Let's just eliminate all the bullshit, shall we?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Extremism...part Three

Control. Judgment. Rigidity. Condemnation. Justification.
Self-righteousness. Absolutism. Fixed thinking. Ego. We
all have issues with these naturally occurring aspects of our
humanity. But if everyone degenerates to the lowest common
denominator, nobody wins. In taking a stand for what we find
to be a just cause, if we lose our humanity in how we treat
our 'opponents,' then we have lost sight of the bigger picture.

I can learn the most by allowing different points of view to
be heard. The minute I assume I know something to be true
beyond a shadow of a doubt, I set myself up as God because
I assume I have attained the highest understanding possible.
I assume that the answers to the world's problems are cut and
dried to begin with, and that I am intelligent enough to know
what is best.

I learn the most when I acknowledge how little I truly know.

In retrospect, I recognize that I was becoming as demanding
and intolerant as those I was fixated on fighting, and abandoning
my initial motives by virtue of becoming emotional, attack-based,
and condemning in order to 'combat equally.' Instead of making
a point, I lost my own.

It's not my job to control others. Not my universal dictate to
change people, save people, or promote my beliefs at the
expense of others' any more than I like others trying the same.
Believing oneself 'correct' doesn't excuse hubris. There are
people and feelings behind the debates. I have a friend to thank
for reminding me of what can happen if we allow ourselves to
abandon people in pursuit of principles.

We wouldn't kick a person who is physically sick because we
don't like their opinions or tactics; why would we kick or ignore
a spiritually hurting person? If our ideals don't apply to all people,
what do they really stand for?

What are we here for, in the end, if not to be compassionate
and loving to all our sisters and brothers--not simply the ones
who agree with us? I have been in a place where I could not
see the value of all people, so who am I to judge another for
being in the same place?

"When we see men of worth, we should think of
equaling them; when we see men of a contrary
character, we should turn inwards and examine
- Confucius

Extremism...part Two

Throw it ALL out; It's the 'all-or-nothing' movement!
Absolutism is dangerous thinking in the best of times and
circumstances, but this country is in a big, hot mess right now.
Pot-stirrers are the last thing we need.

Absolutism is the insistence that there are definitive 'right'
and 'wrong' answers to complex matters, and zero shades of
compromise. And if one side presents itself as right, then by
contrast any other view is wrong. All you need to do to get
blood really pumping is toss out the whole alignment with 'God'
or country angle and you're doubly golden.

But what's behind the desire to have complicity and
strict adherence to an imagined idealized standard?

Childhood trauma and lack of development.

-Imagining a simplistic, external scapegoat for complex
problems and skirting personal responsibility is revealing
of someone who suffers from social development and
arrested development issues.

-Not seeking internal resolution, blaming others, and
seeking to control the thoughts/words/actions of other
people is representative of spiritually unadvanced

-Tantrums, manipulation, lies, cries for attention, and
victimization thinking are all signs of severe emotional

There is even a sociopathic edge to the level of
detachment that these would-be controllers possess.
I sense that most are truly so caught up in their own self
(classic grandiosity and lack of compassion) that they
don't see the ills they are causing or that there are many
layers to debates and issues. A sociopathic/child persona
only sees the world as it relates to self.

Coming to understand the level of disturbance that is
clearly behind these folks has led me not only to a new
perspective on them as individuals, but also the methods
used to counter them. You can't argue with someone who
is unwilling even to hear a point. You can't impart wisdom
or understanding to someone who imagines themselves an
infallible voice of God. You're wasting time and energy.

"Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able 
to tell the difference."- Mark Twain

We're entering an arena where folks who are uncomfortable 
with a subject or a person feel compelled to control, alter,
or eliminate the object of distress. Most people seem intent 
to control circumstances outside themselves when they can't
control what's going on within. Here are some alternate
ideas for how to go about handling discomfort that doesn't 
involve legislation, overthrowing the government, or murder.
Just in case anyone gets a wild hair.

* Allowing others the freedom to be who they are, without
the need to be dismissed, demonized, or degraded.

* Recognizing that the world does not revolve around us,
and different points of view do not undermine our security.

* Seeing all people equally, and realizing that not seeing the 
value in their viewpoint doesn't mean the person has no value.

* If you put yourself in the public eye regarding volatile matters 
and people disagree with you, you aren't being victimized.

Extremism...part One

I have watched with interest as a national trend has developed;
extremist divisions in the political, religious, and cultural arenas
(and, unfortunately, who can tell the difference between the
three, and longer?)

Xenophobia is not just reserved for other nations; it's fear of all
things 'strange' or 'foreign'! It is not exclusive to the South! It is
the bottom line behind every Fox News rating point, and a new
badge of honor. 'Relentlessness' is the new 'compassion.'

