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Mindconnection eNL, 2006-08-06

Past issues

In this issue:

  1. Product Highlights
  2. Brainpower tip
  3. Time tip
  4. Finance tip
  1. Security tip
  2. Health tip/Fitness tip
  3. Miscellany
  4. Thought for the day

1. Product Highlights

Good meals on the go
Who wooda thunk it? At only 290 calories, this nutritious drink is delicious and satisfying. I know, because I tried it. Take it to work, and you have the answer to your mid-morning and mid-afternoon meal problems. Or maybe even breakfast.

http://www.mindconnection.com/category/NTR-MRP.html

 


2. Brainpower tip

One of the most common obstacles to understanding is the stubborn clinging to a belief that is outdated and now incorrect, or a belief that is current but was never correct in the first place.

Our fundamental beliefs and assumptions serve as filters through which we process new information. This filtering is necessary, but it is quite often counterproductive.

How we engage our basic assumptions determines how much of our brain we will use. For most people, this is not good news.

You may have noticed that people are increasingly surrendering use of their "higher order" brain parts. You may have noticed the trend, over the past few years, of replacing articulation with rudeness or "righteous indignation."

This is often accompanied by threats and insults, rather than anything that actually motivates the other person.

Such behavior appears stupid and boorish. In this case, appearances are not deceiving. Those behaviors originate in the "lower order" brain parts and they are, in fact, stupid. When you hear someone say another person "acts like a reptile," you are probably hearing an observation that is extremely accurate.

This reptilian behavior has manifested itself repeatedly in our Western culture. We all know that we stand on the shoulders of giants. Today's technology exists only because of breakthroughs made by others through the centuries. But (in the Western culture), the enforced clinging to official dogma caused a delay of scientific and technological progress. And that delay lasted more than 1,000 years.

Delays on a meta scale like this happen all the time. In fact, we can see this same effect on the meta level in Kansas today--with the "debate" over the life sciences and stem cell research. Just to point out how absurd this "debate" is, consider that a stem cell is about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. To avoid emotional labels, let's call one side of the debate A and the other side B.

  • "A" says that stem cell is a living being that has the same "right to life" as an adult human being. Therefore, it is wrong to destroy that cell in the hopes of curing an adult human being of a life-threatening disease.
  • "B" says that stem cell is not a human being, and it therefore has rights on par with other non-human organisms.

If you look closely at the position "A" takes, you find enormous inconsistencies. "A" holds that killing stem cells is abortion and murder. If we accept this premise as fact, then necessarily fertility clinics are engaging in murder routinely. That's because they make 1,000s of stem cells to develop one viable, fertilized egg. Because they do this knowing that 1,000s of cells will die, they are repeatedly creating a cell death situation on a massive scale. "A" conveniently forgets that there are no "stem cell" nursing homes where we have staffers keeping thousands of unused stem cells fed and reading bed time stories to them. Do any of the people in the "A" crowd even think about starting such an institution?

The "A" crowd also invokes God as being on their side. But at the same time, their position (that killing various forms of human cells is murder) necessarily makes God a murderer, simply because the natural reproductive processes also shed many cells that are, by the definition provided by" A," living beings. This includes the millions of sperm cells shed by men each day. But it also includes fertilized eggs routinely shed by women without their knowledge. In fact, there are all sorts of "human life" that, apparently by design, are killed off on a routine basis. God, therefore, is pro-abortion by the very definitions provided by the "A" crowd.

"A" further stands for Absurdity because you can do only one of two things with a cell grown for in vitro fertilization (and that's where researchers get stem cells):

  1. Use it for research.
  2. Destroy it.

"A" necessarily has the position that you must destroy a stem cell rather than use it, because of you use it, you may destroy it. By this "logic," everyone needs to kill their family so their loved ones don't die from an accident or natural causes. I think we can all agree that "A" is simply using "reptilian reasoning" instead of human brain cells. Theirs is an emotional position, not a rational one.

I'm not supporting or attacking abortion, in vitro fertilization, or stem cell research. I'm merely showing that a particular group of people who've latched onto a particular opinion can hold that opinion only by taking several conflicting positions at once, and therefore not holding any position that is supportable to a thinking person.

What has happened in this case is the same thing that happens all the time. People hold to a fundamentally flawed position and use flawed logic and incorrect assumptions to bolster that position. The result then becomes an intensely emotional defense of that position, accompanied by a total inability to look at anything related to it with any rationality whatsoever.

This puts the issue in the reptilian part of the brain, rather than in the frontal lobes. The frontal lobes comprise the largest portion of the brain and this is where that thing we call "intelligence" takes place. Unfortunately, there's a widespread tendency to "lock out" this portion of the brain.

