Expression

Poor title for this, but I’m rambling, so good as it gets.

I follow No Labels, https://www.facebook.com/NoLabels?fref=ts, on Facebook in my personal life. I like the concept, but I’m not sure that this is anything more than good intentions. 1) Does this cause/movement have significance and purpose that can make a difference? 2) Does this idea have unintended consequences that will be harmful in the long run?

Firstly, I must say that the people who comment on many of the posts are quite negative and lack thought and purpose. Some of the people express that they wish things were better, but do not have the least amount of hope in their expressions. Very few people provide comments with substance and constructive input. It is almost as if No Labels is speaking to the void, empty space. Perhaps they are reaching people who do not comment on Facebook and are passive consumers of content? I don’t know, but it seems to me if you have a Facebook presence, you should attend to it rather than simply blast out information without any monitor or response. To some degree we all have to tolerate “flaming” of posts, that is one of the less attractive freedoms of the media. However, one should support and stand up for their position, not simply allow people to blather without commentary. Also, it should not be the mission of the community at large to stand up for a cause where they do not have a real dog in the fight. It is good to support a cause, but a different thing entirely to “like” it and put your insignificant two-cents in with the rest of the noise. Personally, I don’t see the point of making “social” presence if you don’t have a face/name/person/persona/group/committee/chair/etc. to champion the cause. To me that is like being lazy and disorganized. Sure, I’m not one to talk as I have no foot to stand on in that arena, but I’m not an organization. I’m just a person of some intellect, if not a modicum of modesty. I know a fraud as I am a fraud (I would argue you are a fraud, too, but that is a deep philosophical can that I do not wish to unearth at the moment). Let’s consider what an organization should do and should stand for based on its claims.
https://www.facebook.com/NoLabels/info/?tab=page_info

Can No Labels truly stand for its mission if it cannot attend to the public it desires to serve? Let’s define the bounds here first. Facebook is not the end-all-be-all of anyone’s mission. However, I’d like to point out that my personal, favorite candidate for 2016 is Ben Carson. He is personally attending to social media. This is almost something never heard of and very welcome from my perspective. Is it too much for an organization to have people to personally deal with and attend to comments in the real-world, live medium? Sure you don’t want to go down every rabbit trail that random people will take you on, but there should be something more than just “news” from your organization’s perspective.

I paint a very fine point on being present instead of a presence. The real point I’d like to deal with is the greater good. Like or dislike No Labels or any other well-meaning organization. What difference does it and its supporters make? Taking a philosophical leap, I assert that there is such a thing as good and evil. If you prefer the terms right vs. wrong, or helpful vs. hurtful, etc. However you define it or construct it in your own mind, there are differences in outcomes. While I’m making assertions let’s look at a quadrant:

Outcomes.quadrant

Assuming you can see and make heads or tails of my picture, what conclusion can we draw? Is it possible that we live in the yellow zone (top right) far too often? To paraphrase Robert Burns, “the best laid schemes of mice and men….” Is there some certainty or guarantee that any of us can make or find or apply something to ensure that we have a group of people with good intentions and avoid all actions, decisions, and missteps that lead to a bad outcome? I seriously doubt that any of us can make that guarantee, but there are some things, some considerations that can help avoid negative outcomes.

We can step away from the spiritual realm, but I choose not to do so. I have been taught and do not feel in the least bit deluded, coerced, beguiled, or hornswoggled, into a mindless attachment to Christianity as a crutch or “good if it works for you” type of construct. I have been taught and observe in my own way, the impact of God within human plans and outcomes. Quite frequently people attribute success, winning, victory, and “good” outcomes due to the power of harmony with God and His commands, precepts, thoughts, and desires. In some ways, if you do A, then B will result. It is not that cut and dry, but it is a general axiom. So with right on your side, you can, avert plans for evil. That does not come at a place of self-righteousness, holier-than-thou, I-know-more-than-you-do positions. It comes from humility, obedience, self-sacrifice, and lowliness before Almighty God. It comes from a position of internal weakness and dependence rather than an internal/external strength and independence. It is counter-intuitive. For reference, see the passages in the Bible surrounding Joshua and the walls of Jericho. However, since the vast majority of people come at this from a totally different perspective, let’s take it from an alternate stance.

