The Hague family and home of The Wrong Number (TWN) Bulletin Board System (BBS)



 Here are a collection of thoughts I've accumulated over many years.  What do you think?  Let me know!





Control is the most important freedom -- it belongs as close to an individual as possible.

The ability to choose how we live our lives, where we live them, what we choose to do, not to do, think or not to think. This is the control I am talking about. We can have this control -- and the dangers that go with it, or we can trade pieces of this control for security. This is almost always a bad trade. I say this because what starts out as a reasonable step inevitably moves onto the unreasonable. I'd rather make a bad choice in my life, and have the freedom to do so, than to be secure but at the expense of being unable to live as I choose.


For every action or inaction there are consequences.

This one may seem obvious, but far too few people fully appreciate what it means. In short if you choose to do something there will be consequences for that action. Depending on the action, the consequences may be either positive or negative, large or small. Inaction is nothing but another form of action. Choosing to not choose is in fact a choice. If you are driving down a road that ends in a "T", you can choose to stop, go left, go right, or not choose, which means you will run into the end of the road. Your action (or inaction) has consequences. Identify those consequences before taking an action, and realize that if you don't take an action, you have in fact made a choice.


Ultimately people have the ability to act or observe.

There are times to act and there are times to observe. However, in the final moments of your life, would you rather recall memories of things you have done or recall memories of things you have watched others do. Seize the day!


It is reasonable to assume that silence is consent.

Your silence has meaning -- not necessarily the same meaning to everyone -- but it is reasonable for others to assume that if you are silent, you are in agreement with what has been said or done. If Fred should happen to make a disparaging comment about Mary, and you don't voice your view, that you have a different view, or at least that you don't appreciate Fred's comments, then Fred and others may assume you agree with Fred. The only way your views can be known is if you say something. Perhaps the greatest injustices in the world have been allowed to happen because onlookers remained silent -- thus granting their consent in the view of most.


Banning something is not an acceptable solution to a problem -- educate don’t legislate.

We don't need laws to protect adults from themselves. Attempting to restrict an action will tend to drive it underground, not eliminate the action. The "BAN BAN BAN" mentality is costly, eliminates freedoms, creates criminals and ultimately fails at what it attempts to accomplish. Making it illegal to drink alcohol will not stop drinking or drunk drivers. Educating people is the answer. This approach requires time, patience and effort -- no wonder it is rarely tried.


Inconsistency is indicative of weakness.

This is a hard one, because few things are really black-and-white, as a result we create exceptions -- more accurately described as inconsistencies. For this example, set aside your personal view of abortion in order to see my point. Let's assume Fred's argument against abortion was that a fetus was a human being, and should therefor not be aborted. Mary asks Fred if this means that if the mother's life is almost certainly going to be lost if the fetus isn't aborted, that the abortion should still not take place. Fred indicates that a situation like that (however rare) would be one valid time for an abortion. Fred, attempting to be "reasonable", has just exposed a weakness in his view, that abortions should not be performed. His statement clearly indicates that he holds a different value system for a "fetus" and a "born person". His attempt to be reasonable has made his argument more difficult to fight.

This isn't to say that we shouldn't be reasonable, but that if you are tempted to compromise your "rules", you likely have not yet properly identified the issue in your mind, and that a better more consistent answer is probably out there. Gravity is consistent, when all the circumstances are known, what gravity will do is no mystery. Try to describe gravity without knowing all the facts, and you'll have a quilt of a theory patched together instead of a solid piece of fabric.


There are situations where the end justifies the means. While this does not mean such actions are legal, they are right.

If we had a king who was uncommonly wise, exceedingly intelligent, incredibly compassionate, understanding, firm, and focused on the good of the kingdom, we could rely on his judgment as the framework of our legal system. Because we are not assured of such a king, we have written laws. Those laws attempt to act in the best interest of our society. In doing so they occasionally fail us -- but in an effort to keep the fabric of our society from crumbling we obey them, good or bad. This is a good and healthy thing for a society to do. However, if someone takes it upon themselves to take an action that will in fact deliver the justice the law did not, then that is the right thing to do. Society must, sadly, punish the "vigilante " because if everybody did this, we'd have no society. If such a vigilante has broken the law and is willing to suffer the consequences, he should be punished, but did "the right thing".


Ignoring evidence, facts, and common sense does not make them go away.

While this is an obvious one, it is important. You can refuse to accept the fact that a speeding train will squash you if you stand in front of it, but the result is the same regardless of your opinion. Ignoring evidence, facts and common sense is more a sign of stupidity than ignorance.


