Tag Archives: philosophy

Better Dressed

Beth read something to me out of a book she’s reading about the first day of school (as a teacher) and how to set yourself up for a successful year. ┬áIt read:

As you are dressed, so shall you be percieved. And as you are percieved, so shall you be treated.
It is not what is, but what is percieved that counts.
Always dress better than your students. If you do not care about yourself, why should the students care about you?

Which is probably why I need to start dressing better as a college instructor.

So noted…

On Happiness

Happiness is relative. Much in life is. My dad always said “You must choose to be happy.” I never knew what he meant by that, or how that could happen. I know now – and it has a lot to do with optimism. I saw a nice quote this morning, which inspired me to write this morning:

Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness.
Robertson Davies

The fact that I can’t be happy more often I think stems from my overwhelming desire to do and learn everything under the sun while participating heavily in the family I’ve built with my wife and working a full-time job to pay for it all.

Besides being busy, I love everything. And I can’t decide what it is I want to do. Lately I have streamlined a bit and have left myself with only a few hobbies, none of which have much priority in my every day. I have a family, a job, and school. Anything else is lower on my list.

Whatever my case, in May I will have a choice to make, and another one in December. I want to start pushing my company and get out of the consumer market. I need some solid goals to chase so I can quit changing my mind. Maybe finishing college will bring a calm to it all.

On Management

I was fumbling through my business card holder just now, and discovered again a card I really appreciated when I got it. Some guy was installing a new Cisco firewall in one of my offices last year and I questioned him about his work. He gave me the usual, watered-down “it’s a job” kind of thing, and gave me his card should I wish to seek employment alongside him.

This guy, Jeff (not important), worked for a company called Coleman Technologies, Inc. and it was apparently owned by Jeff Coleman (not the fellow on the front of the card). On the back was a pretty straightforward approach to leading. It was a list of 30 little statements, called Jeff Coleman’s Laws. They are as follows:

  1. No one is smart enough to be a dictator.
  2. The only real power one has is the power of persuasion.
  3. The less you know about something, the simpler it seems.
  4. Important decisions require at least one night’s sleep.
  5. Decisions made without all the facts are guesses.
  6. The most important thing a manager does is people picking.
  7. Lies are hard to remember.
  8. There is nothing more critical to true success than openness, honesty, and integrity.
  9. Those that don’t solicit and listen to advice are destined to be unsuccessful.
  10. What is given cannot be taken away.
  11. Meddling after responsibility is delegated and accepted, provides a built-in excuse for failure.
  12. Unwritten agreements are soon forgotten.
  13. Time is not a good decision-maker.
  14. You must look successful to be successful.
  15. Cash flow is more important than profit.
  16. Grow or die.
  17. The only people not making mistakes are those not doing anything.
  18. Don’t bite off more than you can bite off.
  19. The most important and most difficult trait to identify is the ability to get things done.
  20. A manager with a full calendar every day isn’t delegating properly.
  21. A full day spent in meetings is 40% wasted.
  22. A pat on the back is the ultimate in cost effectiveness.
  23. A manager that takes the credit for the work of the troops should be made a member of the troops.
  24. A manager unwilling to take risks is destined for mediocrity.
  25. Twenty percent of the people do eighty percent of the work.
  26. People that feel comfortable in their job are more productive.
  27. All contracts end.
  28. The prepared bird gets the worm.
  29. An unfilled position is better than one filled by the wrong person.
  30. The killer of the bearer of bad news quickly joins the ranks of the uninformed.

After two minutes of clicking, I discovered that this is available at the Coleman Technologies website.

I realize that the phrases in this list are not original, but this is a great collection. I am now all out of motivation. Goodnight.

Nobody Cares, That’s Why.

I’ve read Dvorak on and off for years now. I’m still not sure if I like him, but I read an article today about the media dumbing stuff down for its readers. I get his point, and I readily agree, but there is something missing: reader interest.

John fusses about a New York Times article dumbing down the term “hexadecimal” and continues to talk about how people might should be bombarded with computer related terms and acronyms. He says that if they want to know, they’ll summon a dictionary or Google for a bit of learning. He asks

I just wonder when exactly The Times stopped calling automobiles horseless carriages. And when did it stop using velocipede for bicycle? The Times story reflects a much larger issue: Exactly how much jargon should be incorporated into the general lexicon? We’re not in 1850 anymore.

I must submit my own two cents: Sure, we now call the horseless carriage an automobile, but the average driver does not know what the EGR valve is or does. I doubt they care. My father just had his EGR valve replaced for around $400, and still has no idea what it is. All he knows is that his truck runs smoother now. Stay with me – there is a point.

In the same light, everybody knows, generally, what a computer is. They just don’t know everything about it. Or how it works. Nor do they care, just as long as it keeps working. My mother doesn’t care one bit about the fact that I run Fedora Core 5 in runlevel 3 and with that machine I am able to keep up with my home IP address via a Google Gadget. It also runs home automation tasks with some open soure software called Heyu. As long as my mother can play solitare just as she has for the past ten years, she can’t give a hoot about how much RAM she has, or that it’s DDR. I might note that she is not mechanically enclined, either.

There is nothing wrong with that. I can understand operating systems and set up networks, but I can’t read music or sell insurance. I don’t know what an F-stop is or how to use it (adjust it?). I can change my own oil and manage my finances, but I don’t know that I could provide in-home care for the elderly or disabled. We all have our specialties and don’t have the time or interest to learn others, John C. Dvorak included.

