Cyril O

The Importance Of Living by Lin Yutang

The Importance Of Living by Lin Yutang

From “The Importance of Living” Chapter ‘On Playful Curiosity’

By Lin Yutang (written in 1937)

“It is for this reason that I hate censors and all agencies and forms of government that try to control our thought.  I cannot but believe that such a censor or such a ruler is wilfully or unintentionally insulting human intelligence.  If the liberty of though is the highest activity of the human mind, the the suppression of that liberty must be the most degrading to us as human beings.  Euripides defined the slave as a main who has lost this liberty of thought or opinion.  Every autocracy is a factory for turning out gorgeous Euripidean slaves. Don’t we have fine examples of them, East and West, in the twentieth century and at the very home of culture?  Ever autocratic government, no matter in what form, therefore, is intellectually retrograde. (retrograde:” Moving backward; having a backward motion or direction; retreating”)

We have seen it in the Middle Ages in general, and in the Spanish Inquisition in particular.  Short sighted politicians or clergymen may think that uniformity of beliefs and thought contributes toward peace and order, but historically the consequence is always depressing and degrading to the human character.  Such autocrats must have a great contempt for the people in general when they do not confine themselves to ordering a nation’s external conduct, but proceed also to regiment the people’s inner thoughts and beliefs.  They have a naive assurance that human minds will put up with this uniformity and that they will like or dislike a book or a concerto or a moving picture exactly as the official propagandist or chief of publicity bureau tells them to.  Every autocratic government has tried to confuse literature with propaganda, art with politics, anthropology with patriotism and religion with worship of the living leader. 

It simply can’t be done, and if the controllers of thought go too far in running against human nature itself, they are thereby sowing the seeds of their downfall.  As Mencius* put it, ‘if the ruler considers the people as blades of grass, then the people will consider there ruler asa  robber or enemy’. There is no greater robber in the world than he who robs us of our liberty of thought. Deprived of that, we might as well go down on all fours, the the whole biped experiment of walking on two legs a mistake, and revert to our earlier posture of at least some 30,000 years ago. 

In Mencian terms, therefore, the people will resent this robber as much as the latter despises the people, and exactly in the same proportion.  The more the robber takes away, the more the people hate him.  And as nothing is so precious and personal and intimate as our intellectual, moral or religious beliefs, no greater hatred can be aroused in us than by the man who deprives us of the right to believe what we believe.  But such short-sighted stupidity is natural in an autocrat, because I believe such autocrats are always intellectually retrograde. And the resilience of human character and unconquerable liberty of the human conscience always spring back and hit the autocrat with a vengeance.”

* Mencius was a Chinese Confucian philosopher who lived in the 4th century BCE. He was a prominent student of Confucius and is considered one of the most important Confucian philosophers after Confucius himself.

Posted by Cyril O in blog, 0 comments
The End of Capitalism: Crony Capitalism vs Entrepreneurial Capitalism

The End of Capitalism: Crony Capitalism vs Entrepreneurial Capitalism

Crony Capitalism vs Entrepreneurial Capitalism

Was having a chat with a friend the other day about capitalism.  Apparently, there is a lot of chatter on social media about the ‘end of capitalism’.  Other phrases used for this: ‘post-capitalism’ or post-growth’ or ‘post-capitalist economy”.

There is a quote that I love.  Comes in handy when two people seem to be having an argument.  One can easily help sort out an argument by using this.

“If you want to converse with me, define your terms.”

    • Voltaire

Important when it comes to discussing capitalism.  Odds are that if each person arguing, one for capitalism and one against; if each defined clearly what they thought capitalism was, the other might agree with their argument. 

Here are a couple of definitions that might help:

Crony Capitalism

The meaning of CRONY CAPITALISM is an economic system in which individuals and businesses with political connections and influence are favored (as through tax breaks, grants, and other forms of government assistance) in ways seen as suppressing open competition in a free market.