In America, since that is where I live, what I know best, and feel the most impacted by and most able to even, slightly, influence. In our country, we have the situation of two major parties that drive the bulk of decisions leading federal outcomes for the vast majority of citizens. There is this constant tension between the parties and great swaths of decisions are implemented without full consent of anyone and with little scrutiny given or allowed to exist. I will not go so far as to blame this system or any of the parties or individuals. It would seem to me that this is the best system in the world as far as world systems go. The missing pieces of this puzzle are some constructs in place farther back in our history that have eroded over time. In some ways we are better off as a nation and as individuals. One such example is abolition of slavery. However, there is a lot more that falls into the “non-green (–anything other than the left–positionally, not ideologically)” quadrants of the picture. One troubling fact to me is that we have come to the custom of passing grand, encompassing, legislation. There are more riders on these than the busiest train. When people are for or against a bill like ACA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patient_Protection_and_Affordable_Care_Act), there is so much that was never intended nor understood by anyone. (I am not going to defend any position on this particular bill here, it is for illustration purposes only.) If we improve something, what logic or reason, establishes that it must not be in plain language, it must be extremely large and complex, and that it can, and I argue, must contain things unintended, unsupported, unpopular, incorrect, unattainable, and deeply problematic. I would ascribe that much of our laws in the form of legislation pushed through the system are in legalese and jargon, but that would be imprecise and understated. Even lawyers cannot agree on this stuff. It is written and pushed through in such a way that it cannot be enforced, it cannot do the good, in part or in full, it intends to do, and ultimately it will not only fail to meet its greatest potential, but it will clearly miss the mark and cause unintended consequences that will not be manifested until very late and then will be way beyond repair. I do not make this statement of opinion to say that the entire batch is rotten, but only to state that enough bad apples, long enough ruins the whole bunch. In the balance of things, it can do far much more harm than good. Again this is to say, that the passers of the bill(s) had good intentions and honestly, sincerely, determined that this was right and good and true. Which is great if one reads it before one passes it rather than pass it to see if it’s good (does that even sound like any form of wisdom?). I poke fun at one pundit here, but only very slightly. I can only go back as I have in my working career and say, “the emperor’s new clothes” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Emperor%27s_New_Clothes). As I present the story of my recollection, as I place my interpretation, people are unwilling (unable) to point out the flaws because they are too concerned about other issues besides the central issues. In other words the people who support the bill and the bill itself are the “emporer” where the “man is naked”, but the “people complement him on his beautiful new clothes”. They are too fearful that they will be found out as frauds, that their baby will be rejected, and that they might not have all the information and understanding they should, in other words, their ego is mainly at stake. They are too caught up in the fervor of emotion and cheer-leading, that they lose sight of their solemn responsibility, as doctors should (in my opinion) also take on in “first do no harm”. It is not that everyone is blinded and sheep-like, but groupthink can sweep over a crowd very quickly and overcome reason.

