31 December 2018

Narcissists and their Enablers: A Brief Comment

"These are the people who might not agree with or defend the narcissist, but who enable the narcissist by putting up with their behavior, or rescuing them or bailing them out of the catastrophes they manage to create. These are the people who say things like, 'She's your mother, you need to forgive her' or 'How can you abandon your husband when you know he has problems?' or, 'I give in to your sister to keep the peace.'" 
From an article on "The Little Shaman" blog:  The Narcissist's Enabler

Graphic, below, from: Do you have the 'D-factor'? Study finds psychopaths, narcissists, sadists and others all share a 'dark core' of humanity
"the dark core - from sadism to psychopathy and even spitefulness, the traits that show the more sinister sides of humanity all share a common ‘dark core.’ And, if you have one of these tendencies, you just might have some of the others, too"
The article, "The Narcissist's Enabler", not only points out how enablers exacerbate the problems narcissists create, but it also emphasizes the need for setting boundaries. Some of us muddled through childhood dominated by a narcissist (several when it is ancestral familial narcissism) and found our ways because we eventually did encounter loving environments and learned to finally and truly have real feelings and not deny our individuality.  And we learned to love - first experiencing the miracle of receiving, then projecting universal love as our own normal state of being.  (I am using the term "narcissism", throughout, to refer to the clinic term - Narcissistic Personality Disorder - NPD.) 

A lot of folks have had their long dormant ptsd triggered (as a result of past narcissistic abuse) because of the political climate, or their reaction to it, and/or the reactions of others to it. Some are recognizing narcissism and its evils for the first time.  It ain't pretty! 

Where there is one narcissist in a family, there are usually more.  Too often it is generational, or worse deeply ancestral thus more difficult to break the mold in one's own life, and to break obstructing ties that bind when they are predominately narcissistic.  The same is true of political network circles, political parties, and administrations.

Whether one has experienced narcissism in devastating personal form, or because of being politically aware of it, it is worth noting the problem that enablers are - hopefully to avoid becoming one rather than learning how to be one.  It is also worth noting that by it's very nature, the lowest form of manipulative politics is narcissistic. 

This is neither the first time nor the last that the prevailing political climate will be experienced by many as being narcissistic.  Regardless of which ever administration is current, narcissism in government runs rampant in the form of pervasive lobbying and foreign influence (both clandestine, and in-your-face-blatant and destructive).  And wherever corruption is found it is always an indicator that narcissism has taken hold and is obstructing intended functionality.

The sooner one recognizes having experienced life dominated by narcissism and is able to set functional boundaries to guard against narcissists (and to prevent becoming one), the happier, healthier and more successful life can become.

20 November 2018

Being Grateful

pebble in a pond
At this time of year when we focus on gratitude, many reasons to be grateful come to mind.   One in particular which takes priority for me this year is a valuable lesson I learned about writing, nearly three decades ago.  It was from a friend who was enrolled in an English as a Second Language (ESL) course at the time.  I learned the lesson because of comments his ESL teacher had made on a paper he had written.  Since his English was not a problem, the comments puzzled him.  He wondered what I thought about them.

As I read the comments after having read the paper, it was clear that at issue was the arrangement of content.  I learned from the comments and suggestions his teacher had noted on his paper, and shared with him what I understood the issue to be from those comments, so that he also understood her comments -  more precisely what I had learned from her comments about the issue she had with the arrangement of content in the paper.

I did not ever mention to him that I had learned a valuable English lesson from him about arrangement of content - albeit, indirectly, because of the lesson being from his teacher.  But, he was "the messenger" of a valuable lesson I learned, that we both learned from his instructor.  So I have often intended to credit him for providing the opportunity for me to also learn that lesson.

I did not realize I had learned a good and lasting lesson about arrangement of content until two years later when it served me well in a technical writing course.  As such what I had learned was also valuable to the other students on the team.  Our instructor frequently had us work together in teams of four  on the written material he gave us.  Our task was to use what he was teaching us to improve upon the material's clarity for the purpose of presentation through better delivery of content.

In retrospect I think part of the lesson learned for me was also the realization that using a computer to write makes good writing less labor intensive than writing in long-hand, or typing.  Three decades ago computers were still becoming universal for personal use.  Given that my work in the preceding decades had not included much writing, I had not had occasion or opportunity to use a word processor, so I really do not know if word processing made it easier to rearrange content in the same way it is accomplished with a computer.

Another realization I had from musing about this in retrospect, was that learning to be fluent in another language, beyond grammar, vocabulary,  and spelling, is also very much about sentence structure and arrangement of sentences.  These structure and arrangement issues have been problems for me when I am learning another language. Perhaps it is the intimidating confidence problem more than anything else which some people experience when
starting to communicate in another language they are learning.  I have recognized it in friends who had the courage to try.  They appreciated whatever help others were willing to provide, having asked for corrections.  But I was not brave enough, myself, to ever reach the point of trying to communicate in another language.  However, I now know that fluency in a language is also dependent on learning from the mistakes we make when we actually have the courage to start communicate properly in the language.

More to the point, perhaps it is clear thinking in another language which determines the extent of our fluency which is also dependent on the subject matter's vocabulary and concepts.  Even in one's native language, fluency in expressing one's thoughts is dependent upon adequately learning the content of a subject about which one needs to communicate.  As always, when we  become more clearly aware of the details of what we do not know, regardless of the subject matter, it provides the way forward for learning when we apply ourselves to the task.  We can dread the process and anticipate difficulties  because of all the difficulties which could be encountered, or we can jump into the process armed for adventure with confident good humor, then enjoy the hell out of its full potential, come what may - no regrets - which becomes the joy of learning.

Good communicating, being able to understand, fluently speak and write in any language, is an art and a skill.  Knowing any language well enough to convey well constructed thoughts verbally and in writing, be it through academic papers, news reports, essays, any other genre of writing, even casual conversation, draws heavily on arrangement of content.  Excellence in communicating also includes a rhythm that produces a seamless flow.  Flow, and skillful lack of flow, both highly contribute to clearly presenting whatever information is being conveyed.  In reality, achieving fluency in any language is not easy.  Excelling in fluency, even in one's first language, does not always happen without skillful instruction and even then, it is not necessarily an ability which all develop even when one's writing  and speaking skills are more than adequate.  And in actuality it is not really an issue for many until or unless one applies oneself to fluently learning other languages.

This year as I muse upon gratitude, it seems more difficult due to a myriad of manifested difficulties from the universal to the personal, most of which I have been experiencing nearly all year long as being damagingly negative and unwarranted in limiting ways.  I am not alone in this experience, far from it; but being in good company does not make enduring the difficulties easy even though what some say about them contributes to being more tolerantly patient about them.  Even so, in rising above personal concerns associated with difficulties to make space and time for needed gratitude, it becomes clear to me that a priority I have is the need to express my gratitude to that friend  who so many years ago was instrumental in conveying knowledge I needed about how content arrangement enhances skill in communication.  It was then, and continues to be of high value to me.

Feeling gratitude and expressing it is a wonderful, empowering, and loving state of being.  However, along with feeling gratitude most have also experienced the feeling that saying "thank you", in response, is a woefully inadequate way of expressing our own gratitude; especially when musing upon how differences in our perceptions provided the potential for us to make huge long-lasting changes in our lives, and the lives of others, for good - always for good.  When we learn something of value in life, paying it forward along with gratefully giving credit where credit is due, as always, is often the best way we are able to most abundantly express our gratitude.  And in doing so we transform the feeling of being grateful into the universally beneficial positive actions of gratitude in action.

01 November 2018

The Tedious Customer Service Circus

😏 possibly world’s first customer service complaint, at nearly 4,000 years old 😉
Complaint about delivery of the wrong grade of copper.
About 1750 BC (Old Babylonian period) from Ur
I have never had a year so abundantly full of all types of commercial screw-ups - ever - from businesses of all types, including utilities and financial institutions.   I do not know whose reality it is, but I know it is not mine.  I can not believe it is this screwed up for everyone!  Perhaps it is not.   It would not be the first time my name has been on unwarranted harassing sh_t-lists.   Gotta rant about the tedious circus that corporate customer service (CS) has become.

