Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Tracing the histories of our religions -- Judaism and Christianity.


An important goal Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor and Jim Myers shared at the beginning of our journey was discovering how our religions, Rabbinic Judaism and Protestant Christianity, began as two sects of Second Temple Judaism and became two mutually exclusive monotheistic religions.

Mutually exclusive means a person can belong to one but not both religions.

Monotheistic means both religions believe that only one God exists.

From my (Jim Myers) perspective the primary difference between our religions was that they have very different beliefs about God. From Jeffrey’s perspective beliefs about who God is are less important than doing what the God of his Scriptures instructed and commanded people to do. Read the complete blog at -- https://therealyesua.blogspot.com/2018/10/tracing-histories-of-our-religions.html

Friday, October 12, 2018

We are Genetically Structured Creatures


In 1953 when James Watson (left) and Francis Crick presented their model of a DNA molecule (deoxyribonucleic acid model). They had pieced together pieces of a scientific puzzle that scientists had been working on for many years. With the discovery of this model a new way of understanding life began -- humans could understand the basic building blocks of life for the first time in history. Understanding the biology of human behaviors begins with an awareness of the role DNA plays in every person’s life. In discussions that involve conflicts, it is important to identify relevant genetic factors – and make clear distinctions between the roles genes and memes play. Read the complete article at -- https://lives1st.blogspot.com/2018/10/we-are-genetically-structured-creatures.html

Thursday, October 11, 2018

A New Model for Discussing Humans and Human Behaviors


The TOV Center created a science-based model for understanding humans and discussing the ways human behave toward each other:

Humans are genetically structured, realities guided,
social creatures that are dependent on other humans for survival.

Human behavior has been a subject of great interest throughout recorded history. Ancient myths, legends, wisdom literature and sacred texts provide insights into the ways humans interacted with other humans and gods. But, it wasn’t until the late 20th century that science discovered DNA and began to understand how the human brain functions. Becoming aware of the roles genes, memes and social structures play transformed the way we understand what human are and how they behave. Dr. Robert M. Sapolsky sums up what he has discovered through a lifetime of research in the comments below:

1. You can’t begin to understand things like aggression, competition, cooperation, and empathy without biology.

2. You’re just as much up the creek if you rely only on biology.

3. It actually makes no sense to distinguish between aspects of a behavior that are “biological” and those that would be described as, say, “psychological” or “cultural.” They are all utterly intertwined.1

Understanding the biology of human behaviors is obviously important, but unfortunately it is hellishly complicated. However, simply becoming aware of certain facts provides us with distinct advantages, beginning with how most people deal complex, multifaceted phenomena. We break down those separate facets into categories and create “buckets of explanations.”2  Putting facts into nice cleanly demarcated buckets of explanation has its advantages — for example it can help you remember facts better.

But this process can wreak havoc on your ability to think about those facts. The boundaries between different categories are often arbitrary, but once an arbitrary boundary exists we forget that it is arbitrary -- and get way too impressed with its importance. To put it another way, when you think categorically you have trouble seeing how similar or different two things are – boundaries become barriers that focus people’s attention on specific trees and prevents them from being able to see the forest.  If you pay lots of attention to where boundaries are, you pay less attention to complete pictures.3

Each behavior isn’t a stand-alone act of freewill. It is the end product of all the biological influences that came before it and will influence all the factors that follow it. Thus, it is impossible to conclude that a behavior is caused by a gene, a hormone, a childhood trauma, because the second you invoke one type of explanation, you are de facto invoking them all – you have to think complexly about complex things. Wow, what a revelation!4

Today, we hear a lot about how much we have in common with other animals. But, in order to really grasp our humanness, we need to consider “solely human things” -- the things humans do that are unique.

● While a few other species have regular nonreproductive sex – humans are the only ones that talk afterward about how it was.

● Humans construct cultures premised on memes (beliefs) concerning the nature of life and can transmit those beliefs multi-generationally -- even between two humans separated by millennia (consider a person reading the perennial best seller, the Bible).

