Tag Archives: Reality

Healing Energy

What Is The Meaning Of You?

What does “meaning” mean?

It’s a squishy concept.

It’s worse because some meanings are “easier” to accept than others.

Just like some food is “easier” to eat than others.

For example, if you’re hungry, there’s a couple things to consider.

One is how “easily” you can get the food.

Another is how “good” it will taste.

A third is how “healthy” the food is.

But since the “healthy-ness” of the food is not dependent on ONE single meal, it’s easy to dismiss.

So let’s say that in our hypothetical example, “healthy-ness” is a concern, but not a very big one.

So we’ve got two choices.

A big juicy cheeseburger (or your favorite fast food) which can be in your hands in less then five minutes.

OR you could go the grocery store, buy the ingredients, and cook something that’s as tasty, and a little bit healthier.

The cheeseburger is the EASIER choice.

But it’s also pretty clear that there is a better choice, that is also MORE DIFFICULT.

It’s the same with meaning.

The meaning we give to events when there is no way to really KNOW what the meaning is.

You smile at somebody and they don’t smile back.

What does that “mean?”

The EASY meaning is that they aren’t interested or attracted to you.

It doesn’t require a lot of brainpower. (Like eating the cheeseburger doesn’t require a lot of cooking power).

But could there be a BETTER meaning?

Unless you are going to go ask them, (and prove yourself right or wrong) why not?

If eating certain foods can (even though it’s a bit more difficult) keep us healthier, and even ALIVE longer, what about thinking specific thoughts?

Choosing specific, or at least, more helpful meanings.

Certainly, it’s not easy, it’s not automatic, and it takes effort.

Just like choosing healthy food to put in our body isn’t easy, isn’t automatic, and takes effort.

But the benefits are enormous.

Health, long life, more happiness, better sleep, better (more) sex.

What is the MOST IMPORTANT meaning you can choose for your ENTIRE LIFE?

The meaning you apply to yourself.

This is the “meaning” you project to the world, all the time.

The meaning YOU give to yourself will impact every decision, every relationship, and ever act you make.

Sadly, most of us have meanings that were GIVEN to them by others.

And we just accepted them.

But we don’t need to.

We can shrug them off, and choose different meanings.

It’s not easy, it’s not automatic, and it takes effort.

But it very well could be the MOST IMPORTANT decision you ever make.

Learn How:

Stop Manipulation

Conquer The Planet - Not Women

Never Let Her Catch You

It’s been said that there are two great tragedies in life.

Not achieving your goals, and achieving them.

What in the world does this mean?

If you achieve them, it feels cool for a while. But then what? Contrary to popular desires, having something isn’t nearly as rewarding as pursuing something.

So long as that something is big and important to you, for your own reasons.

Humans feel on purpose in the pursuit.

That’s when we feel most alive.

So when we get to a point where we finally get there, we lose that feeling of being “on purpose.”

On the other hand, if we ever have to face a reality that our goals are absolutely unobtainable, that sucks even more.

One of the crazy ways this plays out is with females and relationships.

Women are hard wired to chase, but not quite get.

So when they “get” (or think they get) it messes everything up.

This story plays out again and again.

Girl is attracted to a guy. Girl chases guy, and “gets” him. Then she “domesticates” him.

But once he’s “domesticated,” she no longer feels the thrill of the chase, or the “spark of romance” in the relationship.

She has him, but it’s not the same as ALMOST having him.

She gets bored, and she starts to look elsewhere for the same excitement.

The poor guy, of course, has no idea what’s going on.

How can you avoid this?

Never let her “fully” catch you.

ALWAYS be chasing something, so she always has to chase you.

Don’t ruin it (for both of you) by letting her catch you.

Always have something big that you’re pursuing.

Even if it’s decades out in the future.

If you have something HUGE (according to you) that you are pursuing, this is the most attractive thing a woman can find.

A Driven Man who has big plans for his life.

She’ll test you, she’ll want to control you, but deep down, she WANTS to keep chasing you.

Let her, and always be one step ahead.

