The Second Truth

Truth – 1. Conformity to knowledge, fact, or actuality; veracity.  2. Something that is the case; the real state of affairs.  3. Reality; actuality.  4. A statement proven to be or accepted as true.  5. Sincerity; honesty. – American Heritage Dictionary

By looking at the above definition of truth, one will think that truth is one-sided, as we have traditionally learned to believe.  “There is only one truth” is a phrase that we have heard many times, and possibly agreed with it.  I say, we should consider a second truth, not only when the first truth does not suffice, but always.  To illustrate this point, let me relate to you something I overheard this morning at the post office.  This post was inspired by that conversation.

A man was talking to the clerk about a problem with his red mustang (later I saw the man at the parking lot pulling out in the new model).  Apparently, something had been wrong with it and the mechanic took time figuring out what it was.  The man was making these comments, feeling certain that he knew the truth.

Mustang Man“These mechanics know nothing these days.  They cannot figure out the problem unless they hook the car to a machine.  I remember when good mechanics used to know what was wrong with the car just by listening to it – blah, blah, blah …”

Mustang Man continued to share his wisdom and the more truth he felt he shared the better he seemed to feel, and he left the post office smiling and wishing the clerk a great day.  The clerk seemed to agree with him as well.  I was smiling, and Mustang Man smiled and gestured a good-bye to me.  However, I was smiling, not because I agreed with his truth, but because I knew of a second truth.  There, I saw how truth is based on our own experiences and the knowledge we have at the moment of a particular subject.

My truth – My truth is based on different information and knowledge of the subject.  See, I am married to a mechanic, and by default, a lot of the knowledge has trickled down to me.  Many times, I find myself in conversation with my sister, and she tells me – “the mechanic just told me what you just thought it may be.”  I laugh because, in 25 years of marriage, I have become a sponge, learning little bits by osmosis.  Through my husband I have learned that today’s cars are not even a shadow of what cars where many years ago – possibly the time -frame Mustang Man was talking about.  Today’s cars are computerized beasts full of software and sensors that depend on one another, like a steampunk symphony, one thing affecting the other but not necessarily becoming a part of it.  Today’s mechanics are more knowledgeable in terms of absorbing and learning more information, and knowing different systems, than yesteryear mechanics.  They need to learn software, and learn to use it to be able to diagnose a car properly.  Today’s computerized beasts are more than motor and spark, therefore requiring precise computerized adjustments.  With so many sensors and software systems, one little issue may trigger another, and therefore making it more difficult to diagnose.  This would be impossible to do by a yesteryear mechanic  or a.k.a. Mustang Man’s hero.

Another issue with today’s systems is that they keep changing at fast pace, as technology changes, and the consumer seems to want more “bells and whistles” and comforts.  This creates the need for better trained mechanics who undergo continuing education through their jobs.  High end cars, have very sophisticated computerized systems, that only become available to lower end models later on, or by special order – depending on the maker.

According to Mustang Man’s truth, which was based on old-fashion knowledge of automotive systems and an admiration for the good ole’ mechanic, today’s mechanics know nothing.  According to my truth, which is based on more current information on automotive systems and my admiration for my mechanic hubby, today’s mechanics are more knowledgeable and educated.  Two truths that are completely opposite and both influenced by the observer/participant experience.

And that is why you should always consider the second truth – learn, explore, inform yourself, and then make up your mind, before uttering your only truth.

English: Own Work, Public Domain School in Col...

English: Own Work, Public Domain School in Columbus Avenue, New York, NY, USA. Category:Images of automobiles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Triangulation of Self by Knowledge

Triangulation

A method of determining the relative positions of points in space by measuring the distances, and sometimes angles, between those points and other reference points whose positions are known. Triangulation often involves the use of trigonometry. It is commonly used in the navigation of aircraft and boats, and is the method used in the Global Positioning System , in which the reference points are satellites.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Mind, Body and Spirit form the human triangle, and when in balance, we feel whole.  Caring for the mind, body, and spirit is what makes us live balanced lives, and when one of these areas is not in harmony, we start feeling the effects, emotionally, psychologically, and physically.  However, to care for our triangle, to balance ourselves, we must welcome knowledge and use it.  Information opens the mind, helps in caring for our physical body, and let our spirit soar, develop, grow.  We need information, imput, to process with our senses, the world in which we live; after all, we live in a physical body, in a physical world.  If we believe in a spiritual connection or world, a spiritual sense, then it is only because we are able to obtain imput through our senses, and internalize that information, while processing it.  When we are inspired, are having an epiphany, or when we feel a sense of spirituality and well-being, some kind of information processing is always present.  Whether it is an act of faith, or reasoning, feeling or believing, information has been processed.  The more you know, the more you open your senses – faith and knowledge go hand in hand; whether your faith rests in a Divinity, the Universe, or Science, information (imput) is present.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  (NIV)  – John 1:1

You are What You Read

How many times have you heard the adage “You are what you eat?”  The same can be said about reading.  You are what you read.  Whatever you feed your brain, that is the connection that you are promoting.  The connections that form in the brain are the result of the stimuli that we receive.  So, if we feed the brain garbage, we better beware, because that is the connection that we are forming.  Despite all our medical and scientific advances, much of how the brain works is still a mystery.  But we know for sure that the brain is making connections as we learn and receive more stimuli.

