Newgrange, Ireland

This structure was built 5,200 years ago. Three-ton stones were moved from all around the country to create this thing. Once completed, this structure,  on the light of Winter Solstice, a single ray would shines into the center. Humanities nameless ancestors built three of these, and each with complete precision and magnificence.
Each was a sign of the challenges and bounty for the next season. And, in those circumstances, their lives revolved around these structures. 5,200 years ago, the average lifespan was around 30 to 40 years. Archeologists estimate it took hundreds of years to build Newgrange. From generation to generation, each built on the successes and failures of the last.
There is so much more to this than I can understand, or any of us will ever know, but I believe every generation — every being that touched these structure had a decision: create, preserve or destroy.
What do these three words mean? What do we create (or, build upon)? What do we destroy (or, burn away)? What do we preserve (or, strengthen)?

On Beingness and Technology

I think about the potential of technology often. Whether it be artificial intelligence or blockchain, we are facing new found possibilities.

The efficiency is stunning, and the certainty is reassuring — and we have the possibility to try to think with the logic of technology — in a way — we can become reductionists: a belief that each piece serves a specific utility and no more — that the sum of parts is not greater than the whole.

Logical algorithms must assume a complete logical breakdown of systems, while humans can account for the subtle. If a mechanic takes a part a car to each of its pieces, and puts it back together, then it will likely drive again. If the best surgeon takes an animal and tries to dissect it, and put it back together, then obviously it will not live. There is a difference.

Human beings that break problems into their individual pieces and logically pieces them together — this is what computers do, not humans.

To not lose ourselves to technology, we must practice and honor that which is human: wisdom, love and compassion.

The Discipline a Child Brings

A Dad’s Morning Schedule in the First 6 Months

A Child is the ultimate disciplinarian. With our daughters grand entrance, we have been forced to change our ways. Where there was disorder, there is now order. Where there was order, there is now disorder. And, we would not have it any other way.  I want to spend so much more time with Lila than is feasible, so instead I have had to become more disciplined.

The morning schedule:

5:30 to 5:45AM: Wake up and take Lila to her daytime crib. We do this so Sarika can get 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

5:45 to 6:45AM: Coffee; Meditation; Read something positive (right now it is Brian Johnson’s Optimize +1); Be a paranoid parent and keep checking to make sure Lila is okay

6:45 to 7:15AM: Morning movement

7:15 to 7:30: Shower and get ready

7:30 to 8:15AM: Wake Lila; Change diaper; and, Feed

8:15AM: Hand off Lila to Sarika

So far, the above schedule seems to be what generally is needed, but everyday things change. Sometimes Lila sleeps in a little, and other times not as much. I am learning to roll with the changes, and cultivating acceptance where I can’t do what I want to do.

I am lucky, Lila is a sweet calm baby, and Sarika somehow takes care of so many things with her epic multi-tasking skills.

What would an actuary do?

As a self-proclaimed economist, I enjoy thinking of things from a systemic perspective, incentive structures and behavioral economics. To that end, I have been reading and learning about the insurance industry.

What type of life insurance do actuaries buy? 

http://alephblog.com/2012/08/14/what-insurance-do-actuaries-buy/

Advice from an Actuary

http://www.mymoneyblog.com/life-insurance-advice-from-actuary.html

A Life Insurance Agents Quest to Shine Light on the Industry

http://www.breadwinnersinsurance.com

What are some good insurance companies?

https://www.goodfinancialcents.com/insurance-quotes/life/companies/ (I still need to vet this, but their recommendation about https://havenlife.com and http://lemonade.com).

Note: this is a living post and will continually be updated

On Children by Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Hat Tip: http://www.katsandogz.com/onchildren.html

The Formative Faiths and Stories that Raised Me

As a child, I was taught and raised with a joy and respect for each faith. My parents would tell me stories about all faiths, and their folklore.

I attribute this to my father’s joy of storytelling, but more than that I think there was a profound respect and belief that my parents and even grandparents had in other faiths. Perhaps, it was because my mom’s side of the family was raised in South Africa in neighborhoods relegated to immigrants. With Jewish, Christian and Muslim neighbors in a new country, I imagine our neighbors became our community. I have heard countless stories about the grouped helped one and other.

On my Dad’s side, I imagine my father being educated in New Zealand and also his love of poetry ensured my sister and I would be exposed to all faiths.

I never thought about it consciously, but I am one of many faiths (not God per second, but an exploration of the human condition). Sarika was raised Jain. I was raised Hindu. We both practice Buddhism, but also have strong affinities to anything sacred.

Yesterday, we had the joy of watching Walk With Me, a documentary about Plum Village and the Thich Naht Hanh at the Rubin Museum.

Today, we had the joy of going to Riverside Church to enjoy the weekly service.

I am grateful for the role and influence of the many faiths and beliefs that have created my personal narrative and those Sarika and I hope to pass to Lila.