● Humans can harm other humans by doing things as unprecedented as, and no more physically taxing than -- pulling a trigger, or nodding consent, or looking the other way.

● Humans can be passive-aggressive -- damn with faint praise, cut with scorn, express contempt with patronizing concern.

All species are unique, but humans are unique in some pretty unique ways – especially when it comes to harming or caring for another human.5 Learning how to incorporate the TOV Center model in discussions about human behavior changes the dynamics of how participants interact with those who are “like them” and “those in other groups.”

However, participating in discussion in which the TOV Center model is used allows all members of the group to engage in a new way of self-discovery. It doesn’t usually take long for people to recognizing the irrationalities of humans.

● Humans are not rational optimization machines.

● Humans are more generous in games than logic predicts -- we decide if someone is guilty based on reasoning but then decide their punishment based on emotion.

● Humans make strong moral decisions without being able to explain why.

● You can’t readily reason yourself out of a belief that you weren’t originally reasoned into.

The first benefit of incorporating the TOV Center model of humanness in discussions between members of “Us vs. Thempolitical, religious and economic groups is the creation of “opportunities for cooperation.” In a nation in which disagreement, hate, polarization and fragmentation have become the expected outcomes -- the possibility of “cooperation” is very appealing.

The TOV Center’s Lives 1st Initiative is committed to helping people survive and thrive in the new environments in which we live today. Connect with the TOV Center’s Lives 1st Initiative in one or more of the options below.
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Visit the TOV Center website for links to all of these so you will stay up to date.
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1 Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky © 2017; Penguin Press, New York, NY; p. 4-5.
2 Behave; p. 5.
3 Behave; p. 6.
4 Behave; p. 7-8.
5 Behave; p. 11.
(Updated 10/14/18)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Upgrading to a 21st Century Lives 1st Reality


We are experiencing a society unlike any generation has ever experienced before. It is the product of an evolved democratic society, groundbreaking scientific discoveries and powerful new computer driven technologies that are placing new power options in the hands of the masses – and delivering relentless attacks of weaponized memes against them.

Old Realities institutions are incapable of, not only protecting Americans, but also of making sense of life in America today. Only a New Reality model can protect us from these new dangers and equip us to take advantage of the new opportunities we have to make our lives much safer, better and happier.

● The first step for equipping ourselves to survive and thrive in this new world is by becoming aware of the 21st century scientific model of what humans are -- Humans are creatures that are genetically structured, memes driven and socially dependent for survival.

The next step is to become aware of the roles genes, memes and social structures play in your life and the lives of everyone else in America today.

Old Realities are not working in the social media driven Realities that exist today. They will only intensify the epidemic of conflicts that are sweeping across America and destroying relationships between family members, friends, neighbors, citizens and strangers – and the violence associated with them.

The 21st century scientific model of what we are as humans provides us with an opportunity to break through Old Reality barriers that no generation has ever had before. Think of what it would mean to move past the political, economic and religious conflicts that have taken over our lives!

The TOV Center’s Lives 1st Initiative is committed to helping people survive and thrive in the new environments in which we live today. Connect with the TOV Center’s Lives 1st Initiative in one or more of the options below.
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Link to the TOV Center’s Lives 1st Initiative through Facebook, Twitter and our Blogs.
Visit the TOV Center website for links to all of these so you will stay up to date.
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Please “Like” the Lives 1st Facebook Page now if you find this interesting.
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Sunday, October 7, 2018

Watch discussions between Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor and Jim Myers on Genesis 1


Watch discussions between Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor and Jim Myers about the ancient wisdom principles and values embedded in the Hebrew texts of the first creation account in Genesis. Genesis 1 Part 1 consists of eight very short videos that cover the first four days of creation. They have been posted on Facebook, but you do not have to be a Facebook member to watch them. When you click on the play button of each video, a “Sign Up Screen” will pop up -- just click on the “Not Now” option and the video will play. Go to the TOV Center Videos Page to find links to the eight short videos online – CLICK HERE.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

What is The Image of God?