Click Here To Learn How

Easily Change Your History For A Powerful Present

How To Build a Mental Time Machine

There was this really cool movie called “The Butterfly Effect,” that came out a few years ago. They made a sequel that was OK, but not nearly as powerful as the original. The reason it was called “The Butterfly Effect,” was because of part of something called “Chaos Theory.” The name, of course is a misnomer, as Chaos means behaving without any set of rules. The chaos in Chaos theory though refers to not having any discernable rules or observable cause/effect phenomenon.

The weather is a great example of Chaos Effect in action. There are many different variables, and they are all strongly interactive. A change here, will effect a change there, which will in turn affect a change over, which will cause a change back here, and so on. Because we humans have a fairly limited capacity when it comes to having instincts for multi variable systems, it appears chaotic and impossible to describe even using our best computes. That’s why when they predict the rain, they give percentages rather than absolutes. No matter how sophisticated our machines and computers get, due to the nature of the system, we still have to guess about the weather.

The term “Butterfly Effect” refers to a butterfly flapping it’s wings on one side of the planet, and the effect rippling through the complex interactive meteorological system, and eventually causing a hurricane on the other side of the world.

It was also alluded to in a story by Ray Bradbury, where a group of scientists created a time machine. They were getting set to go on their first mission, but they were strongly admonished not to interact at all with anything they saw in the past, as it would have an unknown effect in the future. So they went back in time, and were looking around. One of the scientists saw a butterfly, and decided to collect it. This of course, violated the rules of “non interaction.” When they returned to the present, everything was vastly changed, language, society, government, everything. One butterfly changed the entire future.

There was even an episode of the Simpson’s where Homer had a time machine, and they kept trying to come back to the normal present, but kept messing up. In one particular future they came back to, it was raining donuts, but they had big tongues like lizards.

If you’ve seen the movie, “The Butterfly Effect,” you know it follows the same pattern. The character can go back in time and relive part of his past, and when he comes back to the present, everything is changed. Every time he comes back, everything seems good, until he discovers something horribly wrong, and he has to go back and change something again.

While that is only a movie, and the idea of a butterfly causing a hurricane on the other side of the planet is largely metaphorical for the complex interactions in nature, there actually is a way to go back and change part of your past.

The way we are today, our behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs about our capabilities are based largely on what we have experienced and how we remember our past. While this is horrible news if you come with a bunch of baggage from an unpleasant or abusive childhood, it doesn’t have to be that way.

This is because our past is not really as solid as we think. Our own personal histories are based much more on our interpretation of events rather than the events themselves. If we can go back and somehow give a different interpretation to the events of the past, we can change our present.

Some people can do this pretty easy in the present. They’ll be walking down the street, bump into somebody, get cussed out, and simply write it off as the other guy having a bad day, without taking personal offense. The same is possible with our past, even though it’s already happened.

When we were kids, we didn’t have a lot of resources or a lot of experience, so there were only so many ways we could respond to bad things that happened to us. We didn’t have the adult experience to write it off as somebody simply having a bad day, as the example above.

If you have a particularly painful memory from the past, here’s a great way to “re program” your history.

Sit back, relax, and close your eyes. Drift back to that “event” that is still causing you problems today. Watch the event unfold. Watch it again, but freeze the frame every so often, and look at the other people involved in the event with a more adult, forgiving attitude. Maybe they just didn’t know any better. Maybe they were expressing their own pain the best way they could. Give them the benefit of the doubt as much as you can. Remember the wise words of Nelson Mandela: “Holding a grudge is like swallowing poison and hoping the other person dies.”

Stay dissociated, that is, watch the event unfolding, as if you are some kind of ghost from the future watching it unfold. After you’ve given as much adult understand as you can to all the players involved, watch it again, but this time, step in and interact with your child self. Explain to your child self who you are (yourself from the future) and what is really going on. Tell them whatever all the other people are doing, it’s nothing personal. Make sure your child self understand.

Now for the cool part. Go back and relive that experience, but this time as associated as you can. Float into your child’s body, but this time, really feel and experience your future self giving you guidance and support as the event unfolds. As a child, listen to the advice of your future self. Run through this several times.

This may seem awkward, and perhaps even emotionally painful at first, but just like with any other exercise, you’ll get better with practice. Pretty soon you’ll be able blink yourself back into your past, and re organize your responses to what happened, and give yourself a much brighter future. Just like Richard Bandler, the co founder of NLP said, “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”

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Success with NLP

Success with NLP

You Have More Choice Than You Think

This one or That one?

