Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Accepting one opinion makes you a sheep

My aim is to agitate and disturb people. I'm not selling bread, I'm selling yeast.
- Miguel de Unamuno, writer and philosopher (1864-1936)

Should we be comfortable with information sources that provide us with facts we assume to be truth? This is the means by which propaganda is successful.

Every news and information source is biased in some way. Sometimes the bias is unintentional, but most of the time the producers have a point of view they wish to convey to listeners or readers. If we accept this point of view as fact, as gospel if you will, then we have given up our right to think and to be considered as thinking beings. We have given up our right to be considered individuals and have adopted a flock mentality.

The wisest among us will listen to or read some "information," then say to ourselves "Assuming this point of view is false, what would an opposing opinion be?" Only when we have at least two opposing points of view can we realistically and fairly compare and make a considered decision as to which we will believe.

Even then we might choose a position between two others. There is nothing wrong with that. We don't have to stand on a soapbox and shout our opinions in order to have them. Just having our own opinions rather than adopting those of someone else is enough to qualify us as individuals who deserve respect.

What would an opinion opposing this one say? In this case, I have given you two opposing opinions and encouraged you to accept one of them. You know the choice.

Consider the two possibile choices and decide for yourself.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to encourage each person to think for themselves rather than follow the flock.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hate and grudges are self imposed torture

"The hatred you're carrying is a live coal in your heart - far more damaging to yourself than to them."
- Lawana Blackwell, The Dowry of Miss Lydia Clark, 1999

Generally speaking people who are hated by others don't lose any sleep or waste any energy thinking about hose who hate them. They just don't care.

The only people who suffer from hate, from holding a grudge or from worrying about someone who is disliked are those who hate, worry or hold the grudge. The others move on quickly and forget any unpleasant situation.

Hate and grudge-holding are forms of self-torture. They are ways of punishing ourselves for carrying about the opinions of others who are not worth their trouble.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to put life into perspective.
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Monday, November 28, 2005

What you receive may not be what you were given

I know what I have given you. I do not know what you have received.
- Antonio Porchia, writer (1886-1968)

A writer knows exactly what he wants to say, the message he wants to convey. What he has no way of knowing is what his reader will understand from his words, what message the reader will carry away from the experience.

A reader understands what he wants to understand from what he reads. He wants to read material that agrees with his concept of his world. He may disregard written material that does not conform to what he believes, despite how well proven it may be.

When he reads something that may be close to what he believes, he may seize on it as support for what he believes, or even as evidence that "others" support an opposing cause that is destructive, even if the writer had neither intention.

Whether what the writer intended is important to the reader or not is a matter of personal opinion.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to make sense of a world complicated by misunderstood messages.
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Sunday, November 27, 2005

No one knows us but ourselves

Each has his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by heart and his friends can only read the title.
- Virginia Woolf, writer (1882-1941)

No one knows us like we know ourselves.

Our lives are so complex that even we may not understand the whole, for we focus mostly on individual parts of our lives.

That's why we can often seem like a different person, to some extent, from one day to the next.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help us know ourselves better so that we can help others to understand us.
Learn more at

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Knowing solutions is one thing, doing is another altogether

PLEASE NOTE: Our new web site is up and running at

"Wisdom is know what to do next; virtue is doing it."
- David Starr Jordan

The most severe criticism I could give of the government of my own country, Canada, is that it knows the right things to do about many problems but it will not move to do those things.

Individuals have the same problems. Over the years, inventor have created products that would change our lives dramatically and make the energy shortage insignificant, but these people have not brought their ideas forward. They lacked the virtue of doing.

Knowing the right thing to do about a problem has the problem three-quarters solved. Doing nothing about that solution means the problem continues to get worse.
Don't just think it, do it!

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to encourage people to do what they know they should to solve our problems.
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Friday, November 25, 2005

Order: teach it or it won't be learned

"It is best to do things systematically, since we are only human, and disorder is our worst enemy."
- Hesiod

Disorder causes us to use more of our most precious commodity in life, our time. It requires more time to sort through a mess to find something than it does to find the same thing that is always returned to the same place after it has been used or moved.

This makes sense.

Like everything else that we consider to be "common sense," the concept of order as a time-saving device must be taught to children. It must be taught to young children before they get into the habit of being careless about where they leave their belongings.

