Many ancient warrior cultures such as the Spartans and Aztecs worshipped strength as the ultimate virtue that any human could aspire to. The surface reason for this is readily apparent because unlike in our modern times, physical combat was the accepted method for settling disputes back then. It follows therefore, that the more physically strong or battle hardened you were in those times, the more successful your life became because your strength furnished you with the ability to fend off rivals who threatened your eminence or position in life. Being a strong individual or empire in those days also gave you the resources required to snatch the property and possessions of other people and/or city states in order to fulfil the primal desire to expand reach and power. As important as it was to show strength in those ancient times, it was perhaps even more important to avoid a show of weakness as that could literally mean certain death. For example, a show of weakness in battle could mean the difference between leaving the battlefield with your life and limbs intact, or taking a lethal bronze sword through the jaw as your lack of confidence would arm your opponent with the requisite boldness to strike with deadly intentions. All of this might sound very barbaric to those of us living in the modern world today but society was much more blatantly ruthless and machiavellian back then. The fact that our world and the people that inhabit it have now become much more refined, begs the following question: is the need for strength now a thing of bygone eras? In the much more physically and socially forgiving environments that we all now live in, is the need for strength still just as important? Continue reading In search of the ultimate virtue…
Month: January 2016
Life’s Lessons from Steve Jobs
My first real look at Steve Jobs the person was during the Stanford University commencement address he gave in 2005 while I was still a graduate student there. That day I saw a very different man from the annoyingly brash young entrepreneur that was the protagonist of many emotionally messy stories in silicon valley folklore. He seemed to have become considerably tempered by wisdom and mellowed by the passage of time. The well delivered speech he gave that day was replete with unadulterated truth and nuggets of wisdom. He spoke about triumph, love, and loss with a raw purity that could have only been forged from equally raw real life experiences. Oddly, he simultaneously possessed a surprising level of humility as well as the confidence of a man who founded and served as the CEO of the most valuable technology company in the entire world. It was natural to wonder about the nature of the various experiences that had so thoroughly transformed the man from an acid dropping college dropout into one of the most powerful men in the world. Continue reading Life’s Lessons from Steve Jobs
A Loner’s manifesto: Blessed are the introverted
We humans are social creatures who very often rely on one another to survive. We as a species have quickly learned that we are much stronger in groups than as isolated entities which in turn has prompted us to adopt a “herd mentality” as our modus operandi. This has been true since the dawn of time when we once relied on one another to yell out audible warning signals indicating the presence of an onrushing predator so that others in our tribe could scamper away in time to preserve their lives. Being part of a community also allows us to benefit from the talents and abilities of others that we may not inherently possess. As an example from ancient times, the physically strong men in a given tribe would protect the women from dangerous animals and men from rival tribes in return for the women keeping a home and rearing their children. We have carried this practical exchange of valuable goods and services into our modern world as well. As a contemporary example, I didn’t create the MacBook Pro that I am using to type this article, but I am able to enjoy its benefits thanks to the bevy of intelligent Engineers and Designers at Apple headquarters, in return for a stack of cash. As we’ve gained more control over our environment, what started as a practical reliance on our fellow man has slowly morphed into a mixture of practical and emotional dependence on each other. We no longer need to worry too much about fundamental things like avoiding the neighborhood sabretooth tiger, and have started to obsessively worry about how much we are liked by the people around us. Many of us have become heavily emotionally dependent on our social interactions with people close to us… in some cases, overtly so. The degree to which each person depends on an emotional interaction with another person is roughly governed by where they emotionally place on the introvert – extrovert spectrum. Continue reading A Loner’s manifesto: Blessed are the introverted
10 Strategies for Maintaining your health
The frenetic pace of life in our ultra busy modern world leaves a lot of us overworked and overstressed as we race alongside each other in the never ending financial rat race. Most of us go right from the college “frying pan” into the working world “fire”, joining the struggle for economic and social status that ends up consuming a lion share of our lives. For most of us, the dream is to eventually escape from the rat race and live comfortably with a spouse/partner assuming one has been blessed with a relationship that stands up well to father time. So many of us practically give our lives to the working world in the hope that we will one day have saved up enough money to live out the rest of our days in a reasonable state of comfort. On the surface, this sounds like an OK trade… give a sizeable chunk of time and energy to a good company of your choice, and you won’t have to worry about living expenses when you decide it is time to retire. Continue reading 10 Strategies for Maintaining your health
Clever genetic tests, and mitigating the effects of Down Syndrome.
Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that presents itself right at the event of a child’s conception if said child has an excess amount of a particular portion of the genetic code embedded in its genetic makeup. Down syndrome occurs in about 0.13% of all live births and can manifest as physical growth defects, general mental slowness, and excessively impulsive behavior as the afflicted child matures. This genetic defect may also result in the loss of a pregnancy before birth as certain key developmental stages during pregnancy are perhaps significantly altered or hindered. Interestingly, this defect is more common with mothers that are of a relatively advanced age. Studies have shown that the frequency of down syndrome related pregnancies actually increases to ~1% in mothers that are 35 years of age or older. In our modern world where most women spend their 20s building careers, a lot of families now routinely have children while the childbearing mother is in her 30s and beyond. Thankfully, advances in modern medicine have yielded minimally invasive screening and diagnostic techniques that can tell a family with a high degree of certainty whether or not the current pregnancy is associated with a child afflicted by down syndrome. Continue reading Clever genetic tests, and mitigating the effects of Down Syndrome.