Archive for the ‘survival traits’ Category

Afraid of what we need

2017/03/06

People are expecting many changes in the near future, some are hopeful, some are fearful, and many are hoping that things will go back to the way that they were.  Trying to stop change is fruitless, because change is inevitable, and perpetual.  We can deflect it sometimes, channel it in ways that are beneficial, or slow the change down, so that we can cope with it more easily, but stopping change is impossible.

We must learn to ride the change, as a surfer rides the wave, or a kayaker rides the current.  We can draw power from change, when we direct the change in ways that benefit us.  We are constantly presented with decisions that will allow change, or deny it.  When we repeatedly deny change, our choices dwindle, until we are left with none.  The change will happen without our input, our guidance.  Knowing what is important is critical to guiding change, because we must look ahead and see what is coming.  Without a sense of where we want to go, of what we need, we are lost when suddenly confronted with a choice.

Often, people complain that they are detoured away from their objectives, diverted from their chosen path.  We must understand the difference between plans and goals.  You can plan how to reach a goal, and sacrifice everything trying to do so, or, you can keep your goals while navigating the convoluted, winding path that appears before you.  By holding on to a goal, we have guidance in our riding the flow of change.

What do we want from Trump?

2017/01/21

The United States has selected a new president, and many people are unhappy with the choice.  If this is a good president, he will delegate authority to people he believes are knowledgeable about what they are in charge of, and work with their recommendations.  He will also address the most pressing issues facing our nation, not the least of which is the question of health care.

George W. Bush was saved from dealing with the issue by the terrorists, and managed to dodge it his entire time in office.  Barrack Obama inherited a situation which was becoming intolerable.  Because health care is included in most retirement programs, and states and local governments offered retirement, these agencies were facing steadily increasing costs.  Unions and other institutions also were encountering costs which threatened their solvency.  Future health care costs are factored into costs for automobiles, as assembly line workers have retirement packages.  Companies in other countries are subsidized by national health care, so that paying for future health care is unnecessary.

Profit has been the major impediment to providing national health care, the profits the insurance companies generate.  Some people claim to be spooked by ‘socialism, but I think that society is a good thing, for the most part.  The individual has inherent worth, which cannot be measured in terms of profit.  By existing, other people make my life more possible.  We are all important, we all have moments when we do something for someone else, no matter how hard we try not to.  We are worth being taken care of when we are sick or injured.  Health care means trying to insure that everyone is able to give their all, and that they will be cared for when they have.  Individual employers should not be forced to try to create a healthcare package for their employees, they should be able to rely on national health care for that.

Will Donald Trump be able to convince the Republicans that there is more money in national health insurance than there is in our current system?  Will he nationalize the health insurance companies, and pay them off over a period of years?  What will he do with the savings that would be generated by the reductions of health care costs?   Making money off of providing insurance for health care is not very healthy.  Health care should be between you and your doctor.  A single payer system simplifies the matter tremendously, as a doctor just submits the fees to the national health care system.

When ‘I love you’ hurts

2016/11/23

during a period of conflict with my roommate, I kept repeating “I love you”.  Somehow this avoided, so far, a very threatening harassment.   Explaining that I was aware of the person’s self-rejection, frustration, and anger brought even more anger.  Finally, I admitted that this person is important to me, on a personal basis, because I value them, and what they can and have done.  Any time we are confronted with hate or anger, saying “I love you,” is the only response which is not invading their space.

This may incite more hate, more anger, because people will fear the implications of being vulnerable with others.   If we truly care about our fellow passengers on this Earth, then we should express that to each other often.  “You are important to me, because you are a fellow living being.  Your existence makes mine easier.”    By being here, you are able to respond, to take action, in the struggle of the Life Force.  We are the highest expression of that Life Force we have encountered so far, the most complex concentration of Mind and Body, matter and energy.  We can love others,  which is essential to the tribe surviving.

Our ‘tribe’ is humanity, because we are all the same on the inside.  Working together, we can overcome the challenges facing all of us.  All of our resources will be needed to make sure that the tribe survives.  Everybody is important.  Everybody has something to offer, an ability, an insight, experience, knowledge, energy, awareness, the list goes on and on.  We are all important.  I love you.

Do you feel me?

2016/09/10

Empathy is central to the evolution of our minds, a critical aspect of our species’ survival.  Empathy is the ability to understand how another person feels, by putting yourself in the position of the other mentally.  ‘Walk a mile in my shoes’ is a common way of describing the process, although few people will walk a mile in anybody’s shoes these days.

