17 January 2018

A Peaceful Code of Conduct

Any social relationship, social group or community requires a peaceful code of conduct, whether spoken or unspoken.  Interpreting the code can sometimes be difficult for someone unwilling or unable to conform to it.

Excluding people from belonging tends to occur when they breach a code of conduct.

My personal code of conduct includes:

1. Searching for meaning

2. Taking regular excursions to Scientia

3. Maintaining my no fly zone

4. Enjoying objectivity

5. Harmony, love and learning

6. Following a healthy way to live

7. Seeking to understand uncertainty, rejection and art

8. Being comfortable with knowledge

9. Growing older in Australia

10. Acquiring public knowledge

I prefer spending time with mature adults with mature emotions.  Those are usually the people who respect my code of conduct, and possibly even follow it themselves.

How does my code of conduct differ from your own?

15 January 2018

Peacefully Healthy Prosperity

One of my ongoing independent studies relates to the words peace and fairness.  I find it of great interest that such words do not attract much attention.  They are words with nothing ominous about them.  They are not threatening.

Fairness is associated with justice.  Even the word justice is ignored more than the words injustice and unfairness.

The reason probably has something to do with the fact that peace and fairness are ends in themselves.  But how are peace and fairness to be achieved if not through peacefully healthy action?

Can peace and fairness be achieved through peacefully healthy economic action?

Peacefully healthy prosperity derives through peacefully healthy economic activity, by individuals, through households, businesses, governments and all sorts of groups and institutions.

What affects your health detrimentally and how can you turn the consequential problems into an economically viable, ethical pursuit?

The health problems of other people can affect our own health detrimentally, especially our mental health.

Our own physical health problems can also affect our mental health detrimentally, especially when other people ignore our needs or treat them as trivial.

Here are a few of my earlier notes of relevance to peacefully healthy prosperity:

1. Hormones, vitamins and peace

2. Calming the traffic, the body and the mind

3. Are you a happy introvert?

4. Successful social entrepreneurs

5. Too many activities?

6. Reflective self discoveries

7. Science and knowledge

8. Global prosperity

9. The environment industry

10. The chemistry of quietness

11. Searching for reality

12. Peaceful friendships

08 January 2018

No Debts or Other Indignities

All debt involves obligations, but is most debt a fair obligation?

Living without dependents and debts is necessary for a life of considerable freedom.  A dependent is a debt.  A pet is a debt.  Credit is a debt.  Any loan is a debt.  Noise is a debt.

Peace is the amount owed.  Repaying it supplies a dignified existence.

Are most people today living in debt bondage, just like the serfs of earlier centuries?

Paying for goods and services already supplied then cancels a debt.  But is the full price paid fairly?

Who pays the price of pollution?  Who pays the price of environmental degradation?  Who pays the price of overcrowding?  Who pays the price of wastefulness?  Who pays the price of corruption?  And when?  And how?

Do you live a debt-free, dignified existence?  If so, how did you achieve it?

01 January 2018

No Pets or Other Dependents

There are considerable, long-term obligations involved in monitoring the health and behaviour of young humans and other creatures.  Yet sentimentality often overrides reasonableness when drawn towards cuteness.

It is easier to find peace and freedom without pets and other dependents.  

A quiet life is one of peace and freedom, and reasonable responsibility. 

A quiet life is possible without the distraction of pets and other dependents.

A quiet life is not a sentimentally silly one.  

Unfortunately, a person seeking a quiet life can find that goal thwarted by other people's pets  and dependents, or by their own.  There are people who seek a quiet life irresponsibly, by ignoring the needs of their own offspring and their own pets.

Emotional needs are often ignored.  People who believe their own emotional needs will be met through acquiring dependents are probably deluded.  They use pets and people as if living things are merely playthings, without emotional needs of their own.

A quiet life is one of equanimity.  Pets and dependents can bring chaos and other forms of unpredictability.

12 December 2017

A Quietly Reasonable Living

Defining a quietly reasonable living can be just as difficult as defining quietly reasonable living more generally.  Quietness itself is difficult to define.  There are many different aspects to it.

Quietness is something many people appear to avoid, especially people who intrude upon the quietness other people value.  When people cannot cope with quietness, they are in considerable conflict with individuals who value a more peaceful life.  This is especially the case when someone is waiting in boredom for customers to arrive and/or trying to make money noisily.

