How the earth began? Who is right Creationists or Evolutionists?

Genesis is the first book of the Old Testament and the Torah. It is the book that tells about the beginning of creation and the early relationships between God and his “chosen” people. When we refer to the genesis of anything, we are talking about the beginning or creation of it. According to the Book of Genesis, it took God six days to make the world and he rested on the seventh. Today there is great debate over the literal accuracy of these words. Creationists want to hold to the biblical description as to how the world was created. Those of a more scientific mindset have put this description aside in favor of the Evolutionary theory developed by Darwin and others. This debate started many years ago and still continues.

The Creationists want to believe that “humans” were created in the “likeness” of God and not as a process of development from fishes to apes to humans. Evolutionists point to the scientific evidence that humans have “evolved” over time and that it took millions of years for us to become what we are today. Scientists like to talk about the “Big Bang” theory as to how the world and heavens were created. According to this theory, a cosmic mass of energy and matter exploded sending superheated particles of matter throughout the universe. This matter eventually coalesced into the bodies that we call planets, moons and suns. After eons of years, life began to form (at least on the third planet from the sun in our solar system) and then Homo sapiens eventually emerged. Not all people subscribe to either theory. There are many who regard the Evolutionary theory with as much skepticism as the theory accepted by the Creationists.

I have another theory. My theory holds that it does not really matter one iota how the earth was created. I am more concerned with what we do to the earth today and less with how it was created or who created it. For all I care, it could have been created by a cosmic Leprechaun who had a really warped sense of humor. How else can you account for the acrimony that we can expend over the most senseless and useless issues? I would like to see 1/3 of the energy spent by Evolutionists and Creationists directed to help fight the environmental and economic problems that we see facing our world. Global warming (whether caused by man or nature)is happening, along with increased atmospheric and environmental pollution.

No one disagrees that we need to have economic development but at what price? Are Xboxes, IPhones, disposable diapers and fertilizers to grow really pretty green lawns on desert golf courses worth the costs incurred to the environment by their creation and usage? How much commercialism and development are our environment, forests, oceans and lakes worth? Where do we draw the line between commercial development and environmental responsibility? Who pays for the “externalities” that economists talk about?

Will we spend all of our time and energy in trivial debates about who and how the earth was created and in denying the reality of problems that we see today? Or will we spend our time and energy to all work together to maintain and create the kind of blue-green world that we want to live in. Which side will you be on? What will you do to help create a clean environment? If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. Are you waiting for someone else to do it?

Is planning possible? Can Chaos trump order in our lives?

Chaos or Order, which rules your life? Chaos time is non-linear, non-ordered, non-sequential, unpredictable and multi-tasking. Order time is logical, linear, programmable, predictable and sequential. Some say time exists to bring order out of chaos. Our general view of chaos is that it leads to problems. Complex Adaptive Theory (Chaos Theory) subscribes to the viewpoint that the world is nominally chaotic and that only by understanding that the world is in a state of constant disequilibrium can we fully appreciate it. Here is one definition of Chaos Theory:

Chaos theory, in mathematics and physics, deals with the behavior of certain nonlinear dynamical systems that (under certain conditions) exhibit the phenomenon known as chaos, most famously characterized by sensitivity to initial conditions (see butterfly effect). Examples of such systems include the atmosphere, the solar system, plate tectonics, turbulent fluids, economies, and population growth. http://www.wikipedia.org

The implications of Chaos Theory have had profound effects on the way scientists and even lay people now view the world. We now realize that our planning methods, our prediction methods and out strategies are subject to a great deal more unpredictability and serendipity then we once believed. This does not mean that we cannot or should not plan, but it implies that the degree of accuracy of our planning is subject to many outside and uncontrollable forces. Some even believe that planning is a waste of time. I disagree. If anything, I am more likely to plan but I build in more contingencies. I do agree that it is naive to forecast without considering the concept of “sensitivity to initial conditions” or the idea of “wild cards.” Both of these concepts imply that there are many factors which might alter our plans and over which we have no control. Nevertheless, I have had over 1000 plane trips during the last twenty years and in every case except one, I have arrived on-time at the place I wanted to go. Either I am very lucky or the world can be ordered and planned for. Maybe we can’t order everything and maybe it is foolish to try but many events, programs and activities happen every day based on “order time.”

