KEW Episode 38: Faith and Trust

Because I grew up without religion, I always thought faith was something you only had for religion things. Later I came to understand faith is something we have when we don’t have enough information. Or we don’t know the outcome, but we desire a certain outcome. Faith is believing.

When I was becoming a scientist, I realized that faith even had a place in that world. Because science rarely proves anything, the people must decide whether scientific evidence means anything or not. We have to believe the evidence. We have to have faith that the evidence means what we say it means. It’s a collective effort.

So I define faith as something individuals and groups have for things or ideas. That is, faith is the belief in things or ideas.

When I ran a small business I assumed every phone call or email was trying to get me to buy something. I didn’t trust people very well. I assumed they had hidden agendas disguised as a sales pitch. I lost trust and became very pessimistic with respect to human relationships. I began to think everyone had a hidden agenda and didn’t trust them.

I still struggle with trusting other people and wondering whether they have a hidden agenda (conscious or otherwise). But I have learned that trust is belief we have for individual people.

This week I try to pick these two words apart and see what comes up.

Podcast audio download: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/7289098-kew-episode-38-faith-and-trust.mp3?blob_id=31681690&download=true (or on any of your favorite podcast apps)

YouTube video: https://youtu.be/u9IGHaI1eHU

Preview KEW Episode 38: Faith and Trust

I have been wondering a lot lately about trust and faith. I realized years ago that faith played a much bigger role in science than my academic colleagues were willing to admit. And I also struggle a bit with ‘trust issues’, both with respect to people and businesses.

So, like most things that interest me I decided to podcast about these elements to better understand them.

I consider faith to be belief in things, or phenomena, and trust to be belief in people. We NEED to believe, so we need to trust and have faith. The more I think about them the more I realize humans need some sort of stability and/or mechanisms to reduce fear of the unknown – enter faith and trust.

Here’s a preview of this week’s episode: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=445014700023525

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 16: Who Tells your Story?

You may recognize this title form the hit musical Hamilton. I was inspired by this piece to think about what remains after we are gone. I think we remain in other people’s memories through time, the length and intensity of which is determined by the impact we made while we were alive.

In as much as our DNA has memory and facilitates a kind of immortality as we pass our genes into future generations, so do other people’s memories of who we were.

In our lives we owe it to our ancestors to remember them, and to build upon the gifts they leave us. And we also owe it to the future to remember our own stories.

Link to preview video here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=315855623091288

Full Episode link here: https://chrisburcher.com/2020/08/07/episode-16-who-tells-your-story/

KEW Episode 37: Currency of Life

One of the things I think about most often is how we have to have a job to earn money to buy the time we want to live our lives. It’s like the life we’re born with is secretly conditional upon participating in this loop.

I’m not angry about it anymore, but I used to be. This forced agreement seemed unfair. Not that I didn’t want to work, I just felt violated having my life be conditional upon participation in someone else’s system.

So after I calmed down, I started thinking about how we measure the value in our lives. Which led me to money. We see money as the ultimate indicator of all of the important things. Of all the THINGS in life that can make us happy, we see money as being the most important. But it isn’t just about money. In fact, I was using money to leverage the other things I wanted. Most notably, TIME.

To me, time *should* come before money. It’s part of the universe (or at least we think it is, as we understand what it is). It was here before us. It wasn’t invented by humans. Time asks nothing, is consistent, and fairly equally distributed among species. And when it isn’t equally distributed, awareness of time is enhanced instead of taken for granted. All I can really do with time is try and understand I only have so much of it. Which becomes painfully more and more obvious as I age. . . .

In addition to TIME, I also value LOVE in similar ways. As in, if I had all the time in the world, and no loved ones to share it with, time would have less value. So some measure of love in my life is also important. So it’s also critical to my happiness to have love in my life.

And, sadly, if I had to rank my understanding of, appreciation for, and effort spent in pursuit of, I would have ranked money much higher than time or love for most of my life. It’s only lately that I’ve realized I want to prioritize time and love over money. For the rest of my life (time).

