Archive for the ‘Greed’ Category

Graceful Dancing

Posted: May 16, 2015 in Absolute Truth, Abuse, Aging, America, Anxiety, Arguments, Atheism, Atheist, Bi-Polar, Bible, Blog, Blogging, Books, Brainwashed, Change, Charity, Charity Foundations, Christianity, Church, Community, Confessions, Coping, Corporate Culture, Crisis, Crooked Politicians, Culture, Death, Debates, Depression, Diary, Dilemma, Dreams, Duty of Care, Dying, Elderly, Emotional Abuse, Epic Battle, Ethics, Evil, Faith, Family, Fear, Forgiveness, God, Good, Good-byes, Greed, Grief, Haile Selassie, Insanity, Inside My Mind, Jesus, Journal, Lies and broken promises, Life, Lists, Living in fear, Logic, Love, Mania, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Minnesota, Misc, miscellaneous, Moral Theories, Morals, Motivation, Mourning, Nursing Homes, Opinion, Pain, Personal, Philosophy, Politics, Prayers, Progress, Psychosis, Quotes, Random, Random Thoughts, Rants, Reform, Rejection, Rights, Sadness, Self-esteem, Self-Help, Self-image, Social Debates, Social Injustices, Society, Sorrow, Spirituality, Stress, Suffering, Suicide, Suicide Note, The Bible, The Bucket List Foundation, The Philosophy of Quotes, Theology, TheRandomArtist, Thoughts, Treatment, Uncategorized, Unity, Verbal Abuse, Work, Work Environment, Writing
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The choice of letting go and saying goodbye is never easy, yet the decision to hold on is even harder. I have let go of hopes, dreams, relationships, redemption and written my goodbyes many times in the past, but every morning I regret my choices and my decisions to hold on… This was the beginning of the post I was working on last Saturday, what was to follow was going to be my final words then swallow every bit of medication I had and finally be at peace. Instead I ended up in the psych ward at Abbot where I stayed until yesterday against my doctors and others advice. I didn’t see the point in staying, all they did was drug me to the point where all I could do was sleep. I was at a crossroads where I knew whether I chose to stay or go I was leaving in worse shape when wen I went in. When I walked out of the hospital and reality came crashing down on me I knew right then and there that I fucked up choosing to go to begin with, yet again regretting my decision to hold on. So I am back where I started but with a bit more inner strength then I had before because I received a mental vacation, but seriously how long will that last? The answer will come in the next week or so as I sit back and see how everything plays out between my job, dream, finances, and relationships. I feel I am at the point where depending on how these things play out will determine my future.

My life is riddled with mistakes, and regrets each one adding to the greater mound of shit called life. At this moment three key things come to mind, keep in mind this is not in chronological order of importance.

  1. Failing at fixing all the problems at the nursing home I work at to improve the quality of life of the residents I have grown to care for so deeply.
  2. Giving up on my dreams of becoming a writer or an artist.
  3. Not finding redemption for the countless number of lives I have destroyed in my 35 years on this earth.
  4. Not following through with shit on November 26th.

I think what it comes down to is acceptance. I need to accept that I won’t ever be more than I am right now. I have to finally accept I won’t ever be able to help the residents where I work. I don’t know what’s worse giving up on my dreams or trying to redeem myself by helping people just like me who can’t help themselves. I have done shitty things; I have poisoned and hurt everyone and everything I have ever touched. Many of my poems touch on this concept of being a “virus.”

For over six years I have worked so hard to make up for all the pain and suffering I have caused by reducing the pain and suffering the residents at the nursing home I work for by the hands and decisions of the very same people who are supposed to care for and safe guard these residents. There are many good hearted people whom I work with who carry this burden of failure, if any of them are reading this they know the deep sorrow and feeling of helplessness of not being able to give these guys the proper quality of life they deserve.

I have been in business with and covered up things for “business associates” who wouldn’t hesitate putting a bullet in your head, but being involved with and covering up for an employer who is a non-profit and allows vulnerable adults and employees to be harassed mistreated and discriminated against is far worse in my eyes. There are many people at the nursing home I work at who see the same things I see but do not act; as Haile Selassie so eloquently put it

Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”

All of the people involved in my past life and unfortunately as of late too much of my current life chose “the life” and in the end we all end up in one of two places, we deserve whatever end to our means no matter how horrific or painful. Our residents on the other hand do not deserve the means that transpire until their end comes.

This is my apology to the residents that have come and gone who failed to receive the proper quality of life they deserved. I am sorry that I can no longer continue to fight for the change needed, it is destroying me. My old associates showed more mercy delivering people to their end, than the people I work for now. The people employed by this company who care are used and pushed until they break while the predators are allowed to continue to prey.

Non-profits are not supposed to be run like a criminal organization where fear and intimidation rule. Non-profits are supposed to be built upon something called “Duty of care.” If any one of the “criminals” who work at this nursing home is reading this let me define what duty of care means.

“Duty of care is the moral and legal obligation to attend to the safety and wellbeing of those they serve, those who work for them and others who come into contact with their operations.”

