The Ever Progressing Advertising Industry

The question of the day is, do we need more advertising? Is more growing advertising revenue to be?

I have already given up on TV a long time ago. Not only were there few shows that are enjoyable, the ever more increasing commercials during a program has made my decision firm. I think there is one day where commercials take up more minutes than the program itself. Perhaps we are there already? I don’t watch enough TV, can someone tell me? :P

The one show I do still watch now is Daily Show (kudos to Jon Stewart), and I have been watching it online for awhile. During this time, I observe a trend. Between segments, it went from 15 seconds commercial, to 15/30 seconds commercial break, to now, 2-3 10/15/30 seconds commerical break.

Is it just me or are we simply gradually transferring the television advertising method to online programs? What happened gradually to television programs is happening to internet programs. It will be the same beast with another skin.

What is next? What is the next medium of “information watching” where we can avoid commercials before it gets overtaken by commercials? Can there be a next thing after internet? I don’t know.

Originally posted 2009-10-11 22:16:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

What is Stress, What it Does, How it Kills

After the last post, I find it fitting to talk some about stress.

What is Stress?

Taking the fifth meaning from dictionary.com, stress is the physical pressure, pull, or other force exerted on one thing by another, meaning for us, environmental stress. This is comparable to how our ancestors have to worry about having shelter, finding food, and not getting eaten.

For the heck of it, let me first make a point using a bit of video game lingo.

Video Game Hero Burst Mode

Imagine our hero in a video game who has a burst mode. This burst mode makes him a few times more powerful than usual and not get stunned… however, his hitpoints gradually decreases in this mode. So, the idea is to use the burst mode only when he fights very strong enemy and otherwise absolutely necessary to not die. Definitely not always, because he’d die.

Human Burst Mode, aka Fight or Flight

Well, we have somewhat of such a mode… it’s been identified in science as “fight or flight”.

As the words suggest, when we are in “fight or flight” mode, our body is ready to either fight or flee from danger. Intuitively then, when we are in such a mode, because the body concerns only of survival, the last thing it wants to do is digesting food properly, peeing and pooping, breathing deeply and slowly, generating energy for us in non-detrimental manner, and lastly (for some most importantly), carrying out sexual activity. LOL

(description of the science behind these is further down)

Stress in Modern Days

Back in the days when our ancestors live in the wild, such a mode is imperative for survival, to be able to hunt for food or run away from saber tooth. It’s really an intelligent design and gift of nature.

I surmise some activities above that our bodies is not inclined to do when in “fight or flight” mode, which should inevitably makes us realize how stress is one factor that lead to many other issues that modern people face.

We, or rather most of us with a few exceptions, constantly render our bodies in this “fight or flight” mode.

With saber tooth out of the picture, the “danger” we are threatened with are things that we think we must do and that which put us under stress — paying bills, feeding the family, keeping everyone happy, making deadline at work, getting the next promotion, becoming famous and successful, attaining power, retirement, eating things that hopefully won’t kill us before retirement, saving the world and blah blah blah.

Additionally, we are currently living in a society that is driven by fear. If you disagree, I politely ask you to check the news.

Our Beautiful Mind is also a Curse

Beyond the environmental stress, there is one more factor that hits it home to have stress cause us so much grief. Our mind.

For because we are humans and we are capable of thinking. This is another gift of nature that can also become a curse by misuse. We think about past and future. We think to create the perception of what is.

Things that we think we need to make us normal.
Things that we think will lead us to a “bad” future.
Things that we think as truth by expectations and conditioning.

We abuse the mind and apply thinking everywhere. Then ultimately, our attachment to these thoughts as real causes stress to multiply by ten-folds. Buddha is not lying when he said, “Attachment leads to suffering.” Well, it certainly does in how it leads to stress in our life!

Positive Stress

And let us not forget, when we seek drama, indulgence, and excitement, it is more or less the same because positive stress is stress to the body too. And there is science behind it that our bodies react similar to positive and negative stress.

Anyways, when it’s all said and done, we are constantly putting our bodies in this “fight or flight” mode. When we are not stressing out on negative things, we are seeking positive stress. In other words, stress kills is really another way of saying, we are killing ourselves, albeit slowly.

The Chemistry and the Science

I am no scientist but this is a summary of the many things I self-studied on this topic that hopefully can be easily understood.

Mainly, there are two hormones generated when we are in “fight or flight” modes — adrenaline and cortisol — both produced by the adrenal gland. Both of them are geared toward getting our body ready and have enough quick energy to fight or run away. I will only focus just these 2 and effects due to having them for prolonged period of time.