This is Personal

Sometime last semester, I got really angry at a lot of people, and began feeling jaded toward society in general. Working full time and attending a traditional university was pretty demanding, on top of caring for my family. Depression seemed to set in, and I had been crapped on by too many people in simple situations, like the gas station attendant never making eye contact, some fat lady nearly causing a traffic jam trying to put her straw in her drink, and, yes, another fat lady not knowing what her job is at the auto parts store. These fucking people, I thought. What a place to live. One morning in class I decided I’d had enough and did what I always do during these times: I sit down and write. So I wrote:

I can’t begin to explain my declining state of mind. Something is missing. I am becoming apathetic, yet hostile at the same time. I am angry at society and its current state. Most people are rude, and it’s either because they were raised that way or they are megalomaniacs. People are hypocrites with earth-friendly stickers on their cars from which they throw trash on the road. They smoke cigarettes and eat pure cooked fat, then declare it a shame that Uncle Jimmy died of a coronary at 46, when he weighed 300 pounds. They wear gold and diamonds that shine in the headlights of other cars on the highway when their grossly neglected vehicle has finally given up. It’s the same $600 car with $1500 wheels on it.

These are the same peole who snap at you for trying to hand them your credit card when you can just swipe it yourself, and only point you in a general direction when you’re looking for something in a store. These are the people who don’t speak when you hold the door for them, as if you owe it to that person. These are the people who share their telephone conversations with everyone in the restaurant and seem to have the hardest time driving while conducting business on said device.

I don’t know where I’m going with this – I just want to sit down and learn how computers work, be left alone right now and not be bothered. But one cannot live without going out for needed items, forcing me out into the jungle of rudeness and hostility. Maybe it’s because I’m white, or because I don’t look like everyone else, but it’s probably just because I’m on the same road or in their store, bothering them to no end. It’s not as if she wouldn’t have a job without paying customers, is it?

I was taking anthropology at the time, and it hit some nerves. The instructor is an atheist, and he really hit home on some topics I’d been toying with on a personal level for some time. The class was very invigorating, and struck the match that lit my fire.

I had been a struggling agnostic leaning toward atheism until I took anthropology. One night the professsor was talking about the significance we as humans imbue upon objects, events, and basically anything we can summon words for. This lecture told me exactly what I needed to hear: God exists because we invented a god. That statement is really for another article.

I have always been a believer in the purely physical and systematically proven concepts. I love it. I can touch it. I can explain it. I deducted from my observations that anything, with time, can be logically explained. I found this in mathematics, when I was trying to explain to Beth how I know that even though I can’t actually define the exact value of the square root of 3, I still know that its square is the number 3. It’s because it works for any square root. That also may be for another article.

All this to say that since I have decided that God does not exist in any form, my methods of thinking about most everything have changed. I have released the significance of many things, and this in turn has granted me liberty from our society. In my mind, I am truly free. There are many benefits to this, but there are also some drawbacks. One drawback is that my new level makes me socially awkward, and unlike 90 percent of America. That said, I don’t have many friends here in South Georgia. That’s okay, though, because I’ve always been socially awkward and without many friends. The pros outweigh the cons.

Don’t get me wrong – I still pay my taxes, I respect people, and I even bow my head when someone wants to pray at the dinner table. I just don’t give any significance to the animocity of some people, the $10.00 “Pray for Our Troops” magnets, or a scratch on my car’s finish. It doesn’t matter. It’s just a car.

It’s just a watch. A shirt. No matter what the commercial says, that diamond necklace only has the significance that you give it. To a monkey, it’s just shiny. To a fish, it’s probably something to eat. To a rock, it’s a relative. What is it to you?

My dad once told me when I was having a fit about life that I must choose to be happy. I couldn’t understand that because it wasn’t that simple at the time. On a lower level, I was angry at the way things were and how I didn’t have any money. I couldn’t maintain my attitude about those things and simply choose to be happy. So when I changed my mind about the significance of money, of other peoples’ opinions of me, and found out what is really important, I was able to make that choice to be happy. I have made my choice, and I am happy.

I realize I may have lost the respect of a few people in light of this, but I am prepared. I have in no way intended to imply that your belief is wrong – only that I may not share the same beliefs with you. If you have been offended, feel free to comment. I am finally ready to defend myself.

Everything in Question

I’ve been pondering lately the meaning of life. Not just the meaning of life, mind you, but a slew of other questions as well, such as our reason for being here and the reason we do certain things. This line of questioning tends to branch off and become very complicated at about the sixth level, so I’ll stop there. I want to share my thoughts with my readers and quote a bit, if not just to fill up some space on the World Wide Web.

The first passage I want to share with you is too long to reprint in full here (I’ll only provide one paragraph.) It is from the Introduction to A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, and I would encourage anyone to read it for understanding. It helps explain to me why we’re here on Earth at this time:

To begin with, for you to be here now trillions of drifting atoms had somehow to assemble in an intricate and intriguingly obliging manner to create you. It’s an arrangement so specialized and particular that it has never been tried before and will only exist this once. For the next many years (we hope) these tiny particles will uncomplainingly engage in all the billions of deft, cooperative efforts necessary to keep you intact and let you experience the supremely agreeable but generally underappreciated state known as existence.

Simply put, we just are. That’s it. We exist. Maybe there will be more later as I continue my journey. Maybe not.