The Nature of Understanding

Understanding, isn't something that is truly easy to understand. While you may know what understanding means by definition, actually putting the idea into practice is a different problem altogether.

"I know" is a highly common response to suggestions and rebuttals in certain situations. Although I always question the truth to that person's claim. I'm sure many of us do. But I also question whether or not I truly do grasp the entirety of the subject when I say it myself. So where does the nature of understanding come from?

Does it come from our ability to not only simulate certain situations, but also our ability to emulate certain situations in our own minds with a certain level of accuracy? Or does it come from our ability to process others' experiences as closely to our own as possible? Does it come from a whole separate psychological capacity?

The nature of understanding may indeed even come from a basic human need to fit in with those around us. Is it possible that we can truly understand things better if it is explained within a situation that our lives have seen? I'd say we have sufficient evidence within our own personal lives to say so.  Perhaps understanding is an innate trait in itself. It would certainly fit the Occam's Razor dynamic.

Do we understand the implications of understanding? Am I over-complicating it? Probably. However, I tend to value understanding things on as many angles as possible. Even if some of them don't make sense. Even if there's really only one option to go with in order to understand. Sometimes, that full understanding is what helps you create a deeper knowledge and appreciation.

Or I'm just over-complicating things.

Living Life Behind a Screen

With the age of technology, we face some new and previously unknown problems with increased integration with others. We all value experiences throughout life, but the real question is to what level are those experiences worth? Can we honestly say an experience someone shares over the internet is valued on the same level as experiencing that event for yourself?

For example, many of us like to watch the Travel Channel and see what cool and different places we visit could be. Yet most of us have the sense to know that seeing it on TV is nothing like seeing it in person. I would argue that a generation that values interactions online to the level we do today may not fully understand that concept. 

One of the adverse effects social media has had on us is posting life experiences on Facebook is all about getting likes. Twitter is all about getting followers and retweets. Instagram is all about getting followers and likes on photos. This has changed our psychology from valuing experiences for ourselves, and created a sense of valuing experiences based on how others value them.

Our sense of identity no longer exists within ourselves and our endeavors, it exists within others and how they perceive them. At least for the younger generations. The real question is: Is this really something we should be worried about? I would say yes. I grew up on video games and behind a computer screen. The value of my world was defined by how powerful my character was. By how many reliable friends I had to raid with. Whether or not I fit in with the world I was playing in, not the real world around me.

This has, in many unforeseen ways, negatively impacted me severely. I'm 26 and still trying to figure out what it means to make my way in the real world. As difficult as it is to admit, I have problems valuing interactions with others in the real world. I have problems placing value in experiences beyond a screen, and it's something I'm working on for myself. At this age, and with a strong desire to experience things in the real world, things change overwhelmingly quickly.

A lot of time was lost when I was more capable and receptive to placing value in interactions. My childhood was hardly a sob story, and it's difficult to regret things when you truly understand where your life has taken you. However, it doesn't mean I don't wish to provide a warning for others on how these things truly effect us as people. 

I see similarities in others and how they interact with technology and how I grew up, and it makes me question how it effects their psychology. Someone who is attached to their phone and social media exhibits similar problems, but in a different fashion. We can be sociable with others and get out into the world and still not value those experiences the way we should. I cannot speak for anyone buy myself, but I truly take issue with how I perceive and value the world because of this problem.

Hopefully, this is an individual case of how life has unfolded for me. I would hate to see others have to struggle with the same problems. However, I can't help but feel like I've become a lot more understanding and intelligent simply because of these psychological hurdles. Perhaps on the other end, I will learn to appreciate things on a deeper level. I guess I will let you know when that happens.

In any case, I think this is an important issue to keep in mind. The moral of this story is moderation applies to all things in life. Time and place are always important when experiencing life. You cannot substitute experience with understanding. Sometimes, thinking it through, just doesn't cut it.

Differentiating Fitness and Health

Fitness is the encompassing idea of how healthy you are. When we think fitness, we think of how in shape your body is. But it goes beyond just eating healthy and exercising. Just as knowledge and intelligence are two different entities, health and fitness are two different entities. Health can be defined as one's physical well being. Fitness can be defined as one's ability to use their body to meet their needs.