The other day I was walking down the street, minding my own business. I had forgotten my iPod, so I was just lazily listening to the everyday sounds drifting around as I slowly made my way towards wherever it was that I was going to end up. I wanted to take the train downtown, but since it was Saturday, they only run every hour. I had just missed the last one, so I had an hour to kill.

Eventually, I knew I was going to end up back at the strain station, but between now (which was really then) and then I had an hour to kill, and a couple of internally accepted restrictions.

A word about restrictions. OK, maybe a couple words about restrictions. Basically there are two kinds of restrictions. Internally imposed, and externally imposed. Most of the restrictions are internally imposed. Now, before you click off to another blog describing something easier to stomach, allow me to explain myself.

If somebody points a gun at your head, and says “you’re money or your life,” (Henny Young man jokes notwithstanding) you’d likely see this as an externally imposed restriction. Not entirely. You still have the choice to give the other person your money (which in this day and age may not buy you much), or go simply give him the finger (which would most certainly not lead to a happy ending).

Yea, but that’s stupid. Who would choose death over life? What good is a choice if one of the choices is so incomparably stupid that it doesn’t even count as a choice?

Well, believe it or not, this is an extreme case of a decision, or choice that we make on a daily basis. Most of the time we make our decisions unconsciously, and mostly in line with decisions we’ve made before. We like what’s comfortable, so what we chose yesterday, is most likely what we chose today.

Think of the structure of the gunpoint choice. Choice number one is to remain hold on to your possessions at all cost, hold on to your ego of giving into a mad man, and accept the consequences. Because the consequences are so immediate, and so obvious, it is hard to not feel their weight. So most people would choose (hopefully you’ll never have to make this choice) choice number two, which is go give up your possessions, swallow your pride in hopes of holding that which has suddenly become more important, in the moment at least, than either of them.

Your life.

But what if the choice isn’t so cut and dried? What if the negative implications of a choice aren’t so obvious, and aren’t so immediate? Everybody knows that smoking causes lung cancer, which in turn causes death, but still millions of people still make the choice to smoke a cigarette several times a day.


The short-term benefits outweigh the potential long-term detriments. For the smoker, the pleasure they get is more than the pain they will experience in the present when considering the long-term downsides.

Now, most people who don’t smoke can’t imagine how anybody could come to this conclusion. It is obvious that smoking causes lung cancer. It is obvious that smoking causes poor health. It is obvious that smoking causes bad breath. So why in the world would anybody choose to smoke?

What about other choices, like to eat ice cream instead of a bowl of oatmeal? Surely we are aware that ice cream is not as healthy as oatmeal, right? Here is where it gets interesting. The way we trick ourselves around this is by saying that “it’s only just this once.” Surely we aren’t planning one eating a bowl of ice cream every single night, right? By telling ourselves that “it’s only this once,” we allow ourselves to significantly minimize any negative feelings we might experience in the moment when considering any long-term downsides.

How many times have you heard a smoker say the say thing?

I’ll quit tomorrow.
This is my last one.
This is the last pack I’m ever going to buy.
After next week I’ll never smoke again.

What about the flip side. We can that by tricking ourselves, we can minimize any future negative consequences of our actions, and making the present moment more enjoyable, regardless of any objective evidence to the contrary.

What about doing something that we know will benefit us in the future, but we don’t do it because it causes negative emotions in the present?

Did you exercise today? Why not? Surely you are aware of the long-term benefits of exercise right? Well, the same mental trickery works here as well. Either in the form of excuses, (to minimize the present negative emotions) and in from of promises about the future.

I’m too busy today.
I have too much to do.
I have a bad hip/shoulder/leg.

I’ll start after the holidays.
I’m going to start next week.

The human brain is a fantastic machine that can use many forms of lightening speed shell games to hide reality from us. We minimize the potential negative outcome to better feel good now. We minimize the future benefits to better feel good now. When we have a gun pointed at our heads, when there is only NOW, all the mental trickery collapse into single choice.

Life, or death.