The first clue the ancient text provides about this mysterious image is found in two words of Genesis 1:2 – “RUACH ELOHIYM.” RUACH is defined as breath, wind or spirit; ELOHIYM is the word translated God. They are traditionally translated as “Spirit of God.” But, since they are in a “construct state,” this means they are so closely united that “together they constitute one compound idea.” Read the complete blog at -- https://lives1st.blogspot.com/2018/09/what-is-image-of-god.html

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Beginning of the Sixth Day of Creation


I began this series by asking why is it important for 21st century Americans to share a common understanding of “what it means to be humans?” My answer to that question was because it is the one thing that affects every thought we have that includes humans – others and ourselves. And then I pointed out that if your beliefs about God are linked to the words of Genesis, then your understanding of what it means to be a human includes “humans are created in the image of God.” This is the second blog in this series and it is about the first activities that took place on the Sixth Day of Creation.

Keeping things in context is essential for creating accurate understanding of the words of Jewish and Christian Scriptures. For some readers, some of the things you are about to read may challenge your understanding of certain verses. That’s normal because of the linguistic model we use to translate the ancient Hebrew text into English.

We let the words of the ancient texts tell their own culturally and historically accurate stories
instead of reading our stories and theologies into the words of our Bibles.

When we find differences between the ancient meanings of the words of the Bible and our beliefs, we work to discover the origins and histories of our beliefs and why they differed. Now let’s review some highlights of activities on previous days that led up to the events on the sixth day.

Prior to Creation: Immersed in absolute darkness is a deep primordial ocean with a surface above which an unnamed god with a RUACH ELOHIYM hovers. The creation process that follows is the result of the will of the unnamed god and nothing else.

Day One: Mysterious form of light created, distinctions made between light and darkness, light named “Day,” darkness named “Night,” first use of the TOV Standard, first unit of time created.

 Day Two: Solid dome-like structure made below the surface of the deep ocean creating two completely separate bodies of water, solid dome-like structure named “Heavens.”

Day Three: Waters inside solid dome-like structure commanded to “gather” into one place and named “Seas,” in the previous place a “dry thing” appears and is named “Earth,” Earth commanded to cause plants and trees to sprout and grow, and the Earth does as commanded.

Day Four: Two great lights and the stars are made “set in” the solid dome-like structure like a jeweler sets precious stones in a bracelet, they give light on Earth which is for signs, seasons, days and years.

Day Five: First creatures with a soul created, they live in the Seas, winged creatures that fly created, new water creatures empowered to be fruitful, multiply and fill the waters, and winged creatures empowered to multiply upon the Earth.

All of those things had to take place before the creation of humans, because in many cases, if they had not been done first the environment required for human survival would not have existed.

The Creation of the ADAM

The first action that takes place on the sixth day is the creation of animals.

God said, “Let the Earth bring forth a living soul like her kind; a large animals, smaller animals, and wild predator of the Earth, like her kind.  And it was so.

God made the wild predators of the earth like her kind, the large animals like her kind, and every small animal of the Earth like his kind.

And God saw that it was TOV.1

It is very important to understand the roles of the Earth and God in the creation of animals.

1. The Earth brought for an Earth soul with appetites, desires and longings linked to her. In Hebrew a soul is the seat of appetites, desires and longings. The Earth soul is the seat of appetites, desires and longings of three kinds of animals – one of which devours the other types of animals as food. 

2. After the Earth brought forth an Earth soul, God made the physical bodies of the animals. They share many things in common, but have important physical differences.

3. God measures His work with the TOV Standard. For an act to measure TOV it must be beautiful and pleasing to the Creator’s eyes because lives are protected and preserved, made more functional and the quality of life increased. What God saw was TOV. 2

Next is the account turns to the creation of humans.

