August 12, 2019
Dear Ren Ruslan,
Here is what I think happiness is and how to get it. First, you can’t find it head on. Despite the Declaration of Independence, happiness cannot be successfully pursued. Rather, live a meaningful life—one that benefits you and others—and happiness will pursue you. So, what is happiness? I’d use terms like contentment, fulfillment, or even that 12-Step favorite, serenity. It’s a feeling of enoughness: The fancy term is satiety. It’s how you feel after good food, good sleep, good sex, even a good workout. Happiness also seems to result from the satisfaction of a job well done. What happiness isn’t is the product of having lots of material things, although the lack of them won’t bring it about either. Amassing ever-increasing wealth and possessions can never produce that feeling of contentment, which is true happiness.
"Increasing the World's – and Our – Wisdom Quotient in a Time of Shortsighted Decision Making" - Presented by Reynold Ruslan Feldman
Overview: What is wisdom, and why do we need it now more than ever? We live in an era of self-serving decision making, providing the greatest good to the fewest people; a time in which Machiavelli's Prince would feel right at home. Wisdom is making decisions that over time prove positive for self, others, the Earth and beyond. If the world is to stay in business, all of us will need to ratchet up our daily decision-making skills to balance out and overcome selfish or ignorance-based shortsightedness. In this session we will discuss and practice how to do just that.
When: Monday, October 7th, 2019, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Where: Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), Adult Education Program
Frasier Parlor, Mountain View United Methodist Church
355 Ponca Place
Boulder, Colorado 80303
This presentation is part of the Fall 2019 OLLI Boulder Speaker Series—Topics Worth Exploring: Mondays, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m., Frasier Parlor Boulder Speaker Series. All talks are held Monday afternoons (Sept. 16 through Nov. 4) from 1-3 p.m. in the Frasier Parlor at Mountain View United Methodist Church, 355 Ponca Pl., Boulder, CO 80303.
How to Register
The OLLI Boulder Fall Term registration began for ‘life long learners’ on Monday, August 5, 2019.
Registration link: portfolio.du.edu/olliboulder
Hope to see some of you there!
Thanks, Ren Ruslan
Friday, July 26th, 2019. At T minus 10 hours, my wife and I are already racing around to get supplies for the evening’s blast-off: wine, red and white; reusable plastic wine glasses; napkins, all in town; then cheese, mixed nuts, and crackers, all from the closest Costco in nearby Superior. Then to the church’s parish hall, our launch-site venue, to leave the food in the fridge and set up the tables, chairs, and lectern. Back home. Shower and change. Leave at 6 pm, T minus one hour, to get to the site 50 minutes ahead to make sure everything is in order and to greet the 40 people who eventually show up.
“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times….” That’s how Dickens begins his fictionalized account of the French Revolution, The Tale of Two Cities. I suppose one can say the same about any era, since there will always be good and bad things happening. Nevertheless, we’re living now, I’m convinced, in a Dark Age. Yet the good news is, we are on the cusp of a new Renaissance. On that premise, my wife Cedar, her friends Marni and Nancy, and I brainstormed 25 characteristics of this born-again better world: 5 individual and 20 social. I hope you can improve on our phrasing and/or send us some additional characteristics of your own in the comments below.
It must be an allergy. Yet for whatever reason I have difficulty seeing national flags on cars, tee-shirts, hats, lapel pins, running shoes, even flagpoles. This goes for the Red-White-and-Blue, our Grand Old Flag. While helping to unite smaller entities, states or provinces, nationalism often does so at the expense of the larger whole. People wrap themselves in their country’s flags before going off and killing, or being killed by, other people wrapped in their country’s flags.
My brother-in-law Dan Barstow has a number of distinctions: He’s born on the Fourth of July, education director for the International Space Station, a heckuva nice guy, and, most importantly for today’s reflection, he’s a magician. He does amazing tricks with silver rings, even if you’re just a few feet away. He’s been wowing audiences for decades yet still manages to fit into the black robe that transforms him into Merlin. (I guess that’s a trick in itself.)
Back in my days as an academic dean at a state university in Chicago, it was graduation day, and I was handing out diplomas. Inevitably I didn’t know any of the students. The professors did but not me. So, I would try to invent new ways to say congratulations as each student came forward for a handshake and their diploma. Then, up walked a graduate I actually knew. He was one of our security guards and the campus locksmith. He was also a big man, tall and wide. And like me, he was Jewish. (Although if you’ve been reading these blogs, you’ve probably figured out by now that I’m an ethnic Jew who’s Christian (Episcopalian) by religion.)
July 3, 2076. An America chastened by the crises of the 21st Century is about to celebrate its Tercentenary. No longer the sole superpower, it has abandoned its role of global policeman to a more mature U.N. and is now using its limited funds for the needs of its people—more Denmark Anno 2019 than the United States of that era. Congress has just enacted a National Maturity Test, better known as the Adult Licensing Act. Unless a citizen passes this multi-phasic exam, he or she may not open a bank account, purchase or drive a motor vehicle, matriculate at a college, apply for a salaried job, buy property, run for office, or even marry.
So, I go to McDonald’s once a week, religiously. Why would such an apparently discerning dude like moi commit such a culinary peccadillo? you might ask. Simple. Boulder’s 10 Tesla Super-chargers are just across the parking lot, and even with their speedier chargers, it still takes at least 40 minutes to fill the Model 3 up. What am I going to do? Sit on the sidewalk? Of course, I could also go to the nearby Starbucks, just another two minutes’ walk. But I’m cheap, and you just can’t beat the 86-cent senior coffee or tea, i.e., why spend two or three bucks more for a marginally better beverage?
The journey of a thousand li begins with a single step. (Chinese saying)
It was a ten-minute interview on local community radio: KGNU to be precise. The actual interview took double that time, but Maeve C., the lovely interviewer from Dublin, Ireland, did a good job afterwards of whittling my remarks down to the allotted ten minutes. Plus, we shot the breeze for another half hour on finishing up. Such are the temptations of wisdom.