Posted: July 12th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Advanced Placement Biology, Biology, blessing, curse, Education, Human, Nature, number one, Species, Teaching Resources, Technology, transcend | No Comments »
Number one took AP Biology this year and at one point he had a startling revelation: from a biological perspective the only point of existence is to reproduce, thus perpetuating the species. Think about it, from birth to death, every action of every creature can be indirectly traced back to this genetically hard-wired imperative.
Don’t argue with science, selfishness is just part of our programming. The same can be said for lying, stealing and even killing, its our nature. Its who we are. But why stop there, when competing for scarce resources that may insure the survival of the species, war and genocide are just 2 more tools in our collective belts. Its not personal, its just biology.
As extreme and absurd as the above sounds, in actuality, it is unfortunately reflective of our shared history. That said, are we also willing to allow it to become our destiny? Science can only define what can be defined with in conventional means and as such, if we don’t have the technology to repeatedly observe something, for all intents and purposes, it does not exist until we actually acquire the requisite capabilities. The true blessing of being human is that the potential exists within all of us to transcend our biology, intellectually, spiritually and physically. Our curse however, is that generation after generation, as a species, we have repeatedly, collectively failed to fully recognize this blessing. And as the Red Sox have demonstrated, one day all curses come to an end.
Posted: May 14th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 2nd chances, compassion, consensual delusion, crisis, dark energy, dark matter, die once, empathy, experience, growth, High school, kids, love, New York Times, number one, opportunity, Pulitzer Prize, reality, understanding | No Comments »
When I started this blog in February of last year, I had no expectation that people would actually read it. At the very least it would provide a mechanism for me to record my thoughts, musings and opinions. Now 600+ people from over 70 countries read this blog. Frankly that blows me away. As there are both a lot of new readers, I decided to high-lite 5 of the more popular earlier posts that newer readers may have missed.
Once again, thank you to those that read this. Please feel free to comment, email me and recommend Consensual Delusion to your friends, colleagues, and family.
This entry on how my 1st son’s birth changed my perspective was picked up by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Tina Kelly and the New York Times “Local” blog last year.
This post, “Die Once”, is about my dad wrestling with his mortality.
After reading “Crisis and Opportunity”, a friend from high school asked me “when did you become so smart?” I’ll take the back-handed compliment.
I am actually grouping these 2 posts together as they both illustrate the very fuzzy boundaries that define science and mysticism. Both posts attempt to show the reader that we believe we know much more than we actually know. And that is both supremely arrogant and very dangerous; “master planned obsolescence” and “Is your reality, really reality?”
Lastly, in my opinion, this may be one of my most useful posts from a day to day living perspective. If my kids take anything away from this blog, hopefully it will be this message, “Don’t count on 2nd chances.”
Posted: April 20th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Apple Store, cool, helpful, iPad, number one, Number two, portable, practical, SNL, Target | No Comments »
I was out of the country when the iPad went on sale. I was traveling with my iPod Touch, which has done a completely adequate job of keeping me connected and semi-organized when away from my desk. But the iPad really intrigued me. Here was a device that could not just extend my iPod Touch with a larger screen but potentially replace a laptop. A device that I could actually use to record ideas, do some writing and maybe even maintain an up to date schedule.
So upon returning from my trip about a week after they were introduced, I went to the Apple Store and checked them out. Yes they were very cool but I was not totally sold. I wanted to check around the web and see what real users were saying. The associate told me they were on back order and the best thing to do was to reserve one as the backlog was about 5 days. As the reservation was non-binding, I agreed. Five days would certainly give me enough time to decide. He stepped me through the process on-line, using a 27″ iMac and then congratulated me when it was complete.
The next morning I got an email “congratulating” me as my iPad was waiting for me at the Apple Store. So 5 days became 24 hours. I waited for my kids to get home from school and asked them if they wanted to go with me to the Apple Store. Number One, who wanted his own iPad, said no. He was going to wait for me to buy one and use mine first (like that was really going to happen). Number Two said sure and he would even get me his “friends and family” discount -which I don’t understand as he has no family working at the Apple Store but he said he was friends with Jordan, the manager. Number Two is 13.
