From our earliest beginnings we as a species have striven to become more than what we are. It is inborn within us and it is more than the simple will to live but to thrive and dominate. This is us; what we come from. It is by no mistake that we Homo Sapiens rule the world and all life upon it. And it is by no peaceful means either. We fought hard, tooth and claw, to get on top of the food chain. Our mutual family history is littered with war upon war, conquest upon conquest. We have erected (what we deem) civilization built on a culture of want, propelled by the rampant machine of consumerism and paid for by we the people and our children.
It’s easy to be judgmental. Pessimistic even about the human race and it’s future. I have heard a rumbling dislike for our own species from some. I do not echo that feeling. I cannot hate my own kind which would include myself, my children, my family and friends and basically everyone. This is defeatist and makes no sense to me. We are all in this together.
If we are to be judged, are we to be judged not only by our faults but by our graces as well? We are an amalgam of the worst and the best of us.
And so we begin at the dawn of man. We Homo Sapiens were not the first humanoid. That honor belongs to Australopithecus Afarensis and there have been many. The exact number has not been agreed upon. Here is a link to a list.
We alone survived. Our last competitors, the ultra-hardy Neanderthals died out about 40,000 years ago. We scaled that evolutionary ladder higher and embraced “civilization” instead of living a marginal existence by the whim of cruel nature. We overcame it and become masters of our fate.
We strove to succeed in this way and progress; onward and upward. Nothing stood in our way. We were out to conquer nature and each other and we have done so and most infamously.
Whether what we have put together constitutes a civilization I am not convinced. I look at the world at large and the small goings-on in the microcosm that surrounds me and I have my doubts. It seems that we are losing ground as well on a whole and as time goes by and resources grow scarcer if we are not careful we will stray even further from the path of true civilization.
Civilization is the stage of human social development and organization that is considered most advanced.
When I read Webster’s
Simple Definition of civilization
The condition that exists when people have developed effective ways of organizing a society and care about art, science, etc.
A particular well-organized and developed society.
I realize just how not civilized we are. This brings to mind Gandhi’s famous reply to being asked the question of what he thought of Western civilization.
I think it would be a very good idea. Said Gandhi and so do I.
We are like a clever child. We have harnessed great power, we have made great strides, and cured many diseases. We have extinguished much suffering in the world, but we have also caused much of it too. We do not yet possess the wisdom required to wield great power. We have squandered a lot of resources. We have raped and pillaged the planet and now we stand on a precipice staring into an abyss and instead of jumping over the cliff , we need to walk away from the edge and get to the business of saving ourselves; that is what our business should be. Like any child who has a messy room, we need to clean it up but there is no adult around to make sure we do it. It’s time for us to grow up and become that adult. We have remained a child far too long.
It’s time for us to stop finding reasons to divide each other and look for ones that unite us.
We need to work together and stop the destructiveness, the pettiness, the greed.
That is being civilized.
We who can harness the atom are in the process of shaping our world; the world we’ll leave to the future.
What will we leave?
One of our many brilliant strengths as a species is our ability to adapt. Events play out in a fluid motion; constantly swirling and changing. Nothing is forever, and we have not only kept up with the changes, we have thrived on and benefited from them. Our rise would not have been possible without the downfall of the previous rulers of this planet. The Dinosaurs dominated for more than 180 million years.
No matter how terrible that “Terrible Lizard” was, it had it’s day and we are having ours.
The dinosaurs couldn’t adapt, but we can. We have it within ourselves if we can take our collective human cleverness and temper it with some good common sense and painfully acquired wisdom that we can glean from our current challenges. Circumstance forces us to act not in our time but it’s own.
That time is coming I’m afraid, we all know it.
We can be our own worst enemy but we are also our own greatest hope.
Of course change is not new and every generation faces it’s own challenges, some more than others. Climate change is our challenge but that is only part of the picture. We must change ourselves and put aside our childish ways because the way we’ve been doing things just isn’t cutting it.
We can’t stop the planet from changing. We have no choice but to adapt but we will grow stronger and wiser because of it and perhaps one day we will be truly civilized. I am but one faint voice, there have been many before me and there will be many after me, this I believe. This is the one constant.
“The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth. Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson – that everything we do matters – is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back.” ― Howard Zinn
“In the world I am Always a stranger I do not understand its language It does not understand my silence” ― Bei Dao
All I want for Christmas is some peace and quiet. I need a retreat. A retreat from noise, a retreat from interruption. A break from the outside world that interferes with my thinking and writing. I must do both of theses things and if I don’t for a while I become like a caged tiger. I pace the confines of my cell all stored up and ready to pounce, except that I don’t pounce–I suck it all in.
I am kind and patient. Seldom do I lose this demeanor but there are times that I feel as though I am a ticking time bomb ready to go off. The pressure builds and builds, I cannot flee–I cannot fight–I hold it all in. This can’t be good for my health.
