liveonearth: (Default)
I read this morning about a doctor who went mad and shot people in a hospital. As a doctor myself, I know that docs have terrible stresses trying to deal with a corrupt medical-industrial system that impairs our ability to help people regain their health. Then I went to look at the NY times article, here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/30/nyregion/bronx-hospital-shooting.html. He's richly melanated, that is to say, he has lived a life of fear because of his skin color. I infer from his violence that he may have been guilty of the accusation--sexual misconduct. He was a man, and he was angry enough to shoot others and hopeless enough to set himself on fire and shoot himself. He did not see any way out. He knew he would not receive compassion.

What people forget when they demonize any group of humans is that they are human. Dark skinned people. Doctors. Men. Gun owners. Murderers. Whatever group. All humans share the same basic needs. When those needs are not met, we have the same basic emotions. Driven hard enough, any of us could become dangerous. Hitler had reasons. The Arabs that flew airplanes into buildings had reasons. No one is pure evil, we are simply human and if tortured we can lash out, or become cunning.

My hope that that everyone who reads this will take a deep breath or three and think about the kind of pain that drives a person to such horrors. My hope is that compassion will rise in spite of the poisonous atmosphere of shame and blame that dominates our political world. We all deserve an opportunity to be free from fear, long enough to find our centers and our hearts and reach out into the world from that place. It will take a lot of us finding compassion to heal these wounds.
liveonearth: (Default)
I am a lover of what is, not because I'm a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality. We can know that reality is good just as it is, because when we argue with it, we experience tension and frustration. We don't feel natural or balanced. When we stop opposing reality, action becomes simple, fluid, kind, and fearless.
~ Byron Katie
liveonearth: (moon)
What Clinton's remark broadcasted is how little she thinks of conservatives in general. Her tone was so dismissive ("you name it") as to suggest that every xenophobe on the planet was unworthy of having skin. What she obviously doesn't understand is that we are all conservative at our roots, until these basic feelings are educated out of us, or overridden by culture.  Xenophobes are people too.

It has a lot to do with who we grow up with.  If we grow up in an educated multi-ethnic culture, then ethnicity no longer has such a charge.  But if we are acculturated in a homogenous group, we will feel more comfortable with people of our same kind.  This is the instinctive basis of xenophobia. It is reasonable to be cautious around people whose values are unknown to you, and whose behavior is not predictable.

Xenophobia can be trained in at any stage of life.  I have suffered the hate of the Navajo and Apache when living and traveling in Arizona.  I understand why they hate the white eyes, because I do too, but I personally do not deserve their bad treatment.  Still, I got the bad treatment, and now when I see a tribal member I am on guard.  The same thing has happened to me here in Portland.  I had always liked and respected every Jew I ever met. Then I was mistreated by an attending Jewish doctor who took offense at me saying the words "a Jew" because in her mind she inserted the word "dirty". That word was not in my mind until she explained to me how offensive it was for me to say "a Jew", and then threatened to flunk me, sanctioned me through the college and required that I take cultural competency training. Other Jews near to me have hurt my feelings since then, and I have developed a reaction to Jews that I did not have before, when I lived in Denver next door to the Ashkenazis and thought they were really decent folk.

In spite of all my education and knowing things, I have feelings that are influenced by what happens to me in my life. Does this make me deplorable?

Oh, and all you decent men out there who think that you are not sexist. If you were born and raised in the U.S. you are sexist. Ask any European, male or female. I am a woman. I have never made anywhere near as much money as my partner, in my opinion because he has a penis. Yesterday I drove a vehicle up to a boat inspection station on the highway and the man with the clipboard came up and started asking questions of a man who got out of the passenger door. At the gas station the attendant speaks to the men first. Men here invariably address men first when approaching a couple. This seems like a tiny offense, but compounded into the reality of daily life, a woman knows that this is still a man's world. Clinton knows it all too well. American men, including educated ones, are unconscious of this kind of sexism "lite".  There's no stoning here, but men are not aware of the degree to which they are programmed to be sexist, and should spend more time in introspection around this. I think part of the problem conservatives have with lesbians is the men have no one they can talk to.

