Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Flag Etiquette

The Flag Code, which formalizes and unifies the traditional ways in which we give respect to the flag, also contains specific instructions on how the flag is not to be used. They are:
• The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.
• The flag should not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speakers desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top.
• The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard
• The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations.
• The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind.
• The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.

The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.
When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.

Note: Most American Legion Posts regularly conduct a dignified flag burning ceremony, often on Flag Day, June 14th. Many Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops, and Girl Scout Troops retire flags regularly as well. Contact your local American Legion Hall or Scout Troop to inquire about the availability of this service.

Displaying the Flag Outdoors
When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a window, balcony, or a building, the union should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff.
When it is displayed from the same flagpole with another flag - of a state, community, society or Scout unit - the flag of the United States must always be at the top except that the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for Navy personnel when conducted by a Naval chaplain on a ship at sea.

When the flag is displayed over a street, it should be hung vertically, with the union to the north or east. If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag's union should be farthest from the building.

When flown with flags of states, communities, or societies on separate flag poles which are of the same height and in a straight line, the flag of the United States is always placed in the position of honor - to its own right.

..The other flags may be smaller but none may be larger.
..No other flag ever should be placed above it.
..The flag of the United States is always the first flag raised and the last to be lowered.
When flown with the national banner of other countries, each flag must be displayed from a separate pole of the same height. Each flag should be the same size. They should be raised and lowered simultaneously. The flag of one nation may not be displayed above that of another nation.

Raising and Lowering the Flag
The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously. Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. It should be illuminated if displayed at night.
The flag of the United States of America is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. The salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last note of music, whichever is the longest.

Displaying the Flag Indoors
When on display, the flag is accorded the place of honor, always positioned to its own right. Place it to the right of the speaker or staging area or sanctuary. Other flags should be to the left.
The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of states, localities, or societies are grouped for display.
When one flag is used with the flag of the United States of America and the staffs are crossed, the flag of the United States is placed on its own right with its staff in front of the other flag.
When displaying the flag against a wall, vertically or horizontally, the flag's union (stars) should be at the top, to the flag's own right, and to the observer's left.

Parading and Saluting the Flag
When carried in a procession, the flag should be to the right of the marchers. When other flags are carried, the flag of the United States may be centered in front of the others or carried to their right. When the flag passes in a procession, or when it is hoisted or lowered, all should face the flag and salute.

The Salute
To salute, all persons come to attention. Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over the heart and men with head cover should remove it and hold it to left shoulder, hand over the heart. Members of organizations in formation salute upon command of the person in charge.

The Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem
The pledge of allegiance should be rendered by standing at attention, facing the flag, and saluting.

When the national anthem is played or sung, citizens should stand at attention and salute at the first note and hold the salute through the last note. The salute is directed to the flag, if displayed, otherwise to the music.

The Flag in Mourning
To place the flag at half staff, hoist it to the peak for an instant and lower it to a position half way between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag is to be raised again to the peak for a moment before it is lowered. On Memorial Day the flag is displayed at half staff until noon and at full staff from noon to sunset.

The flag is to be flown at half staff in mourning for designated, principal government leaders and upon presidential or gubernatorial order.
When used to cover a casket, the flag should be placed with the union at the head and over the left shoulder. It should not be lowered into the grave.

Low Impact Living - Part II

Gasoline Energy Use/Cost Reduction
This fall, President Bush called on Americans to conserve gasoline by driving less and issued a directive for all federal agencies to cut their own energy use and to encourage employees to use public transportation. "We can all pitch in," the President said. "People just need to recognize that the storms have caused disruption," he added, and that if Americans are able to avoid going "on a trip that's not essential, that would be helpful."

Conserving Gas
The benefits of conserving gasoline are well known, and include money-savings, a cleaner environment, and a reduction of foreign oil use and the economic and political problems that come with it. Buying a more fuel-efficient car is the best way to save gas, but there are ways to reduce your gas consumption with the car you already own.

With gas prices so high, the media is awash with lists of gas-saving tips. Well how's this for a tip? If you listen up, you can see hybrid-type savings without having to buy a new car. By changing your driving habits you may be able to improve fuel economy up to 37 percent right away (depending on how you drive). Combine several tips and perform routine maintenance and you will save real dollars, not just pennies.

I found information from someone who actually put these tips to the test. All they did was take several of the most common tips out there and put them to the test over a remote 55-mile route in the high desert of California. Some of them worked like a charm. Some of them didn't work at all. Here you’ll get the breakdown. These tests were done under real-world conditions — not in a government lab somewhere. The results can be matched by anyone — even you.

The great part about what was found is that improving your car's mileage is just a matter of changing your habits. Stack a few of these ideas together and I'll bet that you'll see a substantial savings at the pump— without the need for a new car. Besides, getting more mileage out of your tank makes sense not only for your pocket; it also puts less strain on the Earth’s natural oil reserves.

Test #1 Aggressive Driving vs. Moderate Driving
Result: Major savings potential
The Cold Hard Facts: Up to 37 percent savings, average savings of 31 percent
Recommendation: Stop driving like a maniac.
This is gonna hurt. Tests showed that the most significant way to save gas is you. And we're talking massive fuel economy gains. Think you need a hybrid? Chances are you've got hybrid-style mileage in your gas pedal foot. Don't mash the gas when you start up. Take the long view of the road and brake easy. This tip alone can save you unbelievable amounts of gas. If you slowed your 0-to-60-mph acceleration time down from your current 10 seconds to a more normal city pace of 15 seconds, you'll feel the savings immediately.

Test #2 Lower Speeds Saves Gas
Result: Substantial savings on a long trip
Cold Hard Facts: Up to 14 percent savings, average savings of 12 percent
Recommendation: Drive the speed limit.
Remember a thing called the speed limit? On most highways it is either 65 or 70 mph. How fast are the cars and trucks around you going? From 75 mph to 90 mph. These people are wasting a lot of gas for the chance to get there a little earlier. While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. As a rule of thumb, you can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.21 per gallon for gas. Factor in safety concerns and a speeding ticket once or twice a year and going fast is a costly proposition.

Test #3 Use Cruise Control
Result: Surprisingly effective way to save gas
Cold Hard Facts: Up to 14-percent savings, average savings of 7 percent
Recommendation: If you've got it, use it.
Using cruise control is a bit of gas-saving advice frequently seen on tips lists. I have always agreed with this tip in theory but I haven't seen any test results until now. First, it smoothes out the driver's accelerator input preventing "surging." Second, it makes the driver take the long view of the road rather than reacting to every change in the traffic around them. However, using cruise control can improve your gas mileage by helping you maintain a steady speed, but only if you are driving on mostly flat roads. If you are driving in hilly terrain, using cruise control typically causes your vehicle to speed up faster (to maintain the preset speed) than it would if you were operating the accelerator yourself. Before you push that cruise control button, think about the terrain ahead.

Test #4 A/C On, Windows Up vs. A/C Off, Windows Down
Result: Nice in theory; not true in practice
Cold Hard Facts: No measurable difference (unless you open the sunroof, too!)
Recommendation: Make yourself comfortable.
While the A/C compressor does pull power from the engine wasting some gas, the effect appears to be fairly minimal in modern cars. Putting the windows down tends to increase drag on most cars, canceling out any measurable gain from turning the A/C off. But this one depends on the model and speed you're driving. When the sunroof in an SUV is opened, the mileage will decrease even with the A/C off. Still it doesn’t seem worth the argument because you won't save a lot of gas either way. So just do what's comfortable. However, you may want to opt for open windows at speeds under 40 miles per hour and AC over 40. Check your owner's manual for specific information about your own vehicle's fuel efficiency when operating the AC to help you decide. Also most AC systems have an economy setting. Do you really need it on Max?

Test #5 Check Your Tire Pressure
Result: Important for safety and to reduce tire wear
Cold Hard Facts: No measurable effect on the vehicles tested
Recommendation: Check your tire pressure often but don't expect a big savings.
No matter how many times drivers hear about the importance of tire pressure, most of them don't do anything about it. They probably don't like squatting beside their car in a busy gas station with fumes swirling around them. But is it important? The answer is yes for a number of reasons. Properly inflated tires are less likely to fail at high speeds. They wear more evenly and, yes, they deliver better gas mileage. How much? In this test there was a modest difference in two of the cars. It might have been more dramatic with different tires on different cars. Experts swear by it; the test couldn't really document it. Has tire technology, like the design in other areas of the car, improved beyond the point of this being a factor any longer? Each set of tires is different and every vehicle is different. You should do your own tests to see what inflation setting gives you the best fuel economy for your vehicle/tire combination. For safety and tire longevity, keep a tire gauge on hand and check the pressure often. Extremely low pressures will decrease economy, and safety.

Test #6 Avoid Excessive Idling
Result: More important than assumed
Cold Hard Facts: Not idling saves an average of 19 percent
Recommendation: Stopping longer than a minute? Shut 'er down.
If you turn off a light bulb as you leave the room you'll save electricity. If you turn off your car you will save gas. Obviously. But related questions are more difficult to answer. If you're stopping for only a minute, is it better to shut off the engine or keep it idling? Should I shut off the engine in traffic? How much gas will this save? What rule of thumb do I use when trying to save gas this way? Don't let your car sit and idle longer than 60 seconds. Start it only when everything is packed in, the kids are strapped in, and you're ready to go. Idling gets 0 miles per gallon. The engine warms up faster when driving than it does when idling, and idling wastes about a quart of gas every 15 minutes. Cars with larger engines typically waste more gas at idle than do cars with smaller engines.

