The Importance Of Belonging

July 15, 2017

I’d like to take a little time today to further reflect on this idea of “love is the currency of life.”  This is a followup to my previous post, so check that out before reading this one.  I want to reflect on more things I observe around me everyday.

These days I spend a lot of time in the gym.  I go there about five times a week, for about two hours a day.  During my workouts the radio is playing in the background over the speaker system.  Almost every song I hear playing has something to do with love (love in the same context as my previous post), either how happy it makes them, or how upset they are from it being withheld from them.  For brevity, I’ll only share a few specific examples.

The first song that comes to mind is Home by Three Days Grace.  This song plays at least once every time I’m in the gym.

I won’t share the full song lyrics, but let’s just analyze the beginning.

I’ll be coming home
Just to be alone
Cause I know you’re not there
And I know that you don’t care
I can hardly wait to leave this place

No matter how hard I try
You’re never satisfied
This is not a home
I think I’m better off alone
You always disappear
Even when you’re here
This is not my home
I think I’m better off alone
Home, home, this house is not a
Home, home, this house is not a home

Think about these lyrics in terms of Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs.  What do you see?  To me, it seems to be about belonging and esteem.  This man is telling us he feels isolated.  He comes home (presumably from work), and his partner is not around.  Maybe she’s unavailable emotionally, too busy, distant, whatever the reason, he feels she’s not there for him.  He’s very upset that his partner withheld love from him.  He also seems puzzled as to why, wondering what he did wrong.  After experiencing this loneliness for a while, he seems to have come to the conclusion that he’s unable to bring happiness to others, and has lost trust in them, so he’s better off alone.

My friend Greg and I often discuss music lyrics with each other when we catch up at restaurants.  When a musical artist sits down to write a song, they have a blank sheet of paper in front of them.  They could write about anything.  They could write about how tasty the hamburger they ate for lunch was.  They could sing about how fun the new Call of Duty series is on Xbox.  They could reminisce about how the football game went on television.  But do they?  Not typically. Well, they sometimes do in country songs, but that’s more to express a sense of belonging to the southern culture.  But anyways, all of this is very telling about people and what goes on in their heads.  This song by Three Days Grace wouldn’t be such a big hit if it didn’t resonate with millions of people all over the world.  As I said before, our society doesn’t give people any real sense of belonging.  The bottom rung of Maslow’s hierarchy is fulfilled in most of us, as we have food, safety, etc., but it doesn’t offer much beyond that, and the signs of the pain people are experiencing is everywhere.

If you understand this simple idea, you will see it repeating over, and over, and over.  Almost every song is about different aspects of the esteem and belonging tier of Maslow’s hierarchy.  For another example, let’s look into the most popular song on Youtube – Wiz Khalifa’s See you Again, featuring Charlie Puth. It  has 2.9 billion views as of the time I’m writing this.  Hundreds of millions of people, if not billions, all over the world, identify and relate to this song.

Once again, let’s just discuss a bit of the lyrics.

It’s been a long day without you, my friend
And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
We’ve come a long way from where we began
Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
When I see you again
Dang, who knew?
All the planes we flew
Good things we’ve been through
That I’ll be standing right here talking to you
‘Bout another path
I know we loved to hit the road and laugh
But something told me that it wouldn’t last
Had to switch up
Look at things different, see the bigger picture
Those were the days
Hard work forever pays
Now I see you in a better place (see you in a better place)

How can we not talk about family when family’s all that we got?
Everything I went through you were standing there by my side
And now you gon’ be with me for the last ride

First you both go out your way
And the vibe is feeling strong
And what’s small turn to a friendship
A friendship turn to a bond
And that bond will never be broken
The love will never get lost (and the love will never get lost)
And when brotherhood come first
Then the line will never be crossed
Established it on our own
When that line had to be drawn
And that line is what we reach
So remember me when I’m gone (remember me when I’m gone)

This song is about losing a friend, reflecting on memories of the space they struggled to create together, how they once had a wonderful sense of belonging together, how painful it is now that that’s gone, and there is an expression of hope that maybe one day they’ll see each other again.  See what this is?  We had belonging, now we don’t, that makes me sad, I hope that happiness is restored to us one day.