Not only are the extremists pushy and ill-tempered and in need
of a good therapist; they whine when they can't get their way.
Ann Coulter, Dr. Laura, Fox anchors, proponents of Prop 8;
they stomp their feet when THEIR attempts to actively hurt people
aren't readily accepted. Let there be no opposition to my opposition!

So what's going on!?!

It's a world of juvenile mindsets and schoolyard theatrics;
with arguments the equivalent of:
*"I never heard of that; it must be bad."
*"I disagree, therefore you are wrong."
*"It isn't my experience, so it is immoral."

Is this the result of the electronic age; no more merits required...
just how convincingly abrasive and seductively hateful you can be?

There seems a movement afoot consisting of many small and
seemingly disconnected factions like the Tea Party, neo-Nazi
party, extremist conservative candidates, anti-government groups,
and others, to mandate uniformity. They seek not only to espouse
their point of view, but to eliminate the right of anyone to oppose
them. They also employ spin and lies to sway people, and to
demonize any who would oppose them.

When did everything become so either-or? What's with all the
promotion of 'false dilemma'? The extremism? The polarization?
Are we really that bored that we need to invent chaos and conflict
in the world? Or has a desire to win at all costs caused people
to lose sight of the need for restraint and respect?

There is something to be said for the psyche of someone who
needs to fervently believe that a person with a different point of
view MUST be wrong in order to preserve the integrity of their
view. What possible threat does an opposing view present?
How wildly uncomfortable with your own beliefs do you have to
be to need to eliminate other views rather than discuss them rationally
or simply ignore them?

Oh, there I go with that crazy critical thinking and exploration of
ideas again!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Free From The Herd

Even a lemming can stand out!
Walking at the park, I spied an intriguing occurrence in the wild.
Three earthlings were grouped together walking the track. The
three amigas; we'll call them Mitzi, Bitzi, and Titzi.

Just like Donald Duck's nephews, the only distinguishing characteristic
between the three was the hue of their otherwise identical garments.
The monotonous trio shared the same hairstyle, hair color, vocal pitch,
outfits, walking style, and pace. I imagine it's fair to say they also did
not realize anyone else was sharing the track.

Although humans have become accustomed to assimilation, I
question that it's a natural condition. Seems like the punctuation of a
human spirit is the contribution our individuality makes when we commune.
Why would we have sparkle and flair if we weren't meant to share?

Nonetheless, humans seem intent on cloning, branding, matching,
and gravitating to center. We are still pack animals, and as part of our
cutthroat survivalist nature there is tendency to follow the herd. But even
in a pack an animal is fundamentally alone. An individual's gut instinct
has to be relied on to battle enemies both in and out of the group.

While trained to believe there is strength in numbers, we have truly
been trained for weakness. Ultimately, we are alone. Others cannot or
will not be there for us; it is the truth we rebel against and create much
discord over. There is no drama there; it is the way of the world. We
can rely on no other besides self.  Once we embrace that beauty as
strength, not fear, we can start to blossom.

To find out the hard way that we stand alone is terrifying and strenuous,
but pain is an excellent teacher. We may have to discover it incrementally,
one relationship at a time over the years before comprehension begins.
We are trained to seek others, to employ external comforts rather than
seek internal ones. The weakness is bred into us in this society that promotes
the illusion of community.

Faced with the explosion of rage and indignance and woundedness that our
dreams of dependability and security are dead, we are left with a choice.
We may wither and die, separated from the herd, believing the lie that we
cannot survive on our own. Or we go deep, discover our innate strength of
soul, our warrior that each person has within. We can ignite that dormant flame
when we are devastated enough to be driven to do so.

You do this when you learn what we should have been taught long ago;
You are all that you have. That is a blessing, not a curse.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The More Things Change...

 (ABOVE: Dr. Laura's son, Derek, from his my space page which 
depicted child molestation, rape, torture, and other family values
before being removed. Right; their loving perfect family captured.) *

Oh, "Dr." Laura.....you crazy, hateful, nasty, common drone!

(Here's what happened, if ya don't know!)
There are some surprises about Laura Schlessinger and her
racist, nutter tirade from two days ago on her radio show:

* That anyone would think this woman has any advice worth
* That black people listen to her show in the first place since
she's known for her extreme intolerance and prejudice
* That she's still on the air or alive
* That a despicable tantrum revealing her insanity has not
been given media attention before now
* That her ridiculous apology (brought on by her PR Team,
her manager, her advertisers, her stations, and her callers)
is thought to hold water

Here's the real problem. She's a drop in the bucket...just one of
an infinite number of these right-wing evangelical conservative
nutters who wants to eliminate all things disagreed with and remake
the world over into her version of it. Or rather, the version she holds
in her head. Because she certainly doesn't practice what she preaches,
which is pretty typical for the intolerance crowd too.

