SoCS-10/15/22- Happy Place- Suspending Time

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “happy place.” Write the first thing that comes to mind when you think of “happy place.” Have fun!

I want to talk about Time. Human beings have calibrated it to milliseconds and like many things we make possible to measure, we feel that we can manage it. Don’t get me started on the ‘Climate Crisis’. The arrogance of human beings is beyond measure. The belief that we can control or manage the Natural world is absurd. But I digress.
Time is an oppressive force according to my sensibilities. Escaping that ‘weight’, even in small episodes, is my ‘happy place’. I don’t wear a watch. Why should I? The ticking of time is all around us. Clocks are everywhere and the calendar is mentioned or referred to many times a day. But I want you to know that it is possible to step away from that tick, tick, ticking existence.
Have you ever been absorbed in a book, movie, or project, and lost all concept of time? To me, that is the most freeing place I can be. Freedom looms large in my soul if you haven’t noticed.
There are times while I’m at my camp when I feel weightless and lost. So much so, that I ask what time it is and truly have no idea if it’s 11:00 am or 2:00 pm. It’s a glorious experience that to many on ‘timed existences’ would be dizzying and might even give them a feeling of being off-balance.
Schedules and deadlines are necessary, but I dread them. I love winter in New England for the peace, beauty, but mostly for those snowstorms. On a snowstorm day, life slows almost to a stop. Businesses close, travel is unlikely, and no one expects you to BE anywhere. The world is yours for your own sake.
Gosh that’s grand!
I often write about ‘living in the moment’ and I pursue that every day. In retrospect, my choice to spend most of my days with children [animals too] came from my, then unrecognized but looming, pursuit of shunning time. Kids and animals truly do live in the moment and that is where time releases you from its grip.

I am an unapologetic Star Trek fan and have been since I first sat too close to the ‘boob tube’ in the 1960s drinking in all the mind-blowing themes it presented. This stream of consciousness brought one of my favorite themes in the movie Star Trek Insurrection immediately to mind. It is the perfect ‘cherry on top’ of this post. I’ll share it below with a brief explanation for people who are not Star Trek buffs.
Happy Saturday friends! Try to take some time for yourself today!



Here are two (very short) scenes from Star Trek Insurrection that express what I’ve talked about.
Captain Picard and his crew have encountered a foreign human race who live on a planet that, because of unique conditions, are capable of living for centuries. In these clips, he learns a lot about time from one of the inhabitants. Enjoy!

Like it or Not

There are subtle differences in our understanding of words that some people never explore.
I’ve been thinking again. Uh-oh!
Usually, my thoughts are about words and their meanings. Actually, the frequency that human beings misunderstand each other is my greatest fascination.
We have an understanding of what we ‘mean to say’ that sometimes doesn’t translate exactly ‘that way’ to others who speak the same language. I’m aware that language is somewhat fluid, but it seems there are people who use words ‘willy nilly’. I often wonder if they think about words at all.
Here’s my latest quandary:
When I’m asked if I ‘like’ something, to me, it’s asking, “am I fond of it?”. If you know me, I’ve usually already decided if I’m fond of, indifferent to, or dislike something.
What I’ve found out is that if I say I don’t particularly like a food item, the person asking sometimes ‘assumes’ that I dislike it. But most often, I’m just indifferent. To be placed on my ‘like’ list, I have to have a fondness for it or even occasional cravings for it.
In my experience, the indifferent group is my largest category. I’m hardly a fussy eater. My ‘dislike’ list is actually the smallest.
This difference in food preference interpretation, of course, brings me to a larger philosophical point.
The frequency that people find binary choices, or make binary conclusions, where they don’t actually exist. We’re complicated individual beings and deserve better. Life has countless variables and answers are seldom easy.
Taking the ‘binary’ shortcut is often just lazy and many times inconsequential. But it’s a devastating way to investigate problems, justice, or understanding.
I call this the “either/or” approach and think it’s extremely dangerous and divisive.
Once you place anyone on that ‘contrary therefore other’ list you have created a rift that has no possibility of being bridged.
Incidentally, those who take that route are bigots.
Don’t take that route. Expand to understand.
We’re all in this together!



