“It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honored by the humiliation of his fellow beings.” Mahatma Gandhi
My husband often quotes Max Hermann “If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” My father often said, “It takes a lot of different people to make a world.” I grew up with the concept that we are all similar-regardless of our race, ethnic background or financial standing. Yet, as I entered the adult realm I realized that not everyone shared my sentiment. I was saddened to see that there is discrimination, bigotry, and even hatred from one group of people to another. That is a mystery to me as well.
People argue over what language should be taught in schools, or placed in public settings. I say let’s use the language of kindness.
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Mark Twain
“There could be shadow galaxies, shadow stars, and even shadow people.” Stephen Hawking
Halloween provides permission to play with dress up, and participate in ghoulish activities. People put coffins in their yards and spread cobwebs over their bushes. Makeup is used to create an appearance of goblins, vampires and zombies. Pleasure seems to be derived from making people afraid.
Perhaps there is a need to explore the ‘other life’ that is beyond our understanding. Ask three people on the street what the ‘other life’ is like and you may very well receive three different responses. More so as the acceptance of the traditional teaching of heaven and hell has declined. (Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life/US Religious Landscape Survey showed only 59% of Americans in 2008 believed in hell while in 2001 71% believed in hell)
I applaud the exploration. While I, myself, do not like the ghoulish part of Halloween, I do enjoy the imagination of life outside of my own. So dress up, explore and wonder!
“Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.” Stephen Hawking
“Sure knowledge is based on belief and tentative belief is based on knowledge.” Joseph W. Hager
I have known a lot of people who were certain of something because they believed it be so. There are others whose uncertainty grows the more they know. Some don’t want to be bothered with the facts-the facts may compromise their ideas. Others feed off the facts. Facts do enlighten a situation. The question really is: Do we want to be enlightened? Once a fact is known, it may alter our previous opinion…therefore it may alter us.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Albert Einstein
“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.” Denis Waitley
Oh, the nebulous world of Risky. The definition depends on the day. When I was young, it didn’t seem so risky to climb a ladder, reach a little to paint in that wee corner of the wall. Today, I am older, and the days of climbing ladders has ceased. It is deemed too risky. The wall may still need painted, I just have to find a new way to get it accomplished.
As a nurse, my mind has turned into radar to detect risk. As we rehab our 200 year old home, my job is risk management. With an adventuresome, courageous and competent engineering husband I stay plenty busy in that role!
I use the sliding scale of “risk : benefit” ratio. Many activities carry some degree of risk. However, the benefit may outweigh the potential risk. Conversely, the benefit may be low and the potential risk too high. On occasion, the risk is high for me, but the benefit for mankind may be huge.
“I wondered how many was like me. Like me wanted to be free. Had thought bout leaving, but stayed for some reason. Then somethin happens. Takes you over your edge-that edge of fear not knowin what’s on that other side. Not willin to take the first step to move to some new spot. Then somethin kinda forces your foot. An you step out.” ” Leo and the Listener”, by Faye Hager
“You give loyalty, you’ll get it back. You give love, you’ll get it back.” Tommy Lasorda
Loyalty is an old word and cited by many leaders. But it is a puzzling word. Many of us have seen our parents work their whole career at the same facility only to be let go just before retirement. Apparently loyalty was not a two-way street.
Some have followed leaders blindly-being loyal. But was it from love or fear?
Whistleblowers have cropped up and consequently some unjust activities were exposed and practices corrected. The whistleblower is seen by the company as disloyal, but by the community as a brave exposer of injustice.
Perhaps we use the word loyal to promote a concept of unconditional love for someone. But even as a loving parent we have to sometimes say ‘no’ to the child.
Is it loyalty we seek or honesty and dependability that are the more supportive options?
“Everyone should be respected as an individual, but no one idolized.” Albert Einstein
“It’s a Jungle out There-disorder and confusion everywhere” Randy Newman
We live in a crazy time. Or maybe past generations have said the same thing. People hurting people. Craziness. The ‘hurt’ may take on a variety of forms, but pain is the end result. I struggle with understanding how one person can purposely harm another.
Does the harmer believe the harmed deserves it? Is harm done to display power and superiority over another?
Perhaps I should give up attempts to understand cruelty. Cruelty must come from a compromised mental capacity. But I should never give up trying to stop the hatred that fuels the harm.
“The greatest threat to compassion is the temptation to succumb to fantasies of moral superiority.” Stephen Batchelor
“The first and worst of all frauds is to cheat one’s self.” Pearl Bailey
“This above all: to thine own self be true.” William Shakespeare
These are familiar sayings that we often recall when we are making a decision. We try and find our core which we believe will speak to us and provide us guidance as to a decision.
But does our ‘core’ change? Do experiences change who we are and therefore how we might decide? We are rehabbing a 200 year old home. As we work on the house, I often wonder how the house was originally arranged. The internal walls have changed many times. Even the external walls have been altered in a few places. But the ‘core footprint’ has remained the same.
Perhaps it is that way with people. The basic core of who we are-kind, compassionate, thoughtful, truthful-remains unaltered as we journey through our lives. Yet, some have experienced hardships and become bitter, cynical, and even hateful. How does that happen? To which self are we to be true. The one pre-hardship? The innocent and naive person? Sometimes I mourn the loss of my innocence and naiveté. Or the new core honed by hardship? Honing can provide new skills-patience, perseverance and tolerance.
Truth, as we understand it, is also tricky. What we once knew-with so much certainty that lives were taken for questioning the truth (such as the world is flat, the sun revolved around the earth…many individuals were tortured who dared to question that truth of the day). As we grow, learn, and explore our life we may alter our perspective. Is that being a fraud to ourselves? or is that becoming new and fresh again?
“I am a fraud. I have cobbled together my personality from hundreds of little bits. I am simultaneously the most genuine and the most artificial person you will ever meet.” Sebastian Horsley