TaN: In this (temporal) world, just like my earlier blog on infinity in finity and finity in infinity, there are things that are (meant to be) permanent (and everlasting) and there are those that (must) change with the passage of time. This is vital not only to our survival but likewise our sanity. It is important that we recognized and are able to distinguish between them. Just like in our daily lives, there are things that are constant and perennial and there are those that are transitional and evolving as we age, like diets and lifestyles.
Our diets change as conditions in our bodies and the environment change. When we were infants, we subsisted solely on a milk diet, but as our milk teeth fall off, one by one, our stomach (digestive system) underwent a change that compels us to slowly transition to solid foods. Nature always has signs and symptoms that clue us on what is expected to change in our behavior and lifestyle when the time comes. It is just a matter of recognizing and acknowledging (and heeding) nature’s wisdom. Milk teeth are for us to know when our digestive system is commencing to change from a pure (mother’s breast) milk diet to solid foods. As the first milk tooth falls off, it is time to start weaning infants away from milk. By the time the last milk tooth falls off, the digestive system will have completed the transformation and it is time that we do away with the milk diet and subsist primarily on solid foods. This is also the same reason why we do not see other mammals still drinking (their mother’s milk) when they are weaned. This is likewise the reason why most people, especially Asians, are lactose-intolerant. Our lactase and galactase, the enzymes that digest and process milk sugars for our body warmth and energy needs, dwindle to insignificant amounts…not enough as to digest milk anymore.
As we grew into adulthood and into our golden years, our metabolic processes and digestive enzymes began a decline that dictated a gradual shift in diet with less calories because of diminishing physical activity as well as a decrease in our body’s ability to absorb and utilize the nutrients in our diet. In addition, not only should we reduce our food intake as we continue into our twilight years but likewise change many of the high-calorie foods we used to ingest without so much as a thought to its caloric density but, especially among the “carnivores” among us, should substitute most of the animal protein to vegetable protein. Even grains and seeds become some kind of a “threat” to our health as we advance in age.
As for our lifestyles, with exception for those of us who remain relatively active even in our elderly years, we have to admit and accept, whether we like or not, that we are no longer the spring chicken we used to be, that we have gone past our salad days, that our bodies have withstood most of the test of time but is (now) slowly giving in to the ravages of time. In this respect, we have no choice to leave the more daring and exciting aspects of our youth to the young(er) generation.
Nonetheless, even as these the more superficial aspects of our being must submit and change, our core being (must) remain steadfast — such as our principles and our values. After all, if we change our principles and our values, we lose our humanity and our self-respect. And without our humanity and our self-respect, we are nothing, no better than the beasts of the wild.
TaN: It is misleading to believe completely in the findings that polyglots (or people with knowledge and can speak several languages) have higher intelligence levels. Although it is generally reliable, its truth is not accurate. Actually, it is not so much the ability to speak in (and understand) different languages that reflects one’s intellectual level but rather the ability to speak fluently in any one language.
The ability or knowledge of different languages is irrelevant. This can be evidenced by the intelligence of the ordinary man-on-the-street of different progressive/industrialized country — with a possible exceptions, the most notable of which is the United States of America. The citizens may know only their native or national language but they exhibit better than average intellectual levels.
Fluency is key. Fluency means one can form or construct an entire sentence using a single language — assuming the sentence is able to convey a message or thought. When one has to mix (i.e., borrow) words from other languages just to form an understandable sentence (unless there is no appropriate existing word in the language used), it only means or shows that one’s vocabulary is so inadequate that one has to hijack or incorporate words from other languages just so one can finish a (coherent) sentence. It is so pathetic.
In conclusion, knowledge of (i.e., proficiency in) multiple languages is better regarded as a wonderful skill as it gives us an appreciation of the beauty and complexity and vibrancy and richness rather than a gauge of one’s intellectual level.
TaN: The danger in taking shortcuts in exchange for our values is that once values are compromised, (almost) everything else goes. Moreover, many of our values today have been twisted, warped, and mangled to such an extent that they can no longer be considered or recognized values (or at times, mis-applied)— by manipulative minds with the intention of gaining from our gullibility or weak(ened) characters.
Values are at the core of our being and if they can be tampered with, we can be made to do just about anything…even justifying wrongful acts and convince ourselves that they are not, such as participating or abetting in graft and corruption and justify it commonly as either repayment to a debt of gratitude or as lesser of evils or as white lies or innocent or unintentional acts. Once we begin our slide down to slippery slope (and it gains momentum fast), it is almost impossible to climb back out again.
Values and principles should be held fast and strong, without an inch of compromising. Once we commence to justify and compromise our core values and principles, there is no telling where and when it will end and what else we are willing to sacrifice. We become slaves and victims to evil.