Depending on your life style, and desires, fitness creates a broad spectrum of meaning. If you have no desire to run marathons, to do any hard manual labor, or to be able to participate in athletic sports, then your level of fitness is defined by your desire. If you need to be able to position and maneuver your body in a broad range of activities, then your fitness level is defined by your needs. 

Fitness requires a certain level of need in order to be pertinent to the person, but there are a lot of interesting things you can learn about your body and it's capability by paying attention to how it changes as you continue to strengthen it. There are also notable mental changes as your body becomes stronger, such as increased focus, energy, and obviously strength. Personally, I'm more interested in how much physical fitness increases mental capability.

Since I started seriously working out, not only have I lost weight and gained more physical capability, I have also gained an increased mental acuity, focus, and energy. I am more capable of solving complex problems, as well as increased lateral thinking. These traits aren't necessarily exclusive to my new found desire to be physically healthy, they are simply amplified by my increased mental capability due to physical health increasing.

I also gain some social benefits as well. I'm more confident in my movement, and even my person. I'm still a rather large fellow, but I'm more comfortable with the skin I'm in. This is what most people seek when working out, which I think does a disservice to the rest of what you are capable of gaining from being physically healthy. So to all of you out there who may be struggling to find a reason to work out, or to push yourself to get to the gym, don't look at the number on the scale. Don't look at how your waistline changes. Look for how much better you feel, and how much more capable you are.

Make it important to be able to function on a greater level, to be able to think clearer, and to be able to act in the way you think you should be able to in each situation. Don't let the standard of cosmetics deter you from accomplishing fitness in your life!

Defining Our Lives

There comes a point in everyone's life where we really learn who we are. When we truly understand how our experiences and choices have created the only thing we'll ever know for sure: Ourselves. Each of these experiences is different, each one with different causes and effects. Some people change in a profound manner, and some change very little. Even though this entity cannot be described in any concrete way, it's a stage in human life that we all have or will come to know.

It's an interesting phenomenon, when you consider the consequences of consciousness. Many don't even give it a second thought, and accept it as just another change in their lives. But to me, this change is profound, and even though I am still the same person at my core, a lot of my views and ideas have changed greatly. Things I used to find unacceptable, are more than acceptable now.

Ideas that seemed to hold little weight in the world are actually much more influential than previously thought. My friends haven't changed much, and neither has my relationships with them. I have gained many new friends whom I value just as greatly as my friends prior to this tipping point. These are only the ideological and philosophical changes. Some of my senses have changed as well and become sharper.

A sense I had not had before, as strange as this is, has manifested in a big way. Feeling movement through the universe and across the surface of the Earth(e.g. when driving, a distinct feeling of traveling through space) is not something I had a very good sense of before. Perhaps that is a common feeling that I had been lacking for whatever reason, but to me it's very new and very profound! I feel as though I am more greatly attuned to the life I live.

While I cannot say if others experience this kind of phenomenon in such a profound way, I do believe there is a point in everyone's life where things just start making sense. That time for me is now, which at 26 makes me wonder if my experiences in life had been different, would I have experienced this sooner or later? Will this change make my life definitively better? Well, that's the tricky part. I can't say for sure. I can certainly say that I will feel like I enjoy life more.

But will it allow me greater opportunity to seek what I want from life? Or will it simply allow for an acceptance for what I have? If I know me, the latter will not hold much weight. I still seek to be a writer on many levels, and even though it seems like not much has been happening lately, there is a lot of leg work being done for the next story. Here's a hint: An Observe Re-Write(yet again, I know, this would be rendition #6).

However, because of how things have changed in my life, I believe the changes I wish to make will ultimately make for a better story. Which is interesting to me on the level of how life experiences can change a person's writing. I could go on and on about how this feeling and these changes effect life, but I'm not here to write another novel.

I guess despite my rambling what you can take from all of this is that even though there has been a slight lack of content within the last month, there is much more to come. One of the things I have learned is not to fear the passion that drives you. Why I had feared it in the first place, even I don't know. But this change means I am much more inclined to sit and write, than I am to sit and game. This means much more real original content coming!

