The Serpent and the Dove

Jesus advised His team:”Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” KJV

Why is this very wise advice? Have a look at a good Bible Commentary on Matthew 10:16

Sunlight and Free Speech

The sunlight of free speech is the best disinfectant against the darkness of irrational beliefs.

Photo by Rajiv Bajaj on Unsplash

Based on a metaphor in Free Speech by Andrew Doyle

The secret to the instant clear communication of an argument

The secret is the top down sequence.

First state the question and in a few words explain the context.

Second, state your conclusion.

Third, state how many reasons you have for your conclusion.

Fourth, say what each reason is about and then give details.

Fifth, repeat your conclusion.

For example:

“The question is whether the house on 6th Street should be demolished.

My view is that it should be.

I have two reasons for this.

First, it is a health hazard: The walls are broken. The roof is beyond repair. The building is infested with rats.

Second, It is a fire hazard: The rooms are full of rubbish, broken wood and other flammable material. Vagrants light fires in the ruin.

Consequently, my view is that the house should be demolished.”

Note:

  • The hearer is immediately knows what the communication is about.
  • The hearer is immediately told the conclusion.
  • The hearer is told there will be two supporting reasons.
  • The hearer is given a warning that a reason is coming, is told what the reason is and then is given details.
  • The hearer is again told the conclusion.

Watch Lord Jonathan Sumption using this way of arguing. Lord Sumption is regarded as one of the cleverest people in England. Click here.

The top down approach is similar to the Pyramid Principle taught by Barbara Minto. Her book is on Amazon. Click here. Please note this is an affiliate link. This blog post was prompted by my listening to Lord Sumption

Can we learn from a humble mouse?

Yes we can! Read this story about a mouse. My son in London wrote it.

Lets all listen up and learn!

What the mouse treading milk in the bucket is really about

It’s about two things. The first is the obvious one that everyone knows about. The second is the less obvious but the most important.

The first is about not giving up when in a difficult situation. It’s about keeping going because you never know what might happen. And while this is good advice it is also self-evident. The second is about doing work you don’t want to do. No mouse wants to be stuck in a bucket treading milk. But look what happens when he keeps going. The milk turns to butter. Not only does this change provide salvation for the mouse but it turns the milk into something very useful. And a whole bucket of it.

Work is like this. No matter what work you do, if you keep at it, it turns into something very useful. Things start to happen as if by magic. Take a janitor cleaning a floor. Nobody wants to do that. But if he keeps at it then he begins to notice how to do it in the most efficient way, which chemicals work best, when to do the work and so on. How many million-dollar cleaning businesses started this way? And yet they began with work that nobody wanted to do.

Whenever you do anything hard you are treading milk. Like with treading milk you may not see any progress for a long time. The quality of your output (whatever that might be) won’t change at first it and it may seem like it never will. But then… slowly, the milk begins to turn into butter. The output becomes valuable and sought after and you, its creator, will begin to love it. And all this happens through nothing more than persistence. You don’t need to learn. You need to keep going.

What should follow Prayer?

Lozenzo Scupoli suggests that after praying and seeking God’s will, we should, with full dependence on God, labor more diligently to become worthy of receiving what we pray for. This means that the work of prayer should be followed by us applying all our strength to obtain what we pray for. If we fail to work hard and just sit back after praying, we are testing God, not praying.

Just something to think about ….Comments would be helpful.

Reflections on reading an expanded version “Unseen Warfare: The Spiritual Combat and Path to Paradise” by Lorenzo Scupoli (1530-1610).

Churchill Diplomacy Masterclass

Sir Winston Churchill

Lady Churchill and Sir Winston Churchill were at a function. The hostess noticed that a visiting diplomat, at the function, had secretly pocketed some silverware. It may have been a salt cellar. She was at a loss what to do and quietly asked Lady Churchill for advice. Lady Churchill said she would ask Winston.

This is what Churchill did.

He found a piece of similar silverware and put it in his own pocket. Then, when he got the chance, he went up to the diplomat and quietly showed him the piece of silverware in his pocket and whispered “somebody has seen us taking the silverware so we’ll both have to put them back”.

A Wise Owl
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The diplomat then quietly put back the salt cellar.

This really showed that Sir Winston Churchill was a master diplomat.

Churchill and COVID19

Source: I think in a book about Lady Churchill.

Verbal abuse incoming? A tip from a USAF female combat fighter pilot

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I don’t know which jet fighter Sn. McSally flew.

You are in an important discussion. You are about to demolish your opponent’s argument, Your opponent knows it and starts to abuse you verbally instead of dealing with the issue. Lots of verbal flack is coming your way.

You can be sure of one thing: You have found the weak and vulnerable spot in your opponent’s argument. You are at the jugular.

This was very well summed up by Senator Martha McSally, a former USAF combat fighter pilot and squadron commander, who said:

“We fighter pilots have a saying: You know when you are over the target when you are getting flack”.

There we have it!

Take care next time you are in verbal combat.

Source: CNN 27 May 2020 and here.

Intellectual Honesty

“Intellectual honesty consists in stating the precise conditions under which one will give up one’s belief. …”

Imre Lakatos

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Take Away One.

In an argument when your opponent is adamant that they are right ask them: What evidence would convince you to change your mind?

Take Away Two.

Ask yourself the same question before you yourself pontificate about some topic!

What has a gadfly to do with this?

Socrates the Gadfly

The philosopher Socrates was a great nuisance to the powerful people in Athens long ago. So much so that he called himself the “gadfly”. Why was he a nuisance and why did he call himself a gadfly?

As you may know, a gadfly is flying insect with an extremely painful sting.

Socrates was a nuisance because he kept pestering and stinging the powerful leaders in Athens with difficult questions which showed up their ignorance and their failure to know what they were talking about. He kept stinging them like a gadfly. And Socrates did this in public debate – to the delight of the youth in Athens who no doubt then started questioning the wisdom of their elders.

This was too much for the exposed elite. Like Joseph’s brothers they decided that “the dreamer has to go”. In this case it was Socrates who had to go.

Like a gadfly!

So, the exposed and stung elite trumped up a charge against Socrates: “Corrupting the youth of Athens” (code for: “He persuaded the youth to think for themselves”).

We all know the result. Trial, death sentence and the hemlock.

And another result: Socrates became one of the most respected philosophers and seekers after truth, of all time.

A word of caution: Think twice before you decide to become a gadfly.

Matrix thinking and a warning during COVID19

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The matrix below is offered to help us think about the relationship between Shut Down Options, the Economy and the Health of the Population. The matrix applies to any country. Even seeing where the matrix is wrong and how it can be improved may help. I hope so.

It goes without saying we need a vaccine desperately and also, if possible, a cure.

Our thoughts are with all those suffering during the pandemic.

In the meantime the question is: What is the best way forward for the economy and the health of the population?

Options Matrix

Conclusion

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The only option to save the economy and the health of as many people as possible is to have a limited economic shutdown combined with limited social distancing (strictly enforced), supported by a general population committed to self-enforcement.

Warning: Committed self-enforcement by the general population is vital.

Keep safe.

A huge thank you to all Health and Essential Workers world wide.

Thank you.