As I said before, this love is the currency of life.  It’s what everyone is scrambling for, trying to create, and trying to find.  I don’t want this post to be just about song lyrics though so let’s take a few other observations from my daily life.  Take the culture within the university.  In almost every physics course I was asked to take, at some time or another the Nobel prize was mentioned.  Achieving this prize seems to be the great pinnacle of success as a physicist.  However with me, I was more interested in understanding the psychological aspects as to why this prize excites scientists so much rather than the actual prize itself.

I think the prize represents several things.  First it signifies that the scientist was able to contribute something worthwhile to society — hence psychologically, this is part of the ‘esteem’ tier.  Next it gives them recognition, respect, and acknowledgement from their peers, so that is part of the ‘belonging’ tier.  That’s what I think the prize itself is to them.  The excitement toward winning the prize, or writing some successful, important paper is a hope and desire that that seminal idea of theirs will bring more belonging and esteem into their lives.  This form of ‘love’ is dangled out in front of them like a carrot on a stick.  You want love, belonging, and recognition?  You want to be somebody who matters?  Work harder!  Work!  Work!  Work!

“A modern academic will need forty hours a week to perform teaching and administrative duties, another twenty hours on top of that to conduct respectable research, and still another twenty hours to accomplish really important research…. Make an important discovery, and you are a successful scientist in the true, elitist sense in a profession where elitism is practiced without shame…. Fail to discover, and you are little or nothing.”

– E.O. Wilson, famed biologist

It’s similar to people dreaming of being rockstars and celebrities.  I know a guy who is absolutely amazing at guitar.  Right now he works as a custodian, but all of his free time goes into practicing guitar and recording songs.  He was married for a while and even had a few kids, but he has never been happy.  His mundane life wasn’t enough for him.  He wanted to be on the stage, huge crowds cheering for him as he played each solo.  All he would ever do is complain to his wife about how dull it all is, how unhappy he is, and so on.  Well, she left him and took the kids with her.  Now he has nothing.  What saddens me about that story is that this man’s intense craving for belonging and acknowledgement from the world around him has destroyed his family, the little connection he did have with the world.

It’s a shame he couldn’t find enough happiness in sharing his songs with his children and wife.  I guess he imagined that one day, when he’s up on that stage he’d finally feel alive and happy.  I hope he finds that one day, but I don’t think he’ll get it from crowds of adoring fans.  Many who finally make it to the top, all their song lyrics are about those who were there for them before they made it.  Then these celebs and rockstars take their new fortunes and buy their old loved ones huge mansions.  Many fail to realize that all that ever actually mattered to them was the love and respect of those around them, and what mattered to the surrounding others was the same.  And deep down, nobody really cares about mansions, fancy cars, and big fancy vacation getaways.  Those things are nice if they’re around, but most people can live very happy lives with far less when there’s love.  And without love, that other stuff can only give you the bottom rung of Maslow’s hierarchy.  That’s it.  This point needs elaborating on.

I came across a really fascinating talk online the other day, but I can’t remember the author’s name.  Basically he was discussing the history of the pilgrims and Indians in the very early days when settlers came to the United States.  Few know this, but loads of people fled life in the cities to go live with the Indians, but next to no Indians came to live with the settlers.  That’s because the Indians had such a deep tribal culture which made people feel like they belonged to the tribe.

You shouldn’t underestimate the importance of this sense of belonging.  To many it’s the only thing that even matters in this life.  Take war veterans for example.  Many of our military men and women, they prefer serving together in war than they do civilian life.  But why?  That’s because the military facilitates a tribal atmosphere for those serving in the same squads.  Soldiers find a deep sense of belonging, where everyone has one another’s backs, where they’re valued, where they have something to contribute, where they mean something to the people around them in a deep and meaningful way.  Many combat personnel would prefer living in a state of war, bombs going off, gunfire in the air, where they see death and carnage everywhere, but there is brotherly love, than to come home and work in a meaningless job, surrounded by people who don’t care about one another in any deep or meaningful way, where the greatest thing to everyone is themselves.  In war, military life encourages brotherhood, where survival of the squad means everything, and they are taught to give their life to save the others if need be.  That’s what soldiers miss.  Check out this TED talk.