Adrenaline
Real name is Epinephrine. Adrenaline is a hormone that boosts the supply of oxygen and glucose (think of them like gas to cars) to the brain and skeletal muscles. That means if you have a lot of it in your bloodstream constantly, these are the effects:

– Not have adequate supply of oxygen and glucose to other organs in your body, which includes organs in the digestive system, parts of your nervous system (that’s why probably you are less sensitive), sexual organs (sorry, no sex when adrenalized)
– Because the oxygen and glucose supplied to the brain and muscles in mass quantity, they will be very stimulated, which will likely cause insomnia and muscle restlessness.
– Behaviorally, our ancestors work off the adrenaline in body by fighting or running away… but we modern people involve no such kind of physical exertion for that purpose. So either we leave the adrenaline in the body doing all the stuff above, or we find ourselves overeating, crazy shopping, etc.

Cortisol
Cortisol is what we call the “stress hormone”. Cortisol does many things. A few key effects are:

– Increase in Blood Sugar (hyperglycemia) — Cortisol being a counter to insulin and probably also because it increases glycogen synthesis by liver (as source of energy for muscles).
– Weaker bones — probably because cortisol induces loss of collagen (monitored in rats), which are present in the skin, bone, cartilage, tendon, and teeth.
– Long-term exposure to cortisol results in damage to cells in the hippocampus, aka, your long term memory.

Both Hormones
– Interfere with thyroid function and affect the T-cells and thus interfere with our immune system, which is why we are easier to get sick when stressed out.
– Decrease in muscle tissue because they cause our bodies to burn carbs and lean muscle (protein) in order to obtain quick energy to fight or run. Because burning fat to get calories is slower. Hence, not a good idea to exercise and weight train as a stressed person.

There you have it. A quick run through about stress. Not short, but it could have been longer!

Of course, I’m no “expert” and these are my intuition and understanding from self-study. So, do your own study. If you are really interested, besides searching for stress/adrenaline/cortisol you should also look into “parasympathetic” and “sympathetic” systems.

My thanks to these resources:
http://www.thebodysoulconnection.com/EducationCenter/fight.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epinephrine
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cortisol
http://stress.about.com/od/stresshealth/a/cortisol.htm
http://www.greenerchiro.com/Stress%20&%20Cortisol.htm

Originally posted 2009-10-29 00:03:06. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Are You Ready to Change?

Phew, the election is finally over. For awhile I felt like the news, rumors, absurdities, bashing, and Tina Fey would never end. We can now be relieved and start seeing and reading other things besides all things presidential and campaign related. By other things, I mean economic crisis news ONLY. Okay, enough sarcastic comments for the day.

Finally the president is decided. Now we can move on. I am glad. The biggest unknown and question now is, “Are the people ready to change?” Our future will result in two completely different ends depending on the answer. I wonder if people really mean it when they say change.

If they mean that they are ready to change and better themselves, this would be a good answer.

If they simply mean that they await for others and the world to change for them, this would be the disastrous answer.

Originally posted 2008-11-05 21:36:41. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Awareness-based Philosophy

Here is a post where I list by points about my understanding about awareness, which by practicing, will certainly help each of us to live a better and fuller life in all aspects, including, personal, career, love, financial… Please take time and give each point some thinking of your own and chew on them because each can easily turn into a full individual post or essay. After all, you can only reap what you sow. Enjoy!

Awareness is the basis of everything — the beginning of the self, the end of the self, the self’s connection to everything, how everything is connected.

You choose to awaken your awareness, where you start by rediscovering the societal, cultural, and religious conditionings and preconceived notions that have been ingrained and seem innate. Be ready to let go of the ones that are simply bondage, even though you have come to know as truth.

Awareness is within all of us. You are awareness if you let go of attachments and desires and just be.

Awareness is like a non-discriminating, impartial silent observer that exists in all of us. With it, you can understand yourself, and then define your values and what is important in your life, not what others or society tell you. When you know your values and priorities, you no longer listen nor care what popular beliefs are.

Awareness is neither about positive nor negative. Thus, awareness is oneness. As oneness goes, there is no opposite, and with no opposite, there exists void, emptiness, nothingness. This is the idea that is behind the saying that oneness is also void, emptiness, or nothingness — Everything is one, and one is nothing, and everything is nothing.

Even the dualistic nature of things speaks oneness. The meaning of good is subjective to the meaning of bad. Put more simply, good does not exist without bad. So should happiness exist without sadness. All thoughts are partial. An object must have a subject. It is all connected.

Because of oneness and things all being connected, there exists causality (or karma), which is absolute. There IS a circle of life, not just of humans, but of all things.

Awareness is attention to emotions and thoughts, and as those become clearer, you get closer to see and to sense things as they are. Attention, attention, attention.

