I am a computer programmer by day and philosopher by night. I post once or twice a week. I aim to prevent blogging from taking to much time, while allowing time to develop each idea before posting it. Each has some reference to human, universal, or societal truths, while presented in an organized, understandable & consise way -- this is the plan anyway. Results may very as what rings true for one may seem false to another. Also becuase sometimes I get things wrong.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Don't waste a moment

I have had productivity on my mind a lot recently. I've had far more to do at work than I can keep up with. I have numerous commitments to myself and others to keep. I've been sick twice this month. The result of this is that there is always many things that seem to "need doing." The number of things that I get done now, while perhaps small compared to the amount of some get done, has been increasing.

From this, I have been trying to figure out how my ability to get things done more quickly has improved. One of my conclusions has been that I am doing fewer things that have no value and thus aren't worth doing. So in order to have more time on the "things that really matter", I have stopped taking time for things the don't "really matter."

Here is a starter list. Perhaps readers will add additional items. I am writing in the imperative mode as intention is that these be reminders to myself and whomever founds value in them. I can not presume to know what is best for you. If I seem arrogant to you it is likely that you misunderstand my intent.

Actions that have no value so don't waste a moment


worry itself never solves a problem. Many people believe that it does, but I believe not.


I heard a great story today about 2 monks that illustrates my point.

These two monks are an a pilgrimage. The older monk is a well respected deeply spiritual person. He is a popular author and lecturer. The younger monk is studying under him. As it happened, the two monks came upon a wide river.

Just as they were about to start toward a bridge was a long distance up river, a wealthy women appeared who demanded of the older monk that he transport her across the river on his shoulders. The younger of the monks protested that the women had no right to ask this, but the other monk immediately agreed with a smile and carried her across. The monk managed to carry the women across the river and set her down gently on the far side. The women left without a word.

As the monks walked through some fields of tall grass the monk wondered why the other had carried such a disrespectful women across the river. As they strode along a wooded road his mind considered how the wealthy mistreat the poor. Coming upon a town where they would spend the night, the younger monk asked the older why he had carried the women across the stream. The other monk said simply "I carried the women across the stream, but you have been carrying her all day."


Guilt effects the innocent as much if not more then the guilty. Guilt is a sort of social fear that is evoked when we feel we are not living up to our social obligations. This is often just a matter of our own perception, and who is to say these obligations are just? Perhaps, the worst of all is that those who can hurt with impunity rarely suffer from guilt.


After bitterness and guilt, I don't think an explanation is needed.


If you compare yourself to someone else you may feel pride or shame by the contrast. These feelings are superficial so it is better not to have them then to risk the chance of putting any importance on them. You have your own set of gifts, maybe less, maybe more. You maybe able to improve, but comparing won't help you to improve.

Concern for what people might think

Don't spend inordinate time considering if an action may reflect favorably or unfavorably in the eyes of other people. If you do the right things, then those who look deeply will recognize and acknowledge you for your deeds. This is also a form of worry as above.

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
- Dr. Seuss


In most things, you will never be able to exactly match the world to your own ideal. Make things good enough plus a little extra.


The likely hood of making a better decision with more time is unlikely unless additional options or information becomes available. Simply thinking more about it doesn't help much beyond a certain point.

Hypothetical Futures

Spending time on how you might handle some future event is not worthwhile, unless the even is most likely or the failure to prepare for the even would be highly costly (not speaking of monetary cost exclusively). Some other eventualities may be prepared for if preparations are already known and can be done quickly.


Why would you need to justify yourself?

Pursuing someone else's ideal of success or happiness

You will never be happy unless you find what makes you happy. You won't feel successful until you achieve your own ideal of success.


In summary spending time in the future or in the past does not help much in getting done what needs to be done. Most of the items in my list fall into one of these categories.

Image of Frederick Winslow Taylor. I feel this use is slightly ironic given the almost robotic nature of his strategy to improved productivity.

Friday, November 11, 2005


Humility is just as much the opposite of self-abasement as it is of self-exaltation. To be humble is not to make comparisons. Secure in its reality, the self is neither better nor worse, bigger nor smaller, then anything else in the universe. It is-is nothing, yet at the same time one with everything. It is in this sense that humility is absolute self-effacement.

To be nothing in the self-effacement of humility, yet, for the sake of the task, to embody its whole weight and importance in your bearing, as the one who has been called to undertake it. To give to people, works, poetry, art, what the self can contribute, and to take, simply and freely, what belongs to it by reason of its identity. Praise and blame, the winds of success and adversity, blow over such a life without leaving a trace or upsetting its balance. Towards this, so help me, God-

- Dag Hammarskjold

Friday, November 04, 2005


Yes, I am perfect. But before you click to another page thinking I am a liar, let me explain what I mean. I am precisely and perfectly what I was intended to be right now. How could I be anything else? I am the perfect me and you are the perfect you.

I was reading an obituary in the Boston Globe a few days ago (Globe dated September 28). M. Scott Peck M.D. passed away recently. He is the author of the book the Road Less Traveled as well as many others. The article mentions how Peck later in life said he had trouble living up to the high standards of discipline that he set in his books. He had mixed feelings about his popularity. He felt uncomfortable with those who thought he was a prophet - people would actually reach out to touch him. Yuck!

I've learned never to substitute someone else's judgment for my own. Whenever I have done this I have made things much worse. Human beings are perfect human beings, but not perfect in judgment nor understanding. The one person who knows you and your situation better then anyone is you. You are the best person to be making your own decisions. Get advice, pray, meditate, but the decisions and the consequences are yours.

Anyone who would accept power lightly or easily is not up to the responsibility of using power wisely.


I didn't feel like this post was quite right, but I decided to post it in spite of this imperfection.

Favorite Software (available for Free)

This is some of the software that I use on my own PC. I figured I'd throw it out there for people who might be into trying new things.

Get Firefox!
Great Web Browser with many features missing in Internet Explorer.

Get Thunderbird

Good email software from the Mozilla foundation, makers of Firefox.


Office productivity suite includes word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation software.


File Sharing software. Allows you to download file shared by other users.


Ubuntu is a Linux Operating System

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Favorite blogs

Life Journey/General Interest:Computer Programming, software:International, Photos & Travel:Buddhism:

Second Opinion on Iraq War

I just read this grave examination of the Iraq war and critique of how Americans view their world. We in the US don't often take the time to read about how the rest of the world sees us. Here is your chance. It is a bit long so make sure you have some time to devote to it.

(Click the title of this post to read this.)

I try not to talk about politics here, but sometimes the potential for benefit outweighs the risk of turning people off.