Guiding Philosophy

For the past few years, I have lived my life according to a philosophy which has determined my actions in regards to my quest to improve the world. Although this simple philosophy is very logical, I believe it is a common error of man to disregard it. Therefore, in order to give others a suggestion and for you to better understand me, I find it fitting to explain what this guiding principle consists of.

When it comes to deciding what one's actions should be in regards to improving the world, three things should be considered: the importance of a problem, the most effective way to solve that problem, and one's skills and passions. It is my belief that efforts to solve a problem should be proportionate to the size of that problem. This, of course, does not mean that one should only attempt to solve one problem at a time, but rather that one's focus should be allocated well.

The second thing one should consider is which means will result in the greatest good. Seeing how there are multiple ways to solve a problem, some being more effective than others, I see no logical reason why one would not abide by this principle, unless of course, it were to conflict with the third factor, which is one's skills and passions.

Not everyone can solve the same problem equally well; we all have our strengths and weaknesses. This basic fact coupled with our interests greatly limits our potential. It is safe to say that if one were poorly equipped or lacked interest in solving a certain problem, it would be best if one's efforts were focused elsewhere.

Although these three principles are simple and logical, great difficulty lies in acting on them. Specifically, it is difficult to realize what all three are and then balance the first two with the third. But such is the journey of life!

Cradle to Consumer

Ever since I started doing research into Cradle to Cradle, I wanted to contribute to the movement somehow. I traveled many miles to meet some of the key players in hopes that one of them would provide me with an opportunity. I posted on many forums to ask other C2C enthusiasts if they had any suggestions for me. Unfortunately, neither of the above provided me with that chance.

After my journey to the Netherlands, I gave up hope that I could somehow further the development of C2C without being an entrepreneur. My mind for the past couple of months has been occupied with environmental policy and everyday worries; therefore, my C2C passion has been sitting idle in the background. This was true until a few days ago when I came up with an idea to make a series of videos in which I introduce C2C products. It was like an epiphany, it came out of nowhere and was quickly accompanied by euphoria. Three days later, I already had three videos uploaded onto the internet.

Although, I do not know how successful these videos will become, I nevertheless feel as if I can now make a difference with C2C. I believe my videos have a lot of potential due to their practicality. Furthermore, my situation here in DC actually provides me with a good advertising opportunity because many like-minded people work in the environmental movement.

I now have a more positive outlook on my life and I am looking forward to see how I and my videos will develop. The title of the video series is Cradle to Consumer.

Walter

The next person I would like to dedicate an entry to is Walter Yuan. Walter and I attended the same kindergarten and the same elementary school for about a year or two. He had to change schools because his family moved away, although I am not quite sure where. I must point out here that I do not remember most of my childhood. One of the reasons is because I have a bad memory and another is because my childhood was uneventful.

I do remember, however, that Walter used to go to my house after school on Fridays to play video games. That soon ended when the family moved away. I believe he went to junior high in Colorado and then high school in San Diego. So unlike Marlon, Walter was absent for most of my life and unfortunately, continues to be. Nevertheless, we always make time to see each other whenever I go home and because of this, I always feel as if he is near.

Another thing I would like to point out is Walter's creativity; he is the most creative of all of my friends. In my opinion, he has a natural talent in the field of art and I look forward to seeing his work every time I visit. His creativity coupled with his acute skill of working with his hands enables him to create art that even I can appreciate. I must say that I never knew Walter to be gifted in this way when we were young and so I was extremely surprised after he showed me his work for the first time.

He continues to be one of my best friends.

Marlon

Since these writings are intended to supplement my autobiography, I find it relevant that I dedicate one entry to each person who has had a significant influence in my life. This entry will be dedicated to one of my best friends, Marlon.

I first met Marlon maybe at the age of 6. I do not remember clearly how we met, but supposedly he came up to me one day when I was in front of my house and offered me a sticker. His house was 1 house away from mine and he continued to live there until university.

Growing up with him was an interesting experience because we never really attended the same school; his parents thought it was best for him to attend private school. We grew up near each other, but we were also far apart at the same time. Due to this situation, all the memories I have of Marlon are outside of school.

Till this day, this seemingly contradictory close/far relationship remains. I have spent the last 7 years away from home, but everytime I return, it is like I never left. Our friendship never fades. I could be away for many years, but when I come back I would still be able to share comfortable silence with him.

Of all the people that I know, I believe him to be the most pure; his heart is incorruptible. It is difficult to explain why I think this, I can only say that this conclusion is a product of years of being his friend.

I am certain that we will remain friends until the day we die.

Internal Struggle

Haiti was hit by a 7.0 earthquake yesterday, the largest earthquake in 200 years. Thousands are presumed to be dead. This event (and many others) make me reflect on my actions and on my potential actions. I know I can help by donating some money, but at the same time, it is difficult for me to reconcile that urge with the urge to be selfish, especially when I'm unemployed.

Furthermore, I am afraid of going down that slippery slope. Why not donate more? And why stop at the Haitian earthquake? I understand and accept that I will not be able to fight most problems, and in order to prevent myself from being emotionally distraught, I decided to focus on one issue and to largely ignore others. Whether or not this is a justification for my lack of action I do not know, but my initial feeling is that it is not.