So what do you choose, life or death? When you decide to smoke, or yell at your husband, or eat a bowl of ice cream, or go to or avoid the gym, how are you tricking yourself? What are you doing to convince yourself that the future won’t be so bad if you keep doing what your doing? How can you convince yourself that you’ll start doing whatever it is you know you should be doing today, tomorrow?

Your life, all of it, is the cumulative result of all the choices you’ve made. If you are completely happy with your life, or completely disgusted, it’s all on you. People that are generally successful and happy realize this, and make changes along the way to improve their lot. Those that are generally unhappy refuse to accept this, and try their whole lives to find blame in somebody else, somebody outside themselves.

Kind of a heavy post to make, but one thing that you will always have and you should always use, is your choice. You can choose. No matter if you have a gun to your head, or a choice between the gym and the TV, you can choose.

So back to my story. My self-imposed restriction was that I wasn’t allowed to buy anything. Because then I’d have to carry it around with me all day after I made my way back to the station. And since it was only ten in the morning, that was too long to be carrying something that I bought on whim.

Unless I see something really cool, then all bets are off.

Tap The Power of Feelings For Incredible Success

If you’ve ever felt a strange sensation, and weren’t exactly sure what it was or where it was coming from, or even if it existed at all outside of your imagination, then this article is for you.

The human mind/body system is a fantastically complex organism that defies and will continue to defy understanding of anything other than it’s basic operation. On the scale of human history, successful surgery, of even the basic kind, is still in its infancy.

Many mistakenly believe that simply because there is not any direct hard evidence of unexplainable phenomenon, then it can’t exist. The easies retreat of people who dare not face the idea of something beyond comprehension is the easy question “Is there any documented proof?”

The human system has evolved over hundreds of thousands of years in unending and changing environments. And we have prevailed. We have grown to be the dominant species on the planet. No other animal uses language or tools, or planning or abstract thought like humans do. And that is just scratching the surface.

The thrust of necessity behind the size and intellect of the human brain may never be fully understood. That there even exists a “subconscious” mind is still debated, even today among psychologists. Those that don’t like the idea that part of their brain is operating outside of their conscious awareness will ask for “proof” or “case studies” that show conclusively of it’s existence.

One of the theories behind the development of the subconscious brain is the idea of saving conscious bandwidth. Of course, on a parallel universe, humans may evolve to always be consciously monitoring their heart rate, breathing rate, skin temperature, and keeping all of their memories and imaginations of the possible future in their conscious awareness at all times, but it is not likely.

A much more likely explanation was that only a small bandwidth of mental processing power was given to the conscious mind, and the vast remainder is given over to the unconscious mind. Eating, breathing, fear, love, excitement all of these are the results of massive computations by the unconscious, and delivered to the conscious in the form of feelings.

Sadly, we are taught in the west, especially the males among us, to disregard our feelings and use only our logical, or conscious computing power to make decisions that can affect our livelihoods for a lifetime.

Imagine this scenario. You have a desire to buy a car. You go to a car dealership. The salesperson is setting of alarm bells in your system, danger, danger, danger. But you really want a car, so you ignore them. You allow him to dazzle you with colorful brochures, and statistics about safety and miles per gallon, and how many hundreds of thousands of people have already bought this car. By the time he is done with his sales pitch, you have effectively shut down your initial warning system that has been fine tuned over hundreds of thousands of years of evolution.

The result? Maybe you get lucky and the car works out for you. Maybe you don’t, and the car is a lemon that quickly depreciates in value, and you are stuck with it for three or four years. The salesman knew this, and tried his best to cover it up. Had you paid attention to your subconscious processor warning system (AKA your intuition) you could have avoided the whole scenario and gone someplace else.

The more you learn to listen to your feelings, and understand that they are natures best and most effective design that is the result of hundreds of thousand of years of testing and improvement (AKA evolution), the sooner you will able to cut through all the crap that surrounds us in our daily lives, and go straight to the truth. The truth that is there, but elusive if you rely on logic to find it.

This is not metaphysics, or supernatural phenomenon, only misunderstood science. And when you use your feelings and intuition the way nature intended, you will be incredibly surprised how much personal power and choice you will gain in life.

