Most people’s first response to new things is suspicion and fear.


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At yesterday’s meeting on tranquility, during the discussion portion, one person mentioned that scientific research using MRI had shown that most people’s first thoughts about new stimuli were suspicion and fear. I didn’t respond to that idea, because I didn’t have any information on the subject. However, I was thinking that it was probably true because the background religion of the majority of people has fear-driven stories based on punishment for being in some outside social group. A second idea for why people fear novelty is based on the fact that most Americans have poor Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) test scores, and few have Positive Childhood Experiences (PCE). If a person’s life experience is that even things known from experience are painful, then an unknown new experience must be even worse, and that would be horrible.

From Wikipedia ACE test — “About 67% of individuals reported at least one of the following Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE); and 87% of individuals who reported one ACE reported at least one additional ACE.[6] The prevalence of emotional abuse was 10.6%, physical abuse 28.3%, sexual abuse 20.7%, emotional neglect 14.8%, physical neglect 9.9%, mother treated violently 12.7%, household substance abuse 26.9%, household mental illness 19.4%, parental separation or divorce 23.3%, incarcerated household member 4.7%.”

I created a flip of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) test scores, and named it Positive Childhood Experiences (PCE).

Adverse Childhood Experiences versus Positive Childhood Experiences

Adverse Childhood Experiences versus Positive Childhood Experiences (ACE versus PCE). Clickable image.

As mentioned in the Wikipedia quote above the chart, 67% have some poor childhood experiences and of those 87% had more than one category of bad experiences; thus the majority of people, some 57% have 2 or more categories of adverse childhood experiences. I suspected that is the reason the MRI tests mentioned in the first sentence of this post were accurate, and that is why

Most people’s first response to new stimuli is suspicion and fear.


I led a talk on tranquility, acceptance and contentment.


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I am not a guru by any definition of the word, but this afternoon I led over a dozen spiritually inclined people in a meditation. I think it went well because they wanted the abilities I was promoting. These were intended as practical methods for coping with the world they will encounter, but using the techniques usually promoted by the otherworldly community. I said, “I want you when you leave here to be able to see the reality before you more clearly and respond to it with more adaptive actions.” The goal of the meditation was that, when an emotional conflict develops, you are able to pause and say in perfect honesty, that “once I choose to be tranquil with myself, accepting of the reality I am immersed within and contented with all the world around my world. I can intentionally choose in any moment to achieve that mental and emotional state again.”

The reason this works is that when we are immersed in a stressful, angry, or fearful mental state we will approach our problems in a rigid way, but if we can attain a tranquil inner state we are better able to think clearly and respond more flexibly. Seeing our problems with a clear mind will permit us to be more adaptive to the problems because we will see them better and we can think through to a better solution, and act on our solutions more calmly and appropriately.

Life is easy when you are tranquil, accepting and contented.


A scrolling memorial naming the victims of American guns


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In President Obama’s Umpqua Community College speech he said, “our thoughts and prayers are not enough”; just feeling sad for the victims of American gun homicides isn’t enough. The Oregon shooting was only one of 294 mass shootings in the 274 days of this year. The Umpqua Community College murder of ten people is just the tiny tip of a very large and very ugly iceberg. There are mass shootings almost every day here in the United States as can be seen in this chart from the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia.

Mass murders in the US 2015

This calendar only marks the shootings in the US where four or more people died.

Note that on April 5, June 13, July 15, and August 2, there were five homicides with four or more victims; that’s a minimum of twenty people who died those days from gun shots, and that’s twice as many as died at Umpqua. The reason those deaths were not reported is because they were sprinkled randomly over the whole country, so they didn’t get national news. Apparently the American national newspapers are cowed by the National Rifle Association into not reporting the magnitude of the daily horror. Local papers report only the local murders.

It’s only politically motivated or public religious murders that become national news, and the thousands of others are ignored because they are so common and thus not newsworthy. Murders inside a church, or school, or a public event get national news coverage, but the vast numbers of common people are ignored.

