Friday, March 31, 2006

Managing life is within your control

"Nothing is easy to the unwilling."
- Nikki Giovanni (Yolanda Cornelia "Nikki" Giovanni, Jr., African-American author, poet, professor of English)

People who are addicted to tobacco (cigarettes) claim that they can't stop no matter how hard they try. Many say that they don't have the willpower to stop smoking.

In fact, these people have the strongest willpower possible. In the face of evidence that it harms their health, evidence that would be criminal if they did such harm to anyone other than themselves, they continue to indulge in their passion (or to satisfy a need that few can identify).

Scientists claim that the brains of addicts can be shown to be different from those of non-addicts. However, is it the tobacco that changes the brain or the will of the user that results in neural changes that accommodate what they really want to do?

The brain is an organ that has far more power than most of us can imagine. It can stop cancer or stop its own heart. It can heal its body or depress its own immune system to the point where the body is subject to any passing viral disease.

We have the power within us to make things happen or to prevent them from happening, as they apply to our bodies or our behaviour. We can make something that is do-able seem so difficult as to be impossible if we will it to be so.

We also have the power within us to make our brains do things that had previously been impossible or extremely difficult for us.

That's life. Manage it or let it manage you.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to empower your brain to let your fulfill your destiny.
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Thursday, March 30, 2006

You may be insane by some standards

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.
- Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, philosopher (1844-1900)

Sanity is one of the most unagreed upon concepts of modern times.

Many people think that those who disagree with their political or religious beliefs are, at heart, insane. Some say that those who have been certified as insane are in fact the happiest people.

Beethoven was deaf when he wrote his Ninth Symphony, arguably the best symphony ever written. It wouldn't have mattered if he had played the notes on a piano, a violin or any other instrument, he could not have heard them. But he heard them in his head.

Was Beethoven insane? He heard in his head music which no one else could hear. From it he created one of the classic compositions of history. You can hear his notes played on modern instruments, but Beethoven could not hear them on any instrument.

Some people claim that they have been spoken to by God. They have heard his words in their head. If they may be called insane, then Beethoven must have been insane when he composed his Ninth.

Sanity is a nebulus concept. We should be flexible in our use of it as we apply it to others.

Those who have fundamental beliefs that disagree strongly with our own may simply be different. Maybe there are no basic and immutable truths that everyone should agree with and support.

If that is true, then we must teach those fundamental beliefs we believe that all of our people should hold in common. We should teach them to children, to all children, and teach them often.

If we don't, then we will have a minority of people who believe that murder is the way to solve disputes, that psychological warfare is acceptable within families, that all possible (now-illegal) drugs should be available freely to everyone and that evil concepts may be taught to children through television and movies because of freedom of speech rights.

Societies do not grow and remain healthy by accident. By not giving direction to those who our children about how they should be taught, we leave the fate of our cultures to chance. Or to those whose only interests are their own benefits and their own power and wealth.

We must teach what we believe are fundamental truths, even if others disagree with them. That's what distinguishes us as a unique culture.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to make every person and every community healthy.
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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?

"If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?"
- Abraham Lincoln

To be two-faced, of course, means to be hypocritical. In this case, it means to say one thing to one person and something quite diffeent to another.

Truthfulness is the cornerstone of trust. Without trust we are nothing more than common mammals that have learned to speak a gramattical language.

Telling the truth does not come naturally to every child. It must be taught, clearly and frequently, by parents. If truth is not taught by parents and the parents do not act in ways that demonstrate their own truthfulness, children come to believe that they can freely deceive anyone without consequences.

If parents teach their children to tell the truth, but demonstrate to them that they do not always tell the truth themselves, this causes anxiety in children. This kind of anxiety results in what we collectively call teenage angst, in the western world.

Teenage angst is not unique to the western world, but few parts of the world have it outside of North America and Western Europe.

This is where I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to provide you with the real facts of life, "truth in your face."
Learn more at

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

How you can make yourself safe

"Security depends not so much upon how much you have, as upon how much you can do without."
- Joseph Wood Krutch

To people in the western world who are used to having whatever they want, this quote sounds very unpleasant.

Doing without doesn't necessarily mean having money but no way to spend it or not being able to obtain the comforts of life. It can also mean what you give because someone else needs what you have much more than you do.

Should you care about the illiterate, the crippled, the chronically ill, the desperately poor, those who live in regions where genocide is taking place or those who are starving? If you don't fit into one of these categories and no one you love does, there is a great temptation to avoid caring.

The good citizens of Germany in the 1930s didn't care, so along came Hitler to exterminate as many of these "misfits" as he could. Along with them, he cleared out those who disagreed with his political philosophies or his manner of governing. He assumed that his people, those who voted for him, didn't care if these "genetically weak" people simply disappeared because they said nothing and they did nothing to help them.

Giving is not just a way to help those who are less fortunate or a way to make yourself feel better about doing good. It's also a way of ensuring your own safety.

Tomorrow you could be one of these unfortunates. Very few of them expected to ever find themselves in such a situation, so don't think it couldn't happen to you.