The challenge in this assertion (and knowledge if you follow the assumptions so far), is: what is the alternative? Do not get me wrong. Though I consider myself conservative-leaning and I have chosen a liberal/progressive bill as an example, the other “side” has done great and destructive things as much or more. I support the better, truer, more self-sacrificial parts of conservatism, not the hodge-podge of right-wing and hell-bent self-service. I also support the better parts of liberalism that can be reasoned to improve upon our lives. Part of that challenge we set out to tackle, is that we all must “come more central”. I mean to put this in a different context than what is meant by news correspondents and pundits. The term compromise is bandied about without anyone significantly defining and limiting its meaning. What I mean is an opportunity to find common ground. It does not mean: sacrifice principle or give into someone else’s demands. It does mean a willingness to hear the other side out and find the nuggets, the tenets, that are couched in sanity, reason, and good faith. It means agreeing to see each other’s points of view and seeing the merits. It means the logic of “and” rather than “or”. By that I mean, this plus that add together to make a better way, not this to the exclusion of that; meaning somebody “wins” and somebody “loses”.  As Steven Covey principled: win-win (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_7_Habits_of_Highly_Effective_People). When we go for win-lose or accept lose-lose we end up on the yellow and red side of the picture (right column of my illustration). Win-Win is going to bring us more frequently to the top green quadrant. (Yes, even I will admit, must concede, that it will inevitably be mixed with more than generous helpings of the other colors/side.) I propose that we must have people in Congress who understand this distinction. Nay, they champion this distinction. There have to be heroes and heroines who confront the status quo and charge fearlessly into hearing first to understand and driving home the best objectives of all the personalities involved. This can happen two ways that I can imagine: 1) simply hoping for people like this–happenstance, or even with some people pushing for it to happen (“No Labels”?) or 2) establishing rules, guidelines, processes, procedures, committees, chairs, or what have you, to ensure that this at is the forefront of any discussions, panels, text, or subcommittees, etc. that find their way into the chambers. I propose that this cannot be something that is guaranteed to work and have to presume that some people will simply go through the motions. There is no quick fix. There is no silver bullet. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, if this fundamental assertion is repeated for every bill at the outset and conclusion, there may be better outcomes realized. Sure, human nature has a way of eliminating reason and rationality, but a constant reminder, a gentle nudge, a concept well-conveyed, should not be harmful, in my estimation.

In conclusion, for those skipping ahead, we need a tweak to our government, a “hack” in modern terminology of the second decade of the 21st century, to bring about real cooperation, that is the best of compromise of positions, not compromise of core values. This move can make all the difference–if anyone believes in it.

Return to Return

Today I am here. It is not. Huh?

I am feeling especially vulnerable and transparent. Unfortunately, this will come off as superficial and jaded. However, I am expressing myself no matter what “they” say.

I am still coming to grips with my failings and proclivity to stay stuck. There are small successes, they are few and far between, but there is some noticeable growth and change. It is hard won, slow, and I am far too eager and able to rest on my laurels. If it weren’t for hope, perseverance, and stubbornness, I’d be absolutely lost and gone.

No.31

Wisdom’s folly

The unexamined life is not worth living.
– Plato

http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2005/may/12/features11.g24

The quote, indicated from Plato, is only true, it only works for you if you forget to “smell the roses” and therefore take the requisite time to inspect your condition. It loses it’s impact when you blend in with the roses. Perhaps I am over applying this quote or I have found a niche malady, diagnosis, excuse, or “nomer” (that’s the opposite of misnomer, right?) for where I’ve been. Perhaps I share something too close to many people’s hearts. I do not know. I have probably wasted 90% of my adult free time on that space. I am the proverbial, man sitting on the pot, against advice to do otherwise. Here’s a revelation, most of us who know we need to get with the program don’t take well to being TOLD to get with the program. It is almost like an internal clock saying, “I will not do what you say, because you said it”. I would much rather hear you tell me about the times I’ve overcome and done something worthwhile than you to bring up my repeated failures, foibles, tendencies, and stagnation. As it is said, we hurt the ones we love the most, I have been hurt by and continue to hurt everyone around me, but for a special few people and a special few times.