Between 2001 and 2014 there were reported to be 165,700 gun homicides and a total of approximately 420,000 gun related deaths. Why? Here’s why!


That is a wonderful speech by Charlton Heston, where he holds up a Revolutionary War musket and claims that it is the weapon that will protect us from an evil government. That it will defend us against evil governments foreign and domestic. The only problem is that the modern weapons of mass destruction available to governments are literally millions of times more potent than his musket. The only way we can protect ourselves from an evil government is by maintaining, as an absolute and undeniable right, the Freedom of Speech, and it can’t be defended with a musket or pistol or AK47; it is defended with a balance of power between contending parties who are in control of the governments. If every person doesn’t  have the freedom to express themselves clearly and without repercussions, and vote consistently to put honest people into positions of public trust and power, those who will defend our freedom of speech, then the American musket-toting patriots will be quickly silenced. It is the power of the voting public that protects the people, and not muskets. Guns kill individual people, and guns in millions of people’s hands put every individual at risk, but they don’t protect us from potential rulers with intentions to suppress us.

So what can we do to maintain our freedoms and simultaneously maintain our lives? One thing would be to make certain we understand the problems and their magnitude. To understand our personal risk we need a computer app that would scroll the names of the gun victims either across the top or bottom of one’s computer screen, or as a single line flipping list of names at a rate of one every few seconds. Date – City, State – Name – Motive – Weapon. Another event could be to have public readings of the list of victims in public places across the world, and reading at normal speed and continuously it would take about a month to read the death toll since 2001. Here is the list of current deaths from the Gun Violence Archive. The 2015 toll is 39,750 as of October 3. To read that list in public places on national holidays would make the problem more apparent.

Killing innocent people doesn’t make us free.

Why can’t Obama say he is a Unitarian Universalist?


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Our country and our 1st Amendment rights of freedom of speech are in serious trouble. Last night I listened to President Obama give a speech of cringing acceptance of the fact that even he couldn’t say what he so obviously felt. The most damning thing he could say about another mass murder in the Umpqua Community College, Oregon, was that it had become “too routine” and that it should stop. “The press reports that ‘We need more guns. We need fewer gun safety laws.’ … Does anyone really believe that???” “We can do something about it, but we are going to have to change our laws.”

Obama asked the media to publish the simple facts as to how many people were killed in the United States by terrorists versus killed by guns. The media immediately reports this as Obama “Now Openly Telling Media What Propaganda to Print.” As of today the US papers have been slow to respond, but here is the Australian Sydney Morning Herald report that did. There have been 294 shootings with four or more victims reported this year in the US so far. Gun violence killed 428 times more Americans than terrorism over the past decade, but that doesn’t include the nearly 3,000 who died in 9-11, because that was more than a decade ago. Would having a gun in your house protect you from another 9-11 attack?  Do the click-throughs above to see the horrid details.

Who are the people who are so powerful that they can make President Obama mince his words, especially when he isn’t planing to run for office again? Why is he so afraid of them he is even unwilling to admit publicly that he was raised a Unitarian Universalist? Is it because the UU is so liberal it embraces and supports all religious traditions, even atheism? The media frequently claims he is a Muslim, but he never affirms nor denies his religious affiliations ever since leaving Chicago where he was doing some political organizing in churches.

Obama and his Unitarian grandparents.

Obama and his Unitarian Universalist grandparents at his high-school graduation.

He was raised by his mother and his mother’s parents, all of whom attended UU churches, and he attended UU Sunday school all through his high school years. It is strange that he is so hesitant to talk about this, because our country and our Constitution were largely created by Unitarians. For example, in his old age, Jefferson declared, ”I trust there is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die a Unitarian.” That is what the author of the Declaration of Independence said, and he said much more on open religion. That being the case why is our present president so unwilling to speak out? Are the forces of the religious right and the gun lobby so powerful even the president of the United States can not align himself with the actual statements of the Founding Fathers?

Hopefully, as this election cycle moves along Obama will speak up, but if even he is unable to do so, we must admit freedom of speech is gone from America, and follow the advice written in the boldest possible typeface around the inside of Jefferson’s Memorial in Washington, DC.

