Tag Archive | community

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

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Defend the Free State

Recent events have conjured up thoughts about similar events of the past few years, which bring the conversation of gun control to the forefront. Each mass shooting that occurs brings the feelings of horror and fear. Horrific displays of violence that end with even a death are preventable. The sympathy for the victims and survivors in these situations is necessary and understood. The questions are overwhelming as to why any of this happened.  However, the greatest question is on the prevention of it happening.  How could we as a society avoided such unnecessary events?  How can we stop all deaths from gun violence?

The conversation has been avoided by most of the leaders as it is claimed that the time is inappropriate.  Yet, if we wait, then the moment of learning has past and all is lost in vain.  The talk of gun control needs to be held on all levels including the prevention of the societal issues that created the situation in the first place.

There is little argument that the gun is not to blame for the actions of the person. No gun will march out to a place and kill multiple people without someone to pull the trigger.  I would not say that the tool is the blame of the action, but it is the tool of the action.  Without it being in the possession of a willing individual, the matter will not happen.  Simply put, if you don’t give a carpenter a hammer to built, the house will not be built.

Guns have purpose in the hands of the wielder, so we must address the true issue of gun violence.  Two sides of this debate will forever twist and balance on the tip of the Second Amendment.  As citizens of the U.S., we all have this right as accorded in the Constitution.  Pause for a moment and read the exact words and understand the context of the words:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

These words have created debate upon debate without pause.  It has led to crucial and defining decisions in the Supreme Court which have shaped our current view from the original context.  There is no doubt that anyone can break this right down to support their view.  It is apparent in the large lobbying group, NRA, which never stops campaigning for the right to keep guns available to everyone.

However, let’s consider one point mentioned already. The wielder of the weapon is the one with the intent, and based on the environmental and societal effects on this person, it can move away from this right to bear arms among others in a well regulated militia very quickly. The Free State that requires security does need a well regulated militia that serves the people.  It is not for the individual to use as one pleases.  It is the individual right to have the weapon in the case of raise arms to protect, but the aggressor should never be defended with this right. It is purely a stance of defense.

Most news outlets and the sheep that follow along without thinking would have the populace believe that now is not the time for a discussion.  Waiting will only bring the next tragedy before the news covers it again.  This is wrong.  Shortly after President Reagan was shot and a member of his cabinet was struck in the head, a form of gun control came into the discussion and was passed into law.  It was not too early then.  When Gabby Giffords was shot in Tuscon, AZ, it was mentioned that gun control was being brought up too soon.  After the shootings in West Virginia and Aurora, we heard that it was all too soon to speak of gun control.  The victims are gone.  Families are wounded.  Lives are destroyed.  It is too late for this to be changed, but it is never too soon to wake up and fix this problem.  Regulate the guns by regulating the people who go to buy them.  The sense of the solution is bubbling over and it is time that we break through the horrific rhetoric of the media and lobbyists who cry “Too Soon!”

Enough…just fix the solution at its source before it is Too Late for someone else.  Protect the citizens by protecting the guns from aggressors.

crudus animus

A Vote of Confidence

Well, back at the keyboard to catch up on some writing and hoping to put up some solid material. The good news is that I will be back in the workforce at the first of the month. This will place a change in life after ten months of unemployment.  I am pleased with the change and look forward to the next phase of life.  Now, I am on to some conversation about the world.

Every four years, the citizens of this country file into the polls to cast their votes for the nation’s President. It is a civic duty to step into the booth and voice a choice. It is in this moment that the system brings together the majority voice. This choice is passed onto the Electoral College, which posts their choice along with the state, mostly. This system does have a built-in feature that allows the popular vote’s majority to not be the determining factor for declaring the winner.  It is something that has been revealed a few times in U.S. history.  Most recently it was seen in the 2000 election.  It was left to the Supreme Court to step in to make a decision regarding a recount in Florida.

This is a simplified explanation of how the country elects a President, yet it does demonstrate that participation in the system is still necessary.  It is worth the time that it takes to find the polls’ location and go there. It is a right that cannot be taken away from any law-abiding citizen. With that vote, a citizen continues the traditions that were purchased with blood so many years ago and is defended to this very day.  If one wants to honor all those that sacrifice themselves, voting is the best way to continue the dream of holding the foundations of the nation together. That is essential to the future where a better world can be made.

