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Why the conversation?

This is the post excerpt.

Today, we often decide to avoid conversations that will lead to the clashing of wills.  This is what we commonly term an “argument”.  Since many of us have decided to avoid conflicts as a way to navigate this diverse world we have also lost a necessary means of discovering common truths.  This has now created a large society of relative truths which results in either “live and let live” attitudes or violence.  Violence happens when the wills of individuals feel squashed because others don’t want to listen and have “the conversation” to expose both sides of an argument.

The key to conversation is to open our vulnerabilities and in today’s climate that is becoming more difficult since we’ve becoming more unwilling to open ourselves to others for fear of being attacked.  Instead we seem to spend more time attempting to conform others to social norms rather than seeking to be a “fellow traveler” in life’s journeys’.

I propose that when we don’t want to have “the conversation” we are in effect not allowing our hearts to be vulnerable.  A vulnerable heart won’t build a wall around it to protect our feelings.  Understanding ones heart requires for it to be exposed and this takes courage.  This isn’t the same as standing up for ones principles but instead standing up for humility.  This is a difficult choice.  However, humility grounds us in our human condition and means we recognize we are only part of the wholeness of life not just individual self-sustaining life forms.  We rely on each other and all creation for our humanity and once we truly realize that fact we then realized we need to open our hearts to hear what the conversations are telling us.

How might we start such a process?  One of the first things we might do is start these conversations and that is the purpose and intent for this blog.  The key to making this sort of conversation meaningful is not to be judgmental.  This is hard for us to do; it’s something I struggle with constantly.  So when we see judgement which many times ends conversations by putting the wall up thus closing the heart telling your inner self I don’t want to listen any longer because I have resolved for my inner self a belief to be either right or wrong, then we need to identify it as such to the individual so that they can see it for what it is.

What I would like to attempt is not to establish what’s right or wrong but discover what’s in our hearts that motivates our wills.  Is it love or is it fear?  Once we determine the motivators of the heart we can drill down to the sub-levels of what is objective truth and what might be relative truths.  I say this because I know we can fool ourselves by seeing love as a cover-up of our inner emotions because all too often those emotions are actually driven by fear.  Let me try to explain this with dependency and interdependency.  Dependency is allowing another person to have more control of your choices than you have yourself.  This leads to one way communication, limits any conversation and can erupt into violence (with many married couples even divorce).  Whereas interdependency helps to point out that we both need to be accountable, reliable and vulnerable to each other’s needs and desires out of a defined sense of belonging through our attachment with them.  Without conversation we never will get there.

Therefore when we can uncover or unpackage our inner feelings of the heart to find the motivation of our wills I believe we come to confront the inner feelings of love or fear.  This binary analysis is not to be resolute but to find contemplation which is where the core of the heart converses with our consciousness and allows our vulnerable heart to grow in knowledge about ourselves and all creation.

This is my intent and why I want to open conversations on this or any topic.  Please feel free to comment and participate in this experiment.  My intent is to facilitate a non-judgmental focus, not to be a talking head.  From time to time I might share my thoughts or prompt discussion with my comments as I too am looking to open my heart by this sharing experience.

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What differences?

This morning I read this “As Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) observed one of the most segregated hours in the United States still occurs on Sunday morning when we attended church services.

This led me to reflect upon my life and how I have evolved for better or worst in my attitudes of inclusiveness.

To give you a little background, I grew up in Kansas City Missouri (1948-1971) and most of my formative years my family was living in predominantly African American neighborhoods.  I am a Spanish/German American and have white skin.  My father worked at the main post office and my mom was a stay at home mother of three children (2 boys & 1 girl).  We lived in a small 900 sqft two-bedroom bungalow on 41st Street in the inner city.

I had a great childhood even though my family did not have much money.  My brother and I were close in age and close as siblings up until my brother entered High School.  What happened that changed my life was when I was in 6th grade my brother, sister (3 years younger than me) and I went to our neighborhood public grade school.  Since our community was continuing to be predominately African American because of “white flight” and my father refusing to move farther away from his job, we were faced with our grade school reducing grades to 6th because the African American families had many smaller children.  My brother a year older was going into 8th grade and at that time the local High School started at 8th but for me, I was to go to the Junior High which was deeper into the city and pretty much all African American with a reputation of violence. 

My father and mother were concerned for my safety and my mother convinced my father who was agnostic, that my sister and I could attend a Catholic grade school (K-8) that was only 9 blocks from our home.  It required more sacrifice for tuition, but the school gave us a reduction based on my father’s income.  When I went to the new school it changed my life forever and I will tell you why.  When I was in public school I didn’t have any friends of color, even though some of them were my neighbors but when I went to the religious-based school the children of color although fewer in numbers were instantly my friends in the neighborhood.  We went to each other’s homes and shared meals and played knowing that our families were the same in G-d’s eyes.  Seeing other families home life was an eye-opener because all the misconceptions of differences were exposed.

I went on to a local Catholic High School and continued to cultivate friendships with many of my classmates (white, black, and brown) in my neighborhood.  After High School and marriage, I noticed just how divided the races were in the world of the suburbs.  Until all humanity accepts that we are all children of the same G-d, we will not be united.  All the major religions (Jewish, Christian, and Muslin) believe in the same G-d of Abraham, yet we exclude based on man’s traditions, not because of the basic faith in one’s G-d.  It is time to stop searching for what divides us and start looking for what unites us and as Martin Luther King observed, it still evades our grasp.  Black lives matter not because of skin color or tradition but because we all have the same Father who loves us all.  And what had I learned about G-d’s love?  The experience of being understood by another is of primary importance. Somewhere deep within our souls beyond all faults and virtues had to be transformed before I could open my life up to another. The truth is finding ultimate security in an ultimate vulnerability, is to be loved.

Impetus for change since 9/11/2001

 

I wrote this paper in Sept 2001 to help me, and hopefully others to sort out and try to understand why we are chartered for change in the way we fight wars in the future and possibly to also help others who are involved in developing the military of the future.  I feel that before we can march off to change things, we need to have a reason to change, and I feel that the Impetus for change can be summed up in the below writing.  This of course is not all-inclusive but a quick look to help with the vision we require in order to move towards change.  The old adage.. “Necessary is the Mother of invention” is as true a statement today, as it was when it was coined.  Our craftiest adversaries will constantly shift their centers of gravity (COG) and as technologies and value systems change, new entities (ideas, structures, etc) will be created to protect and enhance these COGs. Without an impetus for change we cannot develop the vision, commitment and end effect we so desire.

 Impetus for change

 The US Military of the future will have to maintain a superiority delta in all phases of conflict, including search and destroy; peaceful or forceful entries; overcome and occupy, deter and protect modes of warfare plus becoming a catalyst of civil influence and change.  Warfare in the future will be a system approach, which means that all contingencies will be of a Joint flavor, which includes inter-agency and coalition participation.

The US Military will have to work within current and projected flat budgets.  Budgets of $300 billion per year in real terms are projected and $65 billion defense procurement goal necessitates Revolution in Military Affairs.  Identifying failures is success in the business of experimentation.  Divestiture processes provides the fiscal fuel within a flat defense budget to accelerate the development and fielding of advanced military technologies and systems in methods of employment and deployment.  Joint Experimentation should help determine where, when, and how the limited defense resources are invested.

The US Military will have fewer, not more Soldiers, Sailors, Airman and Marines.

More equipment will be unmanned and remotely operated.

Any contingency will be coordinated with Other Government Agencies (OGA) and coalition partners/forces.  OGA and coalition partners/forces involvement are required if lasting transitions are to be obtained.  Effects should be built and tied to the Strategic level with specific objectives designed at the execution level.

The application of force should include a wide spectrum of options from less than lethal to lethal.   Deadly force should only be used when other options are not feasible.  Level of execution will be predicated on the commander’s assessment of the circumstances and his concept of operations should be a mix of all options.  Note that deadly force in some instances negates lasting transitions.

Development of all equipment and training must maintain simplicity in order for constant augmentation of new civilian-soldier recruits.  Fusion of young and old Americans is necessary to keep the mercenary out and will of the democracy in.

All Military actions outside the United States will include coordination with our international partners.  However, the US Military and a wide variety of State and non-State actors still needs to be prepared to work independently should the circumstance dictate (not to rely on critical functions that could incapacitate our national objectives).

Forward basing of US Military will be drastically reduced or eliminated except for intelligence gathering and relationship building operations.

Deterrent to Chemical and Biological weapons must be developed but mass effect chemical and biological weapons of deadly force should not be developed for US Military use.  Weapons of this nature do not discriminate and lack future vision of selective targeting principals.  Riot control agents or other non-lethal technologies used for indiscriminate means of deployment are an exception and should be pursued for these special circumstances.

Precision and discriminate selections of targets tied to coordinated strategic (holistic- encompassing the entire range of elements of national power) effects will not only resolve conflicts sooner but also should improve the process of transition to peace after the conflicts are over.

The foundation in technology development should always be centered on Humanity.  This does not preclude machines substituting for personnel.  Machines will not be given free reign with regard to executing deadly force at will but, only at the direction of the human interface.  As progress is made in the field of artificial intelligence and proves to be fully trusted and more effective than man, the human decision aspect of deadly force may be shifted to machines in the distant future but this will be wildly debatable as far as accountability.

RESULTS OR GOALS TO OBTAIN:

 1. Level or reduce costs (Spending is not always flat but the overall plan for the Defense Budget should be tailored to a fixed amount over time with increases in only COLA).  This means that the Military force as a whole system needs to be tied to a common budget in order for system of systems to be developed to reach this common goal.  This will require a Revolution in Business Affairs (RBA) over the way we do business today.

2. As effective as or more effective force as we have today (gauged against competition).  Effectiveness has to be address over all Services as function of effects and not as just Core competencies.  This might mean a shift in Core competencies as necessary to meet future requirements.

3. Permanent transitions have to have OGA and coalition support in order to have durable solutions. Transitions have to be planned before the conflict not after.  Centers of gravity of the civilian populace from all sides have to have HOPE for things to be better — not worse than they were before the conflict started.  This will require a new DoD/OGA lash-up/design.

4. Capacity for dealing ultimate will to win (deadly force) is necessary and should also be pursued, but as last resort or in self defense to opposition’s deadly force when no other means are available.  Influence without death should be preferable for lasting peace to take hold. (Non Kinetic Technology & other non-lethal weapons development will be key for this goal)

5. Defend Human freedoms but more selective in administrating will of US by use of Military force.  (Military should always be looked at as a piece of overall strategy with agencies and multinational participation…  not as the sole solution)

FOCUS AREAS (Use as a guide to accomplish any measure of work):

People:            Trained and emotionally equipped for future warfighting

Methods:         New matrix organizations, fits new machines, materials and people.

Machines:        Smaller, lighter and more effective.

Materials:        Cheaper, regenerating, better placed, and reduced quantity.

The above four categories can be measured.  In order to make recommendations on our progress we need to baseline what we have in these four areas today and compare them to what we propose to change.  Current problem – this baseline of systems or (systems of systems) has not been established i.e., as a service example – what does it take to keep an F15 in the air… including manning (in the air, on ground, forward based, including costs and benefits); capital equipment to support; materials (fuel and other expendables); weapons provided and at what effectiveness; organization structure that supports aircraft; shelf life of equipment/training/etc.; etc, etc, etc.)  This is a tall order, but it is something that all businesses have to do in order to survive.

Most of the answers will come from the Service side and should be part of our interface with them.  How else can we truly recommend changes if we cannot qualify our results.  However, the first step is interoperability, which we have not really focused on.  We have focused instead on events (MC02/OC04/UV01…etc).  These events try to establish new TTP’s/SOP’s that hopefully will become changed procedures for our troops.  How do we know what quality is when we are trying to change things before we have even checked out the current system.  This is one of the first laws of the great man; Deming who taught that you have to know what the system does before you can make modifications that will improve the quality.   Striving to obtain these types of results will not give you complete resolve but it will give you efficiencies of total resources to produce a better performing military and one that will know what it can and can’t do but even more, it will generate an impetus for change.

DOTMLPF: Simplification

 Doctrine, Training and Personal fall under PEOPLE on the above focus areas

Organization, Leadership and (Training/Personal) fall under METHODS

Material and InFrastructure are under MATERIALS & MACHINES on the above focus areas

What is your story on influencing change?

How can we define solutions to climate change and other world changes?

Denis Edwards, Jesus and the Cosmos (Paulist Press 1991), 3-5

Contrast to older thinking, we are told today that the universe began with a cosmic explosion called the “Big Band”, that we live in an expanding universe, with galaxies rushing away from us at an enormous rate, that the earth is a relatively small planet revolving around the sun, that it is hurtling through space as part of a solar system which is situated toward the edge of the Milky Way Galaxy, that we human beings are the product of an evolutionary movement on the earth, and that we are intimately linked with the health of the delicately balanced life systems on our planet.

…We have no choice but to face up to the ecological crisis which confronts us.  Religious thinkers…are searching for a new synthesis of science and faith, a new cosmology, and a “New Story”.

Can we begin this story?  How would you start designing architecture within these newfound patterns of life and Eco-systems? Understanding what we know about the network of quantum and relationships at this time, let us define the glue of the cosmos that controls natural happenings within the universe.  We humans have done a pretty lousy job of maintaining the delicate balances of nature on this planet, using it for individual gains and wealth instead of allowing freedom for everyone to enjoy life not as owners but as caretakers.  Care taking requires concern for others and the Eco-systems that supports life.  You would be hard-pressed to find anything other than love behind these concerns, even self-love but, self-love without others loving and contributing to your well-being becomes self-destructive.  Therefore, the glue for the well-being of all living things, must have love as it’s central intention.

How can we love others as they are without conditions and at the same time be caretakers of this planet?  The simple answer is easy, care taking of life requires all life which means you can’t pick and chose what life has merit and what life doesn’t.  Therefore, if you start with the premise of “Do no harm” from the human side of actions, then you must consider the other life forms we all touch.  There is no excuse in this information age, to blindly assume your individualism doesn’t affect others’ well-being.  Especially using Artificial Intelligence to test our connections prior to any committed actions.  It requires forethought but as we develop the relationships of these connections, we’ll have an easier time negotiating our care taking into good actions to support all life.  If this kind of thought process was already in place we could have accounted for relationships that biologically formed in the COVID-19 pandemic before it became a pandemic.

Chaos is triggered not by love but by self-centered control of individuals or groups of individuals or of actions of carelessness.  Chaos can comes within nature itself, like earthquakes or storms but we can be knowledgeable enough to predict or see the warning signs.  Some of these natural disasters are caused indirectly by humans when we limit our knowledge base.  And when we are the life forms that are making conditions for disasters like climate change or human/animal linked diseases why are we surprised?

We must treat all life forms from the beginning of the creative processes of each to full manifestation of connected purpose. Understanding this requires us to hold many conflicting positions until we see a clear path for mutually supporting life forms on this earth.  So, before we make decisions to act, we should consider if what we are doing is contributing to all of life within all of creation or are, we taking away opportunities for all of life to prevail?

How would you write this story?

What is happening to human consciousness?

Some would suggest that evil is a result of consciousness that discerns what is G-d’s will and more specifically what’s not.  This is a different level of knowledge.  Knowing was astutely suggested by Socrates…that if you think you assuredly understand something, then you most probably don’t know.  And not knowing seems to manifest as either having an assumption that favor a particular perspective or else leads to more discernment.

Holding tensions are essential to reasoning because there are at least two sides to everything.  Seems that G-d keeps both sides in a balance to see what man will choose…His will or the individual’s will.  If the human is in sync with G-d’s will, we move towards perfection, but if the individual’s will counters G-d’s, then we walk further away from not only achieving ideal but also G-d’s  community.

This tension many times is misunderstood as a majority of people today take conflicting perspectives as out right divisions.  This could be the result of man’s immediate desire to have answers without waiting for our consciousness to catch up.  But, I feel many people today want quick resolutions because discernment would admit to not knowing and the fragile personas of so many can’t handle this perceived inability to be in the know.

This is a good segway into a short discussion on Artificial Intelligence (AI).  Machines in the future will be able to discern so long as they are programmed to do so.  Can they be coded to select more data points than a human can absorb?  Maybe, but the consequences of their choices are void of feelings which come from relationships.  They can have connections in that they can obtain more information if their boundaries are open to it but unless a human interjects their own feelings, the machine cannot correctly choose as a human, therefore, I believe that computers cannot be completely autonomous and a human in the loop will always be necessary as we go forward.

A thought to contemplate…if machines are programmed to learn more inward focused (selfish), then we have created something akin to the fallen Angels.  Think of the Angels as hard-wired spirits with infused hard drives filled with knowledge for their missions.  They still have a choice, and their power and abilities are far superior to humans.  G-d didn’t create evil, he created the Angels, and about 1/3 of them choose to create evil which we can define as not accepting G-d’s will.

To quote Cynthia Bourgeault, “the heart is first and foremost an organ of spiritual perception.  Its primary function is to look beyond the obvious, the boundary surface of things, and see into a deeper reality.”  Machines cannot have hearts they can only project the human intent which masts the inner soul of the beings who programmed it.  Therefore every time a programmer puts self-organizing functions into play, make sure that the boundaries of the program touch as many consequences as possible before accepting it.  Or else, you might be rudely surprised by the results.

Why have a tabernacle

This past Sunday, someone in our church Bible study questioned why we need a physical presence of G-d as in the tabernacle that was built during Exodus when G-d gave Moses the requirement to build the holy space. Also why today in our church do we need the tabernacle to hold the consecrated hosts for the Eucharist?

His thinking if I captured correctly is if G-d is everywhere and in us as children of the Father, then why is it important to have a physical place as the Jews did in the temple and we Christians who believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist have in our church tabernacles today. I have pondered on this reasonable question but haven’t found yet a specific church position and will keep searching to find out but to me the mention of a tabernacle in the Old Testament and projected in the New was not man’s design on how to worship G-d but instead were requested directly by G-d Himself to Moses and by Jesus to his disciples. These are both covenant relationships with G-d’s people in both the Old and New Testaments. The container is not important but what’s in the container (tabernacle) is very important to how we come to know and love G-d.

Since covenant relationships are sealed by obedience to an oath by both parties this might seem rather an antiquated way to build trust between the two parties. However, let’s take this conversation to the very essence of trust building within a family which is basically what we have here between G-d and His children. The Father promises to love, defend and care for his children and the children promise to obey the father’s wishes. When either one of these two arrangements degrades, the oath of the covenant loses its meaning. Trust is broken and a new covenant either has to materialize or amended else we completely destroy our relationship.

We know that there are six covenants in the Bible, five in the Old and one in the New Testament. In fact, this New Testament covenant is the entire summary of the New Testament …not the specific numbered books themselves within the Bible. Trusting in the words of G-d has always been our lifeblood for eternal joy with the Father. If the Father tells us that He desires a physical presence and wishes to walk with His people we should be so happy and blessed. Without which the covenant relationship or trust in G-d’s own words are meaningless and we are no longer obedient but instead, we believe what truths we wish and pick and choose what words we want from G-d. This is a form of relativism.

This has happened several times in history when covenants were broken or lost by the people of G-d. Even today there are many Christians and even some Catholics that don’t believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This was the only request of Jesus to worship His Father through His Pascal offering of Himself. To be obedient is to trust Him at His word. This is an attempt to answer the question asked but it hasn’t been vetted by the church and if I find another or better answer, I will update this posting.  If anyone else would like to comment, please do.  There are no right answers but just information sharing to find what could be true in a loving relationship.

When does a soul enter into creation

There has been much conversation on when the human body receives a soul.  This discussion has been a very pointed one concerning abortions.  Some scientist studying human embryos suggest that the soul enters the body of the fetus about 8 weeks from conception.  While others who are supposedly religious scientists even claim that the spirits have a choice of bodies to choose from and won’t choose until later in the pregnancy cycle which they have determined to be six months.  However, this is something that appears to lack understanding about truths of the creation of life.

The idea of unrestricted intelligence is what forms human consciences because an all knowing being had to initiate all things created in the physical world or the causality of creation would not be explainable otherwise.  With that, it has to follow in causality that all creation (material and non-material) includes the spirit world as well.  If you accept that an all unrestricted intelligence forms consciences than you would understand that there is no timeline for creation with this Supreme Being and that means past-present-future are in play from the point of creation (both material and non-material) because with unrestricted intelligence means all-knowing.

Therefore all spirits (sapience creatures…such as Homo sapiens; Angels; and for some believe in Jinns) have been already created within the consciousness of the unrestricted intelligence.  Most of us have an understanding that spirits have no shape or physical presence with the exception of humans which many call this spirit the soul.  Many people believe that a guardian angel is an angel spirit that is supporting our being but not our soul’s spirit as this is a pure spirit that was infused at creation with a spirit’s mission hard wired in them as they were not born, as all pure spirits were not born but created (no mommy or daddy spirits making baby spirits).  This is not the same as the human soul’s spirit.

If a future human soul has no timeline with regard to the unrestricted intelligent Being, then every human that will ever be conceived has already a soul waiting for it.  Think of it this way, since the Supreme Creator is not restricted by time, why would one think that a soul enters the body at a point in time after conception instead of right at creation itself.  Think of a fast forward of a life as a video to an all-knowing Being.  At what point in this fast-forwarded sequence of events in this video is the point of creation for the human form?  Once the seed is in the ground it can grow but not all seeds make it bear fruit.  The same for humans, the seed is planted when the egg and sperm meet, not after and the end result is left to this physical world how we care for this union.

In summary, when one tries to define when a soul enters a life form it has to be at inception because any fetus has the potential for human form at conception even if a person’s intent was not such as in the cases of rape or failed contraceptives.  There have been many cases of Near Death Experiences that people met relatives that were unborn but were conceived.  Some of these conceptions were miscarriages, abortions, mothers dying with children in the womb, etc.  The thought that any conceived human that never was born is waiting on the other side as part of your family is something to ponder as it then gives us a better perspective on the creation of life and our responsibility towards that life.

Road Kill

Reference: Charlie Rose (Public TV Show) dated Jan 27, 2017, with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.

I recently watched this dated hour episode of Charlie Rose interviewing Warren Buffett and Bill Gates and had this thought to stimulate a conversation on the issue of the “haves and have nots” of our society.  As Warren Buffett put it, the more we turn away from an agrarian society, to industrial and now highly technical that we will increase the “road kill” of the average American workers.  This was agreed by Bill Gates in the conversation as a fact as we approach a society that will rapidly evolve as technology expands and information of this knowledge and its usefulness is globalized, resulting in an ability to quickly terminate jobs in areas once secured.

This “road kill” of the human workforce will be a serious problem and it will increase even more rapidly as Artificial Intelligence (AI) evolves with technology.  But interesting that with both Gates and Buffett being huge philanthropists, that both suggested to Mr. Rose that it is the responsibility of governments to solve this problem.  Thus the free market creates the problem but presently the free market doesn’t solve it.  This then leads us to consider socialism as an answer to our government.  By the way Mr. Buffett did mention tax credits as a possible solution which could be the best answer for governments limited involvement at this time.  More on that thought later in this conversation. 

Socialism gives more power to governments similar to communism and thus reduces freedoms.  This then is an opposing force of ideologies and pits many followers on both sides (free markets/socialist) to challenge our way of life and will influence how we move forward in our country.  But more importantly for me is the idea of giving the government more authority and responsibility for our livelihoods.  This changes the original agreement of the American government’s purpose to foremost defend the nation and allow freedoms of individuals to prosper.

After working for the Federal Government many years of my life as well as much in the public and private sector, I feel somewhat qualified to give my observations on the effectiveness of the government when profits are not the motivator.  Governments like to build organizations and the larger the better to hide inefficiencies and accountabilities as well as increase individuals pay and status.  I have seen much non-beneficial to small accomplishments of government organizations that could have been better served with a fraction of the people involved.  Without a clear objective like the bottom line used in business, this non-productivity is usually precipitated by a “wait-out” of political climates that changed every time new leadership was elected or appointed and this cycle usually runs every 2 to 4 years.  If we think that government is the answer it would be better to just re-distribute the wealth of the country and leave government organizations out of the equation.  But this doesn’t sit well with many people as they rather see government programs to fix things with our tax dollars than give it back to the needy.  I am here and now telling you it cost the government far more to fix than redistribution.  Plus we lose freedoms with more organizational oversite and governance.

Many years ago in some societies (a good example Judaism), they would establish a Jubilee year where all debts were erased and slaves were freed.  These Jubilee years set the playing field back to equal every 7 or 50 years depending on the customs.  This is much like redistribution of wealth and it worked for them as they prospered as a society.  Thomas Jefferson once said we need a revolution about every 40 years.  The reason was if we didn’t the haves and have nots would continue to grow as the laws supported the governing class.  Therefore tax credits might be the closest thing we can do that would be similar to a Jubilee year but it would be every year in this fast paced economy.  Are there any thoughts to add to this conversation?  Please feel free to comment.