There is no place where noise does not scream at me. I pretend that it doesn’t effect me like it does. I learned to fake nonchalance a long time ago but there is nothing nonchalant about me. I have prided myself in my outer coolness but I must confess and it feels damn good to confess that at times on the inside I can burn hot like a volcano.
I try to meditate in my own way. I seek out nature and I think good thoughts. I am earnest in my devotion to goodness, truth and beauty and all that. I believe I only lack one simple thing. Something that if granted to me would enable me to take on the world–whatever it takes. Silence, a wee bit of silence would save me. Time to listen to nothing would be utter bliss.
If you have ever listened to silence you know what I mean.
Silence allows the mind to wander freely. It gives us a chance to take a deep breath and relax. The world is a noisy place, most of us experience a great amount of it in our daily lives. These form the soundtrack to our lives. Most of it we cannot control.
I seldom mention this but I am on the Autism spectrum (Asperger’s) and sensitive to sound. I have always been this way. Certain noises are amplified in my head and at times this can be overwhelming. Echoing reverberating noises, kids screaming, crowds of people talking, generally loud and unpredictable noises, these sounds can unhinge me but also small and meaningless ones too can set me on edge. I have learned to control my urges and I can block a lot of it out but this is tiring and doesn’t allow me to ponder like I like to do.
Noise effects me in good ways as well as bad. There are good sounds. Music is exquisite rapture and so are the sounds of nature; songbirds, the breeze in the trees, crickets, the ocean. These sounds speak to my soul. They call to the restlessness and the calmness in me. They soothe, invigorate and inspire.
These sounds are big and open like waves, they do not mind sharing space with all the thoughts my mind. These sounds not only allow me to think, to contemplate, they allow my mind to simply wander freely without intent purely for the sake of wandering.
I feel at one with the universe. I feel at peace.
Sounds can transport one to another place. I have listened to recordings of birdsong and whales and other natures noises. I will close my eyes and imagine myself there; in the forest or by a lake or in a bird sanctuary wherever it be my mind can travel there.
Music is especially magical. Slack Key Guitar music instantly takes me to the Tropics and certain Heavy Metal songs from the 80’s take me back to my rebellious teens. Melodies paint colorful landscapes across the universe of my mind.
Just thinking of all this is good for the spirit. Already I am calmed. It’s through expressing myself I’ll find the peace I seek. I know that I create my own reality and I know that if something is important enough I will make time for it.
Writing and putting this post together has certainly worked it’s magic on me. And I hope it will for you too. Please take a listen to the wonderful sounds by clicking on the following links that will transport you to the mythical land called Youtube where the music of nature will play for you. Enjoy and have a nice day!
“You can present the material, but you can’t make me care.” ― Bill Watterson
Some say the world will end with not with a bang but a whimper. I say ours may end with the dull and empty thud of indifference.
A blatant apathy lies thick like a hazy cloud over our populist culture. It’s cool not to care. Johnny doesn’t give a damn and the indifferent world doesn’t bat an eyelash.
From the time we are children, society teaches us not to care too much or at least pretend we don’t. To act in such a manner is a sign of childish insecurity, it’s not only foolhardy but too trusting and stupid. We are encouraged to develop a sense of skepticism and mistrust especially when it comes to people we don’t know.
The world is a scary place. I could write a thesis on how frightening it is. I think we shut off a little of ourselves bit by bit as the inevitable blows of life hit us. By the time we are grown adults we have lost so much of that beautiful trust, that loving nature and natural compassion children feel and openly express. We are taught to see differences in each other and these differences are not good. This polarizes us.
I think people tend to wrap themselves in a protective cloak of apathy. It’s not only easier not to care, it also hurts a lot less. When we care we are vulnerable. It makes perfect sense to want to close off a wee bit and tone down those emotions.
Distractions come easy and going along with the stampeding crowd is understandable given the alternatives. It’s better to conform. In many ways it’s essential if we want to live in a civilized society.
It is easier just to go along. Right?
This world is sick and we all know it. My eyes glaze over when I watch the nightly news which I admittingly cannot watch much anymore. I see pics of starving children and burning forests and war. Our brains can only take in so much information. Our hearts can only take so much pain. We become desensitized, it’s a survival mechanism. I think that’s why on a collective whole we seemingly don’t care, or we care more about stupid meaningless distractions. I think we’ve reached a saturation point. It’s all too much and if I don’t notice maybe it doesn’t exist and I won’t have to do anything about it.
Why should I care? Why should you? Why should anyone? We know life is not fair. It’s a hard lesson that still stings. We are savvy enough to realize that fairy tales typically don’t come true and that life is not only not fair it’s a bitch too.
I can see how people especially the ones who get the short stick may get a little angry with the world and society in general. I can see how easy it could be not to care for someone who doesn’t care about you. I can see how one could get caught up in inevitable feelings of futility; why should we care about a world that doesn’t care about us? I ask again why should I care? I know that I am but one small voice in a sea of millions so I better shout it out:
I care because someone has to care, dammit!!
