blinkered bernie-ites: stop! you’re embarrassing the rest of us

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Many Christians love Jesus but are ashamed by certain followers. Well, “Bernie or Bust-ers” and various* Bernie lovers, I like Bernie and I’m not feeling “the Bern” the way I did. I’m feeling a bit burned.

IMHO, Jesus wasn’t salvation as much as a wise, compassionate philosopher. Bernie’s also a compassionate man but he’s no savior either. Your ‘god’ is not better than someone else’s ‘god.’ This is how religion has fomented hate around the world. It frightens the bejeezus in me—and probably in Bernie—to watch anyone placed high on a ledge, only to be pushed off later. Remember Obama?

Has a church denomination begun with Bernie starring as the deity? Because this lionization has many of the hallmarks of religious mania, complete with Hillary playing the role of Satan. I think Trump is more befitting of that part.

Didn’t we learn to not name-call when we were children? Can’t you support who you want without dubbing the other candidate “bitch,” “liar,” “cunt,” “republican”? Or displaying a disgusting misogynist meme with Bill saying, “I choose other women over Hillary; you should too.”

Or this fabricated acrostic:

C  Corrupt

L  Lying

I   Incompetent

N Narcissistic

T  Two-faced

O  Offensive

N  Nag

…blaming Hillary for Bill’s policies, not allowing Hillary to ever amend her stance? You’re sounding like those conservatives who called any progressive thinker a flip-flopper when new information altered their position.

I’m not here to defend Hillary but I am here to cry foul because these are all things I’ve seen from Bernie supporters, not Republicans who’ve always had their hate-on for Hillary.

I’ll say it again: I like Bernie. It’s mortifying to be aligned with such meanness from supposedly liberal intelligent people. Then if anyone protests about gender issues—which are more than real in this election—or dare to use “vitriol,” the best word to describe the sexist tripe I’ve listed, we’re dismissed.

Dismissed like black people have been by saying they’re using “the race card” when protesting unfair (and deadly) targeting by our society. Or rape victims who’ve had a sex life (nooo!) and sometimes wear “revealing” clothing. Or any man wearing a turban at the airport. Or a child who disagrees with an adult. Or native tribes when explaining how sport team monikers are insulting and hurtful. To discredit rather than stand for your beliefs is a juvenile way to deal with dissent.

We’re not calling out sexist behavior or suggesting thoughtfulness because we’re defensive or biased—leave that to the Trump-e-teers—but I also don’t want to defend the obvious. [see: men can ‘hate’ patriarchy, too] We’re trying to illuminate hurtful things, wanting to elevate the conversation. We’re asking you to act with grace. Be kind and be dignified in your disagreement. Unlike the tactics of the red party.

Do your research. **Hillary and Bernie have much in common. Dislike the parts that don’t match up. Be passionate about what you love and want; many of us do so without hating ‘the other.’ We still have a ways to go until this is decided. If Bernie doesn’t get the nomination, let’s all be graceful ‘losers’ not tantruming toddlers. Let’s all put on our adult panties and get on with it.

As my beloved role model, Mr. Rogers, says, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”

 

*In case there’s a question: “not all” Bernie-ites

**Compare candidates

science is not god, sorry

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…but science now appears to be the new religion in some secular communities, complete with self-righteous fanatics who’ve decided that what they’ve chosen to believe science is, is thereby the TRUTH. No one has the lock on truth—not even the Rant-ress.

Facts aren’t ‘true’ either; they’re information. They can lead to truths but scientists are the first to say that one set of facts will be disproved by another.

Monotheistic religions believe there’s one god but many other religions don’t. There’s not one science either. As Dan Gaylinn put it: “Anyone who tells you that something is “settled science” is, by definition, anti-science, since the scientific method is implicitly about unsettling the consensus of what is currently believed to be true. That’s how knowledge advances.”

Thereby:

  1. Science is not god
  2. There’s more than one science (just ask scientists)
  3. Sanctimony is particularly unappealing

I ‘believe’ in science as much as I do in religion, but I belong to no church. They each have something to offer humans who seem to need to create ideology to have faith in. However, zealotry about anything scares me. It’s not an either/or world.

It’s true that religion has fueled most wars since the inception of the patriarchal paradigm. Has religion also formed a structure many people can use to do good in the world, help others and find solace for Self within? Yup.

Science has furnished us with wonderful knowledge of our biological world. Do some find comfort and security with that information? I do! Yet has science created bombs, drones, GMOs, herbicides/pesticides that are killing our flora and fauna? Absolutely.

Until recently, science insisted that bacterial colonies were bad, bad, bad! Anti-bacterial soaps and gels were essential to health! Turns out that science was “wrong.” Microorganisms outnumber human cells 10-1. Yet the gels are still everywhere. Antibiotics were once deemed the savior drug and now it’s patently evident that they’re seriously compromising our immune systems leaving us wide open to all sorts of disease and permanently disrupting our human microbiome, creating resistant superbugs.