The good news is that you can drastically improve your gas mileage. The caveat is that you have to change your driving habits. If you are willing to change, you'll find many related benefits. No speeding tickets, greater safety, reduced stress and lower repair bills for tires and brake pads. In the long run this will save you money.

Here’s a list of further steps you can take to reduce gasoline energy use/cost:
• Pick your lane and stick with it. Traffic studies have shown that changing lanes doesn't result in a significantly reduced travel time. So why not choose your lane and put it in cruise control? This avoids constant surging as you speed into the open lane. It will lower your fuel consumption and your blood pressure.
• Don't tailgate. It leads to unnecessary braking and acceleration. Wasteful driving habits can double your fuel consumption. Develop gas-saving habits, such as: (1) always accelerate gently; (2) watch traffic ahead of you so you can anticipate slow-downs and avoid stops; (3) coast up to traffic jams by lifting your foot off the gas pedal instead of approaching at full speed and slamming on the brakes. It takes 20% more gas to accelerate to normal speed from a full stop than it does from four or five miles per hour; (4) don't drive too fast or too slow. It takes 20% to 30% more gas to drive at 70 mph than 50 mph; (5) maintain a steady speed on the highway. Avoid getting stuck behind slow cars where you have to slow down to their pace and then speed up to pass. These tips can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Potential Money Savings: $390/yr.
• Don't drive a gas guzzler. Do you really need that SUV? Six cylinders instead of four? How about that big pickup truck? Smaller more efficient vehicles will save money and conserve fuel.
• Lighten up. Opt for a light colored exterior and interior and cloth seats, as this will keep you feeling cooler and allow you to use the air conditioning less frequently.
• Maintain. If your vehicle is properly maintained it will run more efficiently and use less gas. Regular maintenance will also extend the life of the vehicle. A poorly tuned car can use more than 25% more gas.
• Use the Recommended Grade of Motor Oil. You can improve your gas mileage by 1-2 percent by using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil. For example, using 10W-30 motor oil in an engine designed to use 5W-30 can lower your gas mileage by 1-2 percent. Using 5W-30 in an engine designed for 5W-20 can lower your gas mileage by 1-1.5 percent. Also, look for motor oil that says "Energy Conserving" on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.
• Added weight lowers fuel economy. Don't over-pack your trunk! Remove excess weight and avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2%. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle's weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.
• Take the roof rack off - If you’re not using your roof rack then remove it. They affect the aerodynamic efficiency of your vehicle and create drag, reducing fuel economy by as much as 5%*.
• Use overdrive. When you use overdrive gearing, if equiped, your car's engine speed goes down. This saves gas and reduces engine wear. Overdrive is the D with the circle around it on the gear selector.
• Try not to make single-purpose trips. Save fuel by combining errands into one trip and avoid backtracking whenever possible. Potential Money Savings: $25-100/yr.
• Don’t Get Lost. It's always a good idea to have a map of the area where you're traveling--getting lost is not good for fuel economy. If you are not familiar with the area, ask your innkeeper, hotel desk manager or other "local" to advise you on the best routes. The shortest distance may not always be the best choice.
• Drive on off-peak hours. Sitting in traffic isn't much fun for you or your car. You could try adjusting your schedule to avoid the traffic jams. You will save time and quite a lot of fuel. If you can't change your work schedule, arrive early and spend the time in the gym, reading a book or doing extra work. Wouldn't you rather be doing something for yourself than burning gas sitting in traffic?
• Fill up in the morning. Cooler gasoline is more compact, so you'll get more drops of the precious fluid for your dollars.
• Don't "top off the tank." When pumping gas. Some of the gas may end up overflowing when it expands in the sun or if you park on a hill. Potential Money Savings: $20-53/yr.
• Pump your own gas. Self serve gas is usually 5% to 10% cheaper than full service. Also, make sure that the gas cap is securely tightened. Gas can evaporate easily. Potential Money Savings: $65-130/yr.
• If you own more than one vehicle, drive the one that gets better gas mileage!
• When renting, ask for a model that gets better fuel economy.
• Car pool to work. By sharing the driving with just one other person, you could save an average of $20/month or $200/year in gasoline alone, if your commute is 20 miles round-trip each day. Sharing the driving with two others increases your savings even more. Savings vary depending on the length of your commute. In addition to savings on gasoline, you'll save maintenance costs and wear and tear on your car. Also there are some very cool things about carpooling besides just the gas savings. You can use the carpool lanes and say you're stuck in a boring meeting at work, simply glance at your watch and say, "Sorry, I'm carpooling." Everyone knows you're doing a good thing for the environment so they will nod understandingly and excuse you. Potential Money Savings: $400-700/yr.
• Another benefit to car pooling is that it reduces the annual mileage on your car. Since this reduces the risk of accident, your insurance company charges you less for your coverage. Potential Money Savings: $25-50/yr.
• Consider leaving the car at home! Take a bus, train or ferry to your travel destination. Consider public transportation. The American Public Transportation Association web site lists local public transit information that is listed by parish and city: http://www.apta.com/links/state_local/la.cfm
• Don't drive. How can "don't drive" be a driving tip? Well, I won't argue the point. But I will say that most people could stand to walk or ride a bike a lot more than they are doing now. So look for local errands that can easily be done under your own steam. A short walk might be faster because you don't have to spend time finding a parking space. Plus you’ll actually be getting ‘gasp’ some exercise! Walk or bicycle. Get your daily exercise and save money.
• Look for telecommuting opportunities. Does your employer insist on lots of "face time"? With rising gas prices and congested freeways, working from home one day a week might be an option that your employer will consider. Tell them that the time you save commuting you will use to increase your productivity.
• Learn more about Demand-Side Strategies. Those strategies designed and implemented by organizations with a role to play in mitigating traffic congestion, including state/regional/local governments, employers, special event managers, etc. Organizations frequently tailor packages of both general strategies and targeted strategies to facilitate the most appropriate blend of efficient traveler choices. Read more: http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/mitig_traf_cong/.

Motorists who conserve gasoline will save money, help the environment, extend the life of their vehicle and further the national goal of energy independence. So think conservation: everyone benefits.

Try an environmental rental
Try out alternative-fueled vehicles on your vacation. If you do need to rent a car when you're away from home, perhaps you can get one that creates less pollution. EV Rental Cars was formed in 1998 to provide environmentally friendly, alternative-fueled vehicles (AFVs) to car rental customers, and is affiliated with Budget Rent-a-Car. They claim to be "the first and only environmental vehicle rental company in the U.S.," offering travelers a low-emission option to protect air quality.
Currently, the company offers natural gas, electric, hybrid-electric and clean air gasoline-powered AFVs in major markets in California, as well as Washington, D.C. See their web site for more locations.

The rental fleet includes many of the newest models from major manufacturers, including Honda, Toyota, General Motors and Nissan. Size, range, and refueling requirements vary significantly. Check out their Web site for vehicle details, fueling locations, and cost and reservation information.

Alternative-fueled vehicles minimize air pollution, are less noisy, and are very fuel-efficient. This Honda Insight, a gas-electric hybrid, gets up to 70 highway miles per gallon of gasoline! AFVs include new models, as well as existing vehicles that are converted to use a new fuel source like natural gas or batteries.

Consider buying a fuel efficient vehicle
Deciding which vehicle to buy may be the most important fuel economy decision you make. The difference between a car that gets 20 MPG (miles per gallon) and one that gets 30 MPG amounts to $1,500 over 5 years, assuming gas costs $1.50 per gallon and you drive 15,000 miles a year. For more information about fuel-efficient vehicles, visit the Department of Energy website: http://www.fueleconomy.gov

Learn more about energy-efficiency tax credits for fuel-efficient vehicles… Beginning 2005, a $2,000 federal tax deduction is available for purchasers of hybrid-electric cars. Beginning January 1, 2006, the new Energy Policy Act of 2005 provides a federal tax credit of up to $3,400 for a hybrid-electric car purchase. Hybrid Tax Credits:

Learn more about federal programs that promote the use of alternative fuels. Incentives and regulations are available on the U.S. Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data center web site: http://www.eere.energy.gov/afdc/progs/fed_summary.cgi?afdc/US

The U.S. Dept of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

That about does it for Gasoline use and Energy Conservation altogether. In part three of this series I’ll discuss Waste Reduction.

Low Impact Living - Part I

Leave it how you found it.
Whenever you go camping or visit a protected wildlife area you are asked to do just that, leave it the way you found it. “Take only pictures and leave only footprints.” For those unfamiliar with this edict, it is in reference to disturbing the wildlife environment as little as possible. Don’t leave any garbage around, don’t kill or destroy animals or vegetation, don’t contaminate or pollute lakes; streams; or ground water, etc.

