Background, Culture

Life

Along the way, I made mistakes, cried my tears and continued to be the best person I was taught to be. Through it all, I was determined to travel into my own unknown waters, and move toward a new life.

I’m reminded of the Peggy Lee song of the sixties entitled, “Is That All There Is,” and though my life would continue to be a litany of duties and responsibilities with an epithet that would read, “He was born, made mistakes, did something right, then he died.” I was being swallowed up in the dance of life that was slowly grinding me down. Lossing all connections to religion, because I began to see religion as created by men created to control society. I wanted to hold on to something greater than me, to a sense of spiritually to answer to all my concerns about what is real.

Slowly over time, began a new search for what was real.

If an honest epitaph were to be written in the future about all of us, what would it say? When all of our experiences in this short life were to be taken into account, would the epitaph read like this: “Here lies humanity, and in the end, all the love that was made was equal to the love that was gave.” Would that epitaph be your mark in this lifetime? Or while the clock is still ticking, and blood is flowing through our veins, will there always be hope for a new dawn? These questions all started for me as a young boy.

I had come to the conclusion of my infinite smallness, and how if just by chance, I was alive and occupied this small speck of time. Why were we born here in America, and not Asia, or some other part of the world? What was the purpose of this existence?

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Culture

What Religion Taught Me

I was immersed in the Catholic way of viewing the world for all of my early life, and I still embrace many of the church’s beliefs, while conversely, many of its beliefs that helped push me on a different path. I for one love the Latin masses, because through those religious services, I feel a connection with the past. The Catholic Church chronicled that history in sounds, smells and visually, through art and words. As a child, I saw in the church the final authority between god and man, and as the only route to salvation. It was the true path for countless souls for generations upon generations of history. During my early adulthood, I followed the teachings of the church and considered my personal sacrifices to be nothing compared to the sacrifice of Christ for me. I was taught; living for my happiness and fulfillment, apart from Christ had no value and would lead to eternal damnation.  As I began to think as an adult, and question the supreme authority of the Catholic Church, the house of cards that held together much of the church’s history and theology, began to fall apart in my mind. Continue reading

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Background, Culture

My Rebirth

If an honest epitaph were to be written in the future about all of us, what would it say? When all of our experiences in this short life were to be taken into account, would the epitaph read like this: “Here lies humanity, and in the end, all the love that was made was equal to the love that was gave.” Would that epitaph be your mark in this lifetime? Or while the clock is still ticking, and blood is flowing through our veins, will there always be hope for a new dawn? These questions all started for me as a young boy, named Frankie who lay in bed with his eyes transfixed on the ceiling.

I should have been sleeping, but a nagging new reality sent shivers down my spine. I had come to the conclusion of my infinite smallness, and how if just by chance, I was alive and occupied this small speck of time. Why were we born here in America, and not Asia, or some other part of the world? What was the purpose of this existence?

Continue reading

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Background, Culture

Into a Brave New World

I have lived in an age of great achievements. In my lifetime, many of the greatest minds, lived and expanded our emerging new world to come. New forms of technology before only dreamed of are introduced almost daily. Our culture, which in the past could be viewed regionally, now is becoming more and more global. We are surrounded by the brilliance of others in this new life we share, in a new world that is daily transforming itself into the future, a future that is paradoxically both wonderful and yet so potentially horrible, that we, the average person, in our own average worlds, seek to find comfort and security.

In may ways, just as pop culture played a prominent role in the American experience of the 60’s, our youth are experiencing a new culture that is molding their conscience understanding of themselves and their role in the larger world around them. For those young enough to remember, in the 60’s “all we need is love,” and for those of the current emerging generation, the words may be different but the sentiment is the same. Are these words merely a slogan or are they an embedded ideal that we all share? Generation after generation seek to find and share love, love, love. I contend that Lennon and McCartney had a clear sense of what is in most of our hearts when they wrote: “and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

Most Americans live in their own self-consumed worlds, and though society tries to elevate itself to nobler goals, the average person, seeks their own comforts first. Here in America, an christian nation, it is no different. In this consumer driven world,  love is a part of the equation of live, but it is often centered on the self. Has it ever been different?

Of course, many people around the world are seeking a better way, but the history of mankind is a mixed bag of conflicting beliefs, that never seem to reconcile. All cultures are under a new kind of stress, because we live in a world of supersonic speeds, where information seems to travel at the speed of light. what values will shape our  new world future? If history can be any sort of guide, people will always be divided between aspiring toward spiritual goals, while internally balancing their own personal comfort. Will our society find a true moral path to walk, or simply waffle back and forth through good time and bad.

If an honest epitaph were to be written in the future about humanity what would it say? When all of our experiences throughout history were to be taken into account, would our epitaph read like this: “Here lies humanity, and in the end, all the love it made was equal to the love it gave.” Would a collective epitaph be enough to sustain us in the Brave New World that is our future? Or while the clock is still ticking, and blood is flowing through our viens, there will always be time for a new birth.

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Background, Photography

What is Viewpoints?

What is Viewpoints and how will it evolve over the years? Viewpoints is a blog that stimulates discussions about collective cultures, ideas, fears and hopes. As an American educator living in China, I have a unique opportunity to focus on the world from a different perspective. Through Viewpoints, relevant issues are explored.

I’m a 59 year old educator leaving the US this August for China. Still my ability to understand education in American is changing as the years pass by. I believe in a better society where young minds are not destined to follow in the footsteps of their parents, but strive for a better future to carry them though the 21st century. Discussions through Viewpoints, will offer a divergent perspective.

Dalian American International School, the new home of the travelinbrandeworld and reach out to the humanity.

Burning diplomas is a jumping off point for some, but not for me. I am a teacher in terms of my life and vocation. I love to learn and explore all of the areas I have yet to understand. To that end, I have a passion to travel and explore the world as I encounter it. Come with me, and see what is to see! Viewpoints shares ideas, and creates another link to a better world.

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