So when Rene Descartes – the philosopher – said, “I think therefore I am,” we can say that he was not only referring to the cognitive and thinking process, but for sake of this argument, of the possibility of becoming in the sense of what we feed our brains.  How does a college student become a physician?  By learning, reading, and studying to be one.  He becomes the information that he studied.

The possibilities are infinite.  By feeding our brain the right kind of information we become.  Take your goals into consideration.  For example, do you want to be in a better financial position?  Then, start feeding your brain the kind of information that will take you there.

We also read for entertainment. It relaxes us, and takes us to another world.  When is time to come back to reality the reading material that we choose to advance ourselves, is as important as the air we breathe.  Many of us use reading as an escape to reality, or a tool for learning, but it can be much more.  Reading can be a positive power of suggestion, a tool to make you achieve your potential.

So, next time you pick up that book (or magazine, or whatever) – are you feeding your brain a healthy diet?

Writer’s Wisdom 98

Using Real Life as Inspiration

Ever felt like there is no more inspiration; like the well has run dry and your Muse ran away?  Whether you are working on a short story, a novel, a poem, or a blog post, inspiration is right there – in real life.  Think of news clips, bits of conversations that leak around you as you go about your daily routine, images of people at a distance that are without sound but rich in gestures and body movement – all that is inspiration, and it is free.  Use it, it is there for the taking; it is there to inspire you and make your mind awake, but only when you pay attention and are mindful of your surroundings.

So, when uninspired, open your senses, awake your Muse.

Writer’s Wisdom 66

Mind your ideas.

Ideas come from everywhere; from something you heard, saw, remembered, an object, a smell, or from something you read.  Some writers avoid reading the genre in which they are writing their current piece.  The reason, they are weary of borrowing any ideas, without intention.

The other day I read about the lawsuit going on between the estate of  British author Adrian Jacobs and J.K. Rowling.  It alleges plagiarism on Rowling’s part, but of course, not substantiated.  It got me thinking on how many similar ideas float in a writer’s world, and how easy is to be influenced by a similar idea.  I don’t consider this plagiarism, as many people can have the same idea and express it in a completely different way.  This is not a copy.  However, more than ever, we should mind our ideas, since writing has evolved in so many ways due to the internet and the many ways in which you can share your work these days.  Ideas are free, and you are free to write what you want, as long as it does not land you in already claimed territory.

Writer’s Wisdom 52

Research

Even if you hate doing research, at one point or another (if you are serious about writing) you will have to get your hands dirty.  When we think of research we welcome images of books, online files, and hours of study.  That is a part of research, but there is more to it.

It all depends on the piece that you are writing.  Is it a SEO article, a poem about life in a distant land, a report, or a novel?  The depth of your research will be tailored to the piece you are writing.  Thanks to the internet and the technology available today, we don’t have to travel to that distant land if we are writing a poem about it.  But if you are writing a novel that requires a deep understanding of the place, the culture, the landscapes, and the people, you might have to take a trip.  It all depends on what you want to accomplish with your project.  Not everybody can take a plane and just go to do research, of course, but the type of project and to a degree, the status of the writer, influence the type of research.

As readers, we tend to demand more of best-selling authors than non-published writers.  Not because the work of one will be better than the other, but more because of expectation and anticipation – they thrilled us with the latest best-seller, and now, we crave more.  At one point, best-selling authors were non-published writers, so it is not fair to say that the works of the later, lack quality.

Some well-known authors travel for their research, others hire research assistants, and others love to do their research.  So, research as best as you are able to do so, according to your means, and you will have a well written piece. 

Autopsy of an Email Scam

Email scams keep getting more creative, elaborate, and humorous.  I get many on my email inbox, and have learned to recognize them blindfolded (ok, maybe not blindfolded).  The ideas that these scammers come up with keeps my writing list full.  Let’s take a look at one that I received today, and I am sure many of you have seen.  Take a look at what it looks like: 

CHEVRON/TEXACO OIL&GAS COMPANIES END OF YEAR PROMOTION.
  