Purpose of My Writings

Although it seems a bit late to explain what function I want my writings to serve, it, nevertheless, should be stated so that whoever reads them will better understand how I decided to live my life. In short, I want my writings to be a supplement to the autobiography which I will write in the future. Having my daily recordings will present in more detail all the interesting experiences and reflections that I have had. My autobiography, in contrast, will present a more general analysis of my life, hopefully written with the most perspective acquired from a lifetime of experience.

My writings here and my autobiography will be written with the utmost honesty and humility. I will attempt to leave no dream unmentioned, no lesson unexplained, and no mistake unannounced. I would like to show that I strived to live a life guided by morality.

Ecocradle

Finally, cradle to cradle styrofoam!

 

EcoCradle™ is a natural choice
EcoCradle™ packaging is literally grown, not manufactured. We use a growing organism to transform agricultural byproducts like cotton seed hulls and buck wheat hulls into a beautiful protective package. Our patented process is inspired by the efficiency of nature, and uses a filamentous fungi (mushroom roots) to bond this packaging into almost any shape.


EcoCradle™ protects your product and your planet
EcoCradle™ packaging provides the same cushioning, strength and protection as petrochemical based materials such as Styrofoam. But unlike Styrofoam, EcoCradle™ won’t persist in a landfill, or as litter, for an eternity. When you’re done with EcoCradle™, it can be tossed into your garden or compost pile, and EcoCradle™ is anaerobically compostable, so it won't persist in landfills.


Using EcoCradle™ in your garden
Using EcoCradle™ in your garden is a great way to add nutrients to your soil! Simply break EcoCradle™ into smaller pieces, toss it in your soil and water. Using EcoCradle™ as a mulch helps your garden retain moisture.


Composting EcoCradle™
Composting EcoCradle™ is a breeze! Just toss it into your composter or compost pile and wait. To move the process along faster, break EcoCradle™ into smaller pieces.


Throwing EcoCradle™ away
Throwing EcoCradle™ away is an environmentally friendly choice because unlike petroleum based products, EcoCradle™ will decompose in landfill conditions within a short period of time. 


Find out more at http://www.ecovativedesign.com/

Natural and Civil Rights

An excerpt from Thomas Paine's Rights of Man in which he distinguishes between natural rights and civil rights.

Natural rights are those which always appertain to man in right of his existence. Of this kind are all the intellectual rights, or rights of the mind, and also all those rights of acting as an individual for his own comfort and happiness, which are not injurious to the rights of others. Civil rights are those which appertain to man in right of his being a member of society. Every civil right has for its foundation some natural right pre-existing in the individual, but to which his individual power is not, in all cases, sufficiently competent. Of this kind are all those which relate to security and protection.

From this short review it will be easy to distinguish between that class of natural rights which man retains after entering into society and those which he throws into common stock as a member of society.

The natural rights which he retains are all those in which the power to execute is as perfect in the individual as the right itself. Among this class, as is before mentioned, are all the intellectual rights, or rights of the mind: consequently, religion is one of those rights. The natural rights which are not retained are all those in which, though the right is perfect in the individual, the power to execute them is defective. They answer not his purpose. A man, by natural right, has a right to judge in his own cause; and so far as the right of the mind is concerned, he never surrenders it: but what availeth it him to judge, if he has not power to redress? He therefore deposits this right in the common stock of society, and takes the arm of society, of which he is a part, in preference and in addition to his own. Society grants him nothing. Every man is a proprietor in society, and draws on the capital as a matter of right. 

From these premises, two or three certain conclusions will follow.

1st, that every civil right grows out of a natural right; or, in other words, is a natural right exchanged.

2nd, that civil power, properly considered as such, is made up of the aggregate of that class of the natural rights of man which becomes defective in the individual in point of power, and answers not his purpose, but when collected to a focus, becomes competent to the purpose of everyone.

3rd, that the power produced by the aggregate of natural rights, imperfect in power in the individual, cannot be applied to invade the natural rights which are retained in the individual, and in which the power to execute is as perfect as the right itself.

Fiction

It should be stated here that I do not read fiction. I am not exactly sure how this came to be, but I assume it was because I was never really fond of reading. When I started to read in university, my mind was kept occupied with books related to political theory, all of which were non-fiction. Needless to say I became infatuated with the subject and decided to dedicate most of my academic time to furthering my understanding of it. This, it seems, has led me to the situation in which I do not consider fiction; there is simply too much non-fiction to read.

It may seem to a third person that I undervalue fiction, an observation I would completely agree with. I do not, however, believe it is pointless. In fact, my favorite quote was written by George Bernard Shaw, an Irish playwright. The wisdom he used to write the quote can only be manifested in all of his works and I fully admit that it is the fault of mine to not have read them.

However, I do believe that, in general, non-fiction is more for education and the other more for entertainment. When I want to develop my mental capacities, I do not look towards fiction to provide that need. I believe I am undervaluing a great deal of literature, but this is nevertheless how I feel. I await the day when I have the epiphany of realizing the worth of fiction.

Having said the above, it would seem that I do not read for the sole purpose of being entertained, which is absolutely correct. However, it is worthy of noting that I have recently discovered a book in which self-written personal stories of sex workers are presented. I have read about half of the book and I must say that I find the stories very entertaining. This has been one of the very few books that I have wanted to read simply due to enjoyment. Maybe after I acquire the habit of reading for fun can I then move onto fiction.