Philosophy and Motorcycles

Philosophy and motorcycles are two of my favorite things in life. This blog will be bits of wisdom gleaned from a misspent youth and an adventurous dotage. People who like/love wisdom or motorcycles, classic or modern versions of either, are welcome to visit and comment.

My Photo
Location: Wisconsin, United States

I have been married to the same lovely woman for decades. We have one son, two cats, and live in rural Wisconsin, USA. I ride and rebuild motorcycles, and I am semi-retired. Favorite bikes are Yamaha XS650, FJ1200 and Ducati 900SS. My wife is a home care nurse. I am a Myers-Briggs INTP. She is ESFJ. Our son works at the Apple store in downtown SF and is teaching English as a second language in San Francisco, no grandchildren.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A friend just sent me this link for a good motorcycle blog from Oregon. Check it out. Managed to Skype with our son in San Francisco today. I'm glad that modern gadgets make it possible to stay in such close contact with people who are distant.

Monday, December 24, 2012

It is Christmas Eve. I was thinking about the words of Christ when he said things like money being the root of all evil and how a rich man should give away everything he owns and follow Jesus. I don't think of myself as rich. I'll bet most Americans don't. We think of the 1% or the 5% as rich and have other terms for ourselves. If, however, I wanted to live anywhere near so well as I do now and do it in the years 0031-0032-0033 I would need to have a bunch of servants. It is winter and now I have a mechanical servant to heat my house. To heat a house in this weather in the year ad 31 I would need servants to cut wood, tend the stove, haul the ashes day and night. To have lights come on very quickly I would need servants to make candles or collect lamp oil and to follow me about, lighting lamps in every room I enter. To travel the 15 minutes each way I traveled tonight, in comfort, I'd need servants. Someone would have to hitch up the animals, heat stones to put in my carriage to keep me warm, Guide the animals. You can see where this is going. By the standards of those day I am stinky rich. I don't carry water these days, or put up enough wood for more than the occasional fire. I don't hunt, fish or garden. I know a magic person who can fix dental cavities painlessly. I have a device that flushes all my personal waste away to some underground . . . . . place. When I worked I only worked a maximum of five 10 hour days except in real emergencies. Now I have a stipend provided by the government, paid for by me. I can visit foreign nations with little more effort than a trip across town in the year 31. With all the mechanical servants I have now replaced by people would require a mess of minions working just for my benefit. So how can I claim to want to follow the words of Christ? I'm rich and I don't want to give it up. Sure Bill Gates and Mitt and Newt have more money than I but I am still, by any historical standard, filthy stinking rich. Just how narrow is the eye of the needle? Sometimes I think that any Christian with more than 2 suits of clothing is a fraud. Verily, it is a quandary. Am I so arrogant as to think I can live like an American and expect to go to heaven? What colossal hubris! Maybe there's some wiggle room to compensate for being born lucky. I'll always be glad I was around during a great era of toys for boys. From pinball machines to motorcycles, from guns to ATVs there are a lot of great toys out there. Sports car, fishing boats, ski boats, big screen TVs. How many people would I have to keep around just to provide me with full time entertainment of a thousand varieties? When Americans talk about possibly having to pay a bit more taxes to provide programs to take care of people they generally seem to believe that more taxes should come from someone else. In order to even pretend to live like Christ commanded I would need to work about half time and learn to live on half what I make now. That would free me up to devote half my time to helping others. Or if I wanted to keep working full time I could give half my money to pay people to help those in need. The argument that I already give through taxes does not absolve me since what I keep is more than I need. Since most of the highly needy don't live around here it would be better for me to hire people for the most part and I'll
just do what I can around here. Someone else could bring food to Kenya. I don't do that. I like being rich and I don't want to give half my time or half my money away. I damn sure don't want to give it all away and follow some prophet. I can't resolve this issue in any way that makes sense. So once again I will celebrate Christmas. Just so I don't have to act like He is real. That would call down too much of a burden and I like being rich. Can I still get to heaven?

Saturday, December 08, 2012

MAYANS IN DANGER OF JUMPING OFF FISCAL CLIFF I believe there are a lot of people who want the world to end in their lifetime. My thought is that they want to be a part of what will certainly be the most dramatic event of all time. More importantly I believe that people want to have their particular version of truth confirmed and to be able to cast scorn on those who did not believe them. If I predict that the world will end Tuesday and God will come down and carry myself and my fellows off to some eternal bliss, and it happens, everything I said or predicted will be proven. I will be vindicated. There are always people who are skeptical when someone begins to talk about the world ending soon. I will be able to blow the world a giant raspberry for having doubted me. Nana nana boo boo. Now the idea that such arrogance would bar one from heaven doesn't seem to occur to such people. If I want the rapture to happen soon to prove to my doubters that I am one of the righteous and be able to look down on them with contempt I believe that level of hubris would offend any God. If I am convinced that I should be getting a better set of rewards in the here and now but the government, the illuminati or some other nefarious group is keeping me down, then I look forward to armageddon. Once there is chaos I will be able to unleash my inner brute. Money won't matter then. It will be survival of the fittest, the meanest, those who are armed and prepared. I will rise to my rightful position as leader of (fill in the blank). Even the apostles thought Christ was coming back soon. It is human nature to want to be recognized and appreciated. Taken to a neurotic extreme we have the doomsday preparers and those who anticipate being raptured into bliss. It is all fantasy but it fulfills a need in some people. It is a fear that seeks to be swept away by events. Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering. Rather than face the possibility that they might be wrong, that their view of this world or the next one is based on magic thinking rather than fact, they assert louder and begin to prepare for their fantasy to come true. In mild forms we see people like me who find it difficult to throw something away because I may need that widget some day. I was so poor so long that it is psychologically difficult for me to really believe that I will have enough money tomorrow to buy both food and to replace that widget I threw away. Having been raised in a predatory culture it is difficult for me to believe that someone would give me, or help me get, a widget no matter how much I needed one. In my mind's eye they will always laugh at me for having thrown away my widget, not being wise enough to pile up widgets, and certainly enjoy seeing me suffer in the shadow of the superiority of those who knew enough to save their widgets. I however, shall be proven right. When the end comes I will have widgets. Then you'll see who the smart one is. Nyaaahahahahaha. . . . And that's my theory on people who are looking forward to the end of times. Of course when the giant comet hits earth and the planet splits that box of candles you've been hoarding probably won't help you. If I am whisked away at the last moment by aliens they will probably have their own widgets and not be interested in hauling mine to some other planet. Aliens are like that. You'll see. My personal theory is that January will arrive as usual and the world will not have changed substantially. A lot of people will have spent a lot of money buying underground shelters and filling them with food and widgets. A lot of people will have made money selling them those things. The world will go on about as usual. When people believe the ship is sinking there are limited options. One can jump overboard, get in a life boat with others and take as many people as possible and leaving the baggage behind, commandeer a lifeboat and fill it with treasure and with just room for I and my group, or try to fix the ship. We see a lot of reactions to the Mayan calendar and the impending Fiscal Cliff. Unfortunately not many people in power are interested in trying to fix the ship. At least not until they've filled their personal fleet of lifeboats with treasure. And then any repairs have to guarantee that their staterooms will be secured first. Such is life. Ours is not a culture of cooperation. It is one of competition and those who enjoy competition insist that it is man's nature to be competitive. They need to believe people are more competitive than cooperative. It justifies hoarding widgets.