What is your view of time? Is your time Chaotic or Ordered? Do you plan based on Chaos time or Order time? How effective has your planning been? How do you think your planning could be more effective? Would thinking about Chaos time help your planning?

How long do you think you will live?

Lifespan is an interesting way of looking at time. The average lifespan of a male during the Roman Empire was 28 years. During the course of the 20th century, average life expectancy in the US rose by 57 percent, from about 49 years of age in 1901 to 77 years by the year 2000. Males and females have different life spans and different countries today may vary considerably in the life spans of their citizens. Average life expectancy in Japan is 82.02 and in Angola it is 37.63 (The Worldfact book, http://www.cia.gov). All of these numbers though may be meaningless for us individually as they are simply averages. Teenagers today are involved in a high percentage of fatal car accidents and many will not live to be 21. If you smoke, drink heavily, eat poorly and never exercise, you may live to be 100 but I would not bet on it.

What are the factors that contribute to a long lifespan? These are certainly well known by actuaries who determine insurance rates based on them. Some would include: culture, heredity, health patterns, life style, job and even luck plays a factor. If you buy a life insurance policy, you are gambling that you will get more benefits out of it than you have paid in. Since insurance companies are well armed with facts and data, you are probably going to lose the bet. One of the most important contributions to increased longevity was not from any advances in medicine but was from public health education. According to the Dept of Public Health, twenty-five of the 30 years of increased life expectancy in the US during the last century can be attributed to public health initiatives rather than medical advances. Thus, we need to add hygiene to our list of factors that contribute to longevity. When we near our final hours, medical science will do all it can to stretch our last minutes on this earth. In fact, it has been stretching our life for some time now but there is definitely a cost attached to the effort.

Nevertheless, most of us would be willing to trade a few more dollars for a few more hours on earth. Some people however do think it foolish to try to extend their life beyond a reasonable point and opt to forego any last minute catastrophic life saving procedures. What is a reasonable time to live is a question that many of us will answer quite differently. What do you think is a reasonable time to live? What are the circumstances that would cause you to “throw in the towel?” Have you developed a living will to specify what procedures you will forego or are you leaving it to others to decide? This can be a difficult decision for anyone to make.

No Time for Bargains!

I am almost loath to use the term “BF”, but it does inspire ones thinking. The bargain hunters out there are looking for bargains. However the type of bargains being hunted is rather restricted. The only bargain that most hunters seek is what I will call “Bargainus Discountus.” This is the species of bargain wherein you “reportedly” pay less for any item than its reputed worth. Thus a Sony 42 inch HDTV that normally retails for $500 dollars is sought for the bargain price of $200. Those that are able to bag such game must have fortitude, patience and a certain amount of aggression. There are many other “hunters” out there today who are seeking the same game. But what of the other types of big game “bargains?”

• The Free Online Dictionary has the following definition for the term Bargain:
N.
1. An agreement between parties fixing obligations that each promises to carry out.
2.
a. An agreement establishing the terms of a sale or exchange of goods or
services: finally reached a bargain with the antique dealer over the lamp.
b. Property acquired or services rendered as a result of such an agreement.
3. Something offered or acquired at a price advantageous to the buyer.

V. bar•gained, bar•gain•ing, bar•gains
1. To negotiate the terms of an agreement, as to sell or exchange.
2. To engage in collective bargaining.
3. To arrive at an agreement.

As you can see from looking at this definition, there are many other possibilities that await the true bargain hunter. There is the possibility of negotiating a price with some skillful trading skills and there is the possibility of negotiating a service or trade agreement. The last has to do with time perhaps more than money. For instance, what if you could find a bargain in “Time” rather than in money? As an example, let us say you wanted to get a BA degree in Business. The average time for completing such a degree is close to four years. However, what if you could bargain with a University and get a 20 or even 50 percent discount on time so that the degree would only take 2 or 3 years to complete?