Congratulations 

You have been chosen to receive ($852,000.00 USD)in the on-going CHEVRON/TEXACO OIL&GAS COMPANIES END OF YEAR PROMOTION.
Please Send your Names,Telephone Number & Contact Address to Mr Kenneth Davids at(awardpayment@sify.com)to file for your claims.
Note:All email response should be sent to the claims processing officer (MR Kenneth Davids) to his official email address at awardpayment@sify.com
OR Dial +2348034481687 for more information on this program.
Yours Sincerely,
Mrs.Lay, Sandy.
Online Co-ordinator…
CHEVRON/TEXACO OIL COMPANY.  
 
 Sandy Lay
Accounts Receivable
Vi-Jon, Inc.
8515 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63114
 

Office (314) 592-1429  

 This e-mail (including attachments) is covered by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. 2510-2521, is confidential and may be legally privileged, and is not to be used by anyone but the intended recipient(s). If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any retention, dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender by reply e-mail or call Vi-Jon, Inc. at 314-427-1000 and delete the message. 

Unfortunately, many people will fall victims of this scam before the end of the year.  To recognize these scams, look at the signs throughout the email. 

1.  The most obvious is:  Why would the Chevron/Texaco company would want to give me that amount of money, called in the email “a promotion”?  

 2.  Take a look at the amount of grammatical and punctuation errors in the email.  Even if you are not good at grammar and punctuation, look at the obvious spacing mistakes that jump out at you.  Also, take a look at the split words that are not supposed to be written like that (on-going, co-ordinator). 

3.  Did you notice how in the first paragraph it reads:  please send in your names? – names is in plural, which gives you an idea of the mentality of the scammer.  He/she has in mind all the names that will be captured via the email, all the potential victims. 

4.  Look how the email makes a point of creating an “official environment” by using words/phrases like:  to the claims processing officer (MR Kenneth Davids) to his official email address – this is an effort on their part to build trust in the reader’s eyes. 

5.  All this is followed by improper spacing, commas, and many other errors, leading to the end of the email where the person who is emailing identifies herself as Ms. Lay, Sandy (who gives you her many titles) – in an attempt to make it official, and hopefully by now, you are hooked and pick up the phone. 

6.  And as in a last attempt to convince you, what follows is an email disclaimer with “official wording” citing the law. 

So here you have it, the more you look at it in detail, the more signs screaming scam you will find.  If anything, it has provided me with a good laugh and writing material.  Hopefully, this autopsy will help you in learning to dissect your own email scams.  Have a good laugh.  

 

Writer’s Wisdom 39

Learning from the best

As aspiring authors it is important to learn as much as we can about the craft.  There are many books about writing, genres, and writing tips.  The best source is to learn from best-selling authors who have walked the path.  With the technology these days, this is easy to do.  There are many interviews of best-selling authors in You tube and in book stores.  These interviews are full of great real tips and ideas from these authors.

Another way is to visit their websites, which are full of insights to the craft and many interesting and useful tips.  Many authors have frequently asked questions sections on their sites, which are a big help for an aspiring writer.  Many have written books on the subject, according to their own writing experience and journey.  A book that I recommend is:  How I write, by Janet Evanovich.  It is full of very important and useful information – worth every penny.

If you are serious about your writing, start learning from the best.  Take it a step further and not only read their books, but visit their sites and listen to interviews; or if you have the opportunity, go to their book signings.

Writer’s Wisdom 37

The Why

There are many freelance writers and aspiring authors out there, but why do you write?  Have you ever ask yourself the question?  Do you write because is your passion?  Do you write to blow some steam off? Or maybe, to make a couple bucks online?  Maybe you feel it is something more, something that you have to do – your destiny.

Whatever your reason for writing, it must be clear to you.  Why?  Because it permeates your pages, and your readers can tell if you are serious about your writing, passionate, or just making the quick buck.  There is much writing out there that seems careless, quick, and typed in a hurry.  If you write SEO content, volume counts, but readers care about how the information is presented.

When you know your why for writing, a clear purpose translates into a better written piece.  And eventually, faithful readers who appreciate a well presented article or story.  So, if you have never asked yourself the question: “Why do I write?” –  think about it.  Maybe, the answer will surprise you.

Review of RICH & HAPPY by Robert Kiyosaki

The complete title is:  If you want to be RICH & HAPPY don’t go to school.  A work of love, this book presents Robert Kiyosaki’s view of the education system in which we grow up and get educated by.  An eye opener for most, and a sad truth, the book explains how the system prepares you for failure in the future.  It shows you how the harmful programming you received during your school years prevents and sabotages your success.  Robert says it like it is, and doesn’t sugar coat it.  He is also deeply concerned about the wrong programming that has been going on for many generations, and still continues.  While reading these truths, I got chills, and couldn’t help but feel sad for our children; tears streamed down while recognizing some of the patterns, in myself.  A must read for every parent, and teacher, but mostly, for every one of us, who has been educated in the system.