Have I lost my innocence? I once thought and believed with all my soul that United States of America was the greatest country on this planet. We had spirit and tradition that drew us together like no other force. We created patriotism and national pride without the heavy weight of forcing the citizenry to follow along. It was the deep faith in the dream of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that pulled us through the wars and hardships. We nearly divided over those same thoughts until someone used the duct tape of the Constitution to hold us together. We are US citizens and we need to remember the core values that hold us together.
It is not some ideological, partisan fife that we should be marching to. It is the simple faith that we are Americans. No force in the universe can shatter that belief if we remember to hold strong to it. Just because we have our differences on opinion, lifestyles, or public policies, it is not reason to break the bonds of brotherhood that brought this great nation together. We fought tyranny in the form of a monarchy to become free of such concepts. We fought each other to understand the very soul of humanity that we represent. We fought the harsh realities of intolerance and ignorance to keep a single regime from wiping out an entire group of people for being different. We have become the very ideal of freedom that some fundamentalists would hope to destroy from within and without. There is little reason to allow that enemy to win.
Old fashion traditions have held us together for so long. We are a divided people because of our very nature, which comes from the forefathers. We were divided on the ideals of our society then, but we came together to compromise to the middle and make a nation that I respect and honor with my actions everyday. We should not let the politics and harsh rhetoric pull us apart and keep us apart. We elect a leader to hold us under a single voice for one branch, but we hold that person in check with an assembly in the other branches. It does little good to pout and kick our feet when it does not go our way. We are not spoiled children. We are American citizens and honorable adults. Let’s start acting that way.
One last thought and I will let this go. Most feel that the arts and entertainment of our culture has corrupting elements. Tones and topics which are inappropriate for young children can be found in examples, but there are wide sweeping themes that inspire new visions and arts for the future. I understand that it is important to protect the young minds so that traditions and ideals can be passed on, but think about something for me. When in a crisis or disaster, who is it that we turn to as a society? As a whole, who are we going to embrace to get us through those tough times? I find that it is the irony of the ages that the one thing that holds us true to our course is the very thing that never escaped Pandora’s Box. It is the very thing that settles into our soul and protects us from our own worries and despairs. In an essence, Tolkien and, in his own way, Joss Whedon direct our understanding of the human nature through the entity of Hope. It is shared in the definition that life without hope is despair. If we despair, we become nothing but the cruel, twisted life forms that seek only to consume others and their brains. In other words, hope is our foundation and refuge. Don’t waste it with removing it from our world.
So, have I lost my innocence? NO. I seek the future that has not been written and aim to write my own. I dwell on the very essence that we are all humans with a wide variety of differences. In these differences, there is hope that we will never despair and remain the unshakable force that we all hope to be.
By the way, go and vote tomorrow. There is little reason not to. Some feel that it is pointless, but they are the ones that despair. Nothing is written. Hope can change who we are. Find your liberality and cognizance to avoid being a zombie!
For many years, I have been convinced that there is truly no one qualified on this planet to pass moral judgment over another. We try to find a method to decide a judgment for a crime. As a society, we do have a sense of justice that separates itself from the intense feeling of vengeance. The harmony brought to the soul comes from the justice that is met, but it needs to be placed in a set of guidelines. Our society has developed the jurisprudence system to help provide this.
It is something that has been passed to us through some of the more democratic civilizations. At the conclusion of the Greek drama trilogy, Oresteia, by Aeschylus, Athena comes to act as judge over the matricidal actions of Orestes. It is within this context that ends the curse of the House of Arteus and initiates the metamorphosis of the Erinyes, spirits of vengeance, into the Semnai, spirits of justice. This is an example of how the ideals of being judged by one’s peers become important.
