The Only Thing We Have to Fear…

It is a beautiful day, which is pretty fantastic since the weather over the past couple of days has been down right atrocious. I cannot remember the last time I saw so much wind and rain. Needless to say, I’ve missed the weather we get up here in the High Country. Like I told my wife, the bad weather days make you appreciate the beautiful days that much more, and when the weather is beautiful, it cannot be beat.

Fall is in the air. The leaves are in the midst of changing, well the ones that are still on the trees after the blustery weather of the past two days. The ambers, oranges, and yellows mixed with the still green oaks and pines covering the hillsides are beautiful and quite a sight to see. Set against the crisp blue sky, there are not many landscapes or portraits that can approach the level of splendor afforded to us during this change of seasons.

There are some things, however, that never seem to change, and are altogether ghastly in comparison to the beauty of the natural world around us. We are in the midst of an unpleasant and obnoxious midterm election season. Time is winding down to election day and the campaigns for, and against, those that hold elected office have been trudging along since the last general election nearly two years ago.

Luckily, we do not have traditional television. We stream all of our television over the internet via Netflix, Hulu, PBS, and other outlets. This has sheltered us, somewhat, from the nastiness that plagues regular television during this time of even numbered years. The campaign advertisements are endless from both of the mainstream candidates vying for the Senate seat up for grabs in North Carolina. Interest groups and PACs are shoveling money into the race as well with ads pitting different points of view into, seemingly, an all out war against one another. Watching these ads, one unfamiliar with our political culture would come to the conclusion that life itself hangs in the balance; that the human race is doomed, and that the planet is heading down a path toward irreconcilable destruction. I do not subscribe to newspapers or popular magazines, so I cannot say much concerning advertising that goes on in print media, but I doubt it paints any more of a rosy picture.

Speaking of the precarious position of life as we know it, I posted a little observation on Facebook the other day…

“Terrorists, illegal aliens, tyrannical government, ebola…seems there is always something we are supposed to fear. Those cashing in on the mass paranoia being spread through the media and social networks are only fearful of one thing…that we will, one day, stop being afraid. Until then, they are going to keep laughing all the way to the bank while everyone else huddles together in small, divided, fearful masses.”

There are other fears that I can add to the list including, but not limited to, climate change, recession, depression, gay marriage, AIDS, guns, gun control, war, Republicans, Democrats, Christians, Atheists, Agnostics, believers, nonbelievers, Muslims, the Illuminati, the one percent, the 99%, the 45%, the welfare state, the military-industrial complex, homosexuals, heterosexuals, bisexuals, transgendered people, corporations, multinational conglomerates, the New World Order, the Trilateral Commission, the World Trade Organization, the Federal Reserve, Capitalism, Communism, Socialism, Fascism, and so on and so forth.

There is a lot of shit of which to be afraid…a lot, and those seeking power bet on the fact that if they can harness that fear and disseminate it among the populace, then they can achieve power.

The worst part concerning all of this is that we allow it to happen cycle, after cycle, after cycle, after cycle. Can we blame them? Fear is an incredible motivator, probably the greatest motivator. Fear of death, fear of discomfort, fear of the unknown. Fear is motivating, but can also be paralyzing and irrational. It can promote good decisions and poor ones.

Sure, there are real fears in the world around us. We all know what it is that scares us. It is time we stop letting others tell us what it is that we need to fear. Life is too short and the world is too magnificent to do otherwise.

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“The Economy, Stupid” and Matt Taibbi

Finally, after a long, long few weeks, I have a day off today with a weekend off at the end of the coming week. I have some time to think, some time to read, and some time to just be. Well, that is after doing a few chores that I am certain my better half prefers that I get done. Before I get into that messiness, though, I am going to write, by god. I haven’t had much time to pay attention to, well, anything of late. It has been go, go, go without a stop.

I did make some time to read a book that I bought a few weeks back, Matt Taibbi’s The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap. I must say that I am a fan of his writing, and was sad to see him leave RollingStone magazine. He was the only reason I had a subscription to that periodical. I don’t remember the first time I read him; I do recall that upon my first reading, I immediately compared him to Hunter S. Thompson. His writing style and wit are, well, Thompsonesque.

After reading a few of his articles in the magazine and keeping up with his blog, I decided to read one of his books, Griftopia. I was amazed after reading it, and consequently, I re-read it recently. I suggest reading it, if you haven’t already.