I am hoping one profound thing will spring from my mind, to my fingers, to the keyboard, to the screen, to the Internet. I feel very strongly about things. I don’t like a lot of the goings on lately with the Republican Party. One such specific example is the, now, only a few days ago, former Speaker of the House, John Boehner, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Boehner, resigned. I did not like the kinds of things I heard about his active participation in Congress in the bulk of the Obama years, but I have one thing in common with this man, I feel deeply. If he is pouring on the tears because he can’t help it, or because he is putting on a show, I do not know or do not judge. I am saying that I cry over things that makes no sense to people. I easily identify with people who’ve failed the same way I’ve failed. I cry because I am proud, happy, reminiscing, sad, overwhelmed, angry, frustrated, abandoned, impacted by environments, and other ways I’m probably forgetting. The most memorable time was the most foggy time. I was put under for dental work (wisdom teeth removal, if I remember correctly). I woke up crying after I came to again. I don’t even know why or what I was crying for at the time. It was Sodium Pentathol according to what I was told (as I remember it anyway). I did not like the feeling. Here I was crying in front of strangers and my dad. I do not look on it now so much as shame, but more as that is who I really am. I cry easily and freely. I do my best to hold it in except when I’m in the dark or watching TV/movies when other’s attention is mostly turned away from me. So it’s out there now for anyone to see (no one any time soon, I will imagine). So if you want to coerce me or humiliate me on that admission, you are free to do so…for whatever that is worth to you.

Well, that was good to share, but not what I really want to consider here. I am hoping for more people who are vulnerable and able to honestly, but kindly consider all the facts in any situation. There has always been a propensity to become too encamped. We want to be on the side of “right” or contrary to something or someone. We want to be the good guys or the devil’s advocate or the voice of reason or the monkey in the wrench. Then there are the “yes men” or peace at any cost type of people (raising my hand sheepishly). We need more bold people who will listen closely to all the arguments and facts and feelings and come up with thoughts and ideas that will lead out of predicaments, muckraking, name-calling, and unresolved issues. I dream that I can become a person on that level. Even if it is only for a moment or a few low-impact issues. I want to make even a slight difference. Sure it would be nice to have some larger influence, but that is not my measure of value or success. My faith in God is my measure of value and success is not really a term of priority. Yes, I want to be the best I can be, but sometimes being is enough. That cannot be my life goal or my motivating statement for the day, but it is an honest expression when life is hard within or without (externally) to stand up to as a human.

Would you consider for this moment in time to think more, talk less, find some middle ground, seek to pull opposite sides together, and live out conviction in a way that serves others more than it seeks for itself. There are Bible verses that can be quoted here, but I will leave that to someone else to provide when they have the time and energy to do it. Here is another facet I explored today.

I ran across the fact I discovered last spring. I lost my Cristela, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cristela. Well, what I considered “my” TV show. Cristela is a real person and the show was fashioned after her real life. I just got into the show. For a season (year) it was awesome. It didn’t make me laugh out loud a whole lot, but it resonated with me. I got the characters. I got the vibe. I really dig Cristela Alonso, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cristela_Alonzo. As Cristela Hernandez, I just really find her to be a “chick” I could hang with if we shared time and space. I really like the fact that “Fluffy”, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel_Iglesias, played in this, too. These are some Hispanic people I could call friend and whom I would stand up for. Forgive me if I’m not politically correct or I am “offensive”. I used to care about that as a primary factor in my life. Now it still plagues me when it comes up, but I try less to be a “people please-er”. Today, I read her blog entry, http://cristelaalonzo.com/blog/2015/5/11/a-year-ago-today, it adds even more to that identity that I felt for the show and for Cristela the “real, live person”. If you do not also “get” her, then we differ quite abundantly, but I don’t hold that against you 🙂

We all need to dream, but we all need to have our dreams change and for us to be changed in the process. I do not know what is next in Cristela’s life, nor in my own, but I do know we are both improving in some ways, staying the same in many ways, and getting darker and less in other ways. I hope we all can grasp and hang on to the growth and improvement, but some of us never reach that potential. We are not less human for doing so nor more human for staying on an upward spiral, but we see ourselves as less for getting stuck or sliding back. Forget about the judgment of others; we will always disappoint or anger others just by the nature of us not being them. The yard stick is God’s view of us. We are all special in His sight and infinitely valuable over any of His other creation (rocks, trees, animals, universes, etc.). That is only taken away when we reject Him and His claims. Oooh, I hear a fight coming on, you who are lost and say you are only “wandering” and not lost. Fight it though you might, there are 2,000 plus years of claims to the contrary. As far as I know, no one else has made any such claim (or refutation) for anywhere near the length of time. Detractors come and go, but the word of God still remains. People have misunderstood it, misquoted it, misrepresented it, and missed it, but that makes it no less valid and true. Fight me, challenge me, but do not ignore what is written. It is truly a matter of life and death. But don’t listen to me or follow me. Go to the Source and find out for yourself.