What does this say about our modern culture?  Many men and women would rather serve in dangerous combat, surrounded by death and destruction, where there is brotherly love, than live in our modern isolation and loneliness.

All of this makes me think of a low-budget movie I saw on Netflix called Bokeh.  It begins with a young couple, madly in love, traveling to an island for a vacation getaway.  They check into their hotel room, go to sleep, and wake up the next morning to find that all the other human beings on the planet have disappeared.  What happens?

At first they scramble to find anyone they can.  After searching far and wide, they discover that it is only them.  They’re on their own.  Within a week, the food in the grocery stores is already going bad and they need to find and secure some source of food.  They’re in constant fear, wondering when the electricity is going to go offline, considering nobody is there running the power plant or is there to repair electrical lines, etc.  They’re worried about getting injured, because if they break a bone or something, there’s no doctors to fix it.  You see how much you rely on others to exist.  After watching the couple in this strange state, I think the viewer realizes how important we all are to one another, even if we don’t consciously realize it.

The most touching scenes to me was watching the young woman send texts and leave phone messages to her mother and father who were no longer to be found.  When she saw the network of loved ones in her life crumble away, she didn’t know how to handle it.  Just those small texts and short phone calls parents and children have with one another mean a great deal.  Just knowing there are people in this world who love you, who have your back, and have your best interests at heart means the world to most people.

All their dreams quickly revealed themselves for what they were as well.  They came to this island as poor struggling artists, so for the first few days they raided the stores, took nice clothing and jewelry, and commandeered the nicest cars for themselves.  They also took over one of the best apartments in the area and made it their home.  But strangely, now that nobody was around to admire them and their new found “wealth”, it didn’t matter to them at all.  What does that say about what they really wanted with their “dreams” of a better life?  It was to belong, to be respected, and to have a sense of self-worth.  Their dreams were actually just symptoms of a living in a society where they didn’t feel they belonged or had much worth.  The expensive homes, clothing, etc., were only symbols they attached to those psychological needs.  What they actually desired, deep down, wasn’t material things, but more love from those living around them.

Even though this young woman had the love of her life with her, she escapes one morning, rides off in her car to some distant place, jumps in a swimming pool and drowns herself after only a few weeks in this horrid isolation.  She couldn’t take it.

Whether it’s starving artists, war veterans, or academics, no matter the person or walk of life, everyone is seeking a deeper sense of belonging.

Thinking on all of this just earlier today, I found myself finished with what I had to do today and was just about to pop Xenoblade Chronicles X into my Nintendo Wii-U to spend the evening gaming.  Then I became hesitant and got to thinking about the trainer at my gym who recently came down with pneumonia and has been laid up in the hospital.  I put the game away, got dressed, hopped in my car, drove over to the hospital and visited him for a while.  I told him how much we’ve missed him at the gym, how I’ve always appreciated him spotting me and helping out in the gym, and told him how much I looked forward to seeing him better and back with us in the gym.  Then his wife told me how happy he’s been when guys from the gym have shown up to wish him well.  It wasn’t hard, and it didn’t take all that long, but it’s important.

I know how addictive technology can be — all the games, movies, and everything else, but I would encourage all of you to get off the couch, get away from the computer, away from the television, and do things in your community that show people in your sphere of influence that you care and appreciate them.  Do what you can to create a deeper sense of belonging.  The world needs a lot more of that.

Topics: Philosophy | No Comments »

Love Is The Currency Of Life

July 3, 2017

Though this may sound rather hokey, lately when I’ve been out for walks, or just spending time alone with my own thoughts, a recurring thought has been entering my mind, “love is the currency of life.”

This is such a big topic and I have no idea how to really approach even talking about it.  So as you’re reading this, keep in mind that I’m not trying to be comprehensive or anything, but am moreso sharing a sort of stream of consciousness, where each different idea points to the same conclusion.

