A meaningful goal is alleviating the suffering of all beings.

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There are infinite possibilities for suffering to descend upon humanity and individuals, and upon all sentient beings. The Classic Stoics thought of some of these sufferings as inevitable things that we humans were powerless to control, such as the eventual death of all living things; and they thought there were some other things that we do have some control over and the power to influence and thus to avoid that suffering. It has been a great tradition of many, perhaps all, thoughtful people to eliminate the suffering of people, and other beings, that are emotionally close to them, but we can easily understand that we as individuals can expand our personal world of easing, and even totally eliminating, some suffering beyond our close-in personal world.

To make this expanded circle of personal kindness does take some personal effort, and it is in the nature of things that, as Isaac Newton discovered, there is no action without some kind of equal and opposite reaction. That reaction to our kindness comes to us in the form of hope of kindness. A small kindness brings a small response in hope, and a larger one a larger response, and with each additional bit of kindness there is a bounty of hope.


We find unbounded hope by being infinitely kind, and by:

4. —becoming known to everyone as dedicating our wisdom and energy to alleviating the suffering of all beings.


Idea 4 is one of the attractor goals that we may strive to make into a habit that arises instantly when we see that there is some suffering that is being endured by a conscious being and doing all we can to alleviate that suffering. And, whenever possible, to anticipate beings moving toward situations that will bring them into a state of suffering and make visible to them alternate paths that will lead them away from that suffering.

For us as individuals to be known as ones who are dedicating our wisdom and energy to alleviating the suffering of all beings provides a model for others to follow in that kindly path. Our actions bring the alleviation of suffering elsewhere in the world that is totally beyond our ability to know about or influence. An observed kind act may influence someone in the distant future to do a kindness that they might not have done without your by then obscure act.

The observed kind act is based on a loving emotion, but the feeling dies with the person, but the observed kindness becomes part of the ever-evolving ever kinder world.

I’m not much of a drunk too … but …D’USSÉ

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D’USSÉ Cognac has given me many very pleasurable minutes.

I’m holding the bottle of D’USSÉ Cognac that I have been sipping from for several months.

These are the stainless steel measuring spoons I used for this experiment.

This is the same experiment I did a couple of days ago titled, I’m not much of a drunk … but … which was about my trying to put a trace of scientific rigor into how large a sip of Grand Marnier cognac is just right for maximizing my pleasure.

By the way, I don’t consider myself an Epicurean. They were a Classic Roman philosophical school based on maximizing pleasure in one’s life. Rather, when it comes to the big meaning of life things, I consider myself to be more of a kindness-seeking and giving Stoic. Those who strictly follow an Epicurean maximizing of pleasure philosophy of life often destroy their bodies with excess and then lose years of pleasure that they might have enjoyed had they been more moderate.

In this post, the term Stoic is used in the old Roman sense of responding well to what the environmental situation can deliver. The term stoic was intentionally corrupted during the Middle Ages to mean a person who simply endures the sufferings that life presents and falls into a life of hopelessness and despair. I’m enthusiastic about the Stoic approach of Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius, all of whom had many difficult situations but lived them fully and appeared to enjoy their lives.

When I sip some cognac the best response seems to be to savor all the wonderful things that it can bring to my senses.

The following is a close repeat of how I approached the Grand Marnier cognac. Let’s experiment with it now. Join me if you can with whatever cognac you can bring to your lips.


D’USSÉ Cognac

1/8 tsp/0.63ml is too small. I can get the taste, but not the pleasure. – The taste was so brief it didn’t taste very good.

1/4 tsp/1.25ml is also too small. It also gives the taste, but there is too little of it to do the various sloshing games I usually play with it in my mouth to give the pleasure I am used to getting when I sip this Grand Marnier. – This is a strange experience for me because even a 1/4 tsp of D’USSÉ doesn’t give me any pleasure. Perhaps, horror to say, a bit of displeasure. Here a minute after the sipping I can feel my lips tingling a bit.

1 tsp/5ml was just okay, – but it too was just a bit too small for the pleasure I get usually from my sip. I skipped over the 1/2 tsp/2.5 ml because I was tired of being teased by those too small sips. Finally, enough of a sip to give some real pleasure, but it still isn’t the joy I know I’ve felt when sipping this cognac. In addition to my lips having a slight burn, there is a noticeable burn in my stomach.

