The Angel’s Dictionary of Aphorisms – Maturity


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The Angel’s Dictionary of Aphorisms


To be understood, you must speak to what the other person is prepared to hear and understand.

We grow rigid and age rapidly when we cease to observe the world around us and instead project onto the world what we wish to be there.

If you look and act like you are eighty years old, people will treat you like they would treat an eighty-year-old.

I know eighty-year-olds who still ski, but they injure easily and die even when they take easy falls.

When we ask for help, ask for the ability to hear and learn better habits from other people’s mistakes.

If you tell your personal stories as if they happened in a far away place and an ancient time people will relate to you and your life is a fairy tale. To be current and alive tell your stories as if they just are just happening.

Among the greatest blessings of any moment is the intentional awareness and use of its opportunities.

Adding years to our lives brings to the fore those habits, both good and bad, that we have cultivated.

Live life in the moment with an enthusiasm that fills up that moment.

Living to be old requires good sense and some good luck, but living well requires good character and that is founded on good habits.

Some people grow more rigid as they age and others more flexible; it depends on the habits they have chosen and cultivated.

Some grow more stoical as they age and cease worrying about things over which they have no influence.

Growing old can be a beautiful path filled with wonderful events even to the end, but it requires being on a good path with the right responses to what is found there.

Our bodies will weaken with the years, but our minds can mature into an ever healthier condition if we think and do the right things.

Even a child feels old and decrepit if he cultivates habits of worry and regrets.

Personal growth can continue after death in that portion of a person’s personality that is invested in the health of his community.

Wisdom is in knowing which habits to cultivate and which to overlay with other habits.

Time will age one’s body, but abuse will age it faster.

Even when the clouds and night of infirmity prevent us from seeing we can know that truth and beauty are still there in the world.

Growing old is delightful if you have chosen the right habits.

We are given our bodies and place of birth, but we can choose to cultivate a healthy body and mind and take good care of them.

Do what you can with your life to help others live theirs more abundantly. Not only does it help them, it helps you to see better what they and you need.

It is a pleasure gaining maturity moving away from the problems of youth and adulthood.

Fit your actions to their appropriate time; what needs doing today do today, and what needs doing now do now. Put off forever what shouldn’t be done, or at least until tomorrow.

When we see successful people we can observe what works, and when we see failures we can observe what doesn’t work. Need it be said, “Do what works, and avoid what doesn’t work.”

Watch for the antecedents of contentment, and search for ways to help others find their own way to contentment by exposing the antecedents.

Contentment could be had in youth, if those who had it said how to attain it and demonstrated the way.

Find important things that need doing, and do what you can and promote those things.

Those who pay attention to their surroundings and participate are alive, they may eventually die of old age, but they are forever youthful.

A mind with an inflexible attitude isn’t thinking and it’s functionally dead.

Old age is wonderful if one has behaved well and continues to behave well. Of course it requires wisdom to know what behaving well consists of and how to do it.

Tranquility within and contentment without can be learned and cultivated.

We are all students of life, and we are all young, adult and mature some of the time.

Avoid offensive behavior, be kind, speak and behave honestly.

First get wisdom, and what is wisdom but knowing what to learn and what habits to cultivate and when to apply them?

Most people find it difficult to grow old gracefully because their lives are awash in sophisticated propaganda to value things they don’t need.

It is impossible to slow the years from passing but we can influence our health.

We improve with age if we have cultivated wisdom and rot with age if we haven’t.

Those who disparage old age are destroying their chance of ever enjoying it.

Those people who live for bodily pleasures will grow despondent with their advancing years, but those who live to help others find their way will find their own years gladdened.

Wise people are content with what they are and what they have made of themselves.

As we age we become more uniquely like ourselves.

To grow old pay attention not only to the good things you might seek, but also to the bad things to avoid.

Every moment of your life you can grow in experience and wisdom, and then every future moment will have more potential for what you want than every preceding one.

Waking up in the morning, or in the middle of a conversation is always a surprise.

A neurotic is often a physically healthy person who has cultivated some poor habits.

When we use our adult years’ time and attention well, our old age will be tranquil and content.

Everyone has problems, and to have the discernment to see what leads those people to success or failure with their problems is a good guide for us.

The desirable childlike qualities of old age are seeing the world with fresh eyes, and then being content with what you see there.

An mature person avoids taking risks, because risks sometimes cause problems, and almost always you can avoid risks by doing something else.

Being creative is using what is available to a good end.

Occasionally, I have to tell people how old I am, and they are always startled. I tell them I chose my parents carefully, and kept my face out of fights. That gets a chuckle.

