Friday, June 19, 2015

How Much is Enough?

 If you have a rate of return of only 4%, and your drawdown rate is 4%, you've already achieved lifetime sustainability -- no matter how long you live.

The rate of inflation affects everyone equally, so one doesn't need to add on some imaginary inflation rate beyond that -- like the labor unions like to flim flam the "leaders" with, and multiply their advantage over everybody else.

Intelligent people frequent the markets that are more favorable to them -- rather than the most punitive, as though it doesn't make a difference.

Those personal decisions and life orientations (choices), will make a much bigger difference than the rate of return once one has accumulated a modestly sufficient nest egg, at which point the "game" of simply making more money, should be moot.
 
Yet we see in these same articles, that the reason for maximizing one's returns, is so that one can spend it foolishly and lavishly on travel, entertainment, fine dining and wining -- at which point all bets are off that one could ever have enough money, time and energy -- because only one part of the equation, is not enough to arrive at any valid answer.

It is the balance and interplay of all the variables (and constants), that makes any solution useful -- and not any one factor in isolation -- no matter how large or small.

The wise person will live within their means in good times and bad -- while the fool, will deny that they should ever adjust their expenditures, no matter what.  That seems to be the presumption of most of the financial experts -- that humans (life) never adjusts, adapts, and evolves -- and therefore is doomed.

There is no "happily forever" after from the beginning for all time.  If you always do the best you can, you always will.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Discovering the New World

Human evolution has always been about movement -- to find out what the world is all about -- as even the first man and woman, were banished from the paradise of the Garden of Eden, to have to find their way in another world.  That is the metaphor of life we all have to live -- to find out not only what is known, but especially what is unknown, and which we have to discover for ourselves even if none have done so before us.  

But as a member of any species and society, we have the advantage of knowing and learning what others have done before us -- which is not the end, but only the beginning for what we must do each in our own lives, because the general rule, can only take us so far, and not necessarily take as as far as we need individually to go.
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Every life is unique and individual -- as the blueprint of our very living.  In many ways, we are alike -- but not exactly, and in this way, each has to discover themselves as much -- as they do the world we inherit in common. That is the difference we must learn to differentiate.  Many ideologues will insist that nobody is any different, and so we must all do the one thing, live the one way, which is usually according to their plan -- which might not be good for everybody else, except for those who have already decided that they will be on top -- and will remain so as long as they live, as their grand vision of what life must be.

That is one plan, and one vision for society and the world -- but it is only one, and the treasure and beauty of life, is that we can discover for ourselves other worlds which are more favorable to ourselves being on top of the world.  It is usually a world that has to be searched for and discovered by ourselves -- because nobody else will take us there.  Others are in search of the world that is most suitable and advantageous for themselves -- as they have a right to -- "pursue their own life, liberty and happiness."

That does not necessarily have to be in conflict with all others.  In fact, the best of all worlds, will largely be what is shared, while allowing for individual preferences that complete and complement individual variations and uniqueness.  That is not just a matter of choice and preference, but absolute necessities for individual constitutions.  One man's meat, may be another man's poison, or better said, one person's optimal life, is what they can discover and create for themselves -- as best they can.

That is one's life work -- beyond the work that can be exchanged readily to be appreciated by the  marketplace with others.  That is what is most important for every individual to do as their highest calling -- of their own lives.  Many of course, will never get there -- barely surviving from day to day, as best they can.  But one hopes to get beyond that, as the beginning of the journey in their life, to their best life, in the circumstances that make it possible.  It may be where no others have gone before -- but that is the meaning and purpose of every life -- to find out what that is.

And that is also the meaning and purpose of society -- to help as many as possible get there -- to the point at which they are brave enough to discover their own world most advantageous and favorable to them.  Obviously, such a society would prepare them to move on in life, and not merely be trapped into conforming and supporting the life of the present powers that be, to keep themselves perennially at the top of that pecking order -- and to have no common purpose and benefit otherwise.  Those were the primitive and tribal societies of the past -- and not the golden age of the present moment.  That's where we are today -- and have to be focused on the challenges of the present time, and not the restoration of some glorious past the ideologues (demagogues) would like everyone to buy into.

Such conformity, is not a good in itself -- even if it is the "political correctness" of that time, and what we all ought to think -- as though they knew, what was best for all -- because they think that is their exclusive role and job in that society.  That is everybody's role, job and right in any society worthy of the name.  That is a world that belongs to everybody -- in its entirety, and not just their small piece of it -- that they feel they must ferociously defend, as though there were no other.

From time immemorial, the greatest advantage has always been to those who see the biggest picture of the world -- and not the smallest as though there were no other.  It doesn't matter that that tiny piece of the world is called "Paradise" -- if they know no other, and can envision nothing else, but how life has always been there, or worse, the glorious life they have only been told was possible in a distant past that they can only revere -- because nothing else is possible for their own lives now, at this time and circumstances, but to live life as they've been told to repeat it.

