The Power of a New Idea: Maimonides - Politicrossing
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The Power of a New Idea: Maimonides

The more innovative the idea you wish to introduce, the more you first need to contemplate and study the landscape

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The name Moses Maimonides is lost to our contemporary masses, who might know the names Nicolaus Copernicus, Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, or James Madison, but can barely cite their accomplishments.

Maimonides was born in 1138 in Cordova, Spain. Under Muslim rule, Cordova was considered one of the intellectual centers of the Western world. When Maimonides was ten years old, a warring sect invaded and conquered Cordova, forcing all non-Muslims, including his family, who were Jewish, to convert, depart, or face execution.

Many Travels

For nearly two years, Maimonides’s family lived a fairly nomadic life, traveling throughout southern Spain and eventually settling in Morocco. At the age of 28, when he had already started to establish himself as a philosopher, author, and serious thinker, he relocated to Cairo, Egypt.

His first masterpiece, the Mishneh Torah, provided an organizational framework forthe Torah’s commandments and highlighted that each part of Jewish law provided a rational and fundamental purpose.

Maimonides showed that none of the laws were constructed simply for the sake of obedience, an observation apparently true of many other religions.

Book One of the Mishneh Torah, also known as the Book of Knowledge, laid the foundation for Jewish philosophy, offered a theory of morality, implored the study of the Torah, spelled out laws regarding idolatry, and expounded upon the importance of repentance.

Book Fourteen, known as Judges, proclaimed that the true Messiah would come and restore sovereignty to Israel, make peace with surrounding nations, and lead the modern world in scientific and philosophical inquiry.

Articles of Faith

Maimonides presented 13 principles that he believed all Jews needed to adopt, including the existence and eternity of God; that God communicates through the prophets, of which Moses of Egypt was the greatest; that the Torah was offered by God and is immutable; and that there is divine providence, as well as divine punishment and reward.

These articles of faith were the first of their kind. His views were vexing to European in the 12th century and ignited an ongoing controversy in Judaism. As such, critics questioned and repudiated Maimonides for much of his adult life.

In 1190, at the age of 52, he wrote and published The Guide of the Perplexed, which began as a letter he wrote to a graduate student who couldn’t decide between studying philosophy or the teachings of Judaism.

The guide reviewed biblical terminology that seemed to endow God with corporeal qualities. It also discussed prophecy, creation, jurisprudence, and providence.

Maimonides believed that Jewish law was designed to improve the soul and body. He felt  literal interpretations of the Bible resulted in viewing God as a material conception; nothing more than idolatry.

Resistance Rises

Like the Mishneh Torah, The Guide of the Perplexed sparked controversy and was banned in many Jewish communities.

Some Rabbis feared that Maimonides’ arguments raised the question as to whether the true meaning of the Torah could be understood by typical worshippers, which implied that the Torah might only be taught to an educated few.

Maimonides published his treatise on resurrection, one year later, in which he discussed how his concept of the afterlife represented an intellectual, but not bodily, resurrection.

His letter on astrology debunked the widespread belief that celestial bodies had influence over human events.

Innovation Requires Contemplation

In his mid-60s, Maimonides died in Fostat, Egypt after a continuous battle with exhaustion.

Today, much of his content hardly seems controversial. However, Maimonides was a brilliant and serious scholar, and he did not offer his innovative views of God and humankind and their intertwined relationship to rile existing powers. Rather, they represented his best ideas from years of study and contemplation on the nature of God, existence, and divine law.

What are we to learn from one of the great thinkers of the ages? The more innovative the idea you wish to introduce, the more study and contemplation you first need to do.  Controversy can dissipate in the light of rational comprehensive arguments, but those don’t come easily.