Scared, smug, self-satisfied children in adults' bodies, parading
around some arm-chair moralizing and pontificating about what's
'wrong' with everyone in the world and what's 'right' with them....
only, WHOOPSIE!....they aren't really perfect  after all.....they
just desperately need for you to believe they are so they can feel
superior. Maybe it's that they really need to convince themselves.

We found out this week (SHOCK! HOLD THE PRESSES!)
that old Newt Gingrich is a big old triple  hypocrite, which of
course is no interest to his hypocritical supporters. The double
standard is invisible to them.

Laura, Newt, Rush, Mel Gibson, Ted Haggard....there is an endless
supply of people who want to make life hard for others in order
to fulfill their own dark needs or agenda. It has always been thus.
It will continue on forever. When one falls, another rises up to take
their place.

I can't celebrate the exposing of this charlatan witch doctor because
she is insignificant. She herself does not matter; perhaps that is
precisely why people like her try so hard to invent crazy horseshit to
catapult themselves into the media and make their programs popular.
"Look at me...please, look at me. Validate me. Pay attention to me."

She is representative of a larger problem issue. You can't change
hateful or crazy, but I guess the job of the rest of us is to just keep
speaking truth and countering them so that there is resistance. Maybe
someone who might otherwise be compelled to believe the insensitive
ramblings of a lunatic will be swayed not to think less of themselves,
or harm themselves. Maybe.

I have to believe there is at least that possibility.

* The significance of Dr. Laura's son having some real obvious head
issues (putting it mildly) is that she considers herself an expert on how
to do things. She has published books on how people are destroying their
kids by not raising them her way. She is a grating and critical person that
devalues everyone, yet her son turned out a sociopath and she was estranged
from her own mother for a lengthy time prior to the mother's murder. Hmm.
Clean up your side of the street...and then, if you have any time left to
be giving advice.....

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Battle to be 'Right'

When I was brought up, my Southern Baptist grandmother taught
that to show devotion to God was done through governing self. That one
had a task set before them; to do the best they could to maintain the ideals
of (her teacher) Jesus. In the nurturing comfort of Nana Grace's presence,
it always seemed such a simple concept. Going forth into the world, I've
learned it is hardly the case.

Whether it's politics, religion, spirituality, sexuality, or any other lifestyle
matter under the sun, there seems to be preoccupation with dominance.
When did we become so obsessed with being thought right? When did
there stop being a place at the table for all comers?

I never did understand the reactionary nature of certain groups. Those
who make a job out of telling others how they are wrong--empirically
and undeniably INCORRECT--for not believing as they do.  I always
sort of chalked it up to insecurity. But it's everywhere now. And I find
myself guilty of the same adamence, getting caught up in the fervor of this
'life-or-death' insistence that there is only one way to think, feel, act,
or speak.

People want the Pledge of Allegiance made mandatory. They want to
control enforcing not only that it gets said at every school and every public
event, but that every person must stand up, cross heart, and speak the
pledge! That blows my mind! What part of someone's brain thinks that
dedication to a country ostensibly made great by its freedoms should
regulate a specific belief system ?!?

Religious people continue to get involved in political movements, protests,
school boards, and other social agendas. Having an opinion is fine; here's
the rub. We have a whole section of society that expects to get things reshaped
in the way they want them.
*If you oppose them, you're immoral.
*If they don't 'win', they're being persecuted.
*If you don't defer to their thinking, something is wrong with yours.

I never knew about the biblical passages on passing legislation and
making the world into a perfect representation of our desires.

How is that even possible? There are so many different, contradictory
point of view, how on earth would it be possible to get everyone on
the same page?

For me, it comes down to personal responsibility. If I am taking charge
of myself, then I am doing fine. It isn't my job to control, change, condemn,
criticize, or confront someone else. I don't keep true to that understanding
100%, but when I do, everything is so much smoother.

Control is an illusion anyway. We can't control what happens on this
planet! I understand the desire to want to...the world is a scary, lonely,
unpredictable place. When we put the illusion of constraints and labels
and rules and regiments in place, we feel less threatened. But real life
is change and diversity and openness. Learning acceptance and being
okay with the way things are. If we are constantly dissatisfied with the
world outside of us as it presents itself, where does our need to control

As we become truly secure with our own beliefs, maturing and loving
ourselves, I think the idea of worrying about what others do lessens.
A lot of it may be learned behavior; intolerance of parents or churches
or other upbringing being channeled. But it's a dangerous course. If
we all are unalterably right, then that intimates that others are inherently
wrong, and that just sets up the day for conflict.