The Zenomorph

Posted in Humor, Movies, Philosophy on March 1st, 2013

xenomorph + enlightenment = zenomorph
The Zenomorph In Bhadrasana

There is more than one way to reach Enlightenment, just as there are many ways to become one with the universe and achieve a state of Zen.

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TANSTAAFL

Posted in Books & Reading, Politics, Society on November 25th, 2012

TANSTAAFL – Learn it; accept it. You have no choice except to live it. TANSTAAFL is one of the fundamental laws of the universe, though one too many choose to ignore or refute.

Acronym: TANSTAAFL (/tan’stah-fl/)
Meaning: There Ainít No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
Source: Robert Heinlein’s The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress ( 1 )

There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Somebody always pays. To continue the analogy – It might be the diner, but in a way that is deferred or that he or she doesn’t recognize as payment. It might be restauranteur, either willing or due to some form of coercion. Or it might be some third-party, again either willing or due to some form of coercion. But, no matter who is getting stuck with the tab, somebody always pays.

Much like the law of Entropy, TANSTAAFL has it roots in thermodynamics but extends throughout all facets of existence. This is why Socialism and all the dreams of the entitlement society promulgated by the Liberals and Progressives are doomed to failure. Somebody always pays and, sooner or later, you run out of other people’s money or, at least, the ability to access their money.

Yet Liberals and Progressives, despite their purported love of science, can’t understand this. The federal government, with their bipartisan adoration of wimpynomics, certainly doesn’t understand this. The eaters and takers living off of other people’s money most certainly refuse to consider understanding this. But in all these cases their refusal to accent and understand reality is moot; ignorance of the law is no excuse.

The problem is that TANSTAAFL, like all natural laws, isn’t subject to being broken. It is inviolate and cannot be circumvented any more than the law of gravity can be circumvented. It also, however, carries no punishment for attempted transgression; it merely has consequences.

It’s simple. Every regulation placed upon industry carries the price of reduced employment and higher costs. Every tax placed upon people carries the price of reduced spending power. Every time someone or some group is given a handout somebody else has their circumstance worsened.

None of the above should be construed as a blanket statement against social safety net programs or industry regulation. There’s a certain understood value in both.† The price of these things, however, needs to be carefully weighed before they’re put into place and this is something that neither the Leftists and their dependent demographics are willing or able to do.

~*~

NOTE: While Robert Heinlein popularized this acronym and attendant phrase, he did not create it. The earliest known occurrence of the phrase, “There ain’t no such thing as free lunch”, appears as the punchline of a joke related in an article in the El Paso Herald-Post of June 27, 1938, entitled “Economics in Eight Words“† and was repeated used multiple times before the 1966 publication of† The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress:

  • The phrase later, in 1942, appeared in an article in the Oelwein Daily Register.
  • In 1945, “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” appeared in the Columbia Law Review
  • In 1947 it appeared in a column by economist Merryle S. Rukeyser.
  • In 1949 In 1949 the phrase appeared in an article by Walter Morrow in the San Francisco News and was part of the title of Pierre Dos Utt’s monograph, “TANSTAAFL: a plan for a new economic world order”
  • In 1950, a New York Times columnist ascribed the phrase to economist Leonard P. Ayres.

Heinlein’s popularization of the phrase may, however, have been the inspiration for economist Milton Friedman using it as the title of a 1975 book, There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch.

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Time Enough For Love

Posted in Books & Reading, Ethics & Morality, Musings on June 14th, 2012

For good or ill I was exposed to a great deal of literature as a young child and encouraged to take full advantage of that privilege. Consequently, I became an avid reader starting at what most would consider a very young – I won’t, however, say “tender” – age.

It followed quite naturally that my reading greatly influenced my thoughts upon many things

While many, many books of varied sorts influenced my views on myriad topics, I truly believe that no single work influenced my thoughts on living more than Robert Heinlein’s Time Enough For Love.

Time Enough for Love by Robert Heinlein finishes his “Future History” as presented to world by his then-editor, John W. Campbell. In it we are given a cornucopia of other stories, as Lazarus Long, now some 2300 years old, is induced to reminisce about his life as part of a complex deal to preserve the ‘wisdom’ of the oldest man alive. Each of the stories that Lazarus relates are fairly complete by themselves, and many authors would have chosen to publish each of them separately so as to maximize his monetary returns.

Heinlein, being the author and the man that we was, chose to keep them all as one piece, as each story helped to illuminate his overriding theme, on just what is love in all of its myriad aspects and why it is so important to man’s survival as a species.

This is a book that I strongly and most emphatically recommend for everyone, though not, perhaps, for children as young as I was when I first read it as it contains much that I prepubescent child cannot viscerally understand. This does, however, present a problem as many of the “lessons” contained within this work are best learned as young as possible.

Many Christians will have issues with this work; of this I have no doubts. I would suggest trying to get past this as the work contains many ethical and behavioral lessons of great worth.

If you can bring yourself to do so, put the situational details aside and absorb the underlying context and message.

Go to your your library and check it out if they have it. If not, buy it. In any event, read it. Personally, I’d suggest buying it since I’ve been returning to it for nigh on 40 years and love it still. It’s the sort of book that becomes an old friend and teacher – one that you keep coming back to and finding new meaning, joy, and sorrow in.

Time Enough For Love also contains two “interludes” which comprise the 64-page The Notebooks of Lazarus Long (Kindle), which I believe is a useful addition to anyone’s traveling library in the same fashion that Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, Mushashi’s The Book of Five Rings, and Machiavelli’s The Prince are.

And yes, I know; it’s more than odd to include a work of fiction – science fiction at that! – alongside philosophical works such as I have done. Mr. Heinlein was that sort of man though. He, much like that radical rabbi from Nazareth, knew that parables teach far better than anything else.

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