Venus and Jupiter are in conjunction and … ?


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That Venus and Jupiter will be in conjunction this week could have been predicted long ago, perhaps even by Issac Newton. With modern techniques these conjunctions could be calculated for tens of thousands of years, or perhaps not. After all when there are more than three bodies in an astronomical calculation things get difficult in the long run, and with the Sun and quite a few other smaller bodies coming into the calculation things become impossible. Not long ago it was thought that if you knew the position and velocity of every particle in the Universe it would be possible to predict with perfect precision everything that would happen. Now even with super computers we can’t really predict even such simple systems as the conjunctions of two planets in a complex system into the distant future, and the problem of predicting everything becomes so obviously difficult as to be absurd multiplied with a vast number of zeros after it.

None of this type of astronomical event has any real effect on the creatures of the Earth, except for humans; and even with us it is only important because we like to think it is. I suspect there will be people linking this conjunction to the political events of this last week. The Supreme Court legalizing LGBTQ marriage may have some major long-term effects well outside of the United States. The pulling down of the Civil War Battle Flag of the South, because of the murder of nine people in a church in Charleston, is long overdue. It’s impossible to predict the future when it comes to symbolic social events. That is much harder than astronomical ones. The murder of a questionable heir to a defunct monarch became one of the major events of the 20th century.

Perhaps of more lasting importance, but it’s unlikely, is the flyby of the now demoted planet Pluto. It is hard to imagine anything Earth-shaking being discovered from this object totally invisible to the naked eye, four and a half light hours away. Even the Sun is only seven light minutes away, and that is not exactly close by human standards, but a remote ball of very cold gas doesn’t seem likely to maintain interest for very long.

A Google search didn’t turn up much that was unique for the year 2015.

The Boy Scout helping the old lady across the street problem.


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I was trying to define my conception of kindness to some older women and at one point was using the standard story of the good Boy Scout helping the old lady across the street at an intersection. This has been an iconic good deed for a teenage boy, but when I introduced the idea of doing the good deed in such a way that it didn’t deprive the old lady of her self-reliance and independence the conversation quickly hit some snags.

Wasn’t my supposing the old lady needing help imposing on her privacy? Was asking her if she needed help demeaning to her dignity? Was walking slowly to provide a “shadow space” from potential traffic really helping, or just confusing everyone? Why was I trying to help someone in the first place, wasn’t there an ulterior motive? Isn’t it better to just stay out of other people’s affairs, unless they ask? All of these questions were confusing to me, particularly because this particular group was one that verbally claims that love is the answer to practically all of human problems. I was thinking wasn’t helping an act of love?

The whole problem came up when I was trying to explain why the ideal form of helping another person was to do some little thing that didn’t need a thank you, because it was such a natural act in the flow of ongoing things. It seems most people operate on a transactional basis when dealing with other people, and there must be some form of payment given for any deed. My idea of a tiny helping act that doesn’t require any kind of payment becomes an intentional gift, and it helps one become kinder to oneself, and that is the reward. People talk about being kind, but they don’t seem to mean much behind the words other than smiling, and saying superficially nice things. To just keep smiling and talking about the beautiful weather in an upbeat way will get one through most of these short conversations, and that will be thought of as kind.

Those old women made me feel like I should be in training to be a “nice” teenager.

Condensed thoughts compilation from Probaway’s 2015 blog



Condensed thoughts Probaway

January 2015

01 January 2015 – Probaway – Person of the year 2015 – Peter Higgs and Alan Guth – They discovered particles that could be found anywhere in the Universe, that are fundamental to our existence.

02 January 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 23 – If you are distracted quickly recognize that you have lost that moment for maintaining tranquility.

03 January 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Kindness – The greatest acts of wisdom are simple acts of kindness.

04 January 2015 – Progress review for Probaway and modern society – This blog began with a list of Life Hacks for creating a better world with good habits.

05 January 2015 – Imagine There’s No Heaven by Mitchell Stephens – book review – If God is incomprehensible to man, it would seem rational never to think of Him at all.

06 January 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 24 – The world is constantly making demands on us to do things that take us away from our personal duty to ourselves.

07 January 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Energy – A person without a present purpose has no energy and soon falls into despondency.

08 January 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 25 – Sometimes a friend gets a perk you would prefer had come to you, but that decision was some other person’s choice.

09 January 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Reliability – No one is reliable who is expected to act against their own self-interest.

10 January 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 26 – We can choose how we respond to inevitable events.

11 January 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Tranquility – Being courageous, constructive, and kind are the fruits of tranquility.

12 January 2015 – The Wisdom of Donkeys – by Andy Merrifield – review – My aim has been to clarify how the goal of tranquility, so prized by the Stoics, might be generated in our modern people.

13 January 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 27 – Our world does not exist intending for us to miss out on opportunities.

14 January 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 28 – To maintain control of your inner self is your personal responsibility.

15 January 2015 – Easy diet, easier diet, easiest diet. – Leave something on my plate for Grandma!

16 January 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Freedom – Without free speech there is not even the possibility of any of the other rights.

17 January 2015 – The Marshmallow Test by Walter Mischel – Book review – I think, therefore I can change what I am.

18 January 2015 – You can’t cure stupid, especially Detroit stupid, stupid, foolishness. – You can’t cure stupid, but sometimes even fools can cure themselves with forethought.