I try to apply the same principals to my daily life wherever possible. In the grand scheme of things, after all, we are only here for a very brief period in terms of the age of Earth itself. So we are really just on a big camping trip, so to speak, while we are here and all of Earth truly is a wildlife area. So why shouldn’t the same respect apply? Further, we are here on Earth for such a short period of time, how can we truly claim ownership to any part of this planet? (Study Emerson’s essay on Nature.) It belongs, in actuality, to the future generations. In that mode of thinking, we should treat it as if it doesn’t belong to us. The way we would treat someone else’s property on loan to us. We should use it as gently as possible and return it in the same condition we received it. Let’s take a look at the major issues involved in doing this.

How to live lightly.
What are the areas of focus? Through which actions can the most change be effected? We want to do a couple of things here. First we want to identify those areas where the most changes can be made. That is, the bang for your buck situations. Those situations where the biggest difference can be made for your efforts. Second, we want to identify those areas in which you can make the changes and keep those changes and make them habit. In other words it’s a question of logistics. What changes can you make now and what changes are you willing to make in the near future with some planning and preparation?

This is largely an individual process. Different people can make more changes than others in certain areas. However, as a society there are certain areas in which we can all improve. So let’s identify some of those. The two biggest areas that North Americans can improve in are energy consumption and waste production. Other areas include natural resource consumption, air pollution, water pollution, and wildlife and land preservation.

Solutions for an Earth friendly lifestyle.
Let’s begin with energy consumption. The reason I suggest this is three fold. One, it’s one of the most prolific areas of waste. Meaning almost everyone can make vast improvements in this area immediately. Two, it offers a large amount of possible change for your efforts. Three, it offers you personal gain through money saved for the absence of the extra energy expenditure.

There are a number of ways to reduce energy consumption. Three of the big ones are electricity, natural gas, and gasoline. Natural gas and gasoline (made from crude oil) also fit into the Natural Resources category but I will discuss them here because they are two of the largest energy consumption categories. Now it’s time to talk numbers.

An overwhelming majority of consumers, 92 percent, agree that business, government, and consumers have an equal responsibility to reduce energy use. -- Alliance to Save Energy, 2003 Consumer Market Research.
According to estimates from the Energy Information Administration, in just two decades U.S. energy consumption will increase by almost 40 percent, an amount equivalent to the energy used today in California, Texas, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Illinois
--Alliance to Save Energy.

Natural Gas and Electricity Use/Cost Reduction
The average household spends about $1,800 each year on energy bills. By choosing Energy Star-qualified products, consumers can cut this by 30 percent, saving about $540 each year
--Energy Star.

American households typically spend more than $200 annually on air conditioning. Households in some regions of the South can easily spend twice that much
-- Alliance to Save Energy.

Replacing old model air conditioners with Energy Star units can cut cooling bills by 20 percent or more

“Sleep” features that power down home office equipment and other electronic devices that are turned on but not in use can save households up to $70 annually
--Alliance to Save Energy Power Smart Booklet.

Between 80 and 85 percent of the energy used to wash clothes comes from heating the water. Using warm or cool water instead of hot will save money and energy and get clothes just as clean
--U.S. Department of Energy.

In 2005, the average household spent $1,861 on home energy bills. You can save 10-50% on your home energy bills by making some energy smart improvements to your home. The key to achieving these savings is a whole-house energy-efficiency plan which requires viewing your home as one system with individual parts. Each part affects the other parts. For example, if you install ENERGY STAR® windows and good insulation, when it's time to replace your heating or cooling system, you may be able to get a smaller one, because the windows and walls will retain the heated and cooled air inside better than a home without efficient windows and good insulation. And since heating and cooling make up the majority of your bill, you'll save the most money on your energy bill by reducing your heating and cooling needs. Thinking of your house as a whole system ensures that the dollars you invest in energy efficiency are wisely spent.

Energy-efficiency improvements not only make your home more comfortable, they can also yield long-term financial rewards. Reduced energy bills more than make up for the higher price of energy-efficient appliances and improvements. In addition, your home may have a higher resale value. The first step to taking a whole-house energy-efficiency approach is to find out which parts of your house need the most help. A home energy survey can help suggest the most effective ways for you to reduce your energy costs. You can conduct a simple home energy audit yourself. When making energy home improvements, you may be eligible for a tax credit. President Bush signed the Energy Policy Act in August of 2005, which offers consumer tax credits for energy efficient home improvements and energy efficient vehicles. The Act includes a home tax credit with an overall cap of $500 to reimburse homeowners for specific home improvements. More info: http://www.ase.org/content/article/detail/2384
With energy costs skyrocketing, these tax incentives will help homeowners and builders make improvements to new and existing homes and buildings, which account for more than 40% of all energy used in the US.

Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audits
You can easily conduct a home energy audit yourself. With a simple but diligent walk-through, you can spot many problems in any type of house. Since heating and cooling make up the single largest portion of your home energy bill, reducing your heating and cooling needs should be your top priority for reducing energy bills. For more information, visit:http://hes.lbl.gov

If your home is as little as 5 to 10 years old, you likely have one of the 46 million under-insulated homes in the US, according to the Harvard University School of Public Health.

Adding more insulation is easy. Plus, insulation is one of the lowest cost options for improving the energy efficiency of your home. It pays off fast and keeps paying off with better comfort and energy savings for as long as you own your home.

Inadequate insulation and air leakage are the leading causes of energy waste in most homes. Insulation stops this waste by stopping the transfer of heat. In the winter, it helps keep the heat inside, and in the summer, it helps keep the heat outside. This reduces the number of times your heating or cooling systems need to cycle on, saving energy and saving you money. For more information, visit these websites: http://www.simplyinsulate.com/ http://www.ornl.gov/sci/roofs+walls/insulation/ins_01.html

Air Sealing
Warm air leaking into your home during the summer and out of your home during the winter can waste a lot of energy and increase your energy bill. One of the quickest ways to reduce the waste is to caulk and seal all seams, cracks, and openings to the outside of your home. These can be hard to find and you may need the help of a professional. You probably know (and may be able to feel) if air is sneaking into your home around your windows and doors. (For more info on windows and doors, visit these websites: http://www.efficientwindows.org/ http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=windows_doors.pr_windows)
But lots of air infiltrates through openings in the ceilings, walls, and floors. The biggest holes are most often found in the attic and the basement. Caulk, spray foam, and weather stripping are the most common materials used for sealing up these holes. These materials are very affordable and can be purchased at your local Home Depot or other stores, and for the price, have a big payback. You can save 10% or more on your energy bill by reducing the air leaks in your home. For more information, visit these websites:

When creating an energy-efficient, airtight home through air sealing techniques, it's very important to consider ventilation. Unless properly ventilated, an airtight home can seal in indoor air pollutants. Ventilation also helps control moisture, another important consideration for a healthy, energy-efficient home.

Moisture Control
Properly controlling moisture in your home will improve the effectiveness of your air sealing and insulation efforts, and vice versa. Thus, moisture control contributes to a home's overall energy efficiency.

Landscaping is a natural and beautiful way to keep your home cool in summer and reduce your energy bills. In addition to adding aesthetic value and environmental quality to your home, a well-placed tree, shrub, or vine can deliver effective shade, act as a windbreak, and reduce overall energy bills.

Carefully positioned trees can save up to 25% of a typical household's energy used for heating and cooling. Computer models from DOE predict that just three trees, properly placed around the house, can save an average household between $100 and $250 in heating and cooling energy costs annually.

Studies conducted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found summer daytime air temperatures to be 3° to 6°F cooler in tree-shaded neighborhoods than in treeless areas. The energy-conserving landscape strategies you should use for your home depend on the type of climate in which you live. For more information, visti this sites: http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/tips/landscaping.html

Heating and Cooling Your Home
Heating and cooling account for the biggest portion of your total energy bill, almost fifty percent. So when it’s time to replace your system, get the most efficient equipment possible or one that at least has the ENERGY STAR® label. If you’ve insulated your home, installed new windows, or made other energy improvements, you may be able to select a smaller sized heating or cooling unit, and smaller units use less energy, and cost less to operate. For more information, visit this site:

Here’s a list of further steps you can take to reduce natural gas and cooling energy use/cost:
• Find out if your utility company offers free energy audits, where they inspect your home for energy effectiveness and recommend inexpensive ways to cut energy costs, such as insulating hot water heaters, weather-stripping, etc. Just insulating your hot water heater could save you $25 a year. Potential Money Savings: $50/yr.
• Set thermostats between 65 and 70 degrees during the winter, and at 60 degrees when away from home or sleeping. Consider adding an extra blanket for warmth while sleeping. In the summer use fans to create a “wind chill” effect, allowing you to use your air conditioner less, while still feeling comfortable. Set thermostats to between 75 and 78, and 85 when away from home. Each extra degree in winter can increase heating costs by 3%. In summer, each degree can raise cooling costs by 6%. Potential Money Savings: $325 to $500/yr. More info: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=thermostats.pr_thermostats
• Warm air rises, so use registers to direct warm air-flow across the floor. In the summer direct cold air vents toward, or across, the ceiling alowing it to settle toward the floor.
• On sunny days, open draperies and blinds to let the sun’s warmth in. Close them at night to insulate against cold air outside. In the summer you can reverse this idea; open the windows at night to let in the cool air and close them and the draperies during the day to keep the sun’s heat out.
• Don't heat areas of your house you don't use regularly, such as guest rooms. Close vents and doors in unused rooms and close dampers on unused fireplaces.
• Minimize your use of ventilation fans such as bathroom fans and kitchen hood fans in winter. A bathroom fan can suck all the heated air out of the average house in little more than an hour. Over the course of the winter, ventilation fans can increase your heating costs by a surprising amount.
• Lower the temperature on your hot water heater to between 110 and 120 degrees. It's not necessary to have it any hotter and it wastes energy. A family of four, each showering for five minutes a day, uses 700 gallons of water each week. Potential Money Savings: $20-40/yr.
• It's tempting to stand under a hot shower on a cold morning for as long as possible, but cutting your shower time in half can save up to 33% on your hot water heating costs.
• If radiators are located near cold outside walls, place a sheet of aluminum foil, or other reflective metal, between the radiator and the wall to reflect heat back into the room.
• Use your microwave instead of your oven whenever possible and save up to 50% in energy costs for cooking.
• Shopping for lower-priced gas may reduce your natural gas bill. To find out if your state participates in customer choice programs, visit the Energy Information Adminstration at www.eia.doe.gov.