It was this story that inspired a great deal of understanding in the Ancient Greek civilization, mostly the documented Athenian culture. I was fascinated with the mythology being drawn into the play and setting the backdrop of a legal procedure. To me, it helped to strengthen my own convictions and further convince me that justice can only be found from the impartial. However, I believe that to find impartiality in our world is growing impossible.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not being cynical in this. I state this to bring the idea of revenge and justice back into the discussion. To forget the roots of our jurisprudence cripples its purpose. This brings me to the point that we are in the midst of great confusion and conflict in our society. Polarizing factors of politics, religion, or any area of great debate pull us to a side that might embroil us in emotions of vengeance rather than rational based justice. Athena brings calm to the Erinyes, so they will come to embody justice.
As to convictions, we are all very strong in certain areas. A touch of the world is hard to keep from our lives as we journey through, but one thing that does not fade from us is the strength of our convictions. In this, my definition of conviction is the sum of our passions, logic, and morals. Usually, these convictions are based on experiences that convince us that something fits into our world. For example, if one grows from a frugal household with little money or resources, a conviction against waste dwells in the heart of that person. Another person may have been a victim of a childhood bully. A conviction of helping to empower others develops in the person.
We are creatures of great emotions that fuel our passions. We are also capable of great leaps of logic to solve the problems that we face. It is through our principled conviction that we find the path through life. Let’s all take a moment to examine our world, but remember that as individuals we are capable of making decisions that are best for our well-being in life. Having an open mind brings into view the best solution for any problem. To make a decision or law based on a sweeping belief can help set guidelines, but it should never become the only solution to the proper.
I have often spoken on the very words of liberality and cognizance as part of my conviction. I truly believe that we are capable of holding true to our convictions while keeping our eyes open to understanding the situation in context. There is no need to have ignorance and intolerance rule every situation. We are better than that and must struggle to remain so.
The season of politics is upon us. If one is not careful, a person can end up with a cruel, twisted sense of the entire system. Of course, I am often convinced that with each election season that a cynical side of me believes that is the point. I am not one for trying to sway the masses to my way of thinking or convincing anyone that they must agree with me on the issues. However, I am starting to believe with more and more of my soul that the issues are a distraction from the true point of it all.
Let me explain what brings me to these thoughts. My spouse wanted to get a copy of the new release: Hunger Games. I have not read the trilogy, but the rest of the family has. So, I read the quick synopsis on the back of the movie and took a dive. At first, it was something that I would relate to the gladiatorial games of my beloved study in Ancient Rome. Huge gatherings of competitors with one purpose: please the crowd. For those that have not read the books or seen the movie, I will not be dropping any spoilers. This is just a support to my point. Those with power will do all they can to secure the attention of the masses with something entertaining that keeps them from thoughts of rebellion.
This is actually, at its core, a common theme in many myths and legends. Cultures have provided examples of the authority keeping the common people happy and busy so they don’t recognize what is going on behind the screens. The ancient Greek city-states were often ruled by a democracy, but powerful citizens would rise to the stations of power and illegally seize control of the city. They were labeled a tyrant. Of course, a tyrant held power because it was given and because he would keep the common citizens too busy to realize what he was doing. Most of these tyrants would be responsible for great public projects.
For the Romans, the practice of distracting the masses with games and contests was actually something that evolved from their funeral processions. The gladiatorial games were inherited from their Etruscan roots, which held such events as part of funeral events. The Etruscan monarchy was overthrown and became the Roman Republic, but the games did not fade. The senate loved to present games as part of a celebration to distract the common citizen. By the time of Julius Caesar, this practice was an art form. Public games and bribes were passed out to the citizenry. Of course, the emperors found a way to step it up and use prisoners as part of the main events. Nothing gains support from the public faster than a few days off work and extra money for doing absolutely nothing.
So, one of the basic premises of the Hunger Games is this distraction. Others have commented on it with films like The Running Man. Once the public is hooked, it is like passing out candy. They will never stop coming back for more. Why do you think reality shows are popular? Survivor essentially allows a group of people to use all the selfish skills of the human being and promote it for general consumption. Just look what people will do for a simple amount of money and fame. It is a sad state.