Imagine the possibilities if we could start finding and negotiating more bargains and discounts around the concept of time. If time is money and the two are (if not interchangeable) at least linked, it makes perfect sense to be able to negotiate time as well as money. Here are some examples of where it would be great to negotiate time:

• The time to get the government to do just about anything it currently does
• The time it takes to get your car repaired
• The time to schedule a doctor or dentist appointment
• The time to complete any education program
• The time to wait until I can retire
• The time it takes to get my driver’s license renewed

What can you add to my list? I would love to hear your ideas on what you think we could negotiate or bargain with in terms of time. Why should we only be able to bargain on money? As time becomes more valuable in our multi-tasking environment, perhaps we should all become hunters of “Bargainus Timus.” Now if I can only get there before the rest of the bargain hunters!

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Holiday time or Holy-Day time? Each holiday season, I wonder what time people are really celebrating. Christmas becomes X-Mass, holy-days become holidays, days of remembrance become good days to host a backyard barbecue and Thanksgiving becomes the springboard to “the shopping season.” The big kickoff being “Black Friday.” Where is our soul? Where is the spirit in our natures? Is time off meant to be simply another day to watch the “big game.” Are holy-days meant to be spent shopping? Is Black Friday now the most important day of the year? Is Santa Claus a Good Christian because he gives toys to tots? Was that Jesus Christ’s message, to spend Christmas roasting chestnuts round an open fire singing Jingle Bell Rock?

Please note, it is not my intention to sound like the Grinch or to “cast stones” at sinners. We all need time to relax and we all need time for fun and games. However, when do we say enough? What about the meaning of the time that we are granted. Do we simply see our time off as a holiday or do we embrace this gift as a time to remember our dead, our veterans, our special leaders and those they helped pave the way for the lives we can live today. These “holidays” we are given each year, whether in remembrance of a religious or civic event should not pass by without our taking the time to remember what their true meaning is.

Thanksgiving is meant as a time to remember the blessings that we are all given. Regardless of how much or how little we all have, there is generally something we can be grateful for in our lives. I have so much but I am continually looking at people that are more successful, make more money, have more friends and are in better condition. Yet once I pause for just a few seconds to reflect on my blessings, I realize that I have the greatest wife in the world and I am healthy and moderately well off. I have six happy and wonderful grandchildren. I have more friends than I have time to spend with. In short, I have nothing to complain about. I have nothing to be selfish or greedy or jealous about. I have been blessed with a wonderful life and I hardly ever stop to say “thank you God for what you have given me.” I am usually too worried about what I have not been given.

This Thanksgiving, will you take the time to say a prayer of thanks, will you ask all present to thank God or whomever or whatever you believe in for the gifts and the life you are living? This year, I will ask all present at my Thanksgiving table to take a minute to express what they are thankful for in their lives; then we will dive in on the turkey, stuffing, and dressing. The true meaning of Thanksgiving lies in being grateful for what you have. Do you know a prayer of thanks? What is your favorite prayer?

Time is money or is it really?

Time is money. This week in Time magazine they note that $37. 7 billion dollars is the amount U.S. workers lose each year waiting for repairs, installations and deliveries. This equates to 11 hours and 37 minutes per worker or $242 dollars for each worker (Time, 11-28-2011). That sounds like a lot of money. If only we could speed up those lazy repair people up, we could save almost ½ day each in time, not to mention billions of dollars. So let’s just suppose we could save all this time, what do you think the average American would do with it?

My best guess is the average American would probably spend more time watching TV, buying lottery tickets or waiting in line for “Black Friday” specials. Just think, this year many of the stores are going to open at 12 mid-night on Friday. At church on Sunday, our pastor said that people were already lined up and camping out at Best Buys around the country. You may argue that these exuberant shoppers are going to save money and are also stimulating the economy but somehow the idea of spending over 72 hours waiting in line for a bargain does not seem to me to be a very effective use of time or is it?