Lighting Your Home
Don’t forget to turn off lights when you aren’t using them! Energy for lighting accounts for about 10% of your electric bill. Examine the wattage size of the light bulbs in your house. You may have 100-watt (or larger) bulbs where 60 or 75 watts would do. You should also consider compact fluorescent lamps for areas where lights are on for hours at a time. Your electric utility may offer rebates or other incentives for purchasing energy-efficient lamps.

Of all the energy it takes to light up one old-fashioned (incandescent) light bulb, 95% is lost as heat, while only 5% of the energy creates light. In the summer, this not only wastes energy and money, it also creates heat inside your home, causing you to use more air conditioning, and increasing your energy bill even more. The good news is that it’s easy to fix. New compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) use much less energy to create up to four times more light.

CFLs cost more up front, but they last for about 7 years and save you money throughout those years. The EPA ENERGY STAR® program estimates that by changing the five most-used lights in your home, you’ll save more than $60 every year in energy costs.

Use of appliances such as your refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, clothes washer, and dryer comprise about 18% of a typical home’s total energy bill. Appliances have two costs that you should consider when purchasing:

1. The initial purchase price
2. The cost of running the appliance for the next 8-20 years

When it’s time to replace an old appliance, make sure it has earned the ENERGY STAR® label. Only appliances and products that meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy earn the ENERGY STAR®. It means that these products are significantly more efficient than the average product. If the price for an ENERGY STAR® product is higher, remember that you’ll be making that incrementally higher cost back for the higher efficiency product each month in lower energy bills. Your utility bill usually shows what you are charged for the kilowatt-hours you use. The average residential rate is 8.3 cents per kWh. A typical U.S. household consumes about 10,000 kWh per year, costing an average of $830 annually.

How Much Electricity Do Appliances Use?
Many idle electronics; TVs, VCRs, DVD and CD players, cordless phones, microwaves, etc.; use energy even when switched off to keep display clocks lit and memory chips and remote controls working. Nationally, these energy “vampires” use 5 percent of our domestic energy and cost consumers more than $3 billion annually
--Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and quoted in Alliance’s Power smart booklet.
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This chart shows how much energy a typical appliance uses per year and its corresponding cost based on national averages. For example, a refrigerator uses almost five times the electricity the average television uses.

Here’s a list of further steps you can take to reduce electrical energy use/cost:
• Install the new type of fluorescent bulbs in lights you leave on for long periods. They provide four times as much light and last ten times longer than incandescent bulbs. Potential Money Savings: $10-$50/yr.
• Cut back on the use of your clothes dryer. Not only is it a big energy drain, it can also suck heated air out of your house very quickly in winter. Hang clothes on a clothes rack to dry and use the dryer for towels and other heavy items. Potential Money Savings: $25-50/yr.

I would be negligent if I didn’t at least mention water conservation while discussing home energy concerns. Here are a few pointers for reducing water use/cost:
• Always do full loads of laundry. A typical full load uses about 21 gallons of water. A small load uses 14 gallons. Several small loads use considerably more water than one or two large loads. Over the course of a year, this adds up. Potential Money Savings: $25-$125/yr.
• Run your dishwasher only when you have a full load. Let the dishes air-dry instead of using the heat cycle. An average dishwasher costs $60 to $100 per year to run. Potential Money Savings: $35-55/yr.
• Fix running toilets or leaking faucets promptly. A continuously running toilet can use more than 8,000 gallons of water a year. Potential Money Savings: $25-125/yr.
• Install flow restricting shower heads. A family of four can save 8,000 to 12,000 gallons of water a year. You not only save on the cost of the water, but also the cost of heating it. Potential Money Savings: $100-$300/yr.
• Add fabric softener to your laundry at the appropriate point in the cycle instead of adding it at the end and running another rinse cycle, which can use up to 10 extra gallons of water. Figure out how much time it takes your washer to reach the rinse cycle, and set a timer so you can add softener at the right time, or simply use a fabric softener ball. Potential Savings: $25-100/yr.
• Use warm or cold water for washing clothes, and always rinse in cold water. Potential Savings: $50/yr.

That pretty well covers electricity and natural gas, as well as water. In Part two of this series, I’ll discuss gasoline.

A Consumer Society

Boy, it all really took off after the war! Thousands of military men coming home with pockets full of wartime money. We saw a period of concentrated home building, car buying, and spending. And in those days manufacturers produced a few of whatever they produced and charged whatever they liked for them because only the few could afford their products anyway and were willing to pay for exclusivity. Exclusivity to which the rest aspired.

Cars, television sets were built to last, and expensive. One arriving on a block was the envy of the neighborhood, and something to aspire to. But then the manufacturers found ways to produce big numbers and those came with built in obsolescence. So in order to stay one step ahead of the Jones’s people had to have the latest gadget as quickly after it appeared on the market as possible. And of course those who didn’t already have it aspired to it too. We became an aspirational society. And the rest, as they say, is history.

We have a dramatically increasing number of households. More single people, staying single longer. More people divorcing and buying two homes where one used to be enough. More second homes, and more homes on the way. And they’ve all got to be furnished, ornamented, carpeted, tiled, updated, repainted, extended, bought and sold and refurbished all over again. And all the while our attention span seems to be decreasing. No one wants something that lasts, we all want the latest version as quickly as the manufacturers can come up with it. We want them in time for Christmas so we can impress our friends, and who’s thinking about the long term costs of our obsession with fashion? Who is really aware of the price the planet is paying?

DVD killed the video star. It’s a quarter of a century since the first Sony video recorder appeared at the cost of about $800. What would a video recorder cost now? About $150 if the ads are anything to go by. The DVD player has taken over but the replacement for the DVD should appear, in time for Christmas, a digital gadget that records and stores hundreds of hours of TV programs. And the same applies to Cassette players, CD players, MP3 players, and now I-pods. As the pace of life races ahead the shelf life of every invention gets shorter and shorter. It’s no longer a case of having something to play music on and replacing it with a new device when the old one finally gives up the ghost, it’s a case of starting all over again every time a new device goes on sale. How many of us bought the same albums on CD that we already had on cassette so that we could play them on our new CD player. And of course the music publishers made it more difficult to do without a CD player if we wanted the latest albums. While we’re guilty of wanting all the latest products the manufacturers are very good at coming up with items we never knew we wanted and then convincing us we want them.

And what happens to all the gadgets we’ve finished with, TVs, computers, electronic junk that we throw out. Our unwanted highly toxic electronic waste is ending up in China, our new dumping ground. Workers remove all valuable parts from circuit boards and copper from transformers with no protective clothing or masks. Highly toxic fumes and dust cause lung and nerve damage, so that rich countries don’t have to pay the price of dealing with their waste. And having furnished our homes with everything under the sun what else do we spend our money on? Even men these days it seems, love shopping and are prepared to spend long periods of time on the weekends trailing around Best Buy or Circuit City. Shopping is the national pastime.

Have you ever thought about the businesses in our malls and on our streets and the rate at which they turnover. Every time a shop or bar changes hands the entire premises are gutted, no matter how new the previous installation, and rebuilt. What a waste. 75 million gallons of unused paint alone is thrown away each year, full of toxic chemicals which end up in landfill sites.

So what do we shop for? Well there are all those gadgets of course but just to mention a few of our other big obsessions:
Food. We’ve been abroad, got the t-shirts and eaten the dish and we want it when we get back home. So the supermarkets stock it, no matter how many miles it has to travel with no thought to the damage caused to the environment. Our food is jet lagged. A kiwi fruit creates something like 5 times its own weight in Carbon dioxide flying across the world. 40% of the freight traffic on our congested roads is carrying food from one side of the country to the other. What’s wrong with eating locally grown foods in season?

Cleaning products. Look in your kitchen and bathroom and see how many cans of antibacterial this and that are in there. What are they doing to our ecosystem when they are washed down the drain and flushed down the toilet? What’s wrong with baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, and tea tree oil?