Locking out the frontal lobes is obviously going the opposite direction from making use of your brainpower. It literally makes a person stupid. In fact, an ordinary monkey has a higher IQ than a human functioning in this mode. Those cartoons that show evolution happening in reverse are making an astute observation. But if you make the correct choices, that observation doesn't need to be about you.

Frontal lobe lockout: Don't let it happen to you.

One of the key figures in scientific history is Galileo. You may recall that the Catholic Church imprisoned Galileo and forced him to recant his belief that the earth revolved around the sun. He was luckier than some others who were burned alive for saying the same thing (yes, they had their own version of the IRS in those days). What drove this lunacy? A suppression of the "higher order" brain parts, in an effort to cling to incorrect assumptions that gave a privileged few their power and comfort.

While we look at Galileo as a giant because he was instrumental in bringing about the age of discovery, there's a twist to his story. Everything he knew was merely an approximation. Indeed, all of "classic physics" is merely an approximation. None of the "laws" postulated by classic physics work at the atomic or subatomic scale. This is similar to the way none of our laws apply to members of Congress.  :)

It's interesting to note that, at the start of the 20th Century, the postulates of classic physics were called laws. The results of precise physics--those derived from mathematical equations, ala Einstein, et al--are all called "theories." But that doesn't mean "theory" as in "probably not true." In fact, all of classic physics is a special case (large objects) that is a subset of mathematically-derived physics. You may have heard of quantum physics?

In over 80 years of extensive testing and experimentation, nobody have ever proved a single postulation of quantum physics wrong. What we call "laws of physics" really are not laws. What we call "theories" are. actually laws. It makes you think about driving your car on the parkway and parking it in the driveway, doesn't it? You can probably name a few of these "theories" right off the bat. Relativity, for example.

I bring up this law vs. theory thing to illustrate the need to challenge our own assumptions. Don't let existing views prevent you from understanding other viewpoints. Considering other viewpoints is how we grow into much brainier people.

Many people have a hard time accepting new information, because it appears to conflict with their previously held beliefs. We have an example of this with classic and quantum physics. There really is no conflict, if you understand that classic is merely an approximation and a subset of quantum.

Most people with opposing viewpoints have more in common than they do in conflict. This is a key fact experienced negotiators know. People have similar wants and needs--they just express them differently. For example, everyone wants to be loved (well, almost everyone).

  • To some people, the way to express this is to show kindness, compassion, and courtesy to others.
  • To some people, the way to express this is to show cruelty, coldness, and hostility toward others.

How can these opposites both be expressions of the need to be loved? Well, they are. The second one is commonly expressed toward others who are not a member of one's group, so as to be "normed" within one's own group or to win approval.

We see this behavior in gang wars, wars between nations, and even in shopping lines during the Christmas season. Sometimes, the costs and consequences are widespread and severe.

For example, American Taliban employees assume all American citizens are criminals who are something less than human. This presumption of guilt until proven innocent is a huge burden for the accused. AT employees, in their zeal to please their bosses, see nothing wrong with their backwards perspective. Thus, we have extremely brutal actions carried out innocent people on a regular basis every single day of the year except for federal holidays and weekends. With no remorse at all, AT employees will annihilate a business or put a family out on the street with nothing to live on but the charity of strangers.

Osama Bin Laden (may he soon rot in hell rather than in a cave packed with dialysis machines) is an example of someone who has taken this to extremes. And how did I just express my feelings toward him? That says something about me as well as about him. I just expressed cruelty, coldness, and hostility. What was your reaction? Approval? If I had expressed affection for this person, what would your reaction be? This helps illustrate just how complex we humans can be. We can be hateful and loving at the same time.

In most situations (cave-dwelling Arab terrorists excluded), a thinking person can look beyond this "us vs. them"  mentality and ask, "What do I have in common with those other people?" The answer will usually help us engender cordiality and cooperation. This is true, even if you are talking politics and religion. Unless, of course, that other person has a habit of blowing up things like the USS Cole and the World Trade Center and sending out videotapes of people being beheaded.

But even among "normal people," most of us cannot discuss politics or religion with people whose views differ from our own, because we fail to see what we have in common and thus we give up the opportunity to talk where there is no discord. Instead, we immediately zero in on the differences and become adversarial.

In the case of OA, mentioned above, he is all about differences and zero common ground. He's a good illustration of this problem when it's greatly magnified in an individual. We can also look at such narrow "thinkers" as the current Head Wingnut of Iran and the "Great Headcase" of North Korea. Of course, we have many more examples closer to home.