If there is to be any meaning in my insignificant scant-of-a-minute life it’s this: that I made a difference however small on the side of good and that I took whatever sad, nasty or indifferent thing that came my way and turned it into something wonderful, however small. I cannot expect anything more or less. I want to leave this world a little better than how I found it.
I want to live in a world where people care about one another and I want my children…I want all the children and their children to grow up in such a world. There is too much ugliness, too much to tolerate. I suppose the way I cope with it is by not only ranting about it, but living up to the ideals I’m ranting about.
Kindness begets kindness and if more people gave a damn more people would give a damn. We all could use a little more kindness And so there it is: My spiel for the day. You can only do what you can do….
“The earth was overwhelmed with beauty and indifferent to it, and I went with a heart ready to crack for its unbearable loveliness.” ― Josephine Winslow Johnson
“Sit, be still, and listen, because you’re drunk and we’re at the edge of the roof.” ― Rumi
Dear Status Quo,
We both know this can’t go on, not they way it’s been going…so you’ve got to go. We can’t take you anymore. You have outstayed your welcome and you must leave immediately.
I know you’ve been here a long time and some people are counting on you to stay but nothing is forever and frankly there are so many more of us who want you gone. We are quite adamant about it…in fact we demand it!
The way you carry on is unsustainable.
You said you’d change and we believed you only to be let down again.
The truth is we can no longer afford your frivolous ways and outlandish and wasteful behavior. You’ve damn near wrecked our home and now it’s our future selves and our children who’ll be cleaning up the mess that you’ll leave behind.
Put down that drink and wake up! Do you ever listen?
Hey YOU!!! Do we need to yell?
Get out now! Never come back….
As a witness to 45 years of history I am thinking thoughts I never would have imagined years ago when at first I began to pay conscious attention to what’s was going on around me.
It’s funny how history can rewrite itself before one’s very eyes and yes indeed the victors do write and rewrite history over and over again….
It’s so easy to ignore it all…It’s hard to take. But as time goes on and events play out I am forced to concede that everything is not what it pretends to be and no matter how crazy I tell myself THAT is…I can’t help but begin to believe it.
It’s not that I don’t have hope. I am loaded with it and it is not just blind faith. I go on evidence. I see people waking up and realizing that if we don’t open our eyes and have the courage to say what we really think and how we really feel about what is going on, one day it will be too late. No one will come and save us. We have to save ourselves.
“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”
“Hope — Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope! In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us…A belief in things not seen. A belief that there are better days ahead.” ― Barack Obama
BEWARE: I’m feisty again, this is not for the faint of heart…
It is 3 a.m. and I cannot sleep. Images of people fill my mind. I should have known better than to watch the nightly news. Never before have I seen so many dead people. I cannot shake these images. These carefully selected images, this horrific display and this obvious attempt at manipulation.
In a desperate appeal to our collective humanity, yes, it is horrible what is happening to the Syrians. But there are atrocities happening all over the globe, even in places that do not sit smack dab in the middle of oil rich countries. Why are we not “helping” these other poor suffering people in Somalia, Sudan or The Democratic Republic of the Congo? What about people in Haiti or even here at home?
We voted you in to stop our American war mongering not to increase it. I voted for you twice. I admit I turned a blind eye to the obvious favoritism shown by the mainstream media to you in the last election. I reasoned we were on the same side you and I. I thought this hope and change you promised was for the common good. I know you inherited much from former administrations. Afghanistan, Iraq, the economic collapse, even the spying and the drones. But this, Mr President, this Syrian mess, this is all yours.
Can’t you see we Americans are tired of war. We are tired of sticking our noses into other countries business. We cannot save the world. We cannot even save ourselves.
What happened to you? What happened to the wide-eyed optimistic young idealist who spoke at the 2004 Democratic National convention , the one America fell for hook, line and sinker? Are you this same man? What I see now is a tired graying husk with dark hostile eyes. It is these eyes that frighten me, Are you even the same person? What happened to you Mr President?
What happened to your message? The message that preached hope. What happened to the man who said:
“And to all those who have wondered if Americas beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.
For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.” ― Barack Obama
Why do you call for war? You know I don’t believe you. I cannot and will not believe anything you say…not anymore. Perhaps I’m coming into my enlightenment late in the game. If I am to believe whispers from others, ideas I would have dismissed offhand to be the rantings and ravings of crazy and delusional lunatics. After all this, these rantings don’t all seem so implausible.
I scour the internet for news; for some truth. In this wilderness of everything crazy, these stories run rampant. Stories that call you everything from disillusioned and misguided to an alien shapeshifter with lizard eyes, a Hitler, and yes, even the Antichrist. I know there is a nugget of truth out there somewhere mixed in with all this craziness. I do know that I cannot believe the propaganda the mainstream media spins.
I don’t know who to believe. But I do know that I do not believe you Mr. Obama…not anymore.
I expected this out of George W Bush and his father. I even expected this out of Reagan back when I was but a child but not from you.
You promised us change. I expected you meant that we would change; that this country would change. That we would become great again and win the hearts of the world who would see us as they had before as a source of good. You promised us change but it is you who changed.