Many teens have bedrooms that resemble trash dumps. Some of them can find whatever they need as soon as they need it. Their system of order is different from that of most adults. Different, not necessarily wrong.

Others can't find anything in the chaos.

Most teens reorganize their concept of order so that it is in line with that of most adults as they get older. This is simply because their system of order can't be managed by other adults. It's easier to follow the normal pattern of order of the adult world than to be rejected by the rest of society. This is part of the process of socialization.

Everything we want our children to know and be able to do as adults must be taught to them when they are still children. And it should be taught much earlier than most parents realize, before kids get into bad habits.

There is no such thing as a child being "too young" to be taught something. Nor is there any such thing as a child being "too young to understand." The only problem would be in the minds of parents who can't or don't teach important things properly.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to put relevant content into the order that parents teach their children.
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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Only one success in life

"There is only one success, to be able to spend your life in your own way."
- Christopher Morley

This means to feel that you have the ability to make your own choices, rather than having options cast upon you.

It does not mean to have unfettered liberty to do whatever you please without regard for others or their welfare.

It also does not mean that you could live your life recklessly, as that raises an ethical issue. If you must not do anything that risks the life of another person, under penalty of law, then you do not have the right to risk your own life.

A moral issue also arises when you risk your own life because you put at risk the future of those who love you.

Live your life in a way that when you look back over it in your last days you will do so with pride of accomplishment and happiness of achievement.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to show the path to a life that is healthy physically, mentally and emotionally.
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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The mind can only grow when it's well fed and exercised

The mind is but a barren soil; a soil which is soon exhausted, and will produce no crop, or only one, unless it be continually fertilized and enriched with foreign matter.
- Joshua Reynolds, painter (1723-1792)

The point here is not that the mind must be fed, but that it must go beyond that with new and unexamined material so that it stretches beyond its previous boundaries.

The human mind is limited only by bounds it puts on itself. It has potential beyond what most of us can imagine.

That potential can only be explored and exploited when the person who controls the mind wants to go where the mind has not been before. This also means allowing for input of opinions that are different from what the mind believes and for evidence that does not support what the mind has accepted as truth.

Those who believe that they have reached their intellectual goal in life have effectively ended their intellectual life.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help people reach beyond what they believed was their mental limits.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Nationalism may mean corruption

I love my country too much to be a nationalist.
- Albert Camus, writer, philosopher, Nobel laureate (1913-1960)

The main definition of a nationalist is "one who loves and defends his or her country." However, the word has adopted a connotative meaning with a different slant to it: "my country, right or wrong."

The latter meaning derives from the word patriot, which has a similar main meaning to nationalist, but puts the winning of various kinds of contests, competitions and conflicts above doing what is right.

There is no euphamism or escape from "wrong." Wrong is wrong, no matter in what glossy terms it may be couched. Two wrongs never make a right, ever.

We cannot raise our children to do what is right, then tell them it's all right to do wrong under certain circumstances. That, in itself, is wrong. It is hypocrisy and it forms the basis on which teen rebellion in western society grows.

If we teach kids what is right, then later they find us doing wrong, the foundation of who they are is ripped apart. Their parents, the people who taught them how to be who they are, lied.

People who lie to achieve certain goals are corrupt. Governments who lie to achieve their goals are also corrupt. Corruption is a slippery slope. Down.

Teach your children what is right. Practise what is right yourself. Insist that others do what is right with your children.

We don't need a more corrupt world.

We can each begin to make it better by doing what is right, teaching our children and grandchildren what is right and not tearing apart what our children thought of us when they were young.

Your children know what is wrong. You taught them. Now back it up in your own life so they see you as a good role model not as a failed and corrupt teacher.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to encourage everyone to teach right, teach good, teach peace--the basic TIA philosophy of T3.
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Monday, November 21, 2005

The link between egotism and stupidity

Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity.
- Frank William Leahy, football coach (1908-1973)

Think about the egotists you have met.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help everyone understand that people who are hard to get along with have problems they can't cope with.
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Sunday, November 20, 2005

The fly on the carabao--life lesson for everyone

A fly that lands on a carabao feels itself to be higher than the carabao.
- Filipino proverb

Every member of the animal kingdom has a natural desire to succeed, to thrive no matter what the circumstances. Often that desire demonstrates itself as a display of extraordinary confidence where one shows himself as being better than others.