We can think much better, when we can avoid these "colliding" reactions to new information and instead:

  • Accept that others form their views from other perspectives and know things we don't.
  • Accept that we are working with information others do not or may not have--instead of considering them stupid, provide information in a respectful way.
  • Look for what's common, rather than immediately zeroing in on "what's wrong." There may be nothing wrong.
  • Allow for the fact that we may not exactly understand what's being conveyed. Ask for clarification, but not in a condescending or judgmental way.

At the same time, we do need to guard against BS. Have your BS detector on at all times. It is neither necessary nor desirable to fit everyone else's view and any new information into some Master Theory. Some things are simply either/or. And there is no law requiring you to debate or justify your opinions.

People make claims about things all the time--for example, in religion and politics. They may be very sincere, but 99% of people who strongly hold a view cannot support it in a debate (following the rules of evidence and argument in formal debating). They may still be right--they just can't articulate why. Or maybe they aren't right. Either way, a high level of confidence in a view does not make it right or even supportable. Conversely, the inability of someone to convince you does not make that view wrong or unsupportable. Don't confuse the container with the contents.

People are entitled to their opinions. You do not have to agree or disagree. A contest of opinions has no winners. But when people differ and explore a topic by sharing new information and presenting logical arguments, then you have a discussion in which both parties benefit--even if they part with differing views..

To weigh the accuracy of information, look at such things as:

  • The qualifications of the party making the claim.
  • The references (if any) cited.
  • The logic supporting the claim.
  • The internal consistency of the claim.
  • External consistencies and inconsistencies with the claim.

It's not necessary to conclusively support or refute any given information or opinion. Sometimes, doing so simply isn't possible. What is of benefit is that you remember to avoid letting new information immediately collide with your existing beliefs. You may find a change in perspective quite rewarding.



3. Time Tip

Have you felt your attention span shrinking, over the years? There are many reasons why this happens, and just about all of them have to do with adaptive behavior. If you have a need to focus and concentrate, then the following items will be very helpful.

But why is it important to have a long attention span, if your goal is to save time? The answer is very simple. You work most efficiently when you are truly paying attention to what you are doing. You're also safer when you're paying attention, which is not good news for drivers in the United States.

Consider the task of writing a letter. Composing a good business letter takes about half an hour. If you have the typical 6-minute attention span, the wandering of your mind is going to show in the quality (or lack thereof) of that letter. To eliminate relatively long periods of working inefficiently (or poorly, meaning you have to do things over), be totally there when you are engaged in the activity.

So, here are some things to consider. You may wish to make your own list.

  • Tune out television. This trains your brain to absorb information in tiny bursts. If you want to be someone who can't read an instruction manual or do anything else that requires more than vapid attention, watch more television. Otherwise, cut it back or even cut it out completely.
     
  • Turn off the phone. There is no reason you must answer your phone just because it rings. People today abuse the phone. I run a business, and I find I must simply refuse to answer it for long stretches. Otherwise, I would not get anything done. In fact, my phone message says, "The best way to reach me is via e-mail."
     
  • Read. This particular skill is rapidly fading in American culture. The United States is becoming a nation of non-readers. Consequently, it is becoming a nation of people who can't think in the abstract (a critical skill) and who simply cannot focus without some video something or other to entertain them.
     
  • Read. Get a variety of reading material. If you stay on a fairly regular diet of books and quality magazines, you will find your attention span growing. Can you sit down and read a novel without stopping? Most of us really don't want to, but some of us can't.
     
  • Write. How often do you write correspondence to friends and family? Do you send paper letters, which require you to think before writing? Do you take the time to compose a thoughtful e-mail, which also requires concentration? These kinds of activities do take time. But by exercising the corresponding areas of your brain, you do everything else more efficiently.
     
  • Read. Do I sound like a broken record on this one? I cannot stress enough how reading hones the brain to make it faster and more powerful. The more you read, the better your attention span will be, also. But take care that you read material that is worth reading.
     
  • Get an attention-demanding hobby or sport. What do climbing, martial arts, ballet, cycling, and painting have in common? They all require the dedication of time to one activity. They exercise your attention span, as well as your body.

4. Finance tip

Long-term Care Policies, Part Three

Let's assume you're not rich and you're not poor. By that, I mean you're not in the upper 2% and not in the lower 40% of the population (in terms of net worth). If you fit within this demographic, you can't afford long-term care, haven't mastered the art of living off the dole, and have had above-average opportunities. We'll refer to you as a "middle person."

