Tuesday, May 5, 2015

THINKING


I spend a lot of time processing my daily experiences. I suppose I spend more time doing this than many people, judging from the human behaviors I see around me. I do not state this from a position of moral or intellectual superiority. I claim neither.

I am obsessive by brain chemistry. So, I have an edge in the processing department. The down side is that edge can become a wall of circular thinking. I have had to develop the mental and emotional skills to move on from some mental processes which could paralyze me. Pursuing the professional practice of nursing was a good step for me. It overwhelmed me in its early stages, when I worked as a nursing assistant in a hospital while attending nursing school. This flood of emotion and having to process them forced me to develop new ways of thinking and integrating emotions into my awareness of my own behaviors.

Thinking on my feet has developed over the years of working with people in difficult situations. Thinking on my feet simply means being thoughtful (mindful) in the moments of every day. It is a valuable form of internal multi-tasking. My daily meditation helps. It is that time every afternoon when I shut down my mind to a degree. This has increased my awareness of when my mind is working as I wish to and when it isn't. Meditation helps me to identify and correct stresses I am inflicting on myself.

More thinking and less doing would benefit our society, in my opinion. The constant distraction of electronica creates the illusion of doing something useful. It really is just an illusion. Doing nothing, meditating and reflecting are paradoxically productive. I fear that our "developed" civilization is headed down a path of producing more and more distractions at the expense of our humanity.

Monday, May 4, 2015

TROLLS


I have always thought the term "troll" is cast about too frivolously on line. I have seen people labelled "troll" in comment threads for simply bringing some objective statistical data to an argument. I have seen the term applied to commentators from an ageist perspective. I have also seen comments which have earned the label.
 
The other day I commented on an article addressed to a gay audience which had been linked to Facebook. The author was a gay Christian apologist for racial violence in Baltimore. The author and some commentators implied that LGBT people frequently used violent protest on the road to gay rights. This was historically inaccurate. The LGBT rights movement has been overwhelmingly nonviolent. The Stonewall Riot and the San Francisco riot after Harvey Milk's homophobic assassin was basically let off were anomalies.
 
One commentator from London called me a racist because I pointed out the inaccuracy. He then claimed that ACT UP was a violent movement. I corrected this new inaccuracy and shared that my source was my own witness of the events as an HIV-positive person. I will probably not read any further posts from that commentator on that thread. However, I am grateful to him for clarifying the term "troll" for me.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

OREO CONTROVERSY? REALLY?



A Colorado mother gained dubious celebrity recently by complaining to Right-Wing news outlets that her preschool daughter was sent home with a note telling the mother that Oreo cookies were not a nutritious lunch. The mother's defense of the Oreo diet, "I give them to her (the daughter) because she likes 'em." One Fox News commentator whipped this story up as some sort of Orwellian conspiracy. Really?
 
I see it as a story of Americans who are arrogant, stupid and resistant to education. I see it as an example of propagandist corporate media.
 
The mother in question is sending her preschooler to a lovely private academy on a public-school voucher, as funded by Colorado law. In other words, it is likely she could not or would not pay tuition for her daughter's preschool. The private academy, belonging to an educational genre usually lauded by Right-Wing Libertarian types, actively monitors nutrition of its students. Admirable. It then takes the trouble to educate the ill-informed parents about healthier nutritional choices for students. Another admirable thing.
 
This preschooler's mother, taking apparent public pride in her own nutritional stupidity, claims victimhood for herself and her daughter. Not an admirable thing.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

PERSISTENCE


Durable change occurs in reaction to persistent effort. I always think of fad dieting as a good example of poor strategy for durable change. Starving myself for a week or two can make a remarkable impact on my morning weigh-in. However, it is not a practical lifestyle, unless I want to be perpetually cranky and threaten my body's long term health. Durable change at my waistline requires sensible and persistently wise nutritional choices.
 
This philosophy is sadly lacking in today's digital age. There is no persistent progressive effort. There are simply actions and reactions, usually melodramatically reported in digital media. Melodrama is the driving force of our celebrity-crazed age. Durable change is neglected for immediate gain. The jubilant party atmosphere in West Baltimore last evening after the announcement of indictments against police officers is a startling example of a bread-and-circus culture.
 
Real issues must be approached with real determination and endurance in order to be dealt with progressively and rationally. Research, hypotheses, experimentation...these take time, concentration and resources. Show-trials in Nuremburg and The Hague may have exposed the issue of massacre, but they have not eliminated massacres. Awareness may lead to research, hypotheses and experimentation with anti-massacre methods, but that hard work must be done before a durable solution to genocide is reached. It is obvious from the history of our species that we will not automatically evolve away from violence and injustice.

Friday, May 1, 2015

MAY DAY


Revolutions of the mind are more durable than revolutions on the streets. One is not necessarily reflected in the other. One is not necessarily synonymous with the other. The French Revolution evolved for a nearly century before France reached some political and social stability. The Bolshevik Revolution's ideals were quickly smothered by Soviet bureaucrats. The American Revolution's success is measured by its Constitution, not its battles.
 
Christianity and Islam were both revolutionary ideologies in their times, as was Judaism in its time. The Reformation in Europe was a revolution against Catholic aristocracy. It was based in the concept that literacy, combined with Biblical tradition, would breed individual salvation for the good of society. The Enlightenment was a revolution based in the idea that science would dispel the dark ignorance and violence of religion, displayed throughout the Reformation on both sides. Today, Secularism is a revolution against a trend in the U.S. to regress to religious fundamentalism in politics and government.
 
Guillotines and firing squads are no longer revolutionary. ISIS and Boko Haram have illustrated this amply. The violence of mobs and gangsters is regressive, not revolutionary. Nonviolent assertion of scientifically sound (informed/intelligent) ideals through protest and technology is revolutionary. This is the way to hearts and minds. This is a way which requires unselfish persistence by individuals who are deeply committed to their ethics.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

JUSTICE


The sad fact of the current cries for equal justice in the U.S. is the statistical inequality of crime in the U.S.. While a certain factor of those statistics can be modified to allow for racism, sexism, homophobia, class discrimination, the reality remains that certain groups in our society are more prone to be involved in criminal behavior than others. And, I include those at the top of society, especially politicians, in those crime-prone groups.
 
The best way to avoid injustice is to live justly. Living lawfully and nonviolently does not require money or a particular skin color. In most communities, it does require courage. It seems to me courage is more lacking than  justice in some groups who claim victimhood. Courage to be a lawful person is not limited by skin color, religious beliefs, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

DO THEY HAVE SOULS?


Once again I hear my humanity debated by the U.S. Supreme Court seventy years after Nazi concentration camps were liberated.  Dry radio commentators report. Judges drone on. None of them, pro or con, seem at all interested in the fact that they are debating the human equality of homosexuals, as though we are another species. Do heterosexuals ever stop to think about this? Or, is their presumptive immunity from having their capacity to love or commit making them blind to the deeply offensive nature of this debate? Many heterosexuals will jump to the defense of criminals on the basis of race before they will acknowledge homosexual humanity.