“…I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” 

Yikes! I’m 80 years old today.



I feel like I am still the same person I was when I was in high school; and the same person in college, in the Air Force, in grad school, in teaching, in business, in my decades in various coffee shops talking, and now. When I think back on my earliest years in grade school, it’s not so much me, but by sixth grade there is no mistaking me for anyone else. I can remember a few marginally outrageous things I did in school that no one but me would have done.

I was so very lucky to have the parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles that I lived with for extended times, that let me behave as I chose. I was a good kid so there was never any discipline, and no guidance; my various guardians and I just did things together. There were some events: One time, about age nine, I caught a snake, and not knowing how to keep it I put it in the bathtub, until my parents got home to help me, and I went out to play. My mom came home before I saw her and while sitting on the toilet she discovered the snake next to her in the bathtub. I wasn’t there, of course, but it must have been exciting. After things calmed down, I was told to turn the snake loose where I found it, but that was as close to punishment as I ever got.

Eidemiller's at their early Wilder homestead.

My mother’s parents, dad in white gloves, and mom in a white blouse, and his mother about 1911

Mary Estella (Eidemiller) Scamahorn/Johnson

My mother Mary Estella Eidemiller + Scamahorn/Johnson as a child holding a doll in 1915.

This is a photo of my mother one hundred years ago. As I was her only child, that doll is symbolically me twenty years before I was born. There’s a family story about her wearing the big hand-me-down boots because the snow was getting in her shoes.

Baby Charles LeRoy Scamahorn

My dad showing me off to my mom’s parents on Christmas 1935

Charles Scamahorn 8 months old

Here I am at 8 months, checking out the world.

The note in my baby book, where these photos came from, said my first word was “doggie,” spoken at age seven months. It’s hard to believe this baby was talking, but it’s clearly checking for something at its level, like a dog.

A photo of Charles LeRoy Scamahorn

Charles Scamahorn, age 21 months, inspects Spokane, Washington

I survey the world from the Del Rey apartments.

A portrait photo of Charles Scamahorn

Charles LeRoy Scamahorn age 3 1/2, April, 1938 in Spokane, Washington

Charles LeRoy Scamahorn, and Glen Eidemiller Jr.

Off to my first day of school at Homedale, Idaho in September 1940. It was a one room 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade. That’s my uncle Glen Eidemiller Jr.

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

Charles LeRoy Scamahorn, age 24, as a USAF pilot sitting for a portrait in a T-33 jet in Laredo, Texas.

Charles Scamahorn - Probaway

Lt. Scamahorn portrait in jet pilot outfit.

Charles Scamahorn

Charles Scamahorn in Berkeley, 2008, watching for space aliens.

Charles Scamahorn, Probaway

Charles Scamahorn, age 73, at the Mediterraneum Cafe in Berkeley, California

Charles Scamahorn - Probaway - SAM_2922a

Charles Scamahorn, 24 June 2013 – self-portrait at Trump’s coffee shop in Bend, Oregon


The symphony auditorium was full in 2012, we had to sit third row center

Debbie Foster and Charles Scamahorn on Pilot Bute, OR

Debbie and I have lunch on Pilot Butte hilltop plaza on December 24, 2013, on a warm and windless day.

I’ve had a great life in that I had a good time doing what I wanted to do.

A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Forgiveness


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A Dictionary of New Epigrams


Forgiving oneself for even a tiny indiscretion is impossible, because it doesn’t come from the victim.

It is impossible to forgive ourselves because you can not give something you do not have to give.

An honest man can not forgive himself, and must forevermore live with the various forms of pain from his actions.

A dishonest man can behave as a psychopath, and forgive the most hideous of crimes against individuals and even all humanity, but in his core he is still guilty.

The goal is to achieve a personal development to where no one would ever even consider the need to forgive their actions, because their every action is so obviously necessary.

We can forgive another person who has injured us, because it is within our power to forgive their action, as we have empathy for their need at the moment they injured us.

To forgive an injury doesn’t imply that we will permit it to occur again.