Every time I am out and about to do errands, back at home the sales slip of at least one of the stores shows that I was cheated, even after trying to diligently keep track of the check-out process.  Of course that means returning to the store after having called CS.  Given all the extra time and effort required of being on the road, again, to resolve the problem, it is tempting to wonder if the underlying motive for cheating is ownership of stock in gas, oil, and vehicle maintenance businesses - by employees and/or corporate.  Of course the real question is whether or not the cheating is due to incompetence or intention.  When it happens frequently, there is no way to avoid asking that question. 

On-the-ground local issues are somewhat easier to deal with though no less time consuming and irritating than are the more virtualized type of problems which require phone calls to CS - often about billing and service problems.  First, it seems evident that  knowledgeable IT people are not being hired to do needed IT work for either websites or the robo auto-answering systems.  Why is that?  Additionally, farming out off-shore customer service continues to be a problem which seems to be back, worse than before, after having minimized for a time.   And why is that?

In this unacceptable reality, the automated robo recording/artificial intelligence answering of phones  at corporate entities, is back to the tedious playing-with-a-new-tech-toy stage. The answering system  is actually intended to discourage phone calls and, instead, strongly suggests the use of the website is preferable -  never to be forgotten, of course, because of the repetitive reminders while on-hold.  But sometimes, probably more frequently than we are told, the reason for calling is because of website screw-ups. Websites are also back to the dumbed-down, tedious, playing-with-a-new-tech-toy stage. The screw-ups which develop are too often  associated with glitches on a buggy website because website interfaces and appearances have been changed. 

Frequently changing websites, in an effort to make them spell-bindingly attractive and interesting, does not increase customer usage or satisfaction.  Neither do the requests for feedback about the website - as if we have nothing better to do with our time than to provide valuable information which could improve the functionality of corporate websites on our dime! And, really, for all we know website changes are based on bogus feedback from pranksters, or more sinisterly from corporate rivals.  While websites sprung up for user convenience in the early days of browsers, they eventually morphed into being all about using the user as much as possible - the same as all other corporate advertising platforms. 

Whatever the reason they occur, website changes are not necessarily improvements.  Instead, unneeded changes require extra time from users to fool around navigating through the new  layout and interface of a website which has been conveniently utilitarian, prior to it being changed into little more than click-bait.  Like most click-bait it is designed to keep a customer on the website and exposed, even if subliminally, to a myriad of advertisments instead of being able to use the website as it has been offered - supposedly for the convenience of the customer! This type of problem, which creates additional problems, fits into the category: "if it ain't broke don't fix it!"  In other words when a website is functional and all the glitchy bugs have been worked out of it, corporate, then leave it alone! 

Even my long-term credit union which has been totally dependable and responsible, for decades, has started repetitively making errors which coincided with a new website look and interface. The most recent was an employee error which resulted in  the configured bill pay feature of my account being deleted thus requiring me to setup and configure the bill pay account, again, but in a new dumbed-down interface which limits some of the previous interactive features!  That buggy interface, of course, resulted in creating several errors, for who knows how many members, given that it was still paying bills from the deleted portion of bill pay when it should not have been, but also from the newly configured bill pay.  That, in turn required phone calls to correct, on several occasions, including dealing with charges for errors not mine, at places where bill pay sends my payments! 

Calling customer service and staying with the entire process long enough to maybe get a solution, requires at least half a day, and endless patience.   No worries for CS though when it comes to wasting time because they get paid for their time, apparently more the longer they can keep a customer on the line.  To even get to the what's-the-problem stage of the phone call requires first getting through the endlessly repetitive, very loud, robo recording on-hold loop.

Then, as usual, after a person answers, it is necessary to  weather an excessive amount of upbeat pleasantries, after which there is required listening while the CS person pleasantly reads the manual for the purpose of imparting information about the business and the account which, of course, the customer already knows!  It is apparently required reading for all the off-shore CS people who answer the calls - thus required listening for the customer who has long since lost patience at the robocall on-hold stage of the CS circus.  After the reading,  it is  time for CS to request the  customer recitations of excessive amounts of security verification information. And that is all BEFORE being allowed to state  the reason for the call!  It really is easier to deal with a houseful of under five children than the CS circus. 

But it is not over, yet!  Next, after a simple explanation which seems difficult for CS to understand - of course speaking clearly and providing the easiest explanation possible - the customer must be transferred, sometimes more than once which requires going through the rigamarole again, including the on-hold robo-recording loop with each transfer - that is unless the connection is lost and it is necessary to start over from the very beginning which of course requires going through the entire rigamarole, again.  At some point the CS person actually does seem to understand the reason for the call - if the connection is not first intentionally severed on either side of the call - and presents a solution with a promise that it will resolve the problem.  Usually one never knows whether or not the promised solution ever made it into the system until the next billing cycle!  Finally, at the end of a call, which it is only possible to hope will resolve the problem, the promised e-mail about it may show up a week later.  If it does show up, it may or may not be somewhat relevant to the reason for having called. 

These screwed up errors occur everywhere - businesses, utilities, banks/credit unions - you name it.  However, all of these corporate entities have been using automated answering even longer than they have been online which by now  is decades.  They should all be far beyond the tedious playing-with-a-new-tech-toy stage. What is the underlying problem that results in frequent and repeated errors?  Is the problem that IT folks are enamored with all the bells and whistle of tech, or is it incompetent IT hires, or in my own case is it also because my name is on the harass lists, or is it more simply not my reality.  It could be any combination of all four, as it has been in past experience!  Evenso, there surely must  be  an end in sight . . .  but I have yet to see even a glimmer of light at the end of what, so far, has been a very long tunnel. 

Having said all that I do have sympathy for most CS folks.  I actually do my best to be patient and kind as long as possible and usually succeed.  It is not a job I would be able to successfully do for long.   And I truly do appreciate those far and few between CS folks who can ask what is wrong, listen, provide a solution, and successfully get it into their system - like they are on a mission to actually do the job as well as it can be done - problem solved - and all under half an hour (including tedious on-hold)! 

Bottomline? It really should not require several hours to make what ordinarily would be a simple telephone call, to resolve what ordinarily would be an easily resolvable problem which never should have happened; then only to have it reinforced that nobody, nowhere, is willing to take responsibility to be accountable for minimal standards not having being met as cause of the problems that developed.  How did such a "comedy of errors" corporate circus become so common place and able to pass as so-called customer service when it really is a poor imitation?  Really.  How did it?

07 October 2018

The Senate Confirmation Hearing - an Opinion

I almost decided not to comment on the Senate confirmation hearing process.  But a friend motivated me to post my perspective.  A lot of folks will not like what I say, but I am saying it anyway.  What I am not going to comment on is Judge Kavanaugh's  suitability to be confirmed as a SCOTUS Justice because I do not know and neither does the public - especially after the brouhaha of trial by media.  We hire our Senators to make those decisions, with our advice when we have opinions and/or know enough about a subject to provide applicable facts that pertain to the issues.

A complaint I direct at the Senate is the matter of not having followed proper procedure which 1) resulted in withholding records Senators needed, or making it  difficult for them to access additional records within the allotted time before the scheduled vote, and 2) not dealing with the original issue brought to their attention with the privacy ordinarily provided to insure that the type of unwarranted damage done, all the way around, does not occur.

I stopped watching the news after Friday.  It was primarily an effort the entire time to create cognitive dissonance  which used women's issues as a weapon to create obstacles that redirected the process of the hearing. It also unnecessarily triggered a lot of women who have genuinely suffered from sexual harassment, assault, rape, and violence of all types, then worse were not believed when they did report the incidents. Every woman who has endured that knows the perpetrator will target and do harm to additional women in the future.

There were two issues 1) a Senate confirmation hearing that did not follow proper procedure, and 2) a lot of women righteously angry about the system I refer to as "weaponized sex" which is based on societally entrenched institutional  problems and attitudes in our nation which demonstrate the unwarranted belief that women are supposed to be controlled in more rigorous and in less trusted ways than the controls to which men are subject.  

