Negative Feedback: How are you at self-control?

Negative Feedback, or sometimes called Negative Feedback Loop (NFL), occurs when the final result of a system affects the operation of the process itself in a way that it reduces the overall change in the system.

Negative feedback is a self-regulating process, adjusting the parts of a system to maintain stability of the whole system. Regardless of the direction of the external force, negative feedback occurs in the opposite way to reduce the effect of fluctuations. The most important aspect of any negative feedback loop is that the loop reacts to counter-balance, rather than reinforce, any changes coming in from the ambient environment.

Negative feedback system is really common phenomenon in our daily lives. For instance, many public policies, such as counter-inflationary action of Fed Reserve, are designed to be homeostatic in that they system activate automatically in response to changes in the condition they are supposed to regulate.

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The importance of this self-control process is emphasized in many verses in the Bible. The fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 stands out as characteristics all Christians must have. The Bible tells us that self-control is something can be taught, learned, acquired and practiced.

Peter urged the Christians in Asia to exercise self-control in addition to their faith (2 Peter 1:6). It is important to keep in mind that we, Christians, must grow in wisdom to the point that we can apply God’s words to the various situations we face daily; we acquire this self-control as we become more and more familiar with God’s words.

How are you at self-control? Are there things in your life that need immediate improvement?

Don’t just let the things go, nor merely say you wish you could change some time later in your life. Remember, as mentioned several times in the Bible, it is self-control that enables us to have other aspects of the fruit of the Holy Spirit to our lives. Jesus exemplified in His life and Paul strongly encourages us to exercise in ours throughout the Bible. If we are to be made in God’s image, we will yield to God in this matter to glorify Him with our temperance in all things and rigid resistance to sin.

– T.S.

What’s your New Year’s Resolution?

It’s the end of the year! At the same time, it is the time to look back the year that was and look forward to the year ahead of us. The feeling of a new year is always good; the resolutions, the new beginnings, and the “sense of change” around us.

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Some of you may want to lose weight, exercise more, get out of debt, stick to a budget, stop smoking, save for the future, and spend more time with family.

If you haven’t had time to ask questions to yourself, with only 1 day remaining until the last day of 2013, it is now the time to ask yourself “what you should change in the following year”. Even though a lot of us know what we want to change and why we want to change, these are different from knowing when to change no matter what the cost is.

 Then, does the Bible say anything about making New Year’s resolutions?

The answer is NO—the bible doesn’t specifically mention about making resolutions at the beginning of each year. However, it does urge us to regularly check our daily lives and to seek God’s help to become a better person every day (Lamentations 3:40).

Have you ever questioned yourself why sometimes it is really hard to keep the resolutions you made at the beginning of a year? One possible reason could be that sometimes our resolutions were not realistic—we had no clear New Year plan for reaching them. In addition, they may be self-centered, totally ignoring whether or not they are GOD’s will.

However, the main reason why we fail to keep our resolutions is because we always try to reach them without God’s help, but with our own strengths instead. As a human being, we are physically and spiritually weak and the Bible says “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2).

Before we start the New Year, 2014, Pray to God and ask Him to show you what He wants in your life during this upcoming year. With the help of Holy Spirit, you will be able to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11).

– T.S

What is Your Action?

Have you taken any high school-level science courses before? If you have done so, then you may have heard about Isaac Newton—the most influential figures of all time, especially in many fields of science. Newton’s most famous achievements include the laws of motion, universal gravitation, and calculus.

In physics, classical mechanics, sometimes also called as Newtonian physics, is concerned with the motion of bodies under the action of a system of forces. Of Newton’s achievements, the study of motion of bodies becomes one of the largest subjects in science. The law of motion proposed by Newton in his outstanding work Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica are comprised of three parts:

  • Law I: When viewed in an inertial reference frame, an object either is at rest or moves at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force (Law of Inertia).
  • Law II: The acceleration of a body is directly proportional to, and in the same direction as, the net force acting on the body, and inversely proportional to its mass (F = ma).
  • Law III: When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to that of the first body (F1 = – F2).

Among the above three laws of motion, we should give a careful attention to the third law, which is well-known as the law of action reaction. It says when an object exerts a force to another object, then the latter exerts the force that is equal in magnitude but opposite in direction. We can generalize this law: To every action, there is always a consequence following it.

