Colonialism (trekking all over the globe to steal natural resources in other people’s homelands, & in so doing, enslaving &/or visiting genocide upon populations who are/were “in the way” of the rapacious culture doing the stealing) is very old. Ancient! It’s too bad human beings (in the “dominant” or dominating, culture) have never been much good at learning to appreciate and make do with what the Earth provided, gratis, at “home,” eh? Good old greed, eh? (Not)
“The myth of progress has sometimes served us well – those of us seated at the best tables, anyway.” – Ronald Wright in A Short History of Progress
Communication / Conversation
I’m plain crazy about the value of human communication & conversation. Seems to me it’s kind of what life is really all about! The whole darn karmic enchilada … as it were. For me, this quotation about says it all:
“It’s one of the secrets of the world. We all have the key to one another’s locks. But until we start to talk, we don’t know it.” – Michael Silverblatt
There are some great quotations about conversation here.
We human beings are/have been consumption hogs (with no insult intended to the pigs, who surely never earned our hostility. I guess you could say they’re smarter than we are! They don’t go around wielding a wrecking ball!) for a long while now. My generation (“baby boomers”) has been right over the top as mega-consumers. Whoa.
I’ve written about control freaks/control freakism/why I think we are control freaks, a few times, ‘cos I think it’s an important topic. I think the human tendency to control the behaviour of other humans is a sign of deep pathology. Me, the older I’ve become, the less interest I’ve had in bossing anyone around. I’d rather just walk, talk & drink beer. Lots more fun. 🙂 (Help inform people? Sure; that too.)
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” (Upton Sinclair) This is relevant with respect to many people one knows, is it not? Sigh. I see there is a documentary about corporations here. Haven’t watched it. (Or maybe I have, & have forgotten?? Eeeek.) I wrote a short thing about corporations here.
You gain credibility by being a person who tells the truth. Who is authentic. Reliable. Not by going around lying, concealing, exaggerating, obfuscating, spewing B.S. hither & yon. Industries/corporations/politicians/corporate spokespeople/advertisers do plenty of the latter. Lots & lots & lots. (Heck, we’re all drowning in it!) We ignore them (& what they get up to) at our peril. Now. If nobody trusts you worth diddly-squat, what are you left with? Maybe a big, fat bank account? I’ve heard “A clear conscience is more valuable than wealth” (Filipino proverb), and that resonates for me.
I do not consider myself a cynic. I’ve dug deeply into the topics I rant on about. So I’m not a cynic. I’m a realist. That’s my take, anyway. (Jaded? Absolutely.)
“No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.” (Lili Tomlin)
Show me one! It certainly isn’t one here! Or in the U.S. The U.S. is Not a Democracy, It Never Was.
“’Reporter (to Mahatma Gandhi): Mr. Gandhi, what do you think of Western Civilization?” Gandhi: I think it would be a good idea.’”
True democracy would’ve been a great idea. Ah well. Bit late now!
Denial is epidemic. I’d say it’s a terminal disease. A killer. ‘cos in denying the truth about so much of what is happening on the planet, we’ve pretty much trashed the joint. You know?? Denial doesn’t make problems go away. They just go underground, & fester. Festering, eh? It even sounds awful.
DDT is one of those things that turned out to be really bad for living things. You can look it up (there is a very abbreviated history here). So what happened? Governments in North America made laws outlawing its use on crops here, but continued to allow its manufacture & export to other countries. I started eating organic food when a friend pointed out to me (decades ago now) that banana peels should not be placed in the compost pile ‘cos they were contaminated with DDT (from where they were grown). Quel wake-up call!
I think divorce is far harder on children than most adults realize, or perhaps are prepared to admit. Sadly, I’ve been in the near vicinity of more divorces than you could shake a stick at.
“People think that because it’s common for families to break up, children must weather it okay, but I don’t think they do. I work with families for a living, and for their sake and for mine I’ve held out against the idea that breakups are apocalyptic―but they are. For children, it’s an atom bomb going off, no matter how tactfully parents manage it. Family life, whatever the quality, is the medium children live in. They’re not separate from it. An individual self that can prevail, that can withstand change and loss, is a wobbly construct at the best of times. It’s theoretical or, if it exists at all, must come sometime later. Maybe by middle age we have a self. In a child it doesn’t exist. A child has no skin. When the adults come asunder, the child does too. They just do. I know this mournfulness in [her daughter].” – from Starting Out in the Afternoon – a Mid-Life Journey into Wild Land, by Jill Frayne
Let’s just be real about stuff, okay?? The little people get hurt really, really easily. Let’s try our best not to hurt the little people any more than we strictly have to … okay?
I’m re-reading The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, from which I’ve lifted the phrase Don’t Panic. It’s good advice! There’s so little we can do about the vast amounts of insanity taking place all around us, I think we are for sure each called to just … not panic. Sometimes that’s harder to do than others, hmmmm? (I know! I myself have days when I feel as though I’m spinning. Not fun.) Certain practices can help. Walks, journal-writing, being with friends/loved ones. Reading books. You know, stuff like that. (See also How to Cope with It All)
This Anne Lamott quotation has always seemed very helpful to me:
“…the world sometimes feels like the waiting room of the emergency ward and that we who are more or less OK for now need to take the tenderest possible care of the more wounded people in the waiting room, until the healer comes. You sit with people, she said, you bring them juice and graham crackers.” From Traveling Mercies – Some Thoughts on Faith, by Anne Lamott
This is another good one: “You can describe the predicament that we’re in as an emergency, and your trial is to learn to be patient in an emergency.” – Wendell Berry
“Patience is the ability to hang in there with feelings that appear to be going nowhere.” ~ Miriam Greenspan
Conventional dry-cleaners use really toxic stuff (perchlorethylene). Unless they don’t (they will make it clear if they don’t). But you need to check. Otherwise, you bring home toxic chemicals that will then be circulating in the air in your home. Who wants that? Info here.
I really don’t like the term “expert.” So many supposed experts are people being paid to spout a particular agenda (& thus, cannot be trusted). Understand: I know quite a few really smart people. They tend to be pretty modest, most of them, about their knowledge (the women, especially!). I think a little modesty is a good thing! If you know really a lot about something, & tell the truth, you’re liable to be considered credible. Maybe that’s enough. Maybe we don’t really need to think of ourselves (or others) as “experts.” Modesty is good. Authenticity, too. Phoneyness? Pretension? Not so much.
A PhD scientist I know informed me years ago now that fabric softener is actually really toxic (contains neurotoxins!). Dryer sheets are a bit nasty too, from what I gather. There are Web sites where you can learn about this stuff, & about alternatives to their use. I recommend doing this. Learning, I mean. Hey, it’s for your own good! Here is one site for info of this nature.
Failure to connect the dots
Refusal to connect the dots? I recently heard a scientist discussing infertility among beetles. How climate change is likely causing this. Then he says he’s hopping on a plane to go to Norway to do more study. A failure to connect the dots, wouldn’t you say?? (This scientist is, of course, not alone in failing to connect the dots! Almost everybody I know fails to connect the dots when it is personally inconvenient to do so. I reckon this is pretty much exactly how we wound up here. 🙁 )
“So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do.” – Benjamin Franklin
We hear a lot about this lately. Truly, life gets a bit dizzying with all the competing, conflicting things we hear these daze. (Some news agencies speak soooo authoritatively, it’s easy to just buy into whatever they’re saying). I can recommend these few items to tell you more about how various organizations or entities are manipulating the public with their take on “fake news.”
(See also Media, & Spin)