And I think it is a crying shame and a disservice to all women that whoever organized the women creating mob drama encouraged them to behave like  hysterical, irrational women, throwing group tantrums who needed to be controlled!  It was humiliating to have  the negative ways women are  accused of,  being capitalized on to primarily serve the purpose of further convincing men that women, in general, do need to be controlled.

At issue is that women rarely win any publicly politicized "battle of the sexes" especially when waged in the way it has been.

At issue is that the hearing was hijacked by women's issues through trial by media with the public being judge and jury, because the Senate did not follow proper procedure.

These are two mutually exclusive issues, and in trying to force the vote into being for or against women's issues, the Senate confirmation hearing was hijacked, not simply delayed. 

Do I think the women's issues need to be effectively dealt with?  You bet your life, I do.  And you should think so too.  I also think that Judge Kavanaugh, and anyone else who might have been put through the confirmation process, instead, should not have been made victim of that unresolved, ongoing, clearly apparent need.  Truth be told, it had the effect of making a "martyr" of him  which probably created enough sympathy to make a difference in the how some Senators voted.  It may have been an unexpected outcome by those who promoted the effort to hijack the hearing.

10 August 2018

A Poem

Hidden Treasures

I was selected.
It was a punitive response
To seeking the truth
And speaking of it.

Then I chose . . .
To overcome a clandestine enemy,
First appearing,
In guise of treachery,
As a destructive manipulator
To punish for crimes not committed.

In the midst of battling grave injustices,
The treasures of kindred souls beckoned,
To show the way, glittering like no gold can;
Precious gems amidst the rubble
Of what had been homes, domicile of a nation,
Their beauty now visible only to the guileless.

Battles against deceit raged all around,
Exploding into death and destruction,
As the crumbled ruins of lives and homes
Serenely waited; 
Dusty foundations, for the soul of a nation,
To rise upon in symphony, rebuilding.

Rich blessings settled in my soul,
Abundant in their grace,
Wondrous, and transcendent;
Transforming as they increased,
To overflow their bounds,
Combating duplicity with honesty . . .

Because I chose.
I now bless my friend the enemy,
For selecting me
As a weapon of its self-destruction.
Autumn 1993

21 June 2018

By-proxy Identity Theft

By-proxy is not my reality and the false reality it is should not be forced on anyone.  Some  of the worst,  most damaging, thus most criminal  identity theft attempts are  by-proxy efforts.  Talk about unreasonable facsimiles, not to mention an overabundance of misplaced and missing items frequently used and always ready in the same place.

What type of abominable scoundrels imagine they have the right to try to compromise someone else's life in that way for their own self-serving greed and delusions of grandeur associated with "owning" of other people in that way?  Worst are the efforts to justify with religion, what are extremely noxious and thinly-veiled identity theft efforts . . . too often from family and their enablers - people who are supposed to care or may have cared at one time.

Who would believe they can live someone else's life better and attempt to do so without consent and supposedly without knowledge of the target?  Actually, and too often otherwise seemingly good decent people.  It is no one's right to do enslaving by-proxy impostering; no one's right to try to assume the identity of another; no parents' right to own and enslave a child in that way for profit or punishment or desire for grandchildren or to acquire a son of daughter in-law of their choosing which their own child is not compatible with thus would not consider marrying; or any other excuse of an ill-conceived reason the criminally inclined would want to commit such crimes.

The crimes, attacks, and over-all damage done through by-proxy impersonation efforts are astounding - the attributed unacceptable attitudes, behaviors, personality traits, are all a form of character defamation and assassination.  Claimed child-birth, marriages, that result in a face and body in the mirror not of one's own making are ill-intended efforts to eliminate all the good changes people have chosen to make in themselves without harm or cost to others.

By-proxy efforts are enemy declarations the intent of which is to compromise the health and life of the target.   By-proxy identity theft efforts are not only a sin those who want to claim a religious right commit, but they are also a serious identity theft crime and should be prosecuted as such.

10 June 2018

The Power of Kindness

Kindness has a much deeper effect and is much more powerful than we often realize. 

Consider the "Dark Tetrad" of narcissistic, sociopathic, machievellian, sadistic attitudes and behaviors - borderline or full blown personality disorder.  It is known to manifest in individuals but also on a large scale it manifests in nations.  World history is full of examples - as is the present.  I will refer to those who target others with any or all componentes of this tetrad, as "abusers".

Effects from the Dark Tetrad, as a whole or in any combination,  are damaging and life threatening in a variety of ways,  not the least of which is intended to motivate self-harm, no matter what or who is the cause of these shadowy dark night of the soul visitors manifesting in anyone's life.  Whether the cause is a person or it is on a national scale, if self-harm is not the response, then the abuse escalates to sadistic harm, be that physical, emotional, mental, psychological, spiritual - individually or in combination - as long as an abuser believes or knows accountability for behavior will not be compulsory, nor crimes prosecuted should it become known the created problems have escalated to the  level of recognized crimes.

 I will not address how abusers become abusers, nor how they acquire and make use of enablers, nor our forgiveness of them motivated by our compassion, nor when there is seemingly a cessation of abuse, then a second unexpected "era" of more vicious adult-style abuse - the type of abuse which includes abusers expanding their sphere of abuse to others in our lives, all of which, again, requires forgiveness of the same abuser and additional enablers.  Nor will I address that subsequent forgiveness is for one's own benefit not that of the abusers and their enablers.  Suffice it to say that by the time some finish K-12  the equivalent of an undergrad  psychology degree has been earned  based on objective "field study" without having studied psychology.  Eventually, when we are  able to successfully understand and deprogram ourselves as the subject of our own objective field work, it is equivalent to grad work.  Kindness is the key in all this work, to others as well as ourselves, as is what makes kindness possible.

I will address kindness.  When an individual decides to work at having the strength to accept the personal challenge of living "normally", even seemingly happily within a limiting abusive environment from which it is not possible to absent oneself, there has to be a motivator.  And to activate motivation there also has to be a genuine love and appreciation of others in the form of universal love - a love of that divine spark of life that is in each one of us.  Such genuine caring and compassion eventually brings with  it authentic deep self-knowledge and appreciation, as well.

The experience of universal love lost because of circumstances beyond one's own control often becomes universal love found, once again, because of another. When we accept that gift as responsible adults no matter what age (I was 12), it remains throughout life.  If we experienced that when very young we may be fortunate enough to experience it again when we are of legal age and have more recognized control over our own lives. Perhaps some experience it many more times in life, as needed.  Our good fortune is that after the reality of the abundance of universal love is once again reactivated, experiencing kindness reminds us that universal love is the inheritance of us all, thus it becomes the absolute best reason for always extending kindness - giving as much as we are able within the limits of our own circumstances.

We have no idea the personal challenges people have met in the past and must meet on a daily basis, even those we imagine we know well, those closest to us, and family.  We never know unless they tell us, themselves.  Many choose to navigate their difficulties with a grace that is only possible  through the  manifestation of universal love in their lives, regardless of whatever other trustworthy loving relationships might also be part of their lives.

The more we are reminded through the kindness of others that universal love is present to uplift us all, even in the most dire of circumstances, the more we are able to contribute to manifesting and  holding it in the present moment - for all - especially when others also do the same. 

Extending kindness and experiencing kindness reminds us that at our best we are all one as part of universal love, that even in times when life is most difficult for us,  we contribute to improving the lives of others and ourselves  through wanting to extend the generosity of kindness.

Kindness is one of the best and most productive habits of attitude and behavior we can choose to cultivate - a real superpower accessible to everyone.

05 June 2018

The Bee

Bumblebee pollinating orange flower
Today, during Ramadan 1439, as I am refreshed and encouraged while musing upon "the bee" (surah xvi al-nahl/النحلة), I have renewed my understanding of why some are disconcerted about the mythological nature of many passages in sacred scripture (of all religions).  As adults we have learned the value of verifiable reason. As such we recognize that passages in sacred scriptures are not necessarily verifiable sources of detailed history.  So can these narratives about experiencing events be considered folktales and myths? 