Unfortunately, that deal we make at birth about money doesn’t just go away. We still need a certain amount of money (and therefore lose a certain amount of time) in order to meet our basic human needs. There is a reason we rank money more highly than other things and that’s because it is ESSENTIAL to meeting your basic human needs. There are fewer and fewer ways to meet your basic needs without working and earning money. So life becomes this game of either needing less money or earning more money to hopefully meet your time and love (and other) needs. Personally, I’d rather need less money than lose more time.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about these currencies, and others that you may value.

Podcast audio link: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/7175626-kew-episode-37-currency-of-life.mp3?blob_id=31009066&download=true

YouTube video: https://youtu.be/SuSOjGAVFB0

Preview KEW Episode 37: The Currency of Life

Money is important. You need it to get the other things you need. Once you have enough money to meet your basic needs (food, shelter, safety) you can think about other things in life. People use money to measure their success and their ability to have other important things. Money is like the gateway.

But there are other currencies we use and spend every day. For me, two important currencies are Time and Love. Without Time what good is the money? If you were to die tomorrow, how much could you spend? And how much time would you have traded for that money? See, it takes time to make money and to enjoy your time you need money. It’s weird.

And, really, if you have ‘enough’ money and time (whatever ‘enough’ is), what good is it without other people to share them with? Love is another form of currency, but it obeys a different set of rules. In fact, Money, Time, and Love all play by a different rulebook.

I’ll get pretty deep into this in this week’s Episode. Here’s a preview!

KEW Episode 36: Narcissism & Codependency

After my divorce I did some serious soul searching (and therapy) to figure out what happened. I accepted that both parties played a part in the divorce and wanted to understand what happened. Multiple lines of evidence support that my ex-wife became narcissistic and I became codependent. Now, I’m not saying ‘she is narcissistic’ or ‘I am codependent’, but our relationship brought out these personality traits and made them pretty severe. I think many people are affected by narcissistic and/or codependent tendencies, and the combination of the two in a relationship can be detrimental to both parties.

Narcissism is said to be an expression of selfishness, but self care is an important skill. Codependency has been described as prioritizing others’ needs over one’s own, but boundaries are important. While making this Episode I realized that a ‘healthy’ person probably has a little of both characteristics. In other words, a healthy person can practice self care and get their needs met, but also be empathetic towards others and accommodate their needs.

We tend to say or think things like, “He’s a narcissist” or “They’re a codependent’, but it’s probably pretty rare to encounter someone who is entirely one or the other. Sure, there are exceptions out there and I think we’d all agree that an extreme expression toward either condition is not good. At the very least extreme cases of narcissism or codependency we usually don’t want to be around or deal with.

My extreme codependency ended up with me being a door mat. And my ex-wife did end up being pretty narcissistic and self-serving (she had an affair and gaslighted me). But I think it was the combination of personality types in a struggling relationship that brought out the worst in each of us. I don’t really know if she is a narcissist, and I am not a ‘natural codependent’.

Since I can only really speak for myself, I will say I have codependent tendencies. I think this comes from how I grew up, some beliefs I formed as a child, but it’s also a result of my empathetic nature. I tend to have pretty weak boundaries and am very aware of how other people feel. This often leads me to feel like I need to take care of people (and that’s not really a good thing).

I don’t really know what it’s like for narcissistic people, but I can say that I am a bit jealous of people who know how to get their needs met – because I struggle to do that for myself.

I hope you enjoy the episode and get something out of my stories, my experiences, and observations.

Podcast audio download here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/7055506-kew-episode-36-narcissism-codependency.mp3?blob_id=30164812&download=true or via your favorite podcasting app.

YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/qeYmUsIbQmI

Preview KEW Episode 36: Narcissism & Codependency

If you’ve watched a few KEW Episodes you’ll know I have codependent, people-pleasing tendencies. This week I share what I’ve learned about codependency and narcissism. I’ve spent a decade working on my personal issues, and these two personality ‘situations’ seem to be incredibly common. Maybe some of my stories will help. Here’s a preview: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2500346136935365

Full Episode this Friday.

KEW Episode 35: Beyond Science

Before I ‘retired’ to stay home with my kids I was an academic research scientist. I taught classes, advised students, and led a research lab. I was pretty successful. The only reason I share that is to say I feel like I’ve earned the right to explain what science is, and what it ISN’T. In Episode 1 I shared a bit about what science is, and now I want to talk about what it is not.