When you are doing something important you are alive and feel young, but when you stop dong anything you are instantly old and feel decrepit.

Cheerfulness is based on a life of good habits, but happiness is always only of the moment.

Fools grow more foolish with age, and their thinking grows even more confused as they practice their poor habits.

Maturity is a potential reward we receive for not getting ourselves killed in our youth.

Every new moment of a mature life is getting better because it has a better base to build upon.

People easily forget that the function of the brain is to promote the health and survival of their body and their species.

We carry our habits to our last breath.

To the end the best thing to improve your life is to be observing other people and trying to find ways to improve their lives.

A life being well lived can be departed at any time, because it is complete at every moment.

Live life to the fullness of the moment, even when that moment is one of dying.

The Angel’s Dictionary – Dreams


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The Angel’s Dictionary


Dreams are that portion of our thoughts that come on their own without direct contact with our reality, but there are an infinity of possible thoughts and of dreams, and of them only a few function well in our conscious reality.

Our daily task is to bring our reality into agreement with our dreams, and our nightly task is to bring our dreams into conformity with our reality.

There is a difference between dreams and hopes, but there is a common problem with them both in their tenuous contact with what is possible.

Reality is honest and fair, and it always plays by its rules, and when we learn and obey those rules it is a comfortable companion, but when we expect it to obey our dreams it will often be contrary and bloody.

There is an infinity of dreams but at any time and place only one reality, and it is that one we are living within that we must obey.

Without dreams our world seems to shrink and illusions vanish, but when illusions wither away we can begin to live more fully.

Hallucinations may be entertaining, but they do more harm than good.

Set personal goals based on reality and avoid dreams that are too close to hallucinations.

Dreams and hopes can point the way to good things, but moving toward goals requires taking steps. The first step is often the most difficult, and that is where the habits of courage and boldness need to be cultivated.

When chasing a dream you must be careful, because while you keep your eye on the goal you must also keep your feet on the path.

The most functional dreams are ones that point the way but do not reveal the final destination, because the way can last forever, but when you have reached a goal it is gone and that aspect of life is ended.

Don’t let your dreams be destroyed by other people disparaging them.

Make your path attractive and it will be easy to follow, but if you set a distant goal it is easy to get distracted.

If we set our goals and dreams too distant, and too hard to move toward it will result in a life of anxiety, disappointment and despair, but if the goals are attractive and easy there will be a continual pleasure as we make progress toward them.

Dreams can be painful and those are guides to avoid whatever it is that is creating those dreams.

If you can dream it you can do it, but only in your dreams, so bring your dreams into conformity to your possibilities. The possibilities can be difficult, but make them real.

When nurtured well a seed of an idea can grow into whatever is latent within that idea.

Scale your aspirations to your maturity. If you are a child aspire to childish things, but when you are a man seek out and do manly things

Just having a clear vision of what needs to be done to achieve your dream isn’t enough; you must do what needs to be done. If that can’t be done in this moment you can practice on a similar activity where you can be successful.

Our existence would be horrible if we could never do anything except dream; it is in action and seeing the fruits of our actions that we enjoy our lives. It is in action that our dreams become real, and our lives too.

We will find the greatest pleasure if we can guide our dreams toward the betterment of humanity and all living things.

It is the dreamers who put their dreams into action that make our world the interesting place that it is, and they make new dreams possible.

Thought is similar to a directed dream, but being more conscious it can become a controlled action.

Our dreams are always based on our own character and aspirations and these come with our personal strengths and shortcomings.

When you are thinking about something before you go to bed similar things will come into your dreams, so do things that will be worthwhile to dream about.

Dreams skim around the borders of our personal reality, but as fantastic as they may seem they have a reality based in our personal experiences.

Dreams reassemble the meaningless disorder of our lives into a meaningful order of our hopes and fears.

After a sentence beginning with, “Man is … ” you could with grammatical adjustments stick in almost any word in the dictionary. Man is a dreamer.


My intent with this idea was to take a word from the dictionary and work up some thoughts around it. I read Ambrose Bierces The Devil’s Dictionarymany years ago, and was thinking along that line, only with a more positive approach. Hence the name, The Angel’s Dictionary. It will be interesting to see where that goes. The intent was only an epigraphical like statement, but look what happened – it just grew. I am loaded down with epigraphs.

Ebola offers a unique opportunity for policy improvement.


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Ebola has been devastating to West African communities, but a lesson has been partially learned, and at this moment that lesson is being partially exploited. What has been learned could be promoted to enhance the current response and that of future communities to outbreaks of disease, and to other problems also.