1/2 Tbsp/7.5ml was just about right for a single sip of Grand Marnier. But the experience of sipping it from a half-sphere shaped stainless steel measuring spoon didn’t give me the same pleasurable feel as tipping the bottle to my lips and slowly sucking in just the right amount. – For D’USSE the 1/2 Tbsp felt like it was just right. I’m going to go for 1 Tbsp at a single sip even though I suspect that it will be too much. Let’s find out.

1 Tbsp/15m. When I look at this little cup it looks too BIG, but onward in furthering the glory of science, where it is sometimes necessary to go beyond what is thought to be a limit just to be sure it is the limit. Here goes. … Wow! That does taste great, and I do enjoy working it around in my mouth, but I have now broken out in a full-body sweat. My mouth has about the same tingle as from the smaller amounts, and my stomach feels warmer but is content with the experience.

In comparison with the Grand Marnier cognac, the D’USSÉ is a single very pleasurable experience, where the Grand Marnier was several different unique pleasurable experiences flowing through my mouth for a whole minute.

One of my favorite locations for walking on water

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Classic view of Mirror Pond on the Deschutes River with dock in the foreground.

I have been working on a method of walking on water. Not for myself but for tourists. I suspect many people would like to have a video and a few still photos of them walking on water, accompanied by some local Canada geese. I have a way of helping them do that just a short distance off of this dock where the water is flowing at walking speed. I have proposed this to my friend Daniel and asked him to help me with the arrangements, but he is more enthused with his two-week bike trip in the Wallowa Mountains in a few weeks. Maybe later.

I wanted for it to be Daniel to do the project with me because it was while talking with him that I invented the idea for how to do it. 

I’m not much of a drunk … but …

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The bottles of Grand Marnier are a bit fancy but distinctive.

Grand Marnier liqueur – cognac & orange liqueur from Paris – taken in a sip about the volume of half the first joint of my little finger can be nice. That’s a stupid statement! To be communicative it is necessary to state exactly the size. I just retrieved my wife’s set of measuring spoons. And began a little experiment drinking exact amounts out of those spoons.

1/8 tsp/0.63ml is too small. I can get the taste, but not the pleasure.

1/4 tsp/1.25ml is also too small. It also gives the taste, but there is too little of it to do the various sloshing games I usually play with it in my mouth to give the pleasure I am used to getting when I sip this Grand Marnier.

1 tsp/5ml was just okay, but it too was just a bit small for the pleasure I get from my usual sip. I skipped over the 1/2 tsp/2.5 ml because I was tired of being teased by those too small sips.

1/2 Tbsp/7.5 ml was just about right for a single sip. But the experience of sipping it from a half-sphere shaped stainless steel measuring spoon didn’t give me the same pleasurable feel as tipping the bottle to my lips and slowly sucking in just the right amount.

I have now consumed more of this liqueur than I usually take in at a single event, so my experiment must stop here. I can actually feel a little warm glow in my cheeks and I generally don’t like drinking any alcohol enough to feel a glow, and avoid drinking enough to start to feel … at this point I went to a google search to find a sequence of words that would flow smoothly from the first feel of alcohol to waking up the next day with no memory of drinking the night before.

The stages listed began with a single drink which was defined as:

“In the United States, one “standard” drink (or one alcoholic drink equivalent) contains roughly 14 grams of pure alcohol, which is found in 12 ounces of regular beer, which is usually about 5% alcohol; 5 ounces of wine, which is typically about 12% alcohol.”

The Grand Marnier is labeled as having 40% alc/vol. Therefore, my 1/2 Tbsp/7.5 ml had about (7.5ml x .4 = 3ml alcohol). My 14 grams approximately equals 1/4.66 of the smallest amount they measure as one drink.

The list I first sought is: sobriety, euphoria, excitement, confusion, stupor, coma, death.

My alcohol drinking habits are thus about one-fifth of the smallest amount they even measured as sober drinking. Although, most Sundays I do drink most of a regular beer at lunch.

How to keep moving toward a meaningful goal.