As always folks, thank you for your support. I appreciate all of you who take the time to read through any of my posts! My hope is that you took away something from them, and that they provide you with some insight into your own lives. Stay Tuned for more!

E Pluribus Unum!

Watching Our Memories

Your memory is a wily time traveler, plucking fragments of the present and inserting them into the past, reports a new Northwestern Medicine® study. In terms of accuracy, it's no video camera.

Rather, the memory rewrites the past with current information, updating your recollections with new experiences.

Love at first sight, for example, is more likely a trick of your memory than a Hollywood-worthy moment.

"When you think back to when you met your current partner, you may recall this feeling of love and euphoria," said lead author Donna Jo Bridge, a postdoctoral fellow in medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "But you may be projecting your current feelings back to the original encounter with this person."

Memory certainly is a fickle thing. As we grow older, we tend to lose memories of earlier days, or they become harder to recognize or pull at will. This problem has happened to me countless times, where an event I remember pretty vividly is recalled differently by others at that same event.

It's not that farfetched. Sometimes we want to make the memory our own. Sometimes our perspectives vary to such a degree that the events are interpreted differently. Regardless of the reasons, our brains are malleable to our own emotions and very easily fooled in the long run.

Is this a flaw, or a benefit? Memories are good to have, but some memories are best left in the past. Remembering our lives in a fluid and changeable manner can possibly be the best way for us to think. It allows us to look at our experiences in different lights and learn from one experience in multiple ways.

Some would argue having memories be malleable is a bad thing. How are we supposed to remember our past if our brains fool us into changing the very things we want to remember? Well, I can't answer that for you.

But what I can do, is offer the viewpoint that our memories will come and go, and our past is behind us. Moving forward, we should seek to use our pasts as learning tools, and having an ever-changing past allows us to create a better environment for learning. This may not be the case for everyone, but it certainly is for me.

Perspective - The Morality Fallacy

Morality is not an easily definable entity. We all perceive it differently, and unfortunately this can cause many problems for us as humans. And yet, is morality in itself the issue? Can we have a peaceful society without the idea of a moral compass?

Can we be do good, or even define good and bad without the idea of morality? Well, no. We can't. Perhaps the real question is can our species move forward and prosper without the concept of morality? That one is a bit tougher. Morality is a very tricky subject, considering how broad of a range it can cover.

Lately some experiences in my own life have caused me to question the idea of a moral imperative, and the idea of benefiting from removing the concept of morality from an argument. This treads a very fine line, considering the consequences in certain circumstances. However, in applying this concept I have learned a lot about morality and the idea of life itself.

We are always quick to judge life at a glance. And yet, when we really dig deep to understand it, we find ourselves suspending judgement due to finding we don't understand it as well as we had previously thought. So when an event happens in your life that seems inherently immoral, take a step back. Look at it from the other's viewpoint, and then from an objective viewpoint.

Seek to gain knowledge from that act, and how you can benefit from it. Perhaps it is a more valuable experience than you had previously thought.

Language and the Context Imperative

We all have hot button words that annoy us, or piss us off. But why is that? A word is just a word, and each person places context in each word differently. Does that make the word itself inherently bad? This can also work for words that make us feel good. Just because they make us feel good, does not make the word inherently good.

Language is designed to give us the ability to show context and meaning to our thoughts, to other people. It's whole purpose is to communicate what we're thinking, and want other people to know, in as efficient of a manner possible. So even though the English Language for example has huge variations in context based on culture and location, it's core is pretty much the same.

So while we can say that we should be wary of words because we are unsure of the context they have with other people, I think we should also be wary of the fact that not everyone shares the same context of that word. Some find the words "God Damn" in succession to be offensive, based on their religious beliefs. Some people find the word "Cunt", "Fuck", and "Shit" to be offensive, based around their historical contexts and social acceptances.