I had seen somewhere that he was coming out with a new book, but it slipped my mind until my wife and I went to the bookstore. I went immediately, as I always do, to the “Current Events” section at Barnes & Noble, did my scan of recently released titles, and came across Taibbi’s new book. Without hesitation, I picked it up and scanned the summary on the book jacket, followed by a quick glance through the introduction. I did not even look at the price of the book, though I know it would be pricey since it was a hardcover, but I did not care.

See, if you read Taibbi, or follow him in any sense, you know that he has written a ton concerning the present day wealth gap in the United States, well really the world, but primarily the US. Following the crash of the housing bubble, the concurrent collapse of the financial sector, and then the inevitable recession of the world economy, Taibbi seemed to make investigating the causes and effects of the crash, as well as the outcome of the major players involved, the primary subject of his writing.

I am fascinated by the subject as well. I’ve read a lot on the subject, trying to wrap my head around it all and understand what happened, but, more importantly, how and why it was allowed to happen in the first place. The thing is, though, I am not an economist, and I have a relatively rudimentary understanding of economic jargon and I won’t even get started on the math. I took my two courses on economics in college, micro and macro, and passed them both with decent grades (although micro nearly destroyed me).  I also took a course on World Economic History that came more closely to destroying me than micro did, so I can give you a collegiate sophomore level analysis of what happened and even then it will probably be only about an A-, probably a B+, but A- at best.

Anyway, as I said, I am fascinated by the subject. Really, I’m fascinated by the economy period. I mean, the actions of the major players within the economy and the overall health of it are important…really important, and as such, those actions and that health trickle down and affect us either positively or negatively. Everyone of us.

Enough about all of that…

Essentially, Taibbi’s book is a story of the different types of treatment given to those that have and those that don’t. For a country that prides itself on equality and justice for all, the levels of distinct inequality concerning this treatment should piss the people off, but really, it doesn’t.

The last line of the book says it all. “We don’t do it often enough.” Sorry for the spoiler, but when I read that line at the end of the 412 pages that Taibbi uses to display his argument, I just had to nod my head in agreement.

I want to say more about the book, but I would prefer that everyone go out and get themselves a copy and read it. It’s written in plain English without so much economic or market jargon, so it is pretty easily understood.

I know, maybe I’m weird.  Does anyone else find this stuff as fascinating as I do?

Busy, Busy, Busy

It’s Sunday morning which affords me some time to put some thoughts together. The next couple of weeks are going to be a challenge to my patience and my overall well-being (not to sound melodramatic or anything). I just feel off when I’m unable to have some time to reflect or just be. It is one of my favorite activities. I hate the “go, go, go” attitude. I mean, what does it really accomplish? What does being so damned busy that you cannot see the world around you or appreciate the little things in it that add to one’s life? It’s like an endless chase that does nothing but motivate one to continue chasing something that really isn’t there. Really, it’s mind-numbing. There has to be something more to being here. I refuse to believe that we are here simply to stay busy and produce. I refuse to believe that we are nothing more than units of production.

Take, for example, the word business. It is defined in the New Oxford American Dictionary as: 1. a person’s regular occupation, profession, or trade, 2.the practice of making one’s living by engaging in commerce, 3. an affair or series of events, typically scandalous or discreditable one, 4. actions other than dialogue performed by actors, and 5. a scolding; harsh verbal criticism.

Then take the root of that word…busy. Busy is an adjective, defined by the New Oxford American Dictionary as having a great deal to do, being occupied with or concentrating on a particular activity or object of attention, full of activity, excessively detailed or decorated; fussy, or engaged.