Science is very good at asking questions about things we can measure, but it isn’t very good at addressing the unmeasurable things. Like emotions, intelligence (even though we try with the IQ), colors, music . . . Some things just don’t fit into the scientific method. And that’s OK! Some things, many things actually, are measured indirectly and sort of forced to fit into science, and that’s ok, too. Take my former scientific field, ecology, for example. Many ecosystems can’t be replicated (there’s only one Earth), so ecology doesn’t fit exactly into hypothesis testing and statistics, but we do it anyway. Science is pretty robust, but there are still things outside the realm of investigation via the scientific method.

So what do we do? Well, there’s metaphysics, a field which I know little to nothing about. But I like the idea of metaphysics because it’s ‘beyond’ physics. And physics is arguably one of the most advanced fields of science. So, metaphysics goes beyond physics but with an appreciation and understanding of the underlying principles of particles and such.

But I think calling it metaphysics, if I’m anywhere close to understanding what it is, is probably not necessary. I think we all understand, at least a little, that science can’t do everything. So we probably also accept that there are other forms of thinking that are totally acceptable.

The major difference I see, between scientific thinking and ‘other kinds of ‘ thinking, is the standardization procedures. If anyone can just ‘think’ their way through problems, how do you know what is accurate? How many hair-brained things have you heard people say? Are all of our ideas really just opinions? There has to be someway to filter through the crummy thinking to get to the good stuff. How do we determine what’s good?

While that question may be another podcast in and of itself, in Episode 35 I offer my thoughts about how we go about non-scientific thinking as a community. Similar to science we must peer-review each other’s thoughts through a traditional discourse. I long for a world where structured thinking about metaphysical subject is widespread and follows a systematic approach developed cooperatively by all of us.

Podcast download link here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/6975298-kew-episode-35-beyond-science.mp3?blob_id=29706826&download=true or via your favorite podcast app.

YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/Daii2LHwlBg

Preview KEW Episode 35: Beyond Science. Metaphysics?

During my brief stint as a philosophy major I really wanted to learn about Metaphysics. Mostly because I thought it sounded cool, but I really knew nothing about it. I’m not sure much has changed in that respect. But I was thinking recently about things that can’t be explained using the scientific method, like Self and Soul (KEW Episodes 33 and 34) and, well, this led to Episode 35.

Science is great, but it was designed to measure things. And those things have to be measureABLE. Quantifiable. So we can use math. Physics might be the crowing achievement of the sciences (but they’re all good) but just can’t do it all. So I think of metaphysics as being beyond physics – beyond the best science into a new realm

In the Soul episode I wondered aloud whether particles might have some precursor to awareness, and that this might lead to awareness when organized into a human mind. As with most ideas I have, I’m not the first one to offer this theory, but it was new to me at the time. The alternative, of course, is that particles do NOT have any awareness and that human consciousness or awareness is unique, and maybe magical. Either way this isn’t a question science can answer. Very well, if at all.

I’m sure I’ll keep pushing into the soul/self/awareness/consciousness space because I find it interesting. But first, a bit about what science can and can’t do, and a plea for more philosophy.

Preview video here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=450945185901457

Full Episode this Friday.

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 15: Rat Racer

If you’re part of the Rat Race, you’re a Rat Racer! And maybe you’re doing really well. Winning, even. But even if you win, like Lily Tomlin said, you’re still a Rat.

That’s how I have felt during the 35 years I’ve been working. Even when I got my ‘dream job’ as a professor, I still felt the pressure to win the Rat Race. Even now that I’m trying to do my own thing, and figure out what other options there are besides the Rat Race, I feel the tug.

Though this episode is from summer 2020, I am currently exploring alternatives to the Rat Race. Or, more accurately, alternatives to the money, fame, and power that you can win in the Rat Race. That’s the pull, after all, isn’t it?

What if we valued things above money, fame, and power? Like, loving relationships, intelligence, curiosity . . . money will always be important, but what if there were other things to win that were recognized as meaningful to all?

More on that later this week. For now here’s a look back at why the Rat Race sucks.

Preview video here: https://chrisburcher.com/2020/07/31/kew-episode-15-rat-racer/

Full episode links here: https://chrisburcher.com/2020/07/31/kew-episode-15-rat-racer/