Choosing an occupation in keeping with personal values can lead to greater happiness, at least when there are no workplace conflicts.  But when conflicts do arise, more autonomy is required.  Autonomy is the basis of genuineness and integrity.

A desire for autonomy in the workplace is often at odds with the requirement to conform to expectations, especially the expectations of employers.  When expectations are unclear, or contradictory, or inadequate guidance is supplied on how those expectations are to be met, it is rarely possible to have a quietly reasonable life.  Nor is it possible to make a quietly reasonable living in such circumstances.

Life is not a separate experience from work, and nor is autonomy.  Most people work in a job mainly for financial reasons, but why?  Are there better alternatives?

Money may give a person more autonomy, at least when finances are managed well.  There can be more autonomy when a sufficient supply of money arrives regularly as income and/or a sufficient amount of money is stored wisely as current and future wealth.  But there are still many questions to be answered:

What is a sufficient amount of money for a reasonably quiet life?

How can a quietly reasonable living supply that money?

What are the characteristics of a reasonably quiet living?

Incompatible people tend to perceive situations differently.  Their points of view frequently come into conflict.  Often, though, differing perceptions are necessary to consider.  This is particularly the case when trying to solve difficult problems.

Firstly, there are difficult personal problems to solve.  Then there are difficult social problems to solve.  All problems are either personal or social or not problems at all.  It all depends on how problems are defined.  Solving problems becomes easier when they are defined in their personal and social contexts.

Meeting our personal needs usually involves some sort of social contact.  Whether we are buying something or being given something, a social relationship occurs.  That relationship may be fleeting or it may recur. 

There may be a digital medium in between people but that does not stop a relationship from occurring.  Digital connections provide opportunities for meeting needs at more distance, just like correspondence always has.

How are these words meeting your needs?

Do you think your benefit from my words should earn me a living?

04 December 2017

Intentionally Peaceful Communities

The desire to be peaceful can often come into conflict with other people's desires and expectations, even in intentionally peaceful communities.  There can be simmering resentments about intrusiveness anywhere.

No matter where people are, and who they are, no two people perceive situations similarly.  The senses are not always accurate.  Memories play tricks. 

People notice different things, depending on what they find interesting or annoying.  Minds are engrossed or distracted or bored or tired or unconscious.

Most lives are not lived particularly intentionally.  Anything intentional involves considerable freedom.

What is your understanding of intentional living?

What is your understanding of intentional community?

Do you have much experience of either or both?

For many years, I have tried to live an intentionally quiet life.  For me, research is a way of life.  I love discovering facts serendipitously and learning about my own ignorance in the process!

Quieter living may, to many people, be perceived as an alternative lifestyle in relation to the noisy confusion of the rat race, but cultural practices often defined as "alternative" lifestyles do not appeal to me, or to my husband.  We have always been very clear about what we like and what we don't like.  Fortunately, our likes and dislikes often coincide.

Throughout our married life, we have tried to live as though we have a low income.  That way, we have been able to save for the future while also putting aside funds for our travels and other research projects.  We have also been able to pay the regular and irregular bills when they have been due.  Quieter living has made that possible, along with disciplined frugality and a regular, average sort of income by Australian standards. 

I am clear about my own interpretation of the meaning of life: It is not to spend too much time thinking about the meaning of life.  I prefer thinking about history and human behaviour, especially human political behaviour.  My purpose is to attempt to understand the perplexing complexities of existence whilst simultaneously simplifying them.

Have you succeeded in living reasonably comfortably away from the rat race?

Over recent years, I have written quite a few blog posts about motivations and intentions:

The myth of the corporate institutional investor

On being popular

The poetry of personality

Of good moral character

Intentionally peaceful communities can develop successfully when they consist of multi-skilled, deeply committed, respectfully affectionate, interconnected affinity groups.  The community needs to be economically viable, environmentally sustainable and clear about its aims and objectives, before its members commit themselves financially, socially and technically to the challenges ahead.

Is it possible to develop intentionally peaceful communities in urban areas?

01 December 2017

Peacefully Stable Social Relationships

Stability in social relationships only exists when people feel safe, supported and respected.  Everything else is likely to be abusive, or unstable in other ways.

It is not possible to confront abuse aggressively. Aggression is abusive.