God said, "Let us make ADAM in our image, according to our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the Earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 3

Simply by understanding the roles of the Earth and God in the creation of animals, answer the question of who the “us” is. The real question raised by the text is “What is “ADAM?” According to the context and ADAM is a “them.” They will have an Earth soul too, with her appetites, desires and longings. They will be creatures that exercise dominion over other creatures, including the animals. The Hebrew word “ADAM” has these meanings – people, men, man or be a name Adam.”

God created the ADAM with His image;
with the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them.4

You may also have noticed that we used “with” instead of “in” – “with His image.” Let’s breakdown what happened here.

1. The ADAM is a creature created by God.

2. The ADAM is a creature with the image of God.

3. The ADAM is a “him.”

4. The “him” is “male and female.”

5. The “male and female.” is a “them.”

6. The ADAM is a “them.”

We have now answered the question above and understand how ADAM is a “them.” In the next blog I will discuss what “the image of God” means.
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If you found this blog interesting and informative – and want to know when the second blog in this series “The Sixth Day of Creation” will be online -- please let us know by “Liking” the TOV Center’s Lives 1st Facebook Page by clicking here. Also please share this blog with others -- and discuss it!
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1 Genesis 1:24-25a
2 The traditional definition of “TOV” is good. Our definition is based on the context of its use in the first creation account.
3 Genesis 1:26
4 Genesis 1:27

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

What would humans be without the image of God?


This is the first blog in a series I call “A Radical New Understanding of Humans.” Why is it important for 21st century Americans to understand what humans are? It is because that our view affects and influences everything we do – and everyone else’s view affects and influences what they do.

Humans are social creatures and that means from conception to the disposal of the body humans are dependent on other the actions of humans. In most of the “good” and “bad” things humans experience in life, they are the result of actions of other humans. So, individual and cultural understandings of “what humans are” and “why humans do what they do” are very important.

In many cases, “understandings of what humans are” is related to “understandings of what gods are.” Conflicts over gods and their relationships to human have been major factors in the rise and fall of nations, as well as the types of governments that exist and the quality of life those that are governed experience.

If your understanding of gods and humans is linked to the book of Genesis, it probably includes the belief that “humans are created in the image of God.” But, it is a fact that Christian and Jewish religions have very different “understandings of God.” Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, one of the leading Jewish theologians and philosophers of the 20th century, provides insights that are very relevant to this topic.  

In many religions, man is regarded as an image of a god. Yet the meaning of such regard depends on the meaning of the god whom man resembles. If the god is regarded as a man magnified, if the gods are conceived of in the image of man, then such regard tells us little about the nature and destiny of man. Where God is one among many gods, where the word “divine” is used as mere hyperbolic expression, where the difference between God and man is but a difference in degree, then an expression such as the divine image of man is equal in meaning to the idea of the supreme in man.

It is only in the light of what the biblical man thinks of God, namely a Being who created heaven and earth, the God of absolute justice and compassion, the master of nature and history who transcends nature and history, that the idea of man having been created in the image of God refers to the supreme mystery of man, of his nature and existence.

Leaders of Jewish and Christian religions have been arguing about those differences for almost two-thousand years now – and the belief gap between them has widened not decreased. So, I propose that we take a different approach by asking a different question -- “What would humans be without the image of God’”?

The answer to that question was very important to Ezra and his group of scribes that produced the first Torah scroll in Babylon in the fifth century BCE. They were descendants of the Jewish captives taken to Babylon after the First Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 BCE. Their answer is found in the activities that take place on the Sixth Day of Creation.

I will continue this study in the next blog in this series on “A Radical New Understanding of Humans.” The next blog will be about the Sixth Day of Creation.