No one is better than anyone else and most of us know it. Yet we have that desire to appear to be better in the eyes of others.

Is this simply a desire for attention? It would be more accurate to call it a desire for acknowledgement. We don't need to be praised to feel acknowledged, to feel ourselves as part of whatever group we are in. But sometimes we feel it necessary to act superior to others just to get their attention.

This may seem a misplaced desire, an inappropriate way to be recognized by others. But someone who feels unrecognized, unacknowledged, unappreciated as an equal by others might resort to even irrational kinds of behaviour as a desperate measure.
When we see others acting out, we are best advised to give them the attention they desire without accepting the anti-social behaviour as the means of getting it.

We all need to be recognized, to be accepted, to feel part of the group. Even the most unpleasant among us needs that.

The more unpleasant among us need it more than others because they are desperate enough to act out or to criticize others or to act miserably to get our attention.
The most peaceful community (or family or workplace) is the community where each member feels recognized and acknowledged by the others.

It's also a way to make friends, if recognition is not a normal part of the social activity of a workplace, for example.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to show people how to make friends and to receive the acknowledgement they need.
Learn more at

Saturday, November 19, 2005

You can lose your power to think for yourself

"A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is a visible labor and there is an invisible labor."
- Victor Hugo, 1862, French poet, novelist and dramatist (1802-1885)

Thinking uses 31 percent as much energy as heavy labour. It's an invisible labour equivalent to lighter physical work.

It's also a necessary endeavour. Those who are too busy to take time to think about things get into the habit of not thinking. Eventually, they lose the power to think and simply go with whatever flow life throws at them.

People who have lost their power to think never realize it. They simply believe that others are too fast, too impatient or too intolerant of their "different" ways. They blame others for being "different."

They look like real people but they are, in effect, automatons who are at the mercy of whoever has the power to control their minds, their votes and their money.
Politicians and industries have learned how to do that effectively.

No matter what you decided to do about an issue, think about arguments on both sides of it. Ask others and get information before you choose.

Don't lose your power to think.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to give people the tools they need to think independently of those who want to control their minds and their money.
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Friday, November 18, 2005

You can make two people happy

"When someone does something good, applaud! You will make two people happy."
- Samuel Goldwyn

It's remarkable how often I get the reply "Thanks! No one ever says that" when I compliment someone on a job well done.

We get used to giving tips to servers, bellhops and cabbies, but we don't think how much more gratified people are when they receive praise rather than money. Money does not satisfy our need for recognition from others the way a compliment does.

What we do is important to us. It's a critical investment of our most precious commodity, our time. Whether we're at work or on our own time, what we do means a great deal to us. To get a compliment for it makes it seem more worthwhile.

When we applaud someone for something well done, we do make two people happy. Seeing the joy we bring to others make us happy too.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to show what happiness is and how little money means in the search for it.
Learn more at

Thursday, November 17, 2005

When you lose trust, you lose life

"The chief lesson I have learned in a long life is that the only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him; and the surest way to make him untrustworthy is to distrust him and show your distrust."
- Henry L. Stimson

Everyone finds it discouraging when someone they trusted betrays that trust. Many stop trusting anyone in response.

Distrust is infectious. A person who commits a grievous error in betraying the trust of a friend may lose that trust and the friend. In turn, he may not trust others in his life. The cycle spirals until no one trusts anyone.

When we don't trust anyone, we can't express sympathy for others and we lose interest in helping others in need. Humans, a social species by nature, survived for so long by helping each other in times of need.

When we lose that characteristic, we lose the common thread that helped us become the dominant species on Earth we are today. In short, by not trusting others, we may bring about the eventual extinction of the human race.

Trusting another person is a gamble, one that does not pay off every time. Yet even if one such gamble in four pays off, it helps us to make friends. Friends are what sustain us through hard times.

Some time soon you will be given the chance to trust someone or to refuse to trust them. Forget about what you have to lose if your trust is misplaced, think about what you have to lose if you don't trust anyone.