I realize I'm making a bunch of generalizations, just like Clinton did. My point is that these base impulses are present in the vast majority of all humanity, and Americans are clearly not above it. Our culture seems to be regressing. In my lifetime I have watched our society and politics become obnoxious. Substantive debate is rare, name calling commonplace. If there is to be a conversation between opposing sides, there must first be respect. Respect is a Universal human need. People denied respect are hostile and possibly subversive.

Liberals in general need to stop denigrating conservatives and dig deep enough into themselves to understand the conservative position. Conservatives need to educate themselves to articulate their concerns and rationales clearly to others. Everyone needs to start with the assumption that the other guys are decent humans just trying to do the right thing, the best way they know how. Then the conversation can begin.
liveonearth: (flower and bird)

Action and reaction, ebb and flow,

trial and error, change - this is the rhythm of living.

Out of our over-confidence, fear;

out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope.

And out of hope, progress.

~ Bruce Fairchild Barton

liveonearth: (looks like house to me)
It is far better to grasp the universe
as it really is
than to persist in delusion,
however satisfying
and reassuring.

-Carl Sagan
liveonearth: (water_dropping)
A man who is not afraid of the sea
will soon be drowned, he said,
for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't.
But we do be afraid of the sea,
and we do only be drownded now and again.

~John Millington Synge
liveonearth: (moon)
The sophistication of truth
Posted by Seth Godin on September 30, 2014
http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2014/09/the-sophistication-of-truth.html


A common form of complexity is the sophistication of fear.

Long words when short ones will do. Fancy clothes to keep the riffraff out and to give us a costume to hide behind. Most of all, the sneer of, "you don't understand" or, "you don't know the people I know..."

"It's complicated," we say, even when it isn't.

We invent these facades because they provide safety. Safety from the unknown, from being questioned, from being called out as a fraud. These facades lead to bad writing, lousy communication and a refuge from the things we fear.

I'm more interested in the sophistication required to deliver the truth.

Simplicity.

Awareness.

Beauty.

These take fearlessness. This is, "here it is, I made this, I know you can understand it, does it work for you?"

Our work doesn't have to be obtuse to be important or brave.

Seth Godin is a writer, a speaker and an agent of change.

SOURCE
http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2014/09/the-sophistication-of-truth.html
liveonearth: (kiss kiss bang bang)
If factoids could speak, what would this one say? To me it whispers ominously: "We want to kill and not get caught" and "We are willing to give our personal info to the ATF and pay lots of money for the gadget that will let us do the deed." Silencers often cost more than the guns they quiet.

US sales of silencers went from 285,000 in 2011 to 360,000 in 2012. According to the ATF there's now a 9 month waiting period for registration approval, and applicants must provide the ATF with a photo and fingerprints, and pay a $200 tax.

The assault rifle buying binge provoked by the Newtown shooting has tapered down, and those same people are getting set up with silencers, flashlights, laser scopes, stocks, pistol grips and rail systems for attaching other accessories.

SOURCE
http://money.cnn.com/2014/04/22/news/companies/gun-silencer-sales/
liveonearth: (moon)
Cherish your doubts, for doubt is the attendant of truth.
Doubt is the key to the door of knowledge; it is the servant of discovery.
A belief which may not be questioned binds us to error, for there is incompleteness and imperfection in every belief.
Let no one fear for the truth, that doubt may consume it; for doubt is a testing of belief.
For truth, if it be truth, arises from each testing stronger, more secure.
Those that would silence doubt are filled with fear; their houses are built on shifting sands.
But those who fear not doubt, and know its use, are founded on rock.
They shall walk in the light of growing knowledge.
Therefore let us not fear doubt, but let us rejoice in its help.
It is to the wise as a staff to the blind; doubt is the attendant of truth.

--Responsive reading by Robert T. Weston in Singing the Living Tradition
liveonearth: (hand)
Incantation used to bring the Geni from the bottle
in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad:

From the land beyond, beyond
From the world past hope and fear
I bid you Geni, now appear..