By your actions, you set the standard for others. If and when you need help from others, it will be available to you if you have done your small but meaningful part in the past.

Do it now. Others will follow.

Doing nothing is safe, for now. Dangerous over the long term.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to put your future in perspective today.
Learn more at

Monday, March 27, 2006

Buried in information we can't use: how to get out

The more people are reached by mass communication, the less they communicate with each other.
- Marya Mannes, writer (1904-1990)

This quote seems to place a measure of blame on forms of mass communication for the decrease in the amount of real communication among us. This is akin to blaming the sun for the weather being too hot.

Mass communication media bring large amounts of information to us, which should allow us to do something with it. However, we don't do any more with the large volume of information available to us now than we did when the volume was small in the past.

We don't know how to deal with it. We haven't been taught to cope with a large amount of information input.

Our education systems were designed in the 19th century, when kids needed to stop playing and learn a few of the basics that would get them through life. Any curiosity they had was blunted so that this basic information could be conveyed and skills taught.

Now we have far more information and children remain in school longer. In fact, education has become a lifelong endeavour. But we haven't overcome the truncation of childhood curiosity in the early years of school or preschool.

Without curiosity, people have little desire to learn vast amounts of new information. It's available, but so what?

They also don't have the skils to deal with it in a useful way. What should they do, write an essay on what they have learned? Run next door to inform their neighbour? Use time on free access television to redisseminate what they have learned?

They don't know what ot do with what they have. Consequently, most people avoid soaking up the new information. They don't have to dust and clean clutter in their heads, but they would have to sort it and organize it regularly. For what?

21st century education systems need to rethink their whole purpose and methods of teaching. Without this, a few people become knowledge rich while the vast majority become anxiety prone, shaking their fists at the world for putting them in such an untenable situation.

The feeling is like starving while in a hopper filled with grain, but the hopper is loading the grain onto a belt where it will be taken to be ground up.

How should school systems choose a limited amount of information to teach children and young adults when new information (some of it contrary to what was valid just yesterday) arrives faster than the old information can be taught?

We don't need more information to be dished out at us at an increasing rate. We need skills to be able to cope with that and other problems that arise in our lives faster than we can manage.

We don't need more information from schools. That comes in more digestible forms from other sources now. We need to be taught how to cope with lifestyles that are routine around the world today but have never before existed in history.

While our students learn about trigonometry, English literature and the Great Rift in Southern Africa, they can't cope with the changes in their personal lives. So they take drugs and alcohol, drive fast, dress in shocking ways, swear at their teachers, beat each other up and sell the film of it on eBay.

While we watch it all happening, shaking our heads with Tsk! Tsk!, we do nothing. And it all gets worse.

Now you know something can be done. Don't shake your head and Tsk! Read Turning It Around and tell others about it so we can make the necessary changes collectively.

The world is waiting to see what you will do. Because you know the answers, you have the solutions. You have the book they know nothing about.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to show the path through progressively darker days.
Learn more at

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Do you mind if I lie to you?

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.
- George Orwell, writer (1903-1950)

Who cares? you may ask.

Language is the means by which human endeavour functions. Almost everything we do in a day is related somehow to language that has been communicated by someone else.

When the communicator of a message is insincere, meaning he or she is not telling the whole truth or is intentionally lying, the receiver not only might do something which is harmful to himself or others, or may be useless, but it may cause him to lose trust in the word of others.

Losing trust is about the worst thing that can happen to a person because that person, in turn, cannot be trusted by others and does not want to be emotionally close enough to trust others.

Ill intent on the part of the listener is equally deceptive. When a listener intentionally twists the meaning of a message he has received, any amount of damage to the conveyor of the message or to others as a result of the message is possible.

Look what resulted from the skewed messages that Hitler received about Jews prior to 1938. And how he changed even those messages to suit his cause of world domination and purification of the aryan "race."

When we do not teach the importance of truth to children and ourselves maintain the standards we teach, we find ourselves in a world where no one can trust anyone.

We can teach truth as a value and have it make a major impact, at least in the primary grades of elementary schools. This should be sufficient to make truth much more important to the adults of the future than it is today.

However, we must also teach that many people do not tell the truth, that they try to deceive us. Otherwise children get the impression (rightly so) that we are teaching them a hypocrisy not what I do. We must teach that many people deceive others as well as the importance of telling the truth ourselves in order for children not to become confused, resulting in the kind of teenage angst we see today in western countries.

Children understand so long as we teach them the whole story. And so long as the teachers do not themselves deceive the kids.

Things can change. It must begin somewhere. It can begin with you and me.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to make truth a guiding principle of humanity.
Learn more at

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Of Laziness and Progress

"Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something."
- Robert Heinlein, Time Enough For Love

Note that Heinlein says "progress" not "new products on the market." "Progress" is a word with many interpretations.

Nonetheless, more progress is made in technology during periods of strong competition, including war. And more progress is made by lonely souls who work by themselves than by people in groups.

