Sunday, October 30, 2005

Nothing gets better by staring at it in fear

"The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend."
- Henri Bergson

The minds of everyone in populated areas of our planet are accutely aware of social problems that affect every person. These problems seem massive, beyond the ability of most people to cope with solutions that may be proposed.

Politicians do their part by building more prisons and hospitals to manage damaged people. Yet all they accomplish is to get some off the streets while others take their places.

The old joke that you can't destroy cancer by applying a bandage is well worn, but too many people still live their lives in ways that promote and encourage cancer. Even this is a social problem because it affects so many people other than those who have cancer.

The best way to avoid cancer, like the best way to avoid any social problem, is to prevent it from happening in the first place. These things should not be given comfortable places in which to breed. It's not hard, but we haven't begun yet.

We can teach children what they need to know to live cancer-free lives just as we can teach them to live peaceful lives, drug-free lives and lives that are free of constant fear. We can only accomplish that if enough people read 'Turning It Around' and join others to make the necessary changes to our education systems.

Spread the word. It won't happen by itself.

The more minds we can convince, the more eyes will see what you and I see.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to bring peace and disease-free lifestyles to every person.
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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Lock up your daughters!

"Since becoming the father of a daughter, I have figured out that sex is evil."
- Tim Bedore

This line was delivered as a joke, of course. However, it makes a strong point about the unusual stress that parents of daughters adopt regarding their welfare before marriage or before the age when they are believed to be capable of looking after themselves in a male dominated world.

Where do fathers (or mothers) learn how to deal with these responsibilities, how to implement a plan to educate their daughters while keeping them safe from preying males? Almost entirely by accident, heresay, rumour and horror stories that they read or hear from others. Or from ultra conservative loudmouths who believe that girls should be locked away and kept ignorant "for their own protection."

The roles and responsibilities of parenthood must be taught in a thorough,coordinated and formal way. The accidental school of management works poorly in business and the accidental school of parenthood fails badly as well.

We need not wonder why we have so many troubled teens and young adults in our communities. We need rather to concern ourselves with how to teach parents how to fulfill the most important functions they will ever have in their lives, that of growing a new generation.

We must teach parenting skills or suffer the consequences by filling our prisons and the offices of psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to make courses in parenting available in every board of education.
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Friday, October 28, 2005

Today is tomorrow's ancient history

That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in the next.
- John Stuart Mill

At one point in human history, riding a horse to get from one place to another was an absurd dream. Today we study conditions on the surface of Mars and within our spacecraft to see that the environment of Mars will not be polluted when astronauts land there in a few years.

At one time, people were imprisoned or executed for saying that Earth is not the centre of the galazy, indeed the centre of the universe. Today we know that Earth is not the centre of anything except human-devised problems.
When I was a child, the farthest I could send a message to anyone was a letter to my parents from camp. Today I routinely exchange email and even voice messages with people from six continents. (No video yet because I don't want to stress their emotional limits.)

What you may think today is a foolish dream by an impractical good-for-nothing may be tomorrow's reality.

By discounting the dreams of others you discount your own credibility. Don't put down others because they have foresight you may lack.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help everyone turn their dreams into reality.
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Thursday, October 27, 2005

You can build a new life

No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, turn back.
- Turkish proverb

Most of us face situations where we realize that the course we have chosen for ourselves or our family was wrong, a lost cause. Yet we stick to our original course, believing that if we try harder it might just work out, if we are more forgiving our spouse might become more compatible, if we make more sacrifices others might be happier.

It doesn't, they don't, they aren't. No matter how long we stick at the wrong course for our lives, it remains the wrong course and we will never reach a satisfiable goal by continuing on that course.

It's extremely hard to quit one course of life, pretend it didn't happen, then launch into a new one. Yet eventually, that is what must happen. No amount of postponement makes the change any better or less tragic. No matter how long we delay making the final change, feelings will get hurt just as bad, maybe worse. Continuing makes everyone suffer.

Sometimes the only way to fix a house that was built badly is to tear it down and begin again. So it is with our lives. Sometimes we have to begin again with a fresh start.

But, like the house builder who built a bad one and learned from his mistakes, we have our experience to carry with us into our new lives. We know what we had and we know we should avoid getting into the same traps.

