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    • This Week In Science (Last post by Khaos)
    • Top Five Myths About Genetic Modification The Conversation asked CSIRO scientist, Richard Richards, to look at the top five myths about genetic modification (GM), and correct the public record. Myth one: GM is just haphazard, imprecise cross-breeding In genetic engineering, scientists can very precisely select genes and introduce them into their target species. For example, genes that produce insulin for medical use have been introduced into bacteria. Genes from bacteria have been introduced into corn or cotton to dramatically reduce insect damage. In fact, the most dramatic genetic modifications to our crops occurred naturally thousands of years ago when chance events resulted in hybrids of different species. Some of these events have resulted in some of our most important crops such as wheat, sugar cane, canola and cotton. The wheat we consume today, for example, is a natural hybrid of three different wild species. This has resulted in bringing tens of thousands of genes together in several independent events. It is responsible for wheat being such an important crop. Modern wheat breeders release new varieties after introducing thousands of unknown genes from wild grasses without any regulatory requirements or special testing and with no genetic engineering involved. This is very haphazard and we do not know what genes are being introduced, apart from the target gene we know is present. The irony is that the precise introduction of a single gene is heavily regulated yet the introduction of thousands of unknown genes from wild grasses into a new wheat variety via traditional breeding methods is regarded as being completely acceptable. Myth two: GM is a cure-all for more efficient land use and food security It is important to remember GM technologies are just one of the tools that may be useful. Other important contributions to land use and food security come from traditional breeding, agronomy, land management and sustainability research. Breeding new varieties of any species requires multiple selection and evaluation methodologies, and there are a lot of conditions at play when developing better wheat. A new variety has to offer an advantage to the grower, it must have good yields and be adapted to the region where it is grown. It must also have good resistance or tolerance to diseases. More importantly, it must be beneficial for end users and consumers. In fact, breeding combines many traits together some of which are simple and some of which are complex. Usually, GM technology contributes only one or two of these traits, although combinations of up to eight genes are now in corn. Some of these traits may be simply inherited (single gene) - such as plant height or flowering time. But most are controlled by many genes, including performance in dry environments, grain yield, tolerance to high temperatures, and once the wheat is turned into flour, improved baking quality. GM technologies are generally only suitable for the single gene traits, not complex multigenic ones. Over time, GM may contribute to factors such as grain yield and drought resistance as we learn more about the basic biology underpinning these traits and identify the key genes to optimise. Myth three: GM is harmful to the environment In fact, there have been many environmental benefits from GM. GM technologies have massively reduced pesticide use in all circumstances where pests have been targeted. For example, the GM cotton varieties bred by CSIRO that are insect resistant reduce pesticide use by up to 80%. This reduced use of pesticides has other flow-on effects: less greenhouse gas associated with lower diesel use; less pesticide run-off; less residual pesticides; more biodiversity and improvements in human safety. Both GM crops and non-GM crops with inbuilt herbicide resistance have also resulted in improved agricultural practices. This has resulted in more efficient water and light use, less soil degradation and improved yields for farmers. Myth four: GM means creating Frankenfoods Far from creating radical changes to plants, GM produces defined improvements to existing crop plants that meet a recognised need, such as food quality, increased yield or pest resistance. Strong regulatory systems ensure that GM crops meet stringent standards. The reality is that scientists experiment with purpose and for beneficial outcomes. There is no use breeding a crop with no market need. Regulatory costs and market demand drive what genes will be introduced into crops. Almost all introductions will be to improve crop production, quality and health outcomes. Other crops will be modified to change management practices, such as introducing resistance to herbicides. Often GM technologies don’t involve the introduction of any new genes from another species. Rather they turn the “volume” up or down of a certain gene already present in our crops (rather than introducing foreign genes). Some of them just silence, or “turn off”, a particular gene. Silencing can be important in modifying grain composition. For example, modifying starches can result in grains that have the potential to reduce the incidence of certain cancers. Turning up the volume is used to over express some genes, such as those that detoxify excess levels of aluminium in the soil or solubilise nutrients in the soil to improve the nutrition of plants. Myth five: The GM research agenda is run by big multinationals GM research has contributed greatly to our understanding of how plants function and this has delivered tremendous benefits to both traditional breeding and to opportunities for GM crops. However, commercial introductions are extremely costly due to the extensive regulatory processes required by different territories before GM crops can either be grown or utilised for feed and food purposes. The public sector, through institutions such as CSIRO, also expends considerable research dollars on GM research. Regardless of this, GM products will not be adopted by growers if they negatively impact their farming operations or they do not capture value in their farm products. It is largely up to farmers which GM varieties they grow and market. More importantly, if consumers do not accept them, then they will not be grown. By way of example, the adoption of insect resistant varieties and herbicide resistant varieties by farmers has been spectacularly successful. It must represent some of the fastest technology adoption ever by farmers. This has occurred because these varieties offer genuine benefits in terms of the cost, timeliness and sustainability of their overall farming operations. Despite this, traditional varieties remain available and can be maintained if farmers wish to continue growing them for a particular performance or market demand. The vast majority of funding for CSIRO’s research relating to gene technology comes from government funding, non-profit organisations and research centres. There is investment from private companies but investment from all these sources makes up less than 0.2% of CSIRO’s total budget of $1 billion. The Conversation Richard Richards has received and is currently Principal Investigator/Co-investigator on externally funded projects associated with wheat improvement. Read more at
    • What is spiritual welfare according to the pastor ... (Last post by Aqua)
    • People want to know more, sometimes it is better to know something not. I shall explain the riddle of this myth for you :) The reason he is lonely is because he wants more, mental materialism. The surprise was gone, knowing to much can remove the meaning of live. The the myth is to understand why we know things, en why we do not know things. Again full of live questions This myth points to one of the three temptations. * economic temptation * political temptation * spiritual temptation The hole point of the small story is: Do we need to know what spiritual welfare is? Do we need knowledge that is maybe not for us to know? This in order to come back to the thread point, I admit that I this was a bit puzzling to understand this myth :side:
    • military strain (Last post by RyuJin)
    • Video chat/facetime I think certainly helps...face to face visual communication can say more than words...I enjoy seeing/hearing things like that reacher, it shows that if you work at it things work takes work and understanding for any relationship to last... Glad you chose to share that :) As to female officers..when I served they were very few and far between...I only met 3, the dr that initially diagnosed my appendicitis, the dr assigned for my follow up, and the j.a.g(judge advocate general) lawyer I had for my s.c.m.(special court martial)...all 3 seemed as though they were miles away in any interactions with junior enlisted...