Now to wrap things up there may be some people who do not understand what the title of this entry has to do with the content. Below is a Youtube link of Justin Furstenfeld performing the song “Graceful Dancing.” After hearing his introduction to this powerful song, and seeing the familiar emotions during his performance I decided to check myself into the hospital which drastically changed the content of this post. For that I thank the artist and the person who posted this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCFpgfvPGZo&list=PLIWCEQoVmfdHIakN42xTrXYjPnE6I3EHB&index=55

 

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“Human beings must be known to be loved; but Divine beings must be loved to be known.”
Blaise Pascal

Imagine if society as we know it were to completely crumble, ravaged with war, along with our complete loss of technology. Countries would soon begin to crumble; social unrest would cause unimaginable destruction. Lets take our imagination exercise further; during all of this chaos and destruction, only 5-10% of the human population survived. All technology and anything related to it is gone, and very few things such as books, paintings, or structures remain. Being resilient creatures it is only logical mankind will slowly start to re-build.

Everything we know today would be a distant memory. Soon future generations would have no idea what “The Mona Lisa” looked like, or in some cases didn’t even know it had existed. Now imagine if the Bible and all other religious scriptures had been destroyed in the mayhem. With every passing generation the concept of religion as we know it today would have all but disappeared. It would be foolish not to factor in the 5-10% of those who survived, for arguments sake lets say there was no one dominant believe system among the survivors. The people who survived each carried with them one of our many different theological beliefs, but no religious doctrine survived.

Let us continue down this rabbit hole of imagination and say a few Greek Mythology books survived the downfall of man (Yes I am aware this can be considered theology, but I include it only because unfortunately it has been downgraded to “mythology”.) Future generations would logically begin to worship Zeus, and the many other Gods behind said “mythology” and believe this to be religious fact. Even if these books did not exist it is possible for a new generation to create a completely different religion based on the remnants from the downfall. Of course these remnants would be added to with stories passed down from generation to generation.

I feel it is impossible to have a society without the driving force of religion; whether it is to calm fears or to control the population. Religion although perverted and corrupt is a necessity; eventually new religions would be formed to meet these needs. Imagine if the book “Moby Dick” survived the collapse of man. All it would take is one charismatic individual to start preaching the “religious” lessons contained in this book, and just like that a new religion is born. In time as other books are collected they are added to the “Holy Scripture.” Let’s say “Huckleberry Finn,” “Hamlet,” and “The Lord of the Rings” also survived. These various works of fiction are then woven together in a collection of stories to form a new Bible, and out they go to preach the Word, promising life hereafter in Middle Earth.

People are hardwired to need religion in their life, if this were not the case religion would have died out long ago as man discovered science and logic, because of this primal hardwiring they would latch onto this with all their might, replacing, refuting, and stumping scientific and logical advancements. I am sure whoever put this “Bible” together would take some liberties and add their own material just like the Catholics did when choosing which books to include in the Bible. This new congregation would set out to spread the gospels of William Shakespeare, J.R.R. Tolkien, Mark Twain, and Herman Melville, murdering all those who believed differently then they do. In time this religion and its created deities would become reality.

Now here is my question. If all of these things were to actually happened, then does the God of the Bible now cease to exist? If no one knew what a Bible even was, would the God of the Bible come down and start interacting with humans to show us he still existed? Although God made a promise he would never do it again, would he burn then flood the entire world only leaving one family to partake in incest to rebuild the world? If we look at history there have been many different religions that people have blindly followed. As time passed newer, cooler, more convenient, and better suited religions for social control became dominant. Causing all of the long forgotten deities (sorry Zeus) to be left behind and forgotten.   

What We Learn From Failed Relationships

Posted: May 27, 2014 in Absolute Truth, Abuse, Anxiety, Arguments, Blog, Blogging, Change, Childhood, Children, Coping, Crisis, Culture, Dating, Debates, Depression, Diary, Dilemma, Divorce, Dreams, Emotional Abuse, Ethics, Evil, Faith, Family, Fatherhood, Fear, Forgiveness, Freedom, Fun, Greed, Grief, Growing up in abusive homes, Health, Humor, Inside My Mind, Journal, Kids, Learning, Lies and broken promises, Life, Lists, Living Your Dream, Logic, Love, Lust, Marriage, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Misc, miscellaneous, Moral Theories, Morals, Motivation, Mourning, NA, Opinion, Pain, Parent, Parenting, Personal, Philosophy, Poems, Poetry, Published Author, Quotes, Random, Random Thoughts, Rants, Rejection, Relationship Issues, Relationships, Sadness, Self-esteem, Self-Help, Self-image, Social Anxiety, Social Debates, Society, Sorrow, Spirituality, Stress, Suffering, The Invention of Lying, The Philosophy of Lyrics, The Philosophy of Quotes, Things That Give Me Anxiety, Thoughts, Top Ten Lists, Uncategorized, Unity, Verbal Abuse, Writing
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I would first like to start off by thanking all of my readers and subscribers. I learned today; I have readers from 61 different countries. I think that’s pretty bad ass. I am aware that my readership grew from the topics of philosophy, theology, and madness. So bear with me as I stray a bit from those topics. Today I would like to release that which has been permeating in my mind. I would like ponder for a moment the importance of learning from our mistakes in a failed relationship. Through all of this I am trying to maintain a positive attitude and outlook. So here we go.