Building a new life is the biggest challenge most of us ever face. But the results are worth the price.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help people cut the cord and launch into a new life when it's the only viable way to continue.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Exposing mind-slavers of today

So long as patriotic cant can keep the common man jealous of international controls over his belligerent possibilities, so long will he be the helpless slave of the foreign threat, and 'Peace' remain a mere name for the resting phase between wars."
- H.G. Wells; In The Fourth Year: Anticipations of a World Peace; 1918

"Cant" is stock phrases that have become nonsensical through endless repetition. Many patriotic phrases and mottoes become cant because their creators are unable to think of better catch phrases and mottoes to get the attention of their followers. Cant may be found in any political environment.

The quote, now nearly a century old, seems to explain why so many people around the world fear and hate the USA so much though they know little or nothing about the country or its citizens.

Ignorance thrives in states where patriotism is practised aggressively. Where ignorance lives the minds of people may easily be molded to believe whatever the leaders want them to believe. This usually means that people live in a state of fear because that is the easiest way to keep people under control.

Think about the countries you know of where fear is the dominant emotion experienced by their people. Then look at the political rhetoric spewed by their political leaders and you will find patriotism receiving much more attention than facts or common sense.

Slavery of the body has been illegal for a long time now. Slavery of the mind is with us today because it is more effective than slavery of the body and because it is not illegal. Laws will not eliminate slavery of the mind. Only education will do that.

People do not need to have university degrees to be educated against the evils of patriotism. They simply need to be taught how to recognize patriotic slogans and how to react to them.

While teaching people how to recognize patriotic slogans that enslave the mind, we should continue and teach them how to recognize advertising methods that impoverish them by shackling their pocketbooks.

Peace cannot exist in a state where minds are enslaved any more than it can exist in a state where bodies are enslaved.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to free minds by teaching them how to avoid the mind-slavers.
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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

We can change history--our own future

What you do is of little significance; but it is very important that you do it.
- Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948)

Some of us will remember episodes of the original Star Trek series where Kirk and company went back in time. The standard caution was always to avoid doing anything that might change history because that would change the "future" in which the team normally lived.

Everything you do changes history. No matter how small, every action you take makes history go one way rather than one of many other possible scenarios.
Doing something fills in history, puts us in charge of it, if only of our small part of it. Doing nothing leaves the future to unfold in ways that may not be pleasant.

Look at how social problems plague every culture in the world, at least every major culture today. The reason is that we have not done anything to prevent them from developing. We allowed our own future to unfold in ways that turned out to be unpleasant for us.

We can change our future. We can make it better. We know how. Those who read 'Turning It Around' know how. It's up to us to spread the word and make the future happen in ways that will allow us to look back later to say how proud we are of how life on Earth improved under our watch.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to give each person the tools to make our future a better place than our past has been.
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Monday, October 24, 2005

We can change the world - we have the technology

Can the Serenity Prayer change the world? No, but you can.
Peter is a friend who belongs to my LASTfriends group.

Peter quoted the exact wording of the Serenity Prayer:
> God grant me the Serenity
> To Accept the Thing I cannot Change,
> Courage to Change the Things I can,
> And the Wisdom to Know the Difference!
> You should print and save this prayer so that you can remind
> yourself of it whenever things Don't Go Your Way!!!

Thanks for the exact wording, Peter.

There is a gaping flaw in this prayer. It's in the second line. Human nature says that it's tempting to use this line to emotionally dispose of problems we feel we would rather not tackle so that we can avoid the need for expressing courage as in the third line.

Peter, you know that the world could be made into a much better, safer and happier place because you have read 'Turning It Around.' Most people would prefer to turn their backs on something of this magnitude, thinking that it's too much work or it would be too emotionally draining. It wouldn't, but that is how they feel.

There is no problem that cannot be changed. Many can't be changed by one person alone, which is what I have maintained for years. We have to work together.
Any problem created by humankind can be fixed by humankind. Fixing takes a long time, but it can be done. Preventing them from happening in the first place indicates a massive step in the social evolution of our species. But it can be done.

I want to take that step.

I want your help.

I want you to help me to spread the word about 'Turning It Around.' That's not hard to do, nor is it emotionally draining. But it won't happen by itself and it won't happen by my work alone.