It hit me a little while back, the relationship between the two words busy and business. We probably hear those words in some context everyday, but especially for the word business, do we rarely consider where the word comes from. It comes from the word busy. After looking at the entry for business in the New Oxford American Dictionary, I’ve learned that in Old English the original sense of the word stood for anxiety. The sense has apparently changed, because I know that when I am engaged in business of some kind, there is a level of anxiety, or anxiousness, involved driving me to finish the business successfully. Depending on the level, or importance, of the business being conducted, the level of anxiety can be great or small. Even still, there is some anxiety, so the Old English sense, in my humble opinion, still applies. Then during the Middle Ages, the word came to mean “the state of being busy.” This was apparently used up until the 18th Century, but the word was then changed from business to busyness. That’s just kind of something to think about. Back to business…as it were…
We are given life. Where it comes from really isn’t important in this line of thought, but we are given life all the same.  I cannot comprehend that in order for the gift of life to have value one must maintain a level of busyness…or business…the hell with it…one must stay busy. One is deemed as successful if he, or she, is busy. The level of success accorded to a particular individual is directly correlated to the level of busyness he, or she, maintains. Then there are arbitrary notions that one person’s busyness is worth more than another’s. Ditchdiggers or janitors do not receive as much compensation for their busyness as a computer programmer or an investment banker. They could maintain comparable levels of busyness, but that does not matter. The banker’s level of busyness is worth more to society than the janitor’s.

I’m not really sure where I am going with this, but it is something that I want to more deeply consider and think about. There are levels of inequality within this world that are built upon what I believe are faulty premises..staggering levels that we are all immune to simply because we are to busy, or wrapped up in our own busyness or business, to see or to care. With such, I firmly believe that we lose what it is that makes us distinctly human.

 

Pissed. That’s really all I can say.

I try to stay away from the news nowadays.  Usually it does nothing more than piss me off, but after hearing a little snippet on NPR yesterday or this morning (I can’t remember exactly when it was) about the President’s announcement yesterday, I decided to check out the hubbub.  Soooo, I found this.  And “this” pisses me right the hell off. I mean, I think I hit 8th, 9th, maybe even 10th level pissed upon reading this article and a few more that I decided to dig around through.

After that fateful day in September of 2001, I felt like many of us felt.  I was angry, pissed, scared, and worried.  I had kind of a kill ’em all and let God sort them out mindset.  I was all about blasting the fuckers responsible back to the stone-age.  I followed the war fever and the patriotic unity among those in government straight through Afghanistan and even supported military intervention in Iraq, just knowing that Saddam Hussein was evil incarnate and had enough “weapons of mass distraction” to wipe us out along with anyone else that he felt like removing from the face of the earth. I believed it when we were told how necessary it was to go in and take him out.  I believed it when we were told that the secured Iraqi oil reserves would pay for any military action and the cost would not be passed to the taxpayer.  I believed it when we were told that the operation would be relatively short and sweet.  I believed it when we were told that a minimum of American boys and girls would be put in harms way.  I believed it all.  All. 

What do I believe now?

I believe that we need to take care of the wounded soldiers and veterans that we have on our hands now rather than sending more of our men and women in uniform back over there to have come home wounded, or worse, dead.  I believe that we should have heeded the words of Dick Cheney, John McCain, and others that, before Bush II took office believed that any intervention in Iraq would do nothing more than remove a force that kept the various sects vying for power from killing each other and swallowing the country in a civil war.  I believe that we should heed those words now.  NOW!  I believe that sending “military advisors” to Iraq is nothing more than a prelude to a larger force that will go over there again. I believe that Iraq is not worth one more drop of American blood spilt on its arid ground.  I believe that Jim Wright was right in his opinion and indictment of those that rattle the sabers in the hopes of driving more Americans to wanting more war (If you have not read this piece, it is the most poignant piece on this entire debacle I have read, and that includes over 10 years of reading…lots and lots of articles and more than a few books).  I believe that the President caved on this.  I believe the President has let down those whom he depended on to put him in the White House in 2008, and those he needed to keep him there in 2012.  I know that he lost my vote in 2012 because he sold his political power in order to pass a healthcare reform bill that does more for private insurance companies than it does for the American people.  I believe, now, that he has lost my respect, because he lightly pushes progressive causes just enough to placate liberals so that they won’t go ape-shit on him when he does something like this.  I believe that the one “liberal” that could have kept this from happening caved in order to save face for his party and the hopes that his party does not lose too much power in November.

I firmly believe that this advisory role will escalate just as it did in Vietnam.  Though the number of dead Americans, 4,411 (according to the Department of Defense), is far less than those that died in Vietnam, 58,220, how many more Americans have to die or get wounded before we cut our losses?  I’ve read memes and posts from those that would disagree with me, stating that the sacrifices made by those that have already given their lives in this conflict will mean nothing.  And to that, I say bullshit!  To them I say does it make their sacrifice that much more meaningful to have more American blood spilt on that altar?  So, how many more Americans need to spill their blood to make the sacrifice given by those before that much more meaningful?  How many?  HOW MANY???