In both war and medicine the only thing that needs to be eradicated is this mindset: the avenue to safety is to kill…whatever/whoever. Instead, let’s discover how to live with everything on this planet instead of annihilating what we fear.

The pro-vaxxers are brandishing the extremism of the newly converted. They don’t seem to disagree with the anti-vaxxers as much as dismiss and despise them. There’s no room for open intelligent dialog. Highly educated people reside on both sides of this issue (there are pinheads, too, but let’s not generalize). The cartoon above is needlessly vilifying. When has smugness ever been effective?

If you’ve vaccinated your kids you must ‘believe’ the vaccine works, right? What follows? Your kid is protected. Secondly, this is a country where we’re free to choose the form of medicine that works for us and our kids even if you don’t agree. There’s no unanimity, scientific or otherwise.

Your truth is yours. Leave it there. Be certain and inspired, not self-righteous and jingoistic. Priggishness is unattractive even if absolute ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ could exist. Which they don’t. Nature, and this planet, just aren’t that simplistic.

There’s a few things that always get the Rant-ress’ goat: unkindness, cruelty and defining/dissing another because you see the world differently. Take a deep breath. Find your intelligent heart, then open your mouth.

there is no there there, and i’m not talking about oakland—or, how not to be delusional

AlexeyBednij1

DELUSION: “An idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality…”

Many believe the religious are delusional. That’s understandable given that the nature of religion is to traverse the sphere of the imperceptible. But most of us do experience love, beauty, truth, spirit: ‘things’ without form. We know they exist even though they can’t be dissected or factually proven.

Yet science can be delusional, too. First, by trying to dismiss the ineffable because it cannot be ‘proven,’ but also by subconsciously projecting subjective beliefs on ‘impartial’ hypotheses. If something doesn’t present like a human, then what’s objectively looked for doesn’t exist. Example: deciding that animals—and until 1987, babies!!!—don’t experience pain, mainly because animals’ faces aren’t expressive like us humans and many animals/insects don’t vocalize pain when suffering or, more likely, not on wave lengths that we hear.

My point is delusional subjectivity is found in every area of life, not confined to the realms of religion or science, the seen or the unseen. It’s not an either/or world.

Delusional Disorder is one thing, but “benign” delusion’s a social irritant that just keeps growing.

I realize that wishing for change, yet continuing doing the learned is common. There’s a name for an aspect of that: cognitive dissonance. Think of the many people who desire to jettison extra weight, quit a soul-sucking  job, get in shape, learn a language or instrument but just somehow…don’t.

Wishing is a start that used to translate into genuine want, which would transform into actual action and then and only then did the possibility of arriving at the aspiration begin. Catch that? That’s the START, not the conclusion.

It’s not enough to retrieve a wish from the ‘land of possibilities’—where one may desire many conflicting things simultaneously but never truly choose anything—and convert it into a genuine want. But to actually arrive at reality, effort must be taken.* You have to pick up the instrument, literally look for a different job, work out… Reasonable, right?

This last, often unrealized, step is the place of fantasy that I’m seeing more often. In young children, make-believe is developmentally appropriate, but adults? Uh…no. Yet many Generation X-ers—30s to mid 40s—(Doug Coupland said they have no allegiances to anyone or anything, and get no allegiances in return) carry the irrational belief that to just want something is magically sufficient enough work to obtain it. Business owner friends say that half of their employees see work as a noun, not a verb.

The land of possibilities reveals no inner core, no chosen life rudder, no morés. Having everything ‘open’ means there’s no sound footing. True freedom comes from responsibility, not lack. Responsibility—ability to respond—occurs from an integrated, discerning Self. Reaction, impulsiveness, compulsion happen when there’s no “there there,” as Gertrude Stein wrote. Stimulation is not inspiration.

Heart & logic, ethereal & empirical are simultaneously essential components to a fully realized choice, to deeper evolution. The polarization of “all or none” must alchemize into “and & both” if we want to inhabit an authentic, non-delusional life.

*See: “do you believe what you’re sayin’? yeah right now, but not that often.”

you as you, it is it, as it is

The closer the U.S. gets to election time, the more it feels like a force feed. I’ve been on a serious news/media diet for some years now. The Stewart/Colbert team give me the farcical sound bites illuminating the one-up-ness polarization inherent in U.S. politics, I read choice tidbits and listen to Fresh Air. During election season I mostly fast.

Occasionally I get duped. Like with Michelle Obama’s DNC speech. FB friends were happily raving with one saying, “Dems got their sexy back.” (that I do agree with). Michelle talks and I love her spirited Self and her fun/first-class dress displaying her strong “yes we can!” shoulders. But then, this: “Every day, the people I meet inspire me…they make me proud…they remind me how blessed we are to live in the greatest nation on earth…” la la la la blah blah blah.