    • What Do We Mean By "Temple"? (Last post by Acheron)
    • "What Do We Mean by 'Temple' " - From the perspective of someone very, very new: I have been perusing various topics and posts for around a week now - dropping a comment or "Thank You" here or there. My view of TOTJO has been extended by great measure since day one. There is a sense of solidarity, of fellowship. The conversations I have had the pleasure and privilege of reading are streams of information and insight – providing access to ideas that, perhaps, most would otherwise never stumble upon or be introduced to (let alone know to search for). In a week’s time I can attest to both. I’ve seen it as a place to quiet the mind or run the mouth, to let the heart flutter away and the soul drift. Everyone needs a sanctuary. Some may find it here. Seven days have passed and although each day is different the underlying theme is consistent and remains unchanged – that is; the creative, intuitive exploration of something greater than our individual selves. The collation of thoughts, feelings and ideas into something a little more hardened, more principled. I feel with each willful inclusion the potential and capabilities for all involved are boundless! Keep doing what you are doing. Make Good Choices, Acheron
    • The Way of the Force - a Jedi reading of the Tao T... (Last post by tzb)
    • 38 Jedi find integrity natural. To have integrity is to simply act with integrity without an internal debate: those who talk about it tend to lack it. Similarly powerful people don't have to do anything to show they are powerful. They act, knowing they can achieve their aim. The righteous aren't like this: their actions are about convincing others they were right. The way of the Force is superior to integrity, which is superior to kindness, which is superior to justice, which is superior to righteousness, or ritual. Ritual is a cheap copy of integrity and sincerity. It creates nothing but problems. Jedi do not engage in it because we recognise that insincerity and self-importance are not the way of the Force. Jedi look beneath the surface: we know that beneath a tree's pretty leaves sit nutritious fruit, and in our actions we express sincerity and integrity. Jedi live in the real world and let illusion go. 39 The Force is enough. When we're in tune with things as they are, the sky seems spacious, the earth solid and full. Creatures dwell together and all is content with how it is. Everything repeats, endlessly. Cycles of birth, life, death and rebirth surround us, and whilst everything changes, everything remains. It's only when we interfere with the natural flow of things that they start to go wrong. We cloud the sky and deplete the earth, creatures die and equilibrium is lost. This is why Jedi view every part of this wide system with compassion: we understand the whole. Humbly allowing ourselves to be shaped by the flow of the Force, Jedi are as strong as the Force, yet as ordinary as pebbles on the ground. 40 The action of the Force is return. What goes out is drawn back: what is born dies, and what is created will be obliterated. That which arises from the Force will return to the flow of the Force in time. The Force is everywhere because it returns to the centre, again and again and again. 41 The Force affects people differently. Jedi cultivate an understanding and awareness of this central unity and immediately try to move into harmony with it. Ordinary people might believe in elements of unity but doubt others. Foolish people may even laugh about at the idea of universal unity. But this too is an element of the Force; if the fool didn't laugh, things wouldn't be as they must. Thus we establish the fundamental nature of the Force is that whilst it's the path to enlightenment, to the average mind it seems veiled in shadows. Even though it's the way forward it may look like a step back. It looks difficult but is easy, looks weak but is powerful and looks changeable but is steadfast. This is the way of all things: the Force isn't obvious, but it's right there. Even if someone doesn't know about it, it's still the basis of all reality. 42 The Force is the root of everything. Even the very nature of numbers reduces back to one, and the one is the Force. It is the combination of both male and female (and hence it is creation and creativity, birth and life and death). In uniting the male and female, the Force expresses absolute harmony. Similarly, living through violence and aggression is a path away from the natural order of things. Jedi remember that when we lose, we also win because the winner is part of us, and part of the wider Force. Normal people are worried by things like loneliness and solitude, but Jedi remember we are never alone. We are one and in concert with the entire universe. The Force is with us, always. 43 Softness overcomes hardness. Water can permeate the cracks in rock and finds a path through the seemingly solid object. Just like this, the Force moves through the spaces between atoms as well as being the atoms themselves. This is a little like non-action, which allows one to teach without words, perform without actions, succeed without striving. By letting things flow softly, gently, harmoniously, we allow our obstacles to be overcome without great exertions of strength or violence. By refusing to try, we succeed: and when we act, we already know we have achieved our goal. 44 Jedi prioritise. We realise well-being is more important than fame, and a life is more important than money. Similarly we understand the inherent danger in winning, as well as losing. We are wary of attachments to material things, which can become burdens. We know the value of letting go of material wealth so we never have to feel the bite of loss. In another sense, as has been discussed previously, Jedi know when something is enough. We don't do things to excess and understand that through moderation we won't over-exert ourselves unhealthily. In understanding so long as we are part of the Force we are owed nothing, we have nothing but success in our lives. 45 The Force can seem "imperfect". That which is achieved can seem unfinished in some way, and that which is full may appear empty until we try and use it and realise it's inexhaustible. That which is straight may look bent, and things done skilfully can look clumsy. The most eloquent thing of all may be to remain silent. Think of it like temperature: if we work hard, we can keep ourselves warm against the stillness of the cold. Similarly, if it is too hot we can keep cool by remaining calm and still. This is all expressive of the balance which underlies reality: The Force is always calm and unconcerned with that which appears "out of balance". As such, Jedi know to step out of the way and let things unfold. Rather than worrying or striving, we remain calm and let things happen as they must. In the end, the Force speaks for itself. 46 The Force teaches acceptance. If one follows the way of the Force, they are content to let nature take its course, for the fields to grow to abundance and for things to exist as they are. But if one strays from the path of the Force, they always want more: they grasp for possessions, territory or engage in conflict with others. They rip up the fields with war. As such Jedi understand that it's more important to know what's enough than to pursue absolute success in every situation. It's enough to get rid of fear to feel "safe". Possession, greed and desire are all fundamental misunderstandings of the nature of things. If we understand that the Force is one entity, one unity, then we understand that overall, what is is always enough. 