Sunday Poser #99- 9/25/22

I compare myself to no one. Each day I count my blessings and set my sights on being a better version of myself.
There’s always room for improvement, IMHO.
I struggle, though, with trying to remain tolerant of others while feeling the need to ‘speak up’ in the face of evil and wrongdoing. The phrase “In order for evil to flourish it requires good men to do nothing.” looms large in my heart.
On a personal level, I try to be kind, forgiving, and tolerant and I save my ‘speaking out’ for topics, ideologies, and policies. I can ‘love’ individual people but in no way feel that I have any requirement to approve of their actions or philosophies.
I can be influenced by well-reasoned arguments, but I can never be bought, shamed or intimidated into doing (or believing in) anything I feel is unethical or immoral. Ultimately this makes me sometimes sound opinionated and/or intolerant of those who believe ‘making waves’ is ‘hate’ and uniform compliance is ‘kindness’.
With all due respect, I don’t allow the opinions of others to define me or threaten me, because I never lose sight of my faithfulness to God and being able to live with myself.
As far as forgiving myself, here’s a song I taught my day care kids many years ago. I still live by it. Enjoy!

SoCS- 9-24-22-Home- Our Personal Journey

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “home.” Use it as a noun, a verb, an adjective, or an adverb. Enjoy!

“You can’t go home again.”
No truer words have ever been spoken.
Of course, gathering as families or connecting with old friends can be a pleasant experience but how often do our hopeful expectations of somehow being transported back to a ‘happy place and time’ come true? I guess that all depends on how specific one’s expectations are.
I know some people would probably say that my initial declaration is a bunch of nonsense. That’s cool. I don’t intend to ‘harsh’ anyone’s experience.
But for me, the sugar-coated memories I have are too precious to experiment with by adding a 2.0 version. I’m well aware of the selective nature of our memories. Heck… I never even put much stock in any ‘eyewitness accounts’.
I also realize that there are varying levels of optimism and pessimism in each of us. Some people dwell only on the pleasant memories and others (sadly) give too much of their time and energy to the unpleasant ones. Either way, there’s no doubt that we have embellished those memories.
So, for me, ‘there’s no going home again’. And that isn’t a sad concept.
Perhaps, we who choose to take the path of blowing off high school reunions or trips to childhood ‘stomping grounds’ have a concept of life as an ever-flowing journey of learning and collecting experiences and are compelled to keep moving forward. Reflection on our ‘roads taken’ is a marvelous affirming experience but there’s no return trip in our itinerary. We prefer keeping our memories like a classic movie- without alterations, modern revisions or remakes.
A case might even be made that people who keep “moving on” value the route they’ve taken the most.

Happy Saturday everyone! I hope you make some new beautiful memories this weekend.

Reena’s Xploration Challenge #248- Excavating History

We have a phrase this week to serve as your writing prompt.

…passing through a doorway in history

There is no restriction on format of the piece. There is no last date either, unless you wish to be featured in the Weekly Wrap. 

Duncan’s head hurt.
His pursuit of truth is a hunger he knows can never be satisfied in a conclusion. He wonders, “Is the past truly a mosaic of endless opinions or is there more?”
To become an observer by passing through a doorway of history would give him more evidence but trusting his eyes and ears has limitations. The “who he is”- a being marinated in modern day culture and sensibilities- would be a tremendous disadvantage to an unbiased reenactment. He knows that the understanding of history is disserved by only studying collections of modern intellectual interpretations after the fact. It needs to be excavated for evidentiary fossils that prove each past moment was once alive and three-dimensional.
So, Duncan reads everything he can find… journals and diaries, essays and articles.
His focus is on the founding of his country. Not from any patriotic duty or political position, as one might guess, but because he has Spatial Sequence Synesthesia, and his personal ‘mental map’ oddly always balances on a fulcrum in the late 1800s. His internal visual timeline stretches to infinity toward the past and future from the 1860s every time he withdraws his focused perspective and tries to ‘see’ all of Time. His ‘gift’ is either a peculiar mental defect or a sign of something special and Duncan doesn’t believe in coincidences, so he feels compelled to understand more. He’s somehow tied to that period.

