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: (Spidey: come into my parlour)
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi
liveonearth: (moon)
Today on MoveOn they're soliciting for signatures on a petition to make Walmart pay its workers better. Moveon says it's an outrage that Wallyworld employees have to use public services for healthcare because can't afford better. What isn't mentioned is that they spent what they had on vehicles and fuel, guns, alcohol and cigarettes, mobile phones and flatscreens. And a roof over their head.

Minimum wage is law. No company can hire you over the table for anything less. Walmart can pay minimum wage and if people apply for and accept that job, they have made a deal with that company. If they don't like it, they can quit, get another job. If there isn't another job, they can start their own business, or be useful to a family business or take care of an aging elder. They can run for office, start a protest, try and change the minimum wage. There is no shame in doing these things. The shame is in doing nothing. I just don't know how far from nothing this petition is. Having a grievance is not the same as having a solution.

When the economy contracts, families get closer. The resources that we do have get shared with those we care about. The death rate went down in the Great Depression, perhaps for this reason.

I can't get on board with political efforts to increase "jobs" because what "jobs" means is working for large corporations which will strike the best deal they can get for everything including manpower. It's the game, and winning for the 1% means never having to worry about a job. The worker never wins. The worker is a cog in a machine that cares nothing about him and will replace him the moment he begins to crack. The safety net may ease his passage a bit, but it is easy to get caught in.

To be trapped in the safety net is to lose your self respect, to become depressed, to want to die. This may be why so many white American men commit suicide. Middle-aged white guys commit suicide more than anybody else. Perhaps the veterans are driving that statistic.
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)
They spend all day in their dripping wet rainforest camp. The men stay in their tents and their sleeping bags as if they existonly only to live in them. The women do what the men are always too tired or too uninterested or too caught up in a conversation about sport or politics to be bothered doing. They work. They peel vegetables. They collect firewood. They fetch water from the river up the steep and awkward bank to the campsite. They wash dishes. They help the guides organise the camp, unpacking and packing barrels. Repairing equipment. The men reserve their energies for some future conjectural at of courage. The women's courage is of a type that endures this day of rain. Meanwhile the men get depressed. The men feel some embarrassment that women are on the same trip and doing things that really only men ought be doing. The guides prefer it. Nothing, for a river guide, is worse than an all-male trip. They are boring and lazy and inclined to foolhardiness. They are considerable work to look after. They are generally not in the same class for company. Aljaz likes sitting down with the women around the fire....
--Richard Flanagan
p154
another quote, p224: )
liveonearth: (Default)

The farther the lips are rolled in, the more intense the emotion. General McChrystal is deeply ashamed in this photo.

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