Artisanal Hypocrisy

I have seen many people out there who are caught up in the mindset of criticism when it comes to grieving celebrities in our lives such as actors, writers, or musicians while we don’t grieve for every soldier who passes.

The irony here is that many of those people who do the criticizing are artists of some sort themselves. They strive for excellence in their lives, they desire to reach out and touch people through their work and/or their art. To be critical of the public mourning of the passing of another artist is the perfect example of hypocrisy.

My question to those people is this: Why should I, or anyone else! -give credence to your art, to your desire to touch the lives of others, when you yourself would exclude and dismiss others who have done so? Those artists are people who we invite into our lives, into our living rooms, and we give them our undivided attention for however long they are there. They touch our lives, even our souls, in ways that most people cannot.

And I would also question: Why are those who spew their condescending and vitriolic criticism so condescending in their attitude to assume that we do not grieve for our fallen defenders of liberty. Who are you to judge that because I mourn the passing of a celebrity, that I don’t mourn our soldiers “correctly” because it doesn’t meet your approval?

A soldier dies a soldier’s death and is mourned as a soldier serves, with a solemn sense of duty and respectful privacy. A celebrity is mourned as a celebrity lives; in public, by the public whose lives that celebrity has touched in a directly personal way.

Embrace Your Adversity

Be Thankful for it.

Look, we get it.

Life is hard. It’s not easy to deal with adversity, or think that the world at large is in chaos and things can get ugly- and that they often do. It’s not easy to see why people do things that you don’t think make any sense, and you want everything to be easy and nice.

But it isn’t. Life is hard and you make the best of it that you can. There are bad things that happen to people of all stripes, and there are bad people who have no concern for what your pretty little life has in store for you. Still, you take what you have and you do what you can, where you are to make your little corner of your world even just a little better. If enough people did that, life for everyone could be so much more amazing!

And life is hard for a reason. If we didn’t have to surmount adversity, conquer our fears, reach out and help others, or fight for what we think is right we would never grow, never become more than we are. We would stagnate in the unchanging swamp of utopia, dying off one by one, un-noticed by our peers who refuse to deal with the unpleasantness of death and unremembered for accomplishments we never had the chance to undertake.

Denying the realities of life so that you can feel better about the pretty little garden of make believe that you have built up around yourself not only helps no one, but it’s selfishly self-serving and not very smart to do. Calling people names and denigrating people who do not think as you only serves to exacerbate the problems you worry so much about and disclaim with such righteous passion!

Embrace Life. Embrace the fears, the challenges and the people with whom you disagree. They are part of the world that shapes you, that molds you and that breathes vitality into your endeavors; where you earn your unique character and beauty.

They are part of what gives us a reason to be Thankful.

The Myth of Modern Day Social Equilibrium

The balance of power just shifts, is all…

Modern people like to think that we are civilized, that we have come a long way in the course of human development, but we are not. We haven’t changed a bit.

The moment that conditions change and former underclass finally reaches the point that they (rightfully!) enjoy the same rights and protections as everyone else; a large number of them turn around and use that newfound power to persecute those they perceive had the boot on their neck in the past. Not the actual people, mind you, just anyone that represents that other class.

They do it recklessly, with complete abandon. They target individuals. They are openly hypocritical, but they know that the protection of their status as an underclass will protect them from being called out on it. They ruin lives and wreck innocent businesses, people, and families in their lust for revenge to tear down anyone who resembles the group who oppressed their ‘people’.

They talk a great game about reaching equilibrium, about equality for all and how everyone should enjoy the same rights and privileges, but the moment that equilibrium is reached, a large percentage of them start looking for ways to make others suffer. They rationalize that they are just out to champion the cause, that they are just ferreting out every last remnant of the bigotry that kept them down, but they are simply on a Crusade. It’s all they have known, and they can’t put down their swords.

They will rape and pillage wherever and however they can; maybe not in a literal sense, but certainly with what tools they have available. Lacking a real, personified enemy, they will continue to ravage the countryside, eventually enslaving whoever they can to their own ideas and whims.

They are cowards. They won’t pick on another underclass that would follow through on threats of violence, one that actively and violently persecutes them and kills them in less ‘advanced’ cultures, no, they pick on a group that would never do that. That makes them cowards.

I shouldn’t have to explain what makes them bigots.

We haven’t improved a bit. We just have different tools and more advanced methods of hurting and ruining each other. The balance just shifts, is all.

For all of our hubris, many of us are still, at heart, uncivilized bigots and cowards who will not hesitate to lord any power we have over any underclass or group that we can. Calling ourselves an ‘underclass’ or ‘persecuted’ in order to justify our actions is just more sniveling cowardice.

It’s a shame, really. But it’s human nature to lie to ourselves.

Assumptions and Exclusions

Some thoughts on the national conversation…

Buckle up, this is going to get bumpy and long…

Recently, I had a friend post a comment on one of my social media posts. My comment, on the title picture of this article, questioned to validity of the national conversation with regards to being gay being a ‘choice’ or a genetic pre-disposition. My own point of view is; what does it matter? We are a free Country! The entire conversation is a pointless red herring designed to keep us from discussing things that truly matter.

In response that that, my friend posted the following comment:

“This country was founded on biblical principles…correct? Aren’t our laws/morals built upon biblical principles? If the bible is left out, then we have no morality anywhere. If I want something, then I should be allowed to steal it because I so choose to without any consequence. It gives the murderer the right to murder because he chooses to do so and it gives the pedophile the right to do whatever he chooses…”

My response to that is important, I think, because it is the basis of all that my own personal philosophy regarding the national dialogue revolves around. There are inherent reasons why we aren’t listening to each other, and a lot of that has to do with misdirection by our servants (read ‘Political representatives’) as well as our own personal assumptions about the Nation, and the world in general.