But do any of these words have inherent poor context? Their meanings may be negative in some cases, but their inherent use is not always negative and can sometimes even be a positive reaction. We've all heard "Holy Shit" used in a sense of disbelief, which is not always negative connotation. Same can be said for "Holy Fuck", or "God Damn". The Word "Cunt" is a trickier situation, since it is widely accepted by culture to have a negative connotation and used almost exclusively in a negative way.

The same can be said for the word "Nigger". I would like to note that I do not use the words "Cunt" or "Nigger" hardly ever(the only time I can think of is right now to use as examples of extreme negatives), though not entirely due to their social stigma or fear of offending, but because the words themselves do not do a very good job of placing context in the way I want. I simply don't feel the need to use them.

What was the point of all this? Hopefully to get you thinking about the contexts you use in your vocabulary, and understanding how others speak to you as well. It's always important to remember that we all use our vocabulary differently! 

The God Problem

It's an idea designed so intricately with who we are, that it is impossible to define concretely. There is no one objective theory to it, everyone's view is different. But how do we solve the God problem? Is it a problem at all? What exactly would it solve to prove, or disprove the idea in the first place?

I grew up Christian, so God and the Christian faith have been a large part of my life for many years. It was only recently that I began thinking of myself as Agnostic, and only because my scientific mindset caused me to begin questioning the ideas of God, and what they really mean.

Is believing in a God right? Is it wrong? Does it even call for a moral imperative to define it? The idea of faith is so broad and so changing that for me it is incredibly interesting to see how others view it. Personally, I want to believe a God exists. Even when you get into ideas of String Theory, Quantum Theory, Relativity, it begs the question: Where did these ideas come from? Are they truly the results of chaos?

If I were to hold an idea of God to be true, I would view it like they were a game developer, that created a cosmos for us to learn and explore in great depths. Perhaps they want us to live our lives freely, and do the most good we possibly can. Perhaps it is not a question of Benevolent or Malevolent, and it exists on a level that does not view events as a moral question.

Perhaps it's a being on a level beyond us, and while they may not be a "God", they may exist on a level that we would perceive to be a God. It is also just as likely that a God does not exist at all. Maybe Chaos really is all we have in this cosmos. If that were the case, would it make life worth less? Would we have less reason to strive for more?

The beauty of these ideas is that whether you believe in Chaos, or God, it comes down to where you place that importance. If you believe in Chaos, the only way to make your life worth anything is to place that worth in it yourself. If you believe in a God, you place that in an idea that you believe is worth living for.

I do not know much of other religions, or their beliefs, but I am inclined to believe that they are the same in that it is not necessarily a question of right or wrong. It's a question of subjective belief. The "God Problem" may not be a problem at all, unless we refuse to accept it for what it really is. And all it really is, is an idea.

This is why I embrace science. Unlike the idea of God, in Quantum Theory we can replicate results in multiple instances. We can create and view these results on our own, without much guessing. However, I don't think science should seek to discredit or devalue the idea of God. It should simply use the idea of God as a motivator to observe and learn as much as we can about the universe.

Mythbusters - The Science of Experimentation

Image Courtesy of Savage's Blog Page)

I had the pleasure of attending the Mythbusters Behind the Myths tour last night in Minneapolis, and it reaffirmed a lot of my ideas of how awesome science can be. Adam and Jamie put on a fantastic show, letting audience members become a part of the experimentation.

The show emphasized the wonderful nature of science, and how sometimes experimentation is nothing but having a little fun. In the case of Mythbusters, the myths are merely a vessel to understanding physics and world around us. The myths they investigate lead them to ask other questions about how things work, how they can build(and explode) things in a different way.

Applying this mindset to every day life is a beautiful thing that we should all strive for. Personally, things are always a lot more fun when you can poke and prod, manipulate and change. If there is one thing I took from the show, it was to not be afraid to experiment, and have fun with my life.

No matter how others may perceive this experimentation, or whether they understand it or not, it is important to always stay true to that dynamic. So with this, I move towards the future without fear of failure, or judgement. Let's see what the world has to offer!

The Bleak Black Friday

Ok, here's a little bit of soap box, and a little bit of information for you. I've worked Black Friday in retail before, and anyone who has had to work it will tell you it sucks. A lot. Personally, I make sure I don't have to go to any store on Thanksgiving, making sure that stores have less of a reason to keep people from their families on the holiday.