If you have passion for your innovation and have faith in your concept, brave the criticism and stand by your ideas.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Education

Scottsdale School District Retaliates Against Parents Over Curriculum Meeting

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Last week, a group of Scottsdale Unified School District Parents hosted a meeting to discuss the controversial new curriculum and to educate parents on what content to be on the lookout for. In response to this meeting the school district send a cease and desist order over the use of “SUSD”.  Parents are shocked Scottsdale Unified School District administration would waste resources over such a simple matter.  One parent involved Amy Carney had the follow reaction “This time the school board has crossed a new threshold and must be held accountable for abusing their power to intimidate parents through legal action. Parents were sent a cease and desist letter for using the Scottsdale Unified School District initials to describe our recent event and for using “SUSD” as a part of a group of concerned parents in the districts’ social media name.”

Unfortunately, this situation is playing out across the country as parents continue to ask questions about their children’s education.

 

Trending on PolitiCrossing.com: Multitasking Renders You Less Productive

 Full statement and Letter

STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO SCOTTSDALE UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT’S LETTER SENT TO PARENTS TO CEASE AND DESIST USE OF SCHOOL DISTRICT’S INITIALS TO ORGANIZE NON DISTRICT APPROVED EVENTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Scottsdale, Arizona—Scottsdale Unified School Board President, Jann Michael Greenburg, approved using taxpayer’s dollars to target and harass Scottsdale public school district parents for hosting an information night on July 28 for community members and parents.
Scottsdale mom of six, Amy Carney, co-organizer of the event, says, “We hosted this event because parents need to know what to expect when sending their kids back to school. The district is not transparent or truthful with parents so we hosted the event to share what we’ve learned and give parents the tools and information to take action this upcoming school year. The board President is now retaliating against us parents for circumventing their ability to control the conversation.”

Since August, 2020 parents have held the district and board accountable for gaslighting families on everything from school closures, to mask mandates and curriculum. On record, the board President has tried to intimidate theseoutspoken parents into silence by harassing them on social media and canceling their voices at school board meetings. Carney says, “This time the school board has crossed a new threshold and must be held accountable for abusing
their power to intimidate parents through legal action. Parents were sent a cease and desist letter for using the Scottsdale Unified School District initials to describe our recent event and for using “SUSD” as a part of a group of concerned parents in the districts’ social media name.

Unknown to the group, the board trademarked the initials in October of 2020 and is now selectively choosing who can and cannot use the Scottsdale Unified School District initials. The district’s attorney gave the unofficial Facebook group of moms and dads (formerly known as SUSD-CAN) until Friday afternoon to change the group’s name which is now the Scottsdale Unified CAN (Community Advocacy Network). Co-admin of the Facebook group (formerly known as SUSD-CAN) Trish Olson says, “Why didn’t they just ask us directly to change the name? We’ve met with Scottsdale Superintendent Dr. Scott Menzel monthly, as recently as
July 8. If they wanted to keep lines of communication open with parents, why get lawyers involved?”

Scottsdale parent and Co-organizer of the event, Amanda Wray, raised awareness in the community last week when SUSD sent a controversial form by “mistake” asking parents for consent to have their child surveyed with questions about medical and mental health history and gun and ammunition ownership in the home. The district replaced the
consent form and issued a statement of retraction. Wray says, “Unfortunately, this just looks and feels like retaliation for scrutinizing the district over the repeated missteps and lack of transparency with parents. Our mission and efforts will not be diluted or discouraged by such trivial and punitive actions against our group. We encourage all parents in public schools to get involved in their child’s education and ask questions when things don’t seem right.”

 

SUSDGUSTLAWLETTER

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News

Sowing the Wind and Reaping the Whirlwind: California and its Epic Wildfires

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California
Photo credit: Patrick Luscri

Like the 2018 Camp Fire, California’s Dixie Fire is epic. It has burned more than 220,000 acres and at least 40 structures. It’s the largest conflagration since the Camp Fire that destroyed Paradise. Sadly, California wildfires are becoming as common as Florida hurricanes. Why is this happening and who’s to blame? In a word, California.

By mismanaging its forests and water sources and enabling a power provider to place profits over people, the Golden State has sown the wind and is reaping the whirlwind.