19 January 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 29 – To become a Stoic is easy to do once you are willing to abandon the wonderful things society pretends are available to you.

20 January 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Desire – The sage’s desire is to help another being find their way.

21 January 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 30 – Be content with the past, because there is nothing you can do about it.

22 January 2015 – The Bonobo and the Atheist by Frans DeWaal – Book review – Why not assume that our humanity, including the self-control needed for a livable society, is built into us?

23 January 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 31 – It is important to have a proper piety toward society’s gods, its ideas of justice, and whatever it is that created our universe.

24 January 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 32 – Remember the man who was violently cast out of the Delphi Oracle for asking if he should defend his brother, who was about to be murdered.

25 January 2015 – The Tao Teh Ching – #10 – Revealed by Lao Tzu – Rendered by Charles Scamahorn – When training your self in the use of your secret source,
hold close to your essence and thus avoid dispersal.

26 January 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Ethics – Being ethical means doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons.

27 January 2015 – Risk of death measured by CriSTAL, Glasgow Coma Scale, RTS and START – What are the criteria that guide our medical people in triage decisions?

28 January 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 33 – Right now give some thought as to how you will behave when alone, and how you will behave towards others when in public.

29 January 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 34 – How you will feel a year from now about having accepted a pleasure, and how you will feel about having rejected it.

30 January 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 35 – If you can’t do the job correctly don’t start it, but if it is within your abilities, do a competent job, and ignore those who disparage you.

31 January 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 36 – Demonstrate your appreciation to your host by behaving appropriately, which usually means modestly.

Condensed thoughts Probaway February 2015

01 February 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 37 – When you choose to do some job that is beyond your ability, it is likely that you will fail, so do jobs where you will be successful.

02 February 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 38 – Never through lack of caution hurt your ruling principle of carefully seeking tranquility and contentment.

03 February 2015 – Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) logarithmic chart update – 03 – The effort is now being shifted to tracking down every case of Ebola, and every contact made by each sick person.

04 February 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 39 – Pause for a moment and consider the endless new troubles you will acquire when putting on another man’s shoes.

05 February 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 40 – In Roman times girls attempted to get married quickly by making themselves as attractive as possible to marriageable men.

06 February 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 41 – It demonstrates a lack of judgment to spend excessive time exercising, eating, drinking, and copulating.

07 February 2015 – Saint Augustine’s analysis of lying – Even truth thought false by the sayer is a lie.

08 February 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 42 – When a man treats you badly or speaks badly of you, remember that he is coming from his own experiences.

09 February 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 43 – Choose the view that he is your friend and you have always solved your differences. Then approach the problem from a place of common interest.

10 February 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 44 – A man standing before you is neither his property nor his style; nor are you.

11 February 2015 – Will computer minds find an inherent meaning to the Universe? – Are the evolutionary goals of a Universal superintelligence even conceivable to humans?

12 February 2015 – Convert all of the Universe’s silicon into intelligent material. – To survive and reproduce oneself is the goal of an evolving silicon living system.

13 February 2015 – Vint Cerf discusses 1000 year storage of digital information – Digital vellum will make our current digital information available to people a thousand years in the future.

14 February 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 45 – If you don’t know why a person did a particular act, you don’t know if he did it well or poorly.

15 February 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 46 – Instead of showing off your knowledge, demonstrate it in your actions.

16 February 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 47 – Do things to maintain your own self-control over your body, but don’t tell anyone you are doing these things. They are for you.

17 February 2015 – St. Augustine’s Confessions – But, where does all of his abundance come from? It comes from Jesus’ idea that you should “help others live and live more abundantly.”

18 February 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 48 – A Stoic expects all benefits and harms to come from within himself.

19 February 2015 – Attention with kindness yields the best love. – Even arguing and fighting is a form of personal acknowledgment and validation.

20 February 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 49 – Nothing of value comes to me until I actually attempt to use the information that I acquire.

21February 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Love – Love is an expression in actions of the respect for another’s intentions.

22 February 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 50 – Your self-chosen rules’ function is to train you to personally gain control of yourself and your habits.

23 February 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 51 – Prepare now, because every moment of your life is a now, and it will be met with all that you have to offer.

24 February 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Lies – To lie to another convincingly trains one’s own self to lie to oneself, and thus to voluntarily ruin one’s own character.

25 February 2015 – The Tao Teh Ching – #11 – Revealed by Lao Tzu – Rendered by Charles Scamahorn – Clay may be molded into a cup, yet – From the void within arises the utility of the cup.

26 February 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 52 – We must never lie or everything becomes meaningless.

27 February 2015 – The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert – book review – The impressive thing about humanity creating this world-wide sixth extinction is that “we are doing it without even trying.”

28 February 2015 – My controversial jelly bean diet kills desire to continue eating. – The three jelly bean diet has been the easiest diet I’ve created, so far.

Condensed thoughts Probaway March 2015

01 March 2015 – Epictetus – Enchiridion – A manual of Stoic living. Paragraph 53 – I choose to influence only that which is within my ability, and be content with the rest.