47 The Force is right here. Jedi don't have to leave to know things about the rest of the world. Because we accept that we are part of the Force, and that its nature and our nature are the same thing in a real, practical sense we are content to reside where we are, work with what we have and appreciate what we've already got. We understand that because perceptions are false distinctions, we can see everything right where we are now. We can understand and feel the Force, and the Force is all there is. As such we realise we don't have to work for things to be achieved: it is already in the process of achieving. We simply have to let it happen. 48 Jedi focus on the Force. The less we engage with the objectifying "world" of everyday perceptions, the closer we come to the Force. As a species we tend to want new stimulus all the time, and to have new information, possessions, experiences every day. As Jedi we learn to let go of received information, possessions and experiences because all of these are illusions which divide us from the unity and harmony of things. As such we do less, until we reach the point of "doing" nothing at all. Only then can things flow as they should. We cease to be obstructions and thereby become one with the path. The best way that things can turn out is the way they turn out. Look at the past: it happened. The future will happen too. Don't waste time thinking about what might have been or could be. Ambitions are usually as delusional as the idea our past "might have" been different. It wasn't. Instead, think about what's happening now and the rest will take care of itself. Trust the Force. 49 Jedi are not stubborn. We don't have a set map of what or how we'll behave, but we do what needs to be done. We help others rather than hurting them in the name of a fixed ideal. We are good to everyone, even "bad" people, because we recognise that everyone and everything is one in the Force. We have faith in all that is, including those who do us wrong. Because we're open, we're able to engage with things which happen to a far greater extent than others. Think of it like a cup: if we carve a small cup, we get to keep most of our wood intact and can hold a little of whichever juice comes around. But if we carve a deep cup, we give up the old wood and make a big open space, meaning we can fully enjoy and appreciate each juice we are presented with. It can fill us up because we were empty to receive it. By becoming open, we experience things fully without distraction or distortion. And because of this enthusiasm and exuberance for whatever it is which happens to be filling our consciousness, we become examples for others. We show that the untrustworthy can be trusted. We demonstrate the wonder of reality. 50 Death, yet the Force. Even in life we must understand we are moving towards death, just as when someone dies we must understand they are not gone, but moving forward towards new (or perhaps it's better to say "different") life. If we understand we are one with the universe and that we can't be obliterated in any real sense, that we can't be removed from the Force or stop being part of it, we become invulnerable. If we do things fully, honestly, without effort and as the Force wills it, Jedi need not fear death any more than the hard-working person need fear their bed at the end of a tiring day. Death is inevitable, but it's only part of the ongoing Force. 51 The Force is something different to all creatures. This is related to Verse 41: we must learn to understand and expect for each person and creature to be unique and individual, because each is shaped by the area of the Force they spring from. The Force is vastly complex at a perceptual level so all things are perceived as very different; the truth is, everything is still just one thing, the unity, the all-that-is we call the Force. Different things fulfil their roles in different ways, but all express an aspect of the Force. In turn, it watches over them, gives them life and strength and helps them to grow. It soothes them and protects them. It gives us a model for teaching or creating anything. The Force does its work without the expectation of reward. It does work and then lets it go. This is like a leader who never gives orders: the leader is there to aid the led, but works in the moment at hand and doesn't get bogged down in specifics. 52 The Force is the only source. Everything came from it, and all things necessarily return to it. There's no path which is not contained with it, and no road which did not start at the start of the Force. We're used to seeing distinct objects but that doesn't mean these weren't built "from" something else. A good way to remain content is to cultivate an awareness that perception and subdivision is illusory: that everything has a "mother" which we all share, the Force. It's like the phrase "see with your heart". If we try to perceive the Force directly it's like trying to stare into darkness, or smell a sound. But we can learn to feel the Force from the very core of ourselves, from our hearts. Once we do, we'll know it's there. We can learn to understand ourselves as small leaves growing on one large tree; to sway and yield to the winds without "breaking"; and to remember that tree is one entity, for all eternity. 53 Following the Force is always right. There are plenty of distractions available to us at all times, but none of them lead anywhere meaningful. At the base level, we will all die. Thus any effort expended on anything other than the Force to which we shall return is spurious and wasteful. But in another sense, all that is good and beneficial to us in this life is harmonious with the Force. It's right to live in a balanced and simple way, because excess and extravagance create their own problems. When we've spent all our time accumulating treasure, what's left to eat? Some of the things to avoid include wasting money on weapons for manufacturing conflict, or encouraging an elite upper class to hoard great wealth and riches at the expense of all others. Owning more than we can use is a type of theft and counter to the spirit of the Force. All this sort of approach achieves is misery and chaos. 54 The Force endures through generations. Remaining centred in the Force makes Jedi hard to sway. Returning to that analogy of being a small leaf on a vast tree, there is great strength in retaining those giant roots back to where we come from, and also understanding that tomorrow's new shoots still spring from the same roots. Understanding this, our centre will never slip away but remain in place for generations, just like leaves on the tree. It is clear that we don't only come into understanding of the Force for ourselves, but also for the generations who follow, including our own families. But further than this we can put our communities and countries into touch with the Force. We can inspire harmony on a global scale and encourage those who will to hear our message of unity, allowing them to decide for themselves if they can see the connectedness of all things. But this huge change begins with one person's decision to know their true nature, and thereby unlock the key to all reality. Just as the leaf must understand its stalk before it can realise it is part of a mighty tree, so must we understand our own connection before we can begin to understand the wider Force. 