This leads me back to the election season. Pretty colors and loud conventions that are made for television may be the best way to get the message out, but beware that you are not pulled into the distraction and miss the real meat of the discussion. Vote on an educated position and not some constructed reality show of pundits and politicians. Avoid the intolerance and ignorance. Embrace the liberality and cognizance.
I have spent the last few days enjoying a little time with my family. The teenagers are starting to find more and more freedom until they will be eventually on their own. That is a few years from now, but I like to think that we are getting the message across as to what is important and where their values will be. In a way, I am quite please with them and do not really look forward to losing them to the world. I like to tease that I have plans for their rooms, but I will miss them more than I like to admit.
This brings me to a simple thought on the idea of family. As people on the planet Earth, we are filled with the many standards of what defines a family and what it means. Of course, the structure is usually built around a foundation of two people. They are the root of the family setting. In days past, the acceptable family was a father and mother who each saw to different duties in the house. The father played the part of the bread winner, while the mother saw to the home and childcare as necessary. This status quo family has been evolving in the recent fashion as our progressive society looks to find more and more freedoms that fit into the lifestyles of individuals.
I have been very fascinated by one side feeling a threat to the ideal family values being posed by people who have non-traditional lifestyles. I use such phrasing to make it understandable that this is the mainstream view of society, but I am a strong believer that we are each responsible for our lives. Our open minds will learn from past mistakes. My question is the redefining of family settings. We can no longer turn to the cookie-cutter family with a father and mother who fill roles. Do we have a need to restructure our family values to understand more of the world and those from different backgrounds?
The answer is simple. We need to break this oppressive status quo in all areas especially the family unit. Its purpose is to prepare children for their lives in the world and ready them with the foundations of beliefs that are their choice. Traditions and customs are part of the molding, but we must leave them open to the liberality and cognizance of their minds. This is not something that only a husband and wife can teach. It is something that should be ideal for any married couple, single parent, or same-sex couple. Establishing this core value is the family value that I endorse and encourage in my family. It has opened my children to extraordinary events and insights into the world around them.
For some, this might be old news, but for me, this has been a great turn in comparison to my own upbringing. I believe that this is the reason that I often fight for the ideals of a progressive thought style. It is very exciting to have each of my children grow into adults who will be able to make solid judgments that are not filled with the heavy baggage that often closes the mind to new ways of thinking. I can honestly say that they are becoming free of intolerance and ignorance.
With that said, I believe that we all should take time to reevaluate ourselves and remember that we are all still from the same family…the human race. Allow evolution to proceed and crawl from the bog of archaic ways that suffocate our minds. Open it up and fill it with what is needed to make the world better.
One more to go and I will be hitting a goal that I set long ago. My fiftieth post is on its way.
The mysteries of our world’s history can easily pull anyone into the topic. Each country or culture has a story or legend about some mysterious event or person. Around the stronger and long-lived mysteries, the legendary histories become part of our myths and slow become something beyond any evidence that is presented. The Western civilizations presented stories of great sky gods that came forth and conquered the chthonic powers. Mostly, it was an assertion of a patriarchal system over the primitive notions of a matriarchal belief.
Each culture that comes into existence finds a way to explain the core principles of the society through legends and mysteries. Native Americans have a long tradition of legends that they pass along in the oral traditions. This method has a tendency to alter some of the details, but the firm core of these principles is locked in place. It is the character of the culture and how we outsiders relate to them as a group or as individuals. A group of people are the sum of all their parts.
It is from this topic of mysteries and legends that the idea of cultural stereotypes is pulled. In the U.S., each state has its own customs, protocols, and traditions. The country as a whole has its customary reputation to the world and the viewed traditions. At the local community level, the structure becomes even more constricted to a view. Yet, we are all individuals who seek to stand out in the crowd. We are also all human beings.