Basically, no matter where I look these days, I see people looking for love in some form or another.  I’m not speaking of romance.  Maybe I’ll put it all within a broader framework?  One of my favorite books was written by an American psychologist named Abraham Maslow entitled Motivation and Personality.  In it, he tries to uncover what motivates people to do what they do.  This leads him to develop the hierarchy of needs, which most everyone has probably seen.

If you look up ‘love’ in Wikipedia, you’ll find many different attempts to define the idea.  The philosopher Gottfried Leibniz defined it as, “to be delighted in the happiness of another.” I like that idea, and when I look at Maslow’s hierarchy, I see different aspects of love in effect.

Though I’m speaking rather abstractly and vaguely, the bottom levels of the pyramid deal with a loving relationship between your physical body and the universe — a sort of unity and flow with the physical world around you.  As one moves up the pyramid, we are directed into the realm of mind.  The “Love/Belonging” tier deals with being loved and respected by other conscious minds.  The “Esteem” tier deals with loving yourself, and the final tier at the top of the pyramid is about feeling a sense of unity and love for the universe.

Though this “hierarchy” of needs is typically depicted in that pyramid structure, I don’t think it is a pyramid and neither did Maslow.  In fact, Maslow never mentioned the pyramid and it’s not needed.  To me, these things are more like a web.  The more of those things you have in this world, the more “connected” you are.  That’s a buzzword I hear a lot — “connection”.  When I hear it, I immediately think of all of this.

Maslow really nailed it.  I’ve never read a book that opened my eyes to deeply understanding people.  I can be very dense and lack common sense, but when I’m given a framework like this to help me sort my thoughts, for the first time in my life I began to understand people.

When I look at our modern world, our society and culture successfully implements the bottom rungs of that pyramid, but the rest is painfully neglected.  Most of us (though still not all) have our basic survival needs met.  We have a place to sleep, we have food, and our physical bodies can survive, etc., but there’s far less “connection” in the other tiers with the world.  People struggle their entire lives to establish those deeper connections, many never finding them at all.

With all that in mind, this is where I start rambling.  In the past, when I was young, even into my early twenties, relationships with people was moreso a feeling, but I didn’t understand why I liked certain people and disliked others.  Maybe it’s just a part of getting older, but now I can rather quickly tell why I like certain aspects of someone, while disliking other things about them.  After studying all this stuff, it’s all conscious in my head, and I can analyze it all and understand it.  It’s helped me a lot.  I can give you the short and sweet answer — the people I like are love dispensaries, in some form or another.  When I see them extending out feelers of “love” out toward me, I respond in kind and things are good.  That’s why I call it the currency of life.  It’s what’s valuable.  It’s what makes life worth living.  If you look at the people I like, their words, actions, and deeds create a web where more of that stuff in Maslow’s hierarchy exists or has the potential to grow and exist more fully.  Things that destroy that existing web of connection or inhibit growth of more good connection brings sadness to everyone involved.

Take politics.  Why am I so against war?  It destroys so many aspects of connection in that web of goodness.  You disrupt the social systems in place which provide for them — you blow up their grocery store and school, and that stresses them out.  They don’t know where they’re going to get food.  You kill their loved ones, destroying the most important people in their lives.  It wrecks them emotionally.  You fill them with fear, and that’s going to destroy the ability to form bonds and good relationships with them in the future.  They’re not going to want to deal with you.  They’re going to hate you.  Then when they hate you, they’re going to attack you because they want you to understand the pain you’re inflicting upon them.  Then a vicious cycle goes on and on, and it’s nothing but misery.  This is a simple example, but it’s easy to see how it destroys that web I’ve been talking about.  I don’t see how our politicians fail to realize such a simple principle.  If you bomb countries to oblivion, killing hundreds of thousands of people, blowing up schools, hospitals, etc., how can you not expect blowback of some kind?