I wish him well.
He may never find a full understanding, but Duncan doesn’t care as long as he collects knowledge that he can absorb through his 5 senses and his heart, bringing the past alive again.
He’s a guy I’d like to talk with!

SoCS 9-17-22 Ring- Warning

What came to mind immediately was the idiom “ring true”. I looked up its origin:

Ring false and the antonym, ring true, which means “seem genuine,” allude to the old practice of judging a coin genuine or fake by the sound it gives out when tapped. This practice became obsolete when coins ceased to be made of precious metals, but by then the idioms were being used to refer to other matters. [Mid-1800s]

The phrase ‘ring true’ takes on a lot of weight these days. Our media has worked overtime sensationalizing everything and simultaneously has avoided doing much factual investigation.
I don’t know about you, but I feel as though I’m in a never-ending game of “Gossip”.

To anyone who is unfamiliar with the game of Gossip, it starts with a phrase whispered into a person’s ear then that person hastily whispers it to the next and so on around a ring of several people. By the time it reaches person #1 again, the phrase’s words and meaning are completely different. It’s comical as a game but tragically lacking as a source of reliable information.

Our media is a ‘for profit’ group of businesses that rely on getting the public’s attention. So, using flashy, salacious, material, and misleading headlines, works well for them, especially in our fast-paced (short attention span) American society.
Clever a-moral people have discovered this lovely way to spread ideological propaganda AND make money. Worse than that, social media companies are “in” on it too by manipulating search engines and censoring sites who might ruin their hypnotic promotion of a single ideological message. I fear that a large number of people are becoming unwitting tools of a totalitarian movement. I also fear that our Constitutional Republic is in grave danger. Freedom of Speech and ‘thought diversity’ are the most essential elements of a free society. We’re losing them both at an alarming rate.
Those who question mass media information as not “ringing true” are being cancelled, arrested, and destroyed (many are now labeled domestic terrorists!) while a comfortably numb public doesn’t even notice… most don’t care to know. Seeking comfort, a group belonging, and a sense of virtuous superiority, has replaced the need to be ethical, reasonable, and truth seeking.
I know this sounds like a finger wagging rant and I suppose it is. Telling-it-like-it-is and pursuing Truth aren’t things I will watch die off without speaking my own mind.

Have a nice Saturday and please keep your ears, eyes, and minds open. Our country’s future needs your support. ❤

Sunday Confessional: Quoting

I happened upon this quote recently.
“Wow! There it is.”, I thought.
Nature teaches us everything we need to know if we watch and listen to it.

Which dog is more likely to ambush and attack you: A confident strong one or a frightened vulnerable one?

That’s all I have to say.

Recognizing Cognitive Dissonance

I’m afraid that many people conflate being kind and accepting of others with accepting their ideas, opinions, and actions. Everything newsworthy, our problems, and all things political have lately been boiled down into a binary viewpoint. Either you agree or you don’t (you hater), which is it?

In my humble opinion, this oversimplified process is primarily inspired by intellectual laziness. The rest is a militant form of ‘virtue signaling’. Virtue signaling is also a product of laziness but holds an element of insecurity that can’t be overlooked.

If two kids are discussing the outdoor temperature and one is reading a Fahrenheit scale and the other is reading Celsius, their numbers are going to be WAY off. They might argue all day long to no avail. That’s why adults add defining factors beyond the binary numerical findings to avoid confusion.
Incidentally, the kids could be both factually correct or one or both could even have read their thermometer incorrectly. To find out takes a little effort and analysis.

Why then do intelligent, decent, adults accept and project an “either/or” opinion on anything?
As adults, you would think they have noticed that all real-life situations have many, if not hundreds, of variables.
Those who insist, or infer, that any disagreement with their personal perception is ‘hateful’, because their ‘facts’ sound and feel so ‘good’, also have another problem besides their enforced ‘virtue signaling’. It’s called ‘cognitive dissonance’. Yes, it is a mental condition, and everyone might be wise to understand it.