Without empathy, we feel no hurt when we hurt others, and they feel no compunction to save us  when we are in danger.  We have to see a little bit of ourselves in everyone else, so that we can fit in, and so that we can relate.  What we see in others depends on the person, and who we are, and what we want to see, but feeling like we have something in common makes it easier to share, to feel trust, to admire.

Probably we all desire for things to be better, but working towards that goal, making the compromises necessary, requires trust and sharing.  We are one people, one family, sharing this tiny speck of matter whirling through the emptiness of space.  What happens to one of us could happen to any of us.  Without each other, we are nothing, for we will be forgotten, and what we achieved lost.  We are all important enough to save, everyone of us has worth.   Empathy is what we need to succeed, empathy is how we will grow.  Do you feel me?

Sliding into Darkness

2016/04/22

Materialism leads to greed, where an individual comes to believe that they are better than everyone else, and therefore deserve the bulk of the wealth.  Acquiring more wealth becomes the goal of the greedy, even if they cannot use what they already have.  Depriving people of essential goods and services in order to maximize profits is allowed by society,  and  ignored even when society must provide those essential goods and services.

Our materialistic culture teaches us to cherish things instead of people, and lures us into sacrificing much of our time, and our health, to a job which provides no spiritual rewards, no sense of accomplishment, no pride in the work.  We accumulate the trappings of wealth, the big house, the fancy cars, the expensive toys, but they leave us feeling empty, cheated.  The stress of holding down a job eats away at us, physically and mentally, until the stress is expressed in physical ailments.  Uncertainty about the future, fear of losing what employment we have, and emotional isolation hammer at our well-being.

People are giving up, turning their backs on life, and killing themselves in steadily rising numbers.  Murder-suicide is becoming a common thing, even to the point of someone killing their own children before they kill themselves.  The Western way of life, capitalism, consumerism, materialism, is spreading across the globe, turning the focus away from the group, the tribe, the clan, and onto the individual, me, I.  Images of young people having fun are used to tempt us into accepting the materialism, embracing the greed, the lust for things.  Media, television, the Web, these are the tools that capitalism uses to ensnare us, to corrupt us.  Our society is spiraling down into darkness.  Avoiding it is the only way to stay sane.  Turn off the TV, put down the phone, and go for a walk.  Look around you, see the world the way that it really is.

Will we be forgotten?

2016/04/02

Sometimes, I think that we have gone overboard with protecting the individual at the detriment of the country.  And by individual, I am referring to the landed gentry, the .01 percent of the population, who hold nearly all of the wealth.  We subsidize their enterprises, and guard them with our military.  We refrain from taxing them the portion of their income which they cannot spend in a year, claiming that such action will prevent ‘job creation’.  By withholding their wealth from being spent on goods and services, they weigh down the economy, destroying jobs by keeping so much capital out of the market.

The group, the community, society, everybody is hurt by these individuals behavior.  They create wealth only to take it away from those who do the actual work of creation.  They claim they must make a profit on their investments, but they take every single penny.  Wages should have risen until the average wage was about $17.00 an hour.  Not the minimum wage, but the average wage.  If wages had been allowed to grow naturally, minimum wage would still be about $2.50 an hour, but no one would be working for that wage.  Labor would be valued as part of the capital of the firm, not a resource to be exploited.

Placing the individual above the community invites abuse by those who believe that they are superior to others, while threatening the long-term survival of the community.  The individual will die, but the community might survive.  If everyone contributes to that survival, instead of trying to enrich themselves at others expense.  Taking more than sustainable profit is the reason a number of major corporations have suddenly disappeared.  We have to share, or everything anyone has done is going to be forgotten, lost, gradually worn away.

 

I don’t hate me! Really.

2016/03/26

All of my life, I have hated myself.  When I was a child, I would go into destructive fits, tearing apart things that were important to me, or that I valued.  I denied myself, believing that no one would be interested in me.  I deny myself, refusing to do things that will make me feel better, or to have fun.  Most of my life, I felt that I was ugly, repulsive even.  People thought that I was aloof and stand-offish, and perhaps I was, but I was avoiding social contacts because they made me feel bad about myself.

All of these traits, these symptoms, are the result, I believe, of not receiving adequate affirmation when I was a child of 3 or 4.  Too many times, I heard “I don’t have time for that right now!” or, “Wait until later.”  For some reason, I began to believe that I was defective, broken, inferior, or even bad.  This value judgement colored every aspect of my existence, a cage I built for myself.