I suggest labeling them as such should not necessarily be understood as being offensive. There is a foundation of actual historic fact underlying myths and stories passed down through time, whether or not they convey enough verifiable fact for us to justifiably recognize them as being actual history. What we can experience, instead, are the "stories" revealed to us about historic events for their value as object lessons, passed on to us as the lessons learned  by the original narrator - whomever it may have been - even though these renditions do not fulfill our desire for verifiable history. I suggest that as such, they are interpretations. 

When we encounter these narratives in sacred religious texts we considered them to be divinely inspired interpretations of known prophets, or of unknown prophets whose names may be lost in the fog of deep time but whose wisdom has not been lost.  However, interpretations of sacred scriptures do not limit deeper and additional insightful understanding of believers. And while the interpretations of clergy and learned religious academics are also of high value, neither do those interpretations limit deeper and additional insightful personal understanding.  The revealing of further insight and understanding is the nature of, a characteristic of, and a gift associated with the personal faith of a believer.  Regardless of the beliefs to which any one of of us is drawn, to know what we believe and why is the key to our own understanding, though not necessarily the key to understanding the beliefs of others.

Perhaps it is built into human nature, because we care, that we may doubt the faith of others and want "proof" of their faith which we are able to recognize in the same way we are accustomed to wanting proof from children about their understanding of everything.  However, at issue to each one of us, as adults, is not the faith of others, which many are tempted to doubt when other people do not express faith in ways we want to expect they should express it.  At personal issue is the viability of one's own faith - the maintenance of which is reaffirming and insightful as it guides and brings joy to our lives.

Everyone has faith in something - no matter one's religion or lack thereof, though it is not always expressed, by anyone, as best it can be in all that is said and done.  Myself, I do not expect people to believe exactly as I do even within the framework of  similarly expressed beliefs.   But I also do not suffer fools gladly who want to harass me and worse try to convert me because of what I personally believe, especially when I know I have not shared these thoughts with them.

As for me, whatever anyone's point of reference may be for choosing to step onto the path of living a life of faith as a believer, God willing, I recognize when the divinely inspired sincere faith of other folks is a personal experience much much larger and deeper in breadth and depth than only oneself . . . and other people.

14 May 2018

Not in My Name Bozo

I feel like I owe an apology to a Facebook friend - even though the bozo who verbally attacked her is the one who actually owes her an apology.  Let me tell the tale.  I will try to not go off on too many lengthy tangents in the telling, but I can not promise it will not happen.

I must start with saying I do not tolerate verbal attacks on others, silently.  In fact being angry, even outraged in some cases, especially in previous decades, is actually how I learned to not be silent about tolerating mean rudeness and verbal attacks on myself - unless I had determined it was advantageous to remain silent to provide an abuser opportunity to change.  Rudeness and verbal abuse are the same and different.  Ill-mannered rudeness is not always intended to be abusive, however verbal abuse is intended to be damaging in some way and while not always overtly rude, does rise to the level of abuse when it is consistently repetitive thus needs to be named as such.

What happened is that some bozo was leveling a “you people” rant at a Facebook friend the other day, primarily (probably entirely)  because of a comment I had made on her post.   While I may remain non-responsive or passive when mean rudeness or verbal abuse is directed at me, I do not tolerate it for long when witnessing other folks being targeted, and I refuse to tolerate it when it escalates to verbal abuse  directed at others for something I have actually said - and in this case actually put in writing.  

My friend and I had both posted a factual meme about Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional interrogation, a few days apart,  which pointed out congressional hypocrisy in a humorous way.  Specifically, it was how Congress was valiantly defending Americans because of an outcry about data being collected through Facebook about its users that is used by advertisers and foreign interests. Of course the hypocrisy is that government has routinely been doing the same, for decades, without cause and without being called on the carpet to be similarly accountable.  The irony of course was that the Zuckerberg interrogation  could not have been a more obvious matter of “the pot calling the kettle black” - in the guise of the public interest. Me saying this is not me defending the corporate Facebook/Zuckerberg debacle.  That is one thing.  The interrogation of Zuckerberg is something else.  And that is what my comment had addressed.

Because contradictions associated with hypocrisy always suggest there is some reading between the lines that needs doing, I had been musing upon a possible hidden agenda off and on during the several days of the Zuckerberg interrogation as I witnessed the nature of it.  It would have tried the patience of Job.  I had already mentioned that he tolerated it well on a status update via my own Facebook page.   So, having mused upon other potential reasons for a time, after my friend’s meme showed up in the feed, I posed a question in a comment on that meme.  I really did wonder what my friend and others might think or if others had considered there was something more to the interrogation than met the eye - and ear.

In my relatively brief comment I had been wondering if the obviously hypocritical interrogation of Zuckerberg was a two-birds-with-one-stone effort to test his resiliency, self-discipline, patience, endurance  . . . all of which might be attributed to political parties wanting to groom Zuckerberg to eventually run for political office, not to mention an eventual fight over which would support him, before Zuckerberg might have had any idea about what was potentially being considered.   After all he is rich and well connected, personally, through his successful business venture.  Clearly his mettle was being tested by the congressional interrogation which was much more accusative and repetitive than some have been for those being appointed to political office, even with all the polarity in congress.

Of course our political parties employ foresight when shopping around for future candidates, unfortunately too often much more foresight than they and those they propel into office demonstrate once the supported candidates are in office.  But Zuckerberg is still young enough to become more of a threat to the power structure with his money and influence if reigning in of him with a promise of support for candidacy at some point, does not start soon.  Of course not everyone who is rich and well connected entertains the idea of being elected to public office, and for good reason.  It can be a thankless job when done well, and deserved hell when duty, accountability, or both are  neglected.

Zuckerberg’s relative youth also provides time for political party efforts to manipulate him into saying or doing something that could be used to extort him, later, in the future, should he want to or be persuaded to run for political office.  If nothing else, U.S.ofA.‘s political parties have proven themselves to be cut-throat ambitiously competitive in destructive divisive ways, both aggressive and passive- aggressive, which have created denigrating attitudes of polarity in many Americans.  Of course investing in candidate shopping is not necessarily done with ill intent or with negative effects.   It simply did seem rather obvious to me that Zuckerberg could be of potential interest to party honchos and that how he tolerated the congressional interrogation and the aftermath could relay useful information to them.

So!  That was the nature of my much more briefly stated comment of wondering posted in response to my friend’s meme.  Having been offline for a time, when back online I noticed there was another response to her meme so wanted a look at the other response.  It was actually an active ongoing exchange with some bozo having leveled a “you people” rant at my friend because of the question I had posed - as food for thought and/or comment.  His rant was an ongoing persistent exchange that had started out and continued as a repetitive attack on my friend with his first comment “Are you people defending Zuckerberg?”

My friend’s reasonable measured and mannerly responses clearly were incensing  him into a temper tantrum.  But what he was ranting about was the Facebook/Zuckerberg debacle, not the congressional interrogation of Zuckerberg - two different, albeit, related topics.  I doubt he was angered by the meme which was totally factual.  I had to laugh because he was reacting emotional like women are stereotypically expected to, and accused of doing, instead of being rationally logical.  My friend was responding reasonably and logically . . . but he continued with his emotional tirade which of course was a typical undermining effort to “put words in her mouth” while he got angrier each time she briefly but clearly responded.  In typical divisive fashion intended to promote polarity, he seemed to believe Zuckerberg  had to be demonized as all bad and was not even addressing the topic of him being interrogated by our legislators.

The offender was being obnoxious and insulting.  He was trying to make my friend accountable for my comment; he was talking to her like a naughty child; he was pulling a “you people” on her!  So I typed a short comment 1) asking him to expound upon what he specifically was referring to when he said “you people”  2) calling him on the carpet for attacking my friend and speaking to her like a recalcitrant child 3) telling him he had no right to blame my friend for my comment, that if he had to express his rancor, it should have been directed at me, the person whose comment, clearly, had angered him.  