Black Friday on the other hand, is a whole different story. It has become such a huge celebration of shopping that I avoid stores for my own sake. Stores are so packed it's not even worth trying to get in or out unless I absolutely positively need something. In which case I try to plan ahead for what I need so as not to get caught in that trap.

But let's get on to some numbers, and some real food for thought. In fiscal year 2012, shoppers shelled out a whopping $59 billion over the Black Friday weekend. NASA's entire budget for 2012 was only $18.7 billion. The American Red Cross operated in 2012 for $3.2 billion. We spent more on general shopping for one weekend than we did for humanitarian aid and even more than our entire space budget. For the entire year.

Now, I'm not saying having some good deals is a bad thing. But we've created such a shopping culture that it's more important to us to have a weekend of good deals than it is to help our fellow man or advance our sciences. What's even more sad is that many of the electronics people are buying wouldn't be possible without the very same space program we are neglecting. 

I simply hope that we can shift our attention to more important things, and let Black Friday just be a fun weekend of decent deals. As opposed to the single most important holiday to America. And if you think it's not a holiday, you're kidding yourself. It's more of a holiday than Thanksgiving is now.

Take a little bit to remember what's important to you. Is it the pair of skinny jeans you found on sale at JCPenny's? Is it that tablet or TV you really wanted that was on sale at Best Buy? Or are these things accessory to the rest of your life? Just take a minute, and think. Keep on shopping, but remember that money could be used elsewhere. That effort and man power needed to get you those deals could be used elsewhere. 

Like me or not, I hope it at least made you think. Remember: E Pluribus Unum.

Seasonal Awareness

Winter is finally upon us! While many of us like to get out, do some snowmobiling, skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing, or whatever else you may like to do in the snow, many of us are suffering from seasonal depression.

It may not effect us all in the same manner, but seasonal depression is a very real affliction that can have a large range of severity. Some get clinically depressed, unable to function at their normal capacity. Some get grumpy, because they go to work when it's dark, and come home and it's dark again. Sucks.

Even still, it's interesting to know what causes this problem, and it may not be what you think. It's not just because you can't get outside as much as you'd like to, although that does contribute. It's due to our internal clocks being out of sync with our normal schedules. This is called Circadian rhythm. If we're used to seeing 14 hours of daylight on average, and the average cuts all the way down to 9 hours, that's a huge difference.

Consider this: While our days are measured by 24 hours, the average human stays awake for 16 of those hours, leaving 8 hours of sleep. This is a normal entrained Circadian Rhythm based on our living environment. Humans who have all sense of time cues(no clocks, no difference in lighting or temperature) removed tend to stay fairly close to a 24 hour Circadian cycle, although 25 hours was not uncommon either.

So for those of us who live closer to the arctic circle have a greater chance of being afflicted, while those closer to the equator are less likely to suffer from it. Interestingly enough, there are ways to fight off this problem. It has a lot to do with Psychology and how we train our brains to understand our changing surroundings(and our changing circadian rhythm).

On those dreary cloudy days, don't let that deter you from getting outside! Don't let the snow make you think there isn't anything worth doing! Simple things like taking up hobbies to keep your mind sharp can make the winter months that much better. It may seem like escapism(and in a way it is), but it allows you to bypass these effects, making seasonal depression less likely to afflict you.

So, what did we learn today class? Seasonal Depression can be a really crappy thing to deal with. But it doesn't mean you HAVE to live with it! Just find some ways to keep your mind occupied(reading informational blogs is just ONE suggestion) and things will turn out better than expected.

Advertising and Social Media

Social Media is an ever-expanding marketplace for people to connect with each other, and share what they enjoy. So much so, that companies invest more into social media pages like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and even Pinterest pages for their products. This is quickly becoming common knowledge, but why is it becoming so popular?

It's based upon the same principle that businesses have valued since the beginning of businesses: Word of Mouth. Your friends telling you about a product is far more effective in getting you to try it, than a cold advertisement. When you look at an advertisement, chances are you don't care unless it's something you had already been thinking about, or it's from a company you already trust.