“To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” ― Barack Obama
You are a parent. What do you daughters think of this? I am a parent too. My son is 18 and I we have received a letter from the selective service. Did you know I have hidden this in my drawer among bills to be paid? I will assure you this is one bill I will not pay! Would you send your daughters to fight in a war, do you believe in war that much? I ask you Mr. Obama, can you sleep tonight? I hope not. I sure can’t!
“I’m inspired by the people I meet in my travels–hearing their stories, seeing the hardships they overcome, their fundamental optimism and decency. I’m inspired by the love people have for their children. And I’m inspired by my own children, how full they make my heart. They make me want to work to make the world a little bit better. And they make me want to be a better man.” ― Barack Obama
**On a side note to my regular readers. Sorry, I had to get this out. Next time, I promise something lighter. Some sort of happy distraction. It’s just that I care too much.**
Extreme pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one’s own competence, accomplishments or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power. It is often associated with a lack of humility, though not always with the lack of knowledge.
Behold the mighty hubris. See how it stands; Proud and defiant. The very image of strength and determination. It matters not to this magnificent creature whether it stands for truth, justice or common sense. It just matters that it stands.
Look, if you dare, at it’s mighty muscles. Watch it flex. See and believe. That is all that is required…for now.
Hear it roar. Listen to it defy all reason. Proud it stands, full of hot air so much so it could heat up the globe for 1000 years. Do you hear the call to arms; the march to war? Do you hear it justify it’s existence? It is the great and powerful hubris in action.
Do not question. Do not think for yourself. This powerful one frowns upon that. See how shiny it is and strong. It must know everything that is needed to be known. There is no need to think. It will think for you. All that is needed is awe…and obedience.
Obey me it bellows.
“And on the pedestal these words appear: ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.” ― Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias
We have seen much of this. Too much and it is not just the one inflicted who suffers from its fallout, it’s all of us. The whole world. We are connected and ever more so as our world becomes smaller due to our electronic communications. I myself have been communicating with others from all over the world. The internet has made this possible.
The internet has also made it more difficult to cover over and hide the horrible results of this infliction called hubris. Some of us may be being watched by our governments but this is a two-way street. We have eyes, we have ears and it’s not just the hauteur which has a roar. As does The People and We The People are tired of living in the fallout of mighty pride, arrogance and conceit.
Humility, respect and honesty have power too. As does love, compassion and understanding. Humanity is capable of much greatness. It just needs to be harnessed for the greater good of all instead for the temporary gain of small groups. We are living at a time of fantastic change. Let us use our mutual talents for the positive. Let us include instead of exclude. There are no enemies, no borders or dividing lines. What affects our neighbors affects us too. We are all the same inside. Let us work with nature instead of against it. Let us be the generation that says stop all the madness!
Thanks for listening,
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.”
I’m angry…damned angry. Boiling mad angry. This is a rant my friends and if you don’t wish to see the darker side of SBI please look away. Come back again on another day. That is a warning and this is a rant!
I feel someone should speak up here. I suppose I lead a sheltered existence, safe in my little blog world where I am surrounded by enlightened and caring people. I do however venture out to the virtual world at large, and oh yes, we all know this world can be ugly, unbearably ugly.
I try to stay away from all this but I am concerned. I do care and I am curious. I recently visited the Huffington Post. It is a place I go. I have an account there and I am called theindigoside. As the name suggests it is the indigo side. I can get somewhat political but I am me, and all the me I can be.
This is all very sad. Many of us in The United States have no health care. I was chatting with a British friend of mine on Facebook and had a difficult time explaining how our system “works”. I personally have recently lost my benefits and those for my two children. It is a scary thing to be at risk like that but I am grateful and I feel blessed to have all that I do…but I digress. This rant is not about me.
This poor man in the story is a homeless and obviously desperate man. He could be mentally ill. He could have a myriad of problems. This is not my point….it is obvious again that he could be doing better but he is not. THAT is a fact. We could go over who and what the problem is. We could blame the government, the Democrats or the Republicans. We could blame the one percent or the 99. We could blame his parents, society or corporations..we could even blame the man himself.
The world is f**ked my friends, oh yes, we all know this…
This is all valid but this is not why I am so upset, at least not at this time. Right now, I am upset about the type of comments this story received. I am appalled really.
No one saw the sadness, no one had any empathy for this man. Some blamed the “freeloaders” of society. Many had someone or something to blame. Some made fun of his appearance and all the comments I read blamed him in some way. Not one of them had any sympathy for this poor fellow human.
It was a competition on who could be more clever and witty than the person before them. I probably put myself up for ridicule with these people but I had to speak up…I had to…
This was my response:
“However someone looks at it. Whoever someone blames for the ills of society. Whatever someone says trying to be clever and witty all the while sitting at home with a full stomach and a nice warm comfortable bed to retire to. In this someone’s opinion it is a sad and sorry state that has befallen us when no one has any sympathy, empathy or any sort of feelings for a fellow human being. NO one is immune to adversity. However and whatever some may think. One’s fate can turn on a dime, just like that. This story is just sad. Damn sad all around.”
