Category Archives: Future

Our Existence ~ Question & Reason

yin-yang-a1All the philosophers, sages, theorists, scientists, & ancient texts, comment and theorize, however the denouement*1, is life itself.

Over and over we’re presented with ancient stories that supposedly explain our existence. The question we seldom ask ourselves, what is truly important?

According to the Bible (Genesis 2:7), this is how humanity began: “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” “God then called the man Adam, and later created Eve from Adam’s rib.”

Gallup polls and the Pew Research Center found four out of 10 Americans believe this account. It’s a central tenet for those who consider themselves literal Christians. (This isn’t an endorsement, merely describing what is believed by many.)

Whatever your level of consideration of the nature of God, the core to any of the ancient religions is our beginning, our ending, and the life in between those two moments, whether for us individually or humanity as a whole.2018-07-17 12.06.05

Before you access your own reactions to any religious theme, this isn’t about any specific religion, it’s about how do you view yourself amidst what you’ve learned so far? These references are simply to say, there are millions of people over thousands of generations who have considered, why, when, and who are we? Whatever your answer, the key to this always comes back to how much do you value these ideas? Your answer defines who you are, and how you adapt and progress with your life.

Let’s start with the basics

When you first enter this world, you are helpless, and require someone to take care of all your physical needs. This gradually changes over time, but even when you are able to provide for yourself, your perspective about your life typically revolves around you as the most important person. You’ve come to think you deserve to receive attention, entertainment, nourishment, and shelter.  That’s a very egocentric world view, which hopefully changes over time. This becomes critical if you marry and have children. If it’s still all about you, then the marriage is doomed and the children will suffer, unless someone else picks up the slack.

What do you value above everything else?

Some will insist that it’s their faith, or belief in God. Many people will say, that just shows you how important God is in our lives. Here’s the thing that’s troubling about that statement. An example, the United States is supposedly a Christian nation. We have many churches and there are quite a few people that financially support them. Yet, what are our priorities?

Gospel_of_wealth_Andrew_Carnegie

click on the image to find this book

We build huge athletic and entertainment facilities overall costing billion$ while we have people that are hungry and without adequate shelter. We see huge churches, often led by clergy with vast income from their patrons. Our response for those in need seems more in keeping with Ebeneezer Scrooge rather than the text used as a guide in the Bible.

Mark 10:21-22
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.

Luke 14:12-14
He said also to the one who had invited him, ‘When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’

There are many more, but you get the general idea. So, is the Bible to be interpreted literally, or as a convenience when we agree or tell others we agree with it?

We have a poverty problem that’s not being addressed. Some say, there’s always those who either can’t or won’t do for themselves, how is it my responsibility to provide for them?

Luke 12:16-21
Then he told them a parable: ‘The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.’

Matthew 7:21
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 25:40
‘And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Do we as a nation appear to be be Christian, from other nations perspective?

The United States has been at war for well over 90% of the time since it began as a nation. Even before the USA was formed, the colonies were at war with those who were the indigenous inhabitants.
invade_bomb_muslim_lands
What does the Bible say about living at peace with other people?

Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

Romans 14:17-19 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”

Luke 6:27 But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you ..”

There are many more, but again you get the idea, or should understand that the text claims peace is the goal, and to direct our life towards peace.

I’m not suggesting that we live in a world where we can ignore defending ourselves, but is this what we should be doing? Do we need to participate with people all over the world in conflict? Does the reading of the Bible or the declaration, we are a Christian people, mean anything?

Yes, I get it, we’re imperfect but I think deep down we know it’s a sham. We can try to convince ourselves or tell others how much our faith or belief in God means, but there’s a lot of activity that shows we don’t believe any of it. We’re not alone. There’s the world of Islam which claims to be peaceful, and the Hindu. Look at the global map. A lot of conflicts going on with most of them conducted by fervent believers in God.

active_global_conflicts

We claim we believe in capitalism, but does that mean we should grab every dollar we can lay hands on, and especially place those who are at or near poverty, into worse conditions when we withhold more earnings or reduce wages & benefits to gain more profit?