I have never met a lazy man. I have met several who have said they were lazy, therefore tried to find easier and faster ways of doing things. But they were industrious persons.

I have also met people who have given up on life, who essentially have considered themselves doomed to live out a negative kind of fate that has been laid out for them and from which they felt they can't escape.

"Lazy" was created as a derogatory term for someone whose problems they can't face and we don't intend to help with.

A person who uses the term "lazy" to describe someone is selfish and self-centred, an egotist who wants the world continually turning their way.

Not one among us knows what goes on in the mind of any other of us. We don't know the restrictions under which they live or the burdens they carry. Maybe they should not hold to these restrictions or carry the burdens. But they do.

Describing that person as lazy does nothing to help. It only hurts.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to clarify how little we know about each other, thus how incapable we are to judge them.
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Friday, March 24, 2006

Communities are responsible for their own problems

We need to teach the next generation of children from Day One that they are responsible for their lives. Mankind's greatest gift, also its greatest curse, is that we have free choice. We can make our choices built from love or from fear.
- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

The author of this quote has the right idea--make children responsible for the choices they make in their lives. That includes being responsible for (accepting liability for and consequences of) their mistakes.

However, it seems to absolve adults of any responsibility for doing anything beyond teaching children that there are consequences for their actions.

This is wrong thinking! And it's potentially damaging to children.

First teach children that they have choices and that each choice has its consequences. Teach them about their choices and the various kinds of consequences. Teach them the severity of the consequences.

Teach them how to cope with severe consequences if they must face them. Give them the skills to survive and thrive after making terrible mistakes in their lives (or after a disaster over which they had no control strikes).

Then make them responsible for the consequences that follow from their choices.

Now where does the biggest responsibility lie? It lies with the parents who must do their job thoroughly and completely before they shift the blame for mistakes onto their children.

Before that, the responsibility lie with the community to teach new parents what they need to know about parenting. Today communities are teaching nothing of significance to new parents.

Until communities take responsibility for teaching those who will raise the young who will be their future, no one should be pointing fingers at children and telling them to take responsibility for their behaviour.

The blind should not lead the blind, especially when they both have the ability to learn to see.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to clarify the responsibilities of parents and the responsibility of the community to teach parents what they need to know to raise their children well.
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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Small choices affect your daily life

It is our choices ... that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.
- J.K. Rowling

Most of us don't realize how even small decisions we make each day affect our lives. These can be positive or negative influences.

An ill-considered comment made to a mate, friend or colleague could be like poison in drinking water, thereafter affecting the trust that person has in us.

A choice to visit a library or shop for clothes might affect what inputs our brain, thus making a permanent change in the way we think about life and our future.

People with below average IQs have achieved postgraduate degrees from universities. People with physical disabilities have learned to perform feats of physical prowess that would shame the average person (witness the Paralympics).

Understanding our abilities can mean knowing our weaknesses, which could result in our avoiding anything that would display these weaknesses to others.

However, knowing our weaknesses can mean identifying those parts of our lives that we can improve, usually at very little cost other than time and effort.

You can even choose whether this will be a good day or a bad day. The day will unfold, magically, the way you choose.

Choose wisely.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help everyone make wise choices.
Learn more at

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Emotional development: critical to your life

"A ship in port is safe, but that's not what ships are built for."
- Grace Murray Hopper

A ship in port is safe from fast acting harm. But not from slow damage, such as from rust, corrosion, sun damage or drying up or clogging with dust of lubricants that help machinery to operate.

So it is with human bodies. Those who seek to protect themselves from harm (of the fast acting type) from others remain safe, but eventually build walls around their lives so that their world is little more than a few rooms, a workplace and a conduit between the two.

Life is a risky business. It was designed that way so that survivors would become more skilled, more sensititive to their surroundings, more aware of other life and how to interact with it.

Those who close themselves off from risk shut themselves off from life. They destroy their own lives just as surely as if they smoked three packs of cigarettes each day.

The secret to risk is not in avoiding it or in facing it, but in learning how to cope with it while still having a life that is independent from the risk.

Learning how to cope with risk and hardship is part of our emotional development. We need coaching with that, just as we need coaching with our intellectual development (which we get in schools), our physical development (which we get with sports and various other activities) and our social development (which is underedeveloped for many people because it is not guided from any source).

Emotional development is one of the major streams of development of life. If we do not develop strength in this part of our lives, we will have problems coping with problems and tragedies that confront us.

As with the other streams of development, emotional development must begin in childhood. If it doesn't begin there for a child, that person will have problems throughout his or her life.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to have coaching for emotional development taught to parents and by teachers. Learn more at

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The morally compromised US middle class

The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in
the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the
elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life--the sick, the needy and
the handicapped.
- Hubert Horatio Humphrey, US Vice President (1911-1978)

Humphrey was a pharmacist before entering politics, thus developed a sensitivity toward those whose lives were most compromised by their health or the political environment in which they lived.

He failed in his bid to become president because the largest component of voters, the secure and healthy middle class, did not share his sympathies for those on the margins.