And it is not just here. It is everywhere. I see smug self-satisfied people judging others. It is so easy to do so. It is easy for some to tell themselves that their luck or success or whatever is due to the deserving of it. It also is easy to save one’s compassion for the attractive while condemning those who are not so much; old people, ill people ,the homeless, the wretched, the insane, and the troubled. It is easy for some to blame and condemn, to point the finger to all except themselves.
Many rich people have worked very hard and so have many poor people. Good fortune plays a huge role and that fortune can and does change. As we all know the rain falls on us one and all.
I know for a fact that you are not like this. You are compassionate and wise and wonderful.
Surrounded by people like you all the time one could think everyone is like you, but this is not the case. I know I am preaching to the choir here. I guess what I’m trying to say….
…next time you hear some of this garbage being spewed by your fellow human please stand up for us. Set the record straight, help us all and preach understanding and compassion. Let those who hold these sorts of negative and unproductive opinions know that that sort of thing will not be tolerated. Speak up for the voiceless, the misunderstood and the ugly. Stand up for the ill and the homeless and the poor people who have done nothing wrong but be poor. We all deserve kindness.
Thanks for listening,
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” ― Plato
A quirk of fate left me with no personal electronic devices whatsoever last Friday. I had no I Pad, no IPhones, no Google Google’s.. no Kindle or the like, I had nothing…not even my dumb phone which was at home. It was just me..my observations and my notebook. I must admit I don’t own any of the before mentioned list of gadgets, except the dumb phone-…I have that..a stupid phone.
So it wasn’t a big deal when I boarded the Max headed toward Beaverton without a gadget or prop.
I sat in a backward facing seat and braced myself for the long tunnel…
The Robertson Tunnel is the MAX Light Railtunnel that runs through the west hills of Portland, Oregon. There is one station within the tunnel at Washington Park, which at 79 meters deep is the deepest subway station in the United States and the fifth deepest in the world. It’s almost three miles long and takes five minutes pass through. It is cold, dark and loud…
As we travel faster and faster there erupts a high-pitched scream that echoes off the stone walls. This makes for an unnerving and uncomfortable ride for the passengers. Most try to sit there stoically and pretend nothing is going on while we ride it out. A few cover their ears. I am one of the larger stoic group. The unusually long five minutes pass and then it is over. We emerge out of the tunnel. The sky opens up and there is a collective sigh of relief…
…and then everyone is back at their screens. There are some books or newspapers and a few smallish laptops but mostly is what I once heard referred to of as “a bar of soap”; a personal electronic device that fits neatly into the human hand, becoming really an extension of it. A device that many of us seem to be transfixed on and obsessed with a good portion of our time.
According to edtechmagazine.com
84% of Cell phone owners report they could not go a single day without their device and 44% of them confess to having slept with their phone nearby because they didn’t want to miss a notification.
A bit extreme, but common. Becoming addicted to your phone has become such a real condition that experts have given it a name: “Nomophobia” (no-mobile-phone-phobia).
I know this is a world-wide phenomena. It is amazing how much things have changed in the last twenty years . I am old enough to remember what it was like before everyone was “plugged in” I suppose I use the term “plugged in” a bit sharply. I myself am writing this on a laptop and you are reading it on some sort of device.
It cannot be denied how electronic communications have changed the world for good and bad and that nebulous in-between region that we are unsure of until it passes and becomes history. Time will tell how this will effect the future world and how humanity reacts to and with itself.
Often we must give up something to gain something…and in this there is no exception.
In our modern connected world we are tuned in to the hum of the network and the buzz of the instantaneous all knowing all hearing web. We can converse and share with others all over the world in real-time. Never has the human race been so connected. Connected in a cerebral Ethernet. A system that has a collective “mind” of its own.
Of course nothing ever is all black or white..
Never have we as a species been so disconnected to our true nature, ourselves and each other….and to our planet.. Many immerse themselves exclusively in temperature controlled artificial environments, driving from one place to another in an air-conditioned fossil fuel burning car.
Why ever leave the “comfort” of the indoors?
Why strike up a conversation with a stranger on the train when you can stare at your screen and get those thumbs going. I’ve noticed and I can’t be the only one to see that people seem to use their electronic device as a social barrier,,as some sort of protection in a world where increasingly social intimacy with your fellow person isn’t as important anymore…..and isn’t too kosher. The world is a dangerous place. It is easier and sometimes safer to just keep to yourself and look as disinterested as can be.
I am reminded of the classic Science Fiction tales of the 50’s, 60’s where beings from outer space or some unknown alien force takes over humanity in subtle and not so subtle ways.
This whole thing reminds me of just that. The entity, that thing or phenomena…whatever you call it….be it the web, the internet , the screen. the hive mind or the collective or the big stupid distraction, whatever it is…..this THING is taking over.