Those who can't trust anyone lose the foundation that grounds them to place and to family, to who they are.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to teach everyone the importance of trust, to themselves and to the world.
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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Proof is not enough

For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible.
- Stuart Chase

This observation applies to every important question in life. Those who do not believe in something will deny the validity of any proof presented, believing that there must be something wrong with it.

Do you see the paradox? The same people who will not believe in something that may be proven instead believe in something for which there is no evidence.

Such is human nature. People believe in "nothing," they just differ in which "nothing" they believe in. Meantime few search for evidence and those who find it may not find a welcome audience.

Is that true of 'Turning It Around'? Are people more comfortable believing that social problems such as drug addictions and drug-related crimes, homelessness, illiteracy, violence, bullying, rage and so on are insolvable?

You believe that these problems can be solved. Your friends will believe you if you tell them. And other friends will believe your friends. They may not believe me because they have no reason to believe me.

Spread the word. There is no need for us to suffer when the problems can be prevented and people can be much less emotionally stressed in the process.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures For Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to teach prevention so that cures are not needed.
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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

It's your turn: do a little, make a big difference

"The great French Marshall Lyautey once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow growing and would not reach maturity for 100 years. The Marshall replied, 'In that case, there is no time to lose; plant it this afternoon!'"
- John F. Kennedy

There it is, the grist mill of Turning It Around.

While we wonder what will happen with this new program and wait to see what others will do, the tree is not growing. So little effort is required of each person to make such a huge difference. But nothing can happen until people make that little effort.

Buy the book, tell your friends about it. Give it as gifts for Christmas--no present will ever do so much or last so long.

At least as important as that is to get them to join the TIA group:

And to read the web site:

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' a gift without equal.
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Monday, November 14, 2005

You can only do what you believe you can do, nothing more

"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
- John Wooden

Western societies, many cultures around the world, are inclined to put more emphasis on our weaknesses rather than on strengths. Our weaknesses, our faults and our mistakes are pointed out at every possible instance.

Our strengths, our successes, our hard-won moves forward rarely receive any recognition from others. Thus we tend to spend too much time and emotion focussing on our weaknesses rather than on our strengths.

The problem is that the effort of concentrating on weaknesses often becomes a weakness in itself because we don't work to make those weak parts of our lives stronger.

Eventually, we generalize to believe that we can't do much about anything. We accept our powerlesssness and others unconsciously allow us to slide into that belief.

There are geniuses among us, people with answers to the most perplexing problems, people with solutions to medical mysteries, people with proposals that could have us populating planets in distant galaxies, people that know how to make people better than they are today, who languish with the mistaken belief that they can't make a difference.

Alone we may not be able to make much of a difference. Together we can.
Support those who have ideas and proposals by letting them air these before the world.

We can't make the world a better place if we believe we can't or if we don't support those who believe they can.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to build confidence in those who can and arouse self-belief in those hwo believe they can't.
Learn more at

Sunday, November 13, 2005

If you don't help yourself, no one else has an obligation to help you

"As long as you stand in your own way, what does it matter what other obstacles you face?"
- Anonymous

He who steps on his own foot will surely stumble and fail to move forward.
There is no point in blaming your life situation, your disabilities or others close to you for your problems if you won't do something about them youself.

You can be your own worst enemy by doing nothing.

Improving yourself is hard and it brings failures and heartache, but it's better than sliding backward.

Life is not fair or equitable and some people will hurt you for fun and profit. Get over it. Get past it or become your own Titanic.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help people improve themselves instead of looking for excuses.
Learn more at

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Why are you here? Will you be remembered?

The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.
- William James

Today people travel around the world, as tourists, to see work that was done lovingly and with great skill by people who are long dead, but not forgotten. Then they return home to build nothing for the future, instead accumulating as much wealth as they can as quickly as they can.

So they can die rich and shortly thereafter be forgotten.

Some children today know little about the lives of their own grandparents, and have little interest in learning more.

The grandparents wonder why. Then they blame it on television.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help each person give meaning to the lives they live.
Learn more at

Friday, November 11, 2005

Life is accomplished a little bit at a time

All good work is done the way ants do things, little by little.
- Lafcadio Hearn

Life is complex, with a huge number of things to accomplish if one is to reach a modest level of competence in the many events and activities in which we must take part. And just to keep up with what must be done.