How many more Americans need their lives altered by life changing injuries and mind changing psychological distress?  How many more American families need to feel the loss that so many American families feel now?  Go on.  Tell me.  I’m waiting.

Not one more drop of American blood needs to be spilled; not one more American life needs to be laid down for the security of a foreign country that we have already spent a generation trying to secure. Period.  End of story.

 

To, or To Not?

I’m taking just a few minutes, the next 25 or so, to do a little free writing on a topic about which I have not written in a couple of weeks…

Fear.

A few weeks back, I read a post by Holistic Wayfarer entitled “What If You Weren’t Afraid.” At the end of the post, she posed a question: How would these things look different in your life, if you were not afraid? I posted a couple of weeks ago some thoughts concerning a couple of the topics listed after the question, particularly those concerning my relationship with my sweetheart and the relational boundaries I draw with other people. I just took a look over the list again and noticed the topic “Your blogging” so I figure why not start there.

How would my blogging look different, or be different, if I were not afraid. I guess what needs to be done is figure out of what it may be that I am afraid when it comes to my blogging. I was reading over another previous post of mine and noticed something I had written that kind of goes along with this very idea, and it goes a little something like this…

When I find something on which to write, I tend to tread my path lightly. I don’t want to piss somebody off that may read what it is that I am writing. I look “for the solution that will come without a conflicting response or opinion…when that does not work, I go to like-minded souls that will reassure me that the course I wish to take is the right one and will not falter.”

Essentially I fear an argument. Really, it isn’t so much that I fear an argument. If you know me, you know I love a good argument. What it really is is that I am tired of arguing. It gets old, especially when the arguments are always about the same shit. The day may be different, but the arguments are always the same, especially when it comes to the topics I tend to follow and about which I care the most. There is rarely anything new added to the conversation. If, by chance, a new idea comes into the topic, the conversation will take a turn, but it always, always comes right back to the beginning. Then the parties of the argument get pissed off, turn and figuratively walk away with nothing be solved. Pretty much what it boils down to is that we are a bunch of children that refuse to give even an inch in the hope that a compromise or agreement can be reached.

That is what frightens me. I don’t want my blog to turn into a huge pissing match between people with different points of view, and I don’t want to begin censoring those who take part in any discussion that may come up because they refuse to act like grown-ups.

Then again, a little spice might be good. I have plenty of thoughts that can be considered nonconventional. They are certainly not aligned with the status quo. I do like to propose challenging and provoking thoughts. Otherwise, what in the hell am I writing for? Who wants to read something that doesn’t provoke at least a minimum amount of thought?

I guess that what I’m trying to say is that my blogging would be more edgy and more strongly opinionated if I were not afraid of some argument breaking out in the comment section. Moreover, what is troubling is the fact that I do not want any piece that I write to be boiled down into a simple yes/no debate that takes what is stated, and usually quite eloquently (if I may say so), and turned into some kind of talking point that can be recited on cue by some shmuck that does not have any skin in the game. I suppose I could just say screw it and write what it is that I feel and what I think, and say to hell with censoring myself. That would certainly be healthier for me as it would allow me to release pent up feelings and thoughts that swirl within my mind and body.

I’m going to mull this over some more before I make a decision, but it seems I have some things to ponder. It’s a good thing that pondering is something that I’m pretty good at doing.

You’ll have to stay tuned in order to find out which direction my pondering will take me.

Still Doin’ It…

DadTomorrow is Father’s Day, and I’m sitting here thinking about my dad. He is one of the hardest working people I know, and one that I think about when I’m feeling a little bit lazy and realize that I need to get up and get it in gear. Actually, that is one of his sayings. “Troops a’ movin’” or “let’s get it in gear.” He’s also the reason why I have an obsession about being everywhere I have to be as early as humanly possible. Late is not in his vocabulary. It simply does not exist. If there is even a suspicion that tardiness is going to occur, there will be hell to pay for whomever causes it.