If you are in that lower 40%, you are basically not going to be able to afford long-term care. The best thing you can do is take care of yourself now and hope for the best. You'll need to be a really strange person and abandon the disease culture for something that is more practical. See http://ww.supplecity.com for free information on doing that.

There's now way the typical middle person can afford the enormous cost of nursing home care, unless you are at the high end of the range and are at the low end of the health issues range.

If you are a US Citizen of any means and have not yet expatriated to a country that permits citizens to accumulate private wealth without fear it will be seized any day for no rational reason, then you should consider expatriation. There's a huge outflow of Americans who seek to escape the capricious seizure of their assets and the size of this outflow is increasing. These people are generally way above average in talent and intelligence, and that lends a certain air of "smart" to their choice. But this is a major life decision, and it's full of "gotchas" so be careful.

Another option is to buy a long-term care policy. This could make economic sense, depending on your current age, how much wealth you have, and your risk exposure (the greatest risk being seizure by the gov't, if you are a USA citizen).

Let's do the math.

At age 62, you buy a $100/day benefit policy for $650/year. This would be a three-year policy with a 90-day elimination period. On your 80th birthday, you slip on a piece of cake some great-grandkid set on the floor for the dog. You fall and you can't get up.

After the dog jumps on your broken hip twice, someone finally calls an ambulance. Weeks later, while you are reviewing the $18,000 hospital bill, your two adult children visit you. They thank you for having paid their way through college, helping them with downpayments on their homes, and for watching their children for free while they hit the bars in their 20's.

You shed a tear, thinking this is their way of telling you they will take care of you now that you can't ever walk again. They tell you that, having just gone through layoffs, home foreclosures, and tax collection, they need to put you up in a nursing home. On your dime.

Over the past 18 years, you have paid out $11,700 to an insurance company. Was that wise? What if you had put the $650 in a mutual fund earning an annual return varying between 11% to 18% each year? You would now have about $50,000 (after annual taxes). If an AT person decided to create a false tax debt for you and then push it through collections, you'd actually have a loss of about $20,000 after legal and other expenses.

But let's say you are lucky enough not to be victimized by a rogue AT agent and let's say you cash out the mutual fund. Your taxable gain is $38,300. Your actual income tax on this depends on many factors. But let's say it nets out at 12%. So now you have $33,700.

Let's compare the two outcomes:

  • The policy would cover 1,170 days (3.2 years) of care.
  • The mutual fund proceeds would cover 3,370 days (9 years) of care.

Now the scenario just posed probably doesn't match your own circumstances. But follow the same methodology to arrive at your own cost comparison. You may be better off with the policy.

But another point to remember is this comparison is over-simplified. You don't have to cash the mutual fund out all at once. You can draw down funds quarterly, and in so doing you may allow the fund to continue to grow while it's paying your bills. Or, it may decline so slowly that it outlives you.

The only risk in having an asset is, if you are an American citizen (no matter where you live) you have no rights of ownership. You have only the privilege of stewardship. All property belongs to the government, not to private citizens. If you think you own your home, try not paying your property taxes and you'll see who the real owner is. The risk of loss by the illegal actions of rogue agency employees is quite real. In the USA, there is currently an epidemic of seizures going on. Which is why so many wealthy US citizens are becoming citizens of other countries and renouncing the citizenship of the country they were born in. There are ways to minimize this risk, but no person is ever free of it.

On the other hand, your insurance policy is also an asset that can be seized (in the USA, anyhow). So, your best bet--if you are under 70 and reasonably healthy--is probably to select a couple of well-managed mutual funds and begin paying in. Take care when filing your taxes that you don't do anything "creative" and that you get a receipt showing you filed.

See http://www.supplecity.com for free articles on taking care of your body so it can, in turn, take care of you and your finances in the long-term.

5. Security tip

In a perfect world, identity theft could actually work in your favor.

Let's look at an example that applies in the USA. Similar examples apply in Australia and New Zealand, but I don't know about other countries.

Here's the example. The American Taliban (AT) digs up some crap from a return you filed 20 years ago. They then assess you for tax underpayment of, say, $200. You have no records to support the claim, but you point out there is a statute of limitations on assessment. They whip out some really creative story explaining how they voided the statute. The interest and penalties now make that "error" worth more than your assets.

You explain that they sure took their sweet time discovering this tiny error, which is supported only by the most whacked out interpretation of the Tax Code. You also point out that you didn't do anything wrong, so penalties should not apply. They just laugh at you. The person who stuck you with this needed a brownie point for a promotion, and your number came up. Anything you say is simply irrelevant. Your fate has been decided.

