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Re: Ouestions given

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  • james tan
    vidya, these answers to ur questions are just my opinions, and there are as many opinions as there are peoples... so take them with a pinch of salt, and feel
    Message 1 of 6 , Mar 2, 2002
    • 0 Attachment
      vidya,

      these answers to ur questions are just my opinions, and there are as many
      opinions as there are peoples... so take them with a pinch of salt, and feel
      free to say, "nah....i disagree with what u say....and the reasons
      being....", and this way things will be more fun while being serious at the
      same time...

      q1:
      telling lies is not an advisable act but speaking truth sometimes is likely
      to be harmful. do u agree?

      my personal view is this, telling lies to others is ok, for some self vested
      interest (and perhaps even for the sake of the other party, such as breaking
      the news of his terminal disease when u know he can't accept it, at least
      there and then). but keeping ur own reputation is also to ur own interest,
      and as such, it is really a matter of ur own skills and assessment of the
      situation and timing. u calculate the pros and cons, but i'd say in most
      circumstances, it pays to be honest, and it takes tremendous skills (and
      psychic energy) to be dishonest and coming out still looking good.
      assessment really take 'wisdom' and experience. but while u may lie to
      others to get ur own end, u should never lie to yourself, for that will be
      the ultimate of foolishness - i.e. lying to oneself. i am not into the
      business of getting power, and i have seldom come to a situation where i
      have to lie. most of the time, and by and large, there is no need at all to
      lie. but being honest doesn't necessarily mean u tell all; there are simply
      something that is indiscreet to reveal, and maintaining ur discretion is not
      the same as being dishonest. if u are trapped in a situation where u do not
      wish to lie but do not wish to tell the truth also (either it is none of the
      questioner's business or it is to ur own possible disadvantage, remember u
      have the right to remain silent), just tell politely u have no comment or
      that u do not wish to answer that; a civilised person will respect ur wish,
      and dont associate too much with a uncivilised person. remember, u may not
      want to, u don't have to tell them everything just because they ask (and
      don't volunteer to tell what u don't wish to tell just because u know they
      wish to know). but whether or not telling something will cause harm will
      depends on ur discretion; it helps if u have discretion, and nobody can't
      help if u do not already have discretion.

      some people cannot tell lie; when they do, they will fall into a lot of
      psychological or cognitive dissonance, which bring about distress to them.
      so it is better not to lie for such. the 'virtue' of being honest is so
      internalised (part of their self-image or concept or identity) that they
      suffer great incongruence when they lie or lied. this incongruence create
      psychological agony, and until it is resolved, they will continue being
      unease with themselves, and suffer low self-esteem which in turn has its
      significant effect on other areas of their lives. the idea of praying to god
      (to confess) is one way to resolve; others prefer to see a therapist.

      sometimes we say, "to be honest, i don't like him"...this phrase "to be
      honest" is used sometimes to indicate something which otherwise might not be
      quite acceptable. this sort of hint that at some level honesty is a more
      virtue even than kindness, or competence, or concern, or duty. if u are
      honest, it offset or compensate the defect of being cruel or sloppy. that is
      what the word suggests. they invite the listeners to smile or accept or
      tolerate what might be condemned.

      i repeat myself here: being honest to oneself is the supreme value. u can be
      cunning and deceive ur enemies, but u cannot lie to yourself. being honest
      to yourself is he starting pt for a life which can be accepted without
      qualification. jean-paul sartre would say it is a difficult task, and it
      turns out that honesty turns out to be a question we have continually to ask
      ourselves, not a rule to be applied.

      q2:
      a survey in britain shows the demand for the tv has fallen as parents of
      school going children feel there is nothing constructive for the children in
      the tv. do u agree?

      first, i am not staying in britain, so i have no idea what is their tv
      programmes quality. second, tv programmes can be educational and
      constructive. in singapore, we have the 'central' programmes featuring
      documentary programmes which has helped and entertained children and adults
      alike in getting to know more about their cultural, physical, geographical,
      religious, technical environment and world. important information pertaining
      to the country and world is communicated. the demand for tv prgram falls in
      britain may reflect low quality in their program, but it may also be caused
      by the perception of these mothers independently of the actual quality of
      these programs.

      q3:
      there is a proposal that students in the higher secondary course should be
      given freedom to critize the performance of the teacher so that the teachers
      will get an opportunity to improve their skills. however ther is also a view
      tt freedom will destroy respect for teacher and the part of students. what
      is ur opinion?

      it depends on how u go about 'criticizing'. if the purpose is to mock or
      sneer & other things negative, i dont see how such kind of critising is
      useful except to produce enimity and disrespect. if the act is done with due
      respect for the teacher as a educator or facilator whatever his or her views
      for constructive purposes, i dont see why not. with respect and
      constructiveness as a context, such criticizing encourages active
      participation rather than passive reception. learning should be active and
      participative, and this attitude, if it is in the teachers as well as the
      students, will have no problem in them accepting or producing such
      'criticizing'. the teachers are not gods, so learning can be mutual (unless
      the teachers have the ego of a almighty?) the intention of the criticizer is
      important in assessing whether there is respect or not. no meaningful
      communication between two or more persons is possible without a reasonable
      level of respect. and the teachers who are not insecure or defensive will
      handle the situation well, using it as a opportunity to learn, not only for
      students in giving counter-criticism, but for himself or herself in
      receiving criticism. it is only with such feedbacks that the teacher could
      have a 'mirror' of how he is doing.

      q5:
      why do people want to be happy? why is it not possible for one to be happy
      at all times?

      for the first qn, i believe the answer lies in the biological makeup of man,
      it is his 'hard-wiring' that prone him towards happiness, and god knows it
      may have evolutionary values; and don't ask me why man has this need to
      evolve (else, it is like asking why is there something rather than nothing.
      it just is, there just is; the 'why' is something u have to appeal to
      religion to answer, i think). all things being equal, statistically, i
      believe man prefers pleasure over pain, happiness over unhappiness. (as for
      those who love to be flogged by their lovers on their bedroom scenes, it is
      another story for another day). if u ask a zen master, he may give u this
      kind of reply: happiness is unhappiness, unhappiness is happiness. either he
      fails to make a simple distinction (his iq doesnt impress terribly), or
      there is such profound truth in his awakening and enlightenment that he has
      'seen' reality for what it really, actually, profoundly, is: there is no
      distinction. but i am not awakened yet, still covered up by maya, so i would
      just assume there is a distinction.

      why he cant be always happy? there are many ways one can answer this,
      philosophically, but more importantly, psychologically, and if u are keen
      (which i doubt), i know a few tome of books in the lib just to answer this
      question. however, let me just give one offhand. partly, this is a question
      on the nature of consciousness. willam james (an american psychologist)
      liken consciousness to flow of river, rarely (never) static. firstly,
      consciousness reflect experiences of a person, it is personal, and can u
      guarantee that life always go the way u want? cannot, for there is a saying,
      life is not a bed of roses (folk wisdom is not without her basis in
      experiences). it is not the essence of our consciousness to be happy, there
      are no fixed elements in us to be happy, so why should we be always happy?
      even a person who indeed has a life of roses may not be able to maintain his
      happiness for a whole lifetime; he may just get bored (in a sense, he is
      condemned to be always looking for something new to maintain his state of
      wonder, and this state of unfulfilment he is always in is suffering, unless
      he really learn to be content something like a buddha - but then ...) ie,
      there is always fluctuation, constantly changing, even though consciousness
      is continuous. some wise guy of ancient say something like u can't step into
      the river twice, and the same is true of our conscious experience. one can
      never be happy always because the stream of consciousness tt provides the
      context for happiness is ever-changing. consciousness is such that at every
      stage it is a theatre of simultaneous possibilities. try to do some
      introspection when u are cooking, idling, baby-sitting, scolding, laughing,
      even farting - u will discover a lot about yourself.

      according to schopenhauer (a german philosopher, views similar to buddha and
      influenced by kant), the fundamental impulse in human existence was the will
      to survive. this will cause humans to experience an unending cycle of needs
      and need satisfaction..to satisfy our will to survive we need to eat, sleep,
      shit, drink, fuck. the pain caused by an unsatisfied need causes us to act
      to satisfy the need. when it is satisfied, we experience a momentary
      satisfaction (pleasure or happiness), but alas, it is so short before
      another need come along, and on it goes. how can we be happy always?

      this qn can also be viewed from a psychodynamic, behavioural-cognitive,
      humanistic, gestalt, systemic, etc, pt of view. since ur words limits is
      only 100, i will just stop here.

      q7.
      over the past decade, millions of dollars have been spent on space programs
      with the idea to stepup human colonies in space. however this does not seem
      to have produced any constructive result for them. what do u feel, should it
      be continued or given up.

      not much of idea on this. personally if those money are mine, i'd spent it
      on aiding the starving and sick of the earth, something like what mother
      theresa was doing; but those money are not mine. no constructive result?
      maybe not yet. the fruit of research is never immediate, but long terms,
      though i dont see why man should want to live on moon when earth seems
      beautiful enough for me. i am not a finanical contributor of the space
      program, so i don't have to decide to continue or give up. and if i suggest
      to them to spend it on helping the poorest of the poor, i dont think my two
      cents will impress them very much.

      q8:
      20th century saw a rapid development in field of science and technology with
      a large number of inventions made? do u think the inventions are really
      beneficial t the society?

      why not? we have the computers, the internet, many things we use in our
      daily lives that we can get at such low prices..all is possible courtesy of
      technology. methods of mass production, innovation that make life more
      convenient (the mundane no longer occupy too much of our time, attention and
      energy, thanks to these sophisticated machines), reaching out to more
      possibilities in our existence.

      q9:
      wealthy nations must care at their own interest to come forward to extend
      their help in financial and other areas to poor nations? do u agree?

      it depends on the geographical and strategic value of that poor country u
      want to help. some country may be poor in human resource but rich in natural
      resources; these are the countries that will yield returns if u help them by
      investing in their countries. u go there to set up industry, u make use of
      their cheap labours, u tap into their natural resources, u provide
      employment to these otherwise jobless, u reap profit and share some with
      them, everybody is happy, a win win situation. for ur neighbouring countries
      who is bigger and militarily stronger than u but financially in great
      deficit and debt, u may like to help them financially also as a loan;
      maintaining great diplomatic ties will be beneficial for u in the long run.
      for countries that are weak, poor, no investment values whatsoever, but
      neighbours to u, one may like to help on moral ground; but help is to not
      merely to give them money, rather helping them help themselves, but even
      this may take up labours, money, time and energy on one's part; it is done
      purely on good will.

      q10:
      qualities of successful man are not obtained from his university education
      alone? do u agree?

      it really depends on what u mean by sucesss. a university education is just
      that: a university education. there are many aspects of life which is also a
      important criteria for success, such as the quality of relationship one has
      with one's significant others, one's work career, one sense of satisfation,
      self-actualization, etc. and having a degree does not mean one fulfil all
      other criterias. for an example, people often ask, when they read newspaper
      of a fraud case by a scholar, why someone who has such illustratous academic
      achievement would commit such crimes. but of course the assumption is, one's
      academic achievement is the same as one's moral stand. so far, i don't think
      such assumption is much supported by empirical evidences. it is just
      personal bias and subjective interpretation.

      james.

      From: "N L" <laxi28@...>
      To: tyjfk@...
      Subject: Re: Ouestions given
      Date: Sat, 02 Mar 2002 18:02:38 +0000









      _________________________________________________________________
      Chat with friends online, try MSN Messenger: http://messenger.msn.com


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Eduard Alf
      james, interesting ... I would offer the following on two of the questions: happiness ... It depends upon upon what we we view is happiness . We may be
      Message 2 of 6 , Mar 3, 2002
      • 0 Attachment
        james,

        interesting ... I would offer the following on two of the questions:

        happiness ...

        It depends upon upon what we we view is "happiness". We may be convinced by
        the media that happiness comes from owning this kind of car or going on this
        kind of vacation. In other words, happiness is set up as something special
        that you have to indulge in or acquire. Such happiness does not last. The
        car will soon start to rust. The vacation becomes a matter of waiting in
        air terminals and in any case is soon forgotten. The person, who seeks
        happiness in themselves, has much better chance of sustaining happiness in
        their life.

        money for space exploration ...

        It is incorrect to say that space exploration has not provided benefit. The
        single photo of the earth as seen from the moon was well worth the billions
        it took to get it. In order to understand ourselves we have to truly see
        our position within the universe. It is often said that perhaps these
        billions should more appropriately be spent on the poor. But it is not a
        question of "either/or". As Kennedy said, "we have the ability to go to the
        moon, and to do the other thing".

        eduard
        -----Original Message-----
        From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
        Sent: Sunday, March 03, 2002 2:17 AM
        To: laxi28@...
        Subject: [existlist] Re: Ouestions given




        vidya,

        these answers to ur questions are just my opinions, and there are as many
        opinions as there are peoples... so take them with a pinch of salt, and
        feel
        free to say, "nah....i disagree with what u say....and the reasons
        being....", and this way things will be more fun while being serious at
        the
        same time...

        q1:
        telling lies is not an advisable act but speaking truth sometimes is
        likely
        to be harmful. do u agree?

        my personal view is this, telling lies to others is ok, for some self
        vested
        interest (and perhaps even for the sake of the other party, such as
        breaking
        the news of his terminal disease when u know he can't accept it, at least
        there and then). but keeping ur own reputation is also to ur own interest,
        and as such, it is really a matter of ur own skills and assessment of the
        situation and timing. u calculate the pros and cons, but i'd say in most
        circumstances, it pays to be honest, and it takes tremendous skills (and
        psychic energy) to be dishonest and coming out still looking good.
        assessment really take 'wisdom' and experience. but while u may lie to
        others to get ur own end, u should never lie to yourself, for that will be
        the ultimate of foolishness - i.e. lying to oneself. i am not into the
        business of getting power, and i have seldom come to a situation where i
        have to lie. most of the time, and by and large, there is no need at all
        to
        lie. but being honest doesn't necessarily mean u tell all; there are
        simply
        something that is indiscreet to reveal, and maintaining ur discretion is
        not
        the same as being dishonest. if u are trapped in a situation where u do
        not
        wish to lie but do not wish to tell the truth also (either it is none of
        the
        questioner's business or it is to ur own possible disadvantage, remember u
        have the right to remain silent), just tell politely u have no comment or
        that u do not wish to answer that; a civilised person will respect ur
        wish,
        and dont associate too much with a uncivilised person. remember, u may not
        want to, u don't have to tell them everything just because they ask (and
        don't volunteer to tell what u don't wish to tell just because u know they
        wish to know). but whether or not telling something will cause harm will
        depends on ur discretion; it helps if u have discretion, and nobody can't
        help if u do not already have discretion.

        some people cannot tell lie; when they do, they will fall into a lot of
        psychological or cognitive dissonance, which bring about distress to them.
        so it is better not to lie for such. the 'virtue' of being honest is so
        internalised (part of their self-image or concept or identity) that they
        suffer great incongruence when they lie or lied. this incongruence create
        psychological agony, and until it is resolved, they will continue being
        unease with themselves, and suffer low self-esteem which in turn has its
        significant effect on other areas of their lives. the idea of praying to
        god
        (to confess) is one way to resolve; others prefer to see a therapist.

        sometimes we say, "to be honest, i don't like him"...this phrase "to be
        honest" is used sometimes to indicate something which otherwise might not
        be
        quite acceptable. this sort of hint that at some level honesty is a more
        virtue even than kindness, or competence, or concern, or duty. if u are
        honest, it offset or compensate the defect of being cruel or sloppy. that
        is
        what the word suggests. they invite the listeners to smile or accept or
        tolerate what might be condemned.

        i repeat myself here: being honest to oneself is the supreme value. u can
        be
        cunning and deceive ur enemies, but u cannot lie to yourself. being honest
        to yourself is he starting pt for a life which can be accepted without
        qualification. jean-paul sartre would say it is a difficult task, and it
        turns out that honesty turns out to be a question we have continually to
        ask
        ourselves, not a rule to be applied.

        q2:
        a survey in britain shows the demand for the tv has fallen as parents of
        school going children feel there is nothing constructive for the children
        in
        the tv. do u agree?

        first, i am not staying in britain, so i have no idea what is their tv
        programmes quality. second, tv programmes can be educational and
        constructive. in singapore, we have the 'central' programmes featuring
        documentary programmes which has helped and entertained children and
        adults
        alike in getting to know more about their cultural, physical,
        geographical,
        religious, technical environment and world. important information
        pertaining
        to the country and world is communicated. the demand for tv prgram falls
        in
        britain may reflect low quality in their program, but it may also be
        caused
        by the perception of these mothers independently of the actual quality of
        these programs.

        q3:
        there is a proposal that students in the higher secondary course should be
        given freedom to critize the performance of the teacher so that the
        teachers
        will get an opportunity to improve their skills. however ther is also a
        view
        tt freedom will destroy respect for teacher and the part of students. what
        is ur opinion?

        it depends on how u go about 'criticizing'. if the purpose is to mock or
        sneer & other things negative, i dont see how such kind of critising is
        useful except to produce enimity and disrespect. if the act is done with
        due
        respect for the teacher as a educator or facilator whatever his or her
        views
        for constructive purposes, i dont see why not. with respect and
        constructiveness as a context, such criticizing encourages active
        participation rather than passive reception. learning should be active and
        participative, and this attitude, if it is in the teachers as well as the
        students, will have no problem in them accepting or producing such
        'criticizing'. the teachers are not gods, so learning can be mutual
        (unless
        the teachers have the ego of a almighty?) the intention of the criticizer
        is
        important in assessing whether there is respect or not. no meaningful
        communication between two or more persons is possible without a reasonable
        level of respect. and the teachers who are not insecure or defensive will
        handle the situation well, using it as a opportunity to learn, not only
        for
        students in giving counter-criticism, but for himself or herself in
        receiving criticism. it is only with such feedbacks that the teacher could
        have a 'mirror' of how he is doing.

        q5:
        why do people want to be happy? why is it not possible for one to be happy
        at all times?

        for the first qn, i believe the answer lies in the biological makeup of
        man,
        it is his 'hard-wiring' that prone him towards happiness, and god knows it
        may have evolutionary values; and don't ask me why man has this need to
        evolve (else, it is like asking why is there something rather than
        nothing.
        it just is, there just is; the 'why' is something u have to appeal to
        religion to answer, i think). all things being equal, statistically, i
        believe man prefers pleasure over pain, happiness over unhappiness. (as
        for
        those who love to be flogged by their lovers on their bedroom scenes, it
        is
        another story for another day). if u ask a zen master, he may give u this
        kind of reply: happiness is unhappiness, unhappiness is happiness. either
        he
        fails to make a simple distinction (his iq doesnt impress terribly), or
        there is such profound truth in his awakening and enlightenment that he
        has
        'seen' reality for what it really, actually, profoundly, is: there is no
        distinction. but i am not awakened yet, still covered up by maya, so i
        would
        just assume there is a distinction.

        why he cant be always happy? there are many ways one can answer this,
        philosophically, but more importantly, psychologically, and if u are keen
        (which i doubt), i know a few tome of books in the lib just to answer this
        question. however, let me just give one offhand. partly, this is a
        question
        on the nature of consciousness. willam james (an american psychologist)
        liken consciousness to flow of river, rarely (never) static. firstly,
        consciousness reflect experiences of a person, it is personal, and can u
        guarantee that life always go the way u want? cannot, for there is a
        saying,
        life is not a bed of roses (folk wisdom is not without her basis in
        experiences). it is not the essence of our consciousness to be happy,
        there
        are no fixed elements in us to be happy, so why should we be always happy?
        even a person who indeed has a life of roses may not be able to maintain
        his
        happiness for a whole lifetime; he may just get bored (in a sense, he is
        condemned to be always looking for something new to maintain his state of
        wonder, and this state of unfulfilment he is always in is suffering,
        unless
        he really learn to be content something like a buddha - but then ...) ie,
        there is always fluctuation, constantly changing, even though
        consciousness
        is continuous. some wise guy of ancient say something like u can't step
        into
        the river twice, and the same is true of our conscious experience. one can
        never be happy always because the stream of consciousness tt provides the
        context for happiness is ever-changing. consciousness is such that at
        every
        stage it is a theatre of simultaneous possibilities. try to do some
        introspection when u are cooking, idling, baby-sitting, scolding,
        laughing,
        even farting - u will discover a lot about yourself.

        according to schopenhauer (a german philosopher, views similar to buddha
        and
        influenced by kant), the fundamental impulse in human existence was the
        will
        to survive. this will cause humans to experience an unending cycle of
        needs
        and need satisfaction..to satisfy our will to survive we need to eat,
        sleep,
        shit, drink, fuck. the pain caused by an unsatisfied need causes us to act
        to satisfy the need. when it is satisfied, we experience a momentary
        satisfaction (pleasure or happiness), but alas, it is so short before
        another need come along, and on it goes. how can we be happy always?

        this qn can also be viewed from a psychodynamic, behavioural-cognitive,
        humanistic, gestalt, systemic, etc, pt of view. since ur words limits is
        only 100, i will just stop here.

        q7.
        over the past decade, millions of dollars have been spent on space
        programs
        with the idea to stepup human colonies in space. however this does not
        seem
        to have produced any constructive result for them. what do u feel, should
        it
        be continued or given up.

        not much of idea on this. personally if those money are mine, i'd spent it
        on aiding the starving and sick of the earth, something like what mother
        theresa was doing; but those money are not mine. no constructive result?
        maybe not yet. the fruit of research is never immediate, but long terms,
        though i dont see why man should want to live on moon when earth seems
        beautiful enough for me. i am not a finanical contributor of the space
        program, so i don't have to decide to continue or give up. and if i
        suggest
        to them to spend it on helping the poorest of the poor, i dont think my
        two
        cents will impress them very much.

        q8:
        20th century saw a rapid development in field of science and technology
        with
        a large number of inventions made? do u think the inventions are really
        beneficial t the society?

        why not? we have the computers, the internet, many things we use in our
        daily lives that we can get at such low prices..all is possible courtesy
        of
        technology. methods of mass production, innovation that make life more
        convenient (the mundane no longer occupy too much of our time, attention
        and
        energy, thanks to these sophisticated machines), reaching out to more
        possibilities in our existence.

        q9:
        wealthy nations must care at their own interest to come forward to extend
        their help in financial and other areas to poor nations? do u agree?

        it depends on the geographical and strategic value of that poor country u
        want to help. some country may be poor in human resource but rich in
        natural
        resources; these are the countries that will yield returns if u help them
        by
        investing in their countries. u go there to set up industry, u make use of
        their cheap labours, u tap into their natural resources, u provide
        employment to these otherwise jobless, u reap profit and share some with
        them, everybody is happy, a win win situation. for ur neighbouring
        countries
        who is bigger and militarily stronger than u but financially in great
        deficit and debt, u may like to help them financially also as a loan;
        maintaining great diplomatic ties will be beneficial for u in the long
        run.
        for countries that are weak, poor, no investment values whatsoever, but
        neighbours to u, one may like to help on moral ground; but help is to not
        merely to give them money, rather helping them help themselves, but even
        this may take up labours, money, time and energy on one's part; it is done
        purely on good will.

        q10:
        qualities of successful man are not obtained from his university education
        alone? do u agree?

        it really depends on what u mean by sucesss. a university education is
        just
        that: a university education. there are many aspects of life which is also
        a
        important criteria for success, such as the quality of relationship one
        has
        with one's significant others, one's work career, one sense of
        satisfation,
        self-actualization, etc. and having a degree does not mean one fulfil all
        other criterias. for an example, people often ask, when they read
        newspaper
        of a fraud case by a scholar, why someone who has such illustratous
        academic
        achievement would commit such crimes. but of course the assumption is,
        one's
        academic achievement is the same as one's moral stand. so far, i don't
        think
        such assumption is much supported by empirical evidences. it is just
        personal bias and subjective interpretation.

        james.

        From: "N L" <laxi28@...>
        To: tyjfk@...
        Subject: Re: Ouestions given
        Date: Sat, 02 Mar 2002 18:02:38 +0000









        _________________________________________________________________
        Chat with friends online, try MSN Messenger: http://messenger.msn.com


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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      • james tan
        oh yes, eduard, the view of earth from outer space is splendid, beautiful and majestic. james. From: Eduard Alf Reply-To:
        Message 3 of 6 , Mar 5, 2002
        • 0 Attachment
          oh yes, eduard, the view of earth from outer space is splendid, beautiful
          and majestic.

          james.


          From: "Eduard Alf" <yeoman@...>
          Reply-To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
          To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
          Subject: RE: [existlist] Re: Ouestions given
          Date: Sun, 3 Mar 2002 15:19:39 -0500

          james,

          interesting ... I would offer the following on two of the questions:

          happiness ...

          It depends upon upon what we we view is "happiness". We may be convinced by
          the media that happiness comes from owning this kind of car or going on this
          kind of vacation. In other words, happiness is set up as something special
          that you have to indulge in or acquire. Such happiness does not last. The
          car will soon start to rust. The vacation becomes a matter of waiting in
          air terminals and in any case is soon forgotten. The person, who seeks
          happiness in themselves, has much better chance of sustaining happiness in
          their life.

          money for space exploration ...

          It is incorrect to say that space exploration has not provided benefit. The
          single photo of the earth as seen from the moon was well worth the billions
          it took to get it. In order to understand ourselves we have to truly see
          our position within the universe. It is often said that perhaps these
          billions should more appropriately be spent on the poor. But it is not a
          question of "either/or". As Kennedy said, "we have the ability to go to the
          moon, and to do the other thing".

          eduard
          -----Original Message-----
          From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
          Sent: Sunday, March 03, 2002 2:17 AM
          To: laxi28@...
          Subject: [existlist] Re: Ouestions given




          vidya,

          these answers to ur questions are just my opinions, and there are as many
          opinions as there are peoples... so take them with a pinch of salt, and
          feel
          free to say, "nah....i disagree with what u say....and the reasons
          being....", and this way things will be more fun while being serious at
          the
          same time...

          q1:
          telling lies is not an advisable act but speaking truth sometimes is
          likely
          to be harmful. do u agree?

          my personal view is this, telling lies to others is ok, for some self
          vested
          interest (and perhaps even for the sake of the other party, such as
          breaking
          the news of his terminal disease when u know he can't accept it, at least
          there and then). but keeping ur own reputation is also to ur own
          interest,
          and as such, it is really a matter of ur own skills and assessment of the
          situation and timing. u calculate the pros and cons, but i'd say in most
          circumstances, it pays to be honest, and it takes tremendous skills (and
          psychic energy) to be dishonest and coming out still looking good.
          assessment really take 'wisdom' and experience. but while u may lie to
          others to get ur own end, u should never lie to yourself, for that will
          be
          the ultimate of foolishness - i.e. lying to oneself. i am not into the
          business of getting power, and i have seldom come to a situation where i
          have to lie. most of the time, and by and large, there is no need at all
          to
          lie. but being honest doesn't necessarily mean u tell all; there are
          simply
          something that is indiscreet to reveal, and maintaining ur discretion is
          not
          the same as being dishonest. if u are trapped in a situation where u do
          not
          wish to lie but do not wish to tell the truth also (either it is none of
          the
          questioner's business or it is to ur own possible disadvantage, remember
          u
          have the right to remain silent), just tell politely u have no comment or
          that u do not wish to answer that; a civilised person will respect ur
          wish,
          and dont associate too much with a uncivilised person. remember, u may
          not
          want to, u don't have to tell them everything just because they ask (and
          don't volunteer to tell what u don't wish to tell just because u know
          they
          wish to know). but whether or not telling something will cause harm will
          depends on ur discretion; it helps if u have discretion, and nobody can't
          help if u do not already have discretion.

          some people cannot tell lie; when they do, they will fall into a lot of
          psychological or cognitive dissonance, which bring about distress to
          them.
          so it is better not to lie for such. the 'virtue' of being honest is so
          internalised (part of their self-image or concept or identity) that they
          suffer great incongruence when they lie or lied. this incongruence create
          psychological agony, and until it is resolved, they will continue being
          unease with themselves, and suffer low self-esteem which in turn has its
          significant effect on other areas of their lives. the idea of praying to
          god
          (to confess) is one way to resolve; others prefer to see a therapist.

          sometimes we say, "to be honest, i don't like him"...this phrase "to be
          honest" is used sometimes to indicate something which otherwise might not
          be
          quite acceptable. this sort of hint that at some level honesty is a more
          virtue even than kindness, or competence, or concern, or duty. if u are
          honest, it offset or compensate the defect of being cruel or sloppy. that
          is
          what the word suggests. they invite the listeners to smile or accept or
          tolerate what might be condemned.

          i repeat myself here: being honest to oneself is the supreme value. u can
          be
          cunning and deceive ur enemies, but u cannot lie to yourself. being
          honest
          to yourself is he starting pt for a life which can be accepted without
          qualification. jean-paul sartre would say it is a difficult task, and it
          turns out that honesty turns out to be a question we have continually to
          ask
          ourselves, not a rule to be applied.

          q2:
          a survey in britain shows the demand for the tv has fallen as parents of
          school going children feel there is nothing constructive for the children
          in
          the tv. do u agree?

          first, i am not staying in britain, so i have no idea what is their tv
          programmes quality. second, tv programmes can be educational and
          constructive. in singapore, we have the 'central' programmes featuring
          documentary programmes which has helped and entertained children and
          adults
          alike in getting to know more about their cultural, physical,
          geographical,
          religious, technical environment and world. important information
          pertaining
          to the country and world is communicated. the demand for tv prgram falls
          in
          britain may reflect low quality in their program, but it may also be
          caused
          by the perception of these mothers independently of the actual quality of
          these programs.

          q3:
          there is a proposal that students in the higher secondary course should
          be
          given freedom to critize the performance of the teacher so that the
          teachers
          will get an opportunity to improve their skills. however ther is also a
          view
          tt freedom will destroy respect for teacher and the part of students.
          what
          is ur opinion?

          it depends on how u go about 'criticizing'. if the purpose is to mock or
          sneer & other things negative, i dont see how such kind of critising is
          useful except to produce enimity and disrespect. if the act is done with
          due
          respect for the teacher as a educator or facilator whatever his or her
          views
          for constructive purposes, i dont see why not. with respect and
          constructiveness as a context, such criticizing encourages active
          participation rather than passive reception. learning should be active
          and
          participative, and this attitude, if it is in the teachers as well as the
          students, will have no problem in them accepting or producing such
          'criticizing'. the teachers are not gods, so learning can be mutual
          (unless
          the teachers have the ego of a almighty?) the intention of the criticizer
          is
          important in assessing whether there is respect or not. no meaningful
          communication between two or more persons is possible without a
          reasonable
          level of respect. and the teachers who are not insecure or defensive will
          handle the situation well, using it as a opportunity to learn, not only
          for
          students in giving counter-criticism, but for himself or herself in
          receiving criticism. it is only with such feedbacks that the teacher
          could
          have a 'mirror' of how he is doing.

          q5:
          why do people want to be happy? why is it not possible for one to be
          happy
          at all times?

          for the first qn, i believe the answer lies in the biological makeup of
          man,
          it is his 'hard-wiring' that prone him towards happiness, and god knows
          it
          may have evolutionary values; and don't ask me why man has this need to
          evolve (else, it is like asking why is there something rather than
          nothing.
          it just is, there just is; the 'why' is something u have to appeal to
          religion to answer, i think). all things being equal, statistically, i
          believe man prefers pleasure over pain, happiness over unhappiness. (as
          for
          those who love to be flogged by their lovers on their bedroom scenes, it
          is
          another story for another day). if u ask a zen master, he may give u this
          kind of reply: happiness is unhappiness, unhappiness is happiness. either
          he
          fails to make a simple distinction (his iq doesnt impress terribly), or
          there is such profound truth in his awakening and enlightenment that he
          has
          'seen' reality for what it really, actually, profoundly, is: there is no
          distinction. but i am not awakened yet, still covered up by maya, so i
          would
          just assume there is a distinction.

          why he cant be always happy? there are many ways one can answer this,
          philosophically, but more importantly, psychologically, and if u are keen
          (which i doubt), i know a few tome of books in the lib just to answer
          this
          question. however, let me just give one offhand. partly, this is a
          question
          on the nature of consciousness. willam james (an american psychologist)
          liken consciousness to flow of river, rarely (never) static. firstly,
          consciousness reflect experiences of a person, it is personal, and can u
          guarantee that life always go the way u want? cannot, for there is a
          saying,
          life is not a bed of roses (folk wisdom is not without her basis in
          experiences). it is not the essence of our consciousness to be happy,
          there
          are no fixed elements in us to be happy, so why should we be always
          happy?
          even a person who indeed has a life of roses may not be able to maintain
          his
          happiness for a whole lifetime; he may just get bored (in a sense, he is
          condemned to be always looking for something new to maintain his state of
          wonder, and this state of unfulfilment he is always in is suffering,
          unless
          he really learn to be content something like a buddha - but then ...) ie,
          there is always fluctuation, constantly changing, even though
          consciousness
          is continuous. some wise guy of ancient say something like u can't step
          into
          the river twice, and the same is true of our conscious experience. one
          can
          never be happy always because the stream of consciousness tt provides the
          context for happiness is ever-changing. consciousness is such that at
          every
          stage it is a theatre of simultaneous possibilities. try to do some
          introspection when u are cooking, idling, baby-sitting, scolding,
          laughing,
          even farting - u will discover a lot about yourself.

          according to schopenhauer (a german philosopher, views similar to buddha
          and
          influenced by kant), the fundamental impulse in human existence was the
          will
          to survive. this will cause humans to experience an unending cycle of
          needs
          and need satisfaction..to satisfy our will to survive we need to eat,
          sleep,
          shit, drink, fuck. the pain caused by an unsatisfied need causes us to
          act
          to satisfy the need. when it is satisfied, we experience a momentary
          satisfaction (pleasure or happiness), but alas, it is so short before
          another need come along, and on it goes. how can we be happy always?

          this qn can also be viewed from a psychodynamic, behavioural-cognitive,
          humanistic, gestalt, systemic, etc, pt of view. since ur words limits is
          only 100, i will just stop here.

          q7.
          over the past decade, millions of dollars have been spent on space
          programs
          with the idea to stepup human colonies in space. however this does not
          seem
          to have produced any constructive result for them. what do u feel, should
          it
          be continued or given up.

          not much of idea on this. personally if those money are mine, i'd spent
          it
          on aiding the starving and sick of the earth, something like what mother
          theresa was doing; but those money are not mine. no constructive result?
          maybe not yet. the fruit of research is never immediate, but long terms,
          though i dont see why man should want to live on moon when earth seems
          beautiful enough for me. i am not a finanical contributor of the space
          program, so i don't have to decide to continue or give up. and if i
          suggest
          to them to spend it on helping the poorest of the poor, i dont think my
          two
          cents will impress them very much.

          q8:
          20th century saw a rapid development in field of science and technology
          with
          a large number of inventions made? do u think the inventions are really
          beneficial t the society?

          why not? we have the computers, the internet, many things we use in our
          daily lives that we can get at such low prices..all is possible courtesy
          of
          technology. methods of mass production, innovation that make life more
          convenient (the mundane no longer occupy too much of our time, attention
          and
          energy, thanks to these sophisticated machines), reaching out to more
          possibilities in our existence.

          q9:
          wealthy nations must care at their own interest to come forward to extend
          their help in financial and other areas to poor nations? do u agree?

          it depends on the geographical and strategic value of that poor country u
          want to help. some country may be poor in human resource but rich in
          natural
          resources; these are the countries that will yield returns if u help them
          by
          investing in their countries. u go there to set up industry, u make use
          of
          their cheap labours, u tap into their natural resources, u provide
          employment to these otherwise jobless, u reap profit and share some with
          them, everybody is happy, a win win situation. for ur neighbouring
          countries
          who is bigger and militarily stronger than u but financially in great
          deficit and debt, u may like to help them financially also as a loan;
          maintaining great diplomatic ties will be beneficial for u in the long
          run.
          for countries that are weak, poor, no investment values whatsoever, but
          neighbours to u, one may like to help on moral ground; but help is to not
          merely to give them money, rather helping them help themselves, but even
          this may take up labours, money, time and energy on one's part; it is
          done
          purely on good will.

          q10:
          qualities of successful man are not obtained from his university
          education
          alone? do u agree?

          it really depends on what u mean by sucesss. a university education is
          just
          that: a university education. there are many aspects of life which is
          also
          a
          important criteria for success, such as the quality of relationship one
          has
          with one's significant others, one's work career, one sense of
          satisfation,
          self-actualization, etc. and having a degree does not mean one fulfil all
          other criterias. for an example, people often ask, when they read
          newspaper
          of a fraud case by a scholar, why someone who has such illustratous
          academic
          achievement would commit such crimes. but of course the assumption is,
          one's
          academic achievement is the same as one's moral stand. so far, i don't
          think
          such assumption is much supported by empirical evidences. it is just
          personal bias and subjective interpretation.

          james.

          From: "N L" <laxi28@...>
          To: tyjfk@...
          Subject: Re: Ouestions given
          Date: Sat, 02 Mar 2002 18:02:38 +0000









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        • Eduard Alf
          james, do I detect a bit of cynicism? ... :-) eduard ... From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@hotmail.com] Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2002 8:59 AM To:
          Message 4 of 6 , Mar 5, 2002
          • 0 Attachment
            james,

            do I detect a bit of cynicism? ... :-)

            eduard
            -----Original Message-----
            From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
            Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2002 8:59 AM
            To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: RE: [existlist] Re: Ouestions given



            oh yes, eduard, the view of earth from outer space is splendid, beautiful
            and majestic.

            james.


            From: "Eduard Alf" <yeoman@...>
            Reply-To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
            To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
            Subject: RE: [existlist] Re: Ouestions given
            Date: Sun, 3 Mar 2002 15:19:39 -0500

            james,

            interesting ... I would offer the following on two of the questions:

            happiness ...

            It depends upon upon what we we view is "happiness". We may be convinced
            by
            the media that happiness comes from owning this kind of car or going on
            this
            kind of vacation. In other words, happiness is set up as something
            special
            that you have to indulge in or acquire. Such happiness does not last.
            The
            car will soon start to rust. The vacation becomes a matter of waiting in
            air terminals and in any case is soon forgotten. The person, who seeks
            happiness in themselves, has much better chance of sustaining happiness in
            their life.

            money for space exploration ...

            It is incorrect to say that space exploration has not provided benefit.
            The
            single photo of the earth as seen from the moon was well worth the
            billions
            it took to get it. In order to understand ourselves we have to truly see
            our position within the universe. It is often said that perhaps these
            billions should more appropriately be spent on the poor. But it is not a
            question of "either/or". As Kennedy said, "we have the ability to go to
            the
            moon, and to do the other thing".

            eduard
            -----Original Message-----
            From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
            Sent: Sunday, March 03, 2002 2:17 AM
            To: laxi28@...
            Subject: [existlist] Re: Ouestions given




            vidya,

            these answers to ur questions are just my opinions, and there are as
            many
            opinions as there are peoples... so take them with a pinch of salt, and
            feel
            free to say, "nah....i disagree with what u say....and the reasons
            being....", and this way things will be more fun while being serious at
            the
            same time...

            q1:
            telling lies is not an advisable act but speaking truth sometimes is
            likely
            to be harmful. do u agree?

            my personal view is this, telling lies to others is ok, for some self
            vested
            interest (and perhaps even for the sake of the other party, such as
            breaking
            the news of his terminal disease when u know he can't accept it, at
            least
            there and then). but keeping ur own reputation is also to ur own
            interest,
            and as such, it is really a matter of ur own skills and assessment of
            the
            situation and timing. u calculate the pros and cons, but i'd say in
            most
            circumstances, it pays to be honest, and it takes tremendous skills
            (and
            psychic energy) to be dishonest and coming out still looking good.
            assessment really take 'wisdom' and experience. but while u may lie to
            others to get ur own end, u should never lie to yourself, for that will
            be
            the ultimate of foolishness - i.e. lying to oneself. i am not into the
            business of getting power, and i have seldom come to a situation where
            i
            have to lie. most of the time, and by and large, there is no need at
            all
            to
            lie. but being honest doesn't necessarily mean u tell all; there are
            simply
            something that is indiscreet to reveal, and maintaining ur discretion
            is
            not
            the same as being dishonest. if u are trapped in a situation where u do
            not
            wish to lie but do not wish to tell the truth also (either it is none
            of
            the
            questioner's business or it is to ur own possible disadvantage,
            remember
            u
            have the right to remain silent), just tell politely u have no comment
            or
            that u do not wish to answer that; a civilised person will respect ur
            wish,
            and dont associate too much with a uncivilised person. remember, u may
            not
            want to, u don't have to tell them everything just because they ask
            (and
            don't volunteer to tell what u don't wish to tell just because u know
            they
            wish to know). but whether or not telling something will cause harm
            will
            depends on ur discretion; it helps if u have discretion, and nobody
            can't
            help if u do not already have discretion.

            some people cannot tell lie; when they do, they will fall into a lot of
            psychological or cognitive dissonance, which bring about distress to
            them.
            so it is better not to lie for such. the 'virtue' of being honest is so
            internalised (part of their self-image or concept or identity) that
            they
            suffer great incongruence when they lie or lied. this incongruence
            create
            psychological agony, and until it is resolved, they will continue being
            unease with themselves, and suffer low self-esteem which in turn has
            its
            significant effect on other areas of their lives. the idea of praying
            to
            god
            (to confess) is one way to resolve; others prefer to see a therapist.

            sometimes we say, "to be honest, i don't like him"...this phrase "to be
            honest" is used sometimes to indicate something which otherwise might
            not
            be
            quite acceptable. this sort of hint that at some level honesty is a
            more
            virtue even than kindness, or competence, or concern, or duty. if u are
            honest, it offset or compensate the defect of being cruel or sloppy.
            that
            is
            what the word suggests. they invite the listeners to smile or accept or
            tolerate what might be condemned.

            i repeat myself here: being honest to oneself is the supreme value. u
            can
            be
            cunning and deceive ur enemies, but u cannot lie to yourself. being
            honest
            to yourself is he starting pt for a life which can be accepted without
            qualification. jean-paul sartre would say it is a difficult task, and
            it
            turns out that honesty turns out to be a question we have continually
            to
            ask
            ourselves, not a rule to be applied.

            q2:
            a survey in britain shows the demand for the tv has fallen as parents
            of
            school going children feel there is nothing constructive for the
            children
            in
            the tv. do u agree?

            first, i am not staying in britain, so i have no idea what is their tv
            programmes quality. second, tv programmes can be educational and
            constructive. in singapore, we have the 'central' programmes featuring
            documentary programmes which has helped and entertained children and
            adults
            alike in getting to know more about their cultural, physical,
            geographical,
            religious, technical environment and world. important information
            pertaining
            to the country and world is communicated. the demand for tv prgram
            falls
            in
            britain may reflect low quality in their program, but it may also be
            caused
            by the perception of these mothers independently of the actual quality
            of
            these programs.

            q3:
            there is a proposal that students in the higher secondary course should
            be
            given freedom to critize the performance of the teacher so that the
            teachers
            will get an opportunity to improve their skills. however ther is also a
            view
            tt freedom will destroy respect for teacher and the part of students.
            what
            is ur opinion?

            it depends on how u go about 'criticizing'. if the purpose is to mock
            or
            sneer & other things negative, i dont see how such kind of critising is
            useful except to produce enimity and disrespect. if the act is done
            with
            due
            respect for the teacher as a educator or facilator whatever his or her
            views
            for constructive purposes, i dont see why not. with respect and
            constructiveness as a context, such criticizing encourages active
            participation rather than passive reception. learning should be active

            and
            participative, and this attitude, if it is in the teachers as well as
            the
            students, will have no problem in them accepting or producing such
            'criticizing'. the teachers are not gods, so learning can be mutual
            (unless
            the teachers have the ego of a almighty?) the intention of the
            criticizer
            is
            important in assessing whether there is respect or not. no meaningful
            communication between two or more persons is possible without a
            reasonable
            level of respect. and the teachers who are not insecure or defensive
            will
            handle the situation well, using it as a opportunity to learn, not only
            for
            students in giving counter-criticism, but for himself or herself in
            receiving criticism. it is only with such feedbacks that the teacher
            could
            have a 'mirror' of how he is doing.

            q5:
            why do people want to be happy? why is it not possible for one to be
            happy
            at all times?

            for the first qn, i believe the answer lies in the biological makeup of
            man,
            it is his 'hard-wiring' that prone him towards happiness, and god knows
            it
            may have evolutionary values; and don't ask me why man has this need to
            evolve (else, it is like asking why is there something rather than
            nothing.
            it just is, there just is; the 'why' is something u have to appeal to
            religion to answer, i think). all things being equal, statistically, i
            believe man prefers pleasure over pain, happiness over unhappiness. (as
            for
            those who love to be flogged by their lovers on their bedroom scenes,
            it
            is
            another story for another day). if u ask a zen master, he may give u
            this
            kind of reply: happiness is unhappiness, unhappiness is happiness.
            either
            he
            fails to make a simple distinction (his iq doesnt impress terribly), or
            there is such profound truth in his awakening and enlightenment that he
            has
            'seen' reality for what it really, actually, profoundly, is: there is
            no
            distinction. but i am not awakened yet, still covered up by maya, so i
            would
            just assume there is a distinction.

            why he cant be always happy? there are many ways one can answer this,
            philosophically, but more importantly, psychologically, and if u are
            keen
            (which i doubt), i know a few tome of books in the lib just to answer
            this
            question. however, let me just give one offhand. partly, this is a
            question
            on the nature of consciousness. willam james (an american psychologist)
            liken consciousness to flow of river, rarely (never) static. firstly,
            consciousness reflect experiences of a person, it is personal, and can
            u
            guarantee that life always go the way u want? cannot, for there is a
            saying,
            life is not a bed of roses (folk wisdom is not without her basis in
            experiences). it is not the essence of our consciousness to be happy,
            there
            are no fixed elements in us to be happy, so why should we be always
            happy?
            even a person who indeed has a life of roses may not be able to
            maintain
            his
            happiness for a whole lifetime; he may just get bored (in a sense, he
            is
            condemned to be always looking for something new to maintain his state
            of
            wonder, and this state of unfulfilment he is always in is suffering,
            unless
            he really learn to be content something like a buddha - but then ...)
            ie,
            there is always fluctuation, constantly changing, even though
            consciousness
            is continuous. some wise guy of ancient say something like u can't step
            into
            the river twice, and the same is true of our conscious experience. one
            can
            never be happy always because the stream of consciousness tt provides
            the
            context for happiness is ever-changing. consciousness is such that at
            every
            stage it is a theatre of simultaneous possibilities. try to do some
            introspection when u are cooking, idling, baby-sitting, scolding,
            laughing,
            even farting - u will discover a lot about yourself.

            according to schopenhauer (a german philosopher, views similar to
            buddha
            and
            influenced by kant), the fundamental impulse in human existence was the
            will
            to survive. this will cause humans to experience an unending cycle of
            needs
            and need satisfaction..to satisfy our will to survive we need to eat,
            sleep,
            shit, drink, fuck. the pain caused by an unsatisfied need causes us to
            act
            to satisfy the need. when it is satisfied, we experience a momentary
            satisfaction (pleasure or happiness), but alas, it is so short before
            another need come along, and on it goes. how can we be happy always?

            this qn can also be viewed from a psychodynamic, behavioural-cognitive,
            humanistic, gestalt, systemic, etc, pt of view. since ur words limits
            is
            only 100, i will just stop here.

            q7.
            over the past decade, millions of dollars have been spent on space
            programs
            with the idea to stepup human colonies in space. however this does not
            seem
            to have produced any constructive result for them. what do u feel,
            should
            it
            be continued or given up.

            not much of idea on this. personally if those money are mine, i'd spent
            it
            on aiding the starving and sick of the earth, something like what
            mother
            theresa was doing; but those money are not mine. no constructive
            result?
            maybe not yet. the fruit of research is never immediate, but long
            terms,
            though i dont see why man should want to live on moon when earth seems
            beautiful enough for me. i am not a finanical contributor of the space
            program, so i don't have to decide to continue or give up. and if i
            suggest
            to them to spend it on helping the poorest of the poor, i dont think my
            two
            cents will impress them very much.

            q8:
            20th century saw a rapid development in field of science and technology
            with
            a large number of inventions made? do u think the inventions are really
            beneficial t the society?

            why not? we have the computers, the internet, many things we use in our
            daily lives that we can get at such low prices..all is possible
            courtesy
            of
            technology. methods of mass production, innovation that make life more
            convenient (the mundane no longer occupy too much of our time,
            attention
            and
            energy, thanks to these sophisticated machines), reaching out to more
            possibilities in our existence.

            q9:
            wealthy nations must care at their own interest to come forward to
            extend
            their help in financial and other areas to poor nations? do u agree?

            it depends on the geographical and strategic value of that poor country
            u
            want to help. some country may be poor in human resource but rich in
            natural
            resources; these are the countries that will yield returns if u help
            them
            by
            investing in their countries. u go there to set up industry, u make use
            of
            their cheap labours, u tap into their natural resources, u provide
            employment to these otherwise jobless, u reap profit and share some
            with
            them, everybody is happy, a win win situation. for ur neighbouring
            countries
            who is bigger and militarily stronger than u but financially in great
            deficit and debt, u may like to help them financially also as a loan;
            maintaining great diplomatic ties will be beneficial for u in the long
            run.
            for countries that are weak, poor, no investment values whatsoever, but
            neighbours to u, one may like to help on moral ground; but help is to
            not
            merely to give them money, rather helping them help themselves, but
            even
            this may take up labours, money, time and energy on one's part; it is
            done
            purely on good will.

            q10:
            qualities of successful man are not obtained from his university
            education
            alone? do u agree?

            it really depends on what u mean by sucesss. a university education is
            just
            that: a university education. there are many aspects of life which is
            also
            a
            important criteria for success, such as the quality of relationship one
            has
            with one's significant others, one's work career, one sense of
            satisfation,
            self-actualization, etc. and having a degree does not mean one fulfil
            all
            other criterias. for an example, people often ask, when they read
            newspaper
            of a fraud case by a scholar, why someone who has such illustratous
            academic
            achievement would commit such crimes. but of course the assumption is,
            one's
            academic achievement is the same as one's moral stand. so far, i don't
            think
            such assumption is much supported by empirical evidences. it is just
            personal bias and subjective interpretation.

            james.

            From: "N L" <laxi28@...>
            To: tyjfk@...
            Subject: Re: Ouestions given
            Date: Sat, 02 Mar 2002 18:02:38 +0000









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          • james tan
            eduard, i gave my opinion, but u seems skeptical about it; do u feel i am a fishy guy whose words cannot be taken at face value? joking. but then, where is the
            Message 5 of 6 , Mar 6, 2002
            • 0 Attachment
              eduard, i gave my opinion, but u seems skeptical about it; do u feel i am a
              fishy guy whose words cannot be taken at face value? joking. but then, where
              is the cynicism in me (or the sentence) that u see?

              james


              From: "Eduard Alf" <yeoman@...>
              Reply-To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
              To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
              Subject: RE: [existlist] Re: Ouestions given
              Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2002 16:27:02 -0500

              james,

              do I detect a bit of cynicism? ... :-)

              eduard
              -----Original Message-----
              From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
              Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2002 8:59 AM
              To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: RE: [existlist] Re: Ouestions given



              oh yes, eduard, the view of earth from outer space is splendid, beautiful
              and majestic.

              james.


              From: "Eduard Alf" <yeoman@...>
              Reply-To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
              To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
              Subject: RE: [existlist] Re: Ouestions given
              Date: Sun, 3 Mar 2002 15:19:39 -0500

              james,

              interesting ... I would offer the following on two of the questions:

              happiness ...

              It depends upon upon what we we view is "happiness". We may be convinced
              by
              the media that happiness comes from owning this kind of car or going on
              this
              kind of vacation. In other words, happiness is set up as something
              special
              that you have to indulge in or acquire. Such happiness does not last.
              The
              car will soon start to rust. The vacation becomes a matter of waiting in
              air terminals and in any case is soon forgotten. The person, who seeks
              happiness in themselves, has much better chance of sustaining happiness
              in
              their life.

              money for space exploration ...

              It is incorrect to say that space exploration has not provided benefit.
              The
              single photo of the earth as seen from the moon was well worth the
              billions
              it took to get it. In order to understand ourselves we have to truly see
              our position within the universe. It is often said that perhaps these
              billions should more appropriately be spent on the poor. But it is not a
              question of "either/or". As Kennedy said, "we have the ability to go to
              the
              moon, and to do the other thing".

              eduard
              -----Original Message-----
              From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
              Sent: Sunday, March 03, 2002 2:17 AM
              To: laxi28@...
              Subject: [existlist] Re: Ouestions given




              vidya,

              these answers to ur questions are just my opinions, and there are as
              many
              opinions as there are peoples... so take them with a pinch of salt,
              and
              feel
              free to say, "nah....i disagree with what u say....and the reasons
              being....", and this way things will be more fun while being serious
              at
              the
              same time...

              q1:
              telling lies is not an advisable act but speaking truth sometimes is
              likely
              to be harmful. do u agree?

              my personal view is this, telling lies to others is ok, for some self
              vested
              interest (and perhaps even for the sake of the other party, such as
              breaking
              the news of his terminal disease when u know he can't accept it, at
              least
              there and then). but keeping ur own reputation is also to ur own
              interest,
              and as such, it is really a matter of ur own skills and assessment of
              the
              situation and timing. u calculate the pros and cons, but i'd say in
              most
              circumstances, it pays to be honest, and it takes tremendous skills
              (and
              psychic energy) to be dishonest and coming out still looking good.
              assessment really take 'wisdom' and experience. but while u may lie to
              others to get ur own end, u should never lie to yourself, for that
              will
              be
              the ultimate of foolishness - i.e. lying to oneself. i am not into the
              business of getting power, and i have seldom come to a situation where
              i
              have to lie. most of the time, and by and large, there is no need at
              all
              to
              lie. but being honest doesn't necessarily mean u tell all; there are
              simply
              something that is indiscreet to reveal, and maintaining ur discretion
              is
              not
              the same as being dishonest. if u are trapped in a situation where u
              do
              not
              wish to lie but do not wish to tell the truth also (either it is none
              of
              the
              questioner's business or it is to ur own possible disadvantage,
              remember
              u
              have the right to remain silent), just tell politely u have no comment
              or
              that u do not wish to answer that; a civilised person will respect ur
              wish,
              and dont associate too much with a uncivilised person. remember, u may
              not
              want to, u don't have to tell them everything just because they ask
              (and
              don't volunteer to tell what u don't wish to tell just because u know
              they
              wish to know). but whether or not telling something will cause harm
              will
              depends on ur discretion; it helps if u have discretion, and nobody
              can't
              help if u do not already have discretion.

              some people cannot tell lie; when they do, they will fall into a lot
              of
              psychological or cognitive dissonance, which bring about distress to
              them.
              so it is better not to lie for such. the 'virtue' of being honest is
              so
              internalised (part of their self-image or concept or identity) that
              they
              suffer great incongruence when they lie or lied. this incongruence
              create
              psychological agony, and until it is resolved, they will continue
              being
              unease with themselves, and suffer low self-esteem which in turn has
              its
              significant effect on other areas of their lives. the idea of praying
              to
              god
              (to confess) is one way to resolve; others prefer to see a therapist.

              sometimes we say, "to be honest, i don't like him"...this phrase "to
              be
              honest" is used sometimes to indicate something which otherwise might
              not
              be
              quite acceptable. this sort of hint that at some level honesty is a
              more
              virtue even than kindness, or competence, or concern, or duty. if u
              are
              honest, it offset or compensate the defect of being cruel or sloppy.
              that
              is
              what the word suggests. they invite the listeners to smile or accept
              or
              tolerate what might be condemned.

              i repeat myself here: being honest to oneself is the supreme value. u
              can
              be
              cunning and deceive ur enemies, but u cannot lie to yourself. being
              honest
              to yourself is he starting pt for a life which can be accepted without
              qualification. jean-paul sartre would say it is a difficult task, and
              it
              turns out that honesty turns out to be a question we have continually
              to
              ask
              ourselves, not a rule to be applied.

              q2:
              a survey in britain shows the demand for the tv has fallen as parents
              of
              school going children feel there is nothing constructive for the
              children
              in
              the tv. do u agree?

              first, i am not staying in britain, so i have no idea what is their tv
              programmes quality. second, tv programmes can be educational and
              constructive. in singapore, we have the 'central' programmes featuring
              documentary programmes which has helped and entertained children and
              adults
              alike in getting to know more about their cultural, physical,
              geographical,
              religious, technical environment and world. important information
              pertaining
              to the country and world is communicated. the demand for tv prgram
              falls
              in
              britain may reflect low quality in their program, but it may also be
              caused
              by the perception of these mothers independently of the actual quality
              of
              these programs.

              q3:
              there is a proposal that students in the higher secondary course
              should
              be
              given freedom to critize the performance of the teacher so that the
              teachers
              will get an opportunity to improve their skills. however ther is also
              a
              view
              tt freedom will destroy respect for teacher and the part of students.
              what
              is ur opinion?

              it depends on how u go about 'criticizing'. if the purpose is to mock
              or
              sneer & other things negative, i dont see how such kind of critising
              is
              useful except to produce enimity and disrespect. if the act is done
              with
              due
              respect for the teacher as a educator or facilator whatever his or her
              views
              for constructive purposes, i dont see why not. with respect and
              constructiveness as a context, such criticizing encourages active
              participation rather than passive reception. learning should be active

              and
              participative, and this attitude, if it is in the teachers as well as
              the
              students, will have no problem in them accepting or producing such
              'criticizing'. the teachers are not gods, so learning can be mutual
              (unless
              the teachers have the ego of a almighty?) the intention of the
              criticizer
              is
              important in assessing whether there is respect or not. no meaningful
              communication between two or more persons is possible without a
              reasonable
              level of respect. and the teachers who are not insecure or defensive
              will
              handle the situation well, using it as a opportunity to learn, not
              only
              for
              students in giving counter-criticism, but for himself or herself in
              receiving criticism. it is only with such feedbacks that the teacher
              could
              have a 'mirror' of how he is doing.

              q5:
              why do people want to be happy? why is it not possible for one to be
              happy
              at all times?

              for the first qn, i believe the answer lies in the biological makeup
              of
              man,
              it is his 'hard-wiring' that prone him towards happiness, and god
              knows
              it
              may have evolutionary values; and don't ask me why man has this need
              to
              evolve (else, it is like asking why is there something rather than
              nothing.
              it just is, there just is; the 'why' is something u have to appeal to
              religion to answer, i think). all things being equal, statistically, i
              believe man prefers pleasure over pain, happiness over unhappiness.
              (as
              for
              those who love to be flogged by their lovers on their bedroom scenes,
              it
              is
              another story for another day). if u ask a zen master, he may give u
              this
              kind of reply: happiness is unhappiness, unhappiness is happiness.
              either
              he
              fails to make a simple distinction (his iq doesnt impress terribly),
              or
              there is such profound truth in his awakening and enlightenment that
              he
              has
              'seen' reality for what it really, actually, profoundly, is: there is
              no
              distinction. but i am not awakened yet, still covered up by maya, so i
              would
              just assume there is a distinction.

              why he cant be always happy? there are many ways one can answer this,
              philosophically, but more importantly, psychologically, and if u are
              keen
              (which i doubt), i know a few tome of books in the lib just to answer
              this
              question. however, let me just give one offhand. partly, this is a
              question
              on the nature of consciousness. willam james (an american
              psychologist)
              liken consciousness to flow of river, rarely (never) static. firstly,
              consciousness reflect experiences of a person, it is personal, and can
              u
              guarantee that life always go the way u want? cannot, for there is a
              saying,
              life is not a bed of roses (folk wisdom is not without her basis in
              experiences). it is not the essence of our consciousness to be happy,
              there
              are no fixed elements in us to be happy, so why should we be always
              happy?
              even a person who indeed has a life of roses may not be able to
              maintain
              his
              happiness for a whole lifetime; he may just get bored (in a sense, he
              is
              condemned to be always looking for something new to maintain his state
              of
              wonder, and this state of unfulfilment he is always in is suffering,
              unless
              he really learn to be content something like a buddha - but then ...)
              ie,
              there is always fluctuation, constantly changing, even though
              consciousness
              is continuous. some wise guy of ancient say something like u can't
              step
              into
              the river twice, and the same is true of our conscious experience. one
              can
              never be happy always because the stream of consciousness tt provides
              the
              context for happiness is ever-changing. consciousness is such that at
              every
              stage it is a theatre of simultaneous possibilities. try to do some
              introspection when u are cooking, idling, baby-sitting, scolding,
              laughing,
              even farting - u will discover a lot about yourself.

              according to schopenhauer (a german philosopher, views similar to
              buddha
              and
              influenced by kant), the fundamental impulse in human existence was
              the
              will
              to survive. this will cause humans to experience an unending cycle of
              needs
              and need satisfaction..to satisfy our will to survive we need to eat,
              sleep,
              shit, drink, fuck. the pain caused by an unsatisfied need causes us to
              act
              to satisfy the need. when it is satisfied, we experience a momentary
              satisfaction (pleasure or happiness), but alas, it is so short before
              another need come along, and on it goes. how can we be happy always?

              this qn can also be viewed from a psychodynamic,
              behavioural-cognitive,
              humanistic, gestalt, systemic, etc, pt of view. since ur words limits
              is
              only 100, i will just stop here.

              q7.
              over the past decade, millions of dollars have been spent on space
              programs
              with the idea to stepup human colonies in space. however this does not
              seem
              to have produced any constructive result for them. what do u feel,
              should
              it
              be continued or given up.

              not much of idea on this. personally if those money are mine, i'd
              spent
              it
              on aiding the starving and sick of the earth, something like what
              mother
              theresa was doing; but those money are not mine. no constructive
              result?
              maybe not yet. the fruit of research is never immediate, but long
              terms,
              though i dont see why man should want to live on moon when earth seems
              beautiful enough for me. i am not a finanical contributor of the space
              program, so i don't have to decide to continue or give up. and if i
              suggest
              to them to spend it on helping the poorest of the poor, i dont think
              my
              two
              cents will impress them very much.

              q8:
              20th century saw a rapid development in field of science and
              technology
              with
              a large number of inventions made? do u think the inventions are
              really
              beneficial t the society?

              why not? we have the computers, the internet, many things we use in
              our
              daily lives that we can get at such low prices..all is possible
              courtesy
              of
              technology. methods of mass production, innovation that make life more
              convenient (the mundane no longer occupy too much of our time,
              attention
              and
              energy, thanks to these sophisticated machines), reaching out to more
              possibilities in our existence.

              q9:
              wealthy nations must care at their own interest to come forward to
              extend
              their help in financial and other areas to poor nations? do u agree?

              it depends on the geographical and strategic value of that poor
              country
              u
              want to help. some country may be poor in human resource but rich in
              natural
              resources; these are the countries that will yield returns if u help
              them
              by
              investing in their countries. u go there to set up industry, u make
              use
              of
              their cheap labours, u tap into their natural resources, u provide
              employment to these otherwise jobless, u reap profit and share some
              with
              them, everybody is happy, a win win situation. for ur neighbouring
              countries
              who is bigger and militarily stronger than u but financially in great
              deficit and debt, u may like to help them financially also as a loan;
              maintaining great diplomatic ties will be beneficial for u in the long
              run.
              for countries that are weak, poor, no investment values whatsoever,
              but
              neighbours to u, one may like to help on moral ground; but help is to
              not
              merely to give them money, rather helping them help themselves, but
              even
              this may take up labours, money, time and energy on one's part; it is
              done
              purely on good will.

              q10:
              qualities of successful man are not obtained from his university
              education
              alone? do u agree?

              it really depends on what u mean by sucesss. a university education is
              just
              that: a university education. there are many aspects of life which is
              also
              a
              important criteria for success, such as the quality of relationship
              one
              has
              with one's significant others, one's work career, one sense of
              satisfation,
              self-actualization, etc. and having a degree does not mean one fulfil
              all
              other criterias. for an example, people often ask, when they read
              newspaper
              of a fraud case by a scholar, why someone who has such illustratous
              academic
              achievement would commit such crimes. but of course the assumption is,
              one's
              academic achievement is the same as one's moral stand. so far, i don't
              think
              such assumption is much supported by empirical evidences. it is just
              personal bias and subjective interpretation.

              james.

              From: "N L" <laxi28@...>
              To: tyjfk@...
              Subject: Re: Ouestions given
              Date: Sat, 02 Mar 2002 18:02:38 +0000









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            • Eduard Alf
              james, because your answer only gave a flat statement of how beautiful the universe is, without really addressing the issue of spending money for space
              Message 6 of 6 , Mar 6, 2002
              • 0 Attachment
                james,

                because your answer only gave a flat statement of
                how beautiful the universe is, without really
                addressing the issue of spending money for space
                exploration ... I took this to be cynicism ...
                might be wrong and if so I apologize ...

                eduard

                -----Original Message-----
                From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
                Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2002 8:04 AM
                To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: RE: [existlist] Re: Ouestions given



                eduard, i gave my opinion, but u seems skeptical
                about it; do u feel i am a
                fishy guy whose words cannot be taken at face
                value? joking. but then, where
                is the cynicism in me (or the sentence) that u
                see?

                james


                From: "Eduard Alf" <yeoman@...>
                Reply-To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
                Subject: RE: [existlist] Re: Ouestions given
                Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2002 16:27:02 -0500

                james,

                do I detect a bit of cynicism? ... :-)

                eduard
                -----Original Message-----
                From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
                Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2002 8:59 AM
                To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: RE: [existlist] Re: Ouestions given



                oh yes, eduard, the view of earth from outer
                space is splendid, beautiful
                and majestic.

                james.


                From: "Eduard Alf" <yeoman@...>
                Reply-To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
                Subject: RE: [existlist] Re: Ouestions given
                Date: Sun, 3 Mar 2002 15:19:39 -0500

                james,

                interesting ... I would offer the following on
                two of the questions:

                happiness ...

                It depends upon upon what we we view is
                "happiness". We may be convinced
                by
                the media that happiness comes from owning this
                kind of car or going on
                this
                kind of vacation. In other words, happiness is
                set up as something
                special
                that you have to indulge in or acquire. Such
                happiness does not last.
                The
                car will soon start to rust. The vacation
                becomes a matter of waiting in
                air terminals and in any case is soon
                forgotten. The person, who seeks
                happiness in themselves, has much better chance
                of sustaining happiness
                in
                their life.

                money for space exploration ...

                It is incorrect to say that space exploration
                has not provided benefit.
                The
                single photo of the earth as seen from the moon
                was well worth the
                billions
                it took to get it. In order to understand
                ourselves we have to truly see
                our position within the universe. It is often
                said that perhaps these
                billions should more appropriately be spent on
                the poor. But it is not a
                question of "either/or". As Kennedy said, "we
                have the ability to go to
                the
                moon, and to do the other thing".

                eduard
                -----Original Message-----
                From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
                Sent: Sunday, March 03, 2002 2:17 AM
                To: laxi28@...
                Subject: [existlist] Re: Ouestions given




                vidya,

                these answers to ur questions are just my
                opinions, and there are as
                many
                opinions as there are peoples... so take
                them with a pinch of salt,
                and
                feel
                free to say, "nah....i disagree with what u
                say....and the reasons
                being....", and this way things will be more
                fun while being serious
                at
                the
                same time...

                q1:
                telling lies is not an advisable act but
                speaking truth sometimes is
                likely
                to be harmful. do u agree?

                my personal view is this, telling lies to
                others is ok, for some self
                vested
                interest (and perhaps even for the sake of
                the other party, such as
                breaking
                the news of his terminal disease when u know
                he can't accept it, at
                least
                there and then). but keeping ur own
                reputation is also to ur own
                interest,
                and as such, it is really a matter of ur own
                skills and assessment of
                the
                situation and timing. u calculate the pros
                and cons, but i'd say in
                most
                circumstances, it pays to be honest, and it
                takes tremendous skills
                (and
                psychic energy) to be dishonest and coming
                out still looking good.
                assessment really take 'wisdom' and
                experience. but while u may lie to
                others to get ur own end, u should never lie
                to yourself, for that
                will
                be
                the ultimate of foolishness - i.e. lying to
                oneself. i am not into the
                business of getting power, and i have seldom
                come to a situation where
                i
                have to lie. most of the time, and by and
                large, there is no need at
                all
                to
                lie. but being honest doesn't necessarily
                mean u tell all; there are
                simply
                something that is indiscreet to reveal, and
                maintaining ur discretion
                is
                not
                the same as being dishonest. if u are
                trapped in a situation where u
                do
                not
                wish to lie but do not wish to tell the
                truth also (either it is none
                of
                the
                questioner's business or it is to ur own
                possible disadvantage,
                remember
                u
                have the right to remain silent), just tell
                politely u have no comment
                or
                that u do not wish to answer that; a
                civilised person will respect ur
                wish,
                and dont associate too much with a
                uncivilised person. remember, u may
                not
                want to, u don't have to tell them
                everything just because they ask
                (and
                don't volunteer to tell what u don't wish to
                tell just because u know
                they
                wish to know). but whether or not telling
                something will cause harm
                will
                depends on ur discretion; it helps if u have
                discretion, and nobody
                can't
                help if u do not already have discretion.

                some people cannot tell lie; when they do,
                they will fall into a lot
                of
                psychological or cognitive dissonance, which
                bring about distress to
                them.
                so it is better not to lie for such. the
                'virtue' of being honest is
                so
                internalised (part of their self-image or
                concept or identity) that
                they
                suffer great incongruence when they lie or
                lied. this incongruence
                create
                psychological agony, and until it is
                resolved, they will continue
                being
                unease with themselves, and suffer low
                self-esteem which in turn has
                its
                significant effect on other areas of their
                lives. the idea of praying
                to
                god
                (to confess) is one way to resolve; others
                prefer to see a therapist.

                sometimes we say, "to be honest, i don't
                like him"...this phrase "to
                be
                honest" is used sometimes to indicate
                something which otherwise might
                not
                be
                quite acceptable. this sort of hint that at
                some level honesty is a
                more
                virtue even than kindness, or competence, or
                concern, or duty. if u
                are
                honest, it offset or compensate the defect
                of being cruel or sloppy.
                that
                is
                what the word suggests. they invite the
                listeners to smile or accept
                or
                tolerate what might be condemned.

                i repeat myself here: being honest to
                oneself is the supreme value. u
                can
                be
                cunning and deceive ur enemies, but u cannot
                lie to yourself. being
                honest
                to yourself is he starting pt for a life
                which can be accepted without
                qualification. jean-paul sartre would say it
                is a difficult task, and
                it
                turns out that honesty turns out to be a
                question we have continually
                to
                ask
                ourselves, not a rule to be applied.

                q2:
                a survey in britain shows the demand for the
                tv has fallen as parents
                of
                school going children feel there is nothing
                constructive for the
                children
                in
                the tv. do u agree?

                first, i am not staying in britain, so i
                have no idea what is their tv
                programmes quality. second, tv programmes
                can be educational and
                constructive. in singapore, we have the
                'central' programmes featuring
                documentary programmes which has helped and
                entertained children and
                adults
                alike in getting to know more about their
                cultural, physical,
                geographical,
                religious, technical environment and world.
                important information
                pertaining
                to the country and world is communicated.
                the demand for tv prgram
                falls
                in
                britain may reflect low quality in their
                program, but it may also be
                caused
                by the perception of these mothers
                independently of the actual quality
                of
                these programs.

                q3:
                there is a proposal that students in the
                higher secondary course
                should
                be
                given freedom to critize the performance of
                the teacher so that the
                teachers
                will get an opportunity to improve their
                skills. however ther is also
                a
                view
                tt freedom will destroy respect for teacher
                and the part of students.
                what
                is ur opinion?

                it depends on how u go about 'criticizing'.
                if the purpose is to mock
                or
                sneer & other things negative, i dont see
                how such kind of critising
                is
                useful except to produce enimity and
                disrespect. if the act is done
                with
                due
                respect for the teacher as a educator or
                facilator whatever his or her
                views
                for constructive purposes, i dont see why
                not. with respect and
                constructiveness as a context, such
                criticizing encourages active
                participation rather than passive reception.
                learning should be active

                and
                participative, and this attitude, if it is
                in the teachers as well as
                the
                students, will have no problem in them
                accepting or producing such
                'criticizing'. the teachers are not gods, so
                learning can be mutual
                (unless
                the teachers have the ego of a almighty?)
                the intention of the
                criticizer
                is
                important in assessing whether there is
                respect or not. no meaningful
                communication between two or more persons is
                possible without a
                reasonable
                level of respect. and the teachers who are
                not insecure or defensive
                will
                handle the situation well, using it as a
                opportunity to learn, not
                only
                for
                students in giving counter-criticism, but
                for himself or herself in
                receiving criticism. it is only with such
                feedbacks that the teacher
                could
                have a 'mirror' of how he is doing.

                q5:
                why do people want to be happy? why is it
                not possible for one to be
                happy
                at all times?

                for the first qn, i believe the answer lies
                in the biological makeup
                of
                man,
                it is his 'hard-wiring' that prone him
                towards happiness, and god
                knows
                it
                may have evolutionary values; and don't ask
                me why man has this need
                to
                evolve (else, it is like asking why is there
                something rather than
                nothing.
                it just is, there just is; the 'why' is
                something u have to appeal to
                religion to answer, i think). all things
                being equal, statistically, i
                believe man prefers pleasure over pain,
                happiness over unhappiness.
                (as
                for
                those who love to be flogged by their lovers
                on their bedroom scenes,
                it
                is
                another story for another day). if u ask a
                zen master, he may give u
                this
                kind of reply: happiness is unhappiness,
                unhappiness is happiness.
                either
                he
                fails to make a simple distinction (his iq
                doesnt impress terribly),
                or
                there is such profound truth in his
                awakening and enlightenment that
                he
                has
                'seen' reality for what it really, actually,
                profoundly, is: there is
                no
                distinction. but i am not awakened yet,
                still covered up by maya, so i
                would
                just assume there is a distinction.

                why he cant be always happy? there are many
                ways one can answer this,
                philosophically, but more importantly,
                psychologically, and if u are
                keen
                (which i doubt), i know a few tome of books
                in the lib just to answer
                this
                question. however, let me just give one
                offhand. partly, this is a
                question
                on the nature of consciousness. willam james
                (an american
                psychologist)
                liken consciousness to flow of river, rarely
                (never) static. firstly,
                consciousness reflect experiences of a
                person, it is personal, and can
                u
                guarantee that life always go the way u
                want? cannot, for there is a
                saying,
                life is not a bed of roses (folk wisdom is
                not without her basis in
                experiences). it is not the essence of our
                consciousness to be happy,
                there
                are no fixed elements in us to be happy, so
                why should we be always
                happy?
                even a person who indeed has a life of roses
                may not be able to
                maintain
                his
                happiness for a whole lifetime; he may just
                get bored (in a sense, he
                is
                condemned to be always looking for something
                new to maintain his state
                of
                wonder, and this state of unfulfilment he is
                always in is suffering,
                unless
                he really learn to be content something like
                a buddha - but then ...)
                ie,
                there is always fluctuation, constantly
                changing, even though
                consciousness
                is continuous. some wise guy of ancient say
                something like u can't
                step
                into
                the river twice, and the same is true of our
                conscious experience. one
                can
                never be happy always because the stream of
                consciousness tt provides
                the
                context for happiness is ever-changing.
                consciousness is such that at
                every
                stage it is a theatre of simultaneous
                possibilities. try to do some
                introspection when u are cooking, idling,
                baby-sitting, scolding,
                laughing,
                even farting - u will discover a lot about
                yourself.

                according to schopenhauer (a german
                philosopher, views similar to
                buddha
                and
                influenced by kant), the fundamental impulse
                in human existence was
                the
                will
                to survive. this will cause humans to
                experience an unending cycle of
                needs
                and need satisfaction..to satisfy our will
                to survive we need to eat,
                sleep,
                shit, drink, fuck. the pain caused by an
                unsatisfied need causes us to
                act
                to satisfy the need. when it is satisfied,
                we experience a momentary
                satisfaction (pleasure or happiness), but
                alas, it is so short before
                another need come along, and on it goes. how
                can we be happy always?

                this qn can also be viewed from a
                psychodynamic,
                behavioural-cognitive,
                humanistic, gestalt, systemic, etc, pt of
                view. since ur words limits
                is
                only 100, i will just stop here.

                q7.
                over the past decade, millions of dollars
                have been spent on space
                programs
                with the idea to stepup human colonies in
                space. however this does not
                seem
                to have produced any constructive result for
                them. what do u feel,
                should
                it
                be continued or given up.

                not much of idea on this. personally if
                those money are mine, i'd
                spent
                it
                on aiding the starving and sick of the
                earth, something like what
                mother
                theresa was doing; but those money are not
                mine. no constructive
                result?
                maybe not yet. the fruit of research is
                never immediate, but long
                terms,
                though i dont see why man should want to
                live on moon when earth seems
                beautiful enough for me. i am not a
                finanical contributor of the space
                program, so i don't have to decide to
                continue or give up. and if i
                suggest
                to them to spend it on helping the poorest
                of the poor, i dont think
                my
                two
                cents will impress them very much.

                q8:
                20th century saw a rapid development in
                field of science and
                technology
                with
                a large number of inventions made? do u
                think the inventions are
                really
                beneficial t the society?

                why not? we have the computers, the
                internet, many things we use in
                our
                daily lives that we can get at such low
                prices..all is possible
                courtesy
                of
                technology. methods of mass production,
                innovation that make life more
                convenient (the mundane no longer occupy too
                much of our time,
                attention
                and
                energy, thanks to these sophisticated
                machines), reaching out to more
                possibilities in our existence.

                q9:
                wealthy nations must care at their own
                interest to come forward to
                extend
                their help in financial and other areas to
                poor nations? do u agree?

                it depends on the geographical and strategic
                value of that poor
                country
                u
                want to help. some country may be poor in
                human resource but rich in
                natural
                resources; these are the countries that will
                yield returns if u help
                them
                by
                investing in their countries. u go there to
                set up industry, u make
                use
                of
                their cheap labours, u tap into their
                natural resources, u provide
                employment to these otherwise jobless, u
                reap profit and share some
                with
                them, everybody is happy, a win win
                situation. for ur neighbouring
                countries
                who is bigger and militarily stronger than u
                but financially in great
                deficit and debt, u may like to help them
                financially also as a loan;
                maintaining great diplomatic ties will be
                beneficial for u in the long
                run.
                for countries that are weak, poor, no
                investment values whatsoever,
                but
                neighbours to u, one may like to help on
                moral ground; but help is to
                not
                merely to give them money, rather helping
                them help themselves, but
                even
                this may take up labours, money, time and
                energy on one's part; it is
                done
                purely on good will.

                q10:
                qualities of successful man are not obtained
                from his university
                education
                alone? do u agree?

                it really depends on what u mean by sucesss.
                a university education is
                just
                that: a university education. there are many
                aspects of life which is
                also
                a
                important criteria for success, such as the
                quality of relationship
                one
                has
                with one's significant others, one's work
                career, one sense of
                satisfation,
                self-actualization, etc. and having a degree
                does not mean one fulfil
                all
                other criterias. for an example, people
                often ask, when they read
                newspaper
                of a fraud case by a scholar, why someone
                who has such illustratous
                academic
                achievement would commit such crimes. but of
                course the assumption is,
                one's
                academic achievement is the same as one's
                moral stand. so far, i don't
                think
                such assumption is much supported by
                empirical evidences. it is just
                personal bias and subjective interpretation.

                james.

                From: "N L" <laxi28@...>
                To: tyjfk@...
                Subject: Re: Ouestions given
                Date: Sat, 02 Mar 2002 18:02:38 +0000










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