Stepping down squarely off of my soapbox, or “righteousness” if you must (if there is any righteousness in me it is not my own self-righteousness, that is the biggest oxymoron ever). If you have a comment, please respond. If you just read this and do not respond, just know, that apart from prayer, it is though you didn’t exist. You do exist, but I want to know that for myself. Unkind words will wound, but I’ll get over it, eventually. I’d rather get unkind words than no words, but kind words will really get me going.

Peace. Out.

How Do I Come out of My Shell?

It is a rhetorical question that I need to answer for myself, but this being the second half of my life is a crucial turning point.  Male mid-life crisis was stereo-“atypically” portrayed as buying the Porsche and running off with a young “hottie” (today’s terms, not used when Mid-Life Crisis was first a “thing”). However, my mid-life crisis is starting all over again at zero and I have no desire for the car or the girl.  I am looking for significance.  I want to do things the right way, but my way.  I want to make a difference.  I have my internal “why”. Yet, the “how” and the “what” elude me.  Perhaps I need to just pursue what is in front of me with passion and the what will come.  The how is probably summed up with enthusiasm and vigor.  Time will tell and I will pursue it that way for now.

Another Day, Another Duh

Well this is now moving into something else.  I’m am feeling more creative than motivative…yep that one don’t show up on spellchecker.  It is time for me to be productive, creative, innovative, in tune with the universe.  It is well past time for contemplation and inward musings.  It is time to stop looking for the world to influence me and for me to influence the world.  It is time for my output not my intake.  It is time for risking and failing, not hiding and lacking accomplishment.

Need shorter entries here…

I started a long grandiose diatribe on starting the book in earnest.  I neither started in  earnest nor finished my blog entry.  So the usual KISS principle is very much needed here.  I am shooting for what the author states going from “aimless and hardly every finished anything” to ” someone who has completely turned their life around and no longer has to force themselves to do even the simplest of tasks.” So I embark on this journey for the seventy-twelfth time to attempt to pick myself out of the muck of lack of motivation and spiral into the lowest common denominator: laziness.

False Start – 15 yard penalty

OK, not the best analogy, but 15 yards is normally the maximum in football unless it is something really extreme (I think, it’s been so long since I was a substantial fan).  Yes, I wandered, strayed beyond comprehension.  This is normal for me.  I have two modes: fast to burnout, and off.  I was clearly ‘off’ since the first entry.  But, hey, this is the place where metal is tested.  You are never truly defeated until you do not get back up again.  We all want to get up quicker and less times.  It takes perseverance and determination, but a wall is built one brick at a time.  You don’t build it one section or entire walls in one sitting.

The takeaway since I’ve been away is I am planning, inconsistently, but my plans are starting to be repeated now.  I am not looking to be all over the map.  I am settling on what is important and leaving the unimportant.  I take encouragement that my mind is being conditioned, if not my habits and schedule of activities.

Here’s what’s still missing: decision, persistence, action, burning desire, fighting through inertia.  I am still interested and pursuing Think and Grow Rich, still focused on the wealth outcome rather than simply monetary gain.  Wealth is holistic: peace, thankfulness, understanding, levelheadedness, awareness, adaptation, balance, spiritual grounding, security, dynamic living, and many more things that money alone cannot purchase or garner.

Now this effort is on my list of daily activities.  I want to do this so bad, but it needs to be a serious, burning, awe-striking desire, not just a want or a wish.