02 March 2015 – How to save the frogs of the world. – The freezing of frogs is a method for saving the frogs and probably some other species from extinction.

03 March 2015 – I am aware. – I enjoy the awareness that I am aware of my awareness and of its rareness.

04 March 2015 – Speak in complete sentences. – I have a habit of speaking too briefly and expecting whomever it is that is listening to fill in the missing words.

05 March 2015 – When an unknown opportunity knocks at least open the door. – The world is still filled with many potential unknowns that are easily discovered.

06 March 2015 – How to love one’s self. – Cultivate the habit of being loving to oneself through kind actions toward other people, because it generates the habit of being loving and kind to oneself.

07 March 2015 – Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) logarithmic chart update – 07 March 2015 – If not treated the death rate from Ebola is greater than ninety percent.

08 March 2015 – How to drink beverages for greater pleasure. – Why beer tastes better from a glass than a bottle is because it flows over more of the tongue.

09 March 2015 – Living with a Wild God by Barbara Ehrenreich – review – Revealing a life of pain doesn’t help others find a path to tranquility.

10 March 2015 – Intelligence coupled with free will is not to be trusted. – People want security and a person exercising free will is unpredictable.

11 March 2015 – Superintelligence – Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom – review – Superintelligence is still in its infancy; what will its childhood be like?

12 March 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Gratitude – A demonstration of gratitude is a sure sign that a person is awake.

13 March 2015 – How Google Works by Eric Schmidt & J. Rosenberg – review – This is a great book for the one-in-a-million person applying to Google, but for most other general readers it will be a put-down.

14 March 2015 – Confirmation bias and be careful what you wish for. – Samumpsickle said, “Yep. That I can do, but is that what you really want?”

15 March 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Truth – Truth is often symmetrical with other truths, but also sometimes with falsehoods.

16 March 2015 – Adverse Childhood Experiences versus Positive Childhood Experiences – comments – I would like to meet people who have low ACE and high PCE scores.

17 March 2015 – Index of EarthArk category’s posts – A list of 115 EarthArk posts from the most recent to oldest.

18 March 2015 – Give thanks to Gravity. – It would be an orientating thing for us to go to our ultimate source of being and give thanks to The Four Fundamental Forces of Nature, for being so consistent and dependable.

19 March 2015 – Adverse Childhood Experiences versus Positive Childhood Experiences – This new chart adds numbers to each test’s items, one through ten. It also reformats the page so the two tests align each item for item.

20 March 015 – A photograph of a rainbow, moon and rainy street. – It was an overly abstract story for a camera club that talks a lot about cropping and blurry backgrounds.

21 March 2015 – Potential enemies of the EarthArk project – These are the profit-minded people who want to bring all life forms under their personal control, using DNA manipulation techniques.

22 March 2015 – Humanity must survive its dangerous moments to continue existing. – You and humanity must survive every deadly instant before your offspring can exist.

23 March 2015 – Do a quicker and easier EarthArk before it’s too late. – Start your personal EarthArk today, by putting seeds in a bucket.

24 March 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Evil – Evil is in the motivations of humans who willfully choose to injure people or other living things for personal pleasure.

25 March 2015 – The Tao Teh Ching – #12 – Revealed by Lao Tzu – Rendered by Charles Scamahorn – The artists’ colorful works make your eyes too sensitive; the musicians’ melodic notes make your ears too delicate; the gourmets’ succulent flavors make your tongue too refined.

26 March 2015 – Dome Argus in Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth. – The EarthArks can save millions of species, but they must be in place to do it.

27 March 2015 – Antarctica – A year on ice – movie by Anthony Powell – review – A year on ice will open your spirit to understand more soulfully where you now live.

28 March 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Doubt – Doubt is a momentary condition between the choice of options that can lead to depression when a decision can not be made.

29 March 2015 – I live within inertia and so do you. – A person 80 years old would have experienced 2,524,608,000 seconds of potential free will decision making.

30 March 2015 – A useful upgrade in percent % notation system. – If society learns to replace the % sign with p/00 we will make the meaning of the numbers more obvious.

31 March 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Death – Living is the astonishing thing in the Universe, as non-life is the default condition.

Condensed thoughts Probaway April 2015

01 April 2015 – Is suicide a free-will option, or is it a destiny? – Is it the champions of other people’s needs who are the most in need of help?

02 April 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Pain – Avoid pain by doing the right things at the right times.

03 April 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Wisdom – True wisdom is invisible because it brings tranquility, contentment and a quiet life.

04 April 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Contentment – It feels better to enjoy what you have than suffer over what you want.

05 April 2015 – The exit strategy of Kelsey Collins – I speak to the living – do little kind acts frequently.

06 April 2015 – Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) logarithmic chart update – 06 April 2015 – Develop a weakened virus that can be sprayed into bat colonies.

07 April 2015 – A pleasantly tranquil walk in downtown Bend, Oregon – If you can look forward to helping someone live a better life you are needed and wanted.

08 April 2015 – Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot (OVER) – review – The only thing that consistently reduces population is lack of food, and starving is a terrible way to die.

09 April 2015 – What is the question we should be asking about our life? – I wasn’t, I am, I won’t be, and I am content with all of those?