If you found this blog interesting and informative – and want to know when the second blog in this series “The Sixth Day of Creation” will be online -- please let us know by “Liking” the TOV Center’s Lives 1st Facebook Page by clicking here. Also please share this blog with others and discuss it!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Upgrading American Opportunities for “Belonging”


Trying to change things by yelling and screaming facts weaponized memes doesn’t create peace. It increases anger, hatred and violence. We must create new ways to strengthen belonging that are inclusive, mutually beneficial and that acknowledge the validity of scientific facts. Read the complete blog at – https://lives1st.blogspot.com/2018/09/upgrading-american-opportunities-for.html

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Belonging is stronger than facts!


The cover of the September/October 2018 issue of MIT Technology Review has – Technology is threatening our democracy. How do we save it? and The “neuropolitics” consultants who hack voter’s brains. If you have been in any of our TOV Center discussions over the past few years, this isn’t “breaking news.” We have been talking about the pressing need for Americans to develop skills required to make clear distinctions between “free speech” and “weaponized memes.”  

The authors of the articles in this issue of MIT Technology Review provide some very good information about how to make those distinctions and develop the skills to protect yourself and your loved ones. Below are a few quotes:

The problem is that when we encounter opposing views in the age and context of social media, it’s not like reading them in a newspaper while sitting alone. It’s like hearing them from the opposing team while sitting with our fellow fans in a football stadium. Online, we’re connected with our communities, and we seek approval from our like-minded peers. We bond with our team by yelling at the fans of the other one. In sociology terms, we strengthen our feeling of “in-group” belonging by increasing our distance from and tension with the “out-group” — us versus them. Our cognitive universe isn’t an echo chamber, but our social one is. This is why the various projects for fact-checking claims in the news, while valuable, don’t convince people. Belonging is stronger than facts. (page 15)

Whatever Russia may have done, domestic actors in the United States and Western Europe have been eager, and much bigger, participants in using digital platforms to spread viral misinformation.

Even the free-for-all environment in which these digital platforms have operated for so long can be seen as a symptom of the broader problem, a world in which the powerful have few restraints on their actions while everyone else gets squeezed. Real wages in the US and Europe are stuck and have been for decades while corporate profits have stayed high and taxes on the rich have fallen. Young people juggle multiple, often mediocre jobs, yet find it increasingly hard to take the traditional wealth-building step of buying their own home — unless they already come from privilege and inherit large sums.

If digital connectivity provided the spark, it ignited because the kindling was already everywhere. The way forward is not to cultivate nostalgia for the old world information gatekeepers or for the idealism of the Arab Spring. It’s to figure out how our institutions, our checks and balances, and our societal safeguards should function in the 21st century — not just for digital technologies but for politics and the economy in general. This responsibility isn’t on Russia, or solely on Facebook or Google or Twitter. It’s on us. (page 16)

No, big tech didn’t make us polarized (but it sure helps). (page 17)

As I said in the title of this blog -- Belonging is stronger than facts! Humans are genetic memetic social creatures that are hardwired “to belong because humans depend on other humans for their very existence from conception to death. We need others and -- consciously and subconsciously -- seek out groups that will accept usand so do our children.

One thing every parent can depend on is that if their child does not feel that she or he belongs, someone or some group out there will pay attention to your child, accept your child and satisfy your child’s genetic need to belong – even if it kills them.

The greatest challenge we face today is creating new options for Americans “to belong.” We at the TOV Center believe that we have the meme building blocks to create them.

● Some come from ancient wisdom from our Christian and Jewish faith traditions that teach values that “Protect and Preserve lives, Make Lives more Functional and Increase the Quality of Life for All People” – and that “all people are made in the image of the Creator.”