However, when I clicked “post” the returned message was that the post had been removed.  So either my friend had deleted it, or changed the privacy setting.  Who could blame her?  The rancor was obtuse and abusive.  Blame someone else because of me you bozo, I was thinking, and see where it gets you with me.  Certainly not ignored.  I can be relentless with defense, as  needed. 

“You people” - uh huh.  I thought of a long drawn-out incident another friend had finally made public after suffering through long months of reactivated ptsd after having been the target of discriminatory negative prejudice a year earlier at a public event.  She experienced the incident as a racist effort intended to humiliate and silence the clear and loving voice of reason with which she ordinarily provides insight into circumstance through her own personal experience, from childhood onward, as a memoirist author, about a long-standing violent abusive deadly political conflict which is not well understood for what it is.  So, with her successful endeavor to address discriminatory bigoted negative prejudice that had been directed her way having arrived at closure, if not completely at least for the time being, the timing of this "you people” business was really rankling and needed some explaining  to clarify whatever meaning it had been intended to convey.  It is the #MeToo/#TimesUp era now, after all, too, and “you people” fault finding is  likely to need some accounting also from that perspective.

Having differences of opinion and reacting emotionally, even angrily, is nothing new on social media - but it is unproductive and redirects attention from issues that actually need rational discussion - so some of us continue attempting to use Facebook for that potential, thus my comment on my friends meme.

So . . . what could “you people” have meant?  I needed to consider what I know about my FB friend that could have resulted in the both of us being labeled as “you people”.   Hmm . . .  first and foremost she has an interest in and is reliably knowledgeable about the Middle East region, thus a colleague in that respect.  Many appreciate that her posts are useful and informative to both novices, experts, plus all those in-between who have an interest, for whatever reason.   Clearly, she has taken the responsibility to educate herself and stay updated about the Middle East.  Clearly, she has developed a certain amount of expertise which is the same path all of us  have taken who developed a similar regional interest at some point in time - that of self education.  

It is quite clear that graduating high school and college, including gradate school, does not leave one educated about a  huge amount of our nation’s history, including political history both domestically and internationally, even when that is the focus of one's  degree.  So much is not taught, or worse mistaught which requires that we  make an effort to learn what we need to know, ourselves.  Self-directed learning is always good when one has an all-consuming interest.  Learning to fit it into one’s life in a way that is not all-consuming is the lesson.  Perhaps, more precisely, it is a new perspective one chooses from which to approach everything about life that for a time may seem like an obsession, but instead becomes an expanded more holistic way of life. 

As adults whose career, work, family are a priority there has to be some sort of personal connection for us to initially take a serious interest in issues that are beyond our personal experience which are damaging to friends.  By doing so we learn the damage done to people of other nations, our own nation,  the world of nations, and ourselves, because of injustices being perpetrated.  The era of social media surely has made that clear, by now, even to the most self-centered of people.  If a major take away about the dawn of social media as a way of life is not “we are all obligated to be informed voters, and advisors to elected and appointed officials” then I wonder about those who don’t get it.  But, I digress.  My friend and I both have an invested regional focus in common - much more than  superficial, judgemental, concerned, appreciative observers with a passing interest . 

Why was this bozo throwing a hissy fit as skillfully as any woman could have?  He had an Arabic name but I doubt his “you people” comment was directed at a the mutual interest all three of us share.  It might be predictable he would have an interest, given the region has become a world interest, politically, and will continue to be as long as active conflict continues to occur in the region.   Might he have been attempting to chastise my friend for “straying” from predominately posting about ongoing conflicts in the Middle East?.  Doubtful, but who knows?  If we leave that possibility be, then it leaves us with  three more similarities to which his “you people” comment might have referred.  1) Clearly we are both women;  2) we are both women “of a certain age”;  3) if he looked through photos on my page and saw a photo of me (which I doubt he did) or guessed correctly, he would have ascertained we both appear to be Anglo.  So that leaves me with wondering if his “you people” rant was targeting skin color, age, gender, or any combination of the three, or some sort of assumed ethnic, racial, or religious prejudice on his part - but it really probably doesn't matter what the reason is for those who believe they need to hate others  - since any excuse will do.

That he started his rant claiming “you people” (the two of us) by suggesting we were defending Zuckerberg, is irrelevant to the topic because I was the only person he could have misconstrued as perhaps defending Zuckerberg.  But that would not have been reasonable because I was not commenting on the debacle, only the interrogation.  That I recognized Zuckerberg was holding up well under interrogation was not in defense of the Facebook escapade.  Yet, the bozo was responding as if my friend was are not capable of the compartmentalizing required for being objective as she tried to fend off his unwarranted attack of her.  We do not actually  know  to which prejudice or combination of prejudices his “you people” referred. We can only guess.

Maybe it was skin color - an Anglo woman “defending” (according to him) an Anglo man, so he thought it was o.k. to attack an Anglo woman for the comment made by a different Anglo woman?  Convoluted, yes, but such convoluted approaches are certainly characteristic of racism - or would the label of  “racism” be dependent on the color of the skin of both of us being different than the color of his skin?  Gotta wonder. I don’t know the color of his skin.  So perhaps ethnic prejudice would be a more precise name for it in this instance given the fact that his Arabic name would confer "ethnicity" as our current polarized and prejudiced perspective in this nation tends to perceive ethnicity.   Or . . . . was it, instead or also, ageism?  Perhaps it was an unwarranted assumption about folks of retirement age (as I am, don’t know if my friend is too) - that "old people" are prejudice for/against skin color  as if our own attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, and actions had not contributed to supporting and ushering in good changes throughout our entire adult lives, to date, which had started occurring, reinforced by accompanying laws, in our own youth as the civil rights movement became an era. As it became more universally inclusive with people of all colors, ethnicities, and backgrounds publicly and loudly  objecting to the injustices and inequities - eventually laws were the result intended to be used to make the good differences they were intended to make. 

What is it about the both of us, exactly, that resulted in the bozo believing we deserved his prejudicial "you people" rancor, and why?  That we are women, our skin color, our age, our middle east interest - which of these identifiers that we have in common?   Inquiring minds want to know.  Really.  Being confronted with these prejudicial attitudes - and a few others too - is neither new, nor unusual.   Too often people trying to provoke in the way he trying to are simply considered to be ignorant, and ignored for the purpose of not giving them the power, at the time, to disrupt and create the negativity in others which ill-intended people are addicted to trying to provoke.  

However, as I was reminded, lately, due to my aforementioned other friend’s racist travails (which also included a huge dose also of ethnically targeted political prejudice), we owe it to ourselves and everyone else to get our knickers in enough of a twist to speak up when these things happen - especially when other people are verbally abused because of something we, ourselves, have said or done.  When we have integrity, self-respect, and wish the best for others; and choose to project caring and compassion to all, then we can not be silent about these things happening to other people even if we choose to ignore them, sometimes, when they happen to us. A person being verbally abuse to someone else, because of me, got my knickers in a twist.  She deserved better.

I certainly do not expect everyone to agree with my perspective.  However, because most of my own opinions are not carved in stone, for a variety of good reasons, I always appreciate the insight of the opinions people are generous enough to share.  I also rarely engage in name calling - but the most mannerly way to express disgust in this instance is:  your time’s up bozo - your unacceptable attitude and your unacceptable behavior have both been called out. 

01 April 2018

The Said Family: an American Treasure

First, I want to make it clear that I do not know the Said family, personally, although it would be an honor to know them.  I also need to state that I am not suggesting the Said's should be limited to belonging only to America. And for that matter, clearly, they have not limited themselves to also belonging, in addition, to only Lebanon and Palestine - the nations of origin of Miriam and Edward Said.  Even so, we can consider the Said family to be an American treasure.

Many Arab folks emigrated from the region and have done so throughout the decades. Immigration to America from the eastern shore of the Mediterranean started occurring well over a century ago, actually. At first it was primarily from Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine. Later, refugees arrived from Palestine.  Emigrating was often for self preservation, either by choice, or because as young adults their families sent them away for an education, safety sake, and perhaps also so they would be able to create opportunities from a distance to contribute to resolving the damaging political issues that had developed and were developing. 