55 Jedi minds are like the minds of children. We are like babies, open and in harmony with life. Babies are natural Jedi, in tune with how things really are. Even their skulls are soft, which lets them take life's knocks without too much damage. Because they flow with the changes of things, it's hard for them to be hurt by them. Their muscles are weak, but they have a tight grip - that's all they need at that stage of their lives. They're just as ready as they need to be for whatever comes next. Babies can also shout all day without getting hoarse, so they can even outperform us when relevant. The harmony of a baby is complete. The constancy of this harmony endures because it's all the baby knows - all the baby can know. This is a source of illumination for us all. Like a baby, Jedi expect nothing, so are never disappointed. Things come, things go, and Jedi let them. In this way our spirit remains like a baby, and never has to grow old. By remaining in touch with the Force, we never die. 56 Wisdom speaks for itself. Those who talk usually don't know what they're talking about, and those who do know are either silent or already acting. Like them, if one hopes to follow a path of wisdom it's better to be quiet and observe things rather than constantly talking. We let go of the worries which close us off from the truth and stay on the sidelines, which give us the best view of what's going on. We must stay in the world if we want to understand it, rather than wandering off down some obscure path of study. As such, we find the middle ground in all things. We simplify. We untie the knots and blunt the knives, become one with the light, one with the dust. We remember what we are. Once we reach an understanding of things, we aren't concerned with praise or blame. We move beyond winning and losing, honour or disgrace. All we care about are things as they are, and that's the correct way to live life. 57 The Force presents a model of leadership. It's possible to run a country by engaging in hostility, winning wars and playing politics; but one gains far more without surplus effort, struggle or striving. The more restrictive a nation, the poorer and more unhappy its citizens become. When all the focus is on hoarding weapons, people become habituated to violence and that causes both internal and external problems. Conniving leaders can't truly help people; their misdirection and half-truths only spin further and further out of control. Laws pile up in order to keep things going as they would like, but in the end all this creates is a whole nation of outlaws. As such Jedi quietly allow people to transform themselves, and learn to do the right thing of their own natural volition. Jedi stay out of the way of what is right. Allowing the world to seem good rather than hostile in nature, Jedi promote a perspective where what's good is the norm. 58 Good leaders encourage simplicity. If a government is harsh and bureaucratic, people will have to add complexity to their lives in order to undermine and outwit it. The fact is we must accept some bad things in life, and no amount of legislation will prevent us from being unhappy sometimes. Better to keep things simple, and to invest more in increasing happiness than in reducing sadness. Sadness will find a way through whatever we manage to do, and by understanding this we become free. At the same time we'd be unwise to think we could survive without any guiding hands. Chaos is never too far away from the order we depend upon: what we must do is be a quiet word, a gentle hand guiding things along in the simplest and least authoritarian way possible. One of the best ways of doing this is in serving as an example to others. That way we achieve what needs to be achieved without exerting undue energy, and, crucially, without becoming mired in wholly counter-productive complexity. 59 Jedi lead through moderation. We are like farmers tending a field, living simply and sparingly, responding quickly to the needs of that which we cultivate and calmly overcoming what must be overcome in order to produce a successful harvest. This idea can be used from the smallest to the largest things in life and it corresponds to all our enterprises. In this way we can become the leaders of a country, nourishing and supporting everyone. We are the roots which bind the people together because we remain conscious of the unity of all people, all things, and this allows our leadership to be long, productive and far-reaching. By having firm, deep roots, Jedi remain clear to the truth of things; we see the Force as it is, rather than worrying about ideas and concepts which are illusion. We make use of whatever's available and then, once our work is done, let go. 60 Treating things appropriately prevents harm. This is even true of leadership: the best way to lead a large country is to treat it as though one is cooking a small fish. If we poke it around in the pan too much it will fall apart and then we won't have much of anything. But if we give it the time it needs and carefully attend it without interfering too much, it doesn't take things long to start to be productive. The Force creates great harmony in the world, and when the mood of a nation is in tune with it, even evil things seem less evil because they can no longer harm people. Jedi are part of the country, and by doing no harm and feeling no harm done to us, we deomnstrate the idea of "harm" is unnecessary. All is one in the Force. Even harm is just change. Understanding this, that they can't come to harm in any real sense, people will begin to do what's right without coercion. 61 Power tends to grow. If someone suddenly gains power, they gain the opportunity to supplement that power as a result of their success. But they must be careful to retain their humility, to trust in the Force and therefore not become defensive. Accepting and admitting mistakes, as well as facing criticism with good humour is essential not just for people but for organisations as well. A great country is formed on the principle of serving and protecting its people. This is especially evident in small countries where there are only a few people and the nation is set up to serve their interests directly. This is the way of the Force: when the organisation serves its members, everything is as it should be. If a powerful force can yield to a small single element, it is expressing a fundamental appreciation of the unity of part and whole. Jedi understand an enemy is like a shadow we ourselves cast. 62 The Force is refuge for everyone. Good or bad, we can find solace and comfort in the all-encompassing, all-pervading Force. We can't gain more or less "Forcehood" through money or theft, and as such the Force is a great leveller. Jedi are no more "of" the Force than ordinary people, criminals or murderers. If one wishes to benefit someone, they should not pledge weapons or wealth, nor even expertise in some skill; instead they should offer to teach them of the ways of the Force. This is the greatest gift one can give, the gift of knowing one's own true nature and the wisdom that flows forth from this understanding. If we have an understanding of the Force, we will never make a mistake which we can't recover from, because we understand that in the Force, all is one. 63 Jedi do without doing. This is the familiar idea of wu-wei, of acting without striving and achieving things with the minimum possible effort by waiting for the opportune moment, doing just what needs to be done and acting without excessive drama or excitement. If one approaches a problem when it first appears, it is only a small problem and is easily solved, rather than left to become a worrisome chore. Jedi know to break down a huge undertaking into smaller, manageable steps. Because we don't jump straight at the distant goal, we end up getting there. We accept that difficulties will and must beset our path at times, and know these to be opportunities to learn, to grow and to improve our understanding. We know that promises and plans tend to fall by the wayside whatever our intentions and prefer to keep things simple so we are open and ready for whatever comes with our whole hearts. When difficulties emerge we give ourselves to them; because we don't cling to comfort in this way, we find our problems are not even things to overcome, just necessary steps on the path. Jedi know that everything has inherent difficulties, so nothing is truly difficult. 