You see, I am convinced that there is a genetic instinct to try to be assimilated by the elders of a group, an urge to be part of the tribe.  As children, we seek behavior that reassures us that we are important, that we belong, that someone cares about us.  When someone gives you a hug, that is a powerful signal.  But when someone will take time to listen to you, or to sing a song with you, or to interact with you in some way, that is a powerful signal too.  That kind of behavior is called affirmation, and it is the signal our genetic inheritance causes us to seek out, because individuals cannot survive.

Being a part of a group is the most important survival strategy there is, the only way we can have any hope that our lives will have meaning.  If I am not part of a group, everything I have learned, everything that I have accomplished, will all disappear when I am gone.  The trail that I made will not be used, and if it is, the identity of the maker will be lost.  Even more importantly, if I am injured, or ill, I have some chance of surviving if I am part of a group.

Group membership was so important, I believe, that we are hardwired to seek out affirmation, the only feedback we can be sure of.  To a child, ‘later’ means ‘never’, because they live in the moment.  To a child, ‘later’ is a rejection, a denial.  All of the making-up done later may have no effect if the child has rejected themselves, as I did.

 

Imaginary bridges

2016/03/19

Trillions of dollars in wealth has been created in the last few decades.  Enough for every person on the planet to have a place to live, medical and dental care, and an education.  Several times over.  But this wealth is not improving the quality of life for anybody, it is for the most part chasing other money in an attempt to create more money out of nothing.  People who have billions of dollars can’t begin to spend it on goods and services, so the wealth is out of circulation, not flowing through the system anymore

There is another kind of wealth, the kind of wealth which benefits everyone, and which lasts and lasts.  My favorite example is a bridge, which spans a long, deep chasm, or canyon.  Going around takes hours, and lots of energy.  Every time that the bridge is used, the equivalent to the cost of the time and fuel is created, added to the system.  A highway allows goods and people to travel faster, with less effort.  That creates value.  A waterworks supplies clean drinking water to a city.  This prevents illness and death, which creates value.  These forms of wealth make all of us wealthy, because they benefit all of us.

Instead of investing in the future, building new bridges, roads, schools, our wealthy have been trying to accumulate even more wealth, with the sole intent of hoarding it.  They see it as a game, a pastime.  But they are sucking the life-blood out of our economy, taking all the energy, leaving none for even fixing what breaks.  The greed is destroying us.  We need to start building real bridges, fixing real roads, instead of making more funny money.

 

A new word for you

2016/02/25

Back in the 1960’s, I heard the word ‘affirmative’, which I figured out means ‘yes’.  Later, I came across the word ‘affirm’, which I learned meant to ‘support’ or ‘to agree’.  Over the course of my life, I have been involved in mental health counseling, and have done quite a bit of reading on the subject.  Thus, I was rather surprised when a new word entered the lexicon of therapy.  Especially as the word referred to the process of building someone up, of giving them reassurance, of making them feel wanted, a member of the group.

The new word was ‘affirmation.’  Until the early 1990’s , the only definition for ‘affirmation’ was ‘a legal statement,’ such as a ‘sworn affirmation.’  But scientists discovered that there is a process performed by family members, members of a group, or basically anyone who demonstrates concern and compassion for someone, a process that strengthens our self-esteem, helps us to feel more valuable, and dispels anxiety.  One of the most fundamental processes in human interactions, and no one even bothered to give it a name for decades!

Affirmation is essential for developing egos, such as those in children ages 3 to 5, when belonging is a very desired state.  Humans know instinctively that their chance of survival by themselves is almost zero, that the only way to have any hope of bringing another generation into the world means being part of a group.  How much affirmation a child receives is direct feedback on whether they are being assimilated into the group or not.  But, in modern society, there are hardly any people with time on their hands to give children affirmation.  Children need for adults to listen to them, to pay attention to them, to interact with them.  Without enough affirmation, a child can conclude that they are not wanted, that they are inferior, broken, undesirable.

The world that we live in provides most young children an environment where only one or two adults are around, and they are always busy.  A child who hears, “I don’t have time for that right now” frequently, is in danger of loss of self-esteem, self-hate, anger, depression.  There is an epidemic of low self-esteem and depression in the United States today, and I blame the break up of the extended family for most of it.  Having three or more generations living under one roof is essential to the proper development of children, I believe.   Someone has said, “It takes a village to raise a child.”  How many children are raised by villages today?

Spaceship Earth

2016/01/05

You and I and everyone else are passengers on a spaceship, one which is traveling very fast, in giant whirlpool of stars.  Many people don’t like to think about this, because it is too real, too big, too scary.  What I don’t like to think about is what happens if we screw up this spaceship.  I would feel a lot better if we could learn how to do things somewhere else other than here on Earth, so that we don’t screw up Earth.  Either that, or a back-up spaceship.