Let me assume for a second that the average American worker earns $23.19 per hour (http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.us.htm) , then waiting in line for 72 hours equals $1669.68 of potentially lost productivity and wages. Now you may say I am exaggerating here. Most people are not going to stand in line for 72 hours to get a bargain. Well, let’s assume a more modest time of say 4 hours. That equates to $92.76. If your bargains total more than $100 dollars than an economist would say that spending the four hours is a rational use of your time. However, many experts note that on the average these probably aren’t the lowest prices of the season. Retailers will see how well sales go this weekend, then mark items down between now and Christmas. You can even shop online and find better bargains and not waste any time waiting.

However, we all know that the real reason for getting up early is the fun and excitement that goes with the bargain “hunt.” We are not really being economic beings who are coldly calculating dollars and cents against time spent. Most of the calculations on the rationality of spending time really miss the point. We do not watch our time and measure it in dollars and cents. If we did, perhaps watches or cellphones would calculate wasted time for us and translate it into wasted productivity. Watches and cellphones could have a Central Dollar Time that they would beam to that would provide the latest updates in average dollar earnings and let us know exactly what each minute we were spending was costing us. As I write this blog, I fear I have just lost 1.5 hours or $34.78.

Time is more of a qualitative metric than it is a quantitative metric. Like beauty, time spent, time wasted and productive time are all in the eyes of the beholder. What is a waste of time to me is time well spent to you. What are you going to “waste” your time on today? What things are you going to do that are productive? How do you tell the difference? Do you have too much wasted time in your life? How can you better balance your productive and wasted time?

Do you have enough fun time in your life? What does it mean to re-create?

Recreation time is something we learn to value as little children. It is that time when we can “re”-create; meaning we can go out to play and have fun. Every culture in the world knows the meaning of recreation time. Doctors and scientists tell us how important it is for adults as well as children to have recreation time. It is an essential time for growth and development. We actually re-create ourselves. How do we do this? By using recreation time to pursue other interests, by being less goal oriented and by exploring things that have no immediate payoff. Recreation is doing things just for the fun of doing them without expectation of gain or reward.

As the world becomes more global and more competitive, perhaps we all need more recreation time both at work and at home. The fifteen minute break time you get at work is not the same as recreation time. That brief respite is designed to prevent you from having a nervous or physical break down. It is not nearly enough time to help you to recreate. Organizations pay lip service to the idea of growth and development but provide hardly enough time for it to happen. Colleges are one of the few institutions that give paid sabbaticals. I have often thought sabbaticals should be mandatory for all institutions both profit and non-profit. Imagine, if you could get paid to take off for a year. You could use this time to attend classes, go on vacation, pursue new hobbies or learn some new skills.

Why should a company pay for you to have time off? The simple answer is because new skills and training will benefit the company. Ideally what helps any of us become better people will help our society and our economy. This is taking a long term view of growth which is not widely recognized in organizations. Many companies refuse to reimburse for tuition and schooling unless it is directly related to the present job. This is taking the short view of life.

Well, enough writing for now. It is time for me to re-create. What are you going to do today for recreation? How much time each day do you allow for recreation? Can you say that you have fun each and every day of the week? Why not? What would it take to change your life to have more fun? When do you propose to start? How many people do you know who started a career or a business based on something that they once did for fun? Why not get paid to do what you think is fun? Maybe you can put the joy and creativity in your career that you found in your hobby. Why should work not be fun? Why can’t fun be work?

Can history ever tell us the truth?

History or Her-story, which do you prefer? History is said to be told by the winners, so who tells her-story? Some might think that changing words is nothing more than semantics or perhaps political correctness. However, words have the power to shape and create. The pen has often been mightier than the sword. Words shape our reality by influencing our perceptions and our concepts of reality. What we hear and how we define meaning will prejudice what we see and what we believe. History is the story of “mankind.” But is history really the story of humankind? Who is left out of a history told (at least in school books) from a rather slanted perspective? Do we hear history from minorities, from women, from the losers?