10 April 2015 – Our habits are magnetically attached to confirmation bias. – What feels right at the moment is dependent on what happens to attract our attention at the moment.

11 April 2015 – The Unpersuadables by Will Storr – review – We are all unpersuadables – and once you realize that, you can be more comfortable with yourself and kinder to all those other foolish people.

12 April 2015 – My sad change of opinion – A government of the entrenched rich, by the entrenched rich, and for the entrenched rich that shall never ever perish from the earth.

13 April 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Success – The easiest road to personal success is found in being kind to others.

14 April 2015 – What do you want? – I came to my wish: “To let the world progress as it was going to do without my suggestions or my garden gnome’s help.”

15 April 2015 – In the shadows of unknowns – Use falsifiability as the starting point, as opposed to using it as an ending point proof of the not quite rightness of a theory.

16 April 2015 – Do what you want to do … but … – Do what you want to do, but give others the opportunity live healthier lives because of your actions.

17 April 2015 – Categories are only in our heads. – People believe they can claim superiority over others, because they exist on a higher plane, a more significant reality.

18 April 2015 – Be nicer. – It is not the helping of people that is desired, but their perception of being cared for personally.

19 April 2015 – How can we find truth? – The pirates who can somehow become legitimate will eventually triumph.

20 April 2015 – Your world might expand like mine just did. – The people are coherent wholes, and will explain themselves well, if given a chance.

21 April 2015 – I have opinions based on observations. What are yours based on? – Part of the fair play of conversation is to admit you are wrong when you are proven wrong.

22 April 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Grief – Grief is like the Laocoon snake, slowly squeezing the living breath out of now.

23 April 2015 – The good, the bad and the ugly of Ebola – To the research people weaponizing disease I would say – Remember that we and you too are part of humanity.

24 April 2015 – How do we identify wisdom? – Wisdom is the ability to find the exact thing that will make a difference, and the ability to propagate it virally.

25 April 2015 – The Tao Teh Ching – #13 – Revealed by Lao Tzu – Rendered by Charles Scamahorn – Honors and dishonors will disturb your equanimity; and when you think highly of yourself, your body will be filled with suffering.

26 April 2015 – The good and bad of prayer, and finding a better way. – When we pray for what is, and what will be, and what has been, our prayers will always be answered.

27 April 2015 – My prayers begin to transcend humanity’s needs – 0 – Let me expose my confirmation biases, as best I can, to clear the way forward as much as I am able.

28 April 2015 – My prayers begin to transcend humanity’s needs – 1 – The world is filled with many problems and many paths, and we have need for help along a proper path.

29 April 2015 – My prayers begin to transcend humanity’s needs – 2 – Asking an undefinable entity to help one with human problems introduces a huge gap into reason and responsibility.

30 April 2015 – My prayers begin to transcend humanity’s needs – 3 – To seek to live in a world of fantasy is what we are specifically guided away from.

Condensed thoughts Probaway May 2015

01 May 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Goals – If you don’t do something you won’t get anywhere, and you are eternally stuck where you are.

02 May 2015 – My prayers begin to transcend humanity’s needs– 4 – I ask of my inmost being to validate life’s potential force.

03 May 2015 – My prayers begin to transcend humanity’s needs – 5 – Let me embrace the past as it was, the present as it is, and the future as it will be.

04 May 2015 – Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) logarithmic chart update – 04 May 2015 – During an epidemic most people would prefer to wear a health status badge than to die of an avoidable disease.

05 May 2015 – My prayers begin to transcend humanity’s needs – 6 – The only way to avoid rewards is for the helping action to be done in secret, and therefore let my every kindness go unobserved.

06 May 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Resilience – Resilience is the conviction that the goal is worth the effort.

07 May 2015 – Should women be drafted into military service? – Drafting all people, men and women, into an army sets up a whole nation to be brutal and become ugly and miserable.

08 May 2015 – My prayers begin to transcend humanity’s needs – 7 – I pray that at every moment as it occurs I am ready to participate. I am ready … now!

09 May 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Ignorance – One who refuses to observe reality will always be ignorant, and one who bases his actions on ignorance will always behave foolishly.

10 May 2015 – It’s time to say hello to our new reality. – Let us do what we can to bring a humane morality to this astonishing new world.

11 May 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Imagination – Until worldly facts convince the imagination of their functionality, imagination based on random experience will control our actions.

12 May 2015 – Thoughts condensed from the popular world – #93. Commit to your task and finish it with enthusiasm.

13 May 2015 – Yes, I’m on a spiritual path! – Our writing group chose to write for ten minutes about the word “path”. Click to read my little 149 word essay.

14 May 2015 – How to improve your ACE test score. – It’s impossible to change the past, but you can change your relationship to the past by retelling it in a helpful way.

15 May 2015 – You can’t have the impossible. – “You can’t have the impossible” sounds like an obvious falsehood, but it’s an obvious truth.

16 May 2015 – Prayers for the new millennium – Humanity needs a goal to have a purpose, to feel comfortable with ourselves, within our vastly expanded universe.

17 May 2015 – A typical Sunday for me – I left intellectual Berkeley, after 50 years, with some trepidation for the small resort town of Bend, Oregon. It’s different but wonderful.