Only a few decades later, the percentages of US citizens in each of these "marginal" categories has increased dramatically.

A now smaller (by percentage) middle class, that went along with its leaders in ignoring the marginal minorities, now rigidly follows the baton of their industrialist leaders whose primary interest is and always has been their own wealth and power.

The weak, the helpless, the powerless are left to fend for themselves. Should they happen to be victims of Hurricane Katrina, for example, they could have died while waiting for rescue. The vote-powerful middle class of the US has totally forgiven its administration for leaving poor and helpless people to die or starve for several days before providing emergency services that could have been available when the storm hit.

The strong and healthy middle class forgives itself easily for ignoring those on the margins. After all, those who drop from the strong and healthy middle class to the weaker margins disappear beyond their horizon, thus giving the remaining middle class voters the impression that they are still "in charge."

Their leaders in the US Administration repeatedly tell the strong and healthy middle class that they are still the largest component of voters and that they are still in charge.

The middle class believes.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to shine a light in the daarkness.
Learn more at

Monday, March 20, 2006

Political leaders turn potential friends into enemies

The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border.
- Pablo Casals, cellist, conductor, and composer (1876-1973)

Why indeed?

We have an instinct to avoid, reject or shun what is different, what we don't know or don't understand.

In our distant past, our ancestors knew everyone in their tribe and they knew some neighbouring tribe members with whom they traded. Anyone else was a stranger, thus likely to be an enemy, someone who might kill them.

Today's enmity toward strangers goes beyond that instinct, however. In western societies people get frustrated, anxious, worried and fed up with the lifestyle they must endure in order to "fit in" with others in their community. Some can't handle the stress and want to relieve it by taking out their anger on strangers.

That anger can sometimes be relieved through sports. For others politics or the military offer them ways to make others "pay for their sins" of being strangers.

Coming back to today's quote, we would all like to love our neighbours, no matter where they live. But we can't love someone we don't know.

The "others," it seems, don't want to know us. They don't try. Some of the strangers want to kill us, if our media and our political leaders can be believed.

But do we try to get to know them?

Who should make the first move toward friendship, toward getting to know each other? Toward loving each other?

You can be certain that it won't be our political or military leaders. They would have too much to lose if today's strangers became our friends. They depend on conflict to get them reelected. They depend on someone always being wrong.

They depend on making friends into enemies sometimes in order to get our vote.

If we need a program to tell us who the good guys are and who are the bad guys, we have let someone else do our thinking for us.

Count on it, if we allow someone else to think for us, they will never make strangers into friends. They always, without fail, want to make strangers into enemies.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to show everyone that the world is full of potential friends.
Learn more at

Sunday, March 19, 2006

History repeats itself based on fear

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes."
- Mark Twain

The old saying is that those who do not know history are destined to repeat it. Others say this is incorrect, that history never repeates itself exactly.

Twain takes the middle ground. History doesn't repeat itself exactly, but it follows similar patterns ("it rhymes").

Mostly those patterns involve war, aggression, oppression and some form of totalitarian regime. That is, those who know their history can see signs that one of these is coming.

A telltale sign of an oncoming totalitarian regime is the spread of fear amongst a people. Note the level of fear that has been promoted by the White House among American citizens. The level of terror alert is broadcast daily.

Terror, mind you, despite the fact that there has only been one attack against people on American soil since Pearl Harbor, in 1941. The current US administration wants Americans to be afraid.

People who are afraid will agree to limit their freedoms without a fuss, in the name of protecting themselves. The freedom that the US administration constantly tells its people that it fights for, it takes away from them silently.

There is no need for fear. Fearful people do not think rationally. They are easily manipulated by leaders who have agendas that are not in line with the values and best interests of their people. That's why they use fear, because they can't seize power any other way.

It worked for Hitler. You do the arithmetic.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to shine the light on deception.
Learn more at htto://

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Help us fix the world or shut up!

"The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity."
- Harlan Ellison, U.S. writer (1934- )

Ellison has an acerbic wit that he uses to see the worst in the world around him.

He has a great following of people who praise him for "telling it like it is."

The trouble is, people who find fault with the world around them but do nothing to improve it are nothing less than destructive to those who listen to them.

If Ellison were to read 'Turning It Around' thereby learning the one and only way in which the world can be made a better, healthier and safer place in which to live, would he do what he could to help it improve? Or would he say it's hopeless?

What would you do? What will you do?

Encourage others to read the book.

Encourage others to join the TIA group at

Not so hard, is it? But it's the only way anything will ever improve. That's a guarantee.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to push hope along the path to a better world.
Learn more at

Friday, March 17, 2006

Learning what love is

"One word frees us of all the weight and pain in life. That word is love."
- Sophocles (c. 496BC - 406BC )

Very easy to say, isn't it? We likely all read that kind of thing at least once in a while.

But what does it mean? How can love free us of all the weight and pain in life? How is that possible?

Those who must ask this question have not experienced real love. I regret having to say that. As someone who has experienced that kind of love only in recent years, I can testify that the statement is true.