We can't just choose by priority and avoid the less important things because then they would never get done and the ground would eventually slip out from under us.
Like the best jugglers, we must keep many balls in the air at once. One day we will spend more time on one thing, with other things taking higher priority on other days.

Each day we must do a little of the less important things so that we do not slide into a state where being physically undone results in our becoming mentally undone because we have more to do than we are able to accomplish.

"Don't sweat the small stuff" works on any given day, but eventually the small stuff must be dealt with or we lose control of our lives.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help each person put their life in perspective.
Learn more at

Thursday, November 10, 2005

When goals are the same, the route doesn't matter

People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost.
- H. Jackson Brown

When we find someone doing something or believing something differently from us, we have a natural desire to explain to them the error of their ways and why ours is much superior. This is a form of elitism, a belief that what we do and think is better than what others do and think, especially if their way is different from ours.

What we tend to see is the window dressing, the ritual, the outward fluff, not the core of the matter that concerns us. At heart, most of us seek the same goals for our lives.

If someone is seeking the same goals for their life as us, but is doing it differently, maybe it would be best to leave them to continue on their path. If the goals are the same, the results would be the same if there is no interference.

Pointing out that our ways are different from theirs is acceptable so long as we also note that our destinations are the same. That way we come to know and understand each other better, instead of creating enemies out of those who are different.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to bring the world together as one people with a common set of beliefs, instead of radically different cultural groups.
Learn more at htto;//

Monday, November 07, 2005

The solutions to successful marriages and parenting

Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.
- H. Jackson Brown

How well might we expect a gardener to do with his first crop if he knew nothing more than that seeds go into dirt somehwere, get watered and that weeds must be pulled once in a while?

We have no right to expect greater success in a marriage or in parenting if new spouses and parents know as little about the project ahead of them as many do today.

True, some spouses are successful and some parents are knowledgeable. But not all, and therein lies the essential problem.

We must teach what is important in our culture to every child in that culture, regularly, consistently and clearly. Failures within our cultures reflect our lack of care to the needs of the whole while we focus on our own needs.

'Turning It Around' wants to change that. Read the book then you will understand how you can help, so simply and so inexpensively.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to prevent cultural cancers from striking rather than trying to patch them up too late.
Learn more at

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Don't say you don't have enough time

Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa,
Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.
- H. Jackson Brown

They made choices. They set objectives and steered their life course toward them.

They believed in what they wanted to accomplish and were determined to reach their goals.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help each person find their own personal life objectives.
Learn more at

Saturday, November 05, 2005

It's not the good but the lazy who die too young

You have to wonder how many wonderful life-altering opportunities were
overlooked by people who were not looking for a change in their lives.
Life cannot and will not stagnate or hold the status quo. It will change for the
better by intent or for the worse if left untended.
Life does not go well for those who will not work to take advantage of what is
offered to them and for those who will not seek help and ask questions when they
need it.
The world owes no one a living. In nature, those who will not work to survive
die, either of disease or as lunch for some predator.
Though circumstances are different for humans than for most animals and plants,
the results are similar. Humans don't get eaten, but they atrophy both
physically and mentally when they refuse to change or to work hard to survive
and thrive. It's a slow and fearful death.
Lazy people and luddites are often among the first to die off when they reach
the beginning of old age.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,'
striving to help people live to a healthy old age through mentally and
physically healthy living.
Learn more at

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Those outstanding people you know? Just like you.

Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something.
- H. Jackson Brown

But they do disguise it well, don't they? It is so very easy for us to think that others we know have no problems, no crises, no mind-numbing heart-stopping moments when the future seems as if it may never come.

Even those who are extremely successful with something (such as athletics or art) have focused so much of their time and effort into reaching that level of expertise that hey have had to omit many important parts of their lives that we might consider critical--they have not had time to be complete people because they had to spend their time being best at one thing.

We are all flawed and troubled in some ways. There is no advantage in thinking otherwise.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help everyone see others for what they really are, just like us.
Learn more at

Does God really look like you?

“Everybody needs a God who looks like them.”
- Sue Monk Kidd, 'The Secret Life of Bees' (Penguin, 2002)

You don't need a dissertation on the anthromorphism of deities in modern religions. (You don't even need such a high falutin sentence to tell you that.)