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For our lives to feel important we need to have a number of goals that are significant to us and to be striving toward at least one of them all the time. Our lives are complex and there are many goals among which we must divide our attention, time, and energy. Sometimes the goal is helping another person with a simple need, and sometimes it is committing ourselves to save the entire natural living Earth, and sometimes our goal must be to get some sleep. We do all of these things by setting priorities for ourselves and working as best we can to satisfy each of them at a proper time.


We find unbounded hope by being infinitely kind, and by:

3. —creating open-ended attractor goals, so you and I and all living beings can have meaningful lives within our personal worlds.


The idea of #3 is to have several goals that I am calling attractor goals which you swing between. Just having a single goal for your life will lead to stagnation because it will be endlessly swirling around the same old worrisome thing and that will soon get boring, unsatisfying, and depressing.

If you have a number of attractive goals to swing between, you can always be engaged and actively doing something a little different which feels meaningful to you. You probably will have some major life goals, but if they occupy all of your time and energy they will drag you down. You need to go home, visit your family, play with your dogs, examine some new stamps for your collection, check out the progress on your favorite TV show. The point is that to maintain a full life you need to swing between several unique activities, and some of them may be small, even trivial, but they should be included in your life in an intentional routine way so you can have a flow from one purpose to another.

The attractor idea is based on a mathematical concept called a strange attractor. In these systems, a point of interest is flowing from moving toward one attractor to another in an endless cycle. The reason the point never achieves its contact with a strange attractor is that the attractor is infinitely small, and the point of flowing interest is also infinitely small. But each of these things has inertia as well as attraction, such that when they come close to one another the inertia causes them to fly right on past that point and on toward another.

Strange attractor with several attraction points

From site – https://clipground.com/attractor-clipart.html

Our goals are like strange attractors because they are ideas at a point which we seek to approach with our actions driven by our mind, but the mind and the goal are like energy seeking an infinitely small point. But as it gets very near the point, it swings on past and moves toward another attractor. All of this is an attempt to demonstrate why having several unique things which you routinely place your entire attention on keeps your life flowing from one meaningful thing to another meaningful thing.

You can intentionally create several of these attractors to be kind actions that you may perform in specific routine situations.

How to achieve the survival of homo sapiens?

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There are people who consider our species a plague upon the Earth, and they feel that all the other species would be better off if we weren’t here. If there was a vote by the millions of species, nearly all of them would agree with that antihuman argument.

We, of course, being of that species, must attempt to survive and reproduce because that is built into the DNA of us and of all the other species too. There are only a few species that have done well because of our existence, such as dogs, cattle, and chickens (ugh, cooped up? Probably not chickens), but probably there are quite a few species in our guts and on our skin that do benefit from our existence.

Unfortunately, it appears that at present nearly all the vast numbers of species that were extant three hundred years ago are being severely stressed by our super success. Most of our success is based on fossil fuels, which fortunately for most of those other beings we will burn up in the not too distant future, say three hundred more years. In that amount of time, all of those fossil fuels that can be pried from the Earth will have been consumed. First by burning for energy, then as that becomes too expensive even for operating farming equipment, the available oil will still be used for making plastics, and when we are down to the last of the fossil fuels we will be reduced to using them for creating medicine and vaccines. We humans will be, almost certainly, living a very different lifestyle by that time, and the other species can begin to recover and repopulate the world, and we will all live within a more diverse and sustainable system.

That being pointed out it may become possible to create a human society that will thrive in a balance within that living system. (Visit – Unbounded hope found in infinite kindness – #23 for today’s complete list of suggestions for life. Perhaps there will be later versions.)


We find unbounded hope by being infinitely kind, and by:

2. —striving to physically survive as individuals and as a species by seeking opportunities to live and survive in every available place.


The species that have survived are the ones that expanded and occupied more than a single location. No matter how successful a given species is in a particular location, over a long enough period of time that place will change so much that they will not be able to adapt to it and will be eliminated. If by some circumstances the members of a species have spread far and wide and thus were able to survive in a new location, then when their former homeland changes so much they can’t survive there anymore those individuals who did move will survive and carry on the species. The same is true for human groups, and those who have spread throughout the world are still surviving in communities. Many of those groups that clung too tenaciously to their former ways and former places have been displaced and vanished as groups and are nonexistent as descendants of those people.

Those groups who have traditions where some of their adventurous members seek distant opportunities are more likely to survive, even if a large percentage of those explorers die. When they do find a place where they can survive, then others of their group who somehow get to that place can survive too, and a community is formed. The old country can become uninhabitable, but their new community and they as a species survive.