He worked the same job, the same job, for 37 years with rarely a negative thing to say about it. He is spoken of highly by those that had the pleasure to work with him and for him. I’ve never heard anyone that he worked with say anything negative about his work or what he brought to the workplace. He touched a lot of lives in a positive way. He taught, and still teaches, invaluable life lessons such as hard work, dedication, and self-improvement. I did not really take to those lessons growing up; I was more or less bitter toward them, because I already knew everything there was to know. Once I became a little older and wiser, I could see what it was he was doing and what he was showing my brother, me, and other young people with whom he connected, coached, and taught.

If you would have told me at 15 or 16 that I would think this way about my dad at 36, and be grateful, I probably would have called you an idiot and laughed. But it’s true. I am grateful to have the dad I have. I’m glad he was stern with us growing up. I’m glad he didn’t take our crap, or crap from anyone else. He was fair. When credit was due, he gave it. When punishment was due, he wielded it. When self-reliance needed to be taught, he stepped away and let things run their course. “Look it up” was, and still is, his favorite answer to a question.

I’m in my mid-thirties, and he is still teaching me. He may not know it, and I’m sure as hell not going to tell him, but he is.

That’s why I’m glad that he is my dad.

A Title? Yes, it needs one…

I’ve been doing a bit of reading and research on writing, making my writing better, and expanding my readership. Within most of what I have read, there is a common theme; identifying my brand and sticking with it. Therefore, I am going to use this post to nail down what my brand might be, because the thoughts that spill out of my brain, either through my fingers or out of my mouth, tend to be completely random and based heavily on something I hear or read at a random time.  Really, what the majority of my writing here is, and will probably be for the foreseeable future, a response.

But what do I want my brand, my writing, to do? What do I want it to say? Those questions seem pretty important to me. I want my writing to have some purpose. I want it to not only to present my thought on whatever the subject may be, but to provoke a thought or response from the reader. A good response. A bad response. Something. I’d prefer it provoke an agreeable response, but I know that isn’t always going to happen.  Disagreeable responses are acceptable, too.  I’d like to make people’s heads nod or shake.

I guess that is what most of us here want.

I also understand that patience is my friend in this endeavor; a kind of “if you build it, he will come” thing.  Patience is not my strong suit.  Really, I stink at being patient, but I’m trying.

Anyway, I am going to keep trying to hone my brand, and follow where my writing takes me.  If there is one thing I know, it is that writing cannot be forced.  It has to come freely from somewhere inside with plenty of honest thought and contemplation.  Otherwise, it stinks…mine does anyhow.

We live in exciting times.  There are so many things happening around us all the time, and a lot of it is thought provoking.  Let’s see what is provoked and also where the thoughts go and what they generate.

We are…

“When we are honest, we admit how agreeable it can feel to be singled out for favored treatment.  The biggest barrier to equality for all is that inequality for some feels good.”

-Philip Gulley, The Awakened Soul, Part 12:  Democratic Character Structure

“As bad and frightening as mind-based forgetfulness can be, it is in no way as damaging as soul-based forgetfulness, when we forget what it means to be human, when we can no longer identify with the forgotten, the outcast, the poor, the hurting, the left out, and the left behind.”

-Philip Gulley, The Awakened Soul, Part 13:  When the Soul Forgets

This has been on my mind a lot over the last week.  I read the pieces in which they are contained toward the beginning of the week, and have had little time to think about them very much.

I lied in my last post when I said that I had not written anything in my notebook this week, because I did write these passages, and jotted down some thoughts concerning them.  I am going to begin there and see where this goes…

I admit that empathy is not my go to reaction all of the time.  Often, my knee jerk reaction is something more negative when it comes to someone screwing up, underachieving, making a bad decision, or otherwise living in a way with which I disagree.  This has a lot to do with my patience, which in some cases is nonexistent, especially when it comes to what translates in my mind as willful ignorance, stupidity, or laziness.  One thing that I am just as impatient about, and have a negative reaction toward, is when I hear or see another refusing to sympathize or empathize with another human being that has done no wrong toward anyone.  I guess in some ways that makes me a hypocrite.

Usually, once I slow down to think about these things, I see the error of my ways, but there are occasions when such will never happen.  One instance is willful intolerance, or willfully intolerant people; especially those that are intolerant of people who do no harm to others in any way.  Their intolerance is fueled by a lack of empathy because they refuse to understand something, or someone, that is wholly different from them or what they believe.  However, in order to have or show empathy, one need not agree with another.  They do not even really need to understand what it is they are refusing to tolerate. They simply need to understand what their actions are doing to those whom they are showing their intolerance.