It has become apparent that survivors of Ebola can perform many tasks in relative safety compared to every other person. Never-infected people working with Ebola must use elaborate precautions to prevent themselves from falling victim to the disease; and even with precautions the death toll of medical workers has been 340 of the 5,689 deaths. That is an unnecessarily high 6 percent death toll of the people working to save the victims’ lives. Those facts should be made into common knowledge for all the public; thus when a new epidemic disease arises the survivors would be sought out to help current victims, in preference to currently unexposed healthy people being brought into the epidemic zone at a real risk to their own lives.

When it becomes apparent that a diseased victim is going to survive their training could begin as to how to help other people who are still very sick. The training should be easy because they have themselves just been receiving most of the treatments they would be giving to the new victims. Also, if they have been in a multi-patient ward they will have seen first-hand what needs to be done, and as soon as they are strong enough to help they could begin giving treatment to the others in their own ward. They should be encouraged to do this work by being given good pay for their efforts, perhaps as much compensation as would be given a fully trained moon-suited caregiver. That might seem extravagant for pay, but this health care worker is readily available and could carry on with the non-technical routine operations. These just recovered workers would fatigue easily, and so their duties should be light, but they could be available twenty-four seven because they could safely live and sleep on site. Because they are constantly available their services would be available instantly when needed.

The main point here is that a policy that respected these survivors’ special status would be beneficial to the whole local community and to the whole world. It would require fewer outside people to enter the epidemic zone and be exposed, and fewer people leaving the zone and possibly transmitting the disease to outside areas. Also, it would give these victims some monetary employment in a community that would be hesitant to accept them back, fearing they would be carrying the disease. Surviving victims staying in a hospital and helping out should be considered heroes, and included in TIME magazine’s Person of the Year as publicly honored heroes.

Future public policy should be that survivors of epidemics are to be sought out and immediately trained as basic caregivers.

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) logarithmic chart update – 15 December 2014


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Ebola log chart updated to December 15, 2014

This logarithmic chart updates to December 15, 2014 the deaths from Ebola and compares them to deaths from Flu, AIDS, Plague, WW2, Mongols, and others. Click chart to make it bigger.

This chart is based on WHO’s published data and it shows both a continuing tragedy and a clear hope for the immediate future. The tragedy is that since the last update on November 26, 2014 there have been 1,152 deaths attributed to the West African Ebola outbreak, (6,841 minus 5,689). The hopeful sign is that when described on a logarithmic chart there is a clear sign that the present huge efforts are working. With a continued effort at the present level there may be a substantial drop in Ebola victims. However, the great effort should be continued until there are zero cases of this disease. This is the type of disease that can be totally eliminated from the human population, and when there are no more cases there will be no more human sources of infection. There is the probability that Ebola will still be lurking in some wild animal population, but that source hasn’t been identified yet, and there may be several wild reservoirs. The transfer to humans is rare, but when it happens it can spread before it is recognized and can be devastating. The chart above shows how quickly Ebola can grow. It went from one death in December 2013 to over a thousand in three weeks in late November through early December 2014.

TIME magazine has designated its Person of the Year 2014 to be The Ebola Fighters.

Links here go to a [SEARCH] for all of Probaway’s EBOLA Posts.

Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 14


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Epictetus (55-135 CE) Enchiridion
A manual for living a contented life
Rendered by Charles Scamahorn (1935- ) 2014

Paragraph 14

It is foolish for you to wish for impossible things, such as your wife, children, or friends should live forever. That is an attempt to gather things to be under your personal control that can never be accomplished by anyone; it is a futile hope that can never be accomplished so avoid it; and it’s an ambition to control other people’s destinies, but that is their responsibility, not yours. It is  possible for you to avoid being disappointed in not getting things, by choosing not want what you can’t have. If it was possible to get something, but someone else got it instead, you can maintain your tranquility by accepting that as a past event over which you have no influence. You are the one who controls your desires, but if you get into debt to someone they are in control of your actions, and that controls your desires. If you want to be free from those torments don’t wish for anything, and avoid anything that depends upon another person’s actions. Don’t let yourself get into debt, to anyone for anything, because that will put you into voluntary slavery to that person and to their desires and choices.


The generalization running through Epictetus’ writings is not to waste time and energy hoping for impossible things, because you will inevitably fail to get what you seek and thus will inevitably be disappointed. The goal is to be tranquil within oneself and to be contented with the world outside oneself. Those are easily attained goals if you avoid wishing for things outside of your personal control and seek only to gain control of those things that are clearly within your personal abilities. To worry about anything disturbs your tranquility and most of what happens in the world is totally outside of your control and thus to be ignored or enjoyed at your personal choice.

Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 13


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Epictetus (55-135 CE) Enchiridion
A manual for living a contented life
Rendered by Charles Scamahorn (1935- ) 2014

Paragraph 13

If you choose to follow the Stoic path to contentment, let others observe that you react to external events with only a passive interest, and seek no reputation for having any particular ability to do anything. If people see you as having some special ability, consider the likelihood that you have made a mistake in how you have presented yourself to them. It isn’t easy to learn how to maintain your attention on the goal of being tranquil when the local situation is turbulent, and if you get too caught up in the external happenings the goal of contentment with the world is lost, and you will act in a way that exposes your abilities.


When we are seen by others to have anything of value they will seek to get some of it for themselves; thus to prevent their self-interest from being stimulated we should only expose those aspects of our self which have nothing of value to others. Of course we must earn a living, so it is necessary to expose something for which we can legitimately ask payment, but avoid showing anything that will stimulate greed or envy. When others are stimulated to feel greedy they will try to take what they want, and if they are envious they will feel resentment and treat you badly. The nasty aspects of human nature can be avoided by giving the appearance of casual emptiness. When people are not making any demands on you it is easier to maintain tranquility with oneself and contentment with the world.

Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 12


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Epictetus (55-135 CE) Enchiridion
A manual for living a contented life
Rendered by Charles Scamahorn (1935- ) 2014

Paragraph 12

If you choose to follow the Stoic path into tranquility, give up worthless worries such as, “If I don’t maximize my income I will have nothing to live on, and if I don’t routinely punish those who serve me they will treat me badly.” It is more gratifying to live with few material possessions with affection and happiness, than to live in great wealth filled with anxieties and dread. It will be more pleasant for you when a servant does his work poorly if you maintain your equanimity. For example, practice this attitude with the small problems, and say, when a little oil is spilt or a little wine is stolen, say, “The cost of that bit of oil or wine is the small price I pay for my tranquility, so why be annoyed by such tiny things. Nothing comes without some cost.” When you call your servant, he may not hear, or he may be engaged in a difficult situation, or he may be contrary, but why let his momentary disobedience disturb your quiet, after all you are in charge of your emotions, not he.


How do we relate to the complexities of our expenses, our incomes and outlays and relate to those people upon whom we are dependent for their services? Here again we see the Stoic attitude is to value personal contentment as the quality of life to be sought, rather than the short-term satisfaction of personal desires or needs. Fame, fortune, office, public respect will place unpleasant demands upon our time and attention, so instead of seeking them it makes more sense to avoid them. To be content is easy to do when you seek simple things that are within your personal control.

Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 11


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Epictetus (55-135 CE) Enchiridion
A manual for living a contented life
Rendered by Charles Scamahorn (1935- ) 2014

Paragraph 11

Avoid saying of lost possessions, “I have lost this thing,” but rather say, “I have given it back to where it came from.” If your child dies, say, “I have given him back to the universe,” and if your wife dies, say, “I have given her back.” If your property is taken away, with this too say, “It has been given back.” There is an inclination to think of whatever it was that took these things from you as evil; but when they are gone what does it matter the attitude of that which took these things from you? Whenever you have been given the possession of something, think of it as temporary, and treat it with good care, but with the attitude that it is not exclusively your own; treat it like you take care of a rented room at a hotel, which you leave in good order, but without remorse.


In this passage we are dealing with what we consider as our ownership of close personal possessions, like our wife, or child or property. Epictetus recommends a relaxed feeling of possession and emphasizes this idea with suggestions on how to cope with a loss of the most precious ones. That would be painful, but if we think of them as on loan to us from the universe, and not as our absolute possessions, we can treat them with greater respect as befits their independent nature, and that attitude also gives them respect as to their relationship to the greater reality of the universe. Furthermore, our pain and suffering at their loss will be minimized because they were never truly our private possessions. They have their own personal existence within the universe, as all things do, and all things of nature cease to exist at some point in time. When we understand this and accept its finality we can live a more tranquil life.

Going Dark by Guy R. McPherson – book review and video links


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This is a depressing book on so many dimensions. The most terrifying is that it throws in our face the likelihood of the collapse of human civilization within the lives of most of our present human population. McPherson writes that civilization will be gone by 2030 and that the people dependent on it, will be nearly extinct. I just searched a bit and found that world median human life expectancy is currently 71 years, and the median age is 29.7 years, which means that we could expect that half the people alive today would be alive in 41.3 years. But 2030 is only fifteen years away, so if you are younger than age 68, you can expect to participate in the extinction event for humanity. Yikes! That’s well into retirement for most people, and McPherson says those old people are going to witness the end?