Anyways, the more you understand about this web, the better your life becomes. Those who have read my blog over the years know that throughout most of my life, I’ve been a loner, at least for the last 15 years or so.  I later became aware of this “web” and my relationships with everyone I’m around has gotten so much better.

I was hired by the university this last semester to teach a course.  I had no idea how that would go, or what the students would think of me, or what.  Throughout the semester I kept this “web” in mind in everything I said and did, and by the end of the semester I was surrounded by students, many of them inviting me out to dinner, while others were exclaiming that it was the best experience in a class they’ve ever had.  They were telling me their dreams, their career ambitions, they were wanting to hang out with me, and I was just blown away.  This is quite shocking considering it was the first time I’ve even taught a course in any capacity.  I just didn’t expect it to go so well.

I’ve been trying to understand why it went so well, and actually I attribute it to a Youtube video I watched of a middle aged woman’s near death experience.  This isn’t the sort of thing you expect a physicist to be watching, but I found it fascinating.  The woman died during some sort of surgery on the operating table, was dead (off and on) for like thirty minutes, until the doctors brought her back.  When she died, she talked about disconnecting from her body and then seeing this tunnel of light.  Eventually this light engulfed her, and as she moved deeper into this tunnel she eventually met who she referred to as God.  This entity connected to her telepathically and beamed unconditional love into her with such magnitude and strength that it felt like something physical which then became the source of all the white light which engulfed her.

God showed her a sort of slide-show of everything she ever did in her life, and then beamed even more love into her as it communicated to her, “I love you, despite all that.”  Then God began to teach her about love and showed her alternate time-lines of what her life could have been, and then even showed her lives she could’ve lived that were terrible, and God still told her, and taught her, in no uncertain terms, “I would still love you. Deeply.  Fully.”  Then what really caught my attention was what this woman said next.  She said that she had always been seeking this very love but never could find it.  She got married, hoping to be loved like that, but her husband wasn’t anywhere near that loving.  Then she had children, hoping her children would love her like that, but though they loved her, it wasn’t anywhere like that.  Then she talked about her career ambitions, and how she’d hoped to find respect and love from coworkers, as well as fulfillment, and it was never anything like what she found emanating from this divine being she encountered at death.  That really struck me.

That all got me thinking, huh, that’s probably what I want.  That’s what everyone wants.  Maybe we all come from that higher spiritual plane and have come down to this physical existence temporarily for some reason and we all have a deep yearning to reconnect with that.  I don’t claim to understand any of that, but it got me thinking about something — how do you bring this “light” into the world?  What would that entail exactly?  Specifically for me, what would I actually do?  Then that lead me to think of Maslow’s hierachy of needs, and thinking of it all as this web of connection, and I thought well, what would happen if I tried to bring as much of that stuff into whatever and whoever I encounter?  What would happen?  Well, that’s what I did with that class.

First off, I made it a policy that every word that came out of my mouth always built up the student, making them feel that they were more than capable of understanding the information presented.  Every word that came out of my mouth had the underlying message, “I respect you.  The others respect you.  You belong here.  You can do this.  I am here to help you.”  But this wasn’t an empty fake self-esteem.  I would give them honest evaluations of anything they turned into me, but there was one big catch — there was a huge policy of forgiveness.  Try, try, and try again.  That’s what the light did for that woman.  The light showed her the mistakes and that things could’ve been done better, but communicated to her that it’s ok to fail and that you’re still loved, accepted, and belong, regardless.  So that’s what I did.

I had the mindset of a baseball coach.  I throw the pitch, they swing and miss.  The student then goes, “Oh no, what about my grade?  I’m going to go get a B or C in this class, I’ll lose my scholarships, won’t get into the grad school I want to get into.  Everything’s in ruin!”  And I’d then tell them, “I don’t believe in grades.  I’m not even sure what a A, B, and C means.  To me, they are unreal.  But it seems there’s still something to this you’re not getting, and I know you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t want to understand this stuff.  Let’s do it again.”  Then the sun sets, everyone’s leaving, and I stay on the pitching mound, willing to throw another pitch, as long as they’re willing to swing.  And how many times did they do things over again?  As many times as I had the time to deal with it.  I have stuff to do too, but as long as they’re respecting my time and putting in effort, there were pretty much infinite do-overs.