Wherever these folks established themselves they recognized and became part of the American communities in which they felt most comfortable, were accepted, appreciated and welcomed, assimilating, but not losing pride in the cultural identities of the nations from which they haled.  As they established themselves they became part of families, sometimes through marriage and raising children.  Many were first welcomed into American families as honorary members by mutual choosing. So it has always been with immigrants whether in exile or not. It is not easy to be an immigrant, even though so many make it appear as if it is an effortless process.

Many will know of the Said family because of Edward Said. Some will know of them also because of his wife Mariam Said. Some may know of them primarily because of their children, Wadie and Najla. Below is a little something about each. I will leave it to the article and videos to provide more detailed introductions to each.

There are undoubtedly many more online sources which would bring this family to the attention of folks who do not know them, and those who do, as well. I offer a few, below. I happened upon these today when I was looking for an Edward Said lecture from whence came an excerpt a friend had shared online that I also shared. 

Meet Najla Said

I mentioned the dimension of exile, above.  Najla Said mentions it in an excerpt from her work. In another excerpt she delves much deeper into the emotionally raw chaos of experiencing those feelings as a teenagers when visiting Gaza for the first time. It is a feeling some first generation children of immigrants experience to varying degrees - each in his or her own way. In Najla's case her teenage experience was unique to being of Palestinian and Lebanese heritage. It was not easy. She also shares her joyful experiences in becoming directly familiar with the culture when visiting Lebanon at a later date.

Najla Said reads of her teenage visit to Gaza

Najla Said Acts Out a Scene From "Palestine"
  "The monologue from her one-woman show reflects a point in her life when the playwright began feeling more connected with Middle Eastern culture."

An Actress Reflects Upon Playing Herself (Najla Said) "It's emotionally intense for Najla Said to relive her childhood of cultural confusion and her eating disorder on stage."

Meet Wadie Said
“I really absorbed from my father the idea of standing up for people who were persecuted or otherwise down-and-out, and wanted to apply that lesson in a different way, hence my initial decision to become a public defender”

How the Son of Edward Said Is Trying to Change Terrorism Prosecutions

Meet the Lovely Miriam Said
"This Interview was filmed for the 2013 Edward Memorial Conference organised and held during the 2013 Treaty of Utrecht programme at the Centre for the Humanities of Utrecht University"

A World I Loved - An Interview with Mariam Said

Meet Edward Said

This short 2-minute comment about religious claims to the land of Palestine is a brief introduction to a foundational issue which keeps our world of nations in seemingly endless conflict.  Said succinctly and eloquently explains why conflicting religious claims cannot be the basis for dispossession in modern times. He reminds us that Israelite kingdoms existed in the region of Palestine for approximately a total of 200 years, some 3000 years ago.

Edward Said: Claims to the Holy Land (Israel and the Occupation of Palestine)
from Q and A at the end of a lecture

This next link is the source of the lecture from which the above excerpt originates.  "Edward Said, acclaimed for his literary and cultural criticism, is a sought-after commentator on Middle Eastern politics and America's foremost spokesman for the Palestinian cause. His influential book, "Orientalism," (1978), is an examination of Western perceptions of the Islamic world. His criticism extends to the United States, which he calls a dishonest broker in the peace process due to its long-standing support for apartheid Israel."

Another video of the excerpt states it is from the lecture "Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and 'God-given land' claims" which is "a lecture given by Dr. Edward W. Said at Columbia University, 2003”, where he was a Professor of English and Comparative Literature. It well may be that he responded to the same question with the same answer at that lecture, as well.

Edward Said: Imperial Continuity - Palestine, Iraq, and U.S. Policy.
University of Washington, The Walker-Ames Lecture Series, recorded 8 May 2003

I can not finish without mentioning that in addition to Edward Said who most know was a prolific author, his wife and children are also published authors.

Our immigrants make our nation better. The Said family is one of many who have become American treasures.  As we all know, a diversity of immigrants have taken a variety of paths in making America their home and adding to our nation in the best ways possible.

Americans are responsible for knowing the facts

Assisting American's in this endeavor is something the Saids and many other immigrants  have been doing, most often by sharing the reality of their own personal experiences.  This is not always easy to do.  So too, increasingly, many more everyday Americans are contributing to educating others after having started to question the status-quo, themselves.  They have learned from people like the Saids, in combination with experiencing
glaringly obvious double standards surrounding the issues which motivates questioners to do their own research and learn for themselves. 

Most understand this is a process that occurs in response to all political issues whenever they become so rife with double standards it is painfully obvious to the point of  people no longer being able to ignore the flawed presentation of issues or the damage they do.  It is a process we have collectively been involved in quite a lot in the very recent past as we experience a plethora of double standards and political polarity surrounding most issues.  This has been the reality of the Israel/Palestine issues for a few weeks short of 70 years.  It used to be a few decades ago that having family and friends from the region and/or who lived in the region, was enough "reason" to pay attention to these issues.  By now it has become vital for all to do so -for many more reasons. 

So, I want to provide one more link.  It is one of many excellent resources for understanding a region which has long been and remains an "elephant in the living room".  In large part the "elephant" is present because of the United States taking sides. In doing so it promotes victimization, all the while claiming it is objectively supporting and advising the one-sided sham policies being dictated which continue to be described as a "peace process" by those doing the dictating.  Although this is far from being only a pocketbook issue, the fact is that approaching it from a depletion-of- the-pocketbook perspective is the only way it will eventually convince some to learn about the issues and how our nation's involvement exacerbates and complicates the issues.

Additionally, until a critical mass of our citizens educate themselves about the actual facts of these issues and make it clear to our elected and appointed government officials that they represent us rather than foreign interests, our nation's policies will continue to be corrupted by the manipulations of foreign interests. Thus, the good that we have the potential to do as a nation will be undermined at increasingly exorbitant cost to all. As we have been experiencing, this shows up, increasingly, as bitter political polarity,  also in many other quality of life issues.  It will continue to do so as long our nation's budget is top-heavy with "defense" costs - in recent years over 50%.

For those who need an example of our own collective needs, think maintaining of infrastructure as an issue that effects everyone. There are countless more, like the availability of equitable health care and equitable education for all.  Instead, wellness and education have become primarily for-profit industries which profit much more extensively than those who need doctoring benefit, and than those who need and want higher education and/or training in the trades benefit. The for-profit priority of both heath and education will continue to negatively effect the welfare of all Americans as both education and health care continue to function as for-profit industries.  By doing so they continue to run rampant at increasingly higher cost to families and less benefit to American's and our nation because neither wellness nor higher education and trade schools are equitably and affordably available to

Thus, I offer the last link: 
Palestine Diary - an excellent resource for not only "the other side of the story" but a variety of associated perspectives which are not presented in the news or to our citizens by our government, about an unnecessarily complex issue which has become that way because we have been mislead about the facts, thus the reality of it.

Not enough of us collectively know the facts to the point of having reached critcal mass in a way that stops our elected and appointed government officials from continuing to ignore our well documented requests and advice.  Until then they will continue to receive perks and/or be threatened with extortion for not cooperating which will result in their reelections being opposed.  That effort is primarily the work of lobbiests illegally representing foreign interests who manipulate our elected and appointed government officials directly, but also make a concentrated effort to not only influence but also control our political parties.  

It is not an exaggeration to state that issues worldwide and our own nation's problems, as well as destruction of people and infrastructure in areas of active combat, are primarily due to our nation's active participation in armed conflict being associated with improperly understood thus unresolved Middle East/Near East/SouthWest Asia issues. Choose the name you prefer. We all know the region.  But to the detriment of the world of nations and our own nation not all of us know the facts.

13 February 2018

Have We All Suffered Too Much From an Over-Dose of Vitriol and B.S. Yet?