Can I, then, tell you how to find that kind of love? Probably not. But I can tell you three ingredients of it: trust, commitment and touching.

And the greatest of these (if that is possible) is touching. We all have a basic human need for touch. If that need is not met to our (usually unrecognized) satisfaction, then our lives will be unsettled, even fearful.

If you fear, then you do not have a sufficient level of trust, commitment and touching from another person.

To get that from another person, you must first be prepared to give it to someone else, even if you don't receive it yourself at first. That may mean heartache. But eventually it means love.

If you have love, you know it. If you don't, you really don't know what love is.

But you can try. Begin with an understanding of that basic need for touch. Give it freely, honestly and tenderly. Not as a prelude to sex, but as a goal in itself.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to point the direction toward love.
Learn more at

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Can you recognize when someone is troubled?

"When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it happened or not."
- Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

As a kindergarten-age child, I lived in a two-family household with another boy my age as a companion in mischief. His younger sister, when seeing what we were up to sometimes, would claim "When I was a boy, I never did things like that." To our retort that she had never been a boy, she replied with great determination that she had indeed been a boy.

A few years earlier, living as an only child with my parents (with never another child to play with), I was known to keep an imaginary cow behind our diningroom door. I played with that cow every day, to the consternation of my father who thought his young son was likely demented.

Does this mean that the word of a child can't be trusted because imagination is as real to a child as reality? In a court of law this may be the case.

However, in most life situations, a child may be using an imaginary situation to convey what he or she is unable to convey by other means. In other words, the message has a meaning, but the meaning may not be the same as the words would suggest.

Adults don't do that, do they? Most stage plays and some TV programs do exactly that. They have a message that is couched within a story line--at the end you may forget the story but remember the hidden message without knowing it.

Anger is another way in which we express our anxiety over something, though our anger is seldom on the topic of our anxiety. Or we might simply be tired. We flare up at something insignificant, but we don't convey the message behind our anger, which is that we are very tired or considerably worried about something.

When the behaviour of someone is uncharacteristic of that person, look for the meaning behind the message. The meaning may hint that something as severe as suicide or nervous breakdown could be in that person's future unlesss he or she gets some relief. A troubled person always gives signs, but we need to pay attention to be able to recognize them.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help us identify unusually stressful times in the lives of those we love.
Learn more at htto://

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Beware of those who use force to win an argument

"He who establishes his argument by noise and command shows that his reason is weak."
- Michel de Montaigne

Those whose arguments are weak need aggressive behaviour to make people believe that they're right, since they can't support their opinions with solid facts.

Those with the strongest arguments may depend on reason rather than a show of force. Yet they may not win the day in convincing others because they won't use the dog and pony show.

People who have discovered the secrets to happiness and wellness never beat down your door or campaign in houses of parliament because aggressiveness is in opposition to what they believe.

Be careful of those who make the biggest show to win the hearts and minds of others. When they are successful, they transform back into what they really are and often to the exact opposite of what they preached during their campaigns.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to reveal the sources of wisdom as well as the fountains of deceit.
Learn more at

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Rich people can't be happy, they don't know how

Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; and adversity is not without comforts and hopes.
- Francis Bacon, essayist, philosopher, and statesman (1561-1626)

Do you know any rich people who are happy?

Think of it this way: Is there one rich person whose life you would like to take over for your own? If there is, you likely don't know much about the life of that person.

Oh, you might like to have the disposable income these people have. But the troubles, the pressures, the enormous responsibilities, the loss of free time, the loss of freedom to do what you want when you want, broken marriages, wasted

It's not what you have, but what you do with what you have that matters. If you want to consider yourself poor and disadvantaged, go to it. You will set yourself up for a poor and disadvantaged life.

A survey was done a couple of years ago to determine which group of people were the happiest in the world. Go ahead, take your ten best guesses.

The people of Nigeria, Africa, were happiest in the world, in general. You don't need to know very much about Nigeria to realize that its a troubled country, poor (though it has oil), sometimes violent, religious disturbances. Yet its people are happiest in the world, as they evaluate themselves.

Are you happy? Are you even certain what happiness is? You have a right to find happiness, but if you don't know what it is you will not likely ever find it.

Rich people convince themselves that wealth and happiness are the same thing. They aren't, but wealth is what they substitute for happiness. They have no idea what happiness is. But they are quite prepared to tell everyone else that wealth is happiness. They use those who believe them as their support system. Money is their god.

Poverty and adversity are not pleasant ways to live. But poor people can get enough and be happy. Troubled people can find their way out of their problems, eventually.

Rich people, by their nature/attitude, a way of life they chose for themselves, can never have enough of anything. Wanting is what drives them on.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to put life in perspective.
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Monday, March 13, 2006

Robots will never be as stupid as people

I'm always amazed that people will actually choose to sit in front of the television and just be savaged by stuff that belittles their intelligence.
- Alice Walker, writer (1944- )

I disagree with the author of this quote. Most television does not belittle the intelligence of people.

