I am a guy who has a lot of interests. One of the biggest is blogging about my view of the world and the times we live in. I live a joyous life of a nuanced skeptic. I also happen to be deaf and have some rather distinctive Aspie traits. Because of my life experiences I have a pretty unique view of the world that you may find interesting, maybe even enlightening.
Prejudice is an ugly part of humanity. The ugliest is saying your enemy isn't human. He is an animal without your qualities How could it be otherwise.
Hitler did it with the Jews. Andy Jackson with Native Americans. Too many did it with people of color. They aren't human like us.
The worst is some who claim the Christian mantle. They see some human beings as not being equal to them. They don't deserve our love because they are not like us. They don't deserve our compassion because they are not human.
Jesus was dedicated to defending the defenseless. He hated bigotry and religious hypocrisy. He relentlessly called out the faithless teachings of his day. His harshest words were for those supposed religious leaders.
How about some of our religious leaders of today? What would Jesus say about some of them? Would he call them a "brood of vipers"? If he did, would it mean anything to them?
81% of white Evangelicals voted for the current president! They and their religious leaders enthusiastically support him! They turn a blind eye to his immoral actions! They are giving to Caesar what belongs to God!
One cannot be a follower of Jesus and support Trump. If you are willing to abandon the teachings of Jesus, If you turn a blind eye to his racist rhetoric, You have lost the right to call yourself Christian.
I had the privilege of touring a Great Lakes Freighter a few weeks ago. It is permanently docked at the National Museum of the Great Lakes near Toledo Ohio. I think I saw my first one in the late 1960s. Since that was when steel and autos were king of that region. There were hundreds of them on the Great Lakes bringing ore from Minnesota to the mills on Lake Michigan and Erie. They are still around but just not in the numbers they once were.
It’s hard to give you the magnitude of these ships with photos. The Col. James M. Schoonmaker is about 600 feet long and via a self-guided tour I had free reign to almost every area of the ship. I spend a lot of time in the engine room and the crew’s quarters above them. Of course the Captain’s and VIP’s quarters were in the front. 🙂
It was interesting to see the status that the head cook had in the hierarchy of the crew. He and his sous chef, so to speak, had their own quarters while the crew was four to a room. Being that I worked my way through college in a dormitory cafeteria and then many years later spent eleven years volunteering in a local soup kitchen, that area of the ship also got a lot of my attention.
Before we get too far in our study in seeking a joyous journey in our lives I think it is critical that we define the primary rule for this task.
You Alone Define What What Makes Your Joyous Journey.
Speaking as bluntly as possible, don’t look for someone else do that task for you. Even though there are billions of us occupying this planet, all of us are unique individuals. While seeking the wisdom of others is an important step in this process, it is up to you to find your own path. No one else can do that for you. What gives one person joy might just be another’s stifling life. Copying someone else’s joyful journey might be easy but it is not really fulfilling.
For some of us having a joyous life is centered around getting married and having kids. For others, it is about dedicating our lives to a particular calling. For some it is about making money, and for others it is about making a difference in this world. Joyful Journeys are in the eyes of the beholder and that is as it should and must be.
Deciding what makes a joyous journey is often not a one-time thing. Let me emphasize again, there is a difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is a shortlived whereas joy is a way of living. Joy is what gets you jumping out of bed to face each day. Major stages of life such as our education years, our employment years, and our retirement years often mean shifting gears to find a new path on your joyous journey.
The sooner you define what your joyous journey is about the sooner you will find true happiness in life. Unfortunately, most of us don’t do the work early enough in life, me included. We just “go with the flow” so to speak and rationalize that we can find joy later. In some ways I never seriously thought about what would make my life joyous until I was in the retirement years. Now don’t get me wrong, it is never too late to find your personal vision for a joyous journey, it’s just that when we put it off we are losing opportunities to fully live our lives.
