Again, at the paintball field I operate, we have designed the setup such that timid players find it easy to stay on the battle fringes if they do not like getting beaten up. If they are aggressive, it is simple to get into focal areas where punishment is assured. The field is a common sense production that just happens to be a copy of Life. The individual is free to regulate his risk and excitement level at any time. The formula is a winner. Occasionally atrocities happen, but not very often. When they do, well, life goes on and the stories spread and the adrenalin effect is enhanced. Paintball remains popular. Laser drags along in the dust due to its lack of stress!
People talk about it being terrible that God allows war. Is it terrible? The issue is, “what is going on?” How does the game of life work? What is the scale of the operation? How do the masses factor in? How does the individual factor in? What is the time span of the total operation? Have we seen all the acts of the production? When someone dies, what does that mean apart from them being GONE? The “being GONE” part of it seems to be pretty reliable!
A while back, there were three deaths in one week in the small town where I was born. An 18 yr old rolled a half ton and died. A 26 yr old drowned in a wheat hopper in a grain terminal. And a young child who was handicapped from birth died. Tragic. But no more tragic than the lives snuffed out in Syria or where ever the latest hot spot is on the planet. But individual lives are so amazing and it seems so strange that they can be snuffed out so easily and so quickly and so totally, and often so uselessly. Those lives seem to be gone, but their passing impacts a lot of people who are still living, still acting and still processing information.
I have a friend who is a bit of a Bible scholar and he hit me with the view that “if there is something in the Bible that doesn’t make sense to you, then you should study the situation further.” He is sort of kicking out a copy of Jim Corbett’s view that whenever he (Corbett) saw something in nature that he didn’t understand, he tried to figure it out. I do think that humans tend to ignore puzzles and simply go on with life. Not the best trait for a student on his way to success!
Back as soon as time allows!
Corbett was impressed with the way that animals interrelated and never worried. When a tiger or lion was hunting there was lots of chaos but after the kill, the lions ate, and the herds of deer and wildebeests returned to grazing around the kill / lunch site. Life went on until the next ripple occurred but that too passed. (Text section continued after photos)
(Main text continued) But animals are not humans. We have a memory for the past and an appreciation of the future and we tend to want to understand and to be able to explain what we see happen. We are creative beings and compared to us, animals are like robots. Really amazing robots, but so very far from being humans.
And neither they nor we evolved**. Any evidence we can detects tells us that they were designed and that we were also designed. But rather than simply being robots, we are personalities. There is some element combined in our being that differentiates us from animals despite the similarity of our physical makeup. We are Thinking, Planning, Designing, Doing personalities. And personalities do not get off on being wiped out and their friends don’t like the concept either. When your friend dies, you lose something. Part of you has been cut off. (Again, text will resume after photo section)
Corbett made the observation that the law of the jungle permits each individual to live his own life without anticipation of troubles or sorrow for the morrow. Dangers there are for all, but those dangers only add zest to life, and while keeping every individual alert and on its toes, take nothing from the joy of living. Does that observation relate at all to the human condition?
As I write this section, I am very familiar with an event that happened just yesterday. I needed to butcher a steer on our small farm. Botha was tame as a pet, as are all our cattle, and the time had arrived for him to convert to delicious steak and roasts. Less than 5 minutes after the above photo was shot, Botha had flipped from enjoying some green alfalfa hay to unconciousness.
Setting up to do the job.
Notice how Botha is not the least bit troubled by my actions that are clearly not positive if Botha is thinking about plans for tomorrow or the fresh grass of an upcoming summer.
A huge animal that was fully functional moments earlier is now simply "dead meat". Preparing for this operation so that it would occur in a satisfactory manner was not simple. A lot of thought and preparation went into getting staffing and equipment into place and ready for rapid action.
It has been about 4 hours between pulling the trigger and having Botha resting in multiple pieces in the insulated cooler.
About 18 hours after the shotgun blast that dropped Botha, and just a few hours prior to writing this section, I went out to feed the herd. I was unable to detect any fear in the animals and they treated me with the same trust as they had prior to Botha's death. Note the little whitetail deer that lives in our bull pen. It was injured and moved into the bull pen during the winter and seems to have bonded with the herd. It has nothing to fear of preditors due to the protection of Toronto the longhorn bull. It too showed no evidence of having remembered the bit of bloody excitement of the day before.
Butchering animals is an education. The experience drives home the point that these creatures that were alive minutes before but are now dead, are remarkably similar to us when it comes to physical structure. But the gulf between our mind and their mind is so huge. They return to their relatively dull routine after a crisis in the herd. They don't ponder the dramatic event that just occurred. Are we humans, despite our amazing superiority of mind much different? Are we like Corbett's friend who could only see the path that he walked on, or are we like Corbett himself, interested in getting a good explanation of unexplained occurances?