If one’s action is to stand on the ground, the ground exerts the force that is equal in magnitude, but opposite in direction. The heavier you are, the greater force is exerted by the ground to the person. This cause and effect relationship is not only found in our daily lives, but in the Bible through the parables of Jesus Christ. Because Newton’s law of action reaction is considered as a universal law in science, this can be applied to anywhere—to even our daily lives and spiritual lives. Every action we perform leads to something in our lives.

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Jesus tells His disciples about the story of seed to emphasize the importance of having a good mind. He said: “one seed fell by the road…[…]…some seed fell on rocky gound…[…]…some other seed fell among thorny weeds…[…]…some other seed fell on good ground where it grew and produced a crop” (Matthew 13:1-9). At the end, He said “Let those with ears use them and listen.”

The seed that Jesus talks in the Bible is the Words of God while the places where the seeds are planted are our minds. The Bible explains the people with a good mind as those of who have love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Galatians 5:22-23). These are the mind sets that are not innately born with, but can be educated through the power of Holy Spirit. If we want to have a desired consequences (reactions) in our lives, then the proper actions should be done on our part. If we say we truly love Jesus, then we have to make sacrifices.

Try to make time out of your busy schedules to worship God. Try to put efforts for studying God’s words. Try to speak with God through the prayer. And, you will be able to listen for God’s Spirit, as Jesus asked said in the Bible. The key to success is putting your efforts. For every action, there is a reaction following it. Your effort will lead to your success in your spiritual life!

– T.S.

Be the Salt and Light of the World

“You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16)”

A title is a word added to someone’s name, signifying the person’s official position and sometimes socio/economic status in a society, also known as Socioeconomic Status. Although some titles are hereditary, meaning inherited from parents, most titles we have seen nowadays are given by society where the people belong to. Furthermore, sometimes those titles reveal one’s achievement in his/her life.

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For instance, J.D. (Doctor of Jurisprudence) and M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) are professional doctorate degrees or titles that are extremely competitive to achieve. The primary purpose of giving such titles to a person was to celebrate one’s achievement in his/her life. Today, however, many people live their lives to achieve that titles; this change in Value caused many problems in the modern society as well as in Christian community.

Christian is a title given to those who believe in Jesus Christ. However, sometimes we notice ourselves that forget about the primary purpose of being a Christian. In the Bible, Christians are depicted as those who are “the salt and the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-16). The commonality between the salt and light is that they are essential for the world to exist.

Why does the Bible describe Christians as being the salt and the light? If we think about it, both the salt and light are important to humans and, thus, Christians must influence others as the “salt and light.” Although the universal importance of salt is not as readily apparent in our modern society, the mandate that Jesus gave to his first 12 disciples is still relevant and applicable to Christians today.

Our lives are to be an on-going witness to the reality of Christ’s presence in our lives. When we worship God with pure hearts as salt and when we love others as ourselves, we are the light shining—however we should realize that the light shining is not from us, but from Jesus Christ Himself that people will see in us, Christians.

 – T.S

What does it take to become an Achiever?

In statistics, normal distribution is an important phenomena applied to many real-life situations in the field of natural and social sciences. The feature of the normal distribution is that it is symmetrical in shape about its mean, which is well-known as a “bell curve.”

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The peak in the bell curve represents the mean (average) of the population, but in simple terms it is the highest number of occurrences of values, which is the mode. The important thing we have to notice is that the curve is concentrated in the center and decreases on either side. This is significant in that the data has less tendency to produce extreme values, called “outliers,” as compared to the values fall under the peak in the middle. Most individuals in a population fall under this region of the bell curve and standard deviation lets scientists estimate the extent of the deviation from the mean. In a normally distributed curve, there is a relationship between the population mean (µ) and the standard deviation as follow;

  • 34.13% of the area under the curve is contained between the mean and a score that is equal to µ + 1σ.
  • 13.59% of the area is contained between a score equal to µ + 1σ and a score of µ + 2σ.
  • 2.15% of the area is contained between scores of µ + 2σ and µ + 3σ.
  • 0.13% of the area exists beyond µ + 3σ.

If you add up all these values above, this accounts for 50% of the area and another 50% accounts for the area that is in opposite side of the bell curve (since it’s symmetrical in shape). The term “outlier” is a phenomena that is numerically distant from the mean and it is believed to occur due to either of measurement error or experiment error.

However, the outliers are those who succeed in the real world and one may think that only a few selected individuals can succeed in their fields while rests fall under the “peak” of the bell curve. However, the Bible says nothing is impossible when we do all to the glory of God. Let’s look at some verses from the Bible.

