Who and What is the Happy Warrior

The Happy Warrior is the title of a poem... and yes, I love this poem. I do not wish to be mischaracterized, for the most part poetry is not my bag. I am not an afficionado of literature nor am I a metro-sexual (I despise that term) but a dear friend introduced me to this masterpiece of prose several years ago... it has provided no end of inspiration. The Happy Warrior by William Wordsworth outlines the qualities of a magnificent soul. I aspire to possess even one or two characteristics that "every man in arms should wish to be."

This blog is a representation, in conversational form, of my voyage to wrap my arms around the world in which Mr. Worsdworth's warrior finds happiness.

(Standing disclaimer: Luckily tests of spelling accuracy ended in 4th grade otherwise I would still be in Elementary School. Be forewarned, spelling errors ahead. I subscribe to the wisdom of a great man who said, "I have utmost disdain for a man who can only spell a word one way." -Benjamin Franklin)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wacky Wednesday

Because life is full of disappointments, challenges, setbacks and irony, a little levity is in order:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's the truth... that is why it hurts: College Reality

I am introducing a new segment:  It's the truth... that is why it hurts.  Sometimes it is painful to hear, to face, to admit the truth. Truth, like shots, hurts in the short-term but is a vital element of long-term health and vitality.    Unfortunately we live in a world where the very idea of truth is under attack.  Some say there is no objective truth and all is subjective.  What a load of crap.  If these people were really honest they would say, "I want things my way and NOTHING is going to get in my way!"  Since this sounds blantanly childish and narcissistic, they create, instead, sophisticated and veiled arguments -many shrouded in science, philosophy, religion or hiding behind political and social causes like health, the environment, the welfare of innocents (children, the poor, etc.) and such.  But I am getting away from my main point.

In the midst of our self-deception, moments and examples of truth emerge like a spotlight in a dark theater to illuminate absurdity.  For a brief moment truth is on display until someone scrambles to pull the plug on the light because our eyes hurt from the glare. 

Consider this little bit of information about a very specific element of modern life:  higher education.  Many are understandably concerned with the rising cost of tuition at US universities.  At the same time many professors are being squeezed by macro economic forces which are reducing their pay and the number of faculty in many departments (which translates into a higher workload for remaining faculty).  You might be interested in reading some exerpts from an article by Heather Mac Donald in The National Review... then again, you might not be interested since the truth hurts.  My purpose is not to summarize her argument, she does a far better job than I ever could, but to provide a concise blast of truth that will hopefully cause enough of a intellectual pin-prick to generate a pain response (i.e. indignance, astonishment, anger that leads to some sort of action).  Here is the amazing statement of truth from her piece:
"Since 2006, full-time administrators (at the college/university level) have outnumbered faculty nationally."
That is UNBELIEVABLE!  There are more administrators in higher education than there are faculty!  This should anger any student or parent (or taxpayer) who is paying ever increasing tuition fees.  Last time I checked, our young people go to college to be taught by professors who are expert in their dicipline not for the priviledge of being administered by some nameless, faceless person in a campus office building they never see in the 4, 5 or 6 years spent at the institution.  Read the full piece for more truth and pain (wait til you read what these "administrators" are paid compared to faculty and the important roles they are attending to)!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wacky Wednesday

Here is a little personal reassurance for the next time you make a stupid mistake:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Not fun, not exciting, not how I want things to be... but true

There are some things in life... correct that, let me start over.  The things in life that really matter are not easy, quick, painless or guaranteed to bring the approbation of the majority.  I present another thought from Mr. Epictetus (refer to Friday's blog, Nov. 4th):
  You may well have to forgo wealth and power if you want to assure the attainment of happiness and freedom.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dead Man Speaking

I love reading the words of dead people.  No, this is not some morbid confession of bizzare graveyard voyerism.  It is merely my affirmation of my love for history.  I am fascinated by the writing of dead Greeks and Romans in particular (while also enjoying the wisdom of Eastern authors).  There is an eriee familiarity in their words.  It is almost as if they faced many of the same personal and political challenges we face today.  I love when they speak of efforts to find meaning, of values, of ethics, of human nature, the quest to live "the good life", even of cruelty, evil and those forces -internal and external- that threaten our felicity.  We do not talk enough of these things today even though they are all pertinent.  Somehow we have let the technological advances, the comforts of affluence, and the narcotic of leisure cloud our minds from the essense of life.  There is something about fighting the overuse of sodium instead of the barbarians at the gates that causes me some concern....  But I am off on a tangent.
Complying with my self-inflicted 2 minute rule for blogging, I have decided to share some short snippets from one of these dead Greek guys, Epictetus.  I commend his book, The Art of Living.  He covers a variety of topics and gives advice ranging from practical to philosophical.  Some I agree with and some I do not but I have learned much from both.  Here is the first installment:
"When something happens, the only thing in your power is your attitude toward it; you can either accept it or resent it.
What really frightens and dismays us is not external events themselves, but the way in which we think about them.  It is not things that disturb us, but our interpretation of their significance."

More to come....