The Serenity Prayer was adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous to help those with addictions to accept that some things can't be changed.

The most critical benefit to Alcoholics Anonymous is the social aspect of the program, the support offered by one alcoholic to others.

Alcoholics who belong to AA have friends. Those who don't belong to AA may not have any real friends, at least not the kind that stay with you when you are not drinking.

AA offers these people something they have lacked for their whole lives, friends in a support network.

Other addictions need such support systems for their addicts.

What support systems do we have (does any country have) for socially underdeveloped people who turn to crime instead of to addictions? Most have none. Criminals are treated as pariahs, not as people in need. They need friends and support systems, but we isolate them behind bars.

I am working now on a theory that might show that adults who cannot read or that read poorly (functionally illiterate) were socially underdeveloped during their growing up years. If that is true, schools could change that. This is a huge development for education!

It could mean that,w ith a few minor changes to our school systems, everyone will learn to read and few will ever have psychological problems, reading problems or turn to crime.

Who will tackle a problem of that magnitude?

Who could tackle a problem of that magnitude alone?

Without you, the solutions to major social problems that I develop will die with me.

Should you, as the second line of the Serenity Prayer says, accept these problems as things you cannot change? Or should you accept that they can be changed and have the courage to help me change them throughout the world?

Do you want to leave a lasting and positive legacy so that people will remember you long after your life here has passed? Here is the way.

Together we can do what no other humans before us have managed to do. We can be the first ever. Imagine!

We have the technology (computers and the internet) to help us. We need to will to bring others into the fold with us.

Invite others to join the TIA group:

Recommend 'Turning It Around' to everyone you know. Refer them to the web site to learn more and to a book store to buy the book.

Send this message to as many people as you think might learn from it, might benefit from it and might help us to spread the word.

I develop the solutions that others can't find. I can't be the salesman too. Each one of you knows as many people as I do, or more.

We need your friends, neighbours and work colleagues to join us and to help us. Please give them a chance to do good, the same chance that you have.

Don't leave it to someone else. If you don't do it, the message and the solutions will stop with you. The world might be as if you and I had never lived.

Let's make it happen together.

Bill Allin
Author, creator of global solutions and one man trying to do a big job

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Something magnificent is happening

"I am convinced that the world is not a mere bog in which men and women trample themselves and die. Something magnificent is taking place here amidst the cruelties and tragedies, and the supreme challenge to intelligence is that of making the noblest and best in our curious heritage prevail."
- C.A. Beard

It's hard to see improvement when destruction is in your face every day.

Each day we work toward improvement in our lives. When something bad happens, it focusses our attention on the bad, distracting us from the good that we have achieved or that may have been achieved around us.

We see these are problems that must be solved. When we can't solve them ourselves, we assume that other can't solve them either, especially if our governments don't act toward solution.

This thinking is wrong on all counts, despite how natural it may be. What we cannot solve ourselves, we can solve by working with others. If we refuse to working with others, preferring to what we know we can manage, some problems will be impossible to solve.

If we want to see marked improvement in our lifetimes, we will have to drop on inhibitions about working in coopearte with others and put the greater good of our future ahead of our own immediate benefit.

We also need to look for others who will work with us. They are out there, but they are quiet because they think that no one wants to work with them.

The good guys are always so quiet. Magnificent things happen when they come together and speak up.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to bring people together for the greater good of all humankind.
Learn more at

Saturday, October 22, 2005

History: realities and myths

May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof (White House).
- John Adams, 2nd US President, and the first one to live in the modern White House, after it was burned down by the Canadians/British, (1735-1826)

You may be certain that every US president who has lived in the White House since the time of Adams believes himself to be both honest and wise.

What's more, US history adapts itself to the passing of presidents so that every former US president is illustrated as being a good one.

History is not a record of facts, but of selective memory.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to give each person the skills to evaluate history objectively.
Learn more at

Friday, October 21, 2005

The road to success leads through failure and mistakes

"Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently."
- Henry Ford

Ford should know. He had two business failures before he found success with his assembly line manufacturing of automobiles.

The secret to turning failure into success is to treat failure as a learning situation.

