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Nolan

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    Thoughts and Musings

    Rusted Compass Thoughts and Musings

    Old Books and New Discoveries

    “If you want a new idea, read an old book.” ~ John B. (original source unknown)

    It’s incredible the amount of history, biography, knowledge, and wisdom packed into all of the books in the world. Most of this wisdom is lost in the simple fact that many of these books may rarely ever be opened again. With the increased sourcing of information from internet, electronic and digital platforms an inevitable regurgitation loop begins to form. Cultural hegemony and contemporary trends drive the flow and direction of available news and information. Search engines put artificial limits on the expanses of where you can gather new ideas because their algorithms are built for returning popular or paid results. We’re limited and bound by this digital archive design. At some point the only way to seek out a new idea is to look for them where you would least expect – in the dusty pages of time.CONTINUE READING

    What is a Neighbor?

    Is a neighbor simply a person that lives within a close proximity to where you live? Certainly the term “neighborhood” describes proximity as it refers to a geographically localized community. However, the term “neighbor” has historically been used to describe a fellow man with some level of acquaintance or interaction. The Bible describes a neighbor in Matthew 19:19 when it sums up the law as, “love your neighbor as yourself.” Throughout the Bible the word “neighbor” is used in a context based around some type of interaction and dealings with other people that are in your life. There is always a level of involvement with neighbors and an emphasis on our relationship to them in matters of everyday life. Historically, a neighbor has been more of a complex concept than the way we often refer to it today, neighbors being the people that we see briefly when we walk from the home to the car.CONTINUE READING

    Solitude for the Mind

    “…by silent solitary reflection we exercise and strengthen all the powers of the mind. The many obstacles which render it difficult to pursue our path disperse and retire, and we return to a busy social life with more cheerfulness and content. The sphere of our understanding becomes enlarged by reflection ; we have learned to survey more objects, and to bind them intellectually together; we carry a clearer sight, a juster judgment, and firmer principles, with us into the world in which we arc to live and act ; and are then more able, even in the midst of all its distractions, to preserve our attention, to think with accuracy, to determine with judgment, in a degree proportioned to the preparations we have made in the hour of retirement.” – from Solitude by J.G. Zimmerman

    There exists a deficit in the bustling cities among the constant noise of entertainment, information, and interactions streaming into our lives. In the middle of the richness of our technological age that connects people together, it has become increasingly difficult to find quiet places of self reflection. In the early 19th century, J.G. Zimmerman referred to this as simply “Solitude.” Solitude doesn’t imply the necessity of going to a remote location hundreds of miles away from society. It can simply be the moments and places where we’re able to disconnect from distractions enough to meditate on our thoughts.CONTINUE READING

    Individualism and America

    The United States was built on a foundation that has defined our identity. That foundation expresses itself in our Constitution – most specifically individual liberty. The structural design of our union was carefully planned to decentralize power. The States’ powers are intended to be the decentralization of Federal powers so that the people’s interests are more evenly represented across the nation at the State levels, and provide representation in closer proximity to the people. By the same structural design, individual rights are the decentralization of social special-interest power. Our Constitution recognizes rights as being owned by the individual, not as group divisions of interests. If individual rights are clearly outlined and fully protected, it will be the foundation for protecting ALL American citizens. Not only is doing so fundamental to our liberty, but also recognizes the Individual as the fullest expression of respect toward humanity.CONTINUE READING

    Tune Out Nationally and Unite Locally

    Chances are you’ve seen or heard calls for the need to unite America again. With the political and faction divisions at the national level, there is an increase in violent and divisive events happening in the United States. However, the assumption the solution must come at the national level is misguided. Yes, the goal is to stop the wedge that’s driving through our country but the means to achieve that requires focusing at the local level.CONTINUE READING

    The Folkway Chasm

    Throughout all of history, mankind has encountered pivotal epochs which have defined generations not simply by the breakdown of age groups, but instead by the drastic events and changes that shifted the overall culture of a society. In today’s world we understand our generations as X,Y, and Z – a.k.a. “Millennials.” Unfortunately this simple method of dividing generations, by ranges of birth years, doesn’t give us a very in-depth understanding of the fundamental changes and differences that we witness from generation to generation.CONTINUE READING

    Etiquette – It’s Personal

    We’ve all encountered uncomfortable moments and been in places where we don’t quite know the social expectations of us and acceptable behavior. There are old formal traditions of manners and unspoken rules floating around in society as well as new more casual views on etiquette. This diverse mix of generational viewpoints and upbringings only manages to blur the lines of these social rules and adds confusion. The problem isn’t so much that we don’t all know the “rules,” it’s that we’ve forgotten the core meaning, purpose, and value of etiquette. As a society we see it as just a behavioral expectation being placed on us, but we have forgotten the purpose it ultimately serves.CONTINUE READING

    The Two Societal Frames

    In previous articles I have described and explained why community begins first with the individual. When individuals are empowered it will enable them to get involved and contribute through voluntary action as well as find a personal sense of belonging. Empowering individuals doesn’t favor a faction, bias, or collective interest of one group over another. It doesn’t group people and pick one side over the other. It benefits the greatest number of people in a society because we are all individuals. If we are to repair the divisions in our nation it must begin with heralding the individual above factions and extending basic respect toward one another. This can only happen at the individual level, and it begins with personal choice.

    I would like to invite you to perceive society through two very different frames:

    1. The Collectivist Frame.

    2. The Individualist Frame.

    CONTINUE READING

    Iconoclasts in Society

    “Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ And Vanity comes along and asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But Conscience asks the question ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

    We exist in a world of constant influence. Whatever we set our minds on, that idea slowly becomes our reality. You can read a book that’s so fascinating and intriguing to you that even when we put the book down it continues to resonate in your mind and shape your worldview throughout the day. Because you set your mind on it for a long period of time, it becomes the forefront of your reality. This happens when we individually choose to focus on something, but it also happens socially. People think, act, and conform to the hegemonic cultures and views. Ideas come to us through our daily interactions in the world primarily from other people.