● Others come from one of the most treasured documents in our history, the Declaration of Independence -- “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

● And the foundational document of the US Government and Justice System is The Constitution is another very important source -- “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Let’s make America a place where American citizens know they belong!
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Friday, August 31, 2018

Restore the ancient meanings of Good and Evil and change your life and world


Two of the most powerful words in the history of humans are “good” and “evil.” We hear them from infancy to death. The English words “good” and “evil” are very subjective and may be used to justify about anything. Find out what they meant in an ancient wisdom text by reading the complete blog at -- https://lives1st.blogspot.com/2018/08/restore-ancient-meanings-of-good-and.html

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Transforming Belief Conflicts into Relationship Building Opportunities


The primary challenge facing Christians and Jews -- as well as members of other religions, agnostics and atheists -- is not a lack of information – it is getting new information past barriers created by our brains. Read the complete blog at -- https://lives1st.blogspot.com/2018/08/transforming-belief-conflicts-into.html

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A God that Values Humans First


One of the most amazing things we (Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor & former pastor Jim Myers) discovered in the opening creation account in our shared scriptures is this -- the most valued creation of the mysterious Creator of the Heavens and the Earth is humans. Every act of creation in the first account is directly or indirectly related to meeting the needs of humans. This is a core principle of this wisdom account. And, as you probably know, the Creator even created humans “In the image of the Creator” – all humans not just members of one tribe or religion.

Another core principle in this account is revealed by what the Creator did in the process of creation. The Creator used a Standard to measure its work – the TOV Standard. For an act to measure up to the TOV Standard, the act must protect and preserve lives, make lives more functional and increase the quality of life.

One other core principle in the account is that the Creator did not reveal anything about what type of creature it is or anything it had done prior to the creation of the Heavens and the Earth. We call this the mystery of the Creator.

Let’s review the three core wisdom principles introduced above:

The mystery of the Creator.

Every act of creation is directly or indirectly related to meeting the needs of humans.

The Creature used the TOV Standard.

This makes “human lives” the highest value of the Creator. That’s the lesson the author of this ancient wisdom text wanted readers to clearly understand. In the accounts that follow, readers learn the downfalls of gender inequality, valuing property above human lives, the breakdown of the family, valuing religious rituals above human lives, parents failing to teach their children Lives 1st values and wisdom principles, failing to control appetites, desires, longings and anger, engaging in recreational violence and murder– which can all be summed up in one of the most repeated verses of the Bible -- “Am I my brother’s keeper?” We discovered all of this in the first four chapters of Genesis!

Another important part of the TOV Center approach is that we combine the values and principles of this ancient wisdom with the discoveries and knowledge of modern science. You will be amazed to discover how often ancient wisdom and modern science agree. This combination gives us exciting new options for dealing with challenges, issues, conflicts and problems we are facing today. History repeatedly records the horrible acts that human are capable of doing to other humans, when they value things above human livesespecially power, money and religious beliefs.

Just think about the impact this could have on lives today, if Lives 1st went viral and people began learning the skills needed to protect and preserve lives, make lives more functional, increase the quality of life -- and promote transparency. We call that vision the Lives 1st Initiative and promote #doingwhatslife over doing whatever people on both sides of every conflict call “right.”

If you like the TOV Center’s approach and would like to learn more,
please let us know by “liking” our Lives 1st Facebook Page.

Follow us on Facebook or visit the TOV Center website and stay up to date
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Make #doingwhatslife part of your decision making process today!


Friday, August 24, 2018

Ancient Wisdom and Science Agree Humans Truly are a Remarkable Species

For centuries theologians and scientists have existed in mutually exclusive domains. They have strongly disagreed about the uniqueness of humans. But now there has been a huge breakthrough that indicates science has taken a giant step has been taken toward bridging that gap. Scientific American (September 2018) is a “Special Issue: The Science of Being Human.” When Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor and Jim Myers created the TOV Center, an important part of its mission is this – “Combining ancient wisdom with modern science to maximize human experiences.” Read the entire blog at -- https://lives1st.blogspot.com/2018/08/ancient-wisdom-and-science-agree-humans.html

Monday, August 20, 2018

A Happiness Ritual


Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar born 1970, is an American and Israeli teacher, and writer in the areas of positive psychology and leadership. As a lecturer at Harvard University, Ben-Shahar created the most popular course in Harvard's history. The subject of the course was “happiness.” Learn about a “happiness ritual” that has proven to be very successful by reading the complete blog at -- https://lives1st.blogspot.com/2018/08/a-happiness-ritual.html