As an example of how perspective shapes our meaning of history, in America, we have the Revolutionary War or the War for Independence. In America, the colonists were revolutionaries and freedom fighters. The British saw our war as a revolt. To them, the colonists were lawbreakers and terrorists. Another example: during the sixties, the civil rights protestors in the South were fire hosed, beaten and arrested. They were regarded by lawmakers and others as trouble makers and radicals who wanted to destroy the country. This view would hardly be shared by the protestors who wanted the right to vote, go to the bathroom and have the same schools as the white majority. Not to mention eat in the same restaurants and sleep in the same hotels.

History is ideally a recording of the events that happened in past times. Washington chopped down the cherry tree. Lincoln returned the penny. But did they really? What if we cannot ever know the “historic” truth? What if history is so full of prejudice and distortion that we can never see the underlying reality? What if there is no underlying reality? Perhaps, the only reality is the reality told by the historian. Those who write history create it. There is no answer to this dilemma since it is the dilemma of life.

We are always subjected to multiple views of reality and it is up to us to piece together the best view we can. The truth may be that there is no truth, only your truth. My truth and yours may indeed by different. Truth and history are processes that will constantly undergo transformation and change. The history you hear today may change tomorrow. The stories that are told today will change over time. The interpretations that we provide will be distorted and altered by other story tellers and other her-storians.

Do not be so sure of your reality! Do not be so sure of what you read and hear! Will you ever read this blog again? Do you think your ideas and interpretations of what you are reading now will change if you do read it again? What if you wait ten years and then read it again? How do you think your ideas will change? If you are reading it again ten years from now, what has changed in your feelings about this blog and its meanings?

How do time zones affect our lives, for better and for worse?

Time Zones are regions of the earth that have adopted the same standard time, usually referred to as the local time. Before the adoption of time zones, people used local solar time but this became a problem as railways and telecommunications improved. As people began to travel more, it became even more of a problem because clocks differed between places by an amount corresponding to the difference in their geographical longitude. The “solution” to synchronize all clocks to the same time meant that in some areas of the world, 12 midnight would occur during broad daylight and 12 noon would occur in absolute darkness. “Time zones are thus a compromise, relaxing the complex geographic dependence while still allowing local time to approximate the mean solar time” (Wikipedia).

With the advent of high speed plane travel, time zones have become somewhat of a major nuisance to many travelers. We have all experienced the concept of Jet Lag which appears to be induced by crossing multiple time zones. This has the effect of throwing our bodies into a state of disequilibrium which can take several days to readjust. There are 24 time zones spaced at intervals of 15° in longitude. You can go forward in time and lose time or backwards in time and gain time depending on your direction of travel. If you go west, you will gain time as you cross time zones and if you travel east, you will lose time as you cross time zones. What makes this system even more confusing is the International Date Line.

The International Date Line is the imaginary line on the earth that separates two consecutive calendar days. The date in the Eastern hemisphere, to the left of the line, is always one day ahead of the date in the Western hemisphere. Without the International Date Line, travelers going westward would discover that when they returned home, one day more than they thought had passed, even though they had kept careful tally of the days. (http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/international_date.html)

If you have ever traveled very much, you will find that these systems are very irritating and perplexing. It is easy to lose track of what time it is where you started from and what time it will be where you are going. You may gain a day or lose a day. I have almost arrived back before I left from some trips. For instance, if you cross seven time zones from say Paris to Minnesota and you leave Paris at 7 AM and your plane could make the trip in 6 hours, you would arrive back one hour before you left. On the other hand, the flight there would take 13 hours even though the plane could make it in six.

There are all sorts of tips, tricks, etc, to follow to minimize the impact of jet lag. Over the course of several years, I have tried quite a few of them. I am still not sure which if any really work. Going west, going east, coming home, going there have all been equally hard or easy at one time or another. The more you travel, the easier it is to adjust, but it always takes some adjustment. I was more than happy a few years ago to stop flying as much as I had. With the new changes in airport security, I would just as soon stay home unless I was going on vacation.