The purpose of today's quote is to show that we all need to know that our God respects and appreciates us. Our God may not always give what we want or do what we want or understand, but at least we want God to recognize us and embrace us as part of his universe.

Michaelangelo Buonaroti depicted God as a powerful looking old man on the ceiling of the Cistine Chapel, in St. Peter's, Rome, because he knew we needed something that we could understand, a grandfather type who would give life to Adam and comfort to us.

God could not possibly look like us humans, as that would not make sense. But it helps for us to think of God as having human qualities because that explains a great deal about how and why we are the way we are.

If you want to see God, look into your mirror. You won't see the face of God, but you will see the results of more miracles than you could imagine.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help each person make sense of why we are on this Earth.
Learn more at

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Troubles begin when we don't do what we know is important

“The whole problem with people is…they know what matters, but they don’t choose it.”
- Sue Monk Kidd, 'The Secret Life of Bees' (Penguin, 2002)

As much as I dislike absolutes ("the *whole* problem with people"), Kidd raises an interesting observation. Many people do not do what is important, even though they may know how important it is.

But why? On the surface, this doesn't make sense. However, delve into the subject of human behaviour and you find it shaped largely not by the individuals who demonstrate the behviour but by the media, religions, social pressure (peer influence), social groups, even by employers and unions.

These groups each have their particular agendas. Each wants people to do what the group wants to accomplish. Lacking any strong conviction to do differently, even though it may be important, people will follow what they are told to do, to believe, to think and they will act as they are told to act.

In general, people don't choose to avoid acting on what is important. Instead, they follow a different agenda that does not emphasize those things that are really important. They do what others tell them is important. They believe that what others tell them is important must be important because otherwise the others would not tell them something is important. The reasoning, obviously, is faulty, but they don't think about it.

We do not teach children to recognize what is important to observe in terms of behaviour and what is important to avoid. So we have young people trying drugs and becoming addicted before they realize what they have done. We have teens breaking the law and finding themselves in jail before they realize that they may have destroyed their prospects for the future.

If young people realize that what they are told to do or think is in conflict with what they believe is important (what they know intuitively is important), this may result in psychological problems they can't resolve themselves. This often results in retreat into forms of escape such as drugs or anti-social behaviour.

If parents and schools do not teach clearly and frequently what is important to the people of their community and support the actions of young people toward those objectives, they leave open the possibility that severe social problems will result.

Troubled communities demonstrate that we have not learned our lessons about socializing children well enough. "Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems" provides the path, the method of implementation and the course material for this kind of teaching.

There is no good reason why everyone should be affected by social problems in their home communities. The causes of these problems result from our not doing what we know is important.

We must act now before life becomes worse and neighbourhoods degenerate into chaos. Some have already reached that point, as if we needed examples.
Making the necessary changes requires very little work by a great number of people. The biggest part of the work required is for people to read the book so they know what to do.

Tell everyone you know. The solution are available to us, to everyone.

Act now.

Bill Allin
'Turning it Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems," striving to encourage people to learn what is important and to act on it.
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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Considering consequences is a necessary part of a plan of action

Patience is also a form of action.
- Auguste Rodin, sculptor (1840-1917)

Patience is a component of a plan of action, a strategy. This distinguishes it from procrastination, denial and avoidance, which are symptoms of disorganization or lack of a plan.

We may be patient when we know that the result we want to happen will come about because all necessary components are in place and factors taken into consideration.

Patience indicates that something is underway and time must be given for certain things to happen, such as a strategy in a game of chess. It also indicates that a situation is being monitored as it develops. Lack of monitoring means a plan will collapse and likely go against what we want to happen.

Patience also gives us time to think, to consider the possibilities and the consequences of choices we make before we commit to them.

Patience is a learned quality. Its advantages may be taught as part of the teaching of problem solving techniques. When teaching problem solving, considering consequences is a necessary factor. Patience is the time factor that gives consideration of consequences room to take place.

When consequences of an action are not carefully considered we have people who lock themselves into addictions, prisons, continuing drug regimes or psyuchological impairment.

Prevention is easy, cheap and effective. Cures are virtually impossible when problems reach the community level.

Bill Allin
'Turning It ARound: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to encourage all education systems to teach problem solving techniques to every child, not just to present them with problems.
Learn more at