Such lives and living, can never have breakthroughs, never evolve beyond what it always has been  -- with only less, and never more, and greater.  That is not "Paradise," but somewhere else entirely.  But a person has to come to that realization themselves, entirely on their own.  No one else can do that for any other.  There is no more important thing to do than that fulfillment -- of living the life never lived before -- in one's own.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Even Treadmills Can Be Dangerous

Most people, in considering fitness activities, don't calculate the most important -- which is the risk-to-benefit in doing anything.  Mountain climbers have a tendency to fall from great heights -- and those who love water sports, have a possibility of drowning.  Treadmills force one to move at a greater rate than they are inclined to.  People usually meet their end, doing what they usually do -- whether they like it or not.  That's just a fact of life -- and living.

Thus, one should spend as much time doing what they truly think is worthwhile -- and do that until the very end.  Just watching television, or smoking as one primary activity, robs time and energy from better pursuits.  These days, that might be isolating oneself with one's own thoughts -- while absenting oneself from their actual environment, and what is happening in their immediate vicinity.  That can be dangerous.  Particularly if one is driving a car.

However, that does not mean one should be afraid of everything, or doing anything.  One just has to realize the risks -- that there can be danger in anything -- even running on a treadmill.  Much less dangerous, is just moving one's body -- relative to itself.  Moving the body -- in relationship to external measures, has been the traditional measure of activity -- rather than the internal change of directly improving one's health, which surely, is likely to be more meaningful.  That is, the measure of productivity is effecting movement within the body (circulation and respiration), rather than moving a weight a certain distance in an amount of time.

That actually has very little to do with producing the desirable effects in sustaining lifelong growth, while it could retard it greatly through injury and even death.  But long before that, one can see the success or failure, in the changing health of an individual -- whether they are improving, or deteriorating (disintegrating) -- most notably at the extremities of the head (neck), hands and feet.  Those qualities can usually be determined by the obvious appearance of decreasing vitality and expression -- and measured on performance scales as cognition (mental functioning), grip strength, and balance (foot strength).  Those deteriorations, compromise one's level of functioning in all one does -- and even thinks of doing, anymore.

As nearly as possible, one's conditioning activities, should be as close to their actual usage as possible -- rather than thinking that one grows more proficient, by doing something that has no real world equivalent in practical matters.  One is not simply trying to become the best at the treadmill -- which is the embodiment of activity with no purpose -- but has become the gold standard for so many.  It makes one's heart beat faster -- but so could so many other things, with much more usefulness.

It seems to me that one of the greatest, most useful activities, is to deliberately and systematically optimize the circulation to those parts of the body most vulnerable to the lack of circulation produced by non-use -- and not taking it for granted that that happens just because the heart beats faster -- or at all.  The characteristic of effecting a greater flow, is producing an alternating condition of contraction and relaxation (expansion) in any muscle, which is the pumping effect that is distinctive of the heart, but also capable by any muscle conditioned to produce that same rhythmic effect.

To the body, that is the single most useful "work" that can be done -- to maintain and increase one's health, and produce all those other desirable effects of improved appearance and functioning.  The cardiovascular flow, has to be effected by the neuromuscular flow of impulses that cause that change in state, and greatest range of expression from the relaxed to the greatest contraction -- beginning at the extremity of which there is that deliberate firing to invoke.

Ignoring that, means the typical failure of the extremities to maintain their capabilities, despite the amount of increased work one may be demanding of the heart alone -- which was never designed to do it all.  This is particularly true for those suffering from the deteriorating conditions that begin at the extremities of their body -- and working its way back to the heart because of these circulatory failures -- until the heart may be the only well-serviced and well-functioning organ, even while all else has failed.  Obviously, that is even a greater failure than death itself.  Unfortunately, that is an increasing possibility is such a singularly misguided focus on the value of conditioning activities -- which should be to increase the range of one's activities and competencies, and not just the one while the rest languish and deteriorate into a horrible end.

The greater life, is much greater -- and not just the one, out of proportion to all the others.  That sense of disproportion and imbalance, invariably leads to unforeseen catastrophic results.  Life is the whole -- and not just the part, however important we ascribe to it.  It is the complete development that has always been the objective of every conditioning (educational) program worthy of its time and focus.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Karma (Aging) of Our Lives

All that one does -- is the person they are, and become.  That is the significance of growing "old" -- or better and wiser.  Obviously, if one doesn't learn to live their lives better, they will suffer for it -- because there is a cause for everything, and is related to everything else -- and not that nothing is related to anything else, and so one can feel free to do anything they think they can get away with -- because nobody will know any difference.  Life doesn't work that way.  There are consequences to every action, thought and deed -- even if nobody else is watching (knows), because that has never been a requirement for why things happen.