And then there’s clothes. Who can bear to be seen in the same outfit at more than one party, never mind the same outfit as last year. Blame Ambercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, and Old Navy. They really have it nailed down. They can get the newest fashions onto the streets in under three weeks and they change their clothing lines every three weeks, and they are eminently affordable so we buy, throw away, buy, throw away to our heart’s content. Cotton is not the world’s largest crop but it uses a quarter of all the world’s agri-chemicals. Man made fabrics release man-made chemicals into the atmosphere and azo dyes into water systems. Whatever happened to investment dressing? And what about that big culprit, faux fur? People have been duped into thinking that fakes are acceptable where real furs are not. They’re everywhere, and they are reducing animal suffering but at what cost? All fake fur is man made, from things like polyester and nylon. More than half our emissions of nitrous oxide come from nylon production. Polyester is made using petro-chemicals, and as we all know oil is running out. Some polyester dyes are highly poisonous carcinogens and are polluting our air and waterways. So we’re using precious oil reserves when we have sustainable materials like wool, fur and leather.

It takes about one gallon of oil to produce just 3 fake fur jackets. Around 4 million of these fake furs are being sold each year and what happens to them all when spring comes? Most of them are fashion items and so, as one season wonders they end up being thrown out. They don’t degrade for at least 600 years and can take much longer. So there they sit in landfill sites with the chemicals in them seeping slowly into fields and rivers. The problem is that a high rate of obsolescence is built into our economic model. Once we have fulfilled our needs for shelter and food we look for other things to spend our money on. And the manufacturers are all fighting to come up with new inventions so that they can supply them to us. The economy doesn’t grow if we’re constantly trying to squeeze new life out of old goods. If we aren’t constantly buying, new production doesn’t appear to be growing year after year.

Is economic growth good? Our consumer habits are almost as big a threat to the planet as climate change and buying more stuff, sustainable or not, really isn’t the solution. Try telling your family that on Christmas day. So how do we get the message across? The problem is that it’s not easy to be a non-consumer. We have to make it easier for people to buy the things that are better for the planet than it is to buy the things that aren’t, and that means they have to be convenient and value for the money. It also means they have to be aesthetically pleasing, fashionable or imperative and without that obsolescence built in, be it wear and tear obsolescence or fashion obsolescence.

There is a growing interest among consumers in ethical, organic, and environmentally sustainable goods. Think back to recycled goods. Consumers remember all the products that were supposed to be less environmentally damaging like recycled toilet paper and ended up being just as bad as the original because no one had done a total lifecycle energy audit. People want to have all the information so that they can be sure that goods are ethically sourced, organic, environmentally better than the other options. But that’s just the people who are already concerned. There are some concerned that they’ve heard something they should be concerned about but they can’t remember what it is and the majority are completely unconcerned.

Part of the problem is that it’s all too confusing. We’re still trying to get messages across about all the same things. Take financial products, people still don’t know what to look for when they’re borrowing money, they don’t understand what the APR is and that’s been around for many years. Take food labeling, we’ve had all the arguments for clear labeling and manufacturers respond. Sugar, fat and salt have been in the firing line for years, look on the side of your cereal box when you get home and you won’t see salt but you’ll see sodium. People don’t know what it is. What exactly does it mean to have a label saying low fat, low in comparison to what? (I’ve covered this topic in a past post, “The Basics of Healthy Living” in my Health and Nutrition blog.) We’re still battling to get clear standards and definitions of what’s in our food never mind tackle the definitions of sustainable and ethical. There’s no clear overreaching standard as to what is sustainable and is one particular product more ethical than the other one on the shelf, both of which claim to be ethically produced. Organic is now clearly defined but sustainable is not and consumers are confused and while they’re confused they don’t trust the concept. There is a vague awareness on the street of various aspects of sustainability, something to do with planting a tree for every tree you cut down, but overall it’s still confusing. And that’s what people are saying.

All is not lost, there are glimmers of hope. Just last week a press release from ‘Envirowise’ said that 3 out of 4 of us are fed up with excessive packaging this Christmas. We no longer want bows and glitter, one fifth actively avoid products packaged in this way and 86% believe unnecessary packaging is bad for the environment. So at least that message is starting to get through. However further down the press release we find that 12% of young people between 18 and 29 are prepared to pay extra for the fancier look and are more impressed if they get gifts that are impressively packaged. And worse still almost a third of that age group forgets about the environmental consequences when shopping.

The big hope used to be that children would take what they learned about ethical and environmental issues home from school and spread them around the rest of the family. It’s worked with recycling to a certain extent but what we’ve really discovered is that people will only become interested and committed if it’s made easy for them to be so. And children can quickly lose interest!

The majority of people out there today doing their Christmas shopping have no interest in, or awareness of, sustainable consumption. They may vaguely disapprove of all the extra packaging but how many will really refuse to buy something because of it. How many will be putting their shopping in bags they’ve brought with or wicker baskets and turning down the offer of plastic carrier bags. How many will give a second thought to all the extra electricity being used up by festive lights and displays. It’s a very different matter answering a question in a survey on how you feel about excess packaging and actively doing something about it. And for most people that’s as far down the line as they’ve got towards sustainable consumption.

We all have a role to play in raising awareness and in creating a more sustainable society and I include the media in that. they communicate to vast numbers of people. Many morning news shows alone can boast over 3 million viewers. The average person watches 4 and a half hours of television a day. They influence what people think! That’s a hell of a responsibility. And then there are the ads. With that kind of viewing we see somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 ads a year. Children develop brand loyalties by the age of two. The media has a duty to entertain, to hold people to account, to raise awareness and to inform. But we need to know that the information they’re giving audiences isn’t somehow biased or flawed so they need an end to confusion too. At the moment they’re airing informed debate which stimulates discussion but which more often then not leaves us less clear than ever because the people involved in the debate can’t agree. We need clear definitions and information so that we can make informed choices.

There is a very long way to go and it will take a very long time. But what will happen if we take all that obsolescence out of our economic model? If we do embrace the concept of a more sustainable society, Christmas future may eventually be an entirely different experience. Not only will what we buy be different but we’ll also have to accept that to be truly sustainable we’ll have to buy less. Will GNP go through the floor? The economists don’t seem to think so. The shift to sustainable consumption will take a long time. Some businesses will go under, others will find niche markets and flourish. If we’re to become a more sustainable society we need a different mindset, a change of culture to one where people don’t aspire to own things, don’t need things to be happy. But that doesn’t mean that there won’t be people with money and aspirations. What they spend the money on and what they aspire to will be different. How they work to get that money will be different. And the things that we’ll be spending money on probably haven’t even been invented yet. We’ll be spending money on things that at this minute we can’t image. But even if we could look into the crystal ball and see that by becoming a more sustainable society GNP would fall and we’d end up in a sustained period of negative growth, can we afford to turn our backs on sustainable consumption?

Are people in denial of their impact?
The average person isn’t always aware of their impact. Consumer power is, however, becoming increasingly important and with increased communication, for example, through the internet, this is a powerful tool for change. Politicians will only make it policy if consumers want it. At least that’s how it’s supposed to work. Big business will have something to say about it for sure.

What about legislation as the driver to engender mindset change? How did Ireland manage to ban plastic bags?
The change in Ireland was unpopular at first but as soon as the price increased people changed their behavior. There is hope. Legislation is creeping in and the big wigs are beginning to think about sustainable consumption. Retailers are also reporting changes in our purchasing habits, e.g. we are buying things seasonally now, so potentially things last longer, but countering this is the trend to buy ‘weekend wear’, clothes that are worn once and then thrown away.

The government is not doing anything about consumption. This is a big barrier, for example, the government is encouraging air transport expansion. It may not be possible to make it attractive to consume less, how do we do it?
It is becoming more mainstream, people are wanting to improve their communities. The message will slowly get through as it did with recycling. The media is also very important in this respect, the average person watches 4.5 hours of television a day. But we need to get to people young too, evidence suggests children develop brand loyalty at the age of 2.

Moral Precepts for the Modern World

These precepts are the basic moral code of humanity and, indeed, the indispensable foundation of prosperous, healthy, enjoyable social life. These precepts consist of five rules of abstinence:
1. from killing
2. from stealing
3. from sexual misconduct
4. from false speech
5. from intoxicants

These precepts are designed to discipline and purify the three aspects of human nature; body, speech, and mind. Abstention from killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct disciplines bodily action. Abstention from false speech disciplines verbal action. It is also expected under this fourth precept that one should refrain from slander, abusive speech and frivolous talk. The dual discipline of body and speech has a salutary effect on the purity of mind. The fifth precept against the use of intoxicants attempts to safeguard the mental faculty from degenerating through formation of bad habits. A man under the influence of intoxicants has no control over himself, and thus is easily tempted to transgress the four other precepts as well.

Traditionally, these precepts are regarded as predication of personal morality, a stepping stone along the path to liberation. However, these precepts also have a momentous relevance to modern society. Man in the modern world lives in a critical state of illness, an illness rooted in moral negligence dictated by the power elites. These five rules, which form the backbone of ethics, offer a remedy for that illness, a course of therapy that is radical because it strikes at the root of the problem. This I will show by an examination of each of the precepts.

