There are many questions begging to be answered. However, there is one question that is the
basis for all others. Anatomically modern humans appeared roughly 200,000 years ago. For
150,000 years there was little difference between what has been called archaic humans and
modern ones.Their tool kits were basically the same and there is little evidence that they
behaved differently.

Then roughly 50,000 years ago in the relative blink of an eye all that changed. Creativity
for the sake of creativity burst onto the scene and totally engulfed what is generally
acknowledged as a small population.

Written on Nov 29, 2010 By Dan O'Connor

You Are More

Dead center-Again!
Third one in a row.

Big Jim, the only real dart player in the room, raised an eyebrow at me. For him, that was fall-out-of-your-chair surprise.
I gave him a small smile and a slight nod. As if I knew myself what the hell was happening and had planned it all along.
You know-the old hustler trick of appearing to be the hapless pool player but when real money is on the line he runs the table and takes all your money?
Around me were Americans and Japanese in various stages of inebriation. No one else was paying the slightest attention.

Samuria Darts
It was spring 2004, downtown Nara.
As training manager for the United States, I had escorted 4 new employees to Japan for two weeks of intensive technical training. Big Jim being one of them. How we came to be in the middle of a darts tournament in a third floor British pub in the middle of the first imperial capital of Japan is a story in itself.

The short explanation is that it was the tail end of a dinner/party celebrating a successful two weeks of training. More would be a long and convoluted story.

I had started this series of tournaments a couple of hours earlier as I had expected. Most times at least hitting the board-but not always. Once the dart left my hand it was anybody’s guess where it would land.

But now, in this game, I not only knew where it was going to land I was “telling” it where to land. The was an invisible but clearly tangible line between me and the center of the target. I was simply sliding those darts down that line. It was like the tone a fighter pilot gets when his targeting radar locks onto an enemy plane. For once in my life I relaxed into the experience and did not immediately go about analyzing it and losing it.

Maybe the two glasses of straight up Macallan scotch had contributed-maybe not.

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Written on Nov 08, 2010 By Dan O'Connor

Religion is mostly about crowd control-Part Three

High Expectations
Fifteen years ago I returned to college to get an engineering degree. I was whining at my chemistry professor about the difficulty of the course. He patiently listened while I laid out my case.

He waited a couple of seconds before he said. “Dan, we cannot make engineers out of everybody. If you cannot learn what we already know and then add to it-Quit. We will be fine without you.” He then turned and left.

How about a “Do your best”or “You get A for effort” or even “At least you gave it your all”

Do it or not Dan-We will be fine without you.
I suspect becoming an advanced life form is more difficult than chemistry.

Back to our model

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Written on Nov 05, 2010 By Dan O'Connor

Religion is mostly about crowd control-Part Two

The Santa Clause

You know- the concept that somebody is watching you 24 hours a day. That they see not only what you do but are privy to all your thoughts as well.

I remember to this day Sister Mary Ellen describing to us second graders how our soul was like a white circle and every time we committed  a sin a black mark was placed in that pristine white circle. Mortal sins (really bad stuff) were big black marks, venial sins were smaller marks but black marks none the less.

If you died and and the circle had more black than white well- You know. Add to it that one mortal sin mark by itself was the same as an all black circle and you can readily see the cause of a lot of Catholic angst.

Holy Shit!

I did not really say shit because I was not sure how big a mark that would give me. Nevertheless I was in deep doo-doo. Later I learned about the big eraser called confession and things were right with the  world again. But confession brought on its own set of problems. At about the fourth grade, every kid in school went to confession every Friday morning after mass.  I would recite the usual sins for the week, I had dishonored my parents, I had lied (pretty much a standard item) and such. But sometimes I did not have much to report (surprisingly) so I made stuff up.  That raised the thorny question of did I have to report the lie I had told in the confessional the week before?  I knew the answer but I could not bring myself as the liar to tell the truth to the lie-ee. And just maybe, the penance I was assigned for the sins I did not commit would transfer to the sin that I did.

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Written on Nov 03, 2010 By Dan O'Connor

Religion is mostly about crowd control-Part one

Soulbuilders is not about religion.

I am not here to tell you about your faith. But, I think it is imperative that we take a look at religion and how it affects our lives.

Before we start you need to know my bias. We all have a bias. We cannot avoid it. There is no such thing as a completely neutral stance. The things that shaped out thinking early on are with us always.  We are not necessarily slaves to our early conditioning but nether can we completely escape it.

I grew up in an Irish-Catholic household. I spent the first 8 years of my schooling in Catholic schools. I changed to public schools when we moved to Texas in the 8th grade. But, I continued to attend CCD (Catholic Christian Doctrine) classes through high school. Also during this time in both Catholic and public schools I was very active in the Boy Scout program. There can be no doubt that the strict environment of the Catholic schools and the guiding principles of the scouting program shaped me in profound ways.

This is not to say that I was a model child.

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