This is why Advertising gets such a bad reputation nowadays. You don't care about that product, but you have to watch the stupid commercials! Unless you pay for the content you're watching directly, or a streaming service. So remember, it may be annoying to have commercials, but they're paying for you to have free content. A little patience is appreciated for those content creators, so they can make money on their work!

There are few people out there who will look at an advertisement that is completely unrelated to what they desire, and it causes them to buy the product. But if your friend likes something, it's gotta be worth trying right? Well that's the basic principle that companies are using to increase their reach with customers.

Even for small web sites like this one, the most valuable reach I can get is for my readers to share with their friends(wink wink hint hint nudge nudge say no more)! One thing that tends to get in the way for most people, is copyright laws and how they effect us on the internet. Content producers have to be very careful about the things they display on their web sites. For example: If I were to use a stock photo that was not free for everyone to use in an article that I was selling something in, I could get in some serious trouble.

Thankfully for all of us, I don't advertise a product much. I actually enjoy spreading knowledge and sharing things with people, which is why I choose a creative commons license for my work. For those of you who aren't sure what a Creative Commons license is, it's a different way to copyright your work.

Personally, I've chosen a CC license that allows people to take my articles and share them, even tweak them to their liking, so long as they share the original source(this website)! This is highly beneficial to me as a writer and content producer, as well as a blogger. People can take my work and share it across the web, so long as they point back to me for credit for the work. It sounds pretty common sense, but not all people/companies allow this.

The evolution of advertising has come to a point where it is now easier for EVERYONE to get their work out there! Indie artists are ever more capable of sharing their work directly through social media and viral campaigning, so that they can be directly involved with their customers and fans. Instead of having to go through a publishing company, they can do it themselves.

This is even highly beneficial for the consumer! You have so many more options to choose from, that nowadays the good products are the ones that are actually good! Instead of just what has the most money for advertising! Trust me when I say, the future looks incredibly bright thanks to social media!

And remember: Share with your friends if you enjoyed this, or any other article on here, or any website. Let your friends know about the things you find! 

The Bus to Nowhere

You're waiting for the bus. Sitting on the plain park bench you feel just like you always do. It's broad daylight, nothing particular seems to be happening. It's the usual hustle and bustle of the city streets, cars whizzing along, bikers being assholes, and people walking to wherever they need to go. Strangely enough, today you're the only one waiting for the bus.

The thought "Did I miss something? Is this line shut down for the day?" tugs at the back of your mind, but it doesn't hold much merit. Odds are, you're just the only one in need of it today. Checking your watch, just making sure, you still have a good ten minutes til the bus arrives.

As time passes fewer and fewer people are out in the street. Less cars are driving by, bikers have completely gone. There are still a good amount of people walking around though, so that's a good sign. Still odd that traffic has slowed down so much.

Slowly but surely, traffic wanes to nothing. No cars can be seen, even parked along the street. Ok, now that's weird. People are still walking, but there's no traffic... What's going on? Checking your watch again, the bus should be here by now. 

Off in the distance to your left you can see a bus driving down the street, coming towards you. That's a relief. Still, there's no other traffic... It pulls up next to you, and you feel strange. Something's not right. People are still walking down the street, but they aren't talking. They're just walking, deadpan down the street...

The driver opens the bus door, and everything looks normal. Just some older guy looking like his life is about as good as it's gonna get. Thank goodness, something normal.You get on, swiping your bus pass, and the driver just smiles at you as you look down the large vehicle. No one else is on it. "Uhh... Where is everyone?"The driver just looks at you and shrugs.

Ok... This is too weird. He closes the door, and begins to drive before you even take your seat. Since there's no one else on the bus, you decide to sit right in front. Right next to the only soul on the bus. It isn't long before he turns into the heart of the city, whizzing past buildings.

All of the lights are green. In all directions. There's no one on the road but us. What the hell is going on? There aren't even people walking down this part of town. What the hell is going on?

You start to feel frightened, this is too far from normal. Up ahead, all you can see is black. The street ends, there are no buildings, just black. The bus is headed straight for it. Looking behind you, the street lights disappeared.