Why is every California fire season scarier and more destructive than the last? The reasons can be boiled down to these:

  1. Decades of forest mismanagement caused by environmentalists shaping policy
  2. Co-opted Northern California watersheds and water supply diversion
  3. Hotter temperatures and historic drought conditions caused by climate change
  4. Failing PG&E infrastructure
Forest mismanagement

We live five miles from the southeastern edge of the Dixie Fire. Our little mountain town of Quincy is under an evacuation warning. Many of our fellow residents live in areas of mandatory evacuation and some have lost their homes. Local firefighters and forest experts have known for years this was inevitable.

It’s common sense, really. When forest undergrowth and dead limbs and logs are allowed to pile up between trees, you may as well stack logs at their bases and light a match. Wise forest managers remove forest floor fuels and keep forests from growing dangerously dense.

Foolish forest managers allow undergrowth to flourish in order to “protect” ecological environments of certain species at the expense of overall forest ecology. This hands-off approach is pushed in Sacramento by those who think we’re only one species sharing our environment rather than caretakers of our environment.

Wise gardeners prevent weeds from diverting moisture from produce plants by removing them. This ensures a healthy garden. Why wouldn’t smart forest management include removal of undergrowth and dead or dying trees?

Water diversion

A few years ago, state biologists “gill-netted” vast quantities of fish in our local Silver Lake in order to prevent them from feeding on a certain frog. This decimated the fish population in favor of the frog population. How is this an ecological balance?

Similarly, allowing natural water sources to feed rivers and streams provides better hydration for trees—and raises critical moisture levels for forests. Diverting water from Northern California sources when levels are low exacerbates the deadly dryness of moisture-starved Sierra forests. Shouldn’t there be a better balance based on water levels?

As climate change continues to affect moisture and heat, smart and balanced water management becomes more critical. Yet California continues to base policy decisions reactively rather than proactively. If Northern California watershed areas burn for lack of moisture, poor water management will be partially to blame.

So will California’s reliance on hydroelectric power over traditional (and more effective) fossil-fuel plants. The state gets nearly 2/3 of its power from non-fossil fuel production, which is why it has to buy electricity from states like Oregon, Arizona and others.

Failing PG&E

Failed PG&E power lines are responsible for devastating California wildfires for the last five fire seasons. According to PG&E’s initial report the day the Dixie Fire started, an employee responding to an outage noticed a blown fuse at Cresta Dam in a heavily forested area of Butte County around the Feather River Canyon. He found two blown fuses and a tree leaning on a power conductor. He also found a fire on the ground near the base of the tree.

When the 2018 Camp Fire erupted, a PG&E employee noticed flames caused by a faulty transmission line in Feather River Canyon. Many of these lines are supported by electrical towers from the early 1900s. PG&E customers pay modern rates for modern electricity delivered via century-old towers.

In fairness, PG&E is finally taking steps to modernize its infrastructure with underground line burial and other measures. Sadly, these measures are long overdue and are too little too late for victims of the Camp Fire and now for those dealing with the Dixie Fire. Worse, PG&E seems to be continuing their foot-dragging regarding reporting system failures when they point to a wildfire start.

Closed market

According to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), PG&E ignored regulations that require it to report wildfire-related infrastructure failures within two hours of the event. PG&E took five days to report the Dixie Fire-related failure to CPUC. As a state agency, CPUC answers to Governor Gavin Newsom and Sacramento politicians. PG&E is supposed to answer to CPUC, yet is still failing to follow the rules.

Not only is there a lack of meaningful accountability, the relationship between California and PG&E is dysfunctional. The average citizen wonders why Sacramento continues enabling a repeat offender of a power company. Another question is why California refuses to open up its utility market to competitors in order to force PG&E to modernize its infrastructure.

Something has to change or California will continue to burn every fire season. Close to home, people in our community love living in Northern California, but the Golden State will lose even more citizens if residents have to flee the flames every summer.

 

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