18 May 2015 – A prayer for tranquility and contentment – Treat other people in a way that will maximize their tranquility within themselves and support their contentment with the world around them.

19 May 2015 – A quiet day, but memorable for me – It’s quite a pleasure having people respond positively to something I’ve done, because it is such a rare event.

20 May 2015 – How can I promote tranquility fairly? – People are who they are and creating tranquility in them is aided by accepting them as they are, a vast array of self-promoting habits.

21 May 2015 – Fear can be a good emotion or very bad. – Fear can drive you to be sensible. Don’t take unnecessary risks, and don’t ignore real ones.

22 May 2015 – Doing something worthwhile makes you feel good. – Do something worthwhile for other people, not something destructive and hurtful, or simply a waste of personal and public resources.

23 May 2015 – How to make a vertical take-off and fast horizontal flight copterplane. – The copterplane would go much faster and further than a helicopter, but others are pursuing it now.

24 May 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Judgment – A thoughtful man thinks about what he knows and figures things out from observed facts.

25 May 2015 – The Tao Teh Ching – #14 – Revealed by Lao Tzu – Rendered by Charles Scamahorn – Before something exists, you may draw it into existence; and
after it exists, you may draw it into non-existence.

26 May 2015 – Migraine prodrome visual pattern variations on colored backgrounds – I did an experiment where smooth colored areas matched the color of my scotoma, and in nearly vanished, but when shifting my gaze to a complex area it returned.

27 May 2015 – 10 things you know to be true – Within seconds everyone was bent over their notepads, writing furiously. When done we each read our efforts. Wow.

28 May 2015 –When shouldn’t we help other people? – Don’t help others if it hurts anyone; thus don’t help if it hurts you, don’t help if it hurts them, and don’t help if it hurts the health of society.

29 May 2015 – How can we identify actionable information? – Actionable information is that which enhances your overall survival and heritability.

30 May 2015 – We can’t predict the future very well and therefore …   – Have the reserves ready so you can act quickly and appropriately to rare problems.

31 May 2015 – What are the questions you should be asking today? – How can I learn to ask better questions?

Condensed thoughts Probaway June 2015

01 June 2015 – A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Desire – To make your future life tranquil and contented intentionally choose to do things that will help you to be tranquil and contented in this moment.

02 June 2015 – Choose reality over fantasy and your life improves. – Change the way you see things to conform to reality, and your reality improves.

03 June 2015 – Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) logarithmic chart update – 03 June 2015 – It might be possible to catch Ebola years later when a refugia organ site, like an eye, is ruptured, and the virus enters the blood system or infects a caregiver.

04 June 2015 – Discovering blank spots in our human reality – Infinitely close to everything in the Universe will be unknowable to us forever, but we can choose to enjoy what we do perceive.

05 June 2015 – Zebrafish, CRISPR, Plague Inc., and computer-generated DNA – Several of my Probaway Person of the Year choices get blended into a single scientific experiment.

06 June 2015 – Existentialism and reality are avoided by most humans. – Existential reality is too demanding for most humans so they choose to become willing slaves to an ideology.

07 June 2015 – Learning from a moment of forethought, a moment of action, and a moment of meditation. – An upgrade to a quiet mind, and a generalized quest for a better relationship with the world in general and ourselves in particular.

08 June 2015 – Thomas E. Lovejoy of World Wildlife Fund & Founder of PBS series Nature – My thought after the lecture was, to save humanity create ways for people to make money taking CO2 and other problems out of the environment.

09 June 2015 – Preparing for problem solving with pleasure – When we know we need to be flexible in our approach to a problem we should intentionally get ourselves into a pleasurable state of mind.

09 June 2015 – A powerful variation on quiet meditation – This loud variation on the usual quiet meditation reveals unexpected opportunities.

10 June 2015 – How can I learn to avoid fear and pain and be effective? – Be more effective by intentionally making your personal presentations less fearful and more joyful and positive.

11 June 2015 – Is ultimate truth subjective? – Truth in all of its guises is always an agreed upon approximation.

12 June 2015 – Watch for kindness and you will see it. – Asking for people to be kind, humorous and wise seems attainable to everyone.

13 June 2015 – It is easy to live better by avoiding anxiety and pain – When you have eliminated the sources of your anxiety you will decrease your experiences of anxiety.

14 June 2015 – Who decides what is true? – We decide at every instant what is true, who we are and who we will become, so choose wisely my friendly reader.

15 June 2015 – Do we have a duty to live or to die? – Our duty is not to be an unwelcome burden to ourselves or others.

16 June 2015 – What is beauty to humans? – Some of us were feeling the Universal as beauty, some were thinking of it as truth, and all of us were enjoying it immensely.

17 June 2015 – The good and bad of hitting age 80 – Old age isn’t for sissies, it’s for flexible, fun-loving, personal-purpose finding people.

18 June 2015 – Training the behavior of organisms like dogs – Here are some working suggestions for helping you and your dog into a cooperative relationship.

19 June 2015 – What is our duty to the Universe as intelligent conscious beings? – We are creating sililife (silicon life) but once it is established it can take whatever time is necessary, even billions of years, to do its evolutionary thing.