Given all this, it is quite curious that we instantly have a stereotype in our head. I am sure that this is true in many countries around the world. One town down the road may have had a foolish person perform some unwise act and since we don’t take the next step to learn about the rest of the community, we immediately assume that all the members of the community have the same mindset. That town is full of fools and should be avoided.
No one can claim complete innocence to this reaction because we all have a tendency to categorize other groups without learning who they really are. Not even this author can claim complete innocence. However, we are capable of learning that this may come naturally from our experience or environment; it is not something that must become the judgment of our interaction with a group or person based on this response. We look to the soul of the person and learn about them.
It should be considered that all this that it is the mark of a great person who can overcome the instinctive response and control how they act. It is a greater mark for one who can create a true habit from this control. Human beings have reached a level of sentience that gives us the ability to think before we leap.
It is within all human beings to seek the answers of the mysteries and legends. The stories are not always factual, but they do have a gleaming core of knowledge hiding in the tale. It is essential that the decisions that are made and the instincts that are adjusted are based on the background of the person or group. Ignorance and intolerance will eagerly appear and fog the mind. Become a pupil of cognizance and liberality.
Remember, no matter our background, genetic makeup, or legends, we are all human beings with all these gifts. No need to be lazy and not learn about the other person.
Recently, the Secretary of State for the great state of Arizona decided to put forth a request, which he states is a wish of his constituents, for the president to prove that he is a natural born citizen. It was only a year ago that Jan Brewer, Governor of Arizona, vetoed a bill that came to her desk with this same language. That bill and this request have wording that explains that without this prove or other forms that will prove his citizenship he will not appear on the ballot in the state of Arizona. As the chief elections official, this man has the power to put this forth. If he succeeds, the residents of Arizona will likely be unable to vote in favor of the incumbent President in November.
This was reported in the news on a Friday. It was done on a Friday so that it would be lost in the weekend news and no one would notice. A common tactic used by those that wish to give bad news or bad ideas a chance to slip by the public eye. It also seems that this guy is attempting to push the governor a little as they will be rivals in 2014 for the governorship. All in all, this action places an unnecessary situation on the state of Arizona.
First, let me say that the idea the President has been able to gain public office on several levels without any red flags raised on his citizenship is crazy. These Birther conspiracies hold about as much water as a bucket with holes. The bureaucratic system would have found some discrepancy long before he was elected Senator of Illinois. It is incredible that this matter continues to surface after so many attempts have been made to quash it. I am pretty sure that in my experience it is difficult for anyone to get a social security card or driver’s license without a legal birth certificate. I also don’t believe that he or his mother would have been in a position to influence anyone to forge such documents. It is outrageous and pointless to continue the debate.
So, why do I bring this up if my mind is already set? Couple things come to my thoughts. First, we need to see past our “Pavlovian Conditioning” when it comes to the media. Most of us have the understanding that if you have the media throwing a flashing graphic at us as if they may have something important to say. However, we would do well to ponder what they are really attempting to do with all of these flashing, brightly-colored words and attention-gaining sound effects.
In the age of the 24 hour news cycle, it takes some extraordinary measures to pull our attention to a specific news story. The news channels have found great success with the response that the masses give when it comes to the effects. Yet, when we look, it is often a repeated story or a story that is filler. The repeats can be seen as important to those that might have missed it earlier in the day, but it has lost its significance in the redundancy. As for the filler, in a world of channels that produce 24 hours of news, they have to keep the eyes on them at all times. It is the same as a man crying fire in the theater. After a while, no one will be paying attention when there is an important story that does affect us.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that all this is terrible, but it has made some of us hesitant to look up from what we are focused on. A second thought comes to the front. Are we being manipulated with these methods? Are we being dulled by the constant bombardment of news stories that hold little importance so that the essential news is buried? We are left ignorant of the truth because we cannot see the trees for the forest. The fog of news does not allow us to see what is on the road before us. If we are ignorant of the facts or the truth of a story, then we are likely to become intolerant of other news that contradicts. It is our civic duty to see beyond the headlines and flashing graphics. To have an opinion, we all need to seek what is lying behind the stories and confirm the reports.