Imagine that you are an employer. You enter a room full of humans and monkeys. You are looking for competent staff. Would you have any trouble sorting the monkeys out from the humans? Common sense makes it clear to you that, despite the the similarity in physical structure between humans and monkeys, the mental gulf is similar to the gulf between humans and cattle.
When you walk out of the room, ask yourself, "Will you have hired any monkeys ahead of available humans?" Like so many areas, common sense gets shorted out by smoke and mirror blather. The reality is that humans are not monkeys and the only similarity between them is that they are both designed.
Everyone has seen diagrams such as the above diagram. Does it prove anything? It proves as much as the diagram shown below! Both are creative flights of fantasy. Racing cars with altitude compensating carbs do not transform into rockets at the top of the Pike's Peak hillclimb. Monkeys do not and did not transform into humans via some imaginary process called evolution**. Monkeys do not evolve** into pigs. Why is the monkey/pig scenario any less foolish than the monkey/man fable?
(Text resumes) So when someone dies, especially in a futile, seemingly unfair or tragic manner, do we, like a herd of deer or cattle, simply get agitated for a few hours and then settle down into a dull mental rut again until the next bit of excitement hits. Are we like Corbett’s associate who couldn’t see anything except the path he was walking on? Or are we like the young sportsman who figured he had tigers cased in just a few days, and let the topic placidly sit at that level of ignorance? Life is really short! Get with it and ask some questions!
Let me hit you with a theory that I have developed over a long period of time. Once I have staked out my ground I will then try to illustrate why the theory makes sense to me. When I am done, I hopefully will have made a good case for my statement that we exist in a Big School and that it is a marvel of educational excellence. And that the Principal is a Common Sense Good Guy who anyone who has lived, can relate to. And as a School Principal as well as a Dad, that is exactly what He wants to see happen!
My views on evolution vs evolution** are a vital underlying point. When you look at “things”, any “thing” and “every thing”, if you don’t agree that everything you see is designed and that the evolution of the racing car is an accurate analogy of the evolution of life and everything else we see, then we are not on the same wave length. But even if you disagree but are prepared to read on, your view may change! There is a lot of circumstantial evidence floating around that pressures one toward a certain conclusion.
No matter what scale you chose to make an observation, you see complexity and design and very stable laws that allow the building blocks of everything to WORK. As mentioned earlier, the earth and the universe and life and, really, everything, is like an onion with layer on layer of design and structure and analogy.
Small scale or large scale, the similarities of structure are remarkable. Do you think a monkey or an ant grasp this fact? Doesn't it impress you that each human being is so very tiny yet so incredibly unique?! It looks like a detail of reality that is worth pondering and trying to understand!
I also hold the view that God, a designing and creating personality, and “religion” are two very different things. God has plenty of time and foresight and personal confidence and He isn’t too troubled if men, who He created and pays the rent for, try to convince each other what He is like and what He is up to. Men can be completely out to lunch, and the facts remain the same. I think “religion” has set up the environment for the concept of evolution** to thrive, even in the face of common sense, which constantly illustrates that the roulette wheel concept is ridiculous. And I feel that the reality of this remarkable irrational con job, actually provides additional support for my basic theory.
I also hold the view that the Bible is a remarkable book and I find it amazing that so many religious opinions try to link themselves to the Bible with very little solid evidence to support the connections. But the Bible exists and it has an impressive history. And it definitely contains a lot of impressive material. And it is easy to pull out a few pages and make a flag for a movement. And it seems that it is usually easy to get enthusiastic followers for the resulting movement. And it seems all the little armies that thus form are good at fighting with each other and taking on enemies that suddenly seem to be coming at them from all angles. And some of those enemies are evolutionists** who may well be reacting to the “religious” idiocy that they are witnessing. Are the evolutionists** simply saying “If this is God’s best, count me out!” Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? Is one kid at fault or are both kids equally into generating turmoil?
I would not want to claim that it is quite that simple and that all Biblically linked activity is nuts, but my criticism does have some basis. A nasty strawman has been created that is easy to kick around and deserves to be kicked around. It may be that the skill of effectively spinning gold into straw is very widespread!
I have had plenty of personal contact with “religion” and as I aged, it was gradually driven home to me that my experiences have not been at all unique. I floated in a “religious” world for many years impacted by a religion player with the message of “I am right. Everyone else is wrong. Follow me!” I was sold on the product! The salesman hit the right buttons to snag my mind! But that particular “mini religious world” self destructed in an impressive manner and almost like a virus, split into a large number of tiny clones with the same message. Some of the clones had some appreciation of the bizarre and impossible nature of the situation. There were simply too many "one and only" spinoffs. So some groups and leaders adopted the modified message, “I/we are right. Others are also right. But I/we are the “most right”. Follow me/us!” The “pray, stay, pay, and obey” philosophy is everywhere! Nickle plated mini dictators are a common commodity!