The one thing I can say with out a doubt is I am far from sainthood. I have made my more than my fair share of mistakes, and bad decisions which played a role in the overall destruction of my marriage. I am ashamed and consumed with intense guilt because of this. This combined with my wife’s lies, and infidelity has allowed me to see the light. I am sure I could write a 200 page paper on this topic, but I will try to keep this short and sweet.

There are 10 main things I have learned in my failed marriage. Now mind you there are far more than 10, but as I said this is not a 200 page dissertation on my failed marriage. I will do my best to not place blame, because it doesn’t do anyone any good. Some things on this list will undoubtedly overlap, even though this is the case I feel each one deserves to be mentioned. Without further ado here is my list of 10 things I learned from my failed marriage.

  1. Never Lie: I did a lot of research after I found out about what my wife did. I learned that in humans our first response when we know we have done something wrong, that will ultimately lead to a negative outcome our immediate response is to lie. We do this for two reasons one we want to avoid conflict, and two we don’t want to get in trouble. Since I am a proponent of the tabula rasa theory (mind being born as a blank slate.) I feel this is a trait we learn as children, which carries over into adulthood. Lying to your partner no matter how small is a terrible idea. We can overcome this childish trait, by knowing our partner as well as ourselves, focus on understanding and know that mistakes are actually learning opportunities.
  2. Never Cheat: I think this one doesn’t need further explanation. It’s a painful and shitty thing to do to those we love. Even if (insert some attractive famous person) wanted to be with you, nothing is worth hurting the one you love.
  3. Trust: it should go without saying that if the two things listed above are followed then trust shouldn’t be an issue. Unfortunately we all carry the baggage of past hurt, what we need to realize is who ever we are with now is not the person who caused us hurt in the past. I would imagine it would be a good idea to be open and honest about these past hurts. A relationship that is not built on trust is like trying to build a house of cards on a windy day, neither of these two examples will be successful. The perfect advice one can give in fostering trust in a relationship is this; if you would not say or do something if your partner was there with you, then you definitely shouldn’t do it.
  4. Accept and Love Each Other For All Their Good Qualities, As Well As Their Flaws: let’s admit it people, no one is perfect, and those who claim to be are probably the most screwed up of them all. Initially I am sure that we all fall in love with our mates good qualities. During the “courting” or “honeymoon” phase of a relationship, it is kind of like interviewing for a job, you really are not being completely honest your just trying to get the “job.” As the relationship progresses and begins to become serious is usually when we start to notice each others flaws. The important thing is that we learn to love that person regardless of their flaws. In fact I believe our flaws can become the most exciting part of a relationship. When you love the good qualities along with the flaws you know you have found true love; when everything seems to fit like a glove.
  5. Never Put Your Partner Down and Break Their Will: this topic has a lot to do with item number four. There are just two things I would like to add. The first is from an article by John Gottman, PhD in an article titled “4 Signs of A Troubled Marriage” Here is the link.http://affiliatedpsychologicalservices.com/4-signs-of-a-troubled-marriage/ Gottman talks about “The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse” which are clear signs you are headed for a divorce. The first two he brings up is “Criticism” and “Contempt.” If anyone out there grew up in an abusive home where as a child you were faced with these two horsemen, having to deal with such things in a marriage is a key ingredient in a divorce. If you tell someone something negative about them enough times, with the right amount of nastiness it is only natural the other party will believe what they are being told, and inevitable this is who they will see when they look into the mirror. I don’t think people are aware of how serious the long term damage can be. My second point comes from a line from the song “Weight of The World” by Blue October. “Don’t bother changing things that won’t give into changing.” It is one thing to help your partner grow and become the best person they can be, but in the process don’t try to change who they are inside. If you are hell bent on trying to force someone to change, there is always medication. If this is your goal please take to heart one of my quotes “Medication is to fix the people we don’t like.” If you feel you need to medicate your partner, it’s time to call it quits.
  6. Freedom: As your relationship grows, it is imperative that you do not take away your partners freedom. When I say freedom I am not referring to allowing your partner to go out all the time neglecting the relationship, and engaging in behaviors which fall into the first three categories I listed. When I say freedom, I say that it is clearly healthy to share and be with each other, but it is also healthy to have a respectful life outside of the relationship. I have made this deadly mistake in one of my relationships, and I have now been on the receiving end of how damaging smothering and isolating your partner can be. If your relationship is built on a strong foundation of trust and respect this should be something you encourage each other to do. I have always admired the relationship between my best friend of 26 years and his lovely wife. I will not mention names, but I truly hope one day I can figure out whatever their secret is, and apply it to my future relationships. I am going to encourage them to write a book.
  7. Support Their Dreams: There is nothing more precious and sacred than some ones hopes and dreams. For some our dreams appear to us when we are young, others do not fully realize their dreams until they discover who they are. When I was young I had the normal boyhood dreams to become a professional football or baseball player, unfortunately like normal boys those dreams were not meant to be. Beyond those two options, I really didn’t have anything else that drove or inspired me, until the 5th grade. Long story short I ended up doing many writing assignments and I remember my teacher signing my year book, saying she could one day see something I have written being published. I was not a very well behaved child, so positive reinforcement from the teachers I tormented was rare, but from that moment my dream changed. I wanted to become a professional writer. As I grew older I held onto this dream, and wrote in private. I never thought anything I would write would be read let alone published. Again long story short one of my poetry books was published, I started this blog, wrote two children’s books, and two other poetry books. Needless to say this was the greatest I had ever felt about myself, because I accomplished something I never thought I could… my dream. I did not receive support from my partner, and in fact was highly put down and discouraged from continuing to write, until finally I had no option but to stop writing. The details behind this are not important at this moment.
  8. Open & Honest Communication: You would think this is a no brainier, but for my marriage and I would imagine many others this proved to be too challenging to overcome and sowed the seeds to our divorce. I feel if you have all seven of these things listed above then number eight would be a given, but if you take out one or two of the above it makes communication a challenge. I avoided and ran away from open and honest communication. I could make a laundry list for why, but this is already becoming too long of a post. Mainly I was afraid to honestly look in the mirror, I was scared I was going to receive an unhealthy dose of items four and five. Regardless of those reasons it is on me for failing in this aspect of our marriage. I need to take ownership for this, and like everything listed learn to not make the same mistakes. It is very difficult and challenging for me to be social, and communicate even with those closest to me. I know this is something I need to work on, but what always ends up playing over and over in my mind is the Pink Floyd lyrics from the song “The Final Cut” which I will add at the end.
  9. Be A Selfless Lover: This is actually one area where I have and feel the most accomplished. I felt I needed to add this, because in my experience men in general put their intimacy needs, or the final “outcome” before their partners. I will not go into detail in case my mom is reading this, but as men our primary focus and goal when it comes to being intimate is placing our partners needs before ourselves. Any man can do his business and be on his way, but this is a man who has failed. When it comes to intimacy your only goal and desire should be the feelings and ultimate “outcome” of your partners needs. Everything else should be secondary.
  10. Find Your Genuine Light: Tomorrow I am going to post a quick poem describing the meaning behind this comment. I do not believe in soul mates. I do not believe there is only one true love for everyone. I believe for everyone, there exists many individuals who could be considered your genuine light. I believe they are rare, but they are out there. My advice is if you feel you are holding your genuine light, don’t let them slip away because you cannot be certain another one will come around to light up your life.

