Thursday, April 25, 2013

Who says women have a math problem?

For too many girls today, they learn the "common wisdom" that math is just too hard for them to attempt – and they foolishly take that fear to heart without every testing their own mettle.
You can't solve girls' math problems by making them pink!
Girls don't have a problem with math they have a problem with misperception.
Fortunately as a child, Shakuntala Devi never heard that advice. Instead, she let her natural abilities with numbers blossom. She became an unsurpassed mathematical prodigy.

Here are just a few of her amazing mathematical accomplishments:

  • In 1977, tasked with calculating the 23rd root of a 201-digit number, she out-performed a Univac computer by 12 seconds.
  • The Guinness Book of World Records recorded her 1980 mental multiplication of two 13-digit numbers—with a 26-digit solution—at a mere 28 seconds.
  • Twice (once on the BBC, another time at the University of Rome) she corrected calculations supplied to interviewers.
  • An American researcher couldn't even start the stopwatch before she provided two complex answers.

    Shakuntala Devi is a glowing example of just how wrong "common wisdom" is about so many things. How many other things are we foolishly believing just because someone told us it is so?

    Instead of just accepting social standards as truth, we need to test our own perceptions. Too often the problem with math — or anything else — is only prejudicial bias. When we choose to tap into our own innate abilities, we can evolve into far more than we currently imagine possible.
    I wonder... what you think.
    Cartoon Credit: TwistedPhysicsBlog

    Thursday, April 18, 2013

    How's that political process working for US?

    If 92% of the public supports legislation and only 54% of the Senators vote for it, what does that say about who is being counted in the "representative democracy" in this country? How's that working for US? Where is the support for our Common Welfare?
    Gabby Giffords speaks out: Time to change Politics and vote out Politicians who don't represent US.

    I got an email from an international organization the other day that said "Top legal scholars say the US is nearing state-failure, with hyper-corruption allowing big corporations to write laws and make policies that affect the entire world." Is that how we think the world views US? Is that how we choose to allow the world to view US?

    Gabby Giffords is right: It's time for a change -- politics as usual just doesn't represent US anymore

    I stand with Gabby and am proud to support her efforts at Americans for Responsible Solutions to "fight back against an ideological fringe that has consistently used big money and influence to obstruct progress."

    It's time for us all to face the politics of influence and corruption and choose to make a change for the better. I hope you'll join US.

    Saturday, April 13, 2013

    What if YOU could prevent a tragedy?

    This is a true story:
    Imagine that Francine's grief is yours. (It is.) Now, imagine that you live in a world in which this speech never needs to happen. (You have the power to make it so – call your Senator.)

    Tuesday, April 9, 2013

    Can American society pray violence away?

    A current FB blog is circulating a statement made to a House Judiciary Subcommittee by Darrell Scott, father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the 1999 Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado. In short, he said what is needed to overcome shooting tragedies is not stricter gun laws but a return to God and prayer.

    I've got to disagree. It isn't a deity but rather the sense of shared community values and responsibility that are missing in today's society. Children in pain are ours to heal, and if we as citizens ignore those needs, no deity will step in regardless of a million prayers. It is not belief or words but healing actions that prove our commitment to mend social ills.
    Circle of adults and children holding hands
    Laws, it's true, are stopgap measures. For those who respect the dignity of all others and encourage development of potential in every person and stand for equity, fairness, and cooperation, a law is just a commonsense reminder.

    Sadly, it's also true that stringent laws are not effective deterrents for those who have failed to learn the basic values of respect, fairness, and mutual support. What those without a moral foundation need is neither law nor faith that some deity is watching but guidance from caring adults to help build a supportive basis for constructive cooperative living in community.

    A retired friend was feeling purposeless until he signed up to mentor an eight grader who lacks appropriate direction in his life because of a difficult home situation. Bill is thrilled to share his passions for fishing and for remote control flying with this child and envisions helping groups of boys who may need some positive outlet in otherwise under-playful lives. Attention and support from an enthusiastically involved adult are often all a child needs to turn the corner from neglect or despondency to proactive participation in becoming more of his best potential. It's not a prayer but a willing model that makes the difference.

    When no adult steps in, there is no way for an ignored, neglected, or abused child to learn a better way. Social moral values are not learned from the words of school officials or elected leaders or law enforcement officers or religious clergy; rather, social moral values are demonstrated by the actions condoned by members of the public.  If bullies are tolerated with a headshake or kids are discouraged from "tattling" or victims are told to suck it up or push back, the stage is set for violence to be a way of life.

    While faith-sure adults are free to choose prayer any time and individual children coached to pray have no legal boundaries to exercising their personal practice, imposing prayer on others is neither effective nor ethical. Praying to God may self-soothe, but it won't dissuade an alienated shooter. At the same time, current gun control laws are a piecemeal effort; too many guns and too much ammunition are readily available in too many unguarded places and too many unregulated exchange venues. What is more germane and necessary is mental health assistance for troubled individuals and early childhood support for kids whose parents are overwhelmed by and underskilled in parenting.

    Lacking public interest in the necessary sorts of effective mental health assistance, too many children will continue to feel unvalued and fail to develop appropriate social moral values. Unless adults step in to fill the gap and teach the younger generation by example (whether through faith-based tenets or any ethical and moral principles) and demonstrate to each child that s/he is valuable and help children learn values that serve society's common welfare, they will only learn what is modeled in the world around them.

