Tuesday, June 26, 2007

As you make your bed, So must you lie on it.
English Saying.

Typically I have little problem finding just the right quote to match the topic I want to write about. At times I see a quote and it sparks a thought. Alas, this is problematic from time to time. With this topic, neither really happened.

What is this topic that I found so difficult to quote? Personal responsibility.

This is the common sense sort of personal responsibility with no complex religious, moral or political bias. The simple things. Don't golf in a thunderstorm. Don't flip-off a policeman. Don't run out in the middle of a four lane highway. Don't continue driving when your engine oil light comes on. Don't mix Chlorine and Ammonia. There must be a million of these.

Then there are the “well, duh” sort of situations. Take sleeping pills, chances are you will fall asleep. Drink more than two beers in an hour and you are probably, according to the law anyway, drunk. Write lies and abusive, idiotic drivel, and someone will call you to the carpet. Ignore that gas gage long enough and that car will stop moving. Again, millions of them.

I think in the due course of a lifetime, one will certainly violate several of these common sense items. As humans, we are not perfect; we make mistakes and then typically learn, let go and move on.

Unfortunately I know of people who regularly violate the personal responsibility of common sense. There are some who violate this responsibility and somehow avoid circumstance. There are violators who seemingly have good Samaritans, indentured servants, or witless individuals to protect them from the consequences of their actions. And then there are those who accept the outcome, only to continue.

The ones with good Samaritans on their side may possibly be helped. How? By letting them fall on their ass and allow them the opportunity to pick themselves up. Give them the opportunity for an education. Maybe, just maybe they will learn.

But then there are those who don't learn. Those that just keep going down the dead end alley. They don't learn. Maybe they don't want to. Maybe they can't learn.

How many times must a person misuse drugs before they learn? How many times must a person break the law and are thrown in jail before they learn? How many times must a person drink themselves into oblivion before they learn?

How long must a person grieve over a relationship that has been dead for years? How many times must one beat their head bloody before they even obtain an inkling that something isn't right.

The sad thing is this... Some go to the grave with a bloody forehead.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

All the universe in a grain of sand.

Many people believe quotes to be fluff; void wit; a stroking of intellectual ego. Others view quotes as distillations of a singular thought or concept; specific, to the point, no nonsense statements.

It is written that the famous physicist, Richard Feynman would spend hours crafting witty, memorable quotes for his students and colleagues. He would distill complex concepts into small, shot-sized memorable quips; and was surprisingly good at it.

A drama is not required when something can be succinctly stated in ten words or less.

I am utilitarian. I like things to make simple sense. I like things that simply work and are not fancy or extravagant. Maybe this is why I dislike drama. Drama is fancy and extravagant and makes no sense. Drama is not utilitarian.

As long as my vehicle gets me from point A to point B with a minimum of problems, an AMC Rambler would do just fine. Any $5 watch will suite me just fine. Why pay thousands of dollars for a Rolex? That $5 watch performs the same basic function. The new iPhone certainly is cool. You can do so much with it. You can send and receive e-mails, chat with people using any number of programs and even, yes, use it as a phone. It is sad that so much of society focuses on the medium and method rather than the message.

That simple grain of sand is the perfect symbol of a simple, practical, sustainable life. Its message and medium is simple but poignant; specific; deep; metaphorical. Look at it. Since the dawn of time it has existed in one way or another. It has withstood untold millenia of punishment. It has been transformed through all it has experienced to a simple existence; useful; singular; simple; functional; independent; eternal.

Oh, to be a grain of sand.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

One Way
Do Not Enter

And yet, the driver piloted his vehicle right down the street into early morning on-coming traffic. Why? He didn't want to drive around the block and stay safe. He didn't mind placing others in danger so he might make his trip home more convenient and shorter.

It is indeed one thing to break the rules when the only one placed in any danger is the one breaking them. It is a different matter when others are placed in danger. This is the world we live. These are our neighbors. These are our friends. These are our worldly cohabitants. At times, these are ourselves.

I have certainly done a few things in my life that placed others in danger. I am not proud of them and I am certainly aware enough to see these opportunities for a failure of personal responsibility. How is it some among us are watchful of these possible failures where others rush headlong into the realm of pushing others into danger?

This is not just a personal failing, but is a failing of our popular society. We would rather see the rainbow today and ignore the oncoming hurricane tomorrow. Immediate gratification while ignoring probable outcomes will only result in failure.

Most Native American cultures did not believe in land ownership. They believed nature and the land were on loan to them; on loan from their children, granted by the Great Spirit. What a powerful concept. All of nature belongs to our children, not ourselves. Perhaps one could extend that belief to time; our time is on loan from our children.

Land ownership is something that is unavoidable in today's American society. How we treat that land and the environment is completely up to us. Treat them poorly and abuse them, and while we may see short term gains, like topping a tree, we are only stunting our growth and causing unseen damage.

Do people not see things breaking in the environment? Then again, maybe things are not breaking. Should we worry about the future and change our behavior and the way we think, or continue down the road we are traveling?