 

“And if I show you my dark side
Will you still hold me tonight?
And if I open my heart to you
And show you my weak side
What would you do?
Would you sell your story to Rolling Stone?
Would you take the children away
And leave me alone?
And smile in reassurance
As you whisper down the phone?
Would you send me packing?
Or would you take me home?”

Pink Floyd

These lyrics describe perfectly why it is so difficult for me to open up to people, which hinders my ability to effectively communicate.

I have always looked at our country, and I have seen many blemishes on the face of this once great nation. There are so many perverted and corrupt things going on right under our noses, its enough to make you sick. We as a nation have been sold out by the representatives we have elected to look out for our best interests. This act of treason alone should be enough for an uprising! The way this government is run, and the way the system is rigged to produce faceless consumer slaves is insanity. What’s worse is this very same system which we keep running by working ourselves to death and consuming more than we can afford, consistently shits on us around every corner.

I have always been baffled as to why the masses are not storming the streets demanding things change. When I first started this blog I was optimistic my words would someday lift the veil over people’s eyes and allow them to see clearly. I want nothing more than to be able to make an impact and change things, but the task seems daunting and impossible. Because of this I suffer from the thinking “I am just one person what can I possibly do?” I am certain there are many other people who see things for what they are, but probably suffer from this same type of thinking. Because of this nobody does anything, and thus we all fall back into our proper places as cogs in the machine. If somehow, all the enlightened individuals were to come together we could make a real difference. As individuals we may not be heard, but united as one voice we can become a positive vehicle for reform. I felt confident that through my writing I could start some grassroots movement aimed at taking our country back.

I was so pumped when I came up with an idea to start a grassroots movement called “The American Republic Movement (ARM).” I was wide-eyed and optimistic about this idea. I was proud of myself for taking the first step I have always wanted to take. I created a page on my newly formed website dedicated to the movement. I started to write more political posts urging others to come together in unity and demand our officials start working for us instead of corporations and special interests. When I started this I dreamed the movement would take off just as the Tea Party Express was taking off. I felt this movement was going to make a real difference and by the time my children entered adulthood they would be living and working in a just system.