1 Corinthians 10:31: Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Mark 9:23: Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Philippians 2:13: For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

1 Corinthians 10:13: There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Believe that you can succeed your life with the power of prayer! If you do everything in your life for the glory of God, He will show you the path and also make a way to escape if you may not be able to bear it.

T.S.

References:

http://www.concordspedpac.org/Bell-curve-ss.htm

Give Meaning to Your Life!

Psychopathology is a field of psychology that concerns with understanding the nature, causes, and treatment of mental disorders. In the United States, psychopathologists accept the standard for defining various types of mental disorder; that is American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The most important thing to keep in mind when one diagnoses a patient is that no one element of abnormality is sufficient in and of itself to define abnormality. In other words, if a patient shows more symptoms shown in the DSM, the patient is more likely to be diagnosed as the disorder. Thus, it is necessary to update/edit the DSM since new psychological disorders have been discovering every year.

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Then, we may possibly ask these questions: who determines who has mental disorders? Who makes the standard in the DSM?

For the last couple of decades, it has been an issue who would define the standard in the DSM and determine one’s mental status. As illustrated in this example, giving a meaning to a phenomena shown in one’s daily life can even define the person’s life. For example, homosexuality was defined as a psychological disorder in DSM-I (first edition). The homosexuality remained in the DSM until 1973. During 1970’s, specific protests by gay rights activists against the APA began and eventually shouted down and ridiculed psychologists who viewed homosexuality as a mental disorder. This protest resulted in removal of homosexuality in the DSM-III (third edition).

Logotherapy is a type of psychotherapy that is proposed by a psychologist Victor Frankl. Unlike all other psychodynamic theories at that period, logotherapy is founded upon the belief that it is the striving to find a meaning in one’s life that is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in humans. Some basic principles of logotherapy are as follow:

  1. Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones.
  2. Our main motivating for living is our will to find meaning in life.
  3. We have freedom to find meaning in what we do, and what we experience, or at least in the stand we take when faced with a situation of unchangeable suffering.

Frankl suggested that it may be psychologically damaging when a person’s search for meaning is blocked. Religion let us give a meaning to our life and to all disorders that we have. The power that we get from our prayer allows us to see our life in a different perspective. We, Christians, discover this meaning in life through the Bible. We mustn’t live our lives by the power of our knowledge, but by GOD’s words.

Luke 6:28 — Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

T.S.

References

Abnormal Psychology, 14th edition

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-IV).

Social Entrepreneurs: A Recruiter of Local Change-makers

The term “Social Entrepreneurs” are defined as individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems; they are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change. The term social entrepreneur, as well as social entrepreneurship, was first used in 1960s by literatures in sociology and it started to become widely used in the 1980s and 1990s.

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Then who are the historical examples of leading social entrepreneurs? The followings are the list of leading social entrepreneurs who have huge impact in their own fields of work.

  • Susan B. Anthony (U.S.): Fought for Women’s Rights in the United States, including the right to control property and helped spearhead adoption of the 19th amendment.
  • Vinoba Bhave (India): Founder and leader of the Land Gift Movement, he caused the redistribution of more than 7,000,000 acres of land to aid India’s untouchables and landless.
  • Dr. Maria Montessori (Italy): Developed the Montessori approach to early childhood education.
  • Florence Nightingale (U.K.): Founder of modern nursing, she established the first school for nurses and fought to improve hospital conditions.
  • John Muir (U.S.): Naturalist and conservationist, he established the National Park System and helped found The Sierra Club.
  • Jean Monnet (France): Responsible for the reconstruction of the French economy following World War II, including the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The ECSC and the European Common Market were direct precursors of the European Union.

Bill Drayton, a leading social entrepreneur in 1990s, is a founder and CEO of Ashoka. Ashoka is an organization founded in 1980 based upon the idea that the organization would become a positive impact on the development of society through being involved in six different fields of work. Those six different fields of work include; civic engagement, economic development, environment, health, human rights, and learning/education, all of which are touching upon human’s basic needs.

He once said that “social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish, or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.” In other words, every social entrepreneur is a recruiter of local change-makers—a role model showing that citizens who alter their passion into action can do almost anything.

During the TAC meeting, we have discussed about these examples of social entrepreneurs around the world and how much one person can influence people around him/herself. However, the most important thing to keep in mind as a Christian is that everything we do in our life is for the Glory of God. Thus, we must believe that everything that occurs in one’s life has God’s meaning and we must be able to hear God’s voice through the event.

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it ” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

– T.S

References

https://www.ashoka.org/social_entrepreneur

Sources for Intellectual Discourse, First Edition (2011), TAC publishing house