No one gets it right every time. The fastest road to success often leads to excesses that end up killing the very goal which was sought in the first place. Think of movie stars that hit it big fast for evidence of this.

The wisest people have made the most mistakes, but have learned from each.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help people learn from their mistakes to make for more successful futures.
Learn more at

Thursday, October 20, 2005

There is a right way to approach a problem

"All things are difficult before they are easy."
- John Norley

Any problem we must solve may cause us apprehension or fear because it seems so enormous, so overwhelming. Yet by the time we work how how we will approach the problem, it becomes almost routine.

There's no need to rush into the problem before we are prepared to address it. Sometimes I postpone working on something for days until I figure out how to work my way through it. By the time I actually do the work, it goes well because I have given myself time to develop the right approach.

Rushing into a problem before we are prepared could result in emotional problems that are far worse than the problem itself.

Given yourself a few days to think about a problem before you delve into it. The stress caused by rushing into a problem you don't know how to face may cause stress that will compromise your immune system and generate friction between you and others around you.

Sometimes talking with others about a problem helps. They may not give you the solution you need, but they may give you the chance to sound out your own ideas until you find the right path to take.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help people find the right paths to solution, not just the right solutions.
Learn more at

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Killing each other is not our manifest destiny

"Coming together is a beginning; Keeping together is progress;
Working together is success."
- Henry Ford

This is more than just a clever quip. It's a prescription of objectives for humanity.

All animals and plants compete, by nature. To succeed, they must grow to adulthood and remain healthy enough to spread their seed while others attempt to take their place and crowd them out of existence. It's from this natural drive to be better than our neighbours that we find ourselves in situations of prejudice, of claiming political incorrectness, of buying on credit more than we need and of looking after ourselves while other die of loneliness or starvation.

Humans are a social species that acts as if each individual is independent. Until we come together and follow the path that Ford outlines, we must suffer in inequities and the consequences of our failure to work together.

What nature provided within us is not necessarily our destiny. We can teach each other how much better life could be if we came together for our collective benefit rather than struggling each for our individual benefits.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to bring people together for a better future for all.
Learn more at

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Can we live other lives beyond this one?

I don’t think it’s any more bizzare for me to show up in another lifetime than it was for me to show up in this one.
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Not conventional thinking, but reasonable nonetheless.

From a common sense point of view, for any one of us to appear fully formed on this Earth at this time requires understanding far beyond what any human is capable of. Yet if we can accept that we are here and that whatever happened to get us here must therefore have been valid, then it is far less of a stretch of the imagination to think that we might appear in another lifetime.

That lifetime might be earlier than this one or later. On a subject of this magnitude, time ceases to be a major consideration.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help people make sense of the most important questions in their lives.
Learn more at

Monday, October 17, 2005

Avoiding new things can be unhealthy

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult."
- Seneca

Many new things we face in life we fear because we perceive them as trials rather than as new experiences. The more we build fear of something, the more awesome and awful it seems.

Most of us have a natural (built-in) apprehension about facing new situations. Recent research has shown that two genes perform this function. But what we take beyond caution, to the point of fear, is unreasonable and unhealthy.

Sometimes we must assess not just the risk involved in tackling something new, but the consequences of failure. When failure will bring us nothing worse than experience we can build on later, the venture is likely worth trying.

There is no such thing in life as maintaining the status quo, keeping things "as they always were." Life slides backwards at an alarming rate for those who try. Often people who live through such a backward slide never recover. They die, eventually, as lonely anachronisms of their time.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help people improve their minds steadily as their bodies decline with age.
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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Common sense: not so common any more

It is inaccurate to say I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.
- H.L. Mencken, writer, editor, and critic (1880-1956)

This very problem is addressed, quite thoroughly, in 'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems.'

Common sense, common honesty and common decency are only "common" when they are taught to every child. That's what "common" means.

These concepts are not being taught to every child. Every parent assumes that their child will learn these concepts--somehow, they don't know how it happens, but they assume it happens to everyone just by growing up. It doesn't.

Social problems are getting worse because these concepts are being taught less and less. Too much assumption, too little positive action.

However, before all parents can learn that they must teach these concepts to their children, the parents themselves must learn that this is their responsibility. That's where you and I come in. Through Turning It Around we can teach them.