I was all gun-ho about this, until I received a slap of reality from Trey. He informed me that he worked for years trying to make a change and the way our system is set up it is impossible to defeat a two-party system. I trusted Trey and I knew he was wise, but I still thought that maybe I could make a difference. I continued to focus more of my posts on politics and the issues, and kept my ARM page up on my website. After awhile I was receiving no interest on my website contact page and little support from my readers. I became discouraged and pulled down the ARM page of my website and took a step back and stopped writing so heavily on political topics. I hit that wall where I couldn’t change even a hundred people so I just gave up and submitted to my corporate masters. I look back now and realize I just created this website with absolutely no marketing, and my blog had only been up a few months. I still hope as my readership continues to grow, and as I continue to write about political matters I am able to get even one person to be able to look through a lifetime of programming, and see things as they are. Perhaps if this one person I get to take a second look at things, may be the person who can successfully unit people together for positive change.

In the end the truth is we can make a difference in our country, but in order to do so we need to stand in unity as one voice. A hundred men and woman may be muffled, but what will our government do when a hundred million men and woman are protesting and marching the streets demanding change. We need to find people willing to run for office, even if it is at the lowest form of government, who actually cares about this country, its people, and its future. In time with the people taking the streets demanding this country changes, our current politicians will feel the pressure and realize they can no longer rule through corruption. They will be held accountable for the promises they make to us while they are running for election.

The process of ushering in real reform in this country may take many years and in reality may not show during our lifetime, but perhaps this country can become great for future generations to come. I think we all owe it to ourselves and our children to be proactive in bettering our country. We are going to hell in a hand basket and if we continue to just sit ideally by hypnotized by the opiate of the media, before you know it this country will completely collapse, and the rich will finally achieve their ultimate goal of complete control.

“We learn the inner secret of happiness when we learn to direct our inner drives, our interest and our attention to something besides ourselves.”
Ethel Percy Andrus

How common is selflessness in our culture today? Have we become a society where the “me” first mentality reins supreme? How many people out there can honestly say they put others needs before there own? I would imagine the percentage is rather small, but then again I have very little faith in our current humanity. I know there are many wealthy Americans who do great deeds of charity, giving away millions of dollars to various organizations, but are they doing this because they are putting others before themselves or are they doing these things for tax breaks, self-image, or some other form of self-interests. I know like our country I struggle with the disease of selfishness. When I slack on studying the Tao Te Ching, I tend to lose my center and allow ego and selfishness back to the forefront of my conscience. The days I am able to live by putting others before myself, tend to be my greatest Tao moments. I have learned so much from the Tao thus far, but I have a hard time living the lessons on a daily basis. I would love nothing more than to rid myself of my most embarrassing character flaws, but this has proven to be a hard habit to break.

Ever since I started writing I have directed my inner drive on achieving my writing goals; neglecting my other responsibilities. There was a time when I would get home from work and do nothing but write until it was time for me to go to bed. Naturally this produced friction in my marriage and my ability to be a good father. My interests and attention was focused in a selfish manner, and my happiness was greatly impacted. Once I started to let this desire go I noticed a greater sense of happiness inside of myself as well as my family. I also noticed how much my happiness was affected by this simple change. Now this could be because my selfish focus on my writing was causing so many arguments, and now they were not, or it could be because of how I felt about myself knowing I was putting others before me. I know my wife and kids are happy I made this transition. Yes there are days where all I want to do is write, but if I only do this once every other week or so then I am met with love and understanding from my family. The question I need to answer is finding balance. When I do not work at home my writing suffers, but when I do get sucked into writing I can’t seem to find a happy balance.

There are some aspects of my life where I need to be selfish and that is in managing my mental health. For many years I felt guilty for shutting down and tuning out when I finally hit a mental wall. I have since talked to my therapist and she reassured me that being selfish when managing your MI is actually a good thing. I can only go so long before my mind and body begin to deteriorate. I for the most part have been good at recognizing my symptoms prior to just completely breaking down. When I recognize this I immediately need a few days to shut down and recharge. I need to have little to none negative or hyper stimulation, and I either need to cuddle on the couch and watch television or play Madden. My therapists praised me for being able to identify my current state and know what I need to correct this. My wife is understanding of this and accommodates me well. My problem is I will turn a weekend or evening of recharging into two-weeks of laziness. I have transformed productive selfishness into damaging and negative selfishness.

I work everyday at trying to put others before myself. I am a bit frustrated with my progress to this point. I began studying the Tao Te Ching ten months ago. It has taken me this long to get through twenty-five verses. I feel like I should still be on the first verse. Should I really move on to the next if I have not yet mastered the lessoned learned from each verse. The first verse talks about turning desiring into allowing. The verse says to sit back relax, and stop trying so hard to achieve something, instead just allow it to happen. Although this verse does not directly mention selflessness it is perfect for my selfishness because in times I want to get something done, it is all I think about and I become irritated when something stands in my way. The third verse builds on this concept and says it much better “practice not doing. When action is pure and selfless, everything settles into its own perfect place.” Now if I could just live this everyday I would be golden. 