A bit more:

‘Crony capitalism’, sometimes also called simply cronyism, is a pejorative*(*belittling) term used in political discourse to describe a situation in which businesses profit from a close relationship with state power, either through an anti-competitive regulatory environment, direct government largesse, …

And here is how I think of capitalism:

“Entrepreneurial capitalism is a form of capitalism that emphasizes the role of entrepreneurs in creating new businesses and driving innovation. It is characterized by a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are often seen as the engines of economic growth and job creation. In entrepreneurial capitalism, individuals with innovative ideas and a willingness to take risks start new businesses, creating new products and services that meet the needs of consumers.

This form of capitalism is often seen as the most pure and dynamic, as it allows for the free flow of ideas and resources, and the ability to adapt quickly to changing market conditions. Entrepreneurial capitalism is also associated with the concept of “creative destruction,” where old industries and businesses are replaced by new ones, leading to a more efficient allocation of resources and a more innovative economy.

(AI Generated answer) 🙂

This is one example but an important one considering the current state of affairs in the world.  Many young people think that socialism or communism might be a solution to what currently ails the world.

Again, one needs to define terms.  What is your concept of socialism? 

And if you destroy both sorts of capitalism, is that good?  Who is going to create the products that we all need to get through life.  Who are going to be the innovators.

The Chinese have a communist/socialist state. But they have, over the years squashed any sort of individualism, and as such, no innovation, no entrepreneurialism.  So, they have to steal ideas from capitalistic countries. Duh.

Pretty sure anyone with extreme views will not get this far in the article.  If you get this far and still feel the need to tear down ‘capitalism’, please try not to ‘throw out the baby with the bathwater’.

‘Define your terms!’

Posted by Cyril O in blog, 0 comments
How to Shut Down Anyone’s Argument

How to Shut Down Anyone’s Argument

Conspiracy Theories Are Evil

The Best Way to Shut Down An Argument

I love the phrase ‘conspiracy theory’.  If you don’t like someone else’s stand on a topic, you no longer have to explain your side or tell them factually why you think they are wrong. 

Simply refer to the other person’s information or point of view as a ‘conspiracy theory’ and you no longer have to justify yours.

It’s freaking brilliant!

You no longer have to do proper research on:

Climate Change

Drug Side Effects

Government Intervention or Spying

Russian Interference In USA Elections
Chinese Interference in Canadian Politics and Elections

Did One Man Kill John F. Kennedy?

Chem Trails

9/11 Attack on the Twin Tower/USA

Biden’s Connections to China

Voting Fraud

MK Ultra

Flat Earth

Wrestling is Fake

Aliens, Extraterrestrials and UFOs

All you have to do is figure out how the majority of people are leaning on a subject and tell anyone with a differing opinion that their idea is a  conspiracy theory.  And voila! - you win.  Any discussion or argument. 

You don’t have to ‘define your terms’ or have facts to back you up or any such thing. 

Life is so much easier that way.

Posted by Cyril O in blog, 0 comments
Debate Team… Or Home School?

Debate Team… Or Home School?

Learn Both Sides of Subject

Or At Least Try To…

Home School? Or can this be done in public or private schools?

I was a Youth Group sort of conference recently.  A number of the students spoke on the subject of Climate Change. 

I have pretty strong views on the subject.  But that is not the point of this essay. 

Three students were speaking on how important it was to do something about climate change.  Got me thinking back to my school years. 

Way back when… we had debate teams.  Now, if you are a late comer then you may not know how this sort of thing worked.  I won’t go into all the rules, and there were lots. There would be a suggested subject such as ‘climate change’.

Students were assigned to one side or the other of the argument. As a student, you might be assigned to the opposite side which you felt was right. It was pretty random.


That, for me, at the time, really sucked.  I had no idea how to think like that.  How to take the other view and properly research it.  And defend it…! 

There would be some sort of point system and one side or the other would win based on this.  For me, looking back I wish I could have thunk through this.  Now, on the other hand, I’d have a great time with it.

It was effective in getting students to look at the other side of an argument. 