20 June 2015 – Hillary Clinton can become President of the United States – Creating impossible dreams brings people to failure, disillusionment, grief, despondency, and early death.

21 June 2015 – Curious conversations in Bend, Oregon – Curious conversations would be a true reality show about ordinary people’s personal stories.

22 June 2015 – Notes for creating a tranquil life with better habits – When some action doesn’t seem right, that is the moment to choose a better habit.

23 June 2015 – How can we thrive in our uncertain world? – To help others to live within their reality is something I can do, and so can you.

24 June 2015 – Show up, pay attention, give it your best, and let it go – Repeat – means frequently returning from one’s own inner thoughts to the external thoughts of the group.

25 June 2015 –The Tao Teh Ching – #15 – Revealed by Lao Tzu – Rendered by Charles Scamahorn – It is impossible to predict sages’ obscure behavior, but
their actions always seem simple and obvious.

26 June 2015 – If you are going to do something well, do it every day. – If you are going to do something well, do it every day, but choose it wisely so it will be helpful to everyone.

27 June 2015 – Charles LeRoy Scamahorn USAF 1960 – I got my wings, but a year later both the Air Force and I decided I could serve our country better as a civilian and we parted ways amiably.

28 June 2015 – When do people ignore you? – People only see the pretty surface and only taste the sugar coating.

29 June 2015 – A meditation for stoics. – A tranquility and contentment meditation for everyone, even atheists and stoics.

30 June 2015 – Only when we look does reality stare us eye to eye – Some quatrains from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam with some stoic comments.

30 June 2015 – Condensed thoughts compilation from Probaway’s 2015 blog – This list also appears in the list at the top of as 2015.

Only when we look does reality stare us eye to eye


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—Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam – the 5th version by Edward Fitzgerald

And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before
The Tavern shouted-“Open then the Door!
“You know how little while we have to stay,
And, once departed, may return no more.”

Life is short, and every second that passes is gone forever, so open the door to life and let us live!

Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter-and the Bird is on the Wing.

The symbolism is of wine of life, and the cup of our body that contains the wine. Use it well, and use it now, for it is soon gone forever.

A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread-and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness-
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!

Wine, women, and song are the joys of life, not drunkenness, whoring, and raunch. The wise path is that of pleasure, the other is suppressing pain in oblivion.

Ah, my Beloved, fill the Cup that clears
To-DAY of past Regrets and future Fears:
To-morrow-Why, To-morrow I may be
Myself with Yesterday’s Sev’n thousand Years.

Surly we will all be long gone in seven thousand years, but we can face the void with equanimity if we accept it as inevitable, and may drink life for cheer not for fear.

Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into the Dust descend;
Dust into Dust, and under Dust to lie,
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and-sans End!

Make the most of what comes to you, and live within that which is freely available. Seeking things beyond our easy reach will only bring us useless anxiety.

Into this Universe, and Why not knowing
Nor Whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing;
And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
I know not Whither, willy-nilly blowing.

Out of the void we came and to the void we shall return. Once you accept that as the inevitable reality of our lives tranquility and contentment are part of nature.

But in vain, down on the stubborn floor
Of Earth, and up to Heav’n’s unopening Door,
You gaze To-DAY, while You are You—how then
To-MORROW, when You shall be You no more?

We have no choice, if we are to answer the eternal questions for ourselves, but to do it now while we have a mind.

Waste not your Hour, nor in the vain pursuit
Of This and That endeavor and dispute;
Better be jocund with the fruitful Grape
Than sadden after none, or better, Fruit.

To drink to gain a moment of sensual pleasure and social freedom is wise, but to attempt to drown sorrow only brings a deeper sorrow.

Of threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise!
One thing at least is certain—This Life flies;
One thing is certain and the rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.

With the certainty that life will soon come to an end comes a freedom, the freedom to spend your time and energy on things that are meaningful to you.

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.

This is your life and time, and your religiosity and philosophical subtleties will not improve your life; you must choose to do that.

And that inverted Bowl they call the Sky,
Whereunder crawling coop’d we live and die,
Lift not your hands to It for help-for It
As impotently moves as you or I.

Don’t beg the Universe to help you, for it can not respond to words. It’s only right actions that compels its reality to react to your will.PocketBook128_113_DSC03475

Ah Love! could you and I with Him conspire
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
Would not we shatter it to bits-and then
Re-mold it nearer to the Heart’s Desire!

The Rubaiyat points to the futility of this course of action and proposes instead that we live tranquil and contented lives with what we have.

A meditation for stoics.


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I recently attended a lesson in how to reach a more joyous emotional state, but what I want to do here is to make a similar procedure available to a rational stoic. My form of stoicism is to encourage tranquility within oneself and to be content with the world as it is. That means living one’s life well within what is readily available, ignoring impossible things, and not grasping after difficult-to-obtain trivialities. The procedure suggested below is as easy as seeing, breathing, and feeling; doing it occasionally will help you to keep in touch with yourself and with the world around you.

Typically with meditations a person retreats to a quiet place where there will be no distractions, and for the first few attempts at this new procedure that is recommended; however, as you develop some skill with these meditations it is better to enhance the distractions until ultimately you can do these types of meditations in an infinitely difficult situation, without outward appearance of doing anything whatsoever.