The good or bad, is how well one ages.  It all comes home to roost, and take root, as the course of the rest of their days.  It does matter what one eats, how one exercises, the excesses one indulges in, the risks one takes, the damage they do, or the good nobody else witnesses -- that all becomes the person they are throughout life, and especially, at the end of it.

A few will know what to do -- to all the challenges of their lives, and continued viability and well-being, while many, will have no clue what to do with every incident (crisis) that arises in their lives.  They never learned how to solve a problem, and never thought it was important to -- because somebody else would do all those things for them.  That's when many lives unravel, or are revealed for what they truly are.

That's when the truth comes out -- what one has really been doing -- and not just what one would have others believe.   By then, it is too late and too overwhelming to undo all the damage one has done to their own lives -- if one continues as one always has.  But one can change what one always has done before -- and in that manner, create a whole new course for their lives.  But that change, will not come about just continuing to do what one has always done before -- thinking there can be a different result than the one that always has been before.  That's not how life works.

Life works in the way we make it work -- as the practice and conditioning of our lives.  We get good at what we actually do -- and practice.  If that is merely to make life harder and more difficult for ourselves and others -- then being around such a person, will not be pleasant and avoided by most people.  So of course the eventual result of "conditioning" activities that make every effort harder and more difficult, is not to make one stronger -- but to make one not do it, especially when healthful activities and movements (conditioning) would be most beneficial -- when even a little would go a long way, while doing nothing, is the problem, and makes it worse.  But such people don't know how to make what they have to do possible; they only know how to make it more difficult, and therefore, impossible, not to mention painful.

They convince themselves that the ONLY way to learn, or do anything, is the hard way, and to make it increasingly harder and more difficult, as though somehow at the end, everything they know to be true, is miraculously reversed -- as though that was the way of the world.  So they believe to achieve anything in life, one has to do the opposite -- as though that was some guarantee of anything, and are surprised, when nothing turns out as it should -- and that is what they think life is, just a random crapshoot -- in which nothing happens as they would like it to -- and that is what "getting old" is all about.

In such societies, there obviously are no (role) models for successful aging -- but everyone inevitably and invariably turns into monsters -- and as the old "fairy tales" had them, they ate young children who were careless or foolish enough to venture near them.  The wise simply avoided them.  Hopefully, we live in a more enlightened time when we can make better discriminations of those who aren't so predatory on others BECAUSE they exhibit great independence and self-sufficiency not to suck on the lifeblood of the young and vital -- as the only way they know how to be.

That is the future that makes longevity meaningful and fulfilling, and not just getting invariably and incessantly worse -- without any prospects for life getting any better.  The ultimate test of all that one has learned, is the preparation for this life at full maturity -- when they each must go their own way, answering to themselves more than any others.  All of life before then, is just a preparation for a life in maturity.  The end of immaturity, is not the end of life -- but the beginning of this new way of being, which every society in history, has hoped to create and manifest.

It is not simply the continuation of the old way of doing anything -- at any stage of life.  It is to create something wholly, and wonderfully new and different -- as the fulfillment of that society.  So obviously, it is not just going back to the old ways of a hundred years ago, or as some pride themselves, in going back to the cave-man era -- as though they knew everything there was to know back then, and worth knowing.  All those people lived short, brutal lives -- so that is no blueprint for a future of extended lives of unimagined fulfillment beyond foraging for their daily survival.

We've long passed that life at the constant brink -- to retain that as our highest ideal of what is now possible.  All this is built, on what has gone on before -- and what we hope to take to the next level.  Obviously, at this time, the great challenge for individuals as well as society, is how do we make the "golden years" of our lives, the best ever?  That is wholly possible -- and not simply, how do we make the best of what life has always been before, that always ends so sadly?  Can there be a different ending?  All signs point to it -- as the inevitable development of these times.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Why We Grow Old

It's not so much age -- as it is whether a person is constantly improving, or constantly getting worse.  The surest way for things to get worse, is to deny that there is any problem -- because then one doesn't seek a solution but accepts the problem, as the way things ought to be -- ie. "just getting old."

All of life is a problem we need to solve.  The challenges are different at different times in our lives -- but we still have to rise to that challenge every day of our lives.  That IS life.  That is what all life faces, and when they can no longer meet that challenge, they perish -- quite understandably.  That is the way of the world.

Most of the problems that people accept as the normal, are conditions they can do something about -- but are conditioned (educated) to accept them as normal by whatever peer group says it is so.  That's why it is good to have a diversity of exposures rather than the consensus that everybody has to be that one way -- of inevitably and invariably getting worse, but maybe going into denial about it.