Now it's just an empty street, with buildings on all sides as a backdrop.Back to the front, the bus driver has disappeared. The bus is still headed towards the blackness. What on earth could it be?!

The bus finally makes it to the blackness-

Exploring Collective Consciousness

Collective consciousness is a phenomena within the human psyche that has become far more profound with the increased connectivity of the internet and social media. People can get together based on a common interest, spread their knowledge, and increase their own knowledge based on those interests. But how much of an impact does Collective Consciousness really have?

Sociologically speaking, people tend to gather based on common interests. That's pretty straightforward, and makes a lot of sense. However, can a person's other interests be affected by this Collective Consciousness? To what degree can it be affected?

Politically speaking this is a difficult call to make. A lot of people like to believe that they are firm in their beliefs. Yet if there's one thing Main Stream Media has proven effective at, it's swaying public opinion based on celebrity opinions, statistical data, and polls.

All of these have been proven to be effective when swaying the average person to vote or believe one way or another. However, let's look at this not purely on a political standpoint. We all have our cliques and groups of friends, and the way we behave with each group will no doubt vary for each individual. So at the end of the day, it becomes a subject of how much we trust the opinions we are given.

Psychologically speaking, this is an interesting phenomenon to watch within yourself. If you are confident enough in your understanding of yourself, watch how your decisions are affected based on what friends you are with. Observe how your opinion may sway based on which role model you are paying attention to, and what their opinion is. 

We would all like to believe that we aren't effected by it, and that's not true. It makes the concept that much more interesting!

There are some other interesting ideas to take from Collective Consciousness. For instance, many philosophise that a collective consciousness actually creates reality itself. I don't necessarily buy into that concept, but it is interesting to think about! 

A Wild World

Remember when you were a child, and even your backyard, or neighborhood park was fascinating to you? Now as an adult, think of some of the most wondrous places you've been. Are they man-made? Or are they natural?

Our link to nature is not gone because we have nearly mastered the struggle for removing natural selection from our list of worries. In fact, I would say our link to nature could be even stronger now that we understand it in a much deeper sense! 

What this man proposes is not something radical, and does not pose much harm to us as a growing species. In fact, I would say it could help us control the rate at which the human race expands. Unfortunately, we do need population control in some form or another. We are the only species that grows almost completely unhindered by the rest of nature.

A matter in which consequences may be more dire than we think!

Conversation - Music

Now that we're back to normal reality, let's propose a conversation. Music has been a cultural influence since it's inception. How is it that music moves us so much?

Not to mention, it's a completely subjective matter. A song that you absolutely love, someone else could hate. Is it a personality matter? Or is there something with tone that creates a pleasing/displeasing experience for different people?

There is a science to this, but it's still fascinating to know how much our bodies(and personalities vary on what kind of music is good. Here's one of my favorite songs. It reminds me a lot of video games I played as a kid and the music that went along with them. Although showing this to some of my friends, they can't stand it!

What is some of your favorite music? 

Is Life a Game?

Obviously life is not a game. The real question is, are we turning it into one? Games are appealing to us as humans because it presents a clear objective and reward. Unfortunately, life does not work that way. So then why does everything turn into a game?

Let's break down some common tools for education and goal setting. Positive reinforcement is often used to teach children, by giving them a direct incentive to be able to recite information. I choose my words carefully here, mind you. Just because someone can pull information out of their brain to write down or recite for a test does not necessarily mean they have learned it.

This is painfully obvious to those of us in the work world who deal with training in new workers. So is school turning into a game? Is our educational system designed to simply encourage reciting information, rather than learning and understanding it?

I heard a lot in school that certain subjects we had to know just because that's part of the school curriculum. You may not be surprised to find I did poorly in those classes. Some classes I did exceptionally well because there was a reason for learning that information. Psychology was by far my favorite subject in high school because my teacher did a fantastic job at explaining the uses and importance of the information.

So where are we headed? We talk about our educational system failing constantly. But is it failing because we aren't creating incentives? Or is it failing because we take an entirely wrong approach to teaching?