In our present day, it is easy for some individuals to have several residences in different parts of the world. That makes it possible for them to survive more easily because they will have friends in those distant communities who will accept them and help them. All they need to do when a local disaster strikes in one place is get to another of their homes.

People who are known to be kind because of other people’s personal experience with them being helpful are the most likely to be helped when in need.

Oblivion today? Tomorrow? Soon?

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Oblivion, if not today, then tomorrow. If not tomorrow, then today! Or is it just soon? Perhaps next year, or next month, next week, today, or this hour, perhaps it’s only a minute. The timing makes a difference to us for our now, for our moment. Is now a geological moment of thousands of years, or a conversational moment which sometimes is briefer than instantaneous when trying to get a word in edgewise? Sometimes that kind of moment is soon retro and it’s only a fading shadow in our mind and has passed from reality.

So when is oblivion? Astronomically the Universe is almost certain to last a hundred billion more years, but add a couple of decimal points to that and projections get dicey. What is oblivion to an unthinking Universe, and would it care? It does matter to thinking beings such as ourselves, doesn’t it? But when we think in those longer times, when our whole lifetimes are vanishingly small and even our Earth’s total geological time scale gets to be not quite vanishingly small – what is the time we have before oblivion takes over … forever?

Once again, who cares? I care! I suspect that you care too! We started off thinking about our today and compared it to Universal oblivion, but to that oblivion, we are infinitely tiny. And don’t forget there some other dimensions too, like space in several dimensions. So we are infinitely tiny in more dimensions than oblivion, which is usually thought of only in the dimension of time. Strangely, in the midst of all this shrinkage, I am feeling bigger.

Even in this vast time and space-

We find unbounded hope and give personal kindness by:

1. —exploring the orderly nature of our bountiful Universe, so we can help ourselves and others benefit from everything that it makes possible.

There are things that the Universe may not be able to make possible. But those impossible things we can probably discover by exploring the orderly nature of our Universe. And once we know something is impossible, we can choose not to pursue that because we will know it will inevitably lead to failure and despair.

Within the limited time and space we have available to us, we can find beauty and thrive within it for some time, for now.

I’ve been playing with my blood pressure

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This evening I tried to drop my blood pressure by eating three 72% chocolate squares from a slab. It has been reported that dark chocolate will give as much as a ten-point drop in systolic pressure. I gave it a try. What could go wrong?

I use the OMRON blood pressure monitor model BP786N, which I bought last month to replace my manual hand-pumped blood pressure cuff device. Because this OMRON is more automated and links to my cell phone, it is easy to track the details of what’s going on with blood pressure. I have it set on the triple measure which does three measure about a minute apart and then averages them and displays the result in big numbers on the screen. Okay, that works well enough, but when I put my cell phone beside the device and turn them on and off, it transfers all of that data to a much better display on my cell phone. And it displays all three of the recordings separately. That is great because when I relax, the numbers usually drop a few points from the first reading to the third one.

The chocolate experiment started at 9:40 PM with 125 sys /62 dia 55 bpm when I ate 3 of 40 Trader Joe’s Pound Plus 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate chunks. That’s 3/40 of 500 grams or 37.5 grams of chocolate. That equals 1.3234 ounces of chocolate. At 10:49 PM my blood pressure was 118 sys /55 dia 52 bpm. That’s a drop of 7 sys / 7 dia 3 bpm that might be related to eating the chocolate or maybe not.

That was a single experiment, and as such doesn’t mean much, but it was promising,  and thus I will try it several more times. Perhaps it would be better to do this experiment in the mid-afternoon, when my body has the opportunity to digest and use it for something better than gaining weight.

Like I said, what could go wrong with eating chocolate late in the evening?

Unbounded hope found in infinite kindness – #23

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This morning Daniel and I sat for our morning coffee at the Commons overlooking Drake Pond. It is a beautiful place and the weather was perfect. We talked about last night’s Probaway post, “Hope and kindness #22“. Our conversation wandered through the infinite fields of wildflowers and sticky swamps of possibilities for humans.

Commons view of Mirror Pond with the iconic view thru the fence from where we were sitting.

A cropped-in view showing the scene more clearly.

