Thomas McGreevy

Living Organism

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The human race hasn’t figured out how to make living organisms.  I have serious doubts that we ever will. An organism is defined as; “a form of life composed of mutually interdependent parts that maintain various vital processes”. We don’t know how to make those, but we DO know how to make machines. When we humans decide to coordinate our interactions or our activities we build a system. This is the mechanized version of a living organism. It is a machine. It has the mutually interdependent parts.  It has the vital…read more

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Triggers

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There is a ton of research out there illustrating how significantly our environment impacts our behavior. Often we struggle in our efforts to actively control a certain behavior because, in large part, it is the result of environmental triggers. Let’s take eating, for example. It turns out that much of our eating behavior is triggered by specific aspects of our environment.  Here is an excerpt from the website mindlesseating.org; “Most of us don’t overeat because we’re hungry. We overeat because of family and friends, packages and plates, names and numbers, labels…read more

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Equilibrium

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It’s helpful to understand the 2nd law of thermodynamics because it governs the physical reality that we live in.  Here is a very basic explanation.  Every physical process that takes place results in a reduction in the amount of available energy in the universe.  The best way to think about it is this; picture a hot cup of coffee in the middle of an empty room.  As long as the coffee is hot, it’s heat can be used to do work (there are devices that can do work using the…read more

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The input signal

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Below is the simplest version of what is known as a block diagram for a closed-loop control system.  It is used in engineering fields to conceptualize a system that we want to control.  Bear with me, there are insights about life to be derived from looking at the world through the eyes of an engineer… hard to believe, I know! So, let’s examine the diagram while considering a real engineering system so we can gain a thorough understanding of how it works.  How about the heating system for your home? …read more

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Teach Your Kids to Be Creators

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I have 4 kids between the ages of 11 and 4, and I put a lot of thought into how to shape and mold them into people who will make a significant contribution in this world.  I often find that I am fighting the public education system in my efforts.  Our schools are still putting a huge emphasis on teaching kids the skills of the industrial age: how to complete pre-defined tasks… how to deliver the right answers… how to avoid drawing attention to yourself… how to get results that meet expectations… how to…read more

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Inner Necessity

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“The person who is going to change is going to change anyway. She has no choice. She is impelled by inner necessity. While the person who is not going to change is not going to change no matter how many seminars or retreats she attends or how much money she pays to those who promise to help her make the change” – Steven Pressfield This certainly puts a damper on the whole self-improvement industry.  Personally, I think there is value in hearing positive messages from credible people who can encourage…read more

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Goals

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When I hear the word “goals”, or when people talk about goal-setting, something inside me cringes.  I picture some kind of schoolmaster getting in my face telling me to make something of myself.  He’s pacing back and forth, staring at me over the top of his glasses and telling me all about how I am failing to meet expectations. My mind becomes flooded with the multitudinous tasks that I never seem to make much progress on and I try to figure out how I could be more productive.  It eliminates…read more

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Belief

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A centurion walks up to Jesus of Nazareth in the New Testament (Matthew 8:5) and asks him to heal his sick and suffering servant.  The centurion has heard rumors about Jesus (see Luke 7:3).  He has no relationship with him.  He has no personal experience with him.  He doesn’t even have the religious background to know that such a man as Jesus is expected to come and what he was likely to be capable of.  He has simply heard stories about what Jesus was doing as he exercised his authority…read more

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Old Patterns

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Its Sunday night and I’m staring down the barrel of another week.  We’re in that long cold grey stretch between the beginning of the new year and Easter.  We’ve got a fresh blanket of snow from the latest winter storm.  I’ve got a strong dose of the Sunday-night feeling that I remember having as a kid.  Here we go again.  Where is any of this toil going to lead?  What will come of it? It’s an old pattern that I developed when I was a student in school that is…read more

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Let it Ferment

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If you want to make bread like the best in the world, like the artisans, you only need 5 ingredients.  You need some kind of yeast starter, flour, water, and salt.  If you find the best source for each of these and mix them together in the right ratios and then bake it, you will end up with a brick that has no flavor. Why?  Because you forgot the one ingredient that is responsible for bringing about the characteristics that we look for in a good loaf of bread.  Time.  The…read more

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