Some can and do get better -- but not necessarily in the old and familiar ways.  Younger is not necessarily better.  Better is something else entirely different -- and not just more or less of the old and familiar.  And that is the mistake many of the old make -- in wanting to go back to their youth -- instead of exploring and creating the greater life ahead, which no one taught them to do, or was possible, so they don't do it, and can't imagine it possible, or another way.

That is the very crux of the problem.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Appreciate What You Have

The greatest attainment and the key to life, is making the most of what one has -- rather than desiring, and even attaining, insatiable more, which as wise people realize, always is a little more -- no matter how much they have.

That is the first consideration, and not the last, for those who want to be efficient at personal problem solving -- before one can go out and save the world.  One has to first direct that improvement to one's personal problem solving -- before it can be effectively scaled to solving the larger problems.  Obviously, solving the problems of one's own health, should be the primary director in every life.

That is what it means fundamentally, to appreciate what you have -- to make it greater.  That's the meaning of the word -- "to make greater."  That is what appreciation does.  Once we understand that, we can make a little into infinity.  But we can never do that, if we can never appreciate what we already have -- to make it more.

That is particularly the problem of health in older people -- who think they can get better, without doing anything about it.  Of course what one does makes a difference, and all of life is not just a random walk in each lifetime -- "signifying nothing."

Jesus said, "I give you talents, but you have to make them greater."  Or you lose them.  That's the difference between those in good health, and those in failing health -- whether they are getting better.  If they aren't, there is no hope -- because it is just a matter of time...  But most people can control their own health and destiny to a remarkable degree and extent -- but they have to find out themselves to know the actuality that is their reality.  Finding out for oneself, is the quest of a lifetime -- at any time of life.  That is the secret.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Answer is Out There

The Great Realization is that we know far less than what we don't know -- or think we do.  Just because we don't have the answer, doesn't mean that nobody does.  It may even be that what we think is hard and difficult, is really very simple and easy -- but our conditioning (education) is to think that everything is hard, and requires years to learn -- especially if the "educator's" job, is their own lifetime job security -- for as long as they can convince their students, that nothing else is possible -- for everything that can be known, has already been discovered, as though knowledge were always a thing of the past, and not the future work of humankind.

For surely, that is the work of everyone -- and not just a self-selected and designated few.  It was not always that way, and among the oppressive individuals and societies what makes them distinctive and dangerous as the world becomes more populous.  We no longer live and organize to conquer and vanquish every other -- particularly those who do not believe as they do, and demand that everyone does on forfeiture of their lives, as they deem necessary.

That is true even of societies that consider themselves "enlightened" -- as they predictably do -- justifying all actions to enforce their "consensus."  Formerly, they owned the machinery of control and propaganda, and so could be fairly successful -- especially in the schools of indoctrination to convince the young and impressionable, that they did know "everything there is to know."  But the answers, are not just what they control, and even create -- but the actualities every individual life creates for themselves.  That is what is real, and happening, at every moment in time.

How much we know of it depends of every individual's openness to those possibilities -- that they may not know everything there is to know, or even the little to solve the problems of their own daily living -- before presuming to solve all the great problems of human existence -- for everybody else.  Invariably, those who never solve the problems of their own living are "too busy" solving the problems of everybody else -- and so there is no time left over for the selfish pursuits of "cleaning up their own act," and in that way the proper work of the world is left undone while much that is unnecessary and counterproductive have highest priority.

And things just get worse, year after year, unfailingly -- even calling it "paradise," or the "Best of all Worlds. "  They may not convince everybody of that, but they convince enough people to make that their "localized" reality -- and all that can be known.  Dissenters from those lockstep truths, are purged, or purge themselves -- in moving to more agreeable conditions rather than accepting that life can be no other way.

Those are the brutal struggles of societies of the past -- hoping to remain in that past, rather than discover the future in which those problems and difficulties that have tormented humankind for time immemorial, are solved, because that's what people do, and live their lives to do. Either that, or they just accept the lives that were handed down from the past, and go no further -- as the unwritten taboo -- of where no one should go.

Information used to be scarce and hard to come upon -- and societies were organized to maintain that situation as the competitive advantage for those who got there first, even if it meant exploiting their own progeny -- because that is what they were convinced, was what everybody did, from time immemorial -- and that was their fate and destiny too.

Now we know that if we don't know the answer, it is that we haven't asked the right persons -- even if we have to find that out for ourselves rather than just accepting what we know that doesn't work -- as the be-all, end-all of that matter.  Those capabilities are programmed and designed into the very tools we use -- not just to hammer nails or threaten others into seeing things the way they would like us to, or even telling us what they know but arriving at the essential question, how do we know? -- and beginning beyond that.