“The human contribution is the essential ingredient. It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live.”
Ethel Percy Andrus

Our country is founded and thrives on capitalism, where greed and selfishness are the building blocks. Imagine a world where every citizen inhabiting our planet stopped with the “me” first mentality and instead lived to serve their fellow man. There would be no war, poverty, violence, starvation among many other things. We would live in a world where the rich would shelter the poor, instead of stepping on top of them. Sick adults and children would receive life altering medical care, not because they have insurance but because it is the right thing to do. If every one of us took the very first step towards thinking of others in time we would live in a much better world, but who am I to talk. If I cannot cure the disease of selfishness in my own life how can I ask others to change theirs?

“Each new generation is a fresh invasion of savages.”
Hervey Allen

What do you think when you hear the word savages? Do you think about the small tribes in the rainforest worshiping the Sun God, and practicing black magic? Do you think of ancient times through the early stages of our evolution where man was primitive in their knowledge and behavior? This is a pretty broad word which may mean different things to different people. When I was studying theological anthropology the word “savages” was primarily used to describe primitive people, who still lived in small villages or tribes and believed in so called “primitive” religions. This sentiment is well known in the Christian missionary objectives. If this is indeed the case should we still be considered savages, or have we evolved into sophisticated beings?

I look at this world and I do not see sophisticated beings, I see nations of evolved savages. When I think of the word “savages” I think of beings that live by their primal urges, and are concerned with only their own personal survival. I think of men and woman driven by greed, and the rat race to accumulate more wealth and possessions. I think of people who preach hate and intolerance. I think of perverted minds consumed with insatiable desires for power. I think of these leaders who choose themselves over those they are charged to rule. To me this is what a savage is, and in my opinion we are infested with them. We may have evolved technologically wise, but we are far away from being sophisticated. We may be able to log onto our Facebooks from our iPads, but we still can’t think of others before ourselves.

If we look at our society we will find plenty of examples of people living for their own self-interests as opposed to living for the self-interests of the collective. This is why there will never be peace on earth, or a society which resembles a utopia. Peace and serenity can never be achieved if we are driven by self-interests. I already know one of my occasional readers Tony will chime in on how self-interest is what fuels progress, and without it we would not have evolved technologically and we would not have the amenities we do today. I have heard the argument from one of my co-workers that if we had universal healthcare than our quality of care would go down because no one would be motivated to become a doctor, and therefore your continuity of care would decrease. I think this statement only further shows our savagery. If this is the case than our society is breeding men and woman who get into this profession  not to actually help people, but to garnish a higher paycheck?

I would happily trade our technological advancements in exchange for a society which has advanced on an enlightened path. I would happily walk to work, live without my blog, watch non HD television, and give up my dream of becoming a writer to know my children were living in a world where the well being of your fellow man came before the well being of yourself. To live in a world were innocent men, women, and children did not need to die in the name of war, or suffer from hunger and pestilence in the name of greed. A world where are elected officials are humanitarians as opposed to crooks. A world where nations stand hand in hand in peace and unity, where differences are met by listening and understanding instead words of threats and aggression. A utopia where hate is replaced with love and love is known by all.

I would like to say a world like this is possible, but like the quote says each generation is a fresh invasion of savages who are raised on morals learned from television and video games. New generations raised on greed and self-preservation. Generations who will spit on a dying man just trying to get healthcare so he can live. A society where war is so common it seems like second nature, and is replaced on the news by movie stars babies. A world so dummied down by the media we are easy to control like herded sheep. A world where the good are hidden by the evil and the evil are in charge. A world run by savages.  

“The quest for riches darkens the sense of right and wrong.”
Antiphanes

I believe the greatest evil to come from man is greed. It destroys everything and everyone it touches. When we thirst for money, power, and respect we will bend what we consider to be right or wrong in order to justify the actions we have to do to achieve these ends. I think greed changes a man just as greed has completely destroyed our country. If broken down to the basics it can be said that greed has become more destructive than war. If we think about it war would not be possible if there was not greed behind it. I think everything dirty and wrong with man is rooted in greed. This very thing was responsible for the downfall of every great empire, and we have paved a road of gold leading to our downfall.

I know this to be true in my own experience. Prior to taking a job as a collector at Universal Acceptance Corp, I was a laid back Zen type of person. I had semi-strong morals and ethics. I was against greed, and against corporate America. I took the job as a collector and to be honest I had no expectations on what would become of me at this next stop. I had zero aspirations to achieve a higher status than a collector. I was in school during this time so I looked at this job as a pit stop. I figured I would work there for a year or two; then when I finished my degree I would be out. I didn’t end up moving on because my degree was in philosophy so it’s not like this opened a ton of new doors for me. I really do not know what I was thinking about there.

I had about nine years of management under my belt prior to taking this job. The person who interviewed me told me there was possibility of advancement, but I really wasn’t feeling it. After all these years I was sort of burned out from management. I wanted a job I could just go to then leave work at work; you know nothing really serious. I was not looking forward to doing collections because it was; well collections. This required a cold hearted person with a certain tact which I lacked. I am a very timid and shy, so I was not looking forward to having to be assertive. To my surprise I was very good at what I did. I managed to put some humanity into my position which worked better than the hard collect. I thoroughly enjoyed the bonuses, and when I saw how fast this company was expanding I set my eyes onto a management role. I worked my ass off until I was finally promoted. I started as a soft collector but over time turned to a pure dick collector because I understood my advancement depended upon it.