64 Jedi use the opportune moment. We know that something which is new is easy to change, and something which is old is easy to maintain. What's brittle can be broken and what's small can be scattered. We appreciate the inherent qualities of everything as we find it and this allows us to use everything to its strength, which is the way of the Force. A giant tree grows from a tiny seed, and the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Instead of rushing headlong towards our goals, Jedi pace ourselves and reach things in their natural time, without exertion or excess. We don't grasp because that only leads to losing things. We don't rush things and only pick the fruit of our labour when it is ripe - one can still spoil something by taking one's time but then rushing the point of completion. We let things follow their course, trust in the Force to provide all we need to live, to grow and to be content. We have nothing and hence have nothing to lose. All we want is not to want: all we learn is there's nothing to know. Because we care only about the Force, we care about all things. 65 Jedi keep things simple. There's a lot of stress on people to be clever and cunning, but this isn't a positive thing in a leader. Too much cleverness can alienate people, but everyone can understand something if it is simple enough. If things flow simply, everyone can understand them. Because we avoid complexity, Jedi avoid messing things up through overcomplicating them; those who know too much already can't be taught new things, or if they can the process of unlearning can take great effort. Jedi are thus open-minded, focussed on the task at hand in the present moment. We seek to simplify knowledge into wisdom. This is one of the fundamental elements of the Force, that in keeping things simple we remain nearest the true nature of things as they really are. What is more simple than one thing? And this unity and oneness penetrates every level of existence, so when we bring our actions into line with it we tap into the same creative, transformative power. By living simple, ordinary lives, we serve as examples that even with a deep understanding of the whole universe, what is best is simple, familiar, normal. 66 The Force is like an ocean. All it does is remain there, and rivers flow into it. All it must do to receive what they bring is not move, which is why everything thrown into a river inexorably makes its way into the sea. In the same way, those who need to be listened to must talk like the people they speak to. They must not set themselves up in ivory towers and never move amongst the people; they must show they are ordinary, available, relatable. Jedi find out where the people around us want to go, and get there first to show we understand. We become examples and teach actively, by doing rather than just by talking or theorising. We don't fight the current but accept it, work with it, nudge it if necessary. This can often mean a compromise, which is a harmonious way of working. People want to feel safe and listened to without being smothered. A leader who understands and respects this will gain their trust. Jedi don't compete with anyone, and thus never lose competitions. 67 The Force and the Jedi path can seem ridiculous. Many laugh at it and some find it completely impractical, but those who have considered it sincerely and honestly can feel its resonance inside themselves. Compared to our habitual perception of things, it is nonsensical, yet it makes perfect sense and resonates deeply with us. That shows that our ordinary ideas of reality are in fact the nonsensical ones. By putting these teachings into practice, anyone can experience their veracity. There are three core lessons: Simplicity, Patience and Compassion. These are great allies. By remaining simple in action and thought, we return to the source of everything, the Force. By being patient, we show we accept the way things are and must be. And through compassion (including compassion towards ourselves), we reconcile all the diverse and distinct objects in the world into a single unity. 68 Jedi avoid conflict. Vengeance, violence and aggression are not helpful tools. Jedi understand that sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we are tested against other people. We thrive in situations where our best is matched by the best of others; competition involves weakening or subduing others, but Jedi seek to let the authentic, honest and sincere sentiment of every action meet equally sincere actions from other people, even if this is seemingly in conflict. There is no conflict - there are merely aspects of the Force coming together in a display of "Forcefulness". The true warrior is not aggressive but skilful, doing just what needs to be done without additional showmanship or excessive brutality. Likewise the true victor does not seek vengeance but accepts the outcome of things as they are. A leader is not violent and shows respect to those they serve. This expresses the value of modesty as the best way to interact with people. As has been discussed already, the Force is humble and if we desire to act in accordance with the Force, we are best to retain our own humility. Only in operating this way can we bring our actions in line with the Force. We can't hope to lead others if we think of them as less than us, or ours to push around: don't forget we are one and the same in the Force. 69 Jedi exercise restraint. When unsure, it is better to retreat than to advance. Wise military commanders know this: that it is best to repel an enemy without directly opposing them, and that a retreat can achieve this better than a blind advance. It's better to stay put and prepare ourselves for whatever comes than seek out into an unknown which could be full of danger. Jedi understand that underestimating an opponent is unwise and can lead to negative outcomes; one of these is thinking one's opponent an evil, stupid or pathetic person. In doing so we forget our unity with even apparent opponents and enter the mindset of competition. Such an act of underestimation means giving up on simplicity, patience and compassion. Better to stick to these three core principles and trusting that with time, care and attention things will become clearer and the opportune moment will present itself. The truth is that when sides are taken, the "victor" is the one who knows how to yield. If we retain our compassion and understanding that our enemy is just like us, is our enemy only because of us (like the aforementioned shadow of Verse 61), then we overcome even the conflict itself. The "winner" is the one who doesn't want to fight. 70 Jedi are realistic. We know even the clearest wisdom can't be followed completely, at all times. Humans can understand these ideas and move closer into line with this conception of things, but the reality is we all have moments where we stray from this path. It's part of our nature and the nature of the Force that things happen this way, and therefore not something to feel bad about - rather one should retain a balanced perspective that doing a little is better than making no attempt at all. Because only a few will come close to the meaning of the Force in their lives, the book (which isn't subject to the same foibles) remains a valuable guide to the path of wisdom which is far purer than a human could ever truly be. Jedi thus often wear plain clothes and make no announcement of our wisdom. We will do what's right whenever we can and let that speak for itself. 71 Jedi are self-aware. Knowing the limits of our wisdom is true wisdom. If we don't maintain this awareness and start making assertions we can't back up, one comes into difficulties. Happily it's simple to clear oneself of this misapprehension: we have to reject anything we're not sure of. We have to find fault with our own faults; we have to learn to know ourselves. Eventually, we move to emptiness, to open perception without judgement or preconception to muddy the water. This is how we all start on the path to true wisdom, because every one of us has preconceptions before we learn the truth of the Force. 