Quieter living is not about denying abuse. It is about setting the standards, and the boundaries, for safety, support, respect and stability.

What are your social and moral standards?

What are your social and moral boundaries?

How do other people respond to your standards and boundaries?

In all peaceful relationships, power is shared fairly.  There is no coercion.  There are no unfair expectations.  There is freedom, honesty and trustworthiness.

Inner peace tends to occur as a consequence of peaceful, stable social relationships. Do you have a reputation for developing and maintaining peacefully stable social relationships?

In one of my other blogs, I focus my attention on identity, not peace.  Identity is often shaped socially:

Unfortunate connotations

Dear visitor

An openness towards having our reasoning challenged is necessary in all social relationships.  When people are reluctant to improve their thinking, that is a sign of their unreasonableness.  It is not possible to maintain peacefully stable social relationships when people are unreasonable.

Our various interests and activities can often fragment our sense of identity and put pressure on our relationships.  Stability is not stagnation, however.  It is a journey towards deeper mutual understanding.

Purposeful relationships are meaningful relationships, at least when everyone involved shares a compatible purpose.  How do you usually express yourself in and through your relationships?

How do you share your most meaningful discoveries through your relationships, and beyond them with humanity at large?

Reflecting on identity

Age and identity

Identity politics

Through my standards and boundaries, I can more easily make decisions about behaviours I believe to be acceptable and those I find unacceptable.  I soon withdraw from relationships with people who breach my standards, my boundaries and therefore my trust.

Sometimes, social pressures, and a lack of wider social supports, prevents us from extricating ourselves from unpleasantness.  If you have ever tried to stay polite and cheerful in a difficult situation, why was that?

Compatible tastes, values and interests often form the basis of pleasant interactions.  Our peacefully stable social relationships help us to maintain sanity as social beings.  Those relationships support and protect our privacy.

Responsive relationships are respectful and responsible.  They give us the time and space we need for solitary activities, and to maintain our health.  They acknowledge the past, the present and the future.  They give us the time in which to reflect on our thoughts, actions, achievements, problems and plans.

Peacefully stable social relationships are not necessarily the ones we have had for many years.  Many changes take place in lives and personalities between childhood and maturity.

Who do you trust, and why?  What ages are the people you consider most trustworthy?  How are trustworthy people of service to you and how are you of service to them?  How can you prove you are trustworthy?

Peacefully stable social relationships involve genuine, mutual appreciation and a deep level of mutual gratitude.  They never involve excessive demands.  There is mutual devotion, and even dedication, but never obsession.

Stability is not competitive.  It is co-operative.  To be co-operative is to consent freely, after informed negotiation, to a planned, shared journey.  That co-operation is a firm foundation.  Competition undermines that foundation.

Whose services to you do you value most, and why?

Whose services to you do you take for granted, and possibly even treat with contempt?

Do you believe peacefully stable social relationships are the essence of a successful life?

Most people do not see their dreams come true.  They either die before that occurs, or something else befalls them.  But what is a realistic dream?  Are most dreams really just lures for abusers, who turn them into nightmares?

About your mind

How to be delightfully surprising

Entertainment, friendship and identity

Unfair social interactions are abuses.  Biases are abuses.  Fair criticism is not abuse when it is provided sensitively and privately.

I write "Via" blogs as a way to write to myself, and to remind myself about important things I may otherwise forget.  These online notes are filed in general categories to help with my later reflections, and my ongoing planning.

If you have expressed a long-term interest in evidence-based theories about peacefully stable social relationships, and a long-term devotion to the topic for possibly for over twenty or thirty years now, how have you put the most viable theories into practice?

23 November 2017

Avoiding Pretensions

Marketing is often exploitative.  It shapes expectations, takes the money and often leaves a feeling of disappointment.

I appreciate good service and quality products and I am willing to pay a fair price for them when I need them.  When I do not need them, I prefer to be left alone.

What I cannot bear at all is extravagance, especially extravagant claims, pretentiousness and the associated superficiality.  Quality is not extravagance when it is enjoyable to all the senses and is not wasteful, exploitative or unhealthy. 

Avoiding pretensions can sometimes be difficult when buying something to eat.  Anything sounding contrived is probably not as good as claimed.  But pretension sells and I am not buying.   All pretension is mediocrity.