In real life People, there is NO greatest, ultimate, perfect, best; there’s just what you like. That doesn’t make it best; that’s what’s “best” to you. Every time you assert that what you favor is the greatest you’re insulting someone, manifesting arrogance, being a bore.

We won’t let our children boast: “I draw better than everyone,” or “I’m the best player on my team.” Why? It’s polarizing and disrespectful. When someone says they live in the greatest country in the world, how haughty (and patently untrue) is that?! Most of my family lives in Tuscany. I wonder if they’d agree that the U.S. is “the greatest.” On just the food front, I loudly and unequivocally challenge that assertion.

Good/bad comparisons are a major dysfunctional component of the patriarchal paradigm. We loathe them in politics but we do this in our lives all the time. I bought the best laptop. I use the ultimate smartphone. The Patriots are supreme. Really? The first two may be better designed for some situations and may be easier to use than many but that still doesn’t make them “best,” and the Patriots will be down soon enough.

Must we compare, elevate or denigrate? Why can’t we just prefer the city we live in, our school, our religion, the wine, the book, the olives, the bread without pompously declaring it’s the ultimate? It may seem safer to impose your opinion as fact but it doesn’t make it true.

How about we replace:  “This pizza’s good,” “That dog sucks,” “These are the crispest apples” with: “I love thin pizzas!” “I don’t like yappy dogs,” “These apples are my kind of crisp.” The pizza, the dog and those apples are what they are despite your personal proclivities. Let things, teams, towns, countries and people be as they occur—without qualifying them as better, best or worst—in and of themselves. They’re existence isn’t just in relation to you.

Respecting differences, celebrating diversity, honoring others’ favorites will bring us all more happiness. When the Orioles make a splendid play I’ll cheer even if I’m fond of the Mariners. A fine play is a fine play regardless which team achieved it. Yes?

help me, I think I’m falling…in “distraction” again

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Nowadays, we commonly denounce addiction to substances: drugs, alcohol, coffee, tobacco, pot, food and some compulsive activities: excessive gaming, gambling, sex addiction, FB, shopping, watching TV, texting, etc. Then some excessive behaviors are rewarded and considered virtuous: work, running, sports, religion, spiritual materialism or groups, for examples. But as my brother Ralph says: You can’t blame the weapon for the murder.

Research shows that substance abusers and compulsive behaviorists possess a similar dependency on the brain’s pleasure-center neurotransmitter, dopamine. We avoid uneasiness by seeking special states of mind. When we take refuge in any one of these things/activities—favored or not—we’re doomed to disappointment. I didn’t say ever participate in, but “take refuge in.”

The most hidden-in-plain-sight addiction, the most dopamine-filled action is falling in love. And it’s not just rewarded by our society, it’s held as the apex. I’m not against falling in love—I mean it’s the instinctual biological cocktail to ensure we keep our species going—I’m against the mania of it. Even the phrase, “fall in love,” reveals its lack of choice, intention, forethought.

Being in love may be our biggest mega-distraction and certainly the mega-delusion that kills many a potentially fine working human relationship. It distracts from the real work of partnering, which IMHO is why we’re attracted to certain people in the first place: we have esoteric, complex connective work to do on ourSelves. We come together for deeper reasons than just the biological imperative. I believe every relationship is a “spiritual” or profound one and that includes not only our mates but our kids, parents, siblings, friends and our cat or dog.

An old friend of mine has gone through many a delightful woman because he’s addicted to the feeling of being in love and carries the fallacy that the reason it doesn’t last is that he’s with the “wrong” woman. But after about 40 years, I’d say, Look deeper within, Bub. [see: why women don’t date nice (entitled) guys]. I also knew a woman who would hang out with a friend three times a week doing all sorts of fab things only to verbally dishonor this connection by remarking, “I need to find a relationship.” Really? Blind spot!

C.S. Lewis defines four loves:

  • affection/companion/familial
  • friendship/freely chosen
  • romantic/being in love
  • agape/charitable/divine

Romantic love is elevated beyond its superficial power. It differs very little from crack cocaine—and ultimately lasts about as long—before the fantasy starts destroying you and your mate prior to the discovery that you love their companionship as well as their kisses.

In my 35 years of work, I’ve often suggested to clients that if they want to find their raison d’être they should try to “overcome their biology.” William Blake suggested we’re half human, half angel. Time to focus more on the “divine” part of ourselves and generate our own bliss, joy, “love” within and stop exclusively thinking we can only find “it” in others, activities or substances. Let’s start elevating the relationships we do enjoy beyond the romantic sort and honor all our loves equally.