Awareness is also attention to your body, your muscles, your nerves because the sensations, mainly tensions, of your body is every bit connected to your emotions and thoughts. How you feel and what you do about your body can affect your emotions and thoughts. But so can emotions and thoughts affect your body. Unfortunately in some cases, people do very bad things to their body because of emotional turmoils. Notice how your body tense up when you feel strong emotion, and also notice how deep breathing has a calming effect. Since you can notice your body and mind, we can be sure that such awareness exists.

Living in the moment is seeing and sensing things as they are, where you simply be with no judgment of good or bad, positive or negative. Attention, attention, attention.

Emotions and thoughts always happen. Awareness, Zen, Buddhism do not tell you to deny yourself of emotions and thoughts. The difference is awareness/attention to your emotions and thoughts, or lack there of.

When you become aware, seeing reality as it is, seeing oneness and causality, and begin to live in the moment, is also when your hopes die. Hope that your partner will love you more. Hope that you will not be alone. Hope that you will make more money. Hope that future will be a better place. Hope that heaven awaits upon death. All those hopes die because there is just the moment, and the moment is perfect (without ego, judgment, dramatization…) Hence the talk of hopelessness in Zen. Without hope, it simply is. There is just THIS moment.

Because there is also just this moment, you should always do your best. Your best in this moment will lead to your best in the next. And whether you think you are doing your best or not, you are doing your best. Your best may not be “good” but that is just a coloration by thoughts and it is still your best. This is why every moment is perfect. You did your best, move on. Live in the moment, not the past, not the future.

Ego is the “self” that is created from emotions and thoughts. That is why awareness helps us demolish ego and also why, without awareness, people are driven by ego, in other words, driven by emotions and thoughts.

Attachment causes suffering. Any form of attachment will end in pain. Attachment is attachment to ego, to emotions, to thoughts, and in other words, lack of attention, lack of awareness to your emotions and thoughts. People may be attached to tangible things, but each attachment to tangible things are based on attachments to certain thought or emotion. When you are so attached to being happy or feeling “good”, you are not aware because you can only be happy if you were once sad, and you lose sight of the moment. That’s why, be aware of your thoughts and emotions.

Attachment can also be sad to get hung up on one side of a duality, and hence lack of awareness to see oneness and emptiness.

Detachment means the demolishment of ego, accomplished through active attention. Detachmeng does not mean emotionless and thoughtless. Detachment is not apathy or indifference because that just means you do not care about the world around you and therefore you fail to be aware and see things as they are, which are all connected, as you are to the people around you. In other word, apathy and indifference just mean you are running away from problems.

When you are aware, you will not fail to care as everything is related. Hence the compassionate and meticulous nature of aware beings.

With awareness, we simply do things with full attention, without interference of ego, emotions, and thoughts, and thus, allowing us to do what we need to do to the best of ability without complicating thoughts. Life as it is is simple! As such, we can take care of our responsibility without dramatization, and we can do our best each moment and be most effective.

When you see things as they are, when you see everything as connected, when you understand nothingness, when your attachments and hopes die, when your ego is demolished, is when true love happens. True love, true compassion, true kindness come from an aware mind. Hence, when you no longer need someone is when you begin to truly love.

Nature provides unconditional love to mothers to their children. However, aside that, truly unconditional love that we may have for family, friends, strangers, nature, and the world will come from a sense of awareness.

The process of practicing awareness, to begin to see your own thoughts and emotions, and thus the challenging of your own ego and preconceived notions is full of turmoils and takes much patience and persistence. It WILL take time. It WILL involve pain. Think of it like reprogramming your own body and mind, after years of bad societal programming.

Freedom, joy, peace, euphoria are all side effects of you returning to your original state of awareness, though they are not the end one should seek. Focus on the practice of awareness.

Zen is not an easy way out. Buddhism does not provide a silver bullet. Christianity cannot save your soul. No religion does any of those. They are just truths and sets of rules and philosophy put together by other people who came to their own understandings. They do contain much wisdom, so study them and learn them. Don’t just follow. Don’t accept the convenience. You must do work, hard work on your own.

It is easy to say or think that all things are connected, but it is up to yourself, individually, to pratice awareness and come to your own realization.

In the beginning is awareness for all, and as you regain more awareness, so will the desire to learn about yourself, your community, and the world continues to grow. Think how babies and little kids have such amazing capacity to learn. Think how many questions they ask, until they got silenced. Our society, marketing schemes, cultures, religions, education system completely dull our awareness when we are growing up.

I am not here to force you to learn. Chances are you want to learn because you are reading this. I do not pretend to know everything because I know so little yet. And it is not even about me. It is you, in every moment, you get to choose. You are choosing in every moment. You are choosing the end you want — awake to your own awareness and a journey of rediscovery, or stay a distracted mind that continues to live in a masquerade. Both can be truths. Which truth do you seek?

Originally posted 2008-06-23 21:22:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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