I read a lot and encourage others to do the same.  Research.  If you send your student to search the internet, Wikipedia, etc., they will get a very one-sided view of pretty much any important subject. 

Take climate change as one example.  Do any internet search and the first fifty listings will pretty much tell you that we are all gonna die.  If you go someplace like Amazon even or search some other databases, you very likely will find some scientists that disagree with what is commonly promoted about climate change.  There are just as many scientists that disagree with the idea that ‘we are all gonna die’.  Or at least any changes do not have anything to do with humans.  Or maybe they aren’t as harmful as most think.  All things that should be investigated.

I’m not going to put forth any arguments against these common agreements on the subject of climate change.  My point here is that students are fed one side and are not encouraged to discover if true or not.  Lots of information on both sides. 

I would love to have each of the students that spoke on the subject research data on the ‘other side’ and make an argument that way. 

What an exercise that would be!!

I’m a huge proponent of Home Schooling.  Most home schoolers will at least attempt to have their children decide for themselves what is true and what works for them.   The whole point for many parents is to have their children able to think for themselves and not just regurgitate what the teacher tells them. 

If you had two teachers in a public school that had complete opposite views on important subjects, taking turns teaching the same class, this, to me, would be ideal. 

Imagine how beautifully confused some students would get!

I mean, ideally, a teacher would not be wanting to import his or her beliefs onto a student.  The ideal teacher would help a student evaluate information for him or herself to the truth of it. Is it true for me?  Does this make sense?  Or am I just aiming to please my teacher or whomsoever is running the show here.

But if you home school your kids, you don’t have to deal with all this.

Authors/Books on the subject:

Anything by John Taylor Gotto

Anything by John Holt

And for sure check out Classical Learner

Posted by Cyril O in blog, 0 comments
Adult Swimming Lessons – Masters Swim

Adult Swimming Lessons – Masters Swim

Adult Swimming Lessons - Teach The Basics

I was at the pool a couple of days ago working out.  Saw a guy get in the slow lane and kind of go back and forth in the slow lane.  He was there for a fair bit.

I completed my laps and headed for the sauna.  There is a window that over looks a short bit of the shallow end of the pool where this fellow was struggling

After my twenty minutes sweating, I just couldn’t withhold myself any longer.  I went out and over to him as he was standing against the end of the shallow end of the pool debating what to do next. 

I went over and told him that it was painful to watch him suffer like that.  Would he like some help.  I asked him what he did for a living.  He is a software programmer.  I pointed out to him that he had likely learned that skill by at first learning the language and learning parts of the skill.  That is was unlikely that he sat down the first day and just started in full tilt. 

The same would go for a plumber or carpenter or a doctor.  A carpenter would have to learn how to measure and cut first.  You would not want to start building a house without learning some basics or parts of the activity first. 

He was trying to do the whole stroke and being very unsuccessful.  No progress. 

I gave him two basic drills.  Then a third.  I told him to do these drills at least twenty times first thing in the pool every time he entered. 

When children are learning, we teach them the ‘dead man’s float’, gliding and such things.

First drill: Push off the side and glide.  Arms out in front, legs stretched behind. Thread the needle.  Go as far as you can like this.  Stand up. Come back. And do it again. And again.

Second Dril: Stand against the side of the pool. Feet on the bottom, bent over with arms on the sides of the pool.  Face in the water to start.  Turn your head and body to the breathing side slowly.  Lift that arm a bit if you need to as you turn your head and body. Breath in.  Turn your face back into the water.  Lowering your arm back to level.  Breathe out under water.  Repeat twenty times. 

Key here is to turn sideways, not to lift your head frontwards. 

My new friend in the pool told me that I was a much better teacher that the person that he was taking lessons from.  Much simpler. 

If the person that you are working with is not winning, having wins at swimming, then, you, the coach or teacher, are doing something wrong.  Not the person. 

Always one thing at a time. 

More: Swimming

Posted by Cyril O in blog, 0 comments