People talk about luck all the time. Good luck that this happened, bad luck that that happened. It is spoken of as if “luck” is an actual thing, with a consciousness or purpose. Yet, rationally, we should all understand that luck does not exist. There is “chance.” There are “odds.” But there is no such thing as luck outside of an emotional response to fortune (or lack of it). That is to say, one might feel fortunate if, for instance, one were to be diagnosed with a chronic disease early enough to do something to stem the tide, or live in a country where the survival rates are generally above 50 percent and increasing rather than decreasing.
Of course, there are those who would be in a wealthy country with cutting edge healthcare and an early diagnosis who would still only see their personal misfortune with such a diagnosis. But this isn’t about those pathetically myopic individuals, this is about the reason we should be glad we don’t live in India. And if you happen to be reading this from within the borders of India, my apologies, but hopefully you are a politically motivated activist with the means to make your voice heard. Continue reading When Being Unfortunate is Good Fortune→
I had a few other titles for this post sliding around in my brain. After getting up and down to move the cat out of my daughter’s bedroom a few times, this is the only one that had stuck, so I’m going to go with it in spite of the cheesy wordplay. Partly, that is because it is also an accurate summation of my perspective.
Today is November 7th, 2014. It’s a Friday. And it is a good day.
Yesterday, after three-odd months of waiting and questions and test after test, I finally received a diagnosis from my doctor regarding why I haven’t been feeling precisely top-drawer recently. It turns out that, in general terms, I have Stage 4 Lung Cancer. More specifically, I have Adenocarcinoma, which is a non-small cell form of lung cancer, and it has spread from the 3 odd centimeter mass in my left lung to a few lymph nodes and eventually down to my hip bone. And I am so thankful to have this diagnosis. Not because I am pleased to “have cancer,” which would be kind of perverse, but because now I know what I am dealing with and I can get on with it. Continue reading Negativity is Positively Not in Your Best Interest→
I love Yogi tea, and that can be an actual endorsement. It is good tea. But their little tags with “wise” little quotes can be ludicrous. Take the one I encountered this morning: “True understanding can only be found through compassion.” Really? So you can only encounter something by first engaging with itself? Or what? When you
realize that compassion MEANS the attempt to understand, not only does it become clear that the quote lacks any substance whatsoever, but that it is also backwards. And this is indicative of cheap wisdom, the intent of which is never to actually encourage thought, but rather to encourage passive acceptance. It becomes insidious when applied toward broader social aims, and is a tactic routinely used in politics as well as commercial advertising. Continue reading Cheap Wisdom: Not Worth Anything.→
Fear mongering, as you should know by now, is one of the top ways that people or corporations get you to buy. This is true politically as well as economically, so it is always worth reminding ourselves that panic is a reaction that circumvents intellect. Sometimes it is certainly warranted, but (hopefully) not often. So, when being approached with an idea or a product that is presented from a fear-based perspective, always think twice and look closely.
Here is an interesting example that I came across online: Survival Joe’s Newsletter. It even comes with one of those handy newfangled barcode links for those of you who have a free smartphone in your hand as you read this.
The part that made me angry, actually, isn’t that there are people out there actually foolish enough to believe the message this group is spreading. Nor is it the fact that certain interests might finance their mission, which is at this point something I have sadly accepted as inevitable. What makes me angry is the willful attempt to disrupt the education of our children and fill their heads with what is at best confusing claptrap, at worst outright lies. Taking hundreds of thousands of private dollars and targeting that money toward a misinformation curriculum when our nation’s schools are already struggling so much because of political maneuvering and posturing and kowtowing is an unforgivable transgression against our society and the coming generations.