Peer Help Groups: December 2007

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Porn Industry and Incentives

I heard an interesting idea on a recorded radio show today. This was non-LDS and the topic was the dangers of pornography on society, specifically heterosexual, main-stream pornography, just to clarify. A gentleman calling into the show had an idea that I had never thought of or heard discussed before. He said the government should remove pornography from the list of copyright protected items. His reasoning was that our tax dollars should not be used in the courts to protect such things. I think a much better reasoning is simply that this removes the incentives of the producers. Many producers probably have political and moral beliefs that they would like to be spread, but really what it all comes down to is money. If pornography was not copyright protected, there would be absolutely no financial incentive to produce it. The expert on the show thought that this wasn't the right course simply because we should focus on highlighting the dangers of pornography before trying to influence public policy. I agree with the caller over the expert. Pornography is becoming increasingly accepted and by the time people realize the dangers of pornography, it will be too late. The effects will be in place and even then, most people will not connect the cause with the effect. If we do not start working on public policy now, it will go from what we can do to what we should have done rather quickly. I do not know the name of the radio show caller, but I believe that he is on to something. There will be effects that I am not considering. I don't know what they are, but this line of thinking could do a lot of good, not to mention please any economics professor.

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Zero Sum Society

I was listening to an audio interview of Harvey Mansfield, author of Manliness, in which he argues that our society is becoming feminized and there should be a return to manliness in men. The radio show interviewing him had on some other guests which disagreed, saying that manliness was hurtful, that it was sexist to say what he was saying, that women were equal and just as courageous, etc. Now, I could easily post on this subject of manliness, but the point of my post today is that it occurred to me that the arguments really dealt with zero-sum competition. Those who were opposed to Dr. Mansfield, were attempting to argue that by saying men should become more manly, this somehow took away from women. They are treating it like a zero-sum game where giving to one party automatically means taking from another. Any lower level economics course will teach you that we do not live in a zero-sum economy. One nation gaining riches does not mean another nation must be poorer. Apparently a lot of people still don't understand that. Attributing qualities to men and allowing them more responsibility in some situations does not, in any way, take away from the importance of women. This is not a zero-sum competition. Building up women does not mean degrading men. We can build up one sex or gender and not be hurting the other. We see these zero-sum arguments in many areas. This is an argument many have used against the LDS church. We believe that God, the Father and God, the Son are two separate physical persons. We also believe in eternal progression of man. Many believe that these two beliefs of ours somehow take power away from God the Father. Somehow, they think, it makes Him less of a God when He shares His power with His children or builds up His children to become more like Him. They think that God operates in a zero-sum world of power and authority. But like Paul said, "Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God..." (Phil 2:5-6). Why do we have so much trouble understanding the concept of non-zero-sum? What is about our society that teaches zero-sum so that it is almost ingrained in us? It seems like most of these beliefs surround power. Giving men power takes away from women. Giving man power takes away from God. Maybe we just don't understand power because so many examples use power in the wrong way, exercising unrighteous dominion, which treats power as zero-sum. If we can learn to live non-zero-sum with power, perhaps we will begin to see the changes in many other areas of our lives. Any comments are appreciated.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Work on the Other Side

I attended a funeral service yesterday where a member of the Los Angeles Temple Presidency spoke. He spoke briefly, but spoke with the Spirit. He related a story where one of the ordinance workers in the temple was put on long-term leave while he dealt with the shingles. A few months had passed and no one had heard from the worker, so this member of the presidency called his home. His wife informed the caller and speaker that her husband had passed away. It had happened suddenly. They were at a family reunion in southern Utah when he noticed a lump near his shoulder which was hindering the movement of his arm. He had a dream while at the reunion in which an angel appeared to him and said that all would be well. After arriving home, he went to the doctor and they found that one of his lungs was completely covered with cancer and another was partially covered. He was told that he wouldn't have long. He then had another dream where the same angel appeared to him and said that he was being called home where he would fill the assignment to escort his ancestors to the temple when their work was being performed. He related this to his wife and passed away a few days later. The member of the Los Angeles Temple Presidency said that the other side is very real and the work continues. To anyone that may be remembering a loved one who has passed on, remember that they are still very alive and active. They are just as busy in this work as we should be.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007


I really liked Scott Young's example of the power of focus as he discussed the importance to not set too many goals this next year.

"How long would it take to set a piece of paper on fire in midday sun? The paper could stay there for hundreds of years and never catch fire because the heat never reaches a critical threshold. But if you put a magnifying glass, the paper can start to singe in just a few minutes."

The sun has intense power and when focused, it can certainly light things up. But if you spread out that power, nothing catches on fire. So, don't spread the power that you have over to large of an area. Set a fire and move on to the next area. (I am not advocating starting fires, it's an analogy for creating change in your life and increasing your desire to do things.)

Good luck this next year. You're a great person.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Beating the Little Hater

illdoctrine recently posted on how to beat the little hater inside of you that throws you into a cycle where you miss an obligation/goal and so you feel like you have to do something extra special to make up for it, which makes it harder to do which throws you into the trap of procrastination because it's harder to come up with something extra special and then you go a little bit longer, having unmet obligations and you feel like you have to do something twice as extra special, which you then procrastinate. It's a cycle.

Underlying this is also the fact that when you aren't doing something, your desire to do it deceases and when you are doing something, you're desire to do it increases. That's because of flow. If you're in a flow where you aren't doing the thing, you don't want to disrupt it, even unconsciously. If you're doing it, you feel it and you feel the benefits and it wasn't that hard getting started, so you want to keep going, also because there's something else that you don't want to do. I've experienced this in many things, like home teaching. I don't want to home teach until I home teach. I don't want to read my scriptures until I'm reading them. I don't want to write until I start writing. I haven't posted in a long time. So, part of me thinks that this should be an extra special post. Well, it isn't. It's just a normal post. And if you haven't done something in a long time, don't wait for the perfect moment or some extra special reason to do it. Just do it now.

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