20 September 2014

This one was not my fault - Really!

With reference to my blog of 8 September 2014, I was intrigued to be given a gecko by my grandson Joshua today. he had rescued it from drowning in their pool by fishing it out of the water using his toy truck (actually a double decker bus that opens up). We played with the gecko for a while, then I noticed that it was missing toes on its left front foot! I thought I had to take photos of the hero, and of the gecko for posterity, and to show that I am not always responsible for the bad things that happen to lizards!
The little hero who saved the gecko.

 And then the gecko showing off its deformed foot.

Yes, I had it climbing all over me!

And Caleb enjoyed taking some of the photos, as did Joshua and Hannah. 

With a little help from Mommy.

Picture taken by Joshua.

08 September 2014

Lorem ipsum, Deep philosophy, losing toes, and some of my insights

I find it interesting that I'll often have a thought during the week and am able to see an application of the thought in counselling one or more people during the week. This week I have been thinking about something that I shared last week that I don't think that I have shared with you. I see I have shared the analogy of the 168 hectare farm, although I am not sure that I explained that the 168 ha represents 168 hours in the week that each and every person has? Well, this week I shared with some people the Lorem ipsum dummy text that I first recall seeing on the graphic design layout of the cover of our vegetation map book. So I only learned of Lorem ipsum at about 50 years of age. This is some Latin text that is used as filler text in graphic design. Wikipedia explains it as follows.
In publishing and graphic design, lorem ipsum is a filler text commonly used to demonstrate the graphic elements of a document or visual presentation. Replacing meaningful content that could be distracting with placeholder text may allow viewers to focus on graphic aspects such as font, typography, and page layout.
The lorem ipsum text is typically a scrambled section of De finibus bonorum et malorum, a 1st-century BC Latin text by Cicero, with words altered, added, and removed such that it is nonsensical, improper Latin. 

I happened to have been speaking to someone who is working with me on the indexing project, he being a retired gent who it turns out taught second languages in grammar schools in southern England. I asked if he had taught Latin to which he replied that he had. Then somehow Lorem ipsum came into the conversation with him asking if I knew what it was, and that he had looked it up and it was interesting. On Saturday morning I had read parts of Moroni 7:5-23 and then decided to look at Lorem ipsum. I did a Google search and was amazed at the parallel between this and Moroni 7.

Moroni talks about good and evil, our choosing and judging good and evil, and the way to know is plain, and that we can know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night, enabling us to judge between good and evil. The following is an English translation of the Latin. The bold is the English translation of the text that is typically used and jumbled as filler text.
[32] But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing of a pleasure and praising pain was born and I will give you a complete account of the system, and expound the actual teachings of the great explorer of the truth, the master-builder of human happiness. No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself, because it is pleasure, but because those who do not know how to pursue pleasure rationally encounter consequences that are extremely painful. Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure. To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure? 
[33] On the other hand, we denounce with righteous indignation and dislike men who are so beguiled and demoralized by the charms of pleasure of the moment, so blinded by desire, that they cannot foresee the pain and trouble that are bound to ensue; and equal blame belongs to those who fail in their duty through weakness of will, which is the same as saying through shrinking from toil and pain. These cases are perfectly simple and easy to distinguish. In a free hour, when our power of choice is untrammeled and when nothing prevents our being able to do what we like best, every pleasure is to be welcomed and every pain avoided. But in certain circumstances and owing to the claims of duty or the obligations of business it will frequently occur that pleasures have to be repudiated and annoyances accepted. The wise man therefore always holds in these matters to this principle of selection: he rejects pleasures to secure other greater pleasures, or else he endures pains to avoid worse pains.

This is deep philosophy. So you can see that my blog this week is the philosophy of men mingled with scripture.

Today I met with a young man who said that he wants to go to FSY in December, but who has dropped out of school in Grade 9, and misses all too many Church meetings and activities.

I asked him who he would be in twenty years time? He eventually said that he would like to be involved with mechanical or electrical engineering.

I then asked him what he would do if he bought a ticket to fly from Cape Town to Johannesburg, if the pilot flying the plane carried on flying south instead of turning toward Johannesburg? He was not sure that he could confront the pilot, but I said that he had bought a ticket to Johannesburg, and the plane was supposed to be headed for Johannesburg, but was going in the wrong direction. he then agreed that he ought to confront the pilot and query why he was not headed for the destination. I then pointed out that he is wanting to fly to 'Johannesburg' but the pilot of his plane (himself) is headed for the 'South Pole'.

I asked him what situations make it easiest to make right decisions? He concluded that church and home would be best, maybe school. I discussed which company is most supportive and which least supportive? I hope that he will think about what I have shared and that it will help him to make wise choices. I then had him with me as I shared the plan of salvation and the restoration with someone who is caring for one of our youth who is making unwise choices, skipping school and keeping unsavoury company. He was able to recognize the parallels between his situation and that of the other youth and the need for changing some of his choices.

I then shared with him how I used to catch sand diving lizards Meroles anchietae (that I knew then as Aporosaura anchietae) in the Namib Desert, and we would weigh them and release them again.
We would walk carefully along the back of the dune so that we could see just along the slip face where the lizards would be out looking for food, mates, or opportunity to challenge the dominant male. When we saw a lizard above the sand we would throw our hat so that it would think a bird was flying over and dive into the soft sand of the slip face for cover.
We noted where it entered, went down the slip face, plunged in our hand, and usually came out with a lizard. Those that were cautious and responded to the vibration of us moving on the dunes would not be caught because we would not know they were there. It was those who were out that we could catch.
We needed to be able to identify lizards that we recaptured so we had to mark them in some way that was permanent so that we would be able to recognize them when recaptured. To do this the researcher would cut off fingers or toes. This sounds cruel, but some lizards lose toes in their fighting for a dominant position, so it is not just man being cruel. Each lizard is born with 20 digits and we could identify 20 lizards by removing one digit, or 400 if we cut off two digits. So that is what we did. Thus we were able to determine that dominant males lose weight as they defend their territory and breed with their females and thus are not able to eat as much as their competitors. So a competitor would oust the dominant male and for a while his DNA would be introduced into the population, but he would then be defeated by a challenging male who would become the new dominant male.

I asked this young man if he would ever miss a Church meeting if he knew that not being under the protection of being in the right place at the right time (in Church) would result in him being caught by one of Satan's hosts resulting in him losing a finger or toe every time he was not at Church? I had previously asked if he would ever miss a meeting if there were R1000 waiting for him each time he attended? he felt that in either case he could probably manage to be at every meeting. Somehow losing a finger seemed to be stronger motivation than gaining R1000. I reminded him that Heavenly Father sometimes blesses us for our faithfulness, and sometimes he prevents the loss of privileges, blessings or protection. This is like the positive reward of thousands of rands, or like preventing the negative consequence of losing toes.

I stressed to my young friend that I want to send him to FSY in December with '20 fingers and toes' or 'R20000' for each time that he attends meetings! I reminded him that Heavenly Father does not want to only give us R20000, but 'all that the Father has shall be given him', which far surpasses R20000! I hope that he uses these mental images as motivation to choose good and not evil.

So I shared Moroni 7, Lorem ipsum and losing toes with my Priesthood Executive Committee and two people this afternoon. Somehow this seemed to be appropriate in each setting. I am interested to see what will come to me this week that I will end up sharing with someone next Sunday?