The precept against killing
The world today is plagued by various kinds of conflicts: ethnic, racial, religious and ideological. Terrorism reigns supreme in many countries. War is not just a threat, it is a continuing actuality all over the globe. The use of nuclear power in war is a worldwide anxiety. The manufacture of firearms is a thriving industry. Are there wars because there are firearms, or are there firearms because there are wars? The two seem to form a vicious circle, and it may be questioned whether conflicts are maneuvered and nurtured in order to find a ready market for the flourishing arms industry.

Enough nuclear power is available today to blow the planet up several times over. Chemical and biological weapons capable of inflicting unimaginable torment have been designed to kill people but leave buildings intact. But you’d do well to remember that cruelty dehumanizes the victim overtly, and the perpetrators in more subtle ways. The question arises whether life is deemed more, or less, valuable today when man is at the apex of his technological prowess, than in earlier periods of his history.

If a world war erupts there will be no victor to enjoy victory, as the victor, victim, and the uninvolved will all be annihilated. Some realization of this imminent catastrophe seems to have dawned on the nuclear powers at long last, hence the negotiations for arms control. But it is a timely question to ask how valuable one individual holds the life of another to be.

When we pay attention to the precarious situation man faces today, we begin to appreciate and marvel at the real value and significance of the precept against killing. If only the scientific community of the proud modern world had observed this simple moral precept of the inviolability and sanctity of life, it might have concentrated only on the constructive uses of science. But what is paradoxical and even ludicrous today is that modern man is foolish enough to pride himself on unprecedented scientific achievement when in fact he has brought the entire human species to the very brink of disaster.

Militarism is not the only ill effect of the lack of sympathy for life. It is felt to a very noticeable degree in agriculture. The free use of insecticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers has caused soil pollution with disastrous long-term consequences. The natural chemical and bacterial balance of the soil has been disturbed. As a result the fertility and the productivity of the soil are diminishing at an alarming rate. Rivers and seas too have been polluted by chemical waste and in some areas rivers have become incapable of sustaining aquatic life. All these have adversely affected human life, and unless man turns over a new leaf with a radical change in attitude this dangerous trend portends disaster. A return to moral values seems a survival imperative.

Money, status, and power seem to be the criteria which determine the value of one person's life against that of another. Can civilized man, with a clear conscience, use the life of one individual to save the life of another? This shows the extent to which modern man has been dehumanized. Moral discipline presents an opportunity to impress upon man the inherent worth and dignity of all humanity.

The precept against stealing
Lawlessness and misappropriation of various kinds are prevalent today to an unprecedented degree. The mass media are replete with distressing news about pickpocketing, bribery, smuggling, organized robbery, blackmailing, fraud, hijacking, etc. Society today has acquired such perverse values that sometimes daredevil crimes are sentimentalized as acts of valor. Apart from such blatant crimes, modern society is guilty of subtle forms of misappropriation, which have far-reaching adverse effects.

Man today uses non-renewable natural resources at the risk of his own survival. Goods of inferior quality are produced so that they have a short span of utility value because a market must be found for their speedily produced replacements. Brain-washed by commercial advertisements to believe in the merits of consumerism, modern man is actually using the earth's resources at a rate which jeopardizes generations yet unborn. Is this not a case of robbing the rights of future generations? If a household prepared food sufficient for ten people, but four consumed it all, we would not hesitate to call the behavior of the four selfish and immoral. But when modern man consumes earth's non-renewable resources without regard for future generations, we are foolish enough to call it development and progress.

The inordinate acquisitive greed of man is the root cause of much misery today. The heedless felling of trees has resulted in severe soil erosion in mountainous regions. Time and again the consequence has been massive mudslides resulting in the destruction of whole villages and the loss of hundreds of lives. The destruction caused to tropical rain forests all over the world has also altered the climatic conditions of the whole planet. Scientists are now warning of the danger of a global temperature rise and the consequent melting of ice-caps in the Polar Regions. In such an event, within the course of the next century, the sea will engulf vast inhabited coastal areas of all the continents.

All these and many more calamities are the direct effects of modern man's greed, which has assumed intolerable proportions. The first step to curb greed is the observance of the second precept, the positive aspect of which is non-ostentatiousness and the ability to be contented with a simple life where needs are satisfied rather than greeds.

The precept against sexual misconduct
Disdaining the sexual morals of the pre-industrial era, modern man has plunged headlong into a life of uninhibited pleasure, so much so that the last few decades have been characterized by what is being called a sexual revolution. The discovery of contraception relieved man of the responsibilities that come in the wake of sex and sensuality and this has become an accepted social trend. (Shrugging responsibilities is the matter of another post) All manners of sexual behavior are practiced with uninhabited openness. Homosexuality, lesbianism, premarital and extra-marital sex have become widespread phenomena. Incest and rape, too, raise their ugly heads with unprecedented frequency. Sexual abuse of children within the family circle is so common that in Britain a telephone service called Childline has been set up which specializes in counseling abused children. It is reported that this voluntary organization receives over 1000 calls a day!

The ill effects of this permissiveness have gradually emerged. The divorce rate has become alarmingly high as couples are incapable of maintaining steady, lasting, emotionally sound relationships. Children have suffered the most, in broken homes and large numbers of adolescents have become drug addicts and delinquents. Juvenile delinquency is now a serious social problem. Public institutions have been organized to care for unwanted children, and to rehabilitate drug addicts and delinquents. Babies are sometimes battered to death during family crises and measures have been adopted to deal with family violence. Abortion has become so frequent that it is currently a widely debated moral, social, legal, and medical issue.

Sexually transmitted diseases have increased by leaps and bounds to assume almost epidemic proportions. The whole world was shaken with a rude shock by the advent of the dreaded disease AIDS, for which medical scientists all over the globe are struggling, without success so far, to find an effective cure or even treatment. It is also well-known that one of the causes for cancer of the cervix in women is exposure to multiple sexual partners.

Already burdened with various other socio-economic problems due to industrialization and urbanization, man now has to face the additional burden of family and health problems. Interpersonal relations have become superficial and brittle, and large numbers of people find themselves alienated, frustrated and mentally ill, without a sense of direction and purpose. The alienated individual has no friend to turn to for solace, and as he is already estranged from religion, psychiatry has stepped in to give some measure of relief. Heavy pharmaceutical medication often follows. There’s a pharmaceutical cure for almost any ailment, psychological or physiological.

It must not be forgotten that man emerged from savagery to civilization through family life. The love of the mother for her offspring played a significant role in this journey, and the family was the vital social unit in giving the new arrival the comfort and security which he sorely needed. Modern man in his greed for sensual pleasures has sacrificed the sanctity of this vital institution, and he has found himself drowning in the very pleasures which he so much wanted to enjoy. It is really to safeguard man against such catastrophic disasters that this third precept has been so designed to form the obligatory code of discipline.

The precept against false speech
When selfish pursuit of personal gain and pleasure largely determines human action, one can hardly expect a high standard of honesty to prevail in society. Today there appear to be discrepancies between words and deeds even at the highest levels of national authority. Nations establish diplomatic relations as a gesture of friendship and goodwill, but from time to time we also hear them accusing each other of employing spy services to pry into one another's internal affairs. This shows that there are double standards and double dealings and often, despite a facade of friendship, the result is mutual distrust and suspicion at the international level.

We also hear of instances of terrorist camps being established in some countries to train men in guerrilla warfare to destabilize the government of another friendly country. Showing a very friendly face, some leaders work with sinister hypocritical motives to stabilize their own political positions at the expense of others.

From time to time we hear reports of scandalous behavior on the part of national leaders. In some instances when their honesty and integrity have become questionable, public pressure has obliged them to resign from high office. Some have been defeated at elections due to malpractice. When those in the highest social and political positions stoop to such dishonesty, you can hardly expect moral standards to be maintained in society at large. Rulers have to set a good example to their subjects by maintaining a high standard of morality in their public and private lives. It is men of high integrity and moral stature who can command the respect and loyalty of the people. When rulers are unrighteous and morally depraved, social values deteriorate and society gradually sinks into anarchy and chaos.

As man is a social animal, mutual dependability is a survival strategy. Dishonesty weakens the very basis of society and the whole social structure breaks down with mutual distrust. Military strength cannot bring unity and harmony in society; it is moral power which infuses resilience and strength to social life.

The precept against intoxicants
Brewing liquor is one of the most profitable industries in the world today and the market is replete with various brands of alcohol. Values have become so perverted that it is the teetotaler who gets cornered in society today. Only a man with high moral scruples and a strong character can decline the offer of a drink at a party despite the embarrassment of being regarded as a wet blanket. It also remains a fact that many who end up as alcoholics were first introduced to drinking for social acceptance.

Alcoholism and drug abuse are burning social problems of modern society. They ruin the physical and mental health of the addicts. One does not have to be a habitual drunkard to fall prey to disease. According to one medical journal, daily beer drinkers are twelve times more at risk of developing cancer of the colon than non-drinkers. It is also reported that even relatively modest social drinking by pregnant women can harm the fetus. The babies are abnormally small, or have small heads or jittery eyes. These are effects associated with what is called fetal-alcohol syndrome, which in its extreme form produces very distorted features and a retarded brain. Alcohol also causes irreparable damage to brain cells in adults even when taken in small quantities, while larger quantities can damage vital organs of the body. Drug abuse is even more injurious.

