but also that doing so is probably a bad idea. And yet, we do it anyway.

“This is why we say that procrastination is essentially irrational,” said Dr. Fuschia Sirois, professor of psychology at the University of Sheffield. “It doesn’t make sense to do something you know is going to have negative consequences.”

She added: “People engage in this irrational cycle of chronic procrastination because of an inability to manage negative moods around a task.”

Wait. We procrastinate because of bad moods?

In short: yes.

Procrastination isn’t a unique character flaw or a mysterious curse on your ability to manage time, but a way of coping with challenging emotions and negative moods induced by certain tasks — boredom, anxiety, insecurity, frustration, resentment, self-doubt and beyond.

“Procrastination is an emotion regulation problem, not a time management problem,” said Dr. Tim Pychyl, professor of psychology and member of the Procrastination Research Group at Carleton University in Ottawa.

In a 2013 study, Dr. Pychyl and Dr. Sirois found that procrastination can be understood as “the primacy of short-term mood repair … over the longer-term pursuit of intended actions.” Put simply, procrastination is about being more focused on “the immediate urgency of managing negative moods” than getting on with the task, Dr. Sirois said.

Attention Management Week in Smarter Living

Read more from this series about taking back your attention — and spending it wisely.

The particular nature of our aversion depends on the given task or situation. It may be due to something inherently unpleasant about the task itself — having to clean a dirty bathroom or organizing a long, boring spreadsheet for your boss. But it might also result from deeper feelings related to the task, such as self-doubt, low self-esteem, anxiety or insecurity. Staring at a blank document, you might be thinking, I’m not smart enough to write this. Even if I am, what will people think of it? Writing is so hard. What if I do a bad job?

All of this can lead us to think that putting the document aside and cleaning that spice drawer instead is a pretty good idea.

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But, of course, this only compounds the negative associations we have with the task, and those feelings will still be there whenever we come back to it, along with increased stress and anxiety, feelings of low self-esteem and self-blame.

In fact, there’s an entire body of research dedicated to the ruminative, self-blaming thoughts many of us tend to have in the wake of procrastination, which are known as “procrastinatory cognitions.” The thoughts we have about procrastination typically exacerbate our distress and stress, which contribute to further procrastination, Dr. Sirois said.

But the momentary relief we feel when procrastinating is actually what makes the cycle especially vicious. In the immediate present, putting off a task provides relief — “you’ve been rewarded for procrastinating,” Dr. Sirois said. And we know from basic behaviorism that when we’re rewarded for something, we tend to do it again. This is precisely why procrastination tends not to be a one-off behavior, but a cycle, one that easily becomes a chronic habit.

Over time, chronic procrastination has not only productivity costs, but measurably destructive effects on our mental and physical health, including chronic stress, general psychological distress and low life satisfaction, symptoms of depression and anxiety, poor health behaviors, chronic illness and even hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

But I thought we procrastinate to feel better?

If it seems ironic that we procrastinate to avoid negative feelings, but end up feeling even worse, that’s because it is. And once again, we have evolution to thank.

Procrastination is a perfect example of present bias, our hard-wired tendency to prioritize short-term needs ahead of long-term ones.

“We really weren’t designed to think ahead into the further future because we needed to focus on providing for ourselves in the here and now,” said psychologist Dr. Hal Hershfield, a professor of marketing at the U.C.L.A. Anderson School of Management.

Dr. Hershfield’s research has shown that, on a neural level, we perceive our “future selves” more like strangers than as parts of ourselves. When we procrastinate, parts of our brains actually think that the tasks we’re putting off — and the accompanying negative feelings that await us on the other side — are somebody else’s problem.

To make things worse, we’re even less able to make thoughtful, future-oriented decisions in the midst of stress. When faced with a task that makes us feel anxious or insecure, the amygdala — the “threat detector” part of the brain — perceives that task as a genuine threat, in this case to our self-esteem or well-being. Even if we intellectually recognize that putting off the task will create more stress for ourselves in the future, our brains are still wired to be more concerned with removing the threat in the present. Researchers call this “amygdala hijack.”

Unfortunately, we can’t just tell ourselves to stop procrastinating. And despite the prevalence of “productivity hacks,” focusing on the question of how to get more work done doesn’t address the root cause of procrastination.

Erik Winkowski

O.K. How do we get to the root cause of procrastination?

We must realize that, at its core, procrastination is about emotions, not productivity. The solution doesn’t involve downloading a time management app or learning new strategies for self-control. It has to do with managing our emotions in a new way.

“Our brains are always looking for relative rewards. If we have a habit loop around procrastination but we haven’t found a better reward, our brain is just going to keep doing it over and over until we give it something better to do,” said psychiatrist and neuroscientist Dr. Judson Brewer, Director of Research and Innovation at Brown University’s Mindfulness Center.

To rewire any habit, we have to give our brains what Dr. Brewer called the “Bigger Better Offer” or “B.B.O.”