It is our way to become more cognizant and hold more liberality. Do not let the media mislead with their methods. Use the media as any scholar might. Find many sources to compare and confirm their words so that you can have an educated opinion. Better to have that than to just spill out the talking points of a single source. Become a more informed citizen or we might end up without the very rights that our people has fought and died for.
Let’s begin with a simple fact. We are creatures that develop by experiences. It is not the only way, but without some interaction with the world around us, we are unable learn enough to become a productive member of society. As an individual, you will be stunted in personal growth or stalled in reaching goals that will direct you toward a possible fulfillment of your potential. As a group of people, we will become isolated from the outside world, which leads to an intolerance of others and an ignorance of their ways. This makes the interaction an important key to our development as individuals and communities.
As a child, we are given rules that are meant to protect us and keep us in an orderly fashion. These rules can isolate us from different experiences which are likely not to be very good and are generally agreed upon. Allowing toddlers playing in the street after sunset is a fairly understandable rule that common sense supports. Warning signs on the outside of an abandoned house are meant to keep people safe from the dangers of physical harms. It goes beyond our parents’ rules. Our society has created laws that will help to benefit the learning process without physical harm being inflicted. A person must go through the proper training and reach a proper age before they can drive. This is to keep the driver and the rest of society safe. It makes sense.
Yet, how does it help if the experiences of life are regulated to the point that we are insulated from how to deal with matters of life? Imagine what would happen if we became a society that only allowed our children to learn one language. English is taught in the schools and universities. No other languages including dead ones are allowed to be learned. How quickly would we become so isolated that we could not even export or import goods such as oil or electronics? It would strangle the progressive nature of our society and the markets that we depend on as a country. We need to learn other languages so we are able to communicate.
Ok, take another example. What would happen if we did not educate ourselves and our children about simple hygiene habits? It is generally accepted that hygiene helps to prevent illness, makes one socially acceptable, and improves self-image. These points make sense. The prevention of health issues are the talking points behind a great many laws and rules of our society. Sanitation in restaurants is regulated by laws. Hospitals have rules and laws to protect the patients and doctors. Common sense shows that we need to be informed to prevent and protect.
Inevitably, someone will break the rules, ignore the regulations, or subvert the laws that prevent harm and protect our society. Yet, we explain and inform all as to the reasons and consequences of these protections. We do not just ignore or seal everyone away from the natural experiences of life. The rights of free will should be given guidelines and the explanation of the consequences.
If someone decides to rob a bank, they may succeed, but they will be facing the consequences for the rest of their lives. Yet, we teach everyone about these matters. However, it has become a method for some states to create laws that will not inform children to the consequences of their actions. They have decided that the lessons of abstinence are the only methods. In order to prevent sexual activities in our children, they have decided that it is better to keep them ignorant of the guidelines and the explanation of the consequences. Their belief is that it is better to tell them no and not truly protect them with the knowledge of what will happen if they pursue these activities. Like the idea behind personal hygiene, we should be teaching our children about the rules and consequences of these activities. Talking about them is not approving them. It is simply a form of protection for our children. Otherwise, they will likely find a way to explore without our wisdom and guidance to help them regulate their own minds and bodies for logical reasons. We must teach them so they can become trustworthy. We must treat them with the same respect that we expect from them. They are intelligent creatures, so treat them as such. One day, we will have to let go of their hands so they can find their own way.
Instilling in the hearts of our children those values that we hold dear is not the duty of society through rules and laws, but do not hamper the education of natural sciences such as our own biology. Laws are not meant to enforce one set of values on people. The free will of the people gives them the right to choose. They will pass to their children the values and that act will give them the opportunity to move our society in a better, more enlightened future rather than pull us back into the caves of complete ignorance and intolerance.