Begin by mentally placing yourself in a quiet room, in a quiet wilderness, in a quiet world. This can physically be in your own room or anyplace, because it is the idea of quietly taking control of your inner space and your external infinity. Do three quiet breathing cycles then turn slightly toward the wall to your left, and slowly do one breath cycle while visualizing these words “I am tranquil within myself.” Turn to your front and do one breath cycle while observing but thinking nothing, and then turn slightly toward the wall to your right and with one slow breath cycle visualize, “I am content with the world.” Return your mind to the center, observe and think of nothing. Do this cycle of events three times and then pause at the center and do three slow deep breaths.

Slowly turn your attention upward and as you breath in, visualize a flow of energy descending into your whole being, filling you to your maximum, then slowly blow this breath and energy straight forward and out within your outstretching arms. Let it exist out in front of you for three seconds then pull it firmly into your heart. Breathe in and blow slowly out again and then pull the energy into your head; inhale again and blow the energy out again, then pull it into your belly. Take three slow breaths and open your eyes and smile with tranquility upon your world which you choose to be contented with.

A tranquility and contentment meditation for everyone, even atheists and stoics.

When do people ignore you?


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I’ve joked before how people sometimes tune me out of their conversations, and no doubt others have this problem too. Often this happens in group discussions, and I have explored various reasons for the precursors to this phenomenon. Most people who do talk with me say, although they may be lying, that they enjoy what I have to say because I bring an obviously thought-about observation to the conversation.

It is because I write these blogs that I have thought about some subjects more deeply, than in conversation, because when writing I have had the time to discover the underlying precursors to problems. I try to see more than a solution to an obvious problem, by trying to see and to remove the cause of the problem. Unfortunately that seems like a distraction to most people, because the cause has already passed and we need to address the existing problem. Of course unless the underlying cause is removed the problem will arise again, but most people seem unable to go there, and prefer to live in a world of coping with crises as they become flagrantly obvious.

So, why do people tune out in a conversation, and what are the visible precursors to their tuning out? Probably most of the time people tune out when the subject matter loses contact with their personal conception of reality, and whatever is then being discussed becomes irrelevant. Whatever is not understood on a personal level becomes something to be ignored and argued against. The instant that situation develops whatever comes after, will be discounted and countered, even when it is in agreement with the interlocutor.

So it becomes necessary to always make everything absolutely clear in the most easily understood way by the most ignorant person present. Abstractions are not easily understood and therefore must be avoided. Negative ideas, no matter how relevant they are to the problem at hand, are instantly rejected by many people, and possibly by everyone. Therefore to be successful an idea must be presented in a positive way that covers over any negative aspects of the problem, and it has no relationship to whether it actually solves the underlying problem. Therefore, never talk about a problem but only about a beautiful world to come and a positive way of getting there.

People only see the pretty surface and only taste the sugar coating.

Charles LeRoy Scamahorn USAF 1960



I was sorting through some boxes of old books with the intent of giving away as many as possible to the upcoming library sale when I came across this photograph. It had endured a fire in 1969 when I was living on a boat in the Berkeley Marina. At that time I  had my stuff stored in a garage. Unfortunately some kids playing with fire nearby accidentally burned up the garage and most of what I had stored there, including this photo. Fortunately it was only half gone and my face survived, but a good part of the rest was cropped away and what is visible here was substantially photoshopped back to a semblance of the original.

Charles LeRoy Scamahorn when a USAF student pilot sitting for a portrait in a T-33 jet

Charles LeRoy Scamahorn when a USAF student pilot sitting for a portrait in a T-33 jet

That’s me sitting in a T-33 jet trainer at Laredo Air Force Base, Texas, in 1960. It was a routine setup situation where a photographer lines up his clients and each one gets to pose for a few seconds and then quickly moves on. At this point in my military career I was doing extremely well, except for my officer-like qualities, upon which I was rated very poorly. I never understood why they kept telling me that I wasn’t trying hard enough, when I was usually getting top grades in my class of sixty students. I think I understand better now. It’s because I wasn’t playing the military game very well. I was obeying everything I was told to do, and doing it well, but I was just doing it without pretending a lot of struggle and enthusiasm. I think that attitude shows in this photo. I got my wings, but a year later both the Air Force and I decided I could serve our country better as a civilian and we parted ways amiably.

The military life isn’t for everyone.

If you are going to do something well, do it every day.


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There is no time off from breathing. There is no time off from doing things that are fundamental to the Universe for the Universe, or for you for you. Those things that are really important you must do every day.

A couple of days ago I was briefly expounding on my view of reality and how I liked to look at the complete picture, including the ugly and evil aspects of things, and then step back and find the most positive thing that can possibly be done to fix things, and then find the most positive thing that I could do to support that, and most important, do it.