Failure to actively develop an opinion can be dangerous.

Opinions change with additional information. This additional information can come from a variety of sources, from education and experience to observation and experimentation. There is no shame in changing your opinion on something. There is not only shame, but potential danger lurking for those who fail to actively develop an opinion. How do you feel about religion? This is something you'd better have an opinion on! Much like kcuhC's Law #02, "no opinion" is a form of opinion.


Any form of prejudice is bad and ultimately destructive.

Prejudice is the forming and action upon an opinion before you have any real information. If you presume one race of people is inferior to another and attempt to reserve rights or privileges for one side, this is bad. Doesn't matter which side of the road you place those privileges or rights.


Selective recognition of information is dishonest or ignorant.

While similar to kcuhC's Law #08, it is subtly different. It is dishonest or ignorant when someone will site specific facts or information, but ignore conflicting information outright. Just as it is dishonest to quote someone out of context, it is dishonest to display some facts and hide or blatantly ignore others.


The parenting we receive will determine who we are more than any other single factor.

This law has generated more heated debate and discussion than any other. There are many factors that influence how our children will turn out. Without a doubt the single strongest factor is the parenting we receive. Understand that even great parents are human and will make mistakes (perhaps even unbeknownst to them) and these can have an impact (see kcuhC's Law #13). The parents lay the foundations in the early years that will guide the child through the times when parental influence wanes. All-in-all, the parents get the blame or credit for the first 18 years, beyond that, the child is an adult and as an adult, can make of their life as they choose.


An honest mistake, while just as destructive as a malicious one, is forgivable.

If you make an honest mistake while driving, and run over a cat, it is just as dead as it would be had you maliciously attempted to kill it. The difference is that an honest mistake is easier to forgive.


A person need not necessarily experience something first hand in order to speak intelligently about it; and vice-versa.

The key word here is "intelligently". First hand experience is (usually) an especially valuable way to learn about something -- but it is not the only way. If we considered only firsthand experience as the qualification in order to speak intelligently about something, nobody could speak intelligently about the Civil War. If a Civil War scholar were somehow capable of speaking with a Civil War Soldier both could likely speak intelligently about the event. If someone is seriously injured in a car accident, they are not necessarily capable of intelligently speaking about car safety.


Man is natural; therefore everything man does is natural.

This is probably one of my favorites, as so many people have a hard time accepting it. Nuclear power plants are as natural as trees or grass. Yes, even cars that spew toxins into the atmosphere are as natural as any lake or beaver dam.
Would you say a bear is natural? I'll assume your answer is "yes".
It is a fact that some bears mark their territory by scratching the bark off of tree trunks. Would you say this is a natural behavior? Again, I'll assume your answer is "yes".
Some monkeys will strip the leaves off a stick and use it to dig termites out of a mound. Would you say this is natural? Naturally you would.
Nuclear power plants and automobiles are tools of man. Just as the monkey created a tool to obtain food, we created a tool to create power to simplify our lives. Cheetahs can run very fast, this is one of their advantages over other animals. Man has a terrific brain that gives us an advantage over other animals. If you feel the need to separate out man from everything else, use this useful and more accurate statement, "man made".

There are essentially two important points being made here:
(1) Avoid "emotionally charged" words, as they tend to confuse the issue.
(2) Man does not exist "outside" of nature. We are as much a part of nature as anything else.


Any system that cannot survive on its own merits is not necessarily worthy of survival.

System could mean a life form, a philosophy, a government, etc. If something must be assisted in order to survive it is reasonable to question if such an effort should be expended. Keep in mind man has many tools -- and the best of those tools don't come from factories, they come from our minds. A government is a tool to keep a collection of people living together in as much peace and harmony as one could expect. It may well serve the greater good to assist the survival of something that cannot survive on it's own, but just because something exists does not mean it should continue to exist.


People are more alike than not; people from the same culture even more so.

People may tend to think they are really different from others but most of us are the same. People from the same culture are especially alike. Recognize that what you are thinking and feeling is likely what others are, then you will hold the advantage.


The only difference between mature and immature is that mature knows when not to act immature.

Simply put, find your inner child, have fun, take pleasure in simple things and cherish innocence.


Achievement should not be punished.

The more achievers we have the more achievement we will all enjoy. Society should reward and encourage achievement not punish or discourage it.


The single most significant threat to man is debt.

There are two big messages here:
(1) If you are owed something, you should live your life as though you will never collect on that debt.
(2) A society (such as ours) that is based on debt is a society on a race to destruction and slavery.