In the logical methodology of Voltaire, this can be broken down and analyzed.

Possible situations:
  1. There is no such thing as global warming or ecological changes. Everything is fine.
  2. The globe is warming and the ecology is changing, but it is a natural cycle of things. Human existence has nothing to do with this.
  3. The globe is warming, the ecology is changing, the environment is on a decline, but this is not part of a normal geo-physical cycle. Humans have caused this.

Possible actions:

  1. Do nothing.
  2. Take action.
1 – Global warming is a Red Herring; it doesn't exist. Doing nothing will change nothing. Taking action against something that does not exist is a waste of effort. One vote for doing nothing.

2 – Global warning is occurring but not due to human habitation. Doing nothing will change nothing. This is an irresponsible act of inaction. Just because you are a passenger in a car careening toward a cliff edge does not mean you should merrily sit by and wait for the end to come. Taking action will minimally show concern and empathy. Ultimately, taking action could improve the entire situation regardless of blame or cause. One vote for taking action.

3 – Global warming is occurring and it is due to human habitation and misuse of natural resources. By all means, a person driving a car should keep it safely on the straight and narrow. If humans have damaged the environment, it is our duty as sentient beings to do what we can to take action. Doing nothing destines us to certain failure as a species. One vote for taking action.

So, given the above style of argument, it cannot be denied that regardless of circumstance, we as sentient humans must take action. Large or small, minute or grandiose, we must do what we can. How can we start? How about not driving the wrong way down a one way street. If you must got the wrong way, the least you can do is walk.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Time is just something that we assign. You know, past, present, it's just all arbitrary. Most Native Americans, they don't think of time as linear; in time, out of time, I never have enough time, circular time, the Stevens wheel. All moments are happening all the time.
Television program, “Northern Exposure”

Time is simply a vibration of dimensions; places and times beyond comprehension in resonance.

There is no present; only the razor's edge cleaving the future into the past. By the time you read this sentence and it registers in your brain, it is already the past. That point of future to past is, according to Einstein, undefinable. The present is simply the recent past; a recent past that should be savored for all it can provide.

There are some few who exist only on the distant past, unable to release things and allow them to settle into a quiet harmonious hum that is our individual existences. There are some few who exist only in the future, hoping and praying and wishing for things and never appreciating what they have.

Neither enjoy the recent past; the present. They live in times and places that will not; or should not continue to exist. They may exist in the moment of the present only briefly, only to jettison themselves to whence they came. Perhaps it is an illness. Perhaps it is their own universe.

Classical physics tells us that the past affects the future. Actions direct future options and possibilities. That may be true. Quantum physics has a different take on it. The observation of something, sort of 'snaps into place' the past. Actions still direct future possibilities, but it is the past that is truly affected.

Perhaps those living in the future are simply hoping to change the future. Perhaps those living in the past hope to change history.

For those who live in the future: dreams and hopes and wishes are only as good as the actions placed behind them. For those who live in the past: history, with or without quantum physics, cannot be changed.

It is my belief that happiness lies on the razor's edge.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

You say that you are my judge. I don't know if you are — but take care not to judge wrongly, lest you place yourself in great danger.
Joan of Arc

(I wrote this about a year ago and decided to post it tonight.)

Each person's path is unique and by pure definition, must be. Judge yourself before laying judgment on others.

I am screwed up. My life a mess. Decisions made that now must be followed. Not because I must, but because I want to. All will gain by following through.

I do my best to insulate my close friends from myself and my messed up existence. But what if they want to open their doors to me? What if they choose to accept some of my burden? Do I allow them, even if it messes up their already complex life? Opening up could create new paths of existence and experience, but at what cost?

Opening up completely to them could cause a harm that I do not desire anyone to have. My burden is mine alone to carry. But if someone offers to help, knowingly causing themselves harm, should I let them?

Who is to judge, whom I share my existence and experiences with? The answer is simple and short. Only the people I share with and myself. We decide and no one else.
Just get off yer ass and do it!
My dad

Journeys have neither beginning nor end. Beginnings and endings are simple narrow artifices that humans give to events in an effort to place them into some easily conceivable context. Don't blame us for that; it's a simple matter of how our brains are wired.

Our lives, as with the entire universe, operate in cycles. Beginnings and endings merge and become jumbled in a cacophony of inter-related events. A writer could easily say that they started writing a book on a certain day and completed it when it was printed. To our hardwired human brains, that is how we perceive it. The writer may not remember or even recognize the importance of something as trivial as receiving a pen and pad of paper for her seventh birthday. Without that gift, perhaps the successful author would have never conceived of the book. So, when was that book started?

Does a choice start with its precursive events or at the moment a person makes a choice? Or just maybe the choice was made at the time of the event, without the knowledge of the person. Maybe, just a subconscious nudge in one direction or another.

My dad was a proponent of just getting things done. Small or big, things left undone can only cause problems. There are multitude of little and big things we would all like to do. What stops us from doing them?

Maybe. Just maybe, if we were just get off our collective asses and do something, our world would be better; not just for us, but maybe for that seven year old you buy that cheap pen set for.