All of this takes time.  You have to make extra time for the student.  I could’ve had the attitude, “I graded your work once.  You should’ve done better.  I’m going to spend my afternoon playing video games.”  But I didn’t.  I’d show up at the lab at weird times and tutor different students, walking them through things.

The course consisted of them working through these labs, building different types of physics experiments, learning electronics equipment, and interpreting results.  There was one student, a rather frank and open young woman, who was very agitated.  I went over to her station and she started ranting on how bad the labs were written.  I hadn’t written them, as they’ve been used for years by the department.  Once she started ranting, I could immediately see on her face that she was like, “Oh no.  This isn’t just another student, this guy is the teacher.  I shouldn’t have said that.”  But what did I do?  I showed no sign of agitation, and was completely friendly.  Did I yell at her, “Read more carefully!  Don’t be lazy!”  No.  I thought about what it was like when I was a student, before I understood all this stuff, and I sat down next to her, and then I asked her, “What is unclear?”  Then I took notes, and made it clear to her that I understood her frustration, and even appreciated her feedback.  Then I told her how the system worked within the department, but that I was going to make an effort to make the labs better and would be using the notes and feedback she gave me to do so.

The stance wasn’t, “I’m the superior, do what I say.”  It was more of a stance that we’re equals, the same sort of people living on this Earth together, and let’s figure out what’s wrong and fix it.  It didn’t matter if the lab made sense to me.  It wasn’t written for me.  It’s written for them.  How can I make it more clear to them?  Well, how could I ever figure this out?  The answer’s simple — here’s someone telling me what’s wrong with it.  It wasn’t time to bark orders, it was time to listen.

Guess what happened?  Others overheard and watched this event take place and saw, “You can express how you feel to Jason and he won’t get angry or take it out on you.”  Then the entire class was giving me all kinds of feedback on everything.  What made sense, what didn’t, which diagrams made sense to them, which didn’t, what they thought was fair, and what wasn’t.  What was familiar to them, what wasn’t.

It makes me think of this picture.

Look at that picture above.  What really struck me reading that was ‘the light of the world’.  See, there’s me on one side of the wall, and there’s the students on the other side of the wall.  You can build walls and live in your own world, or you can have real, messy, complicated relationships with people.  I’m just an ordinary nobody, with no axe to grind, and nothing to prove.  I suppose it’s painful when you’re teaching and the students aren’t learning, or you come to learn that the materials you put all this time and effort into creating are no good, etc, but you have to remember Maslow’s hierarchy.  Part of a self-actualized person is know reality as it is, not how you wish it was for your own self-esteem needs.  You don’t build walls, you tear them down.  That’s why it’s put at the top of the pyramid — you’re strong enough to accept reality as it is, not as you wish it was.  You love the world and the people in it as they are, as things really are, and you do the best with what’s really there.

If you extend the right sort of “feelers” to the students, you can form a connection with them.  Then you’ll get honest feedback.  And if you’re a kind and respectful person, most of them will treat you with the same kindness and respect.  Love is a universal language.  When you speak it, others always appreciate it.  They don’t always know how to speak it back to you though, but that’s ok.

A common reaction would be, “Well, the students are just lazy.  If they tried harder, they could understand it.  They don’t study hard enough.”  And maybe that’s true?  I can’t say.  But I had another policy — I always give the students the benefit of the doubt.  I assume they’re smart and hard-working.  I assume they’ve put some adequate time into understanding the material.  I always assume that, and treat them in that way.  Look back at Maslow’s hierarchy — people need respect.  I respect them.  As for them not knowing something, if it becomes clear to me that they’ve forgotten things we’ve covered before, I simply remind them of the lab we covered that in, pull it out, and show it to them again.  And who knows?  Maybe they didn’t understand fully understand it that first time around.  That’s my que to discuss it with them, make it clear, help them understand.  That is what I’m there for, after all.  I don’t put them down for forgetting, or make any sort of big deal about it.  In fact, I assume they’re busy with other classes and all the other things in a person’s life, so I don’t assume the world revolves around just me and what I’m doing in my course.  Also, I don’t see much point in any other reaction.  I’m being paid good money to teach them, and that’s my job – to guide them to the right information they need.  What good does, “You’re not working hard enough” do?  It just closes communication between me and the student.  They just think, “If I go to Jason for help, he’s just going to look down on me, thinking I don’t work hard enough.”  What does that accomplish?