Rather, people who watch such programs have already sacrificed their intelligence before they turn on the television.

Instead, television appeals to the level of intelligence to which its audience has already sunk. Television knows its market.

Every baby is born a genius. After that some figure out how to use their genius while most lose theirs over the course of a grindingly mundane life. How low they sink in intelligence depends upon how much they fight against their loss of intelligence.

One of the best ways to observe how much of their intelligence people have given away is to watch people shopping in a grocery market. Try it. You won't believe what you see.

Robotics makers would never produce a human-like robot to simulate how these people behave. No one would buy it because people would claim it was a waste of money to invest in something so stupid, so inefficient, so wasteful and so self-destructive.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to prevent the shocking loss of intelligence from children by stimulating their curiosity.
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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Basic human needs we don't teach about

In the absence of touching and being touched, people of all ages
can sicken and grow touch-starved.
- Diane Ackerman, writer (1948- )

If 'Turning It Around' is the most important development in history for correcting social problems we have in our families, our communities and our countries that affect the lives of everyone, then spreading the world about the basic need for touch is of similar importance to individuals.

We all know we have a basic need to eat. However, we don't teach enough about this basic human need, and not properly, so we have many people who get diseases, who become disabled, who become mentally weak because they don't get the right kinds of nutrition into their bodies.

We all know we have a basic need for rest. But we don't teach about this basic need enough so we have people working 60 and 80 hour weeks, sleeping only a few hours each night so they can be "successful." Yet what they end up being is worn out social misfits, if indeed they live long enough to appreciate what they missed in life.

We don't seem to know anything (or at least enough) about our need for touch. An abundance of literature exists from academic studies to show that people who receive the amount of touch they need are healthier, happier and better adjusted to their surroundings.

Couples who touch each other frequently every day remain in love. Frail and elderly people who have pets (or grandchildren) as daily companions live longer, stay happier and heathier. People recovering from any illness, any tragedy, any downturn in their lives fare better when they have a "support system" that provides them with the touch they need.

People who have enough of the right kind of touch in their lives don't want to conquer the world. They want to help bring peace to it.

TIA will teach that too. Please help us by spreading the word about this group and encouraging people to join. If they can, get them to read the book too.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to bring peace to each life and to the world.
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Saturday, March 11, 2006

Teaching forgettable stuff, not teaching what we need

Men always want to be a woman's first love. Women like to be a man's last romance.
- Oscar Wilde, writer (1854-1900)

The irony of this quote coming from a man known publicly to be gay has not escaped me. Perhaps his sexual preference allowed him to be more aware of the idiosyncracies of others not like him.

The nature of the message may be a symptom of hypocrisy in our culture, the double standard. We want a mate with knowledge of love and sexual prowess, just not someone who has experienced it with anyone else.

If people cannot learn these things by experience, where can they learn them? The simple truth is that we don't teach these things. Most adults remain ignorant of these important facts of life.

So here's the problem. We suffer as individuals and as communities and societies, but still we refuse to teach what all young people should know before they involve themselves with marriage or another form of partnership.

The big hurdle is not teaching the facts, but getting over our reluctance to do so.

There is nothing shameful about sex, nothing that should be kept secret about how to involve ourselves in successful relationships.

The sooner we get over that, the better. We need to speak up, as individuals and as groups, to tell those responsible for education in our communities and our countries what we need teachers to teach.

We have teachers teaching algebra, geography of distant lands and history of wars that are forgotten shortly after an exam, but we don't teach what people need to know for the whole of their adult lives.

Speak up, my friends. That's what TIA is all about.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help teacher teach what people need, not what some stiff necked old fogies in their ivory towers want children to learn.
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Friday, March 10, 2006

Newspaper and TV are trying to twist your mind

"The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think."
- Edwin Schlossberg

Yeah, so?

Most writers write not just with a point of view in mind, but with the objective (however well disguised) of convincing their readers to accept their opinions without question.

That's propaganda. We read, watch and absorb propaganda every day without thinking about it.

And that's the point. We don't think about what we read or "learn" on TV.

When a newspaper article or a TV program has you wondering or considering possibilities or debating whether the facts provided truly expressed all those available, that article or program has been successful and its producers were skilled.

If you have nothing to think about, nothing to mull over in your mind after experiencing an article or program, the effort was designed to prevent you from thinking by giving you only one point of view.

Even if that one point of view is best in your opinion after considering all the facts surrounding a topic, you won't know for sure unless you have all the facts to consider.

After you read an article or watch a TV program, ask yourself if you have anything to debate in your own mind. If you don't, then the producers were trying to bend your mind to their way of thinking.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to make you think. Thinking makes you live longer.
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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Freedom of speech may not be necessary

"People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid."
- Soren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher, founder of existentialism (1813-1855)

This quote is loaded with meaning and implication.

If you ask most people why they believe that freedom of speech should be a right, their answer is to stumble through a bit of confusion that amounts to "because others told me it should be a right."