 Is anyone else exhausted from being profiled based on folks whose primary form of exercise appears to be jumping to conclusions; conclusions that lead to labeling people in ways that are in accordance with negative prejudices?  Is anyone else even more tired of the low-level harassment that occurs because of that exercise, and the retributive form it takes based on group prejudices from folks who are in positions which enable them to call on others to harass intended targets instead of doing it themselves?

There is a word for the problem (several in fact but I'll stay with one, for now):  "corruption".
Are there justified reasons for the corruption?  I say no, that corruption along with the attitudes and behaviors it spawns, altogether, are always malicious and unwarranted. 

Given the numerous decades in which I have been observing and experiencing these attitudes and behaviors plus their negatively intended destructive consequences, I have found there are a few favorites supposed as "reasons" by unethical people with control issues.  Their negative profiling of others is based on their own willingness to jump to unfounded conclusions, as well as the willingness of those exposed to their censuring efforts that target third-parties.  A primary favorite "reason" is dissatisfaction with anyone who is not willing to submit to pressure to convert politically,  religiously, or these days socially (whatever might be the nebulous meaning attached to socially, although it ordinarily seems to be associated with the desire to dictate belief in an ideology which encompasses all the components of an entire belief system).

The retributive intent of those trying to define unwilling converts as having polar opposite perspectives, results in categorizing people as problems, thus threats who they believe deserve to be harassed into compliance.  However, the folks embracing such violent attitudes who are creating the problems, would never be physically violent themselves.  A large part of the work they actually do is in finding ways to manipulate others into doing their dirty work of all types - either as dupes, or through cooperation.

Most who have done the work of knowing themselves so they can continue successfully working to make themselves into who they want to be and to become throughout their lives, of course for the value they can be to others because of doing so, are unwilling to consent to anyone else defining the obvious about them, or defining what is assumed though unknown (e.g. beliefs, opinions, perspectives).  However, unethical people are simply not happy that others are unwilling to buy hook, line, and sinker into whatever political ideology or religion they are trying to peddle, so engage in frenzies of malicious "defining" of those who they consider to be resistant to buying.  Many problems would not develop if folks would not be so quick to buy into what might sound good without first doing their own research.  When we do not do this we can easily become dupes for the malicious among us who link their own success to the amount of success they have in convincing others to buy into the beliefs they are pushing on us, whether they are beliefs about groups of people or individuals.

Fact is I feel no obligation whatsoever, myself, to be forced by anyone else to formulate an opinion about something for which I have not acquired enough knowledge to formulate an opinion through my own efforts. I doubt and question, repeatedly, until I have found enough factual trustworthy documented facts to alleviated doubt, then formulate an opinion.  And even when I do take a stand, I remain flexible enough to adjust it based on whatever new factual information may become pertinent. In fact it is a process of applying the scientific method to daily life choices - comparable, sometimes, to sitting on the fence.

Winslow Homer 1874
Sitting on the fence is an art which some have not mastered.  It includes choosing one's fences wisely.  I learned, long ago, to be comfortable sitting on the fence alone, and with others, as long as needed.  And I have chosen to become intolerant of those trying to push me off the fence to satisfy some perverse competitive self-interest need by which they are motivated to try to compete with and control others. I can not count the times I have been an intended victim of someone’s competitive ambitious attitude, never knowing there was a competition, or why.  It is like an undeclared war of which one is unaware. Can it be attributed to gaslighting narcissism?  Perhaps.  But when it can be defined as a situation that is pervasive throughout the political landscape, or within organizations, groups, or families . . .  it becomes systemic dysfunction and failure.

Who would foolishly imagine other people do not have enough survival issues of their own around which it is necessary to be able to schedule their undivided attention (along with the survival issues of those in their lives they are able to willingly assist, when needed)?  What type of person imagines we are able or willing to accommodate and give priority to the competitive personal-interest issues of their demands?  But when we do not do so we are then defined as threats by the corrupt among us whose demands we do not meet.  The ongoing low-level retributive harassment which targets those who do not cooperate with such demands, is intended to redirect a "threat's" time, effort, and energy to the self-interest needs of those making demands - those whose control issues motivate their own successes which they want to believe are dependent on requiring others to pay for those successes with unwarranted  blood, sweat, and tears demanded of them.

I have put in more than my own share of time being swindled by the destructive attitudes of other people, both as a child and as an adult, attitudes which I have never chosen to also accommodate as part of who I am.  That is partly because a number of people have unknowingly served in the position of being cautionary tales in my life.  No doubt I have been in the same service to other folks, though I ordinarily know when that is the case.  Fact is a majority of  my time, effort, and energy has too often been abused because of it having been redirected to meet self-serving  whims of others.  Without doubt too many have been and/or continue to be plagued by such problems in over abundance.  But, throughout my entire adult life I have not been willing to remain silent about them, particularly systemic problems. No one should be silent, in my opinion.  But why some are is understandable.  Speaking up instead of remaining silent is often  perceived by the unethical and corrupt as a threat, thus an invitation for ongoing retributive harassment.  And that is exactly why some choose to remain silent.  It is not easy to be a front-line boat-rocker because of the possibility of falling into the deep.  When that happens it can be difficult to extricate oneself when unexpectedly sinking . . . or swimming . . . alone.

When I speak of not remaining silent I am not speaking merely of belly-aching, grousing, and complaining about annoying inconveniences and irritations, though we find ourselves doing that from time to time. I am referring to speaking up about ongoing prevaricating, cheating, truth-twisting, the all around bamboozling that is intended to be maliciously misleading and happens to be at the foundation of most systemic problems which have developed and will continue to exist and further develop unless addressed, not only in the personal lives of people, but throughout nations. That unaddressed problems create turmoil and chaos too often leading to violence, death, and destruction, including self-destruction, is abundantly clear.  I am suggesting that speaking up means making efforts to effectively handle problems based on requests all are entitled to make and expect to have honored, for compliance with enforcement of standards, rules, laws, ordinances; requests which are not necessarily accomplished through the creating of public drama unless it is well-timed, supplementally, to draw attention to issues in need of more public attention and understanding.

My own attitudes and experiences are not, and never have been in accordance with what is statistically projected on all of us, based on being categorized by those who have nothing better to do with their lives than put limits on other people in that way.  Few individuals can be easily fit into such ready-made statistical and psychological profiles.

I have become weary of coming across as a problem every time I choose to speak up about unnecessary, ill-intended low-level harassment by folks who create chaos through pulling the strings of the puppets at their beck and call to do their harassing; puppets who rarely completely know how they are being used, beyond being lead to believe targeted individuals are creating problems for which they themselves are unjustly being blamed.  However, long ago I observed that the majority of created problems are due to intentional failure to communicate precisely, which allows excessive space for assuming, and jumping to unwarranted conclusions by those inclined to do so.  Refusing to communicate, and refusing to make an effort to communicate precisely, are favorite weapons in the arsenal of those who choose to be corrupt and unethical at cost to everyone else.

Is there a solution?  I think there are many, actually.  Whether in doubt of others, or not, it is never wrong to have enough respect for others to kindly ask folks, directly, who they are, what they believe and why, then take the time required to allow oneself to be informed by the ways in which they respond.  Most people are capable of being articulate enough to comment objectively about themselves and are willing to do so, including, when necessary, defending themselves against whatever objections others may express about differing viewpoints, and/or what does not seem to them to be clearly communicated.  Having the courage to speak with people, directly, instead of making assumptions about them based on what others have said, is an effective way to solve most problems caused by others, given that we are not always aware of the foundational roots of many problems which have intentionally been caused by third-parties (or fourth, fifth, sixth . . . ).  The opportunity for objective self definition is ordinarily welcomed by most because it is certainly better than the alternative of others imagining they have the right to define us; and better than the alternative of some who believe others are more entitled to define us than we are to define ourselves.

Succinctly? Well, folksy, down-home traditional wisdom has always taught us that unless it comes from the horse's mouth, it is not advisable to eagerly buy into it.  Ask.  Asking is always the best policy.  It is one reason we were blessed with entire languages full of words and the ability to communicate clearly with them.