SoCS- Rope- Just Thinking…

Offering a stream of consciousness, is a way to ‘rope’ others into a small segment of our thought process.
I can’t speak for anyone else but mine is wild and messy.
Have you ever asked someone, “What are you thinking about?” and been told, “Nothing.”? I’d guess many times that’s a ballpark generic answer in an effort not to have to explain just like our inclination to answer the question “How are you?” with “Fine.”. But sometimes, I wonder if not having anything on your mind is truly possible? It isn’t for me but how would I know how the mind of others work.
When I’m mowing my lawn, washing dishes, or listening to the radio, there’s always something on my mind. It may only be the appreciation for a favorite tune or what I’ll make for supper, but I never feel a ‘blank’.
This leads me to ask if everyone experiences an ongoing internal dialog with themselves, especially on complex ideas. I do. Questioning myself is a big part of it too.
I find this topic fascinating because it’s one of many things each of us can never know.
Can anyone know if the taste in their own mouth is the exact same taste for another person? We know our favoring of tastes is different but experiencing the taste and what makes a person favor it or not, isn’t possible. That’s a cool concept but also frustrating for those who are hopelessly curious.
Drawing this to a conclusion comes down to my personal realization of how infrequently ‘we humans’ can be certain of anything. We know our senses can fool us, we’ve become alarmingly aware that other humans we give the title of ‘expert’ can’t be sure, and our dear parents aren’t any more able to be unbiased or certain, than we. In no way does that mean that nothing is real or true. This is more of a warning to never stop revisiting those foundations before we assess other things, just like keeping an eye on the sturdiness of that stepladder you’re climbing. Truth comes tumbling down if you don’t or possibly, you’ll end up dangling in a misty ‘nowhere’ land of self-serving definitions and facts. (Hint: Just because a large number of people say they know ‘the truth’ doesn’t mean that they do. You need to pursue it for yourself.)
Thinking critically, and constantly challenging our own conclusions, seems all we can do in order to pursue truth and stay intellectually honest and open-minded.
Have a great weekend and keep thinking!

The Price of Kindness

On Saturday morning, I took my granddaughter to the grocery store. As we were putting our groceries in the car, a man stepped into view who was talking on a cell phone in an agitated voice.

The gist of his “conversation” was that he’d run out of gas in an unfamiliar town, that his gas gauge must be broken and he had only two dollar to get gas which wouldn’t be enough to get back to Springfield.

His performance was very good. He added that he was afraid and pleaded with the “person” on the other end to help him and he was also trembling. Oh yeah, he added that he had been visiting his mother before he had gotten lost.

Katherine was buckled in and as I put the last bag in the car, I interrupted him asking,” Would ten dollars help?” He said some thing like, ” So much for you guys, some nice lady is offering me help! Thanks for nothing.” and he closed his phone. I could hear Katherine saying, “Oh grandma, that’s so nice!”

At this point, my instincts said that I was falling into a scam but my heart was unsure. What I did know, was my granddaughter was witnessing human kindness.

I needed change, and since Kat was buckled in, I locked her into the car to go to the desk for ten dollars.

When I came out, I handed the grateful, still teary-eyed, man the ten saying,”Please pass this kindness on to someone else one day.” His answer was, “I sure will. Karma is a good thing.” He walked away.

If I had been a man, my next step would have been to say, “Hey, I’ll give you a lift to your car.” This would have cleared up the scam or not, but inviting a stranger into my car would have turned a kindness into a reckless act.

On top of it all, I had decided that the lesson for my granddaughter was worth ten dollars and no longer cared if I had been fooled. I had spent ten dollars on more foolish things, for sure.

Katherine and I talked while we rode home. I explained that this man may have been lying in a very practiced scam but, since I wasn’t sure, thought it was a good thing to help. Also, that it is never a child’s job to help an adult. Dealing with strangers is never good for kids.

And now, two days later, I am convinced that I had been scammed as I replay the events. I would have still done what I did, though. And karma may have the last laugh, if that man was taking advantage of the kindness of others.

