• We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately. -Benjamin Franklin, Freedom Fighter

  • We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. -Martin Luther King, Jr., Freedom Fighter

  • Let us be cautious in making assertions and critical in examining them, but tolerant in permitting linguistic forms. -Rudolf Carnap, Philosopher

  • A clash of doctrines is not a disaster—it is an opportunity. -Alfred North Whitehead, Philosopher

  • If we could read the secret history of our enemies we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility. -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Poet

  • Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. -Rumi, Mystic

  • If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things. – Rene Descartes, Philosopher

  • A house divided against itself cannot stand. -Abraham Lincoln, President

  • Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. -Albert Einstein, Scientist

  • Be the change you want to see in the world. -Mahatma Gandhi, Freedom Fighter


United States Constitution

We the people are divided as only once before. We seem to have lost our way at a critical juncture in our history. America needs to rediscover our common ground if we are to continue to form that “more perfect union,” and continue to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

The purpose of this blog is to participate in the co-discovery of our common ground and the continued co-creation of America’s more perfect union.

My sole axiom is the Declaration’s self-evident assertion that we are all created equal.

On all other matters, I am politically agnostic. I believe one can find truth — more importantly, wisdom — in multiple different points of view, even points of view that are seemingly opposed.  At my deepest philosophical level, I wonder if perhaps Thales, Socrates, Plato and the other Greek philosophers might have had it wrong 2,500 years ago. Perhaps contradictions abound in our particular universe. Perhaps A and ~A might both be true. Even if — as seems only logical — our universe is logical, there is still plenty of room for Neils Bohr’s wisdom that the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth.

My concern is not with being right, but with moving the dialogue forward. My reason: No matter who’s right or even if no one is right—we the people still have to govern ourselves through the rapids, the rocks and the shoals that it is our moment in history to confront. As Lincoln reminds us, we cannot escape history. We the people must confront our challenges with wisdom, with intelligence, with our hearts, and consistent with our deepest idealistic aspirations.

My writings reflect my vision of a day—seemingly far in the future—when we do not merely tolerate our differences; of a day beyond being politely respectful of each others differences. I have the audacity to dream of a day when we actually celebrate our differences, confident of ourselves, of how we got here and of where we are going.

This is not some left-wing New Age post-Hippie “why can’t we all just learn to love each other liberalism. Our differences are vast. They include our attitudes over an embryo’s right to life and a woman’s right to choose; over the State’s right to control everything from guns to marriages; over how we manage our financial commitments to the future and our debt; over how we make the American dream a reality for more and more and more Americans. We are widely split at this juncture in our history. Our first responsibility is to start listening to each other. This is the wellspring from which flow the Blessings of Liberty, water nourished by the Declaration’s axiom of equality.

I wrote my first essay in the dark days after 9/11, searching for what I might have to be thankful for on that mournful Thanksgiving of 2011. My search in that first essay led me to the Mayflower Compact and the Pilgrims commitment to live together in a civil body politik, for how else  are equals to live

The fact that the Pilgrims, themselves, didn’t live up to their own principle doesn’t concern me. To me, that’s history. That’s who they were and there’s nothing we can do to change it.

What matters to me is they put a marker in the sand, saying “here is what human freedom looks like.” It falls on us—we the people—to continue the process of making it real.

I grew up in Oil City, Pennsylvania, a small town in the western part of the state, between Pittsburgh and Erie. My mother and her family were immigrants from Eastern Europe, as was my Grandfather Stahl. They came to America to escape the oppression they found — as Jews — in early 20th century Eastern Europe.

It was in Oil City that my fourth grade teacher, Mr. Welch, introduced me to the ideals that define America. It was Mr. Welch who taught me the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, John Paul Jones and Valley Forge … and the responsibility I had to advance the cause of freedom. Mr. Welch’s influence on me cannot be overstated and serves as a powerful demonstration of the impact a good teacher can have.

Economic circumstances led my family to move to Detroit, Mich when I was 12. It was in Detroit that I came-of-age politically—picketing Woolworth’s because Blacks were not allowed to sit at lunch counters in Woolworth stores in the segregated South. It was also in Detroit that I learned firsthand the dire economic consequences when management and labor fail to understand that they are in it together.

As a young boy I fell in love with the wonders of science. Astronomy and then physics were perfect vehicles for my hyperactive imagination. I studied the liberal arts in college, receiving a Bachelor of Philosophy from Wayne State University, Monteith College, with an emphasis in mathematics and philosophy. I earned my Ph.D. in mathematics from The University of Michigan and I am a proud Michigan Wolverine. Go Blue!

I began my professional my career in Academia, investing 15 years in mathematical research and in teaching University mathematics. The next decade was spent in the Aerospace Industry, in the fledgling fields of computer security and software engineering. It was here that I saw the firsthand the truth of Neils Bohr’s wisdom: while it’s true that one must always seek the path of peace, it is also true that one must always be prepared to defend.

Ten years ago, I co-founded Citadel Information Group with my friend and business partner, Kimberly Pease. Citadel is a Los-Angeles based cyber security and IT management consulting firm. We act as a traditional external consulting firm providing guidance in information security and IT management while also “jumping into the trenches” with some of our clients, assisting them manage these high-risk high-value areas.

For the last five years I have served as President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Information Systems Security Association. I’m the architect of the Chapter’s Community Outreach Program and our perspective that It takes the village to secure the village SM. I have been blessed to serve on several not-for-profit Boards. I currently serve on the Strategic Advisory Board of the Information Technology Program at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

I view this blog and my information security work as complementary. Both serve the cause of freedom: my blog by encouraging thoughtful, heartfelt, respectful dialogue and my information security work by protecting our personal and economic well-being.

I live in the Hollywood Hills with my wife Rita and our dog Keedo. We like time with friends and family, movies, good food, reading, travel and stimulating meaningful work.

Let Freedom Ring.

Stan Stahl, Ph.D.
January 2013

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