It goes back to one of the above quotes from Philip Gulley.  Regardless of our present stations in life, we have all been in a position that puts us against the fray or singled out from the status quo.  We’ve all been there, and we remember how lonely it feels.  We all have experienced being told that something we are doing is wrong, yet we know in our heart, our soul, that what we are doing is right, and we want nothing more than to have our actions or points of view accepted.  We seek that connection with people, that connection that tells us that it is okay, that it will be okay, and life will go on.  We seek empathy.

Without that empathetic connection, remembering that in some way we have been there and can identify with the down-trodden, we lose a bit of our soul.  We lose a part of us that makes us distinctly human.

We are not perfect beings.  We never will be. Not the first one of us.  It is here that we are all equal.  We all make bad decisions, and sometimes those decisions bring harm to ourselves or to others.  With those decisions, there are always repercussions.  When the harm is done to ourselves, hopefully we learn from it in order to not make the same decision again.  When the harm is done to another, recompense must be brought to bear. With both cases, empathy is a necessary component to ensure neither happens again.

To simply say that one is undeserving of the same joys that others experience because they live a life that is different from the predominant world view is wrong, especially if that joy will bring happiness to them while not affecting another’s life in a negative way.

We have a challenge before us in that, as the first quote above illustrates, we all want to be given favored treatment for being right, or better yet, for being righteous. We are a prideful lot, even the most humble or penitent of us, and nothing fuels that pride more than the justification received when our actions or thoughts are given credence by those with whom we most strongly agree or identify.

We then forget that there are people that do not think the same way we do. People have different value systems; be they spiritual, material, or moral. As long as what is believed, or what one thinks, does not bring physical or mental harm to themselves or others, there is no need to degrade or tear those that do think or live differently down. Such only fuels an imaginary righteousness and puts people on different levels that do not exist but only in our own prideful minds.

We all have a right to live happily in the way that we choose, again, as long as that life does not bring physical or mental harm to ourselves or others. We all have a responsiblity to treat others in the manner with which we wish to be treated. These are rules that I was taught during my childhood.  I have no doubt that many were taught just the same way.

I work on this daily.  I take many deep breaths and do my best to understand positions that are counter to my own.  It is hard…I mean hard, and sometimes I fail. It is a challenge, and will continue to be.  It is a process; but one that will make me a better person in the long run, and will persist in making my life more pleasant and livable.

In essence, it is about bringing light to the lives of those we love, including ourselves, and those around us, rather than spreading darkness, and remembering that we all have a common core, a starting point that is inherently the same.  We are all people.  We are all human, and not one of us is perfect.

Now that is something with which I can empathize. Can you?

So Much Information, So Little Time

It has been a scatter-brained kind of week, and a little busy, too.  I haven’t had much time to sit and collect my thoughts, so there has not been much writing going on this week.  As a matter of fact, I have not once picked up my trusty notebook to jot anything down.  So let’s just go with another free writing session for this post…

It’s Saturday morning, and I just finished my weekend coffee.  If you follow me here or on Facebook, you know just how much I relish my weekend coffee.  And this weekend is no different.  The biggest difference is that I slept in this morning, waking up at around 8:30 or so, which never, ever happens.  I stayed up pretty late last night, too, and that, also, never happens…well anymore.

So I was a little late in having my coffee, but I had it nonetheless, and it was good…everything I knew it would be.

I’ve done the scan of the Facebook news feed and seen things that piss me off, make me happy, make me think, make me sad, or make me glad.  I’ve looked over my wordpress reader and caught up on a couple of the blogs that I follow.  Now, I’m sitting here to write, and little is coming to my mind and sticking around long enough to put something coherent together.

One thing that floats in and floats out is this controversy surrounding the release of the former POW, Bowe Bergdahl.  I’m not going to weigh in on this very much, because, one, I do not know too much about it, other than what has been spoon fed to us by the media, and, two, because I do not know too much about it, other than what has been spoon fed to us by the media.  All I do know is that he is a soldier in the US Army that was released by the Taliban in Afghanistan in exchange for five individuals held at Guantanamo Bay.  The funny thing is that is all any of us really know beyond what has been given to us by the media outlet from which we choose to receive our information.

