Friday, January 31, 2014

The Journey

The Journey

I began a journey 

The other day;

Where it will lead, 

I cannot say.

To realms unexplored,

Yet known within,

Seeking knowledge

Of Truth therein.


Down many roads

I've traveled thus far; 

And along each path,

I've gazed at a star 

And wonder'd anew

At the feeling I feel,

To know that this path

Is true and real.


The Spirit Within

Calls to my Soul,

Telling of wonders

I've yet to behold.

And my Soul, though timid yet,

Strives for awareness: Never forget

The original path

My wandering takes,

O'er hills and streams,

By mountains and lakes,

Past village and town;

'Neath skies so bright;

Through caverns and storms

That blot out the light

Of inner knowing

That all is right.


Yet onward I go,

Seeking my sight...

© 2014 Donald C. Rice Jr.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Reason and Rationality

At the start of last year, I wrote about anger.  If you want to read that blog before this one, here it is:

I wrote that anger should be eliminated from our being.  I was in error.  Allow me to clarify, if you will.

I wrote that anger is destructive, that it rips apart our essential humanity, and that it is an indulgence of the beast nature of our animal bodies.  That was the basis of my error. 

The Truth is that anger can be either destructive or constructive, depending on whether we respond rationally and reasonably or react instinctively and without rationality or reason.

My Teacher, Master David M. Berry, describes reason thus:  "Reason gives stability and balance to our love, hate, fear, and et cetera."  And he defines rationality as a state of "being able to consciously conform to conditions."

What, then, is a constructive way to deal with anger?  First, focus on what is causing it.  Then find a way to neutralize that cause, or to transform it into something else, something that does not bring out anger. 

How and what you do depends greatly on what is causing your anger.  But we must understand that there is a cause behind every effect.  So whatever we do, we must consider the effect it will have before we do it.  Is the effect something we want?  will it help us to further our individual growth?  Will it cause problems for ourselves or anyone else? 

Ask yourself those questions, then base your actions on the answers you discover within yourself.  This is what I'm learning to do, and I'm finding myself more in harmony when I do it, and less in harmony when I don't.  It's difficult sometimes, but only when my choices make it so.  When we understand that, then we will begin to change who we are as well as how to improve the living of our lives.


  © 2014 Donald C. Rice Jr.

Ending Poverty the Libertarian way?

 The following passage is on an issue page for the Libertarian Party here in the United States:

"We should eliminate the entire social welfare system. This includes eliminating food stamps, subsidized housing, and all the rest. Individuals who are unable to fully support themselves and their families through the job market must, once again, learn to rely on supportive family, church, community, or private charity to bridge the gap."

There are two major points that render this unworkable.

First, anything that is to be eliminated must be done slowly and carefully, to avoid the proverbial "shock to the system", and to give the people using those services time and opportunity to find suitable replacements for them.  The biggest failure with this approach is that, in many instances, that opportunity is, for all practical purposes, non-existent.  That being the case, then all the time in the world wouldn't be of any help.

Second, I can name quite a few people, from personal knowledge, for whom relying on family wouldn't do any good at all.  My own is foremost in my awareness, as when I needed help, my family was nowhere to be found.

Churches?  Food pantries, serving lunches, okay, there's some help there; but it depends on donations that often dries up in hard economic times.  And even at its best, such donations are nowhere near enough to handle the need in many communities.

Private charity?  They have rules that far too many people just can't meet.  I'm reading a book right now about the child protection system, as part of my research for the book I'm writing.  It makes it clear that private organizations operate on a basis of whether a particualar person or family fits in with their target demographic.  And i've seen this to be true from my own experience as well.

I agree that the system is not working and, as it is now constituted, cannot work except to exacerbate the problem.  I think that is the way the system was designed; and yes, I'm including the child protection system in that statement.  However, we cannot just take the system down with nothing to replace it.  And the Libertarian platform offers nothing that is workable, for the reasons I've already stated.

No, what needs to be done is to completely revamp the system so that it actually serves the needs of the people reliant on it, rather than making them virtual slaves to it.  Something that will reduce or even eliminate the burden on all facets of our society.  The Libertarian platform does recognize that this burden exists, becasue they made it the opening statement for this part of their platform.  Yet their solution would do vastly more harm than good, becasue it is not founded on the day-to-day realities of life for the people who are dependent on the system.

Much of the rest of this platform stand on welfare is pretty much right on the money so to speak, except for limiting tax breaks to only private charities and foundations.  Public or semi-private must be included, such as the 501(c) organizations.  Otherwise, the problems I described above with private groups would continue unabated.

Farther down the same page is the following:

"It is time to break up the public education monopoly and give all parents the right to decide what school their children will attend. It is essential to restore choice and the discipline of the marketplace to education. Only a free market in education will provide the improvement in education necessary to enable millions of Americans to escape poverty."

I take issue with the concept of turning it over to the marketplace.  Many advances have come about in our society as a result of *not* being beholden to market forces or the corporate "agenda".  We would never have gone to the Moon, for example, nor reaped the benefits in many different aspects of society that derived directly from that effort.

Choice in education is a worthwhile objective.  But through the marketplace?  Not a good idea, for the same reasons I stated above in relation to ending welfare altogether.  Instead, we must teach our children the skills needed to get and hold a good career that they enjoy and, becasue they enjoy it, they will put forth their best efforts.  This will also provide ample opportunities for advancement in their chosen fields, unlike what is now all too common in the workplaces of America.

Again, the best way to proceed is to completely revamp the system so that it not only provides a usable education founded in science and the arts, but also require courses in critical thinking, which has been all too lacking for as long as I can recall, with few exceptions, such as those who partake of extracurricular activities like debate clubs.

Taking the system down is counter-productive.  Revamp it instead.  Change it so that it works for us, not as it is now with us working for it.


  © 2014 Donald C. Rice Jr.