To proceed to give our best when coping with new problems requires that we not carry any resentment or fear of a previous injury. We have forgiven.

If you do not forgive the injury that person remains an enemy forever, and an enemy is the most dangerous thing in the world.

When we forgive others we learn the techniques and habits of forgiveness, and when these are internalized we can even forgive ourselves.

Think for a while about your grievances, and when they are clearly in mind make a conscious decision to forgive the other. Forgive in clear and precise words each and every nuance of the wrong they have done you.

Some people, and whole cultures, refuse to forgive, and promote such slogans as “Never forget … X!” but by cultivating these suspicions and hatreds they perpetuate an evil that will live forever.

It is easier to forgive a declared enemy who was fighting you for a specific reason than to forgive a friend who betrayed you for some superficial benefit.

Forgiveness eliminates the pain of anger and the misery of hatred.

Finding a common purpose will benefit both parties, and sometimes that requires a mutual forgiveness.

Forgive even the tiniest infraction on your rights. It cultivates the ability to forgive more substantial violations of your rights, most of which come from within.

To learn how to forgive one must first accept the person for who they are and pull back the curtains obscuring where they want to go, if they could only see.

If you are going to reward or punish a dog you must do it within a second, and so to must you forgive a human instantly. Living memory is very brief.

A person filled with painful emotions like fear, anger, and resentment doesn’t have the personal reserves to afford forgiveness.

To fully understand a person means you would never have to forgive them for any of their actions.

When you seek happiness give kindness to others, and when you seek peace give them forgiveness.


How can we express our love?


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Some say that giving attention and love to everyone can be done by smiling at them in a spontaneous appreciative way. I opine that everyone is capable of receiving love if it’s given in the right way. But what is the way of giving love so that it can be received? If the other person is in a desperate state of mind they may not be capable of receiving a positive input, because their mind is filled with suspicion and hate, and a smile is seen as a deception.

For anyone to receive love they must be in a safe state of mind, so our problem is to assure them that we mean them no harm. The standard human way to do this is with a smile, but even Shakespeare, hundreds of years ago, warned of smiling men, and of smiling Greeks bearing gifts. A suspicious person may be unwilling to receive any form of love, because their experience has been that letting down their guard pulls suffering into being.

Perhaps there is something to be learned from dogs and their natural “calming signals” that they send to each other. There may be similar graphics showing human calming signals used as guides for actors, but the dog signals are not overlain with human language and culture and are easier to understand. There is good reason to be suspicious of humans, because there is a huge media industry filled with thousands of actors whose occupation is to convincingly portray emotions to fit a pre-planned manipulation of the other person’s emotions.

How can we know when human calming signals would be legitimate? The human actor’s signals could be practiced to include: a relaxed looking away, after making a brief eye contact to establish communication channel; blinking and moving back slightly; dropping chin slightly with a slight smile; moving slightly to the side while talking and then gently back toward the opposite side. Perhaps there is overlap with dog calming behaviors such as — licking the air, turning the head or body away, muzzle nudging, yawning to the side, pawing the ground, narrow eyes in simulated sleepiness, tactile contact on the side, play position with front elbows on the ground and butt high, approaching in a curve toward tail, sniffing butt, relaxed slow moving, sitting down and looking away, moving between, bumping, shaking off water twisting movement.

The idea here is to state objectively some subjectively mediated physical actions that are indicators of legitimate inner emotions. If we can display these toward people who have difficulties in being friendly it might be possible to expose to them that they might be attracted to, that would be helpful to them. But it is important to give people their private space, and often people will give clear signals that they want to be left alone. Some people will say, “Let them frog kick in their own pond slime.” I like to get at the root causes of human suffering and cut the cycle short, and that is best done by convincing young adults to avoid inflicting Adverse Childhood Experiences and promote Positive Childhood Experiences.

Adverse Childhood Experiences versus Positive Childhood Experiences

Adverse Childhood Experiences versus Positive Childhood Experiences (ACE versus PCE)

Give the next generation a positive base to build their lives upon.