I feel that the movement I sided with for many years legitimately had a few pages of the Bible, but there was plenty of other baggage. Quite sick baggage.
Many people are convinced that "Freedom from Religion" is a greater concern than "Freedom of Religion"!
Two of my children hiked the West Coast Trail along the south west end of Vancouver Island. On that adventure they met a likable couple from the eastern US, Richard and Anne Popovic. Richard was in a musical group called Shilelagh Law, and my kids got some of the group’s cds. Richard wrote a lively song called “Good Intentions” that I feel can be viewed as a summary of how many people, maybe most people, travel through life. I am not inferring that Richard wrote the song with that message in mind – my viewpoint is being expressed – but anyone will find the song interesting and entertaining and the blistering fiddle music will make anyone’s blood flow a bit quicker!
The West Coast Trail. No wonder it is a hiking classic!
The West Coast Trail. Hardly a park in the middle of a big city!
It relates how "religion" and life’s experiences seemed to try to reform the wayward style of the song’s subject, but seemingly fail.
A side point might be to ask what the term “hell” means and whether the conventional meaning is accurate. But as a generalization of a type of dramatic failure, it is sort of a neat and punchy term!
One of the verses of the song follows;
When I was a lad of 15 years or so
I was working painting houses for Mr. Donahough
I thought it was real grand to be earning my own keep
But when Donahough saw my work I swear it made him weep
Paint was splattered everywhere that you could conceive
So he kicked me in the arse and he yelled for me to leave
I tried my best I said and he grabbed me by my scruff
Shook me while he screamed your best ain't nearly good enough!
The road to hell is paved with good intentions
You won't earn no money boy unless you change your ways
Pay your dues and than pay some attention
The road to hell is paved with good intentions
Did the boy deserve to be roughed up and screamed at by his Irish contractor boss? Maybe. Some would say, “likely” or “for sure”. Was the boss doing the boy a favour? Again, maybe. Perhaps the situation could have been handled better but it is easy to see the frustration of the contractor, assuming the description of the boy’s effort is accurate.
In the song, the boy ultimately seemingly “failed”. But did he bomb out completely? Was he a total loser? If the story has analogical validity, is the situation more complex than most would assume? I think it is far more complex and I think the song is full of brilliant lessons!
I was at a funeral a while back. An 80ish year old gentleman who was a contractor had died of a heart attack. Worked on a major construction project on Friday – died instantly on the weekend. Someone else would have to finish the bridge that he was building. I had not met him but one of my sons had worked with him and the man was a great fellow. He was definitely a community asset, a hometown boy, and would be missed. I would assume that he had little to do with "religion". I suspect the family felt the funeral should have some sort of religious content but it was clear that the officiating religious figure did not know the contractor personally and had put the presentation together based on stories from the family. I took my son's place at the funeral and the event was a highly positive educational event for me! It was an honour to be able to have attended.
Here is the first bridge that the contractor built and it was this project that brought my son into contact with him. The bridge is nicely done and an interesting project for an older individual to bite into. I believe he was asked to handle the project.
Here is the contractor's second bridge project as it stood the day of his funeral. It is my understanding that the local RM asked the contractor to do the job rather than him pushing to drum up business. They were likely very pleased with his help on Bridge #1 and why should a good man be allowed to quit when he is only 80 years old!!
Many senior citizens drop off the map and have small funerals simply because so few living people know them well. That was not the case in this situation. This man never quit living until he died!
I arrived at the funeral site early and the vehicles just kept rolling in. The size of a funeral says a lot about the condition of a person's life style prior to their death. Grandstanders don't pull crowds but solid Doers, who people appreciate and think well of, motivate a final gesture of respect.
Two grandsons each gave short talks about their grandfather and I though as I listened, if their grandfather was God, then God would be a pretty good guy to be around.
I knew a lot about the man through my son, who admired him greatly and by talking to townsfolk, the character of the man was illustrated further. The stories of the grandsons also meshed with all the other information. The old contractor was respected and appreciated by his family and friends. He was a Doer! He interacted for the good of others. He was good to deal with. And he had a spine and values.
Minor details; gramps had lots of toys for when the grandchildren visited and he had construction toys as well as dolls – he wasn’t a sexist! One grandson pointed out that gramps was great at praising you and giving you credit for accomplishments but he was also good at kicking you in the ass when you needed it. Interesting. His children and grandchildren had stayed around him and were involved with him – a good sign of a good man. I wish I had met him. He sounded like a well rounded man – perhaps a man who managed to combine many Biblically supported values with a lot of common sense. I knew from my son, that the contractor was a man of action – getting it done – but he was also modest and even at 80 yrs of age, was a great student. He could still learn effectively. He asked questions and could listen and hear. Impressive. Like anyone he must have had faults but it was a big funeral and a lot of people of all ages seemed to feel his Life Account was highly positive – he didn’t seem to be running in the red! And he was up front and had been "on the scene" so scandals and faults would have been obvious to all. His funeral seemed to be a capstone on a winning run!