Marriage: Just What’s in the Cards?

A standard deck of 52 playing cards was hanging out on a lovely table in a  worn but comfortable case when a deck of Star Wars collector cards came along. The Star Wars cards were the same size and weight as the playing cards.

“We know you play rummy and it’s a popular game indeed. You get to have a fine cover and are better cared for than we because Star Wars cards are not as popular. Actually, we are just starting to become noticed and desire the same treatment as you. Being kept in a case and played on a felt table is the dream of all cards. It is the best way for cards to be treated.”

The 52 looked at the Star Wars cards. “I had not realized that all cards were not cared for in the same manner. You certainly deserve fine treatment. Come sit beside me. I’d like to help you find a nice case to hold you too.”

The Star Wars cards frowned. “I want to be just like you. Let me slip into your deck and share YOUR case.”

“I don’t understand?” said 52. “If you slip into my deck all the rules will change. I will have to become crowded and the old games, that I love, will take on a new meaning. The new games will take years to develop and we will both lose our original identity.”

“I don’t care. I am as valuable as you and want what you have, NOW. You are so arrogant 52. If you do not give me your comfort, I must assume that you just hate Star Wars cards. I thought you were nice?”

“Please, it is unkind of you to think in order to have a nice case and fine table that you need to take mine. I would be happy to help you establish your own table and I want you to know all the same “card comforts” that I enjoy. But taking mine is not the answer. I’m comfortable with rummy and, in time, you will be comfortable with your own game.”

The Star Wars cards stormed off while calling 52 a prejudiced, selfish deck.

The End

BTW- The Star Wars cards went to court and were awarded occupancy in 52’s case, at least in Massachusetts. Needless to say, 52 decks everywhere are angry and no one is exactly sure how to play rummy in Massachusetts. At the very least, the games are way more complicated now.

Survival: A Balancing Act

The Olympics made me consider the age old formula of having balance in our lives. Even our food choices are best when there is balance. The Olympians were outstanding! Yet, I always wonder about their “inner” health when I realize how much of their existence is focused upon a few days, sometimes seconds, of time.

So, I created a chart of what, I believe, is true of life for human beings. As I was creating the chart, I couldn’t help but think of examples of extremes. As for Olympians, they are dedicated people who make sacrifices that I do not understand but who make me endlessly proud.

First, and foremost, our need is for survival. Whatever we do, survival comes first because everything else simply counts upon it.

There is wealth. I define wealth as anything tangible in excess of what we need to just survive. We all want comforts and wealth is not a bad thing at all. Wealth makes for prosperity and, often, longevity. You may call wealth, “comforts and currency”. Greed is at the center of those who lopsidedly surround themselves in wealth but no one should be ashamed of pursuing wealth. Wealth inspires innovation and progress which, most often, benefit humankind. We can easily name world leaders and professionals who specialize entirely in the pursuit of wealth and they are, in my mind, detrimental to us all.

There is discovery. It could be subtitled adventure. Ah, what would science be without the hunger to discover. Many of our forefathers came to this country from the need to discover. And we continue to question and learn everyday of our lives from the engrained human impulse for discovery. The Olympians fall primarily into the “overindulging in discovery” crowd. Their mission is to discover the limits of the human body and to test its endurance. Although many of them become wealthy, I believe that their excessive commitment belongs to a zeal for personal discovery. On the down side, scientists who ignore the ethics of scientific study are guilty of placing way too many “eggs” in the discovery “basket” and are my example of a dangerous group. I think arrogance is their primary motivation but greed also plays a role.

Finally, there is enlightenment. Religion and philosophy are the tools in this search for answers. Most often religion and philosophy are at the center of what separates us from our id of savagery. Generosity, forgiveness, and introspect all come from our search for enlightenment. When enlightenment outweighs the two previously mentioned needs, we have the jihad. Holy wars even misplace the human need to survive. Suicide bombers seem the best current example of the danger to humankind from weighing too heavily upon enlightenment.

So balance is still the key to the “good life”, and in my estimation, the spread of imbalance is a direct danger to our survival.