We can only do that if those who know what is needed do something about it. Read the book. Tell others about the book. Get others to join this group.

It's easy, it's cheap and it doesn't take much time. But if you don't do it, it won't happen.

Please spread the word about TIA.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to put broken societies and broken communities and families back together by giving them the tools they need to make it happen.
Learn more at

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Why so few women politicians?

"The reason there are so few female politicians is that it is too much trouble to put makeup on two faces."
- Maureen Murphy

Why will politicians agree with almost anything that anyone says to them?

Most simple voters will expect that they have satisfied their civic duty by expressing their opinion to an elected representative. When the politicians agrees with them, or at least uses words that give the impression he agrees with them, they go away happy.

Nothing changes because later the politician does what his political party bosses tell him to do and he votes the way he is told to vote. Meanwhile, he has discussed the same matter with someone else who has expressed a different point of view. He has (apparently) agreed with that person as well.

More astute politicians will reply to voter opinions that he will take that person's opinion into consideration when executing his duties and responsibilities. This, at least, seems less of a lie, as he has already formed (or had it formed for him) his official opinion on the matter at hand and knows how he will vote in the legislature.

Is it true that women are more honest than men as politicians? No. However, women find a different kind of deception more acceptable than the kind used by male politicians. They will accept flattery about their looks or their dress, but don't want to engage in the kind of hypocritical debate that men have in political discussions.

There is a difference. As men outnumber women in political party executive positions, they almost always have their way in matters of political decision making. The difference is not pretty.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help people to understand that equality requires participation, not avoidance.
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Friday, October 14, 2005

War means nothing to the ignorant

It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell.
- William Tecumseh Sherman, Union General in the American Civil War (1820-1891)

Those who advocate war should first be required to stand facing a war advocate from the opposing side and choose whether or not to attempt to kill that person.

Then, before making the final decision, he or she should visit a field hospital where those who have not died in a battle, but have survived damaged or in pieces, lie in hospital.

War is nothing more than a video game to those who have not faced the realities of war.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to put violence in perspective so that we all know why we should avoid it.
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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Respect yourself first

"If you must love your neighbor as yourself, it is at least as fair to love yourself as your neighbor."
- Sebastien-Roch Nicolas

In fact, it is important that you love yourself first. That means neither narcissism nor egocentrism, but that you must respect yourself totally before you have the ability to respect others.

If you can't respect yourself, all you have to offer others is the fealty of a slave or someone who is beholden. These are not qualities that others commonly look for in friends.

You must be your own best friend because you are the only friend you can realistically expect to stay with your for your whole life.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help each person put themselves within the context of their own world instead of just looking at it from the outside.
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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Words may convey unintended results

By words the mind is winged.
- Aristophanes, dramatist (c. 448-385 BCE)

As well, the mind may be imprisoned.

We create worlds based on the words we hear from others and the words we speak to ourselves in our thoughts. These worlds may not be similar to the worlds of those who are closest to us, those who have experienced the same words.

Words shape our thoughts, our interpretation of words lends shade and nuance to those thoughts and the worlds we create from them for ourselves. Someone may become our enemy, for example, based not on the words that person says (as they were intended) but by our interpretation of those words.

Whenever we are in any doubt as to the meaning of words we hear or read, we would be wise to ask the user of those words to explain their meaning further. Whenever words we hear are hurtful, our first reaction should be to question whether the speaker intended them to be hurtful or simply used the wrong words to convey a thought.

Otherwise we may create false worlds that could result in fear, discomfort, even alienation for ourselves.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to encourage people to ask when the meaning of words they hear or read is in doubt, to avoid causing self-hurt.
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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Good reasons and real reasons

A person usually has two reasons for doing something: a good reason and the real reason.
- Thomas Carlyle, historian and essayist (1795-1881)

The "good reason" is usually one that others will accept. The "real reason" is one of personal interest. The latter may be one of greed, of compassion, of curiosity, of conscience-easement or of altruism, but it is usually one that the person prefers to not share with others.

Something to consider when we wonder why someone has done something the way they did.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to take the mystery out of personal relations.
Learn more at

Monday, October 10, 2005

Trust is a matter of necessity

"It is impossible to go through life without trust: that is to be imprisoned in the worst cell of all, oneself."
- Graham Greene

Humans are social animals. Social animals depend on each other for their survival, including their security, supply of food, defence and general welfare. We need each other for other reasons, including exploration of ideas, development of solutions to problems, even for touch and love.