Social realities are changing. People tune each other out almost to the point where they pretend each other isn’t there. It seems there is some unwritten law that you can completely ignore your fellow human. As long as you pretend you cannot see one another, as long as you don’t look at each other in the eye. Once you look at another person in the eye, is it is too late and now you are socially obligated to acknowledge each other. Perhaps to the point of greeting and maybe even.. gasp….conversation.
It makes me wonder what the future brings…
I suppose on occasion I will endeavor to put my dumb phone away. It fits nicely into the zippered pocket of my purse and maybe every once in a while I’ll just forget it all together…
The following is a rant….it is my little way of speaking out…speaking my mind right or wrong. What follows is no assertion of fact; it is only the opinion of one person: me: SBI.
We the people of this planet have the right to live peaceful lives. So much is lost due to the ravages of war; natural resources and precious lives. This world belongs to us; the people of this planet. We have rights dammit, and damn anyone or anything who tries to deny us our simple peaceful existence.
We the people don’t want war. It is those entities in seats of power; governments and corporations who profit from war. WE the people of this planet only lose out, again and again. This has played out through the centuries.
Those in power want us to believe that there is nothing we can do. They need us to think we are powerless. They know better and use whatever smoke and mirrors to trick us into believing whatever they want/need us to believe..
Don’t believe them. Together we ARE powerful. Together we can make a difference. Together we can change the world! YES we can!
This I believe, this I must believe. What we need is a spark, a spark in the dark that lights a candle, one candle can light countless others. We need to give hope to each other. We need to have faith in each other.
We must learn to see beyond the racial, cultural and religious differences that keep us apart. We are more alike than some may lead us to believe. I have met many special and beautiful people in my life. Stand-out individuals of all colors, creeds and faiths. Our diversity can strengthen us. We need each other, all of humanity is connected and we have so much in common. One of these aspects we share is the need to be loved and to be respected; the need to live a peaceful existence.
To do this we must fight, we must fight their ideas; the ones they cram down our throats. The ideas that say we must to this or do that. The idea that tells us that we must think of our fellow humans as the enemy.
The powers-that-be rule over us by fear. It is a time proven tactic. It has been used many times and it works. Fear leads to misunderstandings. Fear lead to hate and hate leads to war.
War has become big business in this world. To some a human life is insignificant. We cannot tolerate this. We cannot and we must speak out. We must stand up, tall and proud and say NO MORE!
We hold the power. We the people of this planet.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all that is happening in the world…. and it’s unfortunate that our world is ruled by the all-mighty dollar. The haves are distracting the have-nots with trivial bipartisan nonsense. This angers people who are frustrated and time and time again, these people lash out…Whether it is a person acting alone, a group or a nation. The world is becoming more dangerous and all we can seem to do is fight-fight-fight. We are proving our unworthiness to exist and our planet is turning us; we are turning on us. This needs to stop. We as a society need to come together. This is easily said but not easily done. Our governments and media sets the tone. Big business pulls the strings and calls the shots. We the consumers feed them. On a grassroots level, little by little we need to change this. We need to learn to become less reliant on a system that is not sustainable. This cannot happen overnight but in time we can change our ways.
This greed, this hunger for power and land and resources is the creature that drives this hungry machine. We can no longer depend on a system that created THIS; what we have now….this inflated monster that’s about to pop. It is overstuffed. We have fed it too much… given this machine of commerce too much control over not only our lives but the lives of everyone on this planet…and the planet itself.
Turn off the TV. Don’t BUY it..at least for today. The people have all the real power. LOVE each other. Spread compassion.
“Peace has to be created, in order to be maintained. It will never be achieved by passivity and quietism.”
This has been a post inspired by BLOGGERS FOR PEACE. An online movement made up of caring individuals who believe that together we can make a difference! Please join us! To join just click on the badge below…
We are taught by this culture to want and want it now and no matter what we get, we are never satisfied. Our economy is built on our rampant consumption of everything; this intense overpowering feeling to want it all, to have it all.
And all this having and wanting leads to high expectations that for most of us are never fulfilled. It’s as if our society sets us up for disappointment.
There are certain ideals set before us, by media, by government, by our peers and by society in general. We are expected to live up to these impossibly high and unrealistic standards. If we do not we are deemed a failure. I think much of these expectations are top-heavy and backward. Much emphasis is placed on high status careers and wealth. Wealth that is quickly spent on expensive items as fancy cars, houses that are much too large, expensive and exotic vacations and trendy gadgets. I marvel at the lines people are willing to wait in to pay exorbitantly high prices just to get themselves the newest “I” somethings. We are expected not only to keep up with the “Joneses” but to outdo the “Joneses” at every twist and turn and then rub their noses in it. People are expected to lead these “full” lives with as many over the top experiences one can muster. We are also expected to remain forever and impossibly young in this culture while the natural process of aging is frowned upon and is seen a detriment.
Shallow untalented celebrities are held up as an ideal to aspire to. The news of their lives are featured as the top stories of the day. We place these people on high pedestals and then watch with relish as they crash and burn all in front of the unblinking eye of the media.