In many parts of the world freedom of speech is not a right. People in those cultures proceed through their lives much as those in countries that grant the right. In other words, few people miss freedom of speech unless they are told that they don't have it and they should have it.

As Kierkegaard said, if you don't take the trouble to think, you have no need for freedom of speech because you have nothing of value for others to listen to.

But, you cry, I think! OK, when? Thinking requires time and enough of a settled environment around you that you can ignore everything else to think about what you want.

Thinking requires you to sit and "do nothing." But, you reply, I don't have time to sit and do nothing.

Point made. That's why Kierkegaard says that you would not miss freedom of speech if you lost it.

Any thinking that is done in the midst of other things that are happening is merely regurgitation of what someone else has already thought before you.

If you simply repeat what someone else has thought before you, then you don't need freedom of speech. The person before you does.

Think about it. Yup, that's what I said.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to give people a reason to need freedom of speech.
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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The "secret" to world peace revealed

"Some studies show that successful entrepreneurs often have the same characteristics as children with attention deficit disorders. They are curious, impatient, fast moving, and uninterested in the trivia or details of a school subject or, later in life, of the details of a business."
- Brian Tracy

This quote doesn't apply just to children with attention deficit disorder (or to successful entrepreneurs), but to all children. They aren't interested in trivia or details that don't mean something to them.

And what means something to them? No matter how apparently unimportant a fact is, if they can somehow apply it to their own lives, it will be important to children.

Children's don't distinguish between important and unimportant details taught in school the way adults do. They want to know what will help them to be good adults. They want to know about what it means to be an adult.

In decades past, history was taught as a succession of wars, treaties and leadups to wars. Heroes were war leaders. So children grew up thinking that war was a way of life in adulthood. Political leaders accommodated them with either fighting wars or fearing things that happened between wars. Wars happened at the rate of one per generation (no mere coincidence).

History now is taught as what people do between wars, what people do when they are not killing others or fearing being killed by others. In countries that teach this form of history, war is becoming anachronistic. War is primitive, outdated, a base form of settling differences.

To children who grow up being taught what life is like as a competent and confident adult, including how to make and keep friends, how to work toward a life goal, what skills and work habits are expected by employers (and teachers in later grades), how to have a happy and successful marriage and how to raise healthy children, life is much better than it was for people in the past.

These things are not taught in all schools or in all countries. Where they are not taught, life is primitive and violent. Look around you to see where they are not taught.

Turning It Around has a way to ensure that these facts and skills, plus the attitudes needed to maintain them, are taught in all parts of the world. However, it won't happen unless those who know the "secrets" of TIA spread the word.

That's where you come in.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to build better lives for all people on Earth.
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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

How can we make the world more peaceful?

"Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean."
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

How marvellous! A quote about housecleaning.

No, it's a metaphor, my friends. Think about a scene where almost everyone has kept the front of their home clean, tidy and orderly. Then there are the few who have not.

What would you think of those who had not kept up the community standards of cleanliness in your community? You and your neighbours would help those few to understand their responsibility to their neighbourhood, I think.

Believe it or not, clearing away social problems such as drugs, violence, high divorce rates, homelessness, emotional breakdowns, bankruptcies and even teenagers with attitude problems is easier than cleaning in front of your own door.

How is this possible? you might ask. Why has someone not thought of this before? Simply, no one else looked in the right places for the answers. The solutions are not hard, but you can't find them by letting others look in the wrong places.

If everyone in a community except you kept their house fronts filthy and unkempt and you were the only one who had the clean property, would you say that change for the better (toward cleanliness) was impossible? Maybe you would. But it's not impossible.

Any kind of social change that is effective happens in the same way, only one way and only one possible way. It must be taught to children. Young children. Kids who grow up believing that house fronts should be kept clean will keep their own clean and will encourage others to do the same.

Kids who know what is necessary for a successful marriage will remain married because they know what to do before their marriage falls apart. Kids who know the skills of parenting (what children really need, not just clothes and food) will be good parents and will grow competent and confident adult offspring.

The world can be a place of peace, your community can be clean and safe, your family and you can lead happy and fulfilling lives.

Teach the children what they need to know, before they need it. Teach them right. Teach them good. Teach them peace.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to change the world one house front at a time.
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Monday, March 06, 2006

Wishing is for the lazy

We will receive not what we idly wish for but what we justly earn.
- Anonymous

So far as effectiveness in getting things done, wishing and worry are in the same category. Neither accomplishes anything positive.

Wishing is what people do when they don't plan to do anything to accomplish what they wish for.

"I wish things were different." Well, guess what? They won't be a bit different, they won't ever change until you do something about them.

Wishing is a form of self-deception we do willingly. We hope that, somehow, conditions will change themselves so that we can have what we want while doing nothing to earn it.

Nothing improves by itself, including making the world a better place to live in and individual lives worth living. 'Turning It Around' could do both, but not without your help.

Wishing and offers of good luck to those who work to achieve a better world are no help at all. We need you to spread the word.

For the first time in human history, people have the ability to make this a safer, cleaner, healthier and more loving world. This is the first time this has ever been possible.