A person who trusts no one is by definition alone, unable to socialize easily with others. To be able to work with others means that some personal sacrifice is necessary because we must trust others in order to get something from them.

The difference between trusting others and not trusting others hinges on a decision. Explanations for why one should not trust others merely cloud the issue, acting as excuses for avoiding making a necessary decision.

We trust others or we do not have much of a life. Others will betray our trust, true enough, but we will betray the trust of others as well. Some flexibility and forgiveness are part of being human.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to give people reasons to trust for their own good health.
Learn more at

Sunday, October 09, 2005

We get the government we care about

The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.
- John Adams, 2nd US president (1735-1826)

This is exactly what we do, as voters, when we pay no attention to the governing of our communities and our countries between elections. We trust those we elect (people we often know very little about) to govern us in a safe, respectable and honest manner.

This would be similar to the owner of a business only checking in with those who operate the business for them every two or four years. This never happens with businesses unless the owners don't care if the business disappears.

It happens in most democracies. We get the government we care about.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help governments make citizens part of the governing process instead of victims of it.
Learn more at

Saturday, October 08, 2005

They were never children

"People who get nostalgic about childhood were obviously never children."
- Bill Watterson, from the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes

Childhood isn't easy for anyone. The point Watterson makes is that the best part of childhood is the memories of the best things that happened to us as children.

Selective memory is the term used to describe the filtering system our brain uses to block out the bad elements of our memories while making the good elements vivid and clear. We use selective memory to block out unhappy events of our childhood (much of the time) while enhancing the good times.

One of the worst things about childhood is that a child never knows what may happen next. Their future could change at any time. That may partly explain why many adults want conditions to remain the same in their lives for long periods of time, as that would give them the stability they so desperately lacked as children.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help parents and teachers explain to children what is ahead for them so the future is not so frightening.
Learn more at

Friday, October 07, 2005

The harm we do without intention

"Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm. But the harm does not interest them."
- TS Eliot, American-born British critic and poet (1888-1965)

The harm does not interest them. That means that either they are incapable of understanding the concept that what they do harms others and this is bad, or that the concept is an important part of the teaching by parents to young children, a part these people missed.

One of the worst "sins by default" that parents can make is to assume that their children get life lessons somewhere along the way, they they do not have to be taught because they are "common sense" that everyone knows.

Nothing is common sense to someone who has not been taught. Common sense itself must be taught or it is not acquired.

A child is born knowing nothing but how to suck and what the smell of its mother is like. Everything after that must be taught. If anything is not taught purposefully and thoughtfully, it may be a lesson that is never learned. Or it may be a lesson that is learn wrongly because it was learned from someone who had their own best interests in mind and not that of the child-learner.

A drug dealer would be one such person.

Leave nothing to chance when raising a child. Teach everything.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help all parents understand that common sense is only common when it is taught to every child.
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Governments don't lose wars

People rarely win wars; governments rarely lose them.
- Arundhati Roy, writer and activist (1961- )

Does that seem like a contradiction? It isn't. A government remains
intact if someone dies. No one accepts full responsibility for
anything in government.

If you look at the lives of everyone who is affected by war in any
way, not a single one of them is improved as a result of war. Many
continue their lives after a war with post traumatic stress syndrome
that never disappears. At best it gets suppressed.

No one who doesn't have a death wish begins a war in their own
neighbourhood. Wars are always begun "over there." Other governments
begin wars in our neighbourhood.

A government trains its soldiers to kill without remorse. An
individual who does that is convicted to life imprisonment or death.

No one truly understands war because they are waged by governments.

Government work is carried out by people who are trained to have no
people skills. If what they do results in harm, they have no remorse.

It's not their fault. It's the government. Governments have no
conscience. Governments rarely lose wars because the enemy was always wrong.

The enemy, it turns out, has no conscience either.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social
Problems,' striving to teach children ethics that become the basis for
conscience in adulthood.
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The past haunts our future

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
- George Santayana, philosopher (1863-1952)

This quote is often used as a level to encourage people to learn
history. Yet the importance of the message is lost unless the proper
stress is place where it needs to be.