How have you been affected by time zones and date lines? Do they impact your life at all? Do you ever notice their effects? Do you call across time zones or travel frequently across time zones? What do you do to minimize jet lag when you travel?

Do you spend enough time dreaming? What if we all dreamt more?

Dreamin’, I’m always dreamin’.
Dreamin’ love will be mine.
Searchin’, I’m always searchin’.
Hopin’ someday I’ll find,
Someone, someone to love me.
Someone who needs me, but until then,
Well, I’ll keep on dreamin’.
Keep right on dreamin’.
Dreamin’ till my dreamin’ comes true.

“Dreamin”by Johnny Burnette (1960)

The above song was popular when I was in high school and deals with love and longing and dreaming. I can still hear the lyrics and tune today and the theme is rather haunting. “Dreaming, I’m always dreaming.” How many of us are dreamers? Have you ever been called “a hopeless dreamer?” I wonder why you hardly ever hear the term in a more positive sense. We call people hopeless dreamers but what about hopeful dreamers. Martin Luther King’s famous dream speech echoes the hopeful thought that “that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Robert Kennedy said “I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” Proverbs 29:18 says that “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Where there are no dreams, people are hopeless and aimless.

I have been teaching and consulting for over 25 years now and it is my observation that wherever people have dreams and a vision, there is hope. They say hope springs eternal in the human breast, but I think life tries to beat it out of us. Life seems even more hopeless when we are engaged in “eternal wars.” We suffer from politicians who cannot agree on anything. We read daily of scholars and scientists who keep changing their minds; what was good yesterday is now bad today. I see students in school every day who are bored and see no hope. How many students are asked to dream? Most are told that if they study hard, keep their mouths shut and pay their outrageous tuition, they too may someday share the good life. Where are their dreams?

How many students and employees do you know who go to work or school every day with a dream in their hearts? Perhaps that is why we resonate with the words of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. How many of you reading this blog have a dream? Is a dream a waste of time? Would a dream help us to transform our lives? Imagine for a second if the goal of government was to help every citizen to transform their dreams into reality? I tell my students and clients that dreams become reality when we set a plan in place to transform our dreams into concrete action items with dates and priorities and sequencing. How many students and employees learn how to do that and are encouraged to do that?

Yesterday, I was substitute teaching for a group of students who had been expelled from their mainstream classes for a variety of reasons. Several of these students had parole officers. You would think given their behavior and attitudes that they would have given up on the idea of a career but that was not the case. One student had to ask five others (as part of an assignment) what they wanted to be when they left school. The answers included: police officer, firefighter, architect, computer game designer and business person. Given that the probability of these students getting into college seemed more remote than their getting into jail; I was touched by their goals and aspirations.

You could argue that they had brought their present circumstances on by their own behavior and you would be right. However, what is the behavior that resulted in their becoming pariahs in the school system? For the record, it was fighting, drugs, disobedience and unwillingness to conform to school rules. Looking beyond these surface reasons, the underlying problems with all of them were boredom and an inability to find any meaning in the traditional school curriculum. I assisted one student with an on-line algebra quiz (he got a 95%) and I could not help but think that I had the same material when I went to high school 47 years ago and have never had to use any of it since then. When was the last time you had to multiply 7 5/33 X 14 2/9? Maybe I am missing something, but I think we are forcing everyone through the same molds and expecting rabbits to fly, ducks to climb, eagles to run and monkeys to swim. We have a one size fits all school program and you either conform, drop out or are kicked out. In too many organizations, employees are hired based on “whether they will fit in or not.” We say we want innovation but then we reward and hire for conformity.

I wonder how many of us would continue to hold onto a dream if we were systematically ostracized by our friends and the community we lived in. What are your dreams? What are your dreams for your country? What are your dreams for your loved ones? How do you plan to help make these dreams a reality? What if you were measured by the breadth of your dreams? How would you stack up?

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