    The most effective influences on us are through our social connections. Not just any social connections, but the ones we’ve allowed to become a part of our lives. The social spheres that influences us the most are the ones we already have accepted and find belonging in. The social connections that are most entrusted by us have the greatest ability to open up our perspectives and worldviews. We naturally guard against those with opposing views or from social influences that we don’t relate to. Suffice it to say that our closest friends and relationships can change our worldview much more effectively than not-so-close acquaintances and complete strangers trying to change our worldview. Keep in mind that if you try to persuade others to see the world from your perspective, if you aren’t taking the time to first build their trust and respect you’re probably wasting your time. People will always default to the views they’ve already developed over time and put up a guard against unfamiliar and effortful consideration of new ones. CONTINUE READING

    The Importance of Community Resilience

    Community resilience isn’t something that happens by chance. It’s dependent upon the attitudes and respect that people in a community have for one another. We all have a vested interest in contributing to cultivating our own communities to make them more resilient.

    Few areas in the world are completely immune from various potential disasters and conflicts – natural disasters, financial disasters, civil unrest, energy and power grid failures, etc. What would your community look like if it faced one of these disasters today? Would people band together and help each other generously, or would it quickly become everyone for themselves? Would people trust and respect their neighbors enough to form support for one another, or would their immediate survival reaction lead them to an attitude of strife and competition? Ask yourself these questions and determine what you can do to contribute in building trust and respect in your own sphere of influence.

    You’re never going to find a utopia community where everyone holds hands and sings “kumbaya” together, but you will find that the attitudes and dependencies of communities will definitely vary in various regions. Some micro-communities within just a small city block or neighborhood may be very tight-knit and close, even if the overall broader city is less inclined to charity. What type of community or neighborhood to you want to be a part of? Don’t settle for living somewhere where you don’t feel a sense of belonging and basic respect among those around you.CONTINUE READING

    You Define and Create Your Community

    Communities aren’t built from the top down, they’re built from the bottom up. It begins with the individual. Attitudes toward your own community derive from knowing this. It’s the acknowledgement that you can do something positive in your own life and influence others rather than focusing on the hopeless and disheartening conditioning of mainstream media and news. It pulls you in to focus on everything around you that you can change, rather than the plethora of information overload flooding you with things that you can’t change.

    Here is the ladder to reaching community improvement:

    CONTINUE READING

    The Individual in a Community

    In every community, there is a common factor that brings many different groups or individuals together, whether it’s as simple as living in a common geographic area or having a common vested interest.

    Though the focus is often on the community itself, we can’t undermine the importance of the individual in a community. The greatest communities are propelled by the voluntary actions and initiatives of individuals. Some people are natural leaders. Others want to contribute specific talents and gifts to become an important piece of contributing to a common goal.CONTINUE READING

    What are you thankful for?

    We all have goals and ambitions that keep us growing, improving, and moving forward in life. As soon as we attain one of these goals, however, there’s always a new one to take its place. Whether it’s a goal of self-development, career, health, lifestyle, or learning, the irony of our goals is that they seem so grandiose and idealistically amazing when we’re pursuing them but that estranged desire slowly seems to fade after the dream becomes reality. It doesn’t take long before we turn our attention away from what we’ve attained and focus on to the next thing. CONTINUE READING

    Community Learning Opportunities

     

    Learning isn’t by any means restricted to institutions. Well into adulthood we’re constantly discovering new avenues of learning, and many times we’ll choose to take different paths and explore new fields that were once unfamiliar to us. It may be suddenly sparked by intrigue and inspiration, or perhaps we’re looking for increasing our utility by learning a new skill or trade.

    Information is so accessible in our modern world that we can easily research new toopics online. We can visit the library for a book to read or even take college classes. However, I’ve found that my favorite type of learning is that which is designed through interacting with others. I enjoy working with people who have personal experience and wisdom in a particular area. It’s much more valuable and fun to attend a workshop or hands-on dynamic learning course than to read static information. Not only can you soak up the information, but you can have it delivered to you in a more personable way. If you have questions someone with wisdom and experience is right there to answer your questions. Most important of all you can learn hands-on and get your feet wet.CONTINUE READING

    A Resurgence of Family Legacy

    I often find it strange that family legacy doesn’t play as much of a role in our society as it once did. In many cultures it has been extremely important for people to have pride in their family name and to carry on a legacy. For families with a tarnished history it can be an opportunity to break the cycle and start a new family that diverges from the less desirable aspects of past generations. Family trees can help to document the history of how the youngest family came to be. The Mormon community, for example, places much importance in the concept of genealogy and learning about one’s family history. They even offer free services that will assist you in tracing your own lineage.

    During medieval times many families had their own family crest, which was often a shield with symbols to define what made their family name significant. Family names were so integrated into the importance of the identity of a person that they were inseparable. There is something to be admired about the importance of family and knowing where you come from.CONTINUE READING

    Posts on this page
    • Old Books and New Discoveries
    • What is a Neighbor?
    • Solitude for the Mind
    • Individualism and America
    • Tune Out Nationally and Unite Locally
    • The Folkway Chasm
    • Etiquette - It's Personal
    • The Two Societal Frames
    • Iconoclasts in Society
    • The Importance of Community Resilience
    • You Define and Create Your Community
    • The Individual in a Community
    • What are you thankful for?
    • Community Learning Opportunities
    • A Resurgence of Family Legacy