With that said, it is disappointing to see a couple of terrible matters coming to light. The first is dealing with the possible regulations, policies, and laws that have been used in various states to require U.S. citizens to acquire a new form of identification as proof of voting rights or the limiting of poll access to voters by eliminating early voting times that have accommodated large participation in the past. These forms of reduction hold a hinted partisan politics in some cases, but mostly, it is evident that particular groups have been targeted by these changes. When the explanation is given, the legislatures and governors gesture to the idea of voter fraud.  Of course, as insignificant as the number of cases of voter fraud presented nationwide, these kinds of changes are similar to bandaging a pin prick with a full body cast. Has the country come to the point where it must claw back all the rights from the state governments?

Now, as stated, the right to vote has been paid in sacrifice by the honored veterans of the country. An armed force of volunteers is used to protect our country and our interest abroad. They step into the danger of combat to give all of us the rights that we squabble about on a daily basis including the simple right to free speech. It is on this point that it must be mentioned that the Senate decided, this past week, to vote 58-40 on a bill to help support these very veterans.  It was filibustered and failed to pass.  This was not one of those entitlement programs that are slammed by voices claiming that people are dependent on the government. Have these veterans not also earned the right to be supported by the country that they defend with their lives? Yes they have and they are entitled to a repayment for their services.

Finally, a note to my audience: I am an U.S. citizen and I am born with inalienable human rights which are protected in the Constitution and its Bill of Rights. I will vote in the election to exercise these rights. I educate myself on the facts of the political arena and weigh my decisions on those facts. I do not believe that I am a victim and seek to depend on the government anymore than my fellow citizens. I depend on them to protect me for enemies.  I depend on them to provide the proper infrastructure to keep the roads and bridges built.  I depend on them to regulate businesses so that none can damage the environment and the economy because these entities are logically basing decision on the bottom line. That kind of thinking will never serve a community solely.

We are a country of communities and individuals finding a method to work to the benefit of the country as a whole and to the benefit of the individual dreams.  I depend on us to move into a better understanding of what that means as a country.  I leave it to hope that we learn it soon.

crudus animus

Why Pay Taxes?

As an individual citizen of the United States of America, I have paid taxes with each job that I have had in my adult life. I have never had a problem with the philosophy behind paying income taxes. I do believe that some alternatives might make the system work better for the government of the country or states, but I do not hesitate to pay my share of taxes. It ensures that the country will have the proper funds for all the different services the government must provide. Services like defense, infrastructure, and social programs are just a few. These programs require some form of revenue to support them for the future. It is a simple procedure that most civilized countries use to govern the society.

The arguments from both side of the debate center around one simple factor when it comes to taxes. This is my hard-earned money and I should have a say on how it is used. Now, for one side, this is a simple matter that if the taxes are lowered or eliminated, then the money will be used as the citizen wishes. This is a simplified definition, but the point is that the lack of tax revenue starves the government to the point that unwanted programs fail.

As most of these programs work as a safety net for the populace, this side wants to dissolve the net because the government is just giving money to those that have not earned it through hard work. On the surface, this seems a fair argument to those seeking to make our society about the individual.  Individualism walks hand-in-hand with the capitalism ideal that business success and wealth of the individual should benefit from lower taxes.  This ideal suggests that to raise the tax levels for the successful is a punishment of the success. In other words, this style of thinking leads leaders to remove the barriers to capitalism and its free market.

On the other side of the coin, the need for tax revenue to support the government and its proper administration is important to continuation of the country. This angle moves the eyes from the individualism to a community environment. A sense of collective resources being used for the group as a whole boils up from this side. Their ideals that the success of capitalism comes from consumerism, in turn the dependence of the free market on the people must submit to equality through regulations. In the minds of this side, the tax levels should show that the upper income levels pay a larger portion to help support the community.

