Welcome to my thoughts on Living with Joy, Purpose, and Conscious Choice.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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Here, I share my thoughts on spiritual power, relationships, simple living, managing stress, work-life balance, career decisions, money, politics, the environment, and much more.

See my self-help articles including How to Move On and How to Succeed, browse my large collection of Inspirational Quotes, and sign-up for my free Daily Inspiration - Daily Quote email and my Positive Affirmation of the Day email.

The content of all my blogs/websites consists entirely of personal opinion.
See a medical professional for all issues of physical and emotional health.

Saturday, June 1, 2024

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The Oak & the Reeds - an Aesop Fable


The Oak & the Reeds - an Aesop Fable

A Giant Oak stood near a brook in which grew some slender Reeds. When the wind blew, the great Oak stood proudly upright with its hundred arms uplifted to the sky. But the Reeds bowed low in the wind and sang a sad and mournful song.

"You have reason to complain," said the Oak. "The slightest breeze that ruffles the surface of the water makes you bow your heads, while I, the mighty Oak, stand upright and firm before the howling tempest."

"Do not worry about us," replied the Reeds. "The winds do not harm us. We bow before them and so we do not break. You, in all your pride and strength, have so far resisted their blows. But the end is coming."

As the Reeds spoke a great hurricane rushed out of the north. The Oak stood proudly and fought against the storm, while the yielding Reeds bowed low. The wind redoubled in fury, and all at once the great tree fell, torn up by the roots, and lay among the pitying Reeds.

Better to yield when it is folly to resist, than to resist stubbornly and be destroyed.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

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Work is Not the Purpose of Life

 "Man does not live, therefore, to produce bread. He produces bread to live. The distinction is enormously important and relevant. Obviously man must have food, and so far as our experience goes, he must work to produce It, But work is not the purpose of life. Production is not the purpose of life. Instead, human lives are the entire purpose and the reason for all work and for all production.
- Robert G. Lewis - speaking about the issues of family farms at the annual meeting of the Interorganization Committee on Problems for Rural Youth in 1957

Thursday, December 22, 2022

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Proposition: There is NO absolute TRUTH.

The following is a philosophical discussion, a springboard for contemplation, please ensure that your replies are constructive...

Proposition: There is NO absolute TRUTH.

Even in science, which comes closest to "absolute truth," our knowledge is evolving, Before Einstein, it was TRUE that time was the same everywhere. Now we know more (our GPS systems are a practical implementation of the principle of Relativity).

In fields outside of science (politics, government, human relations, "morality," etc), TRUTH is no more than the OPINION of a person or group of people. Even if a lot of people believe something, that mass acceptance alone doesn't make it factually TRUE.

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact.
Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.
- Marcus Aurelius

Truth is not defined by
how many people believe something.
Ask. Question. Think.
Decide - for yourself.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance -
it is the illusion of knowledge.
- Daniel J. Boorstin

The antiquity and general acceptance of an opinion
is not assurance of its truth.
- Pierre Bayle

There is no truth.
There is only perception.
- Gustave Flaubert

Having a personal opinion is great.
Believing that one's personal opinion is absolute truth
leads to most of the world's troubles.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

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Who can YOU Help to Register and Vote?

The US election on November 8, 2022 is an extremely consequential election for the future of democracy.

In addition to voting yourself, and, if you are able, helping the candidates of your choice, 
PLEASE encourage your friends and family to Register and VOTE! In many states, there is less than another week to Register.


Thursday, January 9, 2020

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What is "Moral?"

Question I received... I have been trying to decode the enigmatic statement by Isaac Asimov: "Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right."  What do you think Dr. Asimov meant by that?  Kindly advise.  Thank you very much.

My response...

It depends on how you define morals. If you define "moral" as doing what you yourself believe to be "right," then the Asimov quote makes no sense.
But if you define "moral" as following the "settled customs of a stable society" (that is, doing what your family, church, and government "teach" you is "right"), then the conflict becomes clear.

Thus, I interpret the Asimov quote this way...