Proverbs 14:31
He who oppresses the poor dishonors his Maker: but he who honors Him shows generosity toward the poor.
USA_poverty_chart

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Notes:
1* Definition of denouement: the outcome of a complex sequence of events.

Why Are We Slipping Behind?

The Coming Conflict

War isn’t inevitable, conflict is. What do I mean?

I recall a friend telling me, if two people think alike, there’s no need for one of them. This sounds humorous or perhaps cavalier, but at it’s core we can identify a universal truth. Individuals have their own opinions on almost anything, and depending on the persons involved, will argue their point of view until one or both find resolution or at least a willingness to co-exist.

The fundamental issue at hand, is how do we communicate with each other and by what method(s) do we resolve our differences?

Abraham_Lincoln_emancipationHere’s an overview; person 1 thinks that all purchased chicken eggs should be brown. White eggs are deemed inferior by person 1. Person 2 thinks that any egg is a good egg, and therefore will purchase white shelled eggs sometimes, instead of brown ones. Of course this seems a silly example to some, but I’m using it to explain my point, rather than take a current issue, already in play which would tend to steer people toward discussing an issue, rather than the point I’m making.

If person 1 lives with person 2, a potential conflict exists. Several factors come into play, but we can see there are things that can be done to resolve their conflict. Conflicts arise but need not escalate if the individuals involved can come to an agreement. If this were two people living apart, then maybe they would talk about brown eggs vs. white eggs, and no matter the outcome, it’s likely to be settled in a congenial way. After all, why fight over eggs, right? Well, I’ve seen couples fight over lesser things, and they can almost come to blows over such things as, tooth paste caps not being placed back on the tube, the direction of toilet paper unrolling, kitchen cleanup, personal choices in shoes, clothes, hair styles, etc.

Whenever we look at humans, and attempt to describe the cause of their problems, we can spend a lot of time blaming things external to the cause, or focusing on debating the topics of the conflict. What’s really missing is the knowledge on how to resolve conflicts. We can blame the schools, religion, politicians, our spouse, or our peers. Although there’s plenty of blame for any problem to encompass several groups, there’s really one huge elephant in the room.

st_patricks_day_revelersOur society has moved from an agrarian based economy to an industrial, and on to a service based economy. This fundamental change removes people from their individual direct survival (farming), to living near a common populous work center, and having to learn to live and work with people outside of immediate family. This seems like a recipe to help people learn how to resolve their differences and avoid escalation of conflict. In reality, we have become less capable, more emotional, and more willing to escalate, after our differences are made known.

We are beginning to see healthy family relationships are core to problem resolution. Studies show a more likelihood for success of a person, based on two parents actively working to care for and raise their children together. A child learns many things from their care givers. If the biological parents of a child are unable to resolve their personal issues, where does the foundation start for learning conflict resolution? In fact, many people are choosing to not become married, or stay with the other person with whom they made a baby. The child may learn some things from a single loving, well meaning parent, but they don’t learn first hand, how two people resolve their differences.

The child grows into an adult, at least physically, but what do they know about handling emotions? As much as people write about how men and women are equal, they often overlook their fundamental differences. I see many women asserting their right to be who they are and choose what they want for themselves, but what does that suggest for interpersonal relations? Can they set aside their desire to make something of themselves in the world? Can a man choose to be responsible and caring, perhaps even willing to stay at home and raise the children if the mother is the more productive income earner?

Men and women are different but there’s a strong desire for women to be more like men. Men on the other hand, are labeled toxic if their inclinations are ‘traditional’. We can debate what those inclinations are but in the past, those differences weren’t identified as shameful or toxic, and a woman who wanted children, learned what made their world work so they could have a family and perpetuate another generation. She was often the ‘taming’ force for good in a relationship, and the man most often the less emotional.

accomplishment ceremony education graduation

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Once again, we can zero in on what a man or woman’s roles should be, but that misses the nature of how do we train future generations to be responsible for themselves, and not blame others? … And that as I see it, is our biggest failure. We’ve fallen into a trap of irresponsibility for our behavior. We seek to blame others or at least shift our part of the deal to some agency outside of the home. It’s been said, “it takes a village to raise a child”, but if that village doesn’t do any better than the originating family, we’re not going to improve.