Friday, August 17, 2018

Two Standards to Live By


One of the amazing benefits of combining ancient wisdom and scientific facts in our research is that we discover things from them that are related and overlap. One example is the TOV Standard from ancient wisdom and Baby Morals from science (you won’t find a society where people don’t have some notion of Baby Morals). In this case ancient wisdom and science overlap to reveal two standards that could produce many benefits for individual lives and life in our society. Read the complete blog at -- https://lives1st.blogspot.com/2018/08/two-standards-to-live-by.html

Thursday, August 16, 2018

What am I?


What am I? Now that’s a question a lot of people have asked in the history of humans. We (Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor and former pastor Jim Myers) created two models for working with that question – after wrestling with it for over 25 years. You may have noticed that use models instead of answers. Most questions about life are better understood by using models that reveal potentialities than statements of either/or answers.

Our models emerged from two sources in which our research and studies focused on during our journey together – one source is an ancient wisdom account embedded in our shared religious texts and the other source is modern science. This makes our approach at the TOV Center unique in many respects – we combine the wisdom of ancient texts with the facts of modern science to maximize human experiences.

As pointed out above, we created a model from each source to help us better understand humans:

(1) Ancient Wisdom ModelHumans are creatures that share things in common with animals and the Creator.

Humans have many of the same appetites, desires and longings as animals. Humans have the potential of behaving like animals that live in herds (cattle, sheep, etc.) or like deadly wild predators.

Each person has the presence of the Creator with him or her. Humans have the potential of behaving like the Creator and creating by changing things that exist by doing acts that protect and preserve lives, make lives more functional and/or increase the quality life.

Humans must be taught how to control their animal impulses by developing their abilities to reflect the Creator’s image through their actions.

(2) Modern Science ModelHumans are genetic memetic social creatures.

Genes make humans what they are as biological creatures.

Memes create the reality models through individuals view their worlds and give meanings to what they perceive.

Social means that humans are completely dependent on other humans for their existence and survival – from conception to death other humans are involved.

We use both models in understand human actions – completed and potential.

● The Ancient Wisdom Model makes us aware that people have the potential of doing amazing things for others like the Creator, as well as deadly destructive acts like predatory wild animals to people. We use familiar stories from Jewish and Christian Scriptures to teach the values, principles and standards of this ancient wisdom – without the conflicting theologies of the religions.

● The Modern Science Model makes us aware of the roles that genes, memes and social structures play in the decisions human make before they act.

And of course, whatever our understanding of “what I am” is, it also provides us with the models for another very important question – What are you?

Would you like to learn more about the TOV Center models and how to use them? Let us know by “Likingour Lives 1st Facebook Page. Also visit the TOV Center website and you will find more options for staying up to date on our blogs and being aware of upcoming local and online events.

Would you like to participate in a local group in the DFW Metroplex area that will be led by Jeffrey Leynor and Jim Myers? We are looking for people to host monthly or semi-monthly meetings and people to participate in them. For more information call or email Rabbi Leynor (972-816-7281 / rabbi@tovcenter.org) or email Jim Myers (jim@tovcenter.org). These will be open safe environment for learning and interacting. The number of participants is limited, so don’t hesitate to contact us if you are interested.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Leynor and Myers on Living Life as a Human


We, Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor and former pastor Jim Myers, have learned a lot about living life over the past thirty-years as congregation leaders in a synagogue and church, chaplains of law enforcement agencies, teachers and counselors. We have experienced the happiest moments in life – marriages, births, victories, successes -- and the saddest and most feared moments – deaths, divorces, tragedies, failures. Read the complete blog at -- https://lives1st.blogspot.com/2018/08/leynor-and-myers-on-living-life-as-human.html