Our young people have no other role models nothing to aspire to except more of this flashy shallowness. The family unit is deteriorating and our common sense of home and well-being is being put through the shredder. It is no wonder that many are depressed and suffer from mental illnesses and addictions.
As a society we are searching for something. A something we know we lack and we pretend we haven’t a clue about what or where it is. We are losing ourselves and what makes us great.
Those ideas and ideals, those which helped us become who we were in a golden age that now seems so distant. Those ideals of family and hard work and patience. Of perseverance, wisdom and respect. The importance of generosity and understanding, kindness and love. These are the ideals we should aspire to. These are the values that are truly valuable.
I don’t have to tell anyone this. We all know this. In the back of our minds, in our hearts and souls, I just think we need to be reminded once in a while…
…and while I stand on this soapbox, shouting to whoever will hear me…I realise that I am for the most part, preaching to the converted. We are an enlightened bunch who swim in the deepest end of the pool, we in this community of bloggers…but I bet we know others who may not swim in such deep waters. It is up to us to inspire those who may need a little inspiring and a bit of encouragement now and then. Perhaps lead by example and do some preaching ourselves.
We are a part of a society at large and although we may not participate fully in this consumermania and celebrity obsession we do have an influence over those who do.
It is up to those who are enlightened to help light the way for the rest of us.
“It isn’t by getting out of the world that we become enlightened, but by getting into the world…by getting so tuned in that we can ride the waves of our existence and never get tossed because we become the waves.”
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
The best and the worst of us are inside us all. Everyone is represented. Every thought or idea. Every dream and every nightmare belongs to us as a whole. From the roar of the mighty tyrant to the whispering cries of the small and the innocent. That is us. This is we, this restless sea called humanity. Soft as a pillow on which to lie your weary head or as hard as a rock to bash your brains in. Humanity is kindness and love. Humankind forgives and understands. Humans are also selfish and petty, cruel and vindictive. We have it in our capacity to kill; destroy which we hate or do not understand…even ourselves. This is what we do. We also have within ourselves great nobility and courage. We have greatness and potential. We not only destroy, we can save and reserrect.
The darkest unspeakable horrors lie in our common past. We are animals after all and it is not so long ago that we needed that harshness, that willingness to embrace that dark part of us to survive. It is the nature of the beast after all and no matter how we try to hide it at times we are the beast. .
The worst and the best of us are inside all of us. Perhaps it is what it means to be human is to have this conflicting nature. Perhaps this is what gives us our drive. Think of us as you may, we are the dominant ones on this planet and it was our primitive ancestors who insured this legacy for us, we the so-called civilized inheritors.
We are the beast. The animal who watched wide-eyed the downfall of Earth’s last dominant species; the dinosaurs. Our rodent ancestors, the first of the mammals inherited purely by luck and then by sheer determination this fantastic planet. It was our predecessors who clung to the safety of trees. It was our for-bearers who climbed out of the safety of those trees and learned how to make and use tools. We learned to communicate and cooperate. It was this which helped us grow and expand, this banding together. This social bonding survives deep in our nature to this day.
Where did we go wrong? Did we grow too smart for our own good? Did we grow too fast? Did we forget that pure intelligence without wisdom is a recipe for disaster?Where we too successful? Will that killer instinct turn on us in the end and destroy us. We who shaped this planet into our own image.Or will that instinct help us survive and thrive?
Is our journey over? Are we stuck on a plateau? Have we reached a golden age, never to return? Does evolution ever stop or are we still evolving?
I think we can, I think we are. I believe we have it within ourselves to grow into something amazing and quite wonderful. Some people believe we are at the end of our journey. They believe we have no business having traveled as far as we have. But we are not finished, we have only just begun. We are a child that has outgrown our playground. We are a child who is frightened to grow up. Growing is painful, growing hurts, but growing is what we must do….and it is within us all. It is up to all of us; every single drop in this sea of humanity.
We are all needed, but it starts with you…it starts with me. Together we can save ourselves and grow and change and become something we cannot fathom now, but something wonderful nonetheless.
It takes an act of kindness, multiplied by seven billion. It takes someone to stop keeping score. It takes a billion “I’m sorry’s” and “I care” and dammit, ” We can do this together!” It takes a trillion turns of the other cheek . It takes a light to shine the way and it takes seven billion to follow that light.
It will take all of humanity to save humanity.
We are frail, we are weak, we are human and together we are more powerful than any one of us can realize.
“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and money system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” ~ Henry Ford~
It is late November, soon after Thanksgiving, a woman with a fake smile plastered to her face opens the door and welcomes me inside. The sweet inviting smell of gingerbread wafts out like a meandering tendril of affection pulling me in closer and closer. A giant stuffed pony sits at the ready, seemingly waiting for giant hugs…I must say that it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas; I can almost hear the carolers now but all I hear is “Welcome to Wells Fargo!”
I have been frequenting this bank for the last twenty years or so and I have never seen it quite like this: Ever since Occupy Portland staged a bank protest day the people at the bank have become seemingly friendlier and friendlier. To the banks this may seem like good public relations but it seems too artificial and it is unnerving to me.