People who have cognitive dissonance are those who don’t want any disruption to their over-simplified ‘feel good’ world view. They have internalized it and any reevaluation, even when presented with new mitigating information, is just too upsetting. IMHO, they’re also lazy. Deconstructing such an internalized opinion is hard, not to mention, humbling. Instead, people like that must make “square pegs fit into round holes” in order to maintain what has become “their essence”.
To do that, people with cognitive dissonance make it their mission to dismiss and vilify all assaults on their comfortable conclusions. They use vague one-size-fits all terms like ‘mean’ or ‘nice’ and turn any honest discussion quickly into a complaint of an assault on themselves. Instead of explaining their views, the discussion is turned immediately to the topic of the other person’s bad manners or ‘unfair’, possibly racist or inhumane, intentions.
Why wouldn’t they passionately defend themselves, after all, they have defined their own ‘goodness’ {their own human value} through “group think” acceptance and feeling ‘good’ about themselves by using a childlike oversimplified template of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. It’s an easy-peasy process for those who crave validation.

This brings me to my initial point. I’m struggling with some ideas often presented. They’re over-simplified and seem not to have been thought through.
Some are:

“Respect and love everyone.”

Does that mean I should respect and love Vladimir Putin?

“Black Lives Matter”

Duh, we know that. Who are you talking to exactly? Oh, all those ‘bad people’ who are everywhere. I get it.

“Dogs are better people than people.”

Well, some are, and some aren’t still most of them are loyal, brave, and loving BUT would you put them “in charge” of anything? Give me a break. {BTW-People are predominantly all those things too.}

And the worst are suggestions that we must agree and embrace all people’s ideas and actions in order to be “inclusive”.

No, we don’t. We should be kind and decent to each other without giving up our values and betraying other virtues in the process.

As this is an opinion piece, spare me the “You don’t have a Psychology degree.” or ” You’re mean.” comments. I don’t define myself through the filter of my own or other people’s opinions because all of those are (and should be) subject to change. (No cognitive dissonance here. lol)

News Flash…Good character has concrete parameters and isn’t a matter of opinion.
Have a nice day y’all!

SoCS- 8-6-22- Clueless Karens

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “wallpaper.” Use it however you’d like. Have fun!
This prompt was one I almost didn’t join.
“What am I going to do with that?”, I thought. Then a song started echoing in my head accompanied by a vision of the bold flower-patterned wallpaper from the 1950s and 1960s.
The song is Flowers on the Wall by the Statler Brothers. I hope you take a moment to enjoy it posted below.
Well, upon listening to the song lyrics, I found out that I have more to opine about.
Where do people ‘get off’ telling others how to behave?!
During the pandemic, my sensitivity to such things was understandably overwhelmed. When the nosy Karens pursued mask and vaccine ‘offenders’ as if they were terrorists, I wanted to scream into a pillow. (Just so ya know, your safety, in a FREE country, is singly your own responsibility.) Here’s an aerial view of Woodstock during the 1968-1969 Hong Kong Flu pandemic. What’s happened to us?

But I’d like to get back to the meaning that I found specifically in the song lyrics.
Have you heard people tell shy people to speak up? Or thin people to eat more? Or anxious people to just relax? I have. How about suggestions like, ‘homebodies’ should travel more, or ‘bookworms’ ought to clear their cluttered bookcases? The list is endless.
I can only imagine that that level of ignorance comes from a very narrow and self-centered world view. I’m sure these self-appointed ‘advisors’ most often mean well but their failure to grasp the concept of individuality is still maddening.
There are 7.79+ billion individuals on our planet. And here’s the shocker, there are the same number of viewpoints (aka personalities). [I’ve noticed that the people who truly grasp this concept, seldom see the need to compare themselves to others.]
Diversity according to culture, race, or any other superficial subgroup, cannot compete with that. Yes… I do secretly laugh at people who dwell on immutable or circumstantial diversity.

So, the benign prompt of “wallpaper” moved me into a rant. Who knew that was possible?

Time for a favorite saying as I cool off, “Mind your own business, folks, and one day you may have a business of your own.” LOL

Have your own kind of wonderful Saturday everyone!