In closing, you need to do the work in discovering who you are or maybe who you want to be. As long as it is not illegal or what might inhibit others from accomplishing their joyous journey, everything is no the table. If you decide you want to be a lifelong couch potato that is your right, although I would strongly advise on a more enthusiastic path. 🙂
It just struck me in the shower recently that we seem to be living in two distinctively different worlds today that are weirdly occupying the same space in time. That phenomenon is not terribly unusual in the overall scheme of things, but the intensity of it is almost freakish now. The “Us vs Them” mentality seems to have caused a VERY deep chasm between too many of us. That is what this unusually long post a about.
This phenomenon has several different faces. Let’s look at some of them.
I have been reading a lot about the political Evangelical of today’s world. All that I have read now convinces me that many in this category are deathly afraid that their world is coming to an end. They see their children defect to other beliefs, or even no beliefs at all, rather than take their parents religious beliefs on faith alone. The Millenials are known to be the least religious of any of the past several generations. Of course this has already happened in much of Europe. Those who base their lives on one of many brand of faith are now a distinct minority on that continent and if things continue as they are the same will happen to America. Faith without facts or actions ring hollow for too many of us now.
In order to keep the inevitable from happening Evangelicals have formed a bizarre relationship with a very vile narcissist who tells them what they want to hear. But in reality he would abandon them in an instant if something better came along. To me, this symbiotic relationship between a narcissist and panicked Evangelicals reminds me of the story of the anti-Christ in their very own books.
Let’s face it, white supremacy has been the story of America for much of its history. America was formed by white Europeans overrunning the existing inhabitants of our land. They justified that practice as being Manifest Destiny in that their god had declared that they were to spread from coast to coast.
The second phase of white Supremacy was based on one person owning another. Of course the owner was almost exclusively WASP while the ones enslaved were people of color. White Supremacy was very much a roadblock in the forming of our Constitution. Given that many of the most influential of the founders were slaveholders that was inevitable. It would take one hundred years to even start to change that and another one hundred years before it was even possible to make equality and justice for all a part of our destiny.
In the last fifty years things are finally starting to change and that scares many of the once powerful people in our society. They see the statistics that in the not too distant future they will lose control of being able to dictate who we are as a nation. They, like the Evangelicals above, are genuinely panicked and grabbing for any straw that helps them maintain power. They too have grabbed onto the same unstable person as their savior.
Rural vs Urban
Like White Supremacy, Rural vs Urban has been around for most of our country’s’ existence. An initial stopgap solution to one group dominating another was to create one body of our legislature that was not based on population but instead on certain regions of the country. Of course that body is the US Senate. Basically that gives rural areas of the country more voting power per person than those in urban areas. Is it fair in today’s world to make one person’s vote count more than another’s? I think not.
Rural areas are obviously in a continuous state of decay now. All you have to do to see that fact is to get off the Interstate highways during an extended road trip. You will find yourself going through ghost town after ghost town. Main street is now strewn with dilapidated building. About the only occupied building is the US Post Office. I’m sure it is very hard for those who remember a vital downtown to not be angry. They feel a steamroller has leveled their way of life and they too are clinging to an unstable narcissist for the resurrection.
On a personal side note related to this topic, up until the last year or so, I made it a point to use only State roads in my half dozen or so annual uRV trips each year. But after a few years of that I found myself getting depressed with all the abandoned towns. I was passing through. I can’t imagine having to live that daily reminder of what was once but never will be again!
Educated vs Uneducated
You could also entitle this group as “informed vs mis-informed”. If you know history you know that the French Revolution which took place not long after our’s was primarily about this topic. The serfs were determined to rid their country of all the intellectuals and they did that via the guillotine! When China decided to totally embrace Communism in the 20th century the first thing they did was to round up the intellectuals. The same thing is true for Russia. I am definitely thankful that we intellectuals are not treated likewise it my country. At least yet…
Maybe part of this problem is not really about education as is it about who holds the power. I know there is a definite disdain among rural America for those who represent us in the federal government. Too many think all of those jokers are corrupt money grabbers.
And then there is the rest of us
I hope that most of us in America see things very differently than these fringe groups above. We see our country’s diversity as a strong point in our existence instead of something to be attacked and eliminated. We see white male power finally being surrendered to something more representative of our citizens as a whole and we rejoice that fact.