I thought it was a comedy act when a woman put her hands over her ears and started talking loudly to drown out my words with her loud positive protestations. After about fifteen seconds of that strange behavior she got up and walked out of the room, still talking affirmations. She always and in every way only looks at the positive things. I stopped talking immediately, and she came back in and explained why she had shut me out. She said that to eliminate evil things from her personal reality she totally rejected them and when she did that with enough conviction the evil ceased to exist. She said that if everyone did that all evil would vanish and be gone forever. I too said I wish it were so, but wishing doesn’t make things come true; it’s right actions that make things come into being. To me this was another example of Augustine’s beautiful lie,  Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe. That idea without doubt sometimes has positive applications, but as a strategy for coping with the real problems of the real world it tends to favor fantasy solutions that only work in fantasy worlds, and doesn’t bring real solutions to real problems in the real world; and problems by their very nature have a negative aspect.

Later there was a similar conversation about how poorly modern American youth were behaving, being so caught up in materialism, versus how beautiful the Muslim kids were because of their profound dedication to their religious beliefs. Those kids that person had seen on a TV show were willing to be suicide bombers because of their deeply felt beliefs. I responded with the terrible fact that those Muslim kids had been raised in a world of horrible destruction and pain and that they were willing to kill and to die to escape from their community’s ongoing pain. They were hoping to go to a better life after death that was promised to them by their religious leaders who were also caught up in that world of pain.

The American kids were raised in a world of relative pleasure and security, and they were seeking the good things in life; and the Muslim kids were raised in a world of pain and threats of destruction and were seeking a release from their pain. Prayer followed by suicide is the last hope for the hopeless. Praying every day gets one really skilled at praying, but if those prayers are for things that are based on never-to-be-obtained hopes, then the daily prayers only make them more skilled at hoping for impossible dreams. Prayer is what rational people turn to after they have explored all of the reasonable responses to their life situation.

If you are going to do something well, do it every day, but  choose it wisely so it will be helpful to everyone.

The Tao Teh Ching – #15 – Revealed by Lao Tzu – Rendered by Charles Scamahorn


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The ablest doers, since ancient times,
Have been subtle, profound, spiritual and foresighted.
So entirely are they imbued with these qualities,
That one may only allude to their behavior.
Are they cautious? Like one crossing a frozen stream?
Or bold? Like one fearless of all danger?
Are they polite? Like one who is a guest?
Or direct? Like one who is at home?
Are they slippery? Like ice beginning to melt?
Or simple? Like a log of unsawn lumber?
Are they empty? Like a grand canyon?
Or full? Like a swollen river?

It is impossible to predict sages’ obscure behavior, but
Their actions always seem simple and obvious. Yet
After they act they are obscure again.
Postulating their method may help you perceive their actions.
You may follow your secret path, and never seem full; and
Not seeming full you may glide through your life:
You are never exploited and never exhausted.


Show up, pay attention, give it your best, and let it go


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To the idea “Show up, pay attention, give it your best, and let it go,” I want to add the word “repeat”. The idea is that one doesn’t just sit passively through whatever event you attend, but that you participate repeatedly. Living well isn’t like watching a movie, it’s interacting with the situation and presenting your personal experience, what specific things you have learned from your experience, and then offering the best of the wisdom you have arrived at by thinking about what you have learned.

The other people will have their unique relationships to whatever the situation is that’s being dealt with and therefore it is necessary to pay attention to them, and to blend their ideas into what you know. When something triggers a new thought, instantly write down a couple of words so you don’t forget it. A new idea is easily forgotten as there isn’t a previously existing mental link. A new idea is floating in an intellectual vacuum, and it will evaporate back into the universal vacuum until it is put into a form that can be seen later.

If there are several people at a meeting you will usually be required by social convention to wait for an opening to present your ideas. This wait presents a problem because most people don’t stop with one idea, but drift from one idea to another and by the time they stop your new idea is no longer relevant to the current conversation. This flow of other people’s ideas conflicts with the basic concept of “pay attention”, because by doing so there will be a multitude of thoughts and only a few can be held in the mind. Which one is going to be attended to and responded to becomes a serious problem, especially when another person talks for a long time and about many subjects, almost all of which are increasingly tangential to the original one. If you have an original idea it will require some backing up to the point in the conversation where it was relevant, and that will be off topic of what the other person has drifted around to, and therefore you and your idea will seem to be the distraction.

“Giving it your best” becomes irrelevant to the other people in a group conversation of a dozen people or more, because your best will require developing some background materials before a new idea can be even expressed. This problem of exploring a truly new idea can be coped with best by having the group size quite small, about four people, so there is little need to wait through some non-stop infinite-speakers. Keeping a notebook handy and writing down short notes has an additional advantage when returning to a subject, in that it permits coming back hours later and reviewing the new idea that would ordinarily have evaporated. Later, in the quiet of your own study room you can reread and rewrite and develop the idea more thoroughly.

“Letting it go” in the moment is important because we can get tied into mental knots if we fixate on one thing and then fixate on another, and another. That is the reason why writing down a short note is valuable, because it frees the mind to then attend to what new ideas are arising within the group. Ideas take flight and can lead to the most wonderful adventures, but they can and frequently do go to crazy places, so it is essential to bounce between fantasy and reality, between the grand general-view and the functional specific-view, between what is possible in general and what we can actually do in specific.

“Repeat” the whole process, and showing up and paying attention often means more than showing up physically to the event; it means frequently returning from one’s own inner thoughts to the external thoughts of the group.

Show up, pay attention, give it your best, let it go, repeat and repeat!


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