Archive | February 2013

Have a Taste of the Big Picture

With a moment of peace, a person can learn to reflect solely on the world, the events of the present, and the emotions around each incident.  If each of us took a step back to observe this exercise on a daily basis, it may lead us to understand a little more of the world and our place in the big picture.

This big picture can cause confusion in a person if they are not used to it or have never encountered it. We each are often left in the small, subjective corner of the world for so long that we forget that we are part of something bigger and broader.  A taste of the macrocosm can often give us a larger understanding, but it can overwhelm the senses during the first few times. Normal conditioning leads the average person to accept their place in the large machine and never look beyond the immediate area.  It is our territory and it is all that matters.

Such thinking can stunt the experiences of the individual and hamper the community.  As stated many times before, the liberality and cognizance of minds is crucial, and it is very important to remember that stepping to the side to observe the bigger picture widens the eyes.  From that small step, we grow as individuals in many ways.  Not just the break from the routine and stable life, learning creates the bridge to wisdom from experience.  It is easy to sit back and second-guess another’s decisions, but it is a true source of wisdom to speak from one who has learned through experience.

What is the true reason to understanding through the objectivity of our society’s big picture?  It is a simple act that we are greater when we move has a single entity. A nation focused on the problems can quickly shape the future with results.  In the 1950s, Eisenhower proposed an interstate highway system for the U.S.  It was mostly due to his experiences as a military leader when he learned that moving troops across the country was slowed by the lack of infrastructure.  As President, he gave the country one of the greatest infrastructure project and it was a key factor to the growth of the country at the time.

The nation moved as a community and shoved all the politics to the side.  We began to grow out of our ignorance and intolerance.  Our eyes were on the horizon and we eagerly wanted to shape the future to our liking. The sixties shaped our civil discourse in such a way that we soon begged to have more and more to do.  We lifted our eyes even higher and planted a flag on the moon’s surface.  We were unstoppable.

However, current feel of the country has lost that simple view of the world. It leaves most with their eyes lowered back to the sidewalk.  No horizon is seen.  The moon and beyond are all but forgotten.  The hint that we are on the edge of Armageddon occupies our minds.  Some even suggest that we would be better off with a global event leaving us without the things we have accomplished.  The philosophy has been created to forget fixing the problems or stopping other issues in favor of plan for the end of the world.  Neglect is the result of those that expect to see the end.  To these, there is no method or drive to fixing the world; there is no understanding in the macrocosm of the national and global scene.

For some, the question is why fix or clean it up because the end will come soon?  Why waste time, energy, and money fixing or preventing the problems?  So, if that is the thinking, then why waste time, energy, and money wiping your backside?  It will only be dirty again soon. No, it is time to take a few steps to return our minds to the gifts and resources that this world has provide rather than idly waiting for this world to be destroyed.  There is no reason to leave this world as a trash heap.  Be proud of it and make it better for those to follow.

crudus animus

A Touch of Compassion

In many ways, the overarching culture of consumerism in the US has created a horrific effect on the mindset of its citizens.  The daily need for each person to venture out into the market place and consume whatever passes before their eyes roots itself into the subtle philosophy guiding our society’s thinking.  That thinking begins to shape public opinion and policies to guide our community.  One such way is that the market should be free of any regulations or hindrances.  Another is the belief that all things including necessities like food and shelter should be earned through hard labor, even if it is for less than minimal pay.

Allow me to explain. We are growing divided by the feelings that each of us collects a salary and it is ours to hoard and spend as a reward.  The overlords have given the scraps off their tables and the underlings must scramble for the small rewards.  The rewards are immediately returned to the overlords to pay the bills and necessities.  As the underlings gain years of experience, some have the ability to hold back a part of their rewards in a nest egg.  These older underlings are able to see the brilliance from the world of the overlords, and, in turn, they do not feel the need to help or encourage the other underlings around them.  Instead, they like to speak of how this is their reward and they believe that others should work for their own.  The divisions grow and the populace is left distracted from the real problems.  It is just as the overlords want and they are happy to remain above the fray.

Today, I heard the most outrageous thing.  While discussing with a person about the obstacles of hiring qualified employees for the positions available, I mentioned something about the requirements of unemployment benefits.  It was a point that in order to receive the benefits that the person has to make efforts to acquire a job.  This means applications must be submitted several times during the week, which leads to many applicants that are not qualified for the positions. Yet, they are applying to fulfill the requirements of unemployment benefits.  This seemed to be a statement of fact and not political view. Unfortunately, it was not taken that way.

I knew that it was a conversation that I did not want to enter, but I felt that it was necessary.  The other person, a very staunch conservative, suggested that to fix this situation our government needed to simply remove the benefits of unemployment and other aid such as nutritional and monetary forms.  This would give the individuals two choices: find a job or turn to crime.  If they chose the path of crime, they were responsible.

I pointed to prisons being overwhelmed already and such a solution would increase the overpopulation and burden on the state.  The response was simply that those populations could be lowered with executions of prisoners within three days.  Now, giving the other person the benefit of the doubt, I did not assume that shoplifting for food would be a crime punishable by death, but this was my first experience with the hardcore belief where the solution was removing the social safety net as the right path.

So, I took myself out of the discussion and moved on.  There was no way that the workplace was the setting for entering a verbal debate over the irresponsible solution of someone claiming that others should be responsible for their own needs or become criminals.  I realize that the harsh conditions of the last few years have put a hard line between people, but to actually witness the inhumanity of this person’s solution was quite hard to stomach.

Since that moment, I have taken the opportunity to examine the details of the situations around me.  Often, I have wondered if we have not all lost our way in the very beliefs of our Western philosophies.  The struggle of the less fortunate to collect the small, sometimes less-than-the-minimum-to-live-on rewards holds the compassionate mind in complete shock. The pure selfishness of the very fortunate who have accepted their positions, which are often gained by privileged and opportune circumstances, engrossed with the idea that hard work was the key to success.  It is this simple fiction that spreads like propaganda to the less fortunate with the promise that they will one day taste the sweet success.  Those believing in this are forced to support the upper class and turn on their colleagues among the lower class.  Unfortunately, this is the very reason that the feudal systems of medieval times created a horrendous environment for progression of society.  We are sinking back into those terrible fashions and we must stop.

With all of this, I am brought back to a single thought.  As I view the writings of the New Testament to be a message of a philosopher and teacher, I turn those that believe that a society should not lift up the lower classes and poor to the words of that text.  Time and time again, the message brought by the sayings of this messenger is one of care and compassion for your neighbor.  The care of a fellow person is far more rewarding to the person and the world around than to reject such a need to someone.  I may not hold to the dogma and doctrine of the modern churches, but I feel that we are in a perfect situation to change this world for the better by simply showing compassion for those around us.

I know that this is starting to reveal itself in the recent debates in the US over immigration reform.  As aware as I am of the political reasons for this, it is good to see that finally we may be turning our eyes to the compassionate spirit within all of us.

crudus animus

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