06 February 2018

The Surprisingly Extensive Mammalian Endo-Cannabinoid System and CBD

There is value in cannabidiol (CBD) found in all types of hemp, including Marijuana with its psychoactive constituent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).  CBD is found throughout the seeds, stalk, and flowers of cannabis plants where it occurs in more significant quantities than in other known sources of cannabidiol. It is extracted in the form of cannabis oil.

CBD is available without psychotropic effects and no matter what type of cannabis it comes from, marijuana or non-psychoactive hemp, it has often been referred to as "medical marijuana".

“Hemp”, unless otherwise stated, will here refer to plain old weedy non-psychactive industrial hemp, the plant long used for rope making, and today used for making fabric and paper, among its many other uses, which also includes use of the seeds for nutritional value. Industrial hemp grows like a weed thus is of high value for its easily renewable sustainability. 

I am not addressing the subject for the purpose of discussing the hot-button political issue of federal legalization of marijuana.  However, I am commenting on the hot-button political issue associated with the value of CBD in holistic integrative healing and questioning why it is being maligned by the mainstream pharmaceutical-centric medical industry.

The fact that cannabinoid  (CBD) is used by the cannabinoid receptors in the body to keep us healthy, certainly does raise questions about why not only marijuana but also hemp has been so maligned for so long.  And it absolutely raises questions about maligning hemp from which CBD can be extracted for the purposes of healing thus avoiding the still unresolved hot button political issue of the THC in marijuana, even though it is removed from the CBD that is extracted from marijuana to be used as "medical marijuana".

It is fairly well known that marijuana and hemp are different varieties of the same genus Cannabis sativa.  A little more botanical background, not as well know, is that the family Cannabaceae of which Cannabis is part, also includes Hops and Hackberries trees and is of the order Rosales which is comprised of nine families, including the hemp, Russian olive, mulberry, buckthorn, rose, elm and nettle families.  In other words Cannabis and Roses are cousins.

I want to point out for those who are not aware, that the growing of hemp as a controlled substance has been in effect since colonial days.  I discovered this way back when, while doing genealogical research of a gateway ancestor to Virginia who was documented as having had a license to grow hemp.  At the time the maritime industry, for one, was hugely reliant on hemp for the making of rope.  It was a profitable  crop.

However, the fact that the growing of hemp was regulated, then, apparently says something about the difficulty of distinguishing between marijuana and hemp while not trusting growers to grow industrial hemp unless it could be regulated. For example, is the cannabis image, up above, marijuana or hemp?

We might deduce from this, accurately or not, that Colonial regulation suggests government folks could test the hemp to determine the veracity of a grower’s claim that it was non-psychactive i.e. not marijuana with it’s pesky THC.   It is interesting to imagine the nature of testing by representatives of the crown . . .

Let me simply say there is a huge body of research about the value of hemp CBD in healing.  To that end the use and availability - affordable availability - of natural, not synthetic CBD - is all about being healthy without having to fight government and health care professionals for the right to be healthy in the most effective least damaging ways.  CBD is not the only issue in that battle of course.

What we know in 2018 is “Cannabinoid receptors are found in nearly every tissue of the body and brain. These receptors are part of the mammalian endocannabinoid system, which includes the brain and both the central and peripheral nervous systems. The receptors respond to the components found in cannabis, acting separately but holistically with the body’s other receptor systems. Because there are so many of these receptors, cannabis may help with a large number of conditions.”  This from a “Cannabis for Cats” article at Animal Wellness website, CBD being advised for pets at times, for the same reason it is advised for people and other mammals, because cannabinoid receptors are part of the mammalian endocannabinoid system. 

Let me say that one more time:  cannabinoid receptors are part of the mammalian endocannabinoid system, an astounding discovery from 30 years ago.  It should be common knowledge by now, but it is apparently the type of news not deemed worthy of being offered, repetitively, in the way other topics are, like crime, and sordid  reports of scandalous behavior.

Even more astounding about the Endo-Cannabinoid System is "there are more receptors for CBD in our body than any other kind of receptor.  So the Endo-Cannabinoid System is truly the largest network of its kind throughout our entire physiology." This is a comment by Asher Milgrom, PhD, CEO & Chief Scientist, AMA Regenerative Medicine. in the video, “The Inside Story of Cannabidiol - What are the Benefits of CBD?", where he addresses the physiological effects of CBD.  The process of the importance of homeostasis is explained with reference of course to CBD, since it is the Endo-Cannabinoid System being addressed.  Again, that is the largest network of its kind throughout our entire physiology, but apparently not the type of news deemed worthy of being offered, repetitively.  As Dad used to say when suggesting the advantages of thinking deeply in a big picture cause and effect way, "put that in your pipe and smoke it!"

Though the model of a mobile Asher Milgrom uses in the video is simplistic, it is useful in clearly illustrating the level at which CBD works in the integrative medicine model of holistic healing; contrasted to treating isolated symptoms with pharmaceuticals which leads to problems from isolated treatment, then more isolated treatment of symptoms with more pharmaceuticals . . . ad infinitum to damaging proportions because of numerous noxious pharmaceuticals.  There are natural means available that are non-toxic.

Even for folks who already know and understand the physiological processes of homeostasis Milgrom describes, the nearly 22 minute video is worth watching for the way he describes the value of CBD in the process of homeostasis.  It maintains and establishes balance in the Endo-Cannabinoid System.  He contrasts the holistic systemic effects of CBD with the way combinations of pharmaceutical drugs are used to treat individual bodily symptoms and the problems that present from doing so.

To be fair, many allopathic physicians are coming around to educating themselves and getting themselves educated about the holistic approach to treatment, thus they are more willing to work with integrative physicians (or become integrative physicians, themselves) so that natural treatment can be used  - along with pharmaceutical treatment to make it more effective when pharmaceutical treatment is needed.

In the video Asher Milgrom attributes a 1992 discovery of the Endo-Cannabinoid System to Dr. Rafael Mechoulam of Hebrew University.  More about the history of the discovery of the Endo-Cannabinoid System can be found at this link: The Endocannabinoid System: A History of Endocannabinoids and Cannabis.  There are undoubtedly many other sources about the history of the discovery, the researchers, and their peer-reviewed research.  Project CBD is mentioned in the video as a resource.

This article “CBD is Not Just Another Nutritional Supplement” may not be an exact transcript of the video, but is close to it.  And yes, at the end of both the video and the article a business and it's products are discussed, briefly.  But it does not devalue the usefulness of the information presented - at least to anyone concerned with the need for healing and maintaining of optimum health

Research seems to have started earlier than 1992 because "In 1988, the first cannabinoid receptor was found in the brain of a rat. Initially found by Allyn Howlett and William Devane these cannabinoid receptors turned out to be plentiful in the brain – more so than any other neurotransmitter receptor."  This is when the prevalence of cannabinoid receptors was discovered some 30 years ago.  It is stated that Dr. Rafael Mechoulam discovered the body produces some amount of CBDs.  However, these are not in the quantities the prevalence of receptors indicates is designed to be acquired only from internal production.  So again the question arises of why the use of CBD has become a politicized issue given the fact that the mammalian body has a prevalence of receptors.  One might be tempted to imagine that with the prevalence of receptors in the body, qood quality unpolluted CBD is needed by the body to maintain health.

Consider the value of CBD to mammalian healing and maintaining of health.

Addendum 22 June 2020

This TED Talk video, Demystifying the endocannabinoid system, is a good companion video to Dr. Milgrom's video.  In it Dr. Ruth Ross provides additional information about the Endocannabionoid system.  Near the end she describes what happens in the brain when tetrahydrocannabinol is introduced i.e. THC (the high in cannabis, and one of the primary ingredients of cannabis).  

Milgrom's video is presenting evidence of the medicinal value of CBD (i.e. medical marijuana which is cannabis without the THC and/or with the THC removed) and how it benefits the body through the endocannabionoid receptors, while Ross' later video suggests that cannabis with the THC present (recreational cannabis) is not necessarily of medicinal value. 

Together they provide a more comprehensive insight into, and understanding of the amazing and  extensive mammalian  endocannabionoid system and its purposes.