Indulgence in intoxicants causes economic downfall; also they can cause disputes, quarrels and family violence. Disruption of family life is often caused by addiction to liquor and drugs, and this brings about a whole chain of other related social problems. Ill health and a bad reputation are also caused by the habit of taking intoxicants, which also destroys inhibitions and weakens wisdom. A modern writer who said that man’s conscience is soluble in alcohol aptly summarizes the situation.

Most of the crimes in modern society, as well as serious traffic accidents, have liquor and drugs as the root cause. In spite of the devastating social effects of alcohol that are so evident today, attractive advertisements clutter the mass media depicting liquor as integral to the lifestyle of the affluent, to emulate which is the dream of the common man. People have to be educated and convinced not only of the ill effects of intoxicants but also of the value of will power and strength of character to resist the temptations that society throws their way. It is only those weak in character who will get trapped in these snares.

The individual should also be taught to cultivate a sympathetic attitude toward his own body and mind. They are his instruments of action and it is his own responsibility, and in his own interest, to keep them healthy and efficient. When a benevolent attitude becomes deeply ingrained in the mind, man will gradually refrain from habits which are injurious to his own body and mind. It is the paramount duty of all concerned people who realize that society today is in a precarious state, to muster all resources at their command to bring about a change in man's attitude to rescue him from the perils of his own making.

The scientific man of today has tapped many of nature's secrets and has learned to control many physical forces of the universe. But he has yet to learn to master the social and psychological forces that affect his very being, and his relationship to his fellow man and the environment. Though man in this nuclear age may be an intellectual giant who has achieved technological wonders, emotionally he is a mere dwarf who has barely taken a couple of steps beyond the Stone Age. One writer compares modern man to a person with one leg tied to a jet plane while the other leg is tied to a bullock cart. Thus man's development is utterly lopsided, and this psychological imbalance seems to be largely responsible for the crisis situation we face. What is needed is the total development of the personality as a whole, and for that the cultivation of the moral range is an absolute must.

We have traffic rules to facilitate the smooth flow of traffic. Though they appear to place restrictions on the freedom of the individual, they in fact grant freedom of movement to one and all. Moral laws are similar to traffic rules. They impose certain restraints with the double purpose of granting maximum satisfaction to the individual in the long run, and of preventing the individual from hindering his fellow man from realizing their own satisfaction. Moral laws coordinate different aspects of human experience so that there are no conflicts within the individual and among individuals.

Conflicts, terrorism, and wars have to be understood as the external manifestations of the internal disharmony of man. Man thinks violent thoughts; therefore there is violence in society. The corrupt mind brings suffering in its wake. This is an eternal truth. If happiness is what we yearn for, we have to entertain wholesome thoughts, and act with wholesome thoughts; then happiness will follow effortlessly, like a shadow. To train the mind for wholesome thoughts and healthy attitudes our physical and verbal activities must be disciplined and this is exactly what these precepts do. They control our destructive potentials and humanize the predatory animal in us.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Psychology of Marketing

The following link is to a PDF presentation which explains, not as its main purpose, one aspect of marketing psychology. This is just one of the ways big business corporations condition us. The Brand "Sustainability."

The main purpose, by the way, of this presentation is a discussion of what it will take to enstill in us the the same loyalties we have to consumerism to conservation; Waste Reduction, Recycling, and Re-use. For more on these topics,click here. Also I'll soon post on these topics myself.

Modern Society and Culture

More people are beginning to realize that in every respect we all live in a global society controlled and truly steered by big corporations, popular media and press, and marketing propaganda. A Global Corporation, if you will. A social system in which those who control the resources and the wealth of the world are perpetrators of large scale legal and government abuse that serves to perpetuate rule by elites. What many people do not realize is that aside from the war, pollution, epidemics, and poverty, the social system imposed upon us by the elites produces emotional distress. It produces depression, anxiety, substance abuse, sexual problems, obesity, and many other conditions that plague millions of people across the globe.

The mechanisms for this are quite simple. The stress of living in highly regulated societies with a predatory legal system results in a population which reflects the conditions of a wounded, exploited, conditioned, and bullied people. Moreover, we are tracked and watched through computers, cell phones, and credit cards; and increasingly the entire industrialized world is being videotaped and monitored constantly. Not to mention the fear mongering held over us on a weekly basis by the politically affiliated news corporations. This is the beginning of a dehumanization process the likes of which will alienate us from our individual nature and reduce us to the cogs of production wheels in their factories, offices and other companies. We are not only becoming their servants, we have become consumers, buying every product and service we are told to. We receive their propaganda through television, so-called news sources, and advertisement marketing. They tell us what we should wear, they tell us what we should look like, and they tell us what we should think of others. They even tell us how we should think of ourselves. Further, we unquestioningly do as they say.

We live in such a society that the shallowest and most fake among us are held upon pedestals, catered to, and treated as royalty. The rest seek to be as they are, however, generation by generation, the values of our society falter and slip further and further. This is most evident, of course, in the youngest of the current generation. The morals and values of our parents, and our parents, parents are all but absent in these children. Values such as; accountability, community, civic duty, compassion, common purpose, diplomacy (over confrontation), fairness, family, friendship, faith, generosity, good will, gratitude, gallantry, hard work, honesty, honor, integrity, justice, loyalty, manners, neighborliness, punctuality, quality of work, respect for others, respect for elders, taking responsibility, teamwork, tolerance, trust, truth, and virtue. Today, in some parts of our society, the utmost emphasis is placed on the acquisition of material wealth, at all costs. In other parts of society, the feeling of despair is so prevalent that no effort is made to acquire anything, including education or even an improvement in the quality of life.

Marriages are torn apart by the stress of coping with the conditions brought about by these values of our society and the abuses of government and the legal system. Relationships with friends, relatives, children, and the ability to enjoy life can be twisted inside out. We are forced to follow the red tape and jump through the hoops.

Our potential to live happy, productive, and fulfilled lives is being robbed from us every day by a malignant and parasitic class of lawyers, judges, and government officials who are, in essence, second tier masters in the Global Corporation. If they are the masters, what does that make us? Mindless followers, that’s what.

We are the victims.
Too few people realize this admonishment can become a psychological problem, that is, a problem that affects your mind and your behavior. Once they rob us of our peace of mind and dignity, once they have conditioned us, we need a healing process.

I believe, as do a number of mental health professionals, that the most effective therapy for this emotional distress caused by government and social abuse is activism directed against its sources. What do I mean by "activism?" I refer to picketing, demonstrations, sit-ins, organizing public communications, and in general the kind of conduct that transforms society, produces changes, and puts the wrongdoers on the defensive.

When you suffer in silence, when you allow the wrongs to stand without seeking redress and accountability, when you avoid demanding justice, you have become part of the problem. You have told yourself that you will set aside reclaiming your dignity and demanding justice for whatever reason. But you have essentially betrayed yourself and accepted being a victim. That cannot possibly be an emotionally healthy decision. It is also likely to produce serious physiological symptoms over time. Hours of traditional psychoanalysis will not ever be as therapeutic, rewarding, or self-affirming as organizing a picket line. Prescription anti-depressants may help some, but they are only masking the source of the problem. It has been argued that psychotherapy, in itself, may be a means of oppression in that its aim is to assist the individual in adjusting to the status quo when in fact it may be the status quo that should change. Alienation is, indeed, the result of oppression and only in discovering the reason for the alienation will an individual grow in self-knowledge. Some people feel self-conscious about being in public; others feel they ought to pray for those that hurt them. These thoughts are, in effect, self-destructive as they serve to perpetuate the victimization... We need to find the source and eliminate it.

To where do we trace the origins of our problems?
On a daily basis, the face of the Global Corporation deceives. While a policeman, lawyer, or government functionary may appear to be oppressive, and most certainly act accordingly, the pyramidal structure of the “System" leads upwards. However, the string pullers behind events are not always apparent. The identification and role of power elites in the United States as well as in other countries has become a subject of both academic and popular focus. Because the power elites play such a significant and arguably destructive role, they have earned the legitimate indignation of the people. They are the foundation heads, media moguls, and political powerbrokers. They are the controllers of multinational conglomerates, financiers of major political parties, and intelligence potentates. They are the folks who own and govern the Global Corporation at the highest levels.

They are formidable adversaries and they will break the law, perjure, murder, and conspire and never be held accountable except by the people. They, for all practical purposes, own the courts. The policies of local judges are directed through large institutional think tanks in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Santa Barbara, California, under their control. Not at the grassroots as should be, and used to be, the case. To those who shy away from action, I say you are going to miss the greatest of human endeavors, and your social condition will remain. To those who want to think for themselves, retain their freedoms, and not live in fear for it; get a sign, get a pen or go to your computer or fax machine, and start taking action. The world cannot wait for business as usual to solve these problems and we have a mission, a responsibility, to turn their system upside down.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Advice For Reaching Your Goals

1. Goals are dreams with deadlines.

2. Know what you want to do --- then do it.

3. Let him that move the world, first move himself.

4. What are you waiting for? Do it!

5. "One of these days is none of these days."

6. "The future belongs to those who live intensely in the present."

7. "Seize the day, and put the least possible trust in tomorrow."

8. "Fortune befriends the bold."