72 Authority is restrictive. As such, Jedi do not seek to lead through authority. We seek to lead people to their own understanding, and to cultivate their own wisdom rather than receiving ours. How can one person tell another their true nature? This is something we can only learn about ourselves. Thus ideas such as religious dogma and hierarchical organisations draw people away from a true experience of their own nature. As such, Jedi take a step back and clear away the confusion we may cause. We operate without fences, borders or wearing others down to our way of seeing things. We are content to quietly know and love ourselves as an expression of the Force without trying to insist others see it as well. We teach without dictating reams of words, and reveal to people that our role is not so much to learn as to unlearn; not so much to become complete as to dismantle what they've already built. 73 Jedi act as required. It is brave to be bold, and brave to be careful too. The bold die, the careful survive. Who can say which is preferable in the final analysis? We can't know which is better, but we do know how the Force works. Because it doesn't push, it always has space to act. Because it can't be called upon or summoned, it appears when the time is right. It reacts without acknowledging the initial action. This suggests we must do what is necessary, rather than deciding "today I will be bold!" or "today I will take great care". The Force works because it is empty; there is space available for whatever comes. Like a net, it can seem full of holes: but also like a net, it always captures everything it needs. 74 All that happens is of the Force. Accepting death is crucial to understanding our role as part of the wider Force. People die, and if we accept this as a natural change we can no longer be threatened. Even the worst that received wisdom can threaten us with is simply part of the natural order. Understanding we will inevitably die and this is right and natural according to the way of the Force is thus a pathway to complete liberation. However we must take care not to use our own diminished fear of death as a tool to control those who still fear it; taking up the executioner's axe is likely to result in nothing more productive than accidentally chopping off our own heads. 75 Authority interrupts the natural order. Because people are hungry, authority taxes more. This makes more people hungry. Because people rebel, authority tightens its grip. This makes people rebel more. Because people feel their lives are meaningless, they're not afraid to kill or to die. This is why authority is a dangerous tool, and why it's best to leave people to govern themselves where possible. Those who learn to enjoy life, and to value the path of least effort as the most natural one display more wisdom than those who seek to cut themselves off from the way things are; these people are the authority in their own lives, and are thus creating more harm than good. Internal barriers are self-defeating: by building them at all, we are inviting ourselves to overthrow them. 76 Jedi are soft and yielding. That is the path of life: we are born soft and supple as a baby and end stiff and hard as a corpse. Plants live through their pliancy and flexibility, and are hard stalks and brittle branches in death. To be flexible is to be a disciple of the Force. What is brittle will break; what is supple will endure. Soldiers trained to fight to the death will be cut down in their thousands, and the tallest trees are the first to be cut down. This is one reason the Force endures: it knows how to yield. This echoes the phrase "the bigger they are, the harder they fall". Jedi do not seek to be big, only to be simple, empty and flexible. 77 The potential of the Force is like a bow. To use it, we draw from the middle. The top bends down, the bottom curves up, and all the energy is focused at the centre. The bow requires this balance of things in order to work, and when all is balanced in this way, the potential energy is far greater than then these elements are further out from the centre. Similarly to a bow, when these elements align the energy they generate can travel great distances towards a target. Jedi understand that to use energy means taking it from elsewhere. Most people take it from where there's just enough and so create deficiency with their actions. Jedi only seek to balance the energy of the world - we give energy where it is needed and take it from where there is a surplus. If energy flows freely and consistently through all things, Jedi do nothing at all. This is the same idea as getting the job done simply and not being concerned with credit. 78 The nature of the Force is like water. Like water, it is soft and yielding yet can wear away the hardest stone; it is persistent and consistent in its approach to things. We can adopt this approach and overcome things which are stronger than ourselves. We can be flexible and circumvent that which is hard. This is not new insight, but most people don't or can't apply it to their lives. For example, everyone knows that in helping people with their mundane, day-to-day problems we gain their trust; but Jedi understand it is by dealing with the problems of the world, such as imbalances of energy within the wider Force, that we become truly useful. By refusing to join the herd and remaining focused on how things truly are, we become the solid foundations which others can hold on to. 79 Failure is an opportunity. It is inevitable that we fail sometimes and Jedi know that we must see failures and setbacks as vital learning opportunities. Why else would the Force bring us failure, if not to give us some lesson about our own deficiencies or excesses? It is therefore a mistake to blame someone else in the event of a failure. If something goes wrong and it affects us, what could we have done differently? What will we do differently next time? Thinking this way means we don't ask others to take the blame for mistakes we ourselves could have mitigated. We don't hold hurtful grudges or focus on what is "owed" to us; instead we focus on what we owe. Jedi are therefore responsible in the face of failure: rather than engaging in an endless, useless game of passing the buck, we reflect and learn valuable lessons, and thus secure success in our future endeavours. 80 Small communities can achieve great contentment. We can easily imagine a simple community which doesn't need new approaches or the latest machines to survive, doesn't motivate members of its community to leave to discover new things, and doesn't require a lot of effort and work to maintain. Such a community can dress plainly, eat simple foods, continue their traditions and remain comfortable. Even having other communities nearby would not motivate them to leave; because they had everything they needed, no superficial desires arise in their minds and they are content to live and die in the same peaceful spot. Temptation becomes an alien concept when everyone has just enough; just enough is all we need. 81 Truth is not always beautiful. Be wary of beautiful words because they often camouflage an unpleasant reality. Those who are wise don't need to dress it up or argue about it. Qualifications don't make someone wise. We should look beyond mere appearances in all aspects of life. Jedi have few possessions and as such have less to worry about. The more we can give to others, the happier we are. The more we give to others, the wealthier we become. The less we have, the more what we do have means to us. "For it is in giving that we receive..." Jedi understand that we can nurture harmony without forcing it, and encourage people without hurting them. This is the way of the Force.
