meus intuitus

Archive for November 2009

Take Care Of Your Mind

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Emotions come and go.  Joy, sadness, anger, jealousy, anticipation, fear, disgust–emotions come and go.  After an intense anger, an immense joy, what is left?  After a wonderful trip, a horrible experience, after the emotion passes, what is left?  What is the mood that you come back to after your highest highs and lowest lows?

It is your mind state.

Emotions are the crests and troughs of waves; mind state is the depth below.

People go through life seeking happiness, but they wrongly seek it in the waves.  True happiness is not in emotion.  It is not in feeling that ecstasy that comes with a new car, new love, or new opportunity.  Rather, it is in being at peace in the depths of your mind.  It is in your very outlook on life.  Through good times or bad times, whether you have reason to rejoice or despair, your mind state can be in turmoil or at ease.  Your mind state is the depth upon which all waves pass–upon which all emotion comes and goes.  With a shallow mind state, small inconveniences will greatly upset you, joys will be all too temporary, and unfulfillment will follow you everywhere.  With the right mind state, you can smile at inconveniences, amplify your joys, and live a wonderful life.

Happiness is from within.  Growing up in a western society, we have learned to tend to our careers, our possessions, and our bodies.  We seek happiness in these external pursuits.  We think that we need only to get the right job, the right car, and the right abs, and then we will be happy.  However, one can have all those things and not have a drop of true happiness; and one can have none of those things and be joyous.

Genuine and lasting happiness comes from within.  It has no qualifiers.

To be successful, we train our habits.  To be fit, we train our bodies.  To be happy, we must train our minds.

(written after watching a TED talk by Buddhist monk, Matthieu Ricard)


Written by meusintuitus

November 28, 2009 at 10:54 pm

Forgotten Games

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"Forgotten Games" by Jaziel Valladares,

Every night, I lay down, and I think about my mother, my father, my acquaintance with this world.  I think about my grandparents, their parents, and their parents…  How far back it all goes; back through the Chinese cultural revolution, imperial China, tribal China, sapiens, apes, mammals, vertebrates…  all the way back to when the first nuclear material became encapsulated in a membrane.  I think about my childhood, my adolescence, my young adult life.  I think about all I have done, all I do, and all I have yet to do.  I imagine the day my grandparents, my parents, and my friends close their eyes to this world.  I imagine what it must be like to close my own eyes for the last time.  I imagine humanity post-me; the technology, the violence, the understandings.  I imagine either our colonization of the stars or the extinction of our race.  I imagine our discovery of a new sentience or the emergence of a new sentience on Earth, post-humanity.  I imagine how that sentience will grow, reflect, and wonder.  I wonder.

The funny thing about science is:  The more you learn about the world around you, about the body with which you experience it, and about the brain that makes it real to you… the less sure you are about everything.

In the end, will there still be music, dance, and billiards?  Will the mangoes be sweet?  Will the blankets be warm?  Will the leaves be green?  What will we see?  What will we feel?  What will we be?

Written by meusintuitus

November 16, 2009 at 9:41 pm

Posted in contemplation, Random

You Have No Right Not To Be Framed

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Two African-American boys were convicted of murder 25 years ago by an all-white jury, a witness who was a “known liar and perjurer,” and prosecutors who withheld good evidence that pointed to a white suspect who happened to be the brother-in-law of a local fire chief.  They were released, recently, when the Iowa Supreme Court overturned their convictions.

While the police have no immunity from framing suspects, prosecutors do seem to have that immunity.  They are free to convict based on “good evidence, bad evidence, or no evidence at all.”  That sounds terrible as is, but what about “fabricated evidence?”  Well, prosecutors across the country say that people have “no freestanding constitutional right not to be framed.”  The argument is that if prosecutors could be sued, then every person who felt they were wrongfully convicted would sue their prosecutors.

Really, though, prosecutor accountability is an excellent idea.  It’s one thing if prosecutors examine, appeal to the jury’s morals, use bad evidence, or use no evidence at all, but to fabricate evidence and to conspire against innocent men when good evidence points elsewhere–that is a completely different story.  Admittedly, prosecutors need to be free to do their jobs and lawyers have to be shrewd for a reason, but they can not be entirely without honor, without accountability; a line must be drawn somewhere–perhaps somewhere just before evidence fabrication and conspiracy.

Of course, “fabrication of evidence” can have gray areas, but that can be tolerated.  It is important for prosecutors to know that, under no circumstances, is it acceptable to outright frame an individual.  And when it is not so obvious–when bad evidence is embellished to fit–then prosecutors would know that the more they embellish it, the more danger they put themselves in to be convicted.

This kind of accountability is exactly what a justice system needs.

Speaking more broadly, this case makes me very bitter.  The profession I am entering holds a more rigorous level of accountability than any profession:  Medicine.  One mistake, and a doctor is liable to be sued.  A carpenter can make squeaky windows.  Police officers can shoot black kids.  The “justice” system can sentence innocent people to their deaths (it has happened).  However, physicians have to be perfect.  Any mistake, any human error (let alone deliberate dis-service/injustice), and he or she is liable to be sued.

Physicians-to-be endure rigorous coursework, cultivate their enthusiasm for life, people, and medicine, and apply to medical school only to have their motivations scrutinized.  In selecting applicants for admission, medical schools take a great deal of effort to make sure that the applicant is entering medicine for genuine reasons.  Applicants have to earn high marks, gain health care experience, perform on the most difficult professional school admissions test, and write essays just to have a chance at an interview with a medical school.  Then, at the interview, applicants have to prove themselves apt in communication, pure in self-reflection, loving of people, and passionate for medicine.

Doctors, as a group, are decent people–albeit a little egotistical, but decent nonetheless.  Despite this, they are one of the most sued groups of people in America.  Do law schools conduct interviews?  Rarely.  Instead of integrity, prosecutors have immunity.

Of course, that is not a fair statement!  I just could not resist.  Many prosecutors are fine individuals and they do need some level of immunity to do their jobs, but they still have to be accountable for any injustices they dare to commit.

P.S.  Go medical tort reform.  It would lower healthcare costs too.

Written by meusintuitus

November 4, 2009 at 9:20 pm