If we each lived by the following three rules (in the order listed), peace would result:
(1) Enjoy life as much as absolutely possible.
(2) Hurt as few people as absolutely possible.
(3) Help as many people as absolutely possible.

Enjoying life in whatever brings you pleasure and fulfillment simply must be a fundamental "purpose" in life.
Striving to not find pleasure and fulfillment in activities that will hurt others will help (1) occur more frequently.
By helping others, as you see fit, you can assure that (1) will be common place.


Society would benefit if people first took care of themselves, then took care of family, then took care of friends, and lastly, took care of others.

The world is a big place, if each of us tries to save it, we won't even manage to save ourselves. Let's start with ourselves, then our family and friends, then whatever else we can offer to others is gravy. If you fall short in this endeavor, you will hopefully at least have taken care of yourself.


A god is only as powerful as the person who created it.

This one often instantly turns people off, but it has a second reading, "A person's faith is only as powerful as the person who creates it." The actual law makes reference to the endless history of assorted gods created by a needy man. The God that most worship today is no different from the countless hundreds before it. As the people fall, so do their gods. The second reading (basically replacing "faith" for "god") says the same thing to "believers" in terms of a person's faith. A weak person will likely have a weak faith.


If you anxiously seek something, you will likely find something -- but it probably won’t be what you were seeking.

How many people do you know who anxiously sought out a soul-mate and instead ended up in a less than desirable situation? When we are "on the hunt" we do not want to return empty handed. Even if we have to lie to ourselves about what it is we caught. If you find yourself anxiously seeking something, it is probably a good time to evaluate how much you really "need" it. If you can put off your search, it will likely find you, and be what you were originally seeking.


It can be a grave error to equate any "vague" with any "absolute".

Far too many people will equate a vague thing with a very specific thing. A "few" of something is not "All" or "None". If your job is "pretty secure" it is not "guaranteed". If your marriage is "troubled" it isn't "over".


People are not responsible for their thoughts.

You cannot control your thoughts, only your actions. If you have thoughts you do not like, attempt to change them but do not punish or belittle yourself for having them. We are animals after all, and we sometimes have animalistic thoughts; don't act on those undesirable thoughts and you're ok.


Trust is the single most important factor in any relationship.

Without trust between two people, nothing else really matters. What good is honesty, truth, faithfulness, etc. if you can't trust it is real? At the core of everything of value between two people is trust. Once damaged it will likely never be as good as it was -- though with a lot of work a good facsimile can eventually be reconstructed.


Alternatives always exist.

While alternatives always exist, there may not be an alternative we particularly like. Look for all the options, choose the one that is either the best or least bad. Don't assume you have no alternatives because you may overlook something good, or at least less bad.


The single most important possession of any living thing -- be it a bug, a weed, or a human being - is its own life.

Most people instantly leap up and talk about their children, spouse, or other loved one. However these are not possessions. We do not "possess" our child, we are their caretakers. The key word here is what we possess. Another common objection is one's soul. The soul will continue to live after our bodies die (or so some believe). If this is true, we use our lives to better the chances that our soul will have a happy existence.

My primary point here is that nothing, and I mean nothing, should be killed unless there is a reason. If you are walking down the street and see your footstep will fall on a bug, what is the value in not altering your course a half inch and thus killing the bug? What does that serve? It's fine to kill bugs, if they are making you unhappy (i.e., they are in your house). If we all treat all life as sacred, the chances are that our lives will have greater meaning. If a weed's life, a bug's life, or a rodent's life is thoughtlessly snuffed out, how much of a leap is it that ours will be so easily tossed aside? Value all life. When it serves a purpose, and is an intentional and thought-out act, then end the life of a weed or bug, or whatever. Never end life without a thought, as to that thing, it is the most important possession.


There is no such thing as an absolute fact. Know the foundations of your beliefs and test them frequently.

A fact is nothing but a theory that has withstood all assaults against it. Facts do change -- a good fact rarely changes but they can change. Science follows very strict rules, but at the foundation there is a fundamental belief, a belief that "things are knowable". It is entirely possible that some of the nature of the Universe exists outside our ability to perceive it. This isn't likely, but this possibility cannot be disproved, as a result, science is based on a few basic beliefs, such as this. Religious folks clearly base their view of the Universe on their beliefs. It is important to recognize where your fundamental beliefs exist, and periodically review them to see if they still are "believable" to you. If you never challenge these fundamental beliefs, everything you consider fact may no longer be "true".