It's not history itself that must be studied, but the history of human
behaviour. That is, history is replete with examples of situations
where if a person does THIS, THAT is likely to result.

This, the consequences of certain actions or behaviour, is something
that can be taught, that should be taught.

It must be taught in order for us to reduce the level of social
problems we endure today.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social
Problems,' striving to teach people to consider the consequences of
their behaviour before they find themselves in serious trouble.
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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A lazy brain could kill you

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."
- Sir Richard Steele

Reading forces the brain to think, a grand concept that involves several different brain processes, often involving both halves of the brain. Visual/aural input alone, such as from television or movies, requires extremely little brain effort, a little to follow a story line and the rest to put the input data into storage.

While too much of anything may have its harmful consequences, too little thinking may actually shorten one's life. When the brain atrophies from lack of work, it may eventually give up control of the immune system, which is a guarantee of impending disease.

As the brain controls virtually everything in every part of our body, anything that impairs its ability to be in complete control risks our life. Those who disagree with this conclusion may want to rethink the argument in their next life.

And don't get too close to anyone in this life who might miss you when you are gone.

Bill Allin
'Turning it Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help people put the world and their lives in perspective.
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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Failure is part of the road to success

"The guy who takes a chance, who walks the line between the known and unknown, who is unafraid of failure, will succeed."
- Gordon Parks

Each of us must give due consideration to those factors which could bring about the failure of a project we will embark upon. That's part of the due diligence required for a major project. But fear imprisons us, shackles us to impotence.

The successful person sees failure as a valuable learning experience on the road to success. An unsuccessful person sees failure as a necessary way of life.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help people put life into perspective.
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Monday, October 03, 2005

Want to get rich? Avoid the stock market.

"In one 22-year study tracking the careers of 1,500 men and women, 83 of whom became millionaires, the researcher found that not a single person in the study became wealthy investing in the stock market. In fact, most of the people in the study were still struggling financially after 22 years of work, and one of the main reasons was because they had lost so much money investing their savings in stocks recommended by financial advisers."
- Brian Tracy, Getting Rich Your Own Way

The moral is either to avoid taking the advice of financial advisors or to stay out of investing in the stock market.

People get rich by investing in the stock market. But they earn their riches from the losing investments of the small investor who doesn't have time to follow what the stock market is doing.

No way of earning money comes easy. Either you earn it with your own efforts at a job or you earn it with your own efforts by becoming an expert investor. Saving it under a mattress doesn't work because inflation makes its value less each year.

You need to become knowledgeable if you want someone else to earn money for you.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to make each person an expert at a few things.
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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Who is your best friend?

"The cat could very well be man's best friend but would never stoop to admitting it."
- Doug Larson

The cat is therefore not man's best friend. Friends tell what they mean to each other. Not in words, necessarily, but in actions and gestures at least.

No one who must stoop to anything can be a real friend. Friends are always on the same level. When someone is not, a friend will raise him to his level.

Friends make you better. Anyone who does not make you better is not a friend.

Anyone who cannot make others better is incapable of making friends. What a terrible deficit to have missed such lessons in childhood.

When a pet is your best friend, you missed some important lessons as a child.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to teach children how to make a keep friends.
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Saturday, October 01, 2005

Walk beside the leader

Every individual…has to retain his way of thinking if he does not want to get lost in the maze of possibilities. However, nobody is sure of having taken the right road, me the least.
- Albert Einstein (written May 25, 1953, near the end of his life)

The more we retain our own way of thinking, the more dedicated we are to doing things our own way, the greater the chance that we will make a mistake. Yet not making mistakes means not learning, which means not improving ourselves. Mistakes are an essential part of life if we are to get better rather than just older.

Those who do not make mistakes get into less trouble, but they simply exist rather than live. They follow someone else, trying to live vicariously from their leader.
It doesn't work. Following a leader when the leader leads by consensus is constructive. Following a leader who has his own agenda and seeks his own best interests is a waste of life.

Life is not given to us to turn over to a self-interested leader. It is only meaningful when we help others, when their bests interests become ours as well.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to give everyone the skill and the ability to lead their own life rather than follow selfish leaders.
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