    • Elite: Dangerous (Last post by Ilyowh Eclipseblast)
    • I play it from time to time, this is actually a cool beta. I personally use an X52 and vocal commands using VoiceAttack, enjoying it so far. :side:
    • The Journies of Gypsy Jon (Last post by Kohadre)
    • It has been an eventful couple of weeks since my last update in this journal. At my parents suggestion, I went to the local hospital, and requested I be admitted to their psych ward for an evaluation. I had to explain the reasons I was there to at least 10 people, who took notes but never passed them on to the next person so that I didn't have to keep repeating myself (Maybe they threw them in the trash?). I ended up being admitted to the hospital around 5:00am on Saturday, after having gone in the night before around 10:00pm, and waiting the night in their holding area for psychiatric patients. I arrived at the psych ward around 5:30am on Saturday morning, and decided to try and stay up the rest of the day so that I would be able to sleep through the night and maintain a regular sleep schedule. During breakfast (around 8:00am on Saturday), I had an elderly female patient steal part of my breakfast, place trash on my plate, and then grab ahold of me. I took what was left of my meal and ate in my room. This woman had regular outbursts throughout the day, such as tossing liquid on other patients, pissing herself in retaliation for not getting her way, screaming and yelling, swearing, stealing patients food, and swearing (This continued throughout my entire stay in the psych ward). I assumed once night arrived that she would quiet down for the evening and go to bed (no fucking chance). She screamed all night long at regular intervals, which, on top of staff coming into my room every 15 minutes and shining a flashlight in my face to make sure I was breathing, made it very difficult to sleep. During my first few days in the hospital, I was trying to get my medications which I had been taking prior to arriving in the psych ward. On Sunday afternoon (I arrived Friday evening), I was told by the on-call doctor that my medications would not be refilled as she believed "They weren't at a therapeutic dose". I went the remainder of the week without medication and remained relatively stable. I spent my 25th birthday in the hospital, which was Monday the 18th of August. My family and girlfriend made the day as special for me as it could have possibly been given the circumstances I was in and the limitations placed upon us by hospital staff. They brought me in cake, cards, and presents, and I requested they take the cards and gifts home so as to prevent them from being stolen by other patients or even staff. The day after (Tuesday), was an important day for me both in the hospital, and as an day in my overall life. I opened up to my parents, and informed them of my molestation at the hands of a black man as a child, while living in Pennsylvania. After doing this, I immediately felt a sense of relief and inner calm as I no longer carried this in the manner which I had for decades. I also spoke with my assigned psychiatrist for the second time on Tuesday, and informed him that it was irritating when he talked over me and interrupted me when I was trying to say something, which he continued to do even after I mentioned it. I even called my family to express my concern, however they (in my opinion) side stepped it by suggesting I find reading materials on the subjects I was concerned about and had wanted to discuss with my doctor. On Wednesday, I found out that my psychiatrist had advised my parents that it was in my best interest, and the interest of my parents, that I not be allowed to return to and continue to live at home. I also found out that my parents had agreed with this advisement, and had made the decision to remove me from their house. The thing that bothered me most about this was not that I was being "kicked-out", but instead that I had to find this out from my psychiatrist instead of my parents. I also spoke with my doctor on Wednesday and said I would be willing to try and go back on medications to see if my condition improved at all, as I had started to become irritated, agitated, and upset as a result of my experiences on the psych ward and worsening of my condition. I expressed some concerns about the medications I was prescribed by my doctor with my parents, and they agreed with those concerns. They additionally suggested I ask for a diagnosis based on my condition at the present time I was in the hospital. Once it reached the time when medications were distributed on Wednesday night, I decided not to take the ones I was prescribed due to unaddressed concerns which I wanted to discuss with my doctor the following day. On Thursday, I spoke with the psychiatrist again, and requested I be diagnosed based on my present condition. He re-diagnosed me with the same condition I came into the hospital to address, and informed me he would not release me from the psych ward unless I took the medications he had prescribed me. I agreed to take the medications in order to get out and remain stable once I was out, and my condition started to improve almost immediately after taking them. Fast forward to Monday. The psychiatrist spoke with me again and informed me that I might be able to leave that day, or on Tuesday. To be honest, I didn't have much hope that I would be released in the timeline he had estimated. Additionally, after being informed of my upcoming release from the hospital, I started to become uncertain about where exactly I was going to end up after leaving, and what I could expect upon arriving to that unknown place. On Tuesday, I spoke with the psychiatrist again (I skipped recreation therapy in order to make sure I saw him that afternoon). After meeting with him, he informed me that he would not be comfortable releasing me into a homeless shelter. He also asked if there was any way my parents would allow me to return home, and I informed him that was not an option (Reminder: the psychiatrist advised my parents not to allow me back home). I called my parents to discuss some things with them on Tuesday night, and they informed me of their advocacy to try and get me into stable housing, and were very upset that I was going to end up in a homeless shelter. On Wednesday night, the woman who had made my life, and the lives of all the patients and staff on the psych ward a living hell, was moved off the unit and into a full-blown psychiatric center (funny farm), where I expect she will remain for the rest of her natural life. I felt surprisingly calm and at ease given my circumstances and what I thought I could expect once being released from the hospital. At the time, I was unsure if it was just a strong resolve, or not