The holiday season is upon us. Traditionally this is a time for reflection on our values, both our personal values and those shared by society at large. We are also in the midst of a heated political campaign season, made divisive largely through a fearful shift throughout our culture. Because these holidays, pretty universally across religious boundaries, are focused on peace, it seems like a good time to consider some of the foundational concepts that have created the divisiveness we are experiencing. By addressing some of these, perhaps the peace we aspire to will be easier to grasp for all of us.
The topics of gun control, national security and terrorism, taxes, healthcare and climate change are issues we all agree are important to our society. Ideological divides often prevent productive conversations on these issues, largely because we, as a society, are quite uninformed about the facts underlying each issue. And our politicians frequently do not help this situation, preferring to fan the fires of discontent rather than address issues in an open and honest fashion. We, however, as cognizant and inquisitive humans, have the ability to sidestep the easy rhetoric and parroting of sound bytes in order to debate issues in a civil manner not currently reflected by many high-profile politicians and certainly not reflected by most pundits in the media. Continue reading Truth, Peace and Holiday Values
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
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.
Continue reading Panic: Very Unhealthy
This article brought up some thoughts about people choosing to either be dumb or promote ignorance in the name of greed:
In Heartland Institute Leak, a Plan to Discredit Climate Teaching – NYTimes.com.
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.