A Dictionary of New Epigrams – Acceptance


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A Dictionary of New Epigrams


It is acceptable for everything to behave within its character; thus it is acceptable to be what you are and for living things to die.

The whole Universe accepts you exactly as you are.

You are exactly where you need to be.

When you accept yourself others, and the whole Universe, will accept you spontaneously.

I look at the sky and smile, and accept what it gives me. Sometimes, it’s a soothing sunset blue, sometimes a cold biting rain, sometimes it’s hot stinging dust. I accept and love it all as we play together.

Acceptance includes active participation in the events of the moment, but it’s the opposite of apathy which doesn’t participate in the world. Apathy isn’t even observant; it’s just avoidance, boredom, depression and pain.

Experience is needed for what we need to learn, but acceptance is knowing what we have to do and doing it.

Acceptance includes inertia, and that is the natural and inevitable progress of the way things are going to be.

Acceptance includes the rare events that are inevitable, but their timing is unknowable. An atom of radium will at some unknown time spontaneously decay.

From any human’s point of view anything can be good, bad or indifferent, but at every moment you can choose to be tranquil with yourself, accepting of your environment and content with the whole world.




Lunar eclipse shows the curvature of the Earth


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Debbie and I head out for the top of Pilot Butte to view the lunar eclipse. The sun had gone down before we headed out, but it was still light.

Our departure for Pilute Butte.

Debbie hurries to catch up.

A photo of east Bend, Oregon from half way up Pilot Butte

Halfway up the south side of Pilot Butte, but we don’t see the Moon.

The eclipsed Moon over east Bend.

Near the top of Pilot Butte we finally see the Moon over east Bend.

A view of Sisters west of Bend, Oregon

There were lots of people and cars on top of Pilot Butte. View west to the Sisters.

A view of the partially eclipsed Moon

The Moon showing the shadow of the curvature of the Earth.

A shadow of the Earth projected onto the Moon

The shadow of the Earth shows the same curvature.

These were handheld photographs, and it’s amazing they look this good. The point is that they clearly show a phenomenon that was known to the ancients that demonstrated the relative size of the Earth compared to the Moon. It is easy to observe this if you look for it, and it is totally different from the appearance usually seen of the crescent Moon.


Promote absolute freedom of speech with responsibility.


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To have a good life requires being in accord with the world we live within, and within the societies we are members of we can better cope with our world by telling one another our understanding of what we see and think we know. Every individual’s experience of every moment of their lives is unique, and our modern-world humanity has benefited greatly by people sharing their unique discoveries. Thus, to continue this process of human growth, it makes sense to explore into the unknown to find even better ways of living; however, when things are discovered that degrade our well-being we need methods for limiting their harm. In this view we are aiming to maximize human happiness in the present and in the future, but to achieve that improvement requires understanding the desirable and undesirable aspect of everything. However, we all know the world is complicated, and so it makes sense to encourage everyone to discover everything they can and tell the rest of us about what they have found.

The amount of accurate and true information is vast, and with little doubt there are vast amounts of true things that remain to be discovered, but there is far more false information that can be created because there is no limit to the way that words can be put together to form new ideas. To change a single word in a play like Hamlet might change the whole meaning. Instead of “To be or not to be, that is the question,” if it were “To see or not to see, that is the question,” that would change a play about suicide and homicide into one of closer inspection of reality and hoaxing. We must have accurate ways of perceiving our true reality, and then of casting out our non-workable fantastic realities.

Of course there now arises a howl from the believers in fantastic realities because their fantasies were designed to make them feel good. They would ask, why believe that our lives are limited to this world, that our bodies are going to die, that all our struggles will soon evaporate into random atoms bouncing about in a meaningless jitter, when instead we can choose to believe in an infinite life of pure happiness? The answer is that believing those fantastic things interferes with believing the real ones, and while you are believing fantasies your real life is degraded, and you degrade the lives of those around you. Living a lie is a fragile existence that shatters easily when it encounters death-dealing reality.

Freedom of speech aligns us and our society with natural reality.



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