The bad guys are hard at work destroying it. Silence by the good people helps them because they have no opposition.

We need you to do a small bit to help us make it better. Spread the word about 'Turning It Around' and encourage others to join this group.

Direct them to

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to encourage you to help us improve our world.
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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Success: getting through today

"Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, until nightfall. Anyone
can do his work, however hard, for one day. Anyone can live sweetly,
patiently, lovingly, purely, until the sun goes down. And this is
all that life really means."
- Robert Louis Stevenson

Each day is a lifetime. No one can prove that yesterday ever existed. Maybe it was only a created memory.

No one knows for certain whether there is a tomorrow or if there is what it might bring.

No matter what your problems of today, they will only last until the day ends. Tomorrow will not only be a new day, but it might provide a new perspective on your problems.

Your objective today is to get to tonight. Do it in the safest and best way you can. If you get there, your day has been a success. Yes, a success.

You don't need to worry about tomorrow's problems. And today's problems will only last for another few hours.

The world will be a little different by tomorrow. Tomorrow you may have wiggle room with your problems that didn't seem possible today. The next day, that wiggle room may be large enough for you to see your way out.

Tonight is coming. Have patience.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to get you through today because tomorrow will be better.
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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Believe what you are taught and you will never be happy

"To be upset over what you don't have is to waste what you do have."
- Ken Keyes Jr., author of Handbook to Higher Consciousness

Those who get upset about what they don't have (unless they don't have the essentials of life) have been brainwashed by the industrial establishment.

Industry wants us to want more, and more, continually more than we have. That's what keeps them making profits that please their shareholders. It does not, however, make us happy. Ever. Ever.

It wants us to work harder to earn more money so that we can buy bigger, better, more expensive things we don't need to be happy. Following the way they teach us, we can never be happy.

It's simple. It's how industry works. It thrives on profits and gullible people.

Follow what industry tells you and you will always be a seeker, but you will never find happiness. Unless it's in addiction. Some people actually believe that they are happy with their addiction. Good luck to them.

I'm not. I hope you aren't either.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to shine the light of greed in everyone's face.
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Friday, March 03, 2006

Do children need teachers or educators?

A teacher who is attempting to teach, without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn, is hammering on a cold iron.
- Horace Mann, educational reformer (1796-1859)

The objective of a teacher is to teach the prescribed curriculum to his assigned students.

The objective of an educator is to help his students to learn what they need to know to manage what comes in their lives, how to cope with its downturns and how to take advantage of opportunities it offers.

For an educator, the curriculum is a means to help his students, whereas the curriculum is an end in itself to a teacher.

An educator grows competent and confident young adults. A teacher grows children who can pass tests assigned by boards and ministries of education.

Learn the distinction.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to help education systems understand what children need instead of what professional ivory tower dwellers want to convey.
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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Know your dark places but don't live there

That man is truly good who knows his own dark places.
- Beowulf

Those who judge others either are unaware of their own dark places or they disown them.

The objective of life is not to dwell in our dark places, nor to remain constantly bright and cheery. It's to form a balance where we are aware of the potential for both, while not allowing the negative to take us over.

When we know our own dark places, we can look at the misbehaviours of others differently. We can forgive more easily.

Should we ignore the misbehaviour of others, such as allowing most criminals to walk free without accounting for their crimes? Of course not. But we can work to ensure that they do not remain as social rejects while in prison so that they may have the confidence and personal fortitude to be able to fit into society when they are released.

However, would it not be better to give these people the tools and skills they need to survive in the world before they go off track? No one is born wanting to be a criminal, they become that because they can't cope with the rigours of their lives.

We can teach children and adolescents the knowledge and skills that will help them to stay within the bounds of social acceptability as adults. And we would prevent many psychological disorders and welfare cases at the same time.

Imagine the tax savings alone. Half our current taxes are spent repairing broken people. We could save that by teaching what people need before they need it.

That's what Turning It Around is all about. Join us and learn more.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to keep people from breaking when Crazy Glue won't work.
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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

One lone idea

Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it's the only one you have.
- Emile Chartier, philosopher (1868-1951)

This sounds more like a joke than a piece of good advice.

In order for an idea to bear fruit, it must have some background of its thinker to compare it with. To Karl Marx, communism seemed like the ideal form of government because he had nothing like it to compare his idea to.

Communism failed not because it was defective in its pure form, but because of human weaknesses and frailties.

In the case of this quote, Chartier means that a person with an idea (such as an idea learned from someone else) needs to compare that idea with others so that he doesn't take off with it and wreak havoc.

Racial purity is another idea that seems wise on the surface until you think that multitudes were killed in Europe during the Second World War and multitudes more have been killed in Bosnia, Rwanda and other places since in order to achieve racial purity. Genetically, we are all of one race.

We cannot afford to let one idea stand alone without taking other factors into consideration. History has proven how dangerous it can be if people just go along with one idea and don't question or challenge it.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to bring second and third thoughts to everyone.
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