Now, with all that stated in a very simple form, it would seem that the struggle could remain for years, but it is crazy to think that such a matter could stay in a cyclical pattern. Even my cynical side does not despair when I look at this. We live in a world that is moving forward with progressive thoughts and situations. A simpler way to express the two sides is to say that one side wishes to cling to a hardened status quo while the other side seeks to push our society to a dark chasm of chaos in the unknown future.  However, I don’t believe this is the future if we just open our minds to possibilities. There are so many possibilities to find constructive ways to use the riches of our society. Natural resources safely used and infrastructure projects are just a couple areas.

A spirit of community grew from the dark times of World War II. The world grew to use its wealth to venture into community building and exploration. This idea of coming together has been lost to many of my generation as we are all looking for the entitlement of individual success without helping the community. Perhaps it is time to return our thinking to those dreams of success as a community that the individual can be proud to be part of. Remove the barriers between us and return to the spirit that we are all human beings.

crudus animus

Perhaps His Shoes Won’t Fit Me.

‘If you walk a mile in another man’s shoes, you can experience the world as he does.’ There is a truth to this old quip of wisdom.  It can be a piece of wisdom that rests in the soul and helps us to understand each other without constantly being in conflict with the entire world.  This part has allowed large groups of people collect under certain ideals with a collective understanding.  For example, in the United States, each state has its own ideals, while all look to the national ideals of patriotism and democracy.  However, in each state, these national ideals hold different meanings and priorities.  It is strength to be made of so many ideas, yet the nation needs to be aware of the dangers.  A single spark could ignite the entire powder keg.

We cling to the ideas that we are able to understand another’s points of view, but our references for the experience return to the subjective points.  As hard as one might try, it is impossible to actually taste or smell as another does.  The sights and sensations are quite different for each of us.  The basis of our conscious mind to grasp these stimuli and the experience that each will bring must have a reference.  So, it is common to pull from one’s own experiences and thoughts, but one can use the gift of imagination to find the true sense.  In other words, the validity of the objective experience weakens against the subjective.

It is this very notion that we are all unique creatures placed on this planet as part of the complex system known as Nature.  Yet, with our individuality, we each try to connect with others in order to remain involved in the system.  It is this conflict of community and individuality that has returned to the surface.  In thoughtfulness of this conflict, one can draw from their lives to construct the evidence to support one side or the other.

This particular conflict has a way of opening the eyes and minds of those who are within and outside of it.  Caught in the battleground, it is difficult just to see what is around a person.  It is immediately the priority of this warrior to survive and find a way to resolve the struggle.  Each moment is another chance for that resolution.  This experience can either lead to the disillusion of the ideals held by the warrior or alter the perceptions about the other side.  The conflict has a manner of giving the individual the necessary thoughts for a new path.

A quarrel of the community can be similar in the means of survival and resolution, but the group has the ideals around which the people assemble.  As the war rumbles on into history, these groups are touched by losses and experiences given to them vicariously from members who survived.  Yet, the community holds steady to their ideals until the bitter end.  It is difficult to alter the entire group, but they can recover with deeper understanding.  The collective becomes stronger by its parts surviving with knowledge.

Back to the quip, one can see that the wisdom is attempting to construct a solid bridge between the sides.  It wants to force the self-examination while pushing the view to remain objective.  Within this context, the conflict can begin to create the third option that continues to elude our pursuit.  There remains no easy path to the answer, so the search must continue and the struggle must never stop.

With this thought, society has a way of holding true to the ideals that brought them together.  From the earliest times in our world’s history, men have found various ideals to promote in their community as well as with each individual.  Take the ideal of immortality, various myths and legends incite us with the idea that a being can be free of the natural concerns of time.  Gilgamesh sought the secrets of immortality in order to give his kingdom stability with him as its ruler.  The story follows his trials and successes, but the pursuit of this prize cost him the greatest friend that he would ever have.  His failure to achieve this goal did not fail to help his community.  They learned a valuable lesson that such quests will lead to destruction for the individual, but the community gained the knowledge.  However, Gilgamesh did achieve his prize as his name has lived on.

Essentially, there is a balance that can be found in the two sides of our world thinking with individuality and community, but both sides will have to pay the price.  In this, there is hope that the future will provide us with that third option and remove the price tag.

crudus animus

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