If you have the patience and the attention span, my response follows (the names have been eliminated to protect the faithful). I apologize for the long windedness, I usually try to keep it short, but this is a deep subject with many ins and outs. Please bear with me.

I said:

“As you know, I host open discussions and all points of view are valued. Your own opinions matter to me; as a long-time friend particularly so, even though we have different life philosophies. J

I’m going to have to disagree with you slightly here. I don’t disagree that this country was founded on Judeo-Christian, or Biblical principles. There those who would disagree, just to be difficult, but it’s inarguable. The Bible has served and serves as the basis of Christianity and an invaluable source for morality, and it served as such in the country, the world, since before we were founded as a country.

But I bridle a little at your statement “If the Bible is left out, then we have no morality anywhere.” That is an exclusionary statement that (without meaning to, I’m sure) passes a harsh moral judgement on a large group of individuals. Not everyone uses the Bible as their baseline for morality, even though they might use Biblical principles, or at least hearken back to them.

The apoplectic fear that we are going to devolve immediately into a screaming bunch of Harpies intent on murder because it fits a twisted moral relativism is a groundless one. All the same it is perpetuated and hyperbolized for the purpose of frightening people into keeping or adopting a particular religious course, which is a completely natural human tendency. I don’t judge the strategy, it simply re-enforces many things that I have observed in my studies of people.

Your statement regarding ‘if the Bible is left out we have no morality anywhere’ defines the most studied and advanced individuals in Buddhism, Taoism, Shinto, Confucianism, et al, as people void of spirituality, only full of themselves and not knowing or having any advanced idea of enlightenment or spirituality.

Here’s the thing, the Golden Rule, while an inherent ingredient in the Bible, does not originate with the Bible. It is, in fact, used as a basic rule in many world religions and morality systems. So when you say that ‘Without the Bible, there is no Morality anywhere’, what you are saying is “Look, I know you have your cute little religion or belief system and all, but it’s basically crap. Without believing as I believe, you are a doomed, wretched soul with no morality, no hope and no real say in the day to day happenings here in the mortal world.”

When you say something like that, you are saying that anyone who does not adhere to the strict path that you walk, is devoid of any chance, ability, or hope to possess any level of spirituality whatsoever.

I resent that. I can tell you that my own choice has resulted in a quite evolved sense of spirituality, more so than many people who profess to read and internalize ‘The Word’ because they go to church every Sunday. My spirituality is evolved enough to realize that my path is for me, and that there are countless other spiritual journeys others must make that will not resemble mine in the least. I don’t exclude people because they don’t walk my path with me.

Now, I don’t presume to know the mind of God, but I’m pretty sure that God would find my attitude to be a much more ‘spiritually evolved’ than one that excludes and dooms his other precious children to the deepest pits of the worst imaginable creation because they don’t live or worship in the same house.

There are three major religions in the world, but there are also many, many others. The adherents of those belief systems have as much faith that what they believe is the truth as much as you do; so when you talk down to them like that, they automatically rebel, they get pissed at you and they no longer listen to anything you have to say. You get branded as a ‘zealot’ with a closed mind who presumes to know the mind of God and presumes to pass judgement on your fellow humans.

After that, any chance at any kind of constructive dialogue goes out the window forever, along with any hope of maybe changing any minds. No dialogue, no exchange of ideas. It’s that simple.

I know you, and I’m pretty darn sure that’s not what you mean to say. But the truth is that perception is everything. The issue is that not everyone uses the Bible as the baseline for their faith, their moral system, or as their base of logic; and the overwhelming majority of Christians think or assume that those people do, or that they should, use that Bible and only the Bible as the arbiter of their morality. And if they don’t they are un-savable heathens without the intelligence to realize the ‘Truth’ like you. You are saying that they are too stupid to get it.

But there are other, just as viable, just as closely held, just as structured morality systems out there. It’s pretty judgmental and narrow minded to dismiss belief systems that go back thousands of years just out of hand.

This is a basic reason that Christians find themselves on the firing line in today’s national dialogue as one of the only groups it still seems okay to ridicule- and that’s wrong! It’s as wrong as doing it to any group, and I spend an inordinate amount of my time defending good Christians of humble faith as wrongfully persecuted. But they don’t help their own cause with these unspoken yet easily (even if wrongfully) perceivable attitudes and assumptions. And the ironic thing is that most would never consciously project these things I’m speaking of here!

In the end, with reference to this picture, the argument over if being gay is a choice or genetic is a silly one. It doesn’t matter, because aside from religious beliefs, this country was founded on religious Freedom. The right to believe and practice your morality system as you see fit, the way you believe is right for you and yours. It was not founded or perpetuated to be a Christian colony existing only to further the teachings of the Bible, but as a land where all could come and live as they see fit regardless of race, religion, or creed; in harmony with others.

There were other morality systems and teachings that went into the founding of this country other than the Bible that were just as important, just as viable as Biblical principles. The philosophies of Sir Edmund Coke, John Locke, Patrick Henry, Edmund Burke et al, and the principles of Natural Law were just as inherent to the foundation of the United States as anything else.

Don’t be frightened that people will ‘abandon’ the Bible and therefore become directionless and amoral- the Bible has already been abandoned by many in that course. Be glad that the principles of the Bible still persist when adherence to the Word has been abandoned. Be thankful that God sees fit to lay these basic truths, these basic principles down where any old person can pick them up and use them in their lives. That only serves to re-enforce the principles laid down in the Bible, it only serves to solidify the foundation, the rock you have built your house on.”