In the case of procrastination, we have to find a better reward than avoidance — one that can relieve our challenging feelings in the present moment without causing harm to our future selves. The difficulty with breaking the addiction to procrastination in particular is that there is an infinite number of potential substitute actions that would still be forms of procrastination, Dr. Brewer said. That’s why the solution must therefore be internal, and not dependent on anything but ourselves.

One option is to forgive yourself in the moments you procrastinate. In a 2010 study, researchers found that students who were able to forgive themselves for procrastinating when studying for a first exam ended up procrastinating less when studying for their next exam. They concluded that self-forgiveness supported productivity by allowing “the individual to move past their maladaptive behavior and focus on the upcoming examination without the burden of past acts.”

Another tactic is the related practice of self-compassion, which is treating ourselves with kindness and understanding in the face of our mistakes and failures. In a 2012 study examining the relationship between stress, self-compassion and procrastination, Dr. Sirois found that procrastinators tend to have high stress and low self-compassion, suggesting that self-compassion provides “a buffer against negative reactions to self-relevant events.”

In fact, several studies show that self-compassion supports motivation and personal growth. Not only does it decrease psychological distress, which we now know is a primary culprit for procrastination, it also actively boosts motivation, enhances feelings of self-worth and fosters positive emotions like optimism, wisdom, curiosity and personal initiative. Best of all, self-compassion doesn’t require anything external — just a commitment to meeting your challenges with greater acceptance and kindness rather than rumination and regret.

That may be easier said than done, but try to reframe the task by considering a positive aspect of it. Perhaps you remind yourself of a time you did something similar and it turned out O.K. Or maybe you think about the beneficial outcome of completing the task. What might your boss or partner say when you show them your finished work? How will you feel about yourself?

What are some other, healthier ways to manage the feelings that typically trigger procrastination?

Cultivate curiosity: If you’re feeling tempted to procrastinate, bring your attention to the sensations arising in your mind and body. What feelings are eliciting your temptation? Where do you feel them in your body? What do they remind you of? What happens to the thought of procrastinating as you observe it? Does it intensify? Dissipate? Cause other emotions to arise? How are the sensations in your body shifting as you continue to rest your awareness on them?

Consider the next action: This is different than the age-old advice to break up a task you’re tempted to avoid into bite-sized chunks. According to Dr. Pychyl, focusing only on the “next action” helps calm our nerves, and it allows for what Dr. Pychyl called “a layer of self-deception.” At the start of a given task, you can consider the next action as a mere possibility, as if you were method acting: “What’s the next action I’d take on this if I were going to do it, even though I’m not?” Maybe you would open your email. Or perhaps you would put the date at the top of your document. Don’t wait to be in the mood to do a certain task. “Motivation follows action. Get started, and you’ll find your motivation follows,” Dr. Pychyl said.

Make your temptations more inconvenient: It’s still easier to change our circumstances than ourselves, said Gretchen Rubin, author of “Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits.” According to Ms. Rubin, we can take what we know about procrastination and “use it to our advantage” by placing obstacles between ourselves and our temptations to induce a certain degree of frustration or anxiety. If you compulsively check social media, delete those apps from your phone or “give yourself a really complicated password with not just five digits, but 12,” Ms. Rubin said. By doing this, you’re adding friction to the procrastination cycle and making the reward value of your temptation less immediate.

On the other side of the coin, Ms. Rubin also suggested that we make the things we want to do as easy as possible for ourselves. If you want to go to the gym before work but you’re not a morning person, sleep in your exercise clothes. “Try to remove every, every, every roadblock,” Ms. Rubin said.

Still, procrastination is deeply existential, as it raises questions about individual agency and how we want to spend our time as opposed to how we actually do. But it’s also a reminder of our commonality — we’re all vulnerable to painful feelings, and most of us just want to be happy with the choices we make.

Now go finish up alphabetizing that spice drawer before it becomes your next procrastination albatross.

Correction: 

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

If you want to contact me:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

Things are Great – And They are Getting Better…

I recently read 2 very good books that I strongly recommend : Steven Pinker’s, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress and Robert Reich’s, “The Common Good“.  These books, however, seemed to share conflicting messages.

Pinker’s book provided a bird’s eye view of the incredible progress the human race has enjoyed since enlightenmen. Below is his TED Presentation I recommend you watch, “Is the World Getting Better or Worse? A Look at the Numbers“.

Robert Reich’s, “The Common Good“, unlike Pinker’s book, explained how things can get better, even though we are doing well. To make his point he highlighted current barriers to us continuing progress.  Specifically he identified the three current trends that are pushing us in the wrong direction. He spoke mostly from a political perspective.  Previously he served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. In the Clinton administration he was Secretary of Labor from 1993 to 1997. Specifically he blamed the practices listed below and suggested these are problematic because they will only benefit the few, specifically the wealthy and well-connected, and not the Common Good.  He clearly explains how instead of working toward a common good, the system now seems to encourage and promote people to do:

    1. Whatever it Takes to Win! 
    2. Whatever it takes to maximize Profits!
    3. Whatever it takes to rig the economy!

It was contrasting because Steven Pinker was demonstrating, very clearly, the incredible progress we have made, please listen to his TED talk if you have not.  Contrastingly, Robert Reich was suggesting a better society is now only available for the rich and that society is moving more in that direction.  Many may not notice the problems as outlined by Reich because we are so much better off and are a much richer society than we have been in the past. We can now do things not possible previously.