I look for the cookies to no avail and I feel stupid for doing that…of course they must be practicing the popular trend of piping in the intoxicating aroma to lull us poor unsuspecting customers into a false sense of security… Trust perhaps?
Banks are big on trust. It seems those with the money and the power are desperate to get us little guys to trust them. I have a piece of advice on that: never trust anyone who keeps bringing up the issue of trust: who says “trust me” or really anyone at all for that matter (except for your family and me–you must trust me)
I see the poor nervous ones in the corner, waiting uncomfortably in comfy plush chairs arranged in a circle in a vague semblance of someone’s living room. They are waiting their turn to see a personal banker. (aka purse string holder) These are the people who help you apply for a loan or help modify your mortgage. Every one of these poor waiting people look sick. One in particular, an elderly man in a frayed jacket with paint stains is visually shaken. I’ve been in that spot before; I feel sorry for them and relieved that I am not among their ranks–today.
It is a strange event when banks won’t take cash from you…Yes cash, that funny green paper we mortals keep passing around, the dirty stuff you must wash your hands after using. We had an envelope of cash–around $300, not much to some but a lot to me. MM hands them the wrong bankcard from another institution of banking and larceny. He receives a disappointed look, like he has been caught cheating. I add to the insult by writing the wrong number on the deposit slip. the teller who resembles Timothy Geithner asks for his ID. He hands it to Timmy but Timmy now squints and gazes at him sideways; MM looks different from the picture with his newish beard and that was that–Timmy refuses to accept the money, seriously. He tells us with utter contempt to return with the correct information. In the past no one has questioned us for such an offense, in my experience banks will always take cash but not today… we are perplexed.
I say to MM: ” I should write about this.” He gives me that “Oh no, not again” look but quickly tries to cover it with a placating smile. I don’t know how he can put up with me sometimes and as the afternoon goes on I ask him and a few others if they have ever heard of any interesting stories about banks in the news lately…especially nice ones as I want to get all angles of this story–Happy bankers, heartwarming tidbits of gleeful giving, perfect for the upcoming Holiday season…I ask this with a straight face. I really want the banks to be able to redeem themselves in my eyes, really, I mean it! …I know what you’re thinking and everyone I talked to thought along similar lines and so all I get are the same placating smiles and polite “No’s”.
I then turn to all that’s fit to print: The internet. The Internet knows all, so when I ask it the very same question, it too gives me the same look and this time a very stern “NO!”
And this gets me thinking…
I felt like the long-suffering wife in a bad marriage; unloved and unappreciated. I looked at myself hard in the mirror, I studied all the newly formed worry lines on my face. I took way too long showers and cried myself to sleep. I binged on chocolate ice cream and listened to love songs and cried even more…well…no, not really but I did have some ice cream and I did do one other thing–for real: I quit that bank. I realised that it really “wasn’t that into me“ and I withdrew my little sum of money and marched straight to the arms of another love–The local credit union!
“Corporations have no souls but they can love one another.”
I am stunned and saddened by what has happened in Connecticut today and I am compelled to write this. I suppose that is only human nature; to reach out after such a tragic event. My fingers are flying across the keyboard as I quickly compose this.
First of all, my heart goes out to all the families and to everyone involved…really…my heart goes out to everyone because we are all involved.
I yearn to offer words of comfort, of solace. I want to say that everything will be alright. .
I want to ask ‘Why?!” I want to scream and rage and cry my eyes out! I want to make sense of all this senselessness, but it is all much too shocking and much too fresh…
All I can say at this point is this must stop!
I am frightened at what this world is becoming. I’ve been making light of this end of days business; this crazy notion that the Mayan’s have predicted the world ending on December 21st of this year. I still don’t believe in that insane notion but nevertheless, I am keeping myself and my family at home on that day, not because I believe the world will end but because I doubt the sanity of my fellow humans and I don’t trust in them. I guess I should say “us” because it is “us” and this angers me.
Is this what we humans are about?! We think the world will end so we go crazy…this mania is contagious and if I have helped spread it by my making fun of it, I regret this… and again I say, this time I am screaming; THIS MUST STOP!!!!
Why oh why do we humans need to turn on each other in times of crisis?
This is a rhetorical question I expect no answer…and I really don’t know why I am writing this…I can offer you nothing really, no insight or answers, no comfort but to offer a discourse and a suggestion…a sugggestion that will probably be repeated time and time again over the coming days.
Be there for your loved ones, hug them a little tighter tonight. Be a shoulder to cry on or an ear to talk off, or a heart to reach out with love. Be there; because we need each other–especially right now.
I have tried in the past to keep this blog light…I want to be a port in the storm on a sea of darkness but today is just too dark for that but I will make a promise to you, my friends. On THAT day–you know the one..the day I’ll be staying home, I will be publishing a frivolous distraction and I will do my best to make you smile, perhaps to give you a laugh or two but today the wound is still too fresh but on that day I promise this…