Friday, November 14, 2008

Random Observations

Another Hazard of Martial Arts Training:

I was putting together a new office chair earlier. The instructions
said to make sure the screws were tight, so I twisted the hex key
until I couldn't twist it any more, like I have always done in the
past. This particular chair had no 'hand tighten only' warning, but
most sets of instructions do, and for good reason.

I generated enough torque to destroy parts of the chair. When
attaching the arms, I drove the screw head deep into the plastic,
digging a circle that was not supposed to be there. When attaching
the back, the metal socket was ripped out of the wood frame as I
tightened the screw too much.

I will have to be more careful when doing things like this in the
future, especialy if it is cheap stuff from China. I need to learn
to stop at the right amount of resistance. It seems that if your
hands count as lethal weapons, they also count as machine tools.

Now, more random thoughts and quotes that have been accumulating on my
note paper:

When it comes to living a moral life, philosophy is much less
important than impulse control. Psychopaths can easily pass written
tests on ethics or moral philosophy. Virtue is a matter of actions
and habits, and all of the thinking in the world is useless if you
cannot properly control your own behavior.

Evolution is not some mythical quest toward perfection. It is nothing
more and nothing less than a contest to see who can have the most
grandchildren. Most people over 50 instinctively know this.

The world is full of things that would be wonderful if they were true.

A cult is defined as any group that has no sense of humor. If you
have the ability to laugh at yourself, then it means that you possess
the introspection, awareness, and humility needed to prevent yourself
from being dominated by a doctrine.

There are two types of thinking you must avoid:
1) "Everything was planned."
2) "Life is random."
Conspiracy theories and fatalism are equally wrong. Everything
happens for a reason, but that reason is rarely human intention.

Teachers do not exist to give people information about a topic. When
it comes to transmitting information, a book is just as good as a
teacher. The purpose of a teacher is to point out what you do not
know. Seeing the limits of our own knowledge, and the shape of our
ignorance, is very hard to do on our own. A good teacher will reveal
these things to you so that the learning process may begin.

I have an oregano plant and a rosemary plant in my windowsill. One
time, a kid asked me why I had them. I told him that I eat them. He
seemed stunned by this. Even now, he sometimes asks me if I am still
eating the plants. The concept appears alien to him. This surely
says something about our world.

I recently bought a pair sandals for $5 at Wal-Mart. Solid footwear
shipped from the other side of the world now costs less than a few
pounds of apples. We really do live in an odd world.

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