Classic Bend, Oregon, view of Mirror Pond with Mountains


The opening line of the now old version #22 reads – “We find unbounded hope and give personal kindness by:” – We both liked that wording but after linking it to each of the seven following ideas it seemed stronger and more coherent to our ultimate goal to change the word by to and by I also changed personal kindness to infinitely kind, this gave us — “We find unbounded hope by being infinitely kind, and by:”.  That works by linking the seven ideas following that opening statement, but, by using “and” in that opening the seven ideas become emphasized as additions to the basic idea rather than becoming independent free-floating ideas in themselves. Those small changes require some rewriting of the following ideas which now gives new opportunities and new limitations. So …


Version 23 is revealed as …

We find unbounded hope by being infinitely kind, and by:

1. —exploring the orderly nature of our bountiful Universe, so we can help ourselves and others benefit from everything that it makes possible.

2. —striving to physically survive as individuals and as a species by seeking opportunities to live and survive in every available place.

3. —creating open-ended attractor goals, so you and I and all living beings can have meaningful lives within our personal worlds.

4. —becoming known to everyone as dedicating our wisdom and energy to alleviating the suffering of all beings.

5. —helping everyone to find meaning in their lives by helping them find a personal path to unbounded hope and infinite kindness.

6. —appreciating that we as people expressing diverse views to one another are more likely to discover beautiful ways of living our lives.

7. —making a habit of giving our attention to individuals and acknowledging their kind acts within our shared Universe.


I like this version better than the former ones, but I have thought that many times. How long will this rewriting process last, and where will it go?

Hope and kindness #22

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I liked Version 21 but after discussing it and pondering over the wording some problems arose, which are highlighted in that version seen just below and changed in Version 22 which is seen below that previous version.


Version 21 revealed as …

We find unbounded hope and give personal kindness by:

1. —exploring the orderly nature of our bountiful Universe, so we can help ourselves and others benefit from everything that it makes possible.

2. —striving to physically survive as individuals and as communities by seeking opportunities to live and thrive in every possible place.

3. —creating attractive self-balancing societies, so you and I and all living beings can have meaningful lives in our sustainable worlds.

4. —manifesting and becoming known and accepted as dedicating our wisdom and energy to alleviating the suffering of all beings.

5. —helping one another to find more fulfilling meanings for our lives by treating everyone as we should to help them attain their kindest self.

6. —appreciating that we as a fellowship of people expressing diverse views are more likely to discover beautiful ways of living our lives.

7. —making a habit of giving our attention to individuals and acknowledging their successes within our shared Universe.


 


Version 22 with suggestions for corrections is revealed as …

We find unbounded hope and give personal kindness by:

1. —exploring the orderly nature of our bountiful Universe, so we can help ourselves and others benefit from everything that it makes possible.

2. —striving to physically survive as individuals and as communities a species by seeking opportunities to live and thrive survive in every possible place
any place we can.

3. —creating attractive self-balancing librating attractor societies, so you and I and all living beings can have meaningful lives in our sustainable personal worlds.

4. —manifesting and becoming known and accepted by everyone as dedicating our wisdom and energy to alleviating the suffering of all beings.

5. —helping one another to find more fulfilling meanings for our lives by treating everyone as we should to help them attain move toward their kindest self.

6. —appreciating that we as a fellowship of people expressing diverse views to one another are more likely to discover beautiful ways of living our lives.

7. —making a habit of giving our attention to individuals and acknowledging their successes within our shared Universe.


Version 22 is revealed as …

We find unbounded hope and give personal kindness by:

1. —exploring the orderly nature of our bountiful Universe, so we can help ourselves and others benefit from everything that it makes possible.

2. —striving to physically survive as individuals and as a species by seeking opportunities to live and survive in any place we can.

3. —creating librating attractor societies, so you and I and all living beings can have meaningful lives in our personal worlds.

4. —manifesting and becoming known and by everyone as dedicating our wisdom and energy to alleviating the suffering of all beings.

5. —helping one another to find more fulfilling meanings for our lives by treating everyone as we should to help them move toward their kindest self.

6. —appreciating that we as a fellowship of people expressing diverse views to one another are more likely to discover beautiful ways of living our lives.

7. —making a habit of giving our attention to individuals and acknowledging their successes within our shared Universe.