I stepped on friends and became cutthroat when it came time for the company to choose those who were to enter into the management training program. I remember there were six of us and only two spots. I was eventually promoted.  Now that I was managing my own team I learned about this company’s concept of the bottom line, and the things needed of me to achieve this. I of course excelled at my position and embraced this company’s philosophy and culture. The longer I worked for this company and the more I learned about how they did things the more I realized how evil this company was. They were predators feeding off those in dire straights. I went along with this and kept bending and changing my morals and ethics all in the name of advancement and bigger paychecks. Because of the years of bending and twisting my core values at work, I began to bend and twist my core values as a human being.

I did this all in the name of greed. I wanted more money so I could buy more stuff to fill my life with accomplishments and possessions. I can tell you by experience wealth and status is not that important. I contributed to the destruction of countless amounts of people, and I did this so my paycheck would be larger. We all contribute to this culture of greed. We bathe in it, and become intoxicated with filling our ego. This is not the way to live. This is not the way to treat your fellow man. We need to replace greed with charity and compassion. This is the only way we can right this ship off the path of destruction. Sadly in our current economic structure this will never be possible.

If you had the power to allow one murder to walk free in exchange for ten others to be behind bars; would you? This is the core moral and ethical dilemma behind the series “The Shield.” This is what I had to consistently ask myself throughout this show to defend the main characters actions I had grown to love. You had two separate groups of fans in this show; those who believed what the “Strike Team” had done were good, and those who believed their actions were evil. I am not going into great depth about the show because frankly this could turn into a twenty page critique of the show. This is just an introduction into an in-depth look into this show. In the end I hope to answer the question if despite their crimes, were these cops good or bad. I also want to analyze their moral and ethical decline, and to see how each character justifies their actions.  

It has been a few years since “The Shield” aired its series finale episode. I was in love with this show, and still to this day declare it to be the best television series of all time. I do not feel another show will ever capture such complex emotions and show such intense inner struggles in confronting what is morally right and what is morally wrong. The creator Shawn Ryan did a fantastic job of portraying the main characters struggle to walk the fine line between good and evil in the name of justice and self preservation. The members of The Strike Team consistently blurred this line with justifications for their actions. In their eyes they felt their actions were morally right because they were taking ten evil people off the streets in the exchange for the protection of one. The further this line between good and evil was blurred the further they walked away from their morality, until it became increasingly more difficult to internally justify their actions.

“The Shield” is about a small group of cops on the Gang Strike Team in Farmington, California. This was a close nit group of good cops who concocted a unique way to keep order in the city, ala mafia style. They knew Farmington was overrun by criminals, and was one of the highest crime cities in the state. They knew they would never win the war against the gangs, cease the distribution of narcotics, or win the war against crime. The Strike Team made a deal with the devil by allowing a local gang to run their operation in exchange for peace on the streets, tips to arrest their competition; and tips to arrest other criminals. In exchange for this the Strike Team collected a cut of the gangs’ profits and was heralded as heroes by keeping the peace. They were known for their police brutality, and this brutality was overlooked because of how affective they were. Beyond the working relationship with this gang, and the moral issues of police brutality the Strike Team operated within the laws they were charged to protect, at least for awhile. This first initial blur between walking the line between morally right and morally wrong cemented their destiny to the final conclusion of this series.

The question I had to keep asking myself throughout this shows tenure was this. “Despite their immoral actions for moral reasons; were these characters good or evil?” On one hand they were committing a crime by allowing this gang to operate, but their reasons behind it were morally justified. They were well aware that what they were doing was wrong and against the law. You could tell this by their quest to continually cover their tracks, and then to cover the tracks they just covered. You did get the sense that even though they knew their actions were wrong, they were able to internally justify them. As the series progressed they were continually having to confront these struggles between what they were doing was right or wrong. You could tell they were hesitant to take that next step past the moral and ethical line between right and wrong, although they almost didn’t have a choice in the matter. When they were confronted with this moral and ethical dilemma they continued to find new justification for why they were talking that next step further away from the moral line.

I believe each character prior to joining the Strike Team was a morally and ethically just police officer. It was only when they were teamed up, and took the first initial step past that invisible line between good and evil; is when things started to spiral out of control. This calls to question if we begin to blur the line between right and wrong will we as well suffer a similar fate? By the end of the series the characters had no resemblance to the characters from the first episode. Their continued justifications for their actions in the name of morality; just rotted them to their very core. Even after six years of watching the apprehensible actions this team perpetrated I was still stuck on the question of “are these men truly bad?” More times than not my conclusion was no, I believed their ends justified their means.