Pulling my viewpoint, or theory points, together – consider if it seem reasonable that;
-God could be potentially viewed as a Brilliant Personality who realizes that certain values are vital if a group of personalities are going to interrelate productively as a big team or family. And He wants a family group of interacting, free, personalities who share His positive values and can enjoy the positive advantages that come with group interaction. We are on an island and His reality yields footprints everywhere we look. Anything that exists, and those "anythings" are impressive, has His fingerprints on it. -He wants everyone to have freedom to learn and not simply to do a “robot act”, or a “sheep herd act”. He wants independent personalities that are PERSONALITIES and not His slaves nor slaves of a group or of some tiny, nickel plated, charismatic tyrant who in reality is nothing greater than his followers - on the same level as all other men. We have not been confined to a padded cell nor chained. We are in the Isle of Man TT and we can twist the throttle to whatever setting we want. Neither mother nor any other human can control the throttle and brake so long as we tell them to get lost. We have been given a fast bike and we are expected to drive it wisely! -He will ingeniously and patiently give everyone “a kick in the arse” to make us realize that “getting excited and pushy over a few pages out of some book or even The Book”, even if we think that we are doing our best, simply isn’t good enough. We are all working for Mr. Donahough, who may well illustrate God’s inner fury at stupid slackness, if not His actual application methods. We live in an enviroment of Bozo Barricades and Trojan Horses and we are free to learn or to simply look at our feet and think we know it all, but even here, The Boss has the situation under control for our ultimate benefit. -God is the designer of the details of the very environment that we exist in, plus our physical / personality imbued bodies, plus a Book that would claim to be a manual that explains the whole system; and that there is likely a pretty close integration of the whole ball of wax! Any mild degree of observation tells us that the Boss is no fool and when a Brilliant Mind shows such power, there is good reason to think that He likely has a few undetected aces up his sleeve! There is good reason to believe that we are not dealing with a short sighted loser! -It might be worthwhile considering this “integrated” possibility! If there are things that puzzle us, maybe we should try to figure out the explanation and maybe the answers are under our noses!
My “theory” is that the components of the ball of wax, just like the components of the simplest living cell, are integrated and that the whole ball can be accurately called “The Big School”. Illustrating this theory is the purpose of this website. I am contending that the reality of this viewpoint is under our noses and in our faces and that any person of average intelligence can easily appreciate that such is the case! It is an exciting concept that makes every moment of life truly LIVE! True Education isn't a bore! LIFE isn't a bore nor is it negative, ultimately, in any way. The text book and day to day Life are not separated. If you are concious and alive, you are in class and you are unbelievably fortunate to be in The School that comes as close as possible to assuring you of a degree and a Wonderful Future! - A future of DOING Thinks successfully with a gang of Great Friends, all of whom are delightful Winners!
I had a friend commit suicide a little over a year ago. I don't think that the situation is nearly as serious as many would feel, but it is still a bit sad. This friend introduced me to the saying (used at the start of Page 1) "The wise learn from their mistakes, the wiser learn from the mistakes of others." Circumstances overwhelmed him and he made a stupid move. I had been out of direct touch with him for years but by fluke I called him up just a couple of days before he killed himself and had a prolonged chat. His learning process is on hold at the moment. But I learned a lot from our final contact. What an irony that I learned that saying from him. But I am convinced that he will ultimately learn from his mistake! The Big School is designed to effectively handle temporary dropouts who made a bad decision!
If you see Life as a Big School, and if the viewpoint is accurate, you are less likely to make hair brained, single dimension moves that characterize so much of human conduct. Common sense is a real thing driven by our day to day experiences in a designed enviroment. It is one facet of the Big School and not the only facet. Good decisions come from integrating all the information that is available to us. God is Real. "Religion" may or may not be real but has importance when accurate. Evolution** is an example of a belief, a faith, and an illusion that common sense tips us off on. As we weave our way through our enviroment of freedom, good decisions are promoted by an appreciation of the environment we are functioning in.
I find all this exciting! Writing up this website is a pleasant rehash of my experiences in the Big School to date! Some readers will relate to my experiences that will, of course, be similar to their own. We are all in the same School! Hopefully some Trojan Horses will have their trap doors opened and some barricades will be spung open!
In the game of life, I don't hold all the cards, but I am convinced that I hold some. On Page 12, that topic will be my next little kick!
The West Coast Trail. Places like this have got to clear the mind of a lot of jarble! This beauty didn't evolve**. Is there a Personality that is set on trying to make mankind fall in love with Life!?