Decisions based primarily on emotion are inherently flawed.

Most animals, humans included, experience emotions. Humans have a lot, perhaps more than any other species. Emotions serve many purposes and should be weighed as factors in any decision we make. Our emotions and those of others are important. However, when a decision is based primarily on emotion it is inherently flawed. Make your decisions using your brain, and let emotion only be a factor in your decision making process. To rely on emotions as the primary input to making a decision is an error.


No organization is so coordinated that a large-scale long-term conspiracy could possibly work.

Key words here are "large-scale long-term". Ten people could pull off a long-term conspiracy. The US government could not. Believable conspiracies require relatively few people. Certainly a few people in our government could participate in a conspiracy that could be successful over the long-term. But if we "know about it", how good a conspiracy is it really? The best conspiracies aren't conspiracies at all. What I mean by that is that if the information is available and people ignore it, it is as good as a conspiracy, but does not require any effort to hide or deny it. A perfect example is the Federal Reserve system in the United States. Most people simply are not capable of really believing how it fundamentally operates -- despite the facts easily available. People assume it must be more complicated, or that people are over simplifying what it does. When you break through all that, most will simply tune you out because it is too difficult to believe. This system would be uncovered and fixed were it a conspiracy.


Tolerating a bad thing, simply because it could be worse, is among the most destructive of human tendencies.

A great example of this is the judicial system in the United States. It is bad, flawed, and out of control. But most people will respond with something like, "Even so, it's the best system in the world." So this becomes justification for not fixing it?! How much harm on society and individuals will we tollerate just because there is worse? If it is the best, then let's improve it, fix it, and widen the gap. Because people can be comfortable, they don't strive for more. It's enough that they have basic needs met, why strive for more? How much further would the world have evolved if we didn't accept this pathetic excuse, "well, it could be worse..."


For everything real there is an artificial.

The wording on this isn't exactly what I wanted, but I've quoted it as I once heard it, and really like the way it sounds. Replacing "real" with "valuable" would probably be better. The point is that there are a lot of fakes, so sifting through the fakes to find the valuable is the challenge.


What needs to be done is often simple -- but difficult.

There are lots of simple solutions and decisions. The implementation of these solutions and decisions can be very difficult. It is easy to know what to do, but not necessarily easy to do it. The notion that simple solutions are either childish or dullard in nature is quite wrong. Just because it is simple to say does not mean it is easy to do. An example of this is: "Be patient and loving with family and friends." This is very simple, and if followed will improve life quality tremendously. Is it difficult to implement.


Feelings are valid.

Feelings may not be factually or logically correct, but feelings are valid. When talking with others, or dealing with your own feelings, the first thing to do is to accept them as valid, don't try to invalidate them. Understand the feelings before anything else. Once you really understand them you can attempt to address them or align them with "reality". If you are quick to invalidate another person's feelings, they will likely tune you out. If you are quick to invalidate your own feelings, you are apt to simply suppress them and not understand and deal with them head on. Feelings are valid.


Words mean things.

Choose your words carefully when you communicate -- especially in writing. Your words will be evaluated and interpreted in ways you may never know. Remove all doubt about what you mean by communicating as clearly as possible. When other people communicate with you they may not have put as much thought into their words as they should have – but they may have. Apply the definition of words to what people communicate to you and when necessary eliminate assumption and ask for clarification. Raise the bar in your communications (in-coming and out-going) by remembering that words mean things.


Effort is nice.  Results are better.

While effort is important, achieving results is more important. Some people expend little effort and achieve fantastic results, while others toil and sweat – delivering little or nothing of value. It is nice that such a person puts out the effort, but without the results, who really cares? For example, if you can choose between two doctors, one who puts in a lot of effort, and another who cures more patients…which do you want to select? Without effort few things can be accomplished. But simply putting in a lot of effort, in and of itself, is inconsequential – it is Results that matter. Results!


Hate, angst, and withholding forgiveness are weights on your soul.

Way too many people hold onto hate, angst, and withhold forgiveness in their hearts.  Not that these feelings are invalid or likely not earned by others...but the reality is, doing this harms you far more than it does others.  Don't waste your valuable energy on such things.  Release the hate and angst from others like you would release a helium balloon, and let it float from your life.  In your heart forgive those who have harmed you.  Wish all no malice and be free of all that negative energy.  It really is simple to do...you just need to decide to do it. 

This does not make you a doormat - be wary of those who have harmed you, and excluding them from your life - with no ill will - is healthy.  But free yourself of such things and you shall live a happier, more positive life.

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