Monday, August 13, 2018

How to Enter the Kingdom of Heaven


For most Christians, one of the most important words in their religious vocabulary is “saved.” Their mission is to save as many people as possible. Why? They have been taught that only those who are “saved” will spend eternity in Heaven with God. That was not the focus of Yeshua’s message. His goal was to bring as many people as possible into the Kingdom of Heaven -- while they are alive. He taught that it will only be those that live in the Kingdom of Heaven before death that will ultimately enter eternal life later. We will be learning much more about that in this series of discussions that we call “Yeshua’s Kingdom of Heaven Handbook.” We will reconstructing the teachings of Yeshua so we can understand them more accurately by incorporating new information that we discover as we learn about his language, culture and the time period in which he taught his followers. Read the complete discussion at -- https://therealyesua.blogspot.com/2018/08/how-to-enter-kingdom-of-heaven.html

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Why are we are always pointing a finger at someone else?


Sometimes, when trying to make the point that we need to start with ourselves. A famous Hasidic rebbe once proclaimed that when he was a young rabbi: his idealistic and romantic goal was to change the world. There is a common human tendency to view all wrongs in the world as the fault of everyone but yourself. Read the latest TOV Center Lives 1st Blog by clicking here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Are we becoming like the rats pulling levers?


That’s what came to mind when I read How Facebook Programmed Our Relatives by Brett Frischmann & Katherine Haenschen on the Scientific American website.

Social media platforms encode a range of social behaviors: Facebook notifies us when it is time to wish our friends a happy birthday; LinkedIn prompts us to congratulate contacts on their work anniversaries; Twitter breaks its own chronology to show us tweets that many of our friends have liked. As a result, social interactions are often reduced to the click of a button.

Now more than ever, society needs ethical social science at the intersection of technology and humanity. Digital platforms are shaping what it means to be human, and we can't rely on the platforms to police or research themselves. In the meantime, when your birthday rolls around, enjoy the warm feelings from friends sending their regards— but remember that they don't know when your birthday really is any more than you do theirs.

Always keep in mind that we are the products social media corporations are selling, not serving. Think of those “prompts” that keep popping up on your screen as “levers” that are being used to encode a range of social behaviors in your brain. The more you pull them, the more valuable you become to whoever is selling your information. Empower yourself by learning how to explore your reality at the TOV Center’s Lives 1st Realities Transformations.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

You Are Not Generation Z (Pat Sajak, Host, Wheel of Fortune)


The following excerpt is adapted from an address given by Pat Sajak (Host, Wheel of Fortune) to the first graduating class of Founders Classical Academy in Leander, Texas, on May 27, 2017; one of 16 classical K-12 charter schools currently operating under the auspices of Hillsdale College’s Barney Charter School Initiative. Pat Sajak gives unique insights about a special class of what we call a specific class of “weaponized memes” at the TOV Center Realities Transformations Initiative -- identity politics.

“So let me instead suggest a pitfall to avoid going forward, a pitfall not only for this year’s graduates, but for everyone in every corner of American society today. It has altered the way we talk to one another and perceive one another. It has perverted the notion of free speech and poisoned the academic environment. It has turned the American political system on its head, creating a situation where opposing views are not only unwelcome, they are deemed to be signs of evil intent. It has pitted friend against friend and has caused rifts within families.

I’m talking about identity politics, the attempt to divide Americans and set us against each other. The attempt to classify and categorize us by all sorts of measurements and standards. To a great degree, those who are making these attempts are succeeding. And their efforts are changing our country in fundamental ways. . .

The problem with identity politics is that it reduces us. We are no longer human beings with individual hopes and dreams. We are commodities. We are groups to be labeled and courted and pandered to. We have no shared values as Americans, because we are a series of interest groups. We’re told what it’s thought we want to hear, and we divide ourselves into pockets of groupthink. We begin to speak only with others in our group, and we begin to believe that the only valid and true way to think is the way we think. . . .”

Thank you Hillsdale College for sharing this with the world. Read the entire excerpt at -- https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/not-generation-z/

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