One contention I had with Pinker’s information was how he indicated our life expectancy had increased from 35 in the mid 18th century to over 70 years today if we consider the whole world and over 80 years of age in rich countries.  While this is wonderful, the numbers are misleading because the high infant mortality.  Infant mortality is when children do not live past 5 years of age.  In times past, the higher infant mortality drastically altered the average life expectancy number.  He even points out hat today all countries have lower child mortality than any country did in 1950.  It seems a more appropriate comparison would be of life expectancy for those that were able to reach adulthood, if that could be determined.  If people reached adulthood in the mid 18th century, did they reach old age?  The statistics he shares lead us to think that most people did not make it into their 40s, 50s, 60s or 70s – is that true?

To sum up how he thinks humans have made so much progress Pinker suggests it may have its origins in The Humanist Manifesto III (2003).  This manifesto states:

    • Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis
    • Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change
    • Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience
      • Shaped by humans circumstances, interests, and concerns and extended to the global ecosystem and beyond
    • Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals
    • Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships
      • Humanists strive toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence
    • Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness 

Either way, they are wonderful principles to integrate into life and are likely to lead to progress.  Whatever the cause, over all progress has been amazing. As he explains, “The children have obtained what their parents and grandparents longed for – greater freedom, greater material welfare, a juster society; but the old ills are forgotten, and the children faced new problems, brought about by the very solutions of the old ones, and these, even if they in turn can be solved, generate new situations, and with them new requirements – and so on, forever – and unpredictably”

Also what I found as one of the most profound insights was why most of us do not realize how much better things have become.  I previously discussed it in this previous post, Record Progress To Feel Good or Evidence Disappears.  As I noted, he explains we forget the progress made because because the tracks of progress are erased. They are erased because we turn our attention to what remains to be done rather than how far we have come. Such is the nature of progress. Later he suggests, Progress is a self cloaking action seen only in retrospect.

I also like the very powerful words he used to end the TED Talk and to end his book:

“We are born into a pitiless universe, facing steep odds against life-enabling order and in constant jeopardy of falling apart. We were shaped by a force that is ruthlessly competitive. We are made from crooked timber, vulnerable to illusions, self-centeredness, and at times astounding stupidity.

Yet human nature has also been blessed with resources that open space for a kind of redemption. We are endowed with the power to combine ideas recursively, to have thoughts about our thoughts. We have an instinct for language, allowing us to share the fruits of our experience and ingenuity. We are deepened with the capacity for sympathy – for pity, imagination, compassion, commiseration.

These endowments have found ways to magnify their own power. The scope of language has been augmented by the written, printed, and electronic word. Our circle of sympathy has been expanded by history, journalism, and narrative arts. And our puny rational faculties have been multiplied by the norms and institutions of reason: intellectual curiosity, open debate, skepticism of authority and dogma, and the burden of proof to verify ideas by confronting them against reality.

As the spiral of recursive improvement gathers momentum, we eke out victories against the forces that grind us down, not least the darkest parts of our human nature. We penetrate the mysteries of the cosmos, including life and mind. We live longer, suffer less, learn more, get smarter, and enjoy small pleasures and rich experiences. Fewer of us are killed, assaulted, enslaved, oppressed, or exploited by others. From a few oases, the territories with peace and prosperity are growing, and could someday encompass the globe. Much suffering remains, and tremendous peril. But ideas on how to reduce them have been voiced, and an infinite number others are yet to be conceived.

We will never have a perfect world, and it would be dangerous to seek one. But there is no limit to the betterments we can attain if we continue to apply knowledge to enhance human flourishing. 

This heroic story is not just another myth. Myths are fictions, but this one is true – true to best of our knowledge, which is the only truth we can have. We believe it because we have reasons to believe it. As we learn more, we can show which parts of the story continue to be true, and which ones are false – as any of them might be, and any could become.

And the story belongs not to any tribe but to all of humanity – to any sentient creature with the power of reason and the urge ot persist in its being.  For it requires only the convictions that life is better than death, health is better than sickness, abidance is better th seean want, freedom is better than coercion, happiness is better than suffering, and knowledge is better than superstition and ignorance.”

Although progress has been remarkable, we must continue to work so we can continue to make it happen.  As you know, I will work for progress by generating comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits, or by practicing paneugenesis.  I look forward to hearing about the progress you help generate.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

If you want to contact me:
Email: BeWellr@gmail.com

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