The AT takes the attitude "Resistance is futile," and they seek to assimilate anything you "own." These sick, twisted individuals then look at your means of earning income and try to eliminate that so they can leave a trail of devastation to brag to their coworkers about while surging p*rn sites at the office (see the GAO reports on this issue).

But lo! A scammer has your SS (Social Slave) number, and the AT goes after him instead. Wow, identity theft allowed you to survive a vicious AT attack!

Dream on. In reality, it doesn't work that way. Instead, the scammer is the one racking up the tax debts and you are the one left stuck paying them. And it's not just taxes--all kinds of bills can pile up.

These scammers, like our Congressmen and senators, get a free ride at a huge cost to ordinary people who end up working thousands of hours for nothing.

How do scammers get your personal information? There are many ways, most of which we will detail in future editions. But one major way they do this is they buy information from rogue AT employees. Yes, those same freaks we already discussed. AT employees who want a quick buck do it this way, rather than running their own scams.

It may seem there is nothing you can do about this, as AT employees get a free pass for engaging in criminal activities. For example, they can kidnap toddlers at gunpoint at a Michigan daycare center and not even be charged with any crime (1985). They steal computers from their own offices, and that also is permitted (GAO report, 2003).

A little thing like selling your personal information and kicking back some of the proceeds to their managers is not something the Justice Department is going to make a fuss over. Nor is a little thing like using their massive power to destroy anyone who digs into this to stop the criminal activity.

But there is something you can do. Support the organizations that have banded together to abolish the AT. Recently, representatives from the National Taxpayers Union http://www.ntu.org, Americans for Fair Taxation http://www.fairtax.org, and the National Council of Smaller Enterprises http://www.cose.org met with lawmakers in Washington, DC. Illinois Congressman Dennis J. Hastert, who is also the Speaker of the House, was instrumental in setting this up.

If we eliminate the AT, which is a totally useless and unnecessary hotbed of vastly destructive criminal activity, we will simultaneously eliminate a huge swath of the criminal element in this country. Those few decent people who work for the AT will be able to find gainful employment elsewhere. Most of them are looking, anyhow, because they have been completely cured of any delusions that their team is the good guys.

The wrong approach to this problem of rogue AT employees is being taken by several groups, none of whom I will name. They advocate non-compliance with the law. But that behavior is the same problem we have with the AT. So, this is hugely hypocritical. Don't break the law. Pressure Congress to change it. Let's not distract them with red herring issues--I personally cannot think of any national issue more urgent than abolishing the AT.

Hounding legislators to abolish the AT is the best way to improve your personal security. And remember, this has nothing to do with tax reduction. It's all about taking away excessive power that is excessively abused with zero recourse for the victims.

Side benefits of the change these three groups are pushing for include:

  • The elimination of the tax shelter now available only to illegal aliens (they pay sales taxes, but not the income tax).
  • Huge cost-savings through elimination of an organization that simply duplicates what other organizations are already doing, and is staffed by more people than our combined Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. That's really saying something, since the USA spends more on the military than the next five nations combined.
  • Elimination of the 90 hours per year the typical small business spends on tax compliance. This means better service and lower prices for consumers.
  • Elimination of a huge tax compliance infrastructure at the cost of billions of dollars a year to corporate America. We all pay for that, and none of the money spent goes to the Treasury or benefits us in any way. Having this makes as much sense as running your air conditioning with all of your doors and windows open while it's 100 DegrF outside. Actually, it makes even less sense than that.

See the Websites of these organizations for more information. Improve your personal security and the nation's economy at the same time.

 

6. Health tip/Fitness tips

We have a new article at Supplecity.com. Check it out: http://www.supplecity.com/articles/3andfitness.htm.


 

7. Miscellany

  1. Over 500 million gallons of Kool-Aid drink are consumed each year. Jim Jones would be proud.  :)
     
  2. Help U.S. Marines: http://www.mypersonalfitnesscoach.com/supportourmarines.html .
     
  3. See: http://www.mindconnection.com/main/specialoffers.htm. It has some great offers that are worth following up on--such asgasoline offers. I especially like this one: Free special offer for people who are tired of not sleeping. Visit QualityHealth to get your free special offer and get the sleep you need.
     

  4. We don't run ads in our newsletter. We do get inquiries from advertisers, all the time. To keep this eNL coming, go to www.mindconnection.com and do your shopping from there (as appropriate).
     

  5. Please forward this eNL to others.

 

8. Thought for the Day

Technology marches relentlessly forward. Are you in step with it?

 

Wishing you the best,

Mark Lamendola
Mindconnection.com

 

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