--Ray Harryhausen ?
(thanks to ML)
liveonearth: (gorilla thoughtful)
Happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, disgust and anger. I have to admit, I have seen all these emotions on the faces of nonhuman primates, and some other mammals as well. Can you name another emotion? Or ten more? And do they break down to just this six??

What I thought of:
Jealousy. Is anger and fear and sadness.
Ecstasy. Is happiness and surprise.
Boredom. Is disgust and sadness. Or not an emotion, but rather a state of disinterest, a lack of focus or flow.
Confusion. Is not an emotion? Is a cognitive state of uncomprehending.

Maybe?
liveonearth: (moon)
It sounds cruel, but survivors laugh and play, and even in the most horrible situations--perhaps especially in those situations--they continue to laugh and play. To deal with reality you first much recognize it as such...and play puts a person in touch with his environment, while laughter makes the feeling of being threatened manageable.

...Laughter stimulates the left prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that helps us to feel good and be motivated. That stimulation alleviates anxiety and frustration. There is evidence that laughter can send chemical signals to actively inhibit the firing of nerves in the amygdala, thereby dampening fear. Laughter, then, can help temper negative emotions.


Laurence Gonzales in Deep Survival, page 41.
liveonearth: (ferocious kitten)
Do not fear mistakes,
there are none.

--Miles Davis
liveonearth: (bipolar_express)
Bruises fade and skin heals, but the mind remembers. Physical punishment is still prevalent among US families. This study found the prevalence of physical punishment without "more severe child maltreatment" was 5.9%. Boys get physically punished more than girls, 59.4% to 40.6%. Blacks get beat more than whites. Asians and Pacific Islanders (including native Hawaiians) were the least likely to get whupped by their own parents.

The harsher the physical (or emotional) punishment was, the higher the odds of an axis I or II diagnosis. Axis I diagnoses include major depression, dysthymia, mania, mood disorders, phobias, anxiety disorders, and drug and alcohol abuse or dependence. Axis II diagnoses include several individual personality disorders and cluster A and B disorder diagnoses. The researchers concluded that 2-7% of all mental disease is attributable to childhood abuse.

SOURCE
http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/767353?src=cmemp
the stats )
liveonearth: (Montana Mountains)
May your trails be crooked, winding,
lonesome, dangerous,
leading to the most amazing view.
May your mountains rise
into and above the clouds.

~Edward Abbey
liveonearth: (Default)
Empathy is the Antidote to Shame.

This one has been recommended to me three times in as many days. And I see why.
liveonearth: (Default)
I am always doing that which I cannot do,
in order that I may learn how to do it.

--Pablo Picasso
liveonearth: (Default)
Why People Secretly Fear Creative Ideas
Why creative ideas are often rejected in favour of conformity and uniformity.
http://www.spring.org.uk/2011/12/why-people-secretly-fear-creative-ideas.php
by Jeremy Dean who is currently a researcher at University College London, working towards a PhD, having previously completed an MSc in Research Methods in Psychology at the same institution. Before that he obtained a Graduate Diploma in Psychology. His first degree was in Law and before studying psychology he had a career in the internet industry.
text )
liveonearth: (critter)
http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_wilkinson.html

This is the latest Ted Talk to cross my viewscreen.  It's Richard Wilkinson, speaking about the differences between societies with wide vs narrow differences between the highest and lowest income groups.  The finding is intuitive, but the specific data that he pulls together, and the way he makes sense of it, is very interesting.  At the end of brings it all together with some science about stress.  According to him, the stressors that cause the greatest increase in cortisol are "social evaluative threats" to one's esteem or status.  In other words, "people are sensitive to being looked down on".  In societies where there is greater equality, there is less stress, hence explaining the increased longevity, health and peace that is seen in those societies.  Of course, the US rates only second to Singapore in his scaling of wealth disparity, with Japan and Sweden at the other end of the scale.  Anyway, it's worth seeing for yourself, if you have the 15 minutes.

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