So we go to the store and find Jordan. She is about thirty, attractive, tastefully tattooed and yes friends with my 13 year-old son. I give her a copy of my congratulatory email, she checks it out and then she proceeds to congratulate me too. My son asks her about the discount. She smiles and apologizes. No one is getting the F&F discount. I think to myself, he is obviously not that friendly with her. She leaves us to retrieve the iPad from the back of the crowded store.
Jordan comes back with my iPad and John. John congratulates me too. They begin to double team me about the benefits of Apple Care. Normally I blow these things off but 2 years ago when I bought my first generation Kindle, it stopped working after a week. Fine, include the Apple Care. Satisfied, Jordan handed me completely off to John to process the sale.
i told John that I wanted a keyboard. As we were walking across the store, he tried to sign me up for mobile me. I told him that between google docs and dropbox I was covered. He pressed me again, telling me that I could have access to all my files from any computer. I told him that I already had access to files from any computer. He shrugged and led on.
I was going to buy the bluetooth version but John steered me toward the docking keyboard as it had special iPad keys. Fine. Ring me up. The whole deal was just short of a grand. John took my Amex card and swiped his iPhone terminal. The card was good. I wanted to yell “approved” like Kristen Wig on SNL but this was the Apple Store, not Target. And besides my son would be mortified.
Despite my protests, John went to the back of the store to get us a bag -it was part of the Apple Store experience. He returned and packed us up. He congratulated me one more time, this time he raised his hand in the air, trying to give me a hi-five. I complied as it would have been awkward to leave the guy hanging.
As we walked out of the store, I mentioned to my son that it was a bit cult-like being congratulated over and over again for dropping a grand on something that I was not sure I actually needed. “Dad, you have an iPad”.
……..to be continued.
Posted: January 25th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: give meaning to our lives, Haiti, important, number one, Number two, what matters most | No Comments »
Last weekend, Number Two was Bar Mitzvah’d. Towards the end of the service, Number One, my wife and I, all had the opportunity to individually address Number Two and the 250 or so people in attendance. I took the podium after they both finished. As the audience was enjoying my intentionally humorous dialogue, it was abruptly interrupted by something just short of wrestling match, described by one guest as “a refreshing and honest public display of family dysfunction”. Number Two turned off my microphone. Number One hijacked my “flowchart”. And on a live mic, my wife was insisting that my talk was too long. As a consequence, I only got to present the funny stuff, which while enjoyable to the audience, left me a bit unfulfilled.
So this past Saturday night, at a fund raiser, I was given the opportunity to finish my speech. I began by giving the audience the back-story that I provided above. Then I delivered the ending, and as I always prefer to speak unscripted and spontaneously, this is approximately what I said:
“It doesn’t matter what your job is, how much money you make or how much money is in your bank account. It doesn’t matter what kind of car you drive, how big your house is or what town you live in. It doesn’t matter what your clothes look like or what the labels inside them say. Life by itself is essentially pointless. It is up to you to give it meaning. And all the people we care about, those that are with us today and those that are absent, all our family, all of our friends and our entire community; they are why we are here. We give meaning to each other’s lives. And that is what is truly important. That is what matters most.”
And then with uncharacteristic brevity, I just thanked everyone and left the podium.
So I told my kids what I did and what I said. And they kind of understood the message intellectually but I didn’t think it really resonated to their core. So I asked them this question. “If you were living in Haiti and came home to find a pile of rubble where your house had been, what would you dig for? Would you dig for your ipod or your macbook? For your new shirt or jeans? of course not, you would dig for your family, your friends or anyone else who might have been in the house. And you would not stop digging despite how tired you were or if your fingers were bleeding because those lives are our most important treasures.” And then they got it. They really got it.
Posted: November 13th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: literary, number one, post-modern fiction, preconceptions, Shakespeare | No Comments »
I drove number one to school today. On the ride over, I mentioned to him that I had started working on a new story. I asked him if he would read it and give me some feedback. He is always my harshest critic; I value his opinion as he is frank and his observations are generally both helpful and insightful. He asked me what it was about so I started to outline the plot. It is an experimental piece that may be categorized as “post-modern” fiction, where the varied writing styles are as much a part of the work as the plot. I did not tell him this, I just described the basic plot.
He asked me a few a questions and then told me that it did not sound like a literary work. I responded “Shakespeare’s works were not considered literary when they were written.”
He snapped back “So you are comparing yourself to Shakespeare?”
I answered him quietly. “No, you are comparing me to Shakespeare. I just asked if you would read my story.”