"What is Moral" is what we have been taught by our parents, teachers, religious leaders, and other influences.

"What is Right" is what we know in our heart to be compassionate, generous, honorable, and noble.

Laws are often cruel.  Here are two great examples...  And religious teachings and family/community traditions are also often cruel.



Sunday, August 25, 2019

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The Form of God

I don't doubt God. I have firm faith absolutely in God.
It's religion I'm doubting.
- Bono

How can God be so many different things to different people? How can God be a young Jewish man to some, an ancient male figure to others, and a female or an eagle or have eight arms or be formless for others? And how about having three forms simultaneously (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost)?  How can God be the incarnation of peace and love for some, while embody justice and divine retribution for others? How can God be, for some people, someone/something that intervenes in each human's life on a daily basis, while for others God is more distant and does not micromanage our lives. How about free will and/or predestination?

Of course there are many theories. The most common belief is that exactly one of these views toward God is real, while all the others are false, and often viewed as intentionally heretical falsehoods. And of course many other people believe all ideas of any "god" to be strictly human inventions.

Personally, I believe that God is Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Benevolent (although that seldom means that we get what we want). Being omnipotent, God can and does appear to each of us bearing exactly the characteristics (form and message) that best serve us individually. Those who need love see love. Those who need justice see justice. Those who need a "personal" God get that. Those who need a distant beacon to mark the goal get that.

For me, this idea that God can be everything and anything to each of us drives my commitment to honor all people and to respect each of their beliefs about God.

God's Spirit moves through us and the world at a pace
that can never be constricted by any one religious paradigm. I love that.
- Bono

We must be ready to learn from one another,
not claiming that we alone possess all truth
and that somehow we have a corner on God.
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu

God has no religion.
- Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi

Religion is a blessing when, and only when,
it provides a focus for a compassionate community
to minister to its members and to the world at large.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Religion as a human phenomenon is as riddled through
with potential for both good and evil as any other phenomenon.
- Richard John Neuhaus

We can never be the better for our religion
if our neighbor is the worse for it.
- Anonymous

Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity
are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion.
- Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully
as when they do it from religious conviction.
- Blaise Pascal

It is only partly true that religion does more harm than good in society.
The community makes God into the image it wants,
vengeful, or milky sweet, or scrupulously just, and so on.
- Mary Douglas

A common denominator of all religions
is that they have the power
to bring out both the best and the worst in people.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

I never considered a difference of opinion
in politics, in religion, in philosophy,
as cause for withdrawing from a friend.
- Thomas Jefferson

Further reading: Perspectives on the Nature of God

Many Religions, One Divine

Thursday, August 23, 2018

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More thoughts on accepting others as they are

I have been asked to say more about this quote, and what if the other person causes relentless pain...

Happiness lies in accepting everyone
in our lives EXACTLY as they are.
We cause ourselves untold misery whenever
we believe others to be imperfect and try to change them.
This is the number one rule for a happy relationship.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

A person might (or might not) be able and willing to change themself, but we have virtually no ability to change the nature of another person. Complaining, getting angry, making threats, etc, just further entrench a person in their unpleasant ways.

What each of can control is our own response to the other person.

Let's say that the situation is a married couple who love each other and mostly like each other, but are annoyed by minor defects in the other, like tending to be late for appointments. In this case, I would say to focus on what is good, to avoid criticism, and to lovingly attempt to look at the lateness as a quirk rather than as a defect.

But if the issue is repeated affairs or drunkenness, that's totally different.  Personally, I'd recommend separation when possible, which it isn't always.

Let's say the problem person is your boss. Same answer. If the issues are minor, focus on the positive, and choose to accept the rest with joy and an upbeat attitude. But if the issues are serious, get a new job.  In any case, never cling to the hope that another will change.

Also note that love vs. hate  is a separate issue from how much time you choose to spend with another.  You can still hold good feelings toward a person (and avoid hating them) even if you find you no longer want to spend time with them.  A marriage or job can end without creating enemies (of course that requires both parties to act like adults).

May the world be kind to you, and may your own thoughts be gentle upon yourself.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie