The Greater Good?

April 22, 2019 at 2:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“The main condition for the achievement of love is the overcoming of one’s narcissism. The narcissistic orientation is one in which one experiences as real only that which exists within oneself, while the phenomena in the outside world have no reality in themselves, but are experienced only from the viewpoint of their being useful or dangerous to one. The opposite pole to narcissism is objectivity; it is the faculty to see other people and things as they are, objectively, and to be able to separate this objective picture from a picture which is formed by one’s desires and fears.”
Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving

 

Narcissism is a personality disorder that most apparently manifests itself in an individual’s ability to listen. Narcissism is defined as “excessive interest in oneself,” and this trait can make it difficult for individuals to acknowledge or pay attention to others. Instead, the role of other people in the life of a person with narcissism is to provide praise, encouragement, support, and admiration. Extreme narcissism can cross over into a mental illness called narcissistic personality disorder, where a person is driven by a need for approval, and neither understands or cares about the feelings of others.

 

Does narcissism go hand in hand with self-interest?  Can one exist without the other?  How do you determine the point at which a healthy self-concept ends and self-interest takes over?  Self-interest is not the same thing as self-preservation.  If you come across a bear in the woods, you fight [or flight] in the face of self-preservation.  If you go out hunting for bears, in order to hang the bear’s head on the wall of your office, you are expressing self-interest.

 

Our civics classes taught us that public service is embedded in our cultural values.  Seeking office should be the highest form of public service.  Is it?  Where does seeking office currently sit on the arc from the value of public service to the extreme expression of narcissism?  How is it that our elected officials seem to accrue tremendous wealth while in office?

 

Where is the greater good?

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Frustration

April 19, 2019 at 12:21 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
“We awaken by asking the right questions. We awaken when we see knowledge being spread that goes against our own personal experiences. We awaken when we see popular opinion being wrong but accepted as being right, and what is right being pushed as being wrong. We awaken by seeking answers in corners that are not popular. And we awaken by turning on the light inside when everything outside feels dark.” 
Suzy Kassem
I continue to wonder if the 1% who have regularly and continually profited by and from this leadership, care about the truth.  The are driving an ‘alternative truth’ that allows for their self interest.  It continues to confound me how evangelicals, poor whites in the coal belt, an amalgam of nationalists and racists, and the 1% have been able to forge this coalition to support this self serving, planet destructing, people hurting leader.
I am ok with people have conservative points of view.  I am not ok with people pretending to be conservative in order to enrich themselves

Truth?

April 18, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters”
Albert Einstein
 
Thinking about what we are told today and what we are not being told

Children

April 16, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“The words with which a child’s heart is poisoned, whether through malice or through ignorance, remain branded in his memory, and sooner or later they burn his soul.”
Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

Early childhood is a time of great promise and rapid change, when the architecture of the developing brain is most open to the influence of relationships and experiences. Yet, at the same time, significant disadvantages in the life circumstances of young children can undermine their development, limit their future economic and social mobility, and thus threaten the vitality, produc­tivity, and sustainability of an entire country. A remarkable expansion of new knowledge about brain development in the early years of life, linked to advances in the behavioral and social sciences, is now giving us deeper insights into how early experiences are built into our bodies, with lasting impacts on learning, behavior, and both physical and mental health. These insights can be used to fuel new ideas that capitalize on the promise of the early years and lead to breakthrough solutions to some of the most complex challenges facing parents, communities, and nations.

CENTER ON THE DEVELOPING CHILD AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Mental illness

April 11, 2019 at 12:21 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“It’s exhausting to fight a war inside your head every single day. Mental health issues are people’s everyday lives. And, as a society, we need to accept that.”
Fuad Alakbarov

Stigma: a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.”the stigma of having gone to prison will always be with me” Synonyms: shame, disgrace, dishonor

If we truly understand that the arc of mental illness is caused by chemical changes in the brain, then we understand the illness part of the equation.  People do not choose to be mentally ill.  Either by inherited genetic predispositions or by environmental factors [or a combination cocktail], people do not choose to suffer a mental illness.

Consequently, dealing with these insidious unique illnesses takes perseverance, commitment, hope, time and courage.  The same perseverance, commitment, hope, time and courage that it takes to fight cancer or heart disease, or diabetes or any other physical illness.

 

We need to celebrate the perseverance, commitment, hope, time and courage rather than stigmatize the individual.

TO HOPE OR NOT TO HOPE

April 10, 2019 at 12:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“White privilege is an absence of the consequences of racism. An absence of structural discrimination, an absence of your race being viewed as a problem first and foremost.”
Reni Eddo-Lodge

“whites in Western societies enjoy advantages that non-whites do not experience, as “an invisible package of unearned assets”. White privilege denotes both obvious and less obvious passive advantages that white people may not recognize they have, which distinguishes it from overt bias or prejudice. These include cultural affirmations of one’s own worth; presumed greater social status; and freedom to move, buy, work, play, and speak freely. The effects can be seen in professional, educational, and personal contexts. The concept of white privilege also implies the right to assume the universality of one’s own experiences, marking others as different or exceptional while perceiving oneself as normal. Peggy McIntosh  “White privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”

As I experience what our ‘elected leaders’ say and do, I wonder if there is hope for our culture.  These bloated, well-fed, predominately wealth-comfortable white men are elected to represent all Americans.  Do they?  It would be interesting to me if a think tank would study what their financial status was upon election to represent us and what it has evolved to over the time that they have ‘served.’

Can we say we have a representative society when veterans are homeless and dying by suicide at an ever-present and alarming rate?  When 1% of the population control the wealth? When Insulin, as well as other lifesaving medications, is unattainable for so very many?  When children go to bed hungry?  When a stable living situation is out of reach for so very many?  When equity is a day dream?  When schools and prisons are for profit instead of for hope?

Perseverance

April 9, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
Maya Angelou

Perseverance: persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.  “his perseverance with the technique illustrates his single-mindedness”

We can define it but it is damned difficult to touch it…to live it…to be driven by it.  How does one develop the skill to perseverate?  Is it is skill? What separates a person who can withstand innumerable challenges from one that gives up and gives in.

 

I believe that we must endeavor to imbue our kids with the joy of failure.  Without failure, what is success?  How do you measure what you have accomplished?  Malcolm Gladwell posits the 10,000-hour model.   Angela Duckworth calls it GRIT.  Failure is a measuring stick.  Failure can be a motivating force.  If we allow our children to fail, while sharing how to build success of failure, I believe we are sharing the gift of perseverance.

Resiliency

April 8, 2019 at 2:12 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.”
G.K. Chesterton

It seems to me that these words are the core of resiliency.  How we find the courage to move on, to heal, to grow, in the face of failure, of adversity, of apprehension, of odds that seem to be insurmountable.  Resiliency is defined as:

  • the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
  • the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.

 

I think that Viktor Frankl describes is eloquently when he says: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Empathy

April 5, 2019 at 1:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Empathy is, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. at its simplest, it is awareness of the feelings and emotions of other people. It is a key element of Emotional Intelligence, the link between self and others, because it is how we as individuals understand what others are experiencing as if we were feeling it ourselves.

Synonyms: affinity with, rapport with, sympathy with, understanding of, sensitivity toward, sensibility to, identification with, awareness of, fellowship with, fellow feeling for, like-mindedness, togetherness, closeness to

 

In the current cultural climate, finding the common ground to create conditions where empathy is a linking behavior, has become a challenge.  Nationalism, misogynistic values, White Supremacy attitudes et al are designed to drive us apart rather than bring us together.  Why?  Who benefits?  What is the motivating behavior?  Certainly not love, not respect for your fellow man, not the religious values that so many of these groups hide behind.  What would Jesus do?  I wonder?

 

It seems to me that this organized divisiveness can be a control mechanism employed by the 1%.  If chaos is created, cultures seek order.  It would be interesting dynamic to consider that the 1% creates the chaos, displaces the responsibility for the chaos, in order to be seen as the best option to bring order to the situation

Trauma across a community

April 4, 2019 at 2:50 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“We dream to give ourselves hope. To stop dreaming – well, that’s like saying you can never change your fate.”
Amy Tan

 

When there is a community tragedy [regardless of whether it is natural or man-made], or in the extended aftermath of said tragedy, there are a number of factors to consider.  The obvious community response is to flow services and resources to those directly impacted by the tragedy.  Following that, is the longer term plan of how to serve both those directly or indirectly impacted by the tragedy.  Herein lies the initial community challenge:  who makes the decisions in regard to who gets the services, what the right services are, what is the duration of available services, who will fund which set of services, are the services / resources considered to be interventions or prevention in orientation, and does it make any difference.  I expect that there are more questions to be answered, even at this early and immediate juncture.  I believe that we also must recognize the orientation of those who control the services being brought to bear, as this has tremendous implication for both how the services are received / accepted as well as potential outcomes.

 

In a caring community the [potential] recipients of services / resources input are taken into account.  This begs the question: “in a crisis situation, where trauma and grief are strong components, are there any experts?”  Grief is carried in an invisible backpack.  Additionally, the grieving process, as well as the arc of resiliency, are personal journeys.  One size does not fit all.  That includes the realization and understanding that some sufferers need to take the journey in fits and starts.  Sometimes that means time to process without having services thrust upon them.   Consequently, the service / resource menu must be wide and varied.  It must be left in place, even when apparently underutilized.

 

There is a secondary, but important, challenge to a community in trauma.  That is how do we expand the set of services / resources to those not directly affected by the immediate action but are still impacted by the adverse impact of it.  In fact, there may well be members of the larger community for whom the tragic action serves as a trigger to other historical experiences that they have faced.

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