The author of Going Dark, Guy R. McPherson, is presently 51 years old, so by his own calculation he will be deprived of seventeen years of life expectancy. I suspect that is part of why he claims to be so angry at present society and its refusal to behave in a more Earth-sustaining way. If the book isn’t enough of a bummer and you want to save a few bucks, watch his YouTube video, Earth Extinction 2030. There are several more similar videos that appear at the YouTube site. Unfortunately, the message is simple: collapse is inevitable and coming soon, because there are over twenty feedback loops that will aggravate and hasten the coming failure of the Earth to support our destructive ways.

It appears that McPherson, a professional ecologist, didn’t take into sufficient consideration for his emotional outlook the two prime directives of all life forms, personal survival, and DNA survival. All living things exploit their environments to the maximum for personal survival, and when there is insufficient predation on a species it explodes and consumes the environment that sustains it. Humanity has had nothing to contain its growth for thousands of years other than famine, as all the other threats to its life, like disease and war, are self-limiting. However, with the development of one-time-use fossil fuels as a way to generate more food the population exploded. The population would have dropped back to sustainable levels once the fossil fuels ran out, but an unexpected problem arose because of the fouling of the surface air, water and land with fossil fuel-derived pollution. This has turned out to be so severe that a violent disruption is expected within a couple of decades. The disruption will be so severe as to collapse technical civilization and human population will drop to early agricultural levels or below.

McPherson appears to be a very pleasant person in his videos, but he is angry at the situation that humanity has wrought upon itself. Individually those people like him who look at the situation can see the problem, but it is so abstract that the public is easily confused by the complexity and has refused to do what is needed to solve the problem. When the problem is so severe that it is obvious in all localities, it will be far too late to do anything effective. It is a complex existential problem based on Darwinian principles, positive feedback with destructive results, and logarithmic growth of some problems like population and expectations. McPherson sees the best long term solution to the problem to be a near-term collapse of our industrial society.

The recommendation to individuals seems to be that of the 1949 song, Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think, because there’s next to nothing an individual can do to save themselves. His opinion is that it is already far too late, and the planet is already well into an extinction event equivalent to the one that killed the dinosaurs; it just hasn’t killed us yet.

Plato wrote, “Those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood, let alone believed, by the masses.”

Carl Sagan said, “It’s far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”

Guy McPherson said, “I’m telling it like it is.” “If we are the last why not be the best we can be.” “If we have a finite number of years on the planet, why not bring out our best right now.”


An evening with Steve Layman and his goshawks


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Contrary to common knowledge predatory animals don’t eat the sick and old, but like the old lady at the grocery store are very picky about what they choose. Steve Layman lives with wild animals and especially birds of prey, and he speaks from personal experience when he says predators only eat poor quality food when they can’t find something better. When they have killed an animal and discovered that it was sick they will abandon it and search for a better meal. Only if they can find nothing better will they return to an inferior animal.

A goshawk being displayed during a lecture

Steve Layman holding his goshawk during a lecture in Father Luke’s Room at McMenamins, in Bend, Oregon

He mentioned that it’s the females who do the mate selection, with goshawks. It’s the same old story, the boys chase and the girls choose the best from what’s available. He implied that this was true of most species including humans.

There are a couple of millennia of hawking traditions, and considerable lore about how to train birds of prey, but with his experience with operant conditioning derived from his own experiments Layman can get his birds to do hunting activities even while flying over a crowd of a hundred humans in a large room. That would be very distracting for a bird, but it was able to follow commands even in that situation, such as fly this way or that and fly to some height, high or low. This was all done with visual and aural commands.

One of his training techniques was to get this normally predatory bird to consider Layman as non-threatening. It’s a problem because wild birds are naturally afraid of humans, so how do you train them to come to your leather-covered arm on command. It is done by convincing the bird that you are afraid of him, with conditioning. The bird on a line is brought closer to your face, which would normally terrify the bird, but when he makes an aggressive behavior you jump back and give him a food pellet. It takes a while, but after a while the bird feels he is in control, his fear goes away, and then he will learn to come on command. Layman said he was training emotion and not behavior.

It is wonderful listening to someone talk about a subject he really knows and on which he is doing experimental research. It makes for a far deeper moment than hearing someone lecturing on book learning, because in this situation there is an attitude of exploring, and a willingness to live in the moment of not knowing quite what’s going to happen in the next moment. Thus everyone pays close attention and a deeper relationship unfolds.


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