9. "Our business in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves--to break our own records, to outstrip our yesterday by our today."--Stewart B. Johnson

10. Aim higher than your reach.

11. "When you reach for the stars, you may not quite get them, but you won't come up with a handful of mud, either."--Leo Burnett

12. "To be tested is good. The challenged life may be the best therapist."--Gail Sheehy

13. Take criticism in your stride - otherwise you'll trip and fall flat on your face.

14. "Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things." --Winston Churchill

15. "If you don't know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else."--Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull

16. Think about the future and the past, but live now:

17. "I can feel guilty about the past, apprehensive about the future, but only in the present can I act." --Abraham Maslow

18. "Today is the blocks with which we build." --Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

19. "Don't waste today regretting yesterday instead of making a memory for tomorrow."

20. "Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance."--Bruce Barton

21. "Whatever I do, I give up my whole self to it."--Edna St. Vincent Millay

22. Don't use "circumstances" as a reason not to act.

23. "We will either find a way, or make one."--Hannibal

24. "You have to take it as it happens, but you should try to make it happen the way you want to take it."

25. "Fear is nature's warning signal to get busy."--Henry Link

26. "Lord grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish."--Michelangelo

27. "The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain." --Dolly Parton

28. "Start by doing what's necessary, then what's possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible." --Saint Francis of Assisi

29. "The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it." --Moliere

30. "Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small steps." --Henry Ford

31. "Little drops of water, little grains of sand/Make the mighty ocean, and the pleasant land." --Julia Carney

32. "Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together."--Vincent van Gogh

33. "Man lives by praise; most of us would rather be hurt by flattery than helped by criticism."--Laurence J. Pet

34. "I believe half the unhappiness in life comes from people being afraid to go straight at things."--William J. Locke

35. "The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything." --Bishop W. C. Magee

36. Don't confuse stumbling with falling.

37. "Entrepreneurs average 3.8 failures before final success. What sets the successful ones apart is their amazing persistence." --Lisa M. Amos

38. "Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." --Winston Churchill

39. "A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot. It has to go through the white heat of the furnace to become porcelain." --Mildred W. Struven

40. 'But' is a fence over which few leap."

41. "The shortest answer is doing."

42. "Waste your money and you're only out of money, but waste your time and you've lost a part of your life."

43. "There are a million ways to lose a work day, but not even a single way to get one back."

44. "I postpone death by living, by suffering, by error, by risking, by giving, by losing." --Anais Nin

45. "The difference between failure and success is doing a thing nearly right and doing a thing exactly right." --Edward Simmons

46. "Some things arrive on their own mysterious hour, on their own terms and not yours, to be seized or relinquished forever." --Gail Godwin

47. "The delights of self-discovery are always available." --Gail Sheehy

48. "Live as if you like yourself, and it may happen."--Marge Piercy

49. Don't give in to despair.

50. Strive to be in a position to do it your way.

51. "I don't want to be a passenger in my own life."--Diane Ackerman

52. "A problem well stated is a problem half solved."--Charles Kettering

53. "A good problem statement often includes: a. what is known; b. what is unknown; and c. what is sought."

54. "To know oneself, one should assert oneself."--Albert Camus

55. "Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather that it shall never have a beginning."--John Henry Cardinal Newman

56. "Can anything be sadder than work unfinished? Yes; work never begun." --Christina Rossetti

57. "Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth." --Katherine Mansfield

58. "Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life. " --Sophia Loren

59. "The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that fits all cases." --C. G. Jung

60. "Patience is a bitter plant, but it has sweet fruit." --German proverb

61. "Time deals gently only with those who take it gently." --Anatole France

62. "Who longest waits most surely wins." --Helen Hunt Jackson

63. "What a man can imagine he may one day achieve."--Nancy Hale

64. "I am responsible for my own well-being, my own happiness. The choices and decisions I make regarding my life directly influences the quality of my days." --Kathleen Andrus

65. "Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame."--Erica Jong

66. "I'm not going to limit myself just because people won't accept the fact that I can do something else." --Dolly Parton

67. "Ask yourself the secret of your success. Listen to your answer, and practice it." --Richard Bach

68. "Whatever you are by nature, keep to it; never desert your own line of talent." --Sydeny Smith

69. "Don't take anyone else's definition of success as your own." --Jacqueline Briskin

70. "Don't ask of your friends what you yourself can do." --Quintus Ennius

71. "It's hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head." --Sally Kempton

72. "Always take a job that is too big for you."--Harry Emerson Fosdick

73. "It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness." --Seneca

74. "If one asks for success and prepares for failure, he will get the situation he has prepared for."--Florence Shinn

75. "The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart." --Robert G. Ingersoll

76. "A life of reaction is a life of slavery, intellectually and spiritually. One must fight for a life of action, not reaction." --Rita Mae Brown

77. "Things don't turn up in this world unless someone turns them up." --James A. Garfield

78. Do your best - to the limits of your ability.

79. "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." --Theodore Roosevelt

80. "There is no failure except in no longer trying."--Elbert Hubbard

81. "The impossible is often the untried." --Jim Goodwin

82. "Success is a journey, not a destination." --Ben Sweetland

83. "There are no shortcuts to any place worth going."--Beverly Sills

84. "Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out." --James B. Conant

85. "Fortune favors the audacious." –Erasmus

86. "The great end of life is not knowledge but action." --Henry David Thoreau

87. "All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible." --T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)

88. "Sweat plus sacrifice equals success." --Charles O. Finley

89. "The superior man is modest in his speech, but excels in his actions." --Confucius

90. "So live that you can look any man in the eye and tell him to go to hell."

91. "The best preparation for a better life next year is a full, complete, harmonious, joyous life this year."--Thomas Dreier

92. "Lord grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish."--Michelangelo

93. It’s not the “IT” that you want, it’s the fantasy of “IT.”

94. In order to continue to exist, desire must have its objects perpetually absent.

95. "Fear less, hope more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Hate less, love more; And all good things are yours." --Anon.

Definition By Career (continued)

In reference to my previous post; Definition By Careerhere are two more thoughts on the subject. First is an advertisement for a company soliciting services for “career development” and resume writing. The second is what Emerson had to say on the subject.

“Why would anyone want to spend their days doing something they did not excel at and didn't really enjoy? Click the underlined text below and your computer will waft you off to a ________ Institute web page that tells you about our programs and services for people who do not want to spend their life as a career zombie, stuck in a boring, lifeless job where each day you wish you were somewhere else. If you are not sure what sort of job you are looking for, you will most likely wind up in something that turns out to be just a "job." In a "job" you exchange your life for money. It is possible to choose a career that will fit you so well that you do it because you like to go to work. At ________ Institute we offer career counseling, coaching and testing programs for people committed to choosing a new career direction for a lifetime of satisfaction and success. Our services, available worldwide and consistently commended for excellence since 1981, are for people who realize that choosing the best possible career direction is one of the most important decisions they will ever make.”

You see here, they too have recognized the pressure society puts on its citizens to develop a “career” as opposed to a “job,” the difference of course being ultimate fulfillment and joy, and have marketed a product/service to capitalize on this fear of so-called failure. It’s just one more case to prove my point that society has instilled this feeling in us. Again I do not deny that it is possible to find work which is more enjoyable than some. I simply maintain that it’s not necessary to levy a lifetime of searching or remorse for failing to find that “career fulfillment.” I further state that it is unfair, and unrealistic, for every man to be held to this “standard” for “career placement.”

The following is one more case to enforce my point that one can, and should, take pride in any job they perform if it accomplishes their goals and requirements for their life. As opposed to allowing society to splinter us into feeling like the lowest common denominator of laborers.

Excerpted from The American Scholar, an oration delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Cambridge, August 31, 1837.

“It is one of those fables, which, out of an unknown antiquity, convey an unlooked-for wisdom, that the gods, in the beginning, divided Man into men, that he might be more helpful to himself; just as the hand was divided into fingers, the better to answer its end.

The old fable covers a doctrine ever new and sublime; that there is One Man, -present to all particular men only partially, or through one faculty; and that you must take the whole society to find the whole man. Man is not a farmer, or a professor, or an engineer, but he is all. Man is priest, and scholar, and statesman, and producer, and soldier. In the divided or social state, these functions are parceled out to individuals, each of whom aims to do his stint of the joint work, whilst each other performs his. The fable implies that the individual, to possess himself, must sometimes return from his own labor to embrace all the other laborers. But unfortunately, this original unit, this fountain of power, has been so distributed to multitudes, has been so minutely subdivided and peddled out, that it is spilled into drops, and cannot be gathered. The state of society is one in which the members have suffered amputation from the trunk, and strut about so many walking monsters, -a good finger, a neck, a stomach, an elbow, but never a man.

Man is thus metamorphosed into a thing, into many things. The planter, who is Man sent out into the field to gather food, is seldom cheered by any idea of the true dignity of his ministry. He sees his bushel and his cart, and nothing beyond, and sinks into the farmer, instead of Man on the farm. The tradesman scarcely ever gives an ideal worth to his work, but is ridden by the routine of his craft, and soul is subject to dollars. The priest becomes a form; the attorney, a statute book; the mechanic, a machine; the sailor, a rope of a ship.”