Photo Credit: Alex Alvarez

Why There are So Few Good Neighbors

How to Expand Your Self-Improvement to Your Community

Photo Credit: Frank Busch

Why Satisfaction is So Hard to Find

One of the greatest difficulties in the modern world is that the religious debate on the role of science has separated us from finding both short-term and long-term satisfaction: happiness and fulfillment.

Man…is a tame or civilized animal; never the less, he requires proper instruction and a fortunate nature, and then of all animals he becomes the most divine and most civilized; but if he be insufficiently or ill- educated he is the most savage of earthly creatures.

— Plato, Aristotle’s teacher

A “civilized animal” as the answer to this debate? Neat, but what does that mean, Plato?

Photo Credit: Braydon Anderson

What It Means to Be a Civilized Animal

Since the dictionary definitions don’t help much in defining civilized or animal, I’ll give you my working definitions:

  • Civilized: Long-term, beneficial and wise actions — building to last
  • Animal: Satisfying and sociable happiness — enjoying today
Photo Credit: Job Flobrant

Happiness is Balance, Not an Achievement

Happiness comes from momentary affirmations that are obvious to every sense: a good meal, a safe bed, the immediate attention and presence of close friends, the feeling of belonging experienced while fitting in with a crowd.

Photo Credit: Randy Fath

How to Build a Healthy Community

I’m sure you’ve noticed, but stability comes from being around other people. Seeing how other parents raise their kids. Talking with them and getting support.

  1. You must have peace yourself. Parents set the tone in the home but, just as Greg Heibert said, you cannot give what you don’t have. Peace is like a fire: It’s as powerful and contagious as it is vulnerable. It starts with you. You are your power base, you must be stable.
  2. You must maintain peace within your household. Without a stable footing, you can’t reach out. If your own situation is perilous financially or socially, trying to help someone else might just as easily result in your family getting sucked into messy chaos too. You unlock your ability to put energy outward into your world by having a stable home.
  3. You must consistently and deliberately reach out to your neighbors in order to be allowed to help. Yes, allowed. If you’ve never turned down help from someone you don’t trust, or forced to stop a task so someone more skilled could do it, I would like to shake your father’s hand. We only allow people to help to the degree that we trust them to maintain their respect for us when they see our troubles.



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Paul Alan Aspen - I help visual designers get recognized by telling stories of their skills in a way clients will understand - courses & writing services for hire