The child grows into a man or a woman. They find their work day world less than all of what they hope. They haven’t an organization that builds them up as a group and helps them find purpose, so they gravitate to what they individually think gives them a purpose. Sometimes though, we need our batteries recharged. We might turn to ‘social media’ and there we find… more conflict. Everything we haven’t learned about dealing with differences of opinion, on ways to find common ground, or even the desire to find common ground, are often absent. Instead we call each other names, bait one another with questions designed to make us look clever and the other person, lesser.

We have another clever outlet for our discord, the news media. They’ve learned to earn market share and increase their revenue by constantly stirring up things that will lock us in to their point of view. Instead of truly being informative they foment discord for money, and the results are obvious. We’re even in disagreement as to where we get our news, and the relative trust we can place on the source.

I could write much more on this topic, but my main thoughts are, it’s not the other person’s fault, its our own, and the reasons for our failure, I believe start within the home. An incomplete family unit fails to provide all that’s needed to go forward in this complicated world. When two people declare they love each other and want to make a baby, what are they really saying? Til death do us part, or quit after the 50th time I told him or her to flush the toilet. How we engage each other, what we choose to say in discussing our preferences or point of view, go back to earliest formative years. If we didn’t gain some healthy conflict resolution by age 12, what happens to our abilities when we no longer have any cushion, coaches, mentors, or methods to deescalate? Instead, we’re left with people demanding conformance, and fanning the flames of those differences to the point of in some cases, coming to blows.

Compromise means different things to different people. Finding ways to get along creates a healthier atmosphere and avoiding the eventual, inevitable conflict. If we fail to work though our differences in the home, how does that impact our world?

USA_armed_forces

We might call on these organizations less often if we learn how to deescalate and get along.

The Best Course is Discourse

Keeping it real

Not being fake or influenced. Being true to yourself and your values, more importantly, being true to internal values that most people acknowledge and respect.

brain waves

Must engage brain!

I was confronted this morning by a family member offline about some things I said online.

The “backroom” conversation was triggered from remarks I made about their post on a social media platform. It had to do with the originator suggesting how difficult to remain a “centrist” in the milieu of ideas coming from polarized speech and media.

Rather than revisit all which was said in those pubic and private conversations, I continue to believe that discourse is necessary, in order to make headway and to understand what other people think. This person didn’t share that opinion, and not only deleted what I said, they blocked me from further comments.

Allow me to kick the can down the block a little further, if you’re a registered user of WordPress, your opinion is invited.

When two ideas about any given topic are presented, and they are opposite, logic dictates the following possibilities.

  • They’re both wrong. This means neither opinion is correct and either they discuss it until they understand the fallacy, or they agree to disagree. Those are the best case scenarios.
  • One is right and the other is wrong. This doesn’t mean one is completely right, and the other is completely wrong, it seldom is that clear. Once again, they discuss it until they understand the fallacy, or they agree to disagree.
  • They switch sides, choosing to think as the other one did before, but realizing they have come to a better understanding and decided their original opinion was wrong.

OK, that last one is highly unlikely. What often occurs now, there’s a desire to shut down, censor, delegitimize the other person or group’s argument. This is accomplished like it just it did with me, or banning people from social media.

Here’s the train wreck that’s coming, and we’ve seen it before throughout history. When there’s no longer a platform for discourse, then tempers flare. The outcome is seldom pretty. I’m not advocating anything “unpretty”, but the observations are all too obvious, repeated on the streets around the world, as well as throughout social media.

We sometimes applaud people who are absolutists. We even elevate them to levels of leadership, but there’s also a toxic side to this, ‘my way or the highway type of group think.’ It seldom advances anything of value.

I’ll illustrate this point through a hot topic, (yes puns are allowed), climate change or global warming. Once those words are said, people take sides, but perhaps if you’re not closed-minded, you might want to watch this opinion segment on a Joe Rogan podcast. It frames the climate change argument and solution with scientific precision. There’s something here for everyone to learn.

I’ll preface the video with this; any topic deemed so sacred that it can’t be questioned, needs further examination. This control from authority or power must be questionable or it wouldn’t need this level of authority to suppress.

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