Yes, we question everything but with the purpose of making our collective lives and institutions better and to discard the antiquated practices of the past. We applaud the changes happening as finally bringing our nation to a point where justice for all is something can be accomplished within a generation or two.
Each one of these groups has a very specific agenda that is very different than what most of us want to see happening to America. I have come to see that many of them are in a panic stage thinking their way of life is over! It is utterly tragic that so many people now live a life obsessed with fear.
I want to close out this post that I am not painting with a broad brush. I realize that there are many “associate” members of these groups who may be causally linked to these causes if at all.
I found this picture on a wall in Nauvoo Village in Carthage, Illinois. You history buffs out there might know that Carthage was at one time dominated by Mormons. They were rather abruptly driven out and then moved to Salt Lake City. There leader Joseph Smith died at the hands of a mob there in 1844. Ironically, the Mormans have now taken over the village once again.
But to get to the image above, Bull Durham was a “man’s smoke”. It was as strong as tobacco came during the 1960s when I started smoking. I spent a few months sucking on Bull Durhams and then moved on to milder smokes. Thank heavens it is almost 30 years now since I took my last puff. 🙂
Obviously the question in the title above is what this post is all about. Here is the definition of social media from Wikipedia. The biggies are obviouslly Facebook,Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, with many other a little further down the line.
Obviously these companies want us to believe that we need them to do almost everything essential to life itself. We HAVE to plug into their product to keep control of our lives.
Be actively related to politics
To hail a cab
To catch a bus
To understand the world.
But is any of that really true? It wasn’t but a few years ago that we had other methods of doing all those things. I know I am going to sound like an old person here but I think many of the older ways were better than using social media. Getting down to the root of this matter, maybe the more important question is do we need what these founders of social media are doing to our lives.
We don’t need:
to make increased corporate or government surveillance of our lives easier.
to make unanswerable harassment possible without consequences of the harasser.
to make stalking easier.
to pollute our democratic processes with lies and distortions found on these sites.
to be exposed to all the false anti-science garbage.
to make the “Us vs Them” divide any wider.
Maybe we need to look back at the days before these social media giants controlled so much of our lives and maybe take a step back to change things.
If we simply didn’t use the current social media outlets I’m sure others would sprout up that would change many of the con’s above. I know all these guys are currently multi-billion dollar companies who have a stranglehold on how we interact with each other in the 21st century, but that doesn’t necessarily have to the the case.
I am generally not an advocate of burning things down in order to make improvements but that seems to be about the only method that will eliminate the problems above. The $5 billion fine on Google is a start but it needs to be backed up by a strong consumer boycott to affect change in this area.
In my generation most of us got married soon after high school or at least college. But I see from the recent New Yorks Times column by Tara Parker-Pope that as usual Millennials have taken a different path, a better path in my opinion.
I don’t think that teenage hormones have changed that much in the last fifty years. I know they were surging in me in the 1960′. But it seemed my Aspie traits overwhelmed them. I just didn’t know how to even approach a female of the species during those years let alone be sexual involved with one. The hormones are still there in teenagers today, so what’s changed?
Is the secret to lasting love to take it slow? As in really, really slow?
The millennial generation is putting that theory to the test, opting for what the biological anthropologist Helen Fisher calls “slow love.” Studies show that millennials are dating less, having less sex and marrying much later than any generation before them, and a younger generation appears to be following in their footsteps.
Of course, as usual, some of the experts say that is good and others say it is bad. The naysayers say because Millennials grew up in the social media area, they lack the ability to form 0ne-0n-one relationships and are unable to be intimate or make commitments. Others say that they are putting their sex drives at bay to accomplish more important things. Being an optimist at heart, I want to believe the latter.
If you ask me thinking with your head as well as your heart about relationships and future marriage is a good thing. Keeping everything in the perspective of achieving a joyous journey is what it should be all about. Now if we can just get all those forward looking Millennials focused on voting the most vile president out of office, they just might be able to accomplish things that us Boomer couldn’t get done.