fully understanding or appreciating the severity of the circumstances with which I would be dealing. The thought also occurred to me that I could either turn this series of events into what many would consider to be a fairytale, or I could choose to allow myself to be consumed by the abyss. On my last night on the psych ward, one of the patients broke her door in an outrage at having been woken up during checks (The staff would come into your room ever 15 minutes and shine a flashlight in your face to make sure you were still breathing). The staff gave her what we patients referred to as "The shot". That place deserves itself. On Thursday, I was released from the hospital, and my Dad helped me get my prescriptions for the medications I needed to take. Unfortunately, the hospital pharmacy did not have one of the medications I needed, so my Dad went to another pharmacy and got a partial prescription (Which was left at the shelter I am currently staying in). Upon arriving at the shelter I was referred to, I was registered as a "resident", and assigned a bed. I was also given the chance to take a hot shower, and eat a warm meal, which really helped my morale given the situation. In the evening, I attended a service held at the shelters chapel (although I don't believe). Friday was my first official day of homelessness. I got a ride down to my parents house, and picked up some essential things I would need such as a sleeping bag, clothing, hygiene products, backpack & rain cover, water bladder, and various other essentials. I also stopped by a local shop and picked up a pair of "push daggers" I had ordered shortly before my stay in the hospital, which will help me feel safer by having a means of protecting myself if god forbid, I ever was forced into a situation where I had to. I also walked a couple blocks and picked up the remainder of the prescription which my father had placed for me, and fortunately it cost nothing additional out of pocket. On my was there, I saw one of the famous painted "public" pianos, with a wedding going directly across the street from it. After walking back to the shelter and going through my pack, I noticed it had a very large tear in one of the pockets that exposed the main section of the bag. I am hoping that it holds up for me, and if not, that I can manage an emergency repair using a small roll of duck tape I have. I also remembered I had around $16.00 in my wallet, which is really the last bit of cash I have as my bank account is in the red around $100.00 due to auto-billing overdrawing my account. One thing I learned I had to make a priority, was to get more water in my system. I would estimate I drank around 1l-1.5l of water my first day out, which isn't nearly enough as the body needs around 3l of water in warm/hot climates with heavy physical activity added to the equation. I also trimmed down the "fat" of my backpack that evening, so that I could reduce the weight and carry only what I absolutely needed. And now I am at a public library typing all this up. I will keep you updated as things happen. -Jon
    • Recurring Dreams (Last post by SeventhSL)
    • Interesting dream Adder. I've had similar dreams a couple of times. They are not recurring, vivid or anything but they really leave me with a horrible feeling. Funny thing is it is always after I have had a period where I haven't been the best partner. Work stress, lack of communication, etc has been taking its toll on the relationship. It's kind of like my subconscious feels like I should be doing a better job and so expects some kind of retaliation from my partner hence the dream. They even stop happening once I lift my act. Not saying this is your case by any means. Just sharing as it might ring true for others.
    • The Imperishable Gem (Last post by Alexandre Orion)
    • "If language was given to men to conceal their thoughts, then gesture's purpose was to disclose them." ~ John Napier, Hands ,1980, p. 166
    • Is Consciousness A State Of Matter, Like a Solid, ... (Last post by Gisteron)
    • The reason I ask about necessary conditions to identify consciousness is because with plants you already accepted that a brain isn't one. We may assume a body would be. Now, if the capacity for choice is not a requirement, plants would be conscious by that definition (even the ones eating insects or turning themselves towards the sun never display the capacity to choose otherwise), but by the same token every rock would be conscious, too. One may then move the target and say that only living things (by the biological definition) can be conscious, and why would one make that arbitrary distinction? Besides, how many would object to hearing the earth is not a conscious unit? On the other hand, if displayed capacity for choice is a requirement, that leaves us with only a small subset of living things, namely animals with a nervous system so complex that we no longer are able to track the necessary and unavoidable processes and are left attributing the outcome to what we perceive as a conscious choice of one thing over another. All of procaryotic life, few-celled organisms, fungi, plants and polyps, sponges and corals and a number of other animal types I can't recall from the top of my head would have to be excluded from the set of known conscious beings on earth. In a sense it does only come back to definitions. But then how can we reasonably discuss any statement unless we establish a framework to work from and make the statement specific enough to be adressed ;)
    • Cultural misappropriation (Last post by ren)
    • Not exactly "cultural misappropriation" (as if culture belongs to anyone lol), but another good example of how people will be offended by anything:
    • Prophetic Dreams (Last post by Koji)
    • Hello fam! I sound just about the same as you I had a time in my life maybe 2 or 3 months where I had a bunch of dreams. Now when something important happens in my life I remember the dream and I know that I am on the right path. Perhaps I should meditate on them to see what it is that I was told. When I was reading the original post by Rickie the grey, I heard, "do not try to control these gifts but let them flow through you" so release control and you will see something amazing. Adder, it is grate that you can totally pic up on the ripples of time, meditate and see what comes to you, bring peace with you always and bliss out, reach out to the ripples and see if that peace doesn't help out. =) forms of peace= happy(ness)= hopeful norm. forms of distress= compressed emotions/energies= need for decompression Answer: identification, interpretation, (solution=action+reaction=outcome) advice, release attachment to outcome with understanding and love.

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