Models of the World and Quantum Physics

When I was a kid I used to build models. Cars, airplanes, a few ships, even some famous buildings, like the Empire State building, and the Sears Tower in Chicago. I never built any models of ships or boats, but I had few friends that did. One thing about some of the models I built, (especially ones that took a long time,) was the incredible amount of detail that each model had. All the way down to some of the movable engine parts of some of more intense models.

Despite how accurate they appeared, they were only models of the real thing. The planes couldn’t fly, the cars wouldn’t drive, and the buildings wouldn’t hold any little people. They were only approximations of something larger and functional. And they were always built after the real thing. There weren’t ever any models of things that hadn’t been built yet.

Not all models are like this, however. In the early days of the twentieth century, physicists were trying to wrap their minds around something called Black Box Radiation. They had this black material, and when they heated it to very high temperatures, they would measure the spectral characteristics of the light it emitted as it cooled down. At first they thought they understood the physics behind what was happening. They came up with a model, and it worked.

The problem is, their model didn’t work at all levels. At first it only worked at the higher temperatures, but it broke down completely as they cooled off. They kept trying to update and change their model, and although they got a little bit closer each time to approximating the actual behavior, it still didn’t work at all levels.

Many famous scientists of the day were involved in this project. Bohr, Einstein and others were among those that tried and failed to accurately model the behavior of this mysterious phenomenon.

The interesting thing about models is how easily some people can be convinced that they are undisputed truth. Anytime there is an approximation of the physical world around us, it is only a model. Which is fine so long as people understand that it will always need to be updated and expanded on, or even discarded completely if somebody comes up with a better one.

The basic structure of our world and our solar system is a prime example. Long ago, people used think the world was flat. Those that claimed it was round were burned at the stake. Until Magellan circumnavigated the globe, the concept of a round Earth was foreign to most people.

The sun is another example. Those in authority used to believe, until fairly recently if you compare to the length of human history, that the Earth was the center of everything, and the sun and all the stars moved about the Earth. It wasn’t until Copernicus posited his theory of the Sun being the center and the Earth revolving around it did people start to see things in a different light.

It’s only when you take your model as unshakeable truth can you get into trouble. Burned at the stake, being held under house arrest for life, and other punishments are what has happened to people in the past for questioning the model of reality held by those in authority.

Sometimes one’s model of reality is held so tightly as absolute truth that people will fight, even die to protect it. The crusades are a prime example of this. The streets literally ran with the blood of heathens simply because they did not buy into the currently held model of the status quo.

Models are a great way to approximate and refine your view of reality, so long as you realize that they are just models, and should be readily exchanged with those that offer a better description of what we think is going on outside of our heads.

And this guy Max Plank, then a young twentyish something physicist stepped forward and offered his idea of this black box radiation. He said that instead of emitting energy in a continuous stream, the energy was being emitted in discreet entities, or quanta. They tried his model, and sure enough, it described the phenomenon beautifully. And so was the beginning of quantum physics.

The problem that baffled Einstein and his contemporaries was solved by young, almost unknown physicist. Had the older, established physicists been unable to realize that their models were only models, where would we be now?

Unconscious Guidance

The other day I was walking somewhere and got sidetracked. Has that ever happened to you? You will have this clear goal in mind, this clear outcome that you’ve decided is what you want to do. You set out to achieve this goal, sure that you will achieve it. But then something happens, and either because you didn’t allow yourself to see all the possibilities, or maybe your original goal was well formed enough, you just kind of end up in another place.

One way to get around this is to be aware of what your underlying intentions are. It helps to be able to dig deeper to find the real reason behind your goals. When you search beneath what is pretending to be the important part, you’ll be surprised to discover that many of your goals fall under the same basic categories. Safety, comfort, recognition, personal growth.

As I got off the streetcar (yes they have street cars where I live) I saw my goal in sight. The coffee shop where I had intended to relax and spend an hour or so writing in my journal. As it happened, the weather was particularly nice, and there were a fair number of people out and about. There is a street going just past that I’ve always kind of wondered about. There was a steady stream of people walking up this street, that looked as if they were going to some kind of event. You can sort of tell when people are going to find something special here. Because of the way they are dressed, many of them carrying water bottles, cameras, other things that make it appear as if they are on a mini-trek that might take a few hours.