If you read, watch, or otherwise observe multiple media outlets, you have received different points of view and opinions given by experts, former and active military personnel, politicians, or anyone else pretending they know what the deal is.  This is just one example of the amount of information out there and the vast number of opinions, facts, or observations that bombard us every single day.

It’s hard to know what is the truth anymore; because, as the media is teaching us, the truth is subjective.  It depends on how one views a particular situation, and that same one’s gut feeling concerning it.  We rush to judgement, handing out a verdict before evidence is presented, explained, and debated.  The truth no longer waits for objectivity.  It relies on the speed of its spread in order to influence thought so that the vessel spreading the truth can have bragging rights exclaiming “that you heard it here first.”

I dare say that with any “breaking news” story that has been broken in the past, I don’t know, ten years, a misconception or flat out falsehood, has been spread as the truth to the four corners of the globe, and even with evidence that points to the contrary, that truth is held on to with a stubborn insistence of its veracity.

This is just one reason why I rarely read or watch the news anymore, especially from an outlet that is more beholden to its advertisers and stockholders than it is to the people to whom they provide the information.  If I do catch anything, I do my best to glean what little fact may be presented in a piece, and then ignore, or try to forget, any of the fluff or opinion that is designed to keep one coming back for more.

Anyway, that is what is on my mind this morning as my fingers tickle the keyboard.

A Response

This is in response to this post by Holistic Wayfarer…

Upon viewing the list included in her post, I decided to focus on two topics within the list:  my relationship with my sweetheart and the relational boundaries I draw.  That seemed like a good place to start, and the two are somewhat related, so why not knock out two birds with one stone.

First off, I am an intensely private person.  Funny, huh?  Especially since I keep a blog.  I try to avoid anything too private when it comes to my writing here, only focusing on things that I believe many of us have in common.  That said, it still remains that I am intensely private.  I have a difficult, no, extremely difficult time letting people into my life.  This affects those topics listed above.

In short, I have walls…high, strong, and impenetrable walls set up to protect me.  What do they protect me from?  Or, what do they protect?  I’ve had these for a long time, as long as I can remember.  When I think about it, it isn’t just my protection that the walls serve, but also I do not like to have others close to me doting on my problems or worrying about me.  So, it is also about protecting them. It probably hurts a lot more than it helps, keeping these walls up, especially concerning my relationship with my sweetheart.  I do try to open up the gate and let her in, but it is pretty hard to do a lot of the time, and I well understand just how frustrating that can be for her.

I guess the truth is that I am afraid of how others perceive me.  I could say concerned, but it is really fear much more than concern.  I don’t much care for negative feedback or being criticized at all.  Who does? I prefer to be welcomed rather than shunned, liked rather than disliked, or loved rather than hated.

Is it better to be loved as the person I want others to see, or to be loved, or hated, for being the person I really am?  This is the question that my walls protect me from.  In truth, I do not even know if tearing down my walls will bring hatred or negativity my way.  Questions, sure, and a lack of understanding are possible, but hate?  It is out there. That much is sure, but let’s ask the question again.

Is it better to be loved as the person I want others to see, or to be loved as the person I am?

I think that is a much better question and focuses more on the feelings I feel and want to experience.

Though love is the most important emotion, and strongest, there is something to be said for respect.  You cannot have love without respect, but you can have respect without love.  So…

Is it better to be respected as the person I willingly show to others, or to be respected for the person I am?

It’s a good question.  To earn respect of another is a pretty fantastic feeling, but is that respect deserving when it is given without seeing the whole picture?  but, this is off the topic and may be better dealt with at another time.

Back to topic…

I am afraid of how others perceive me which brought me to the question asked above. We know what the answer is.  In the short run the first part seems like an obvious choice because, well, in the short run things tend to come and go.  However, in the long run, the latter must be true, otherwise the lies and deceit (intentional or intended with malice or not, it does not matter) will take their toll on the one hiding who they are, and, possibly, what they do.  Fruitful relationships cannot be built upon this and be expected to last and will ultimately fail.

I guess that is a long winded way of saying that, in terms of the topics stated at the beginning, without fear, things would look very different.  My relationships would be much stronger and infinitely more meaningful, thus contributing more positively to my life and happiness in it.  More or less, fear is crippling, and serves little positive function when it comes to relationships between people.