    Today's models are abysmal. Not only do we "war" on drugs and in other countries, TV shows highlight schoolyard bullies, news reports excuse rapists, shooters are profiled and talked about, "reality" quests for money and power are ruthless. Notoriety can seem attractive to a desperate and lonely youth – and mandating prayer is not a sufficient social adjustment to reach a better result.

    Since good role models today are so heartbreakingly scarce, unvalued kids are likely to continue to agitate society's conscience despite demographic statistics claiming religious faith is prevalent. It's not a lack of faith that pulls the trigger of violence. It's the gun in the hand of an already-wounded individual that creates the environment for a violent outcome.

    After so many tragic killing crazes, we who witness cannot remain blameless when further violent outbreaks occur. We only make a difference in the future when we do something that changes the status quo. In today's world, that has to be to support gun control laws. Active measures to keep guns out of the hands of mentally unstable indivduals will have far greater a real-world impact than all the prayers rotely recited by unvalued schoolchildren.

    Of course, if you really want to make a difference to change the status quo, you could follow Bill's example. To mentor a needy child doesn't require faith in prayer but only faith that you have a valuable contribution to make to the life of a child, to your own sense of purpose, and to the ending of the cycle of violence. If enough adults choose to value our nation's children, we won't need any gun laws or to pray violence away because we'll already have the safe, ethical, and cooperative society we can only dream about today.

    And if mentoring a student isn't feasible for you today, perhaps you could practice deep-healing a child you know intimately with this process:

    Imagine yourself as a very young child, for living in this imperfect world, we all have childhood wounds to heal. Imagine your adult self soothing and embracing your child self, reassuring that wounded, needy part of your inner self of her/his worth and perfect wholeness. Now imagine as your child self feels your perfect accepting interest s/he relaxes her/his perfect, healed, loved innermost child self into your heart. Feel the sense of healing energy surrounding your melded hearts – and imagine your healing heart energy reaching outward to others you know. Imagine that in the embrace of your healing heart energy, other wounded hearts are healed and they too embrace you embracing your healed child-self – and as every person your heart touches joins your embrace, a spiral of love grows out from your heart into the far reaches of the earth and into the galaxy beyond, sending the resonance of healed love to every being on the planet, to every particle of energy in the cosmos.

    You have that much power within – to heal the planet, to heal the world, to heal humanity, to heal your heart.

    You don't have to pray for that – just do it.

    Friday, April 5, 2013

    How can we stop being totally stressed out?

    You're not the only one stressed these days. Stress is destroying our world.

    stress cartoon
    A couple years ago, I wondered a lot about stress:
    • What is stress?
    • How do we get rid of stress?
    • Why does stress seem neverending?
    • What is the stress response?
    • What stops the stress cycle?
    • What does it take to resolve stress?
    • How do we resolve stress?
    Sadly, stress hasn't diminished. In fact, it's become an escalating global stress crisis. If we want to end the stress that's killing us and our world, we have to face some stressful facts: We're responsible. We're responsible for our own individual state of stress, and we're also responsible for totally stressing out the world.

    It's really no wonder why the world is totally stressed out: We're polluting Earth's air and water, hating people who aren't like us, worrying about everything, and living with endless conflict.

    The only way to heal a stressed world is to DEstress ourselves.

    If you've ever wondered how to relieve your stress, you might want to start at SocioEnergetics this month because the world's stress can't improve until we each DEstress ourselves.
     
    Image credit:  cottoncloudblog

    Monday, April 1, 2013

    What are you doing today?

    Artist Hugh MacLeod of GapingVoid.com blogged back in February: "'Live each day as if it were your last, for one day it will be.' Though Mar­cus Aure­lius’ Third-Century advice sounds terri­fic, it’s pro­bably the har­dest piece of advice in the world to follow." and demonstrated that idea with the funeral scene from Robert Altman’s 1992 movie “The Pla­yer” in which the last words of a murdered screenw­ri­ter are read. It's memorable and tragic because the writer was unsuc­cess­ful and his last words are mundane.
    Gapingvoid.com Intoxicated by Possibilities art
    credit: gapingvoid.com
    We're all "intoxicated by possibility" but most days we hesitate to be the change we'd need to become to actually venture into our most yearned-for reality.

    We think we aren't ready. We think we're not perfect enough. We're waiting for inspiration. We're waiting for something else to happen first. We're worried what friends and family would think. We don't want to look like a fool. We need a plan. (One that's fool-proof.) (Even for the ineptitude level we feel.) So we wait. We study and think. We plan and design. We draft and redraft. We rethink and we study some more.

    And if we keep doing that, one day we end up 70-something, with a triple bypass and a stroke and we're consigned to therapy without any medical professional really hoping we'll regain our full potential. If we aren't like Jill Bolte Taylor and we give up on that day, we'll never know what we could have been.

    In fact, if we give up today, if we postpone change just one more day, chances are we'll never know what we could have been.

    So the challenge for each of us today, every today, is to be the person we yearn to become. If we practice that every day, sooner rather than never, we will become all we imagine we can be. And then, we'll have the opportunity to become even more, to fullfill unimagined possibilities of our infinite potential.

    Wouldn't that be a good thing to do today?
     
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