Well, I’ll quit talking about teaching.  This principle isn’t really just about teaching — it’s literally any aspect of life where other people are involved.  There’s so much more to say about this topic.  Understanding how this “web” of love and real connection works, it’s a very powerful toolkit to have.  Not in the manipulative, controlling sense, but in the ‘making things better’ sense.

Now I’m going to pretend like I’m a guru or something.  You want great relationships with people?  Just be the same sort of light that woman saw in her near death experience.  And if that sounds sort of vague to you, I’d recommend going on the Youtube channel ‘NDE Accounts’, and watch lots of these sorts of these near death experiences and people’s encounters with the light.  That’s what I did at one point.  I watched a lot of NDE’s.  Then you just think of what that divine light would do if it came down where you are standing and was in the room, wherever you are now.  Then you just do that.  It’s not necessarily easy to do, but it’s relatively easy to understand.  I’m still in awe at how well things went.   The more you do it, it sort of becomes easier to do, because most people respond so positively to it.  That was my experience anyway.

 

Topics: Philosophy | 2 Comments »

What The War On Drugs Does To People

January 17, 2017

We oftentimes hear politicians talking about how they’re going to clean up our communities, get rid of the drugs, and that we all need to be tough on drug offenders.  This leads them to put incredibly harsh punishments on all drug offenses, even if there is no victim.  If you’re someone who feels this way, take a cold hard look at the video below.  You need to realize what you’re doing to people.

Here’s a man that used to own a construction business, even employing four other people.  He was a family man and everything someone’s supposed to be.  At some point it seems he got caught with some drugs (he doesn’t say what exactly), and he’s locked up for nearly a decade.  He finally gets out of prison and finds he has nothing.  Nobody will hire him or even rent him an apartment because he’s a convicted felon, and feeling completely shunned from society, he basically came to the conclusion “fuck society”.  He travels around with his guitar, playing in front of gas stations for a little money here and there and lives out of a tent.

For all the “tough on crime” types, is this what you want to do to people?  I can understand someone not wanting drugs in their community, but this is way beyond what any reasonable conception of justice demands.

Topics: Politics | No Comments »

Hoping Anti-War Protests Rise Again

January 10, 2017

A strange thing happened when Barack Obama was elected.  Prior to his inauguration in 2008, streets all over the United States were filled with protesters and demonstrations against wars in the Middle East, the bombings, and the drone strikes.  Remember this?

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And this?

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Or how about this?

marching_towards_the_capital_-_september_15_2007

Then Obama came into power, and strangely, even though he escalated all the wars, the bombings, and the drone strikes, the streets have been empty.  I’ve never understood why.

I really enjoyed this video. Julie is very entertaining.

Now that Trump is coming into office, I’m hoping that many will start paying attention again.  For some reason unknown to me, everyone loved Obama, though from what I saw he was just Bush on steroids.    Everyone seems to hate Trump, so maybe we’ll see the war protesters come back into action.  Protest, protest, and protest, and fight to end all these stupid wars.  I’ll be right there with you.  I’ve been sad seeing the left get caught up with rather trivial issues like bullying, safe spaces, mansplaining, and micro-aggressions, and I wish they would instead focus their energy into reforming Wall Street, the erosion of our civil liberties, and protesting all the death and destruction from these wars.

Topics: Politics | No Comments »

Don’t Follow Your Passion

November 26, 2016

Mike Rowe from the television show Dirty Jobs gives some excellent advice, “Don’t follow your passion, follow opportunity.”  It’s worth considering.

 

Topics: Personal, Philosophy | No Comments »

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