I still miss this show, and I doubt their will ever be another show to top it. It is a classic with so many things going on; on a much deeper level than what you see on your television screen. Their internal struggle to continually do bad things to accomplish good things was perfectly portrayed. You could feel, sense, and see the internal ethical struggle of what is good and what is evil in each character Add in their quest to cover up said bad things and in doing so caused them to further blur the line between right and wrong in the name of freedom. In the end they became what they first started to protect the city against. Their fears of being caught messed with their minds into walking further away from morality. All these things came to a climax in the final episode of the series which logically ended the only way it could, despite of what some of the fans may have wanted.

In the end when you measure up all the bad things the Strike Team did, you cannot discount all the great things they have done. This is the key dilemma to this show which is not so black and white on if they should be considered good or bad. My first two runs through this show I thought this was a good group of people who made bad decisions, but despite these bad decisions these characters were good. My wife on the other hand views these characters as evil. This I think is what interests me the most. I am excited to have a reason to re-watch this wonderful series. If you have not already watched this show I highly recommend it. This show is truly a work of genius.

“The greatest power is not money power, but political power.”
Walter Annenberg

Personally I do not agree this statement to be true. The power today is in who has the most money, and who is paying our politicians. It is the money infiltrating our elected officials which fuels the machine we call democracy. I wrote a piece months back asking the question if we are Plutocracy. I believe we are. I think when Annenberg first took over his fathers publishing business in 1942 this may have been a true statement. In today’s world money supersedes political power. I would guess most if not all of our politicians are in the pockets of corporations and special interest groups. This my friends is a sad state of affairs. I feel sick to my stomach knowing decisions are being made not in the people’s best interests, but in the best interests of those who possess the most money. I feel appalled that the people of this country have just sat back and allowed this monstrosity to occur. 

I have no idea when this trend changed. I know the change occurred prior to my birth in 1979. If I were to make a guess I would say things started to change and the rich started to seize our country during Nixon’s presidency. I have no concrete proof of this it is just a hunch. If you look at Annenberg’s bio you will see in 1966 he used his media business to sabotage a political campaign. If it were not for his media outlets reporting untrue negative things about Milton Shapp he most likely would have won the election. The reasons Annenberg started this early example of a smear campaign was because Shapp was opposing the merger between Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central. His reasons were not known until after his death when it was revealed that Annenberg was the biggest individual stockholder in Pennsylvania Railroad.

I think this example shows how powerful media outlets are, and who owns our media outlets? Corporations do. During election time we are bombarded with positive and negative things about the candidates many of which are not true on either side. I remember during the healthcare deal. The media (probably paid by insurance companies) aired many commercials against Obama’s healthcare reform bill. These smear commercials greatly affected how the people felt about this bill. I think the meer mention of socialism really killed the momentum Obama built during his campaign. Then you look at those who cast the votes and you can be guaranteed they are making decisions based off of who is paying them the most money; sadly it isn’t the people. The heartbreaking part is people do not take the time to try to find the truth they just believe what they are told by their televisions. We missed out on something that would have help millions upon millions of struggling Americans get affordable healthcare. Now it looks like the current bill may actually cause problems, instead of correcting them, unfortunately these problems favor the insurance companies not the American people. Isn’t it amazing what money can do?   

Walter Hubert Annenberg (March 13, 1908 – October 1, 2002) was an American publisher, philanthropist, and diplomat. He owned several publications such as TV Guide, Seventeen, The Philadelphia Inquirer. In 1966, Annenberg used the pages of The Inquirer to cast doubt on the candidacy of Democrat Milton Shapp, for governor of Pennsylvania. Shapp was highly critical of the proposed merger of the Pennsylvania Railroad with the New York Central and was pushing the U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission to stop it. Walter Annenberg, who according to his New York Times obituary, was the biggest individual stockholder of the Pennsylvania Railroad, wanted to see the merger go through and was frustrated with Shapp’s opposition. During a press conference, an Inquirer reporter asked Shapp if he had ever been a patient in a mental hospital. Having never been in one, Shapp simply said “no”. The next day, a five-column front page Inquirer headline read, “Shapp Denies Mental Institution Stay.” Shapp and others have attributed his loss of the election to Annenberg’s newspaper.

When I was younger I wanted nothing to do with the establishment. I hated authority and in return authority hated me. When I was a child I was strongly compelled to do the complete opposite of what those in power told me to do. When I hit my teenage years my rebellion only got worse. I was riding the philosophy of bands such as “Rage Against The Machine,” “Pink Floyd,” “Green Day,” and “Nirvana.” There anti-establishment spoke to me. Even though I didn’t really know what was going on I still knew there was something drastically wrong with the system.

I never intended to get a real job; I figured I could live off of the money I made from dealing and be completely set. It wasn’t until I was about to have my first child I realized dealing was not the greatest business to be in. I learned many valuable things from my years spent in this business and figured I could easily transform what I had learned into a successful management career. Over the years I would slowly become part of the very same establishment I had grown to despise. It wasn’t until two years ago I begun laying the tracks to ensure I would never again be accepted by corporate America. I don’t want anything to do with the machine. I have always thought hell on earth was becoming a tool. I would rather live poor and save