But something funny happened. Usually when I’ve made a choice, (other than to wander around without a clear choice) and I see a distraction, I have at least a few moments of indecision. Should I go this way? What about my other plans? Which is better? Hmm. But not this time. My coffee shop plans instantly disappeared as I followed the crowd up the street. When I emerged back about two hours later, much richer for the experience, I never even gave my abandoned coffee shop plans a second thought.

If you are thinking this is completely platitudinous and futile, maybe you’re right. The thing that struck me was the speed at which I’d abandoned my coffee shop plans for an unknown trek up the street, merely using the crowd as my guidance. Which leads me to suspect that something told me that the underlying reason I wanted to hang out at the coffee shop would better be served by following the crowd up the street. On  an unconscious level, the change in plans didn’t even warrant a the token elevation into consciousness. My desire just shifted, without any conscious thought.

Maybe because I’ve been doing a lot of meditating lately, I was able to not need to question the greater wisdom of my unconscious. I just went with it, and had a much richer experience because of it. Of course I wasn’t doing brain surgery, or walking across a tightrope over the grand canyon, I was just wiling away a Sunday afternoon. But in that moment I experienced an unconscious guidance that I don’t usually experience.

Thank you unconscious, whatever you are. That was fun.


Revelation of Ages

Once upon a time there was a fellow who didn’t really see things the way other people did. Most people were content to kind of drift through life, doing the same thing every day, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. But not this guy. This person demanded to see things from a different perspective. This person didn’t accept the average plate of existence that was handed to him every day. This person didn’t accept that life was largely up to fate of a group of unseen god’s who seemingly rolled the dice to see who succeeded and who didn’t, who was happy, and who wasn’t. This story is about a man who would not accept the averageness anymore. Who would not believe in the average beliefs any more.

This person could understand that the secret of life was not in waiting for things to happen, but to make them happen. This person realized that there was  a large amount of randomness in everyday life, but the secret was not in what you received, but in what you did with it.

Of course, you may have already realized this well known but rarely applied truth. You may have heard that this is the secret behind the success of everyone who has actually applied this rule on a consistent basis. And you are probably already aware that this is not really a rule, or a law, rather than a particularly useful hallucination that if applied correctly, can lead to untold happiness and achievement not thought possible under the way that you used to look at things.

Mystics and Guru’s throughout time have well understood that the ability take what appears to be real and mold it according to your intentions is the metaphysical truth that lies beneath all bliss. When you take on this truth as your own, you will be well on the way to achieve dreams beyond comprehension.

This person was aware of this, on a deep level, but not consciously. He lived for a long time, according to the old model of reality. Until one day, he stumbled across a truth that was at once overwhelmingly simple and extraordinarily powerful. With one simple thought, he was able to adjust his perception of reality just enough to see the truth. That reality is really a reflection of your thoughts. What you think, becomes your reality. Your thoughts are your world.

When this person realized this, the world changed from an overbearing system of rules and regulations and fears to a vast playground of opportunity and bliss.
Never again was this person able to live life according to the old model. Because once this person saw the way things really worked, it was inconceivable forget the new found freedom.

If you are feeling a bit of familiarity, like a dream that you swear you’d had before, don’t worry. It is meant to be that way.

Because the time of revelation is now, and this person, is you.


Don’t Stop, Go!

Last night I was walking home from the movies. I had to walk through a bunch of rice fields. Because each rice field belongs to a different house, the road kinds of curves around. Not being very familiar with the area, I had to kind of guess where I was going. I knew the general direction I wanted to go, but I wasn’t sure if the path I had chosen would take me directly there, or through some roundabout way.

When came around a turn, I noticed a car that had passed me only a few moments before going the other direction. Hmm. Maybe he forgot something. When I turned the corner. I saw the reason he turned around. There was a big flashing sign saying that the road was under construction. When I approached the sign, sure enough, there was a large piece of road construction equipment parked there, and the asphalt portion of the road ended. On the other side of the fence was a rather ‘in progress’ looking surface. What to do. I checked me watch. The train station I was heading for was perhaps fifty meters in front of me. If I turned back, I would have to walk through the rice fields again, and go all the way around. Which would be about an extra kilometer or two. Which would mean I would miss the next train which was due in about ten minutes, and would have wait for the next one. Which meant that I would miss my connection train at the main station. If was only  an extra kilometer of two of walking, it would be a no brainer, since I love walking through rice fields. But when you factor in all the added delays I would experience, it was also a no brainer.

I jumped over the “Do Not Enter Sign” and negotiated my way over the ‘in progress’ road they were building. I had to hop over a couple holes, but I finally made it to a walkway, and to the station in time.

Sometimes when we go through life, we come up against what we think are stop signs. Many times we see the stop sign, and turn around, go all the way back around and take extra time. But are they really stop signs? The one I saw above was. It was real. But what happens when you come up against a stop sign in your imagination? If you ask out a girl, and she says, “no,” is that really a stop sign, or an invitation to try something different.

If you are working on a project, and you come up to some problems, are they really stop signs? Or just an invitation to use your ingenuity to jump over the imaginary fence and go around?

The car that was ahead of me had no choice, because the road beyond the stop sign wouldn’t support the weight of his car. But because I was walking, I assumed the stop sign was only for cars, not for pedestrians. What happens when you encounter imaginary stop signs, but you assume they are only for other people, and not for you?

Bad economy? No problem. They aren’t talking about you. You can jump over the fence and think of another way. Limited budget at work? Not for you. They mean somebody else. You can think of other ways to get the project done. You have to run thirty minutes a day and eat only oatmeal to lose weight? Nope, that’s for those other guys that are really overweight. You can think of a better, easier way to get in shape.

When you think about it, the only real stop signs that are the ones that are shaped like an octagon and pained red with the word STOP on it. And you know as well as I do that it’s really only a suggestion, anyways. For those other guys.


What is a Meta For?

This morning I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about metaphor, and how it effects our language. We were arguing over the level of metaphor that exists in everyday English, he was saying that it is really only sporadically used in poetry and music. I argued that it is actually more widespread than that. For example, the whole slew of sci fi movies that came out in the fifties and sixties were really metaphors about impending nuclear destruction.

Which brings up another point. If a metaphor exists, meaning that it can be structurally determined to be a metaphor but it was not created as a metaphor, is it still a metaphor? In the example above, all those sci fi movies are looked at in retrospect as metaphors for the U.S. Soviet conflict, with the evil aliens representing the imminent destruction of nuclear weapons. But what if some of the film makers didn’t have the desire to convey any message of the necessity of global peace and harmony? What if they just wanted to tell a good story about evil aliens that you could watch on a Friday afternoon? Would it still be considered a metaphor?

There are some that believe that language itself is a metaphor for reality itself. Reality itself is completely out our reach. Our eyes can only perceive a small percentage of bandwidth that is electromagnetic radiation. Our ears can only hear a sliver of the sound waves out bouncing around. And several experiments have shown that tactile sensations around our body are dependent on the area of skin under investigation.

In this model, language itself is just a shared approximation of what we think we are experiencing. That fact that so many people agree on the same thing says nothing about the accuracy of what they agree upon. We all can agree on the color red, but it is only read to our particular set of sensing organs. Two different objects that both appear red to us might appear totally different to creatures with differently evolved sensing organs.

I participated in a seminar once. In the seminar we were all told to think of a duck. A simple noun that we all knew. Four letters. No chance of somebody mistaking the word for dog, or rhino or antidisestablishmentarianism. But guess what? When we shared our answers, we all had a different duck on our minds. One guy even thought of a rubber duck, and some other guy thought of the Aflac duck.

So if the seminar speaker hadn’t had us share all of our ducks, and she’d kept talking about ducks, we would have followed her as long as our ducks fit into her story. The guy that thought of the rubber duck would have been lost if she said to imagine our ducks flying.

Now that I think of it, metaphors are a lot more prevalent in our everyday conversations and thoughts that I’d imagined. Perhaps the best way to leverage this simple realization is to appreciate he breadth and beauty of language for what it is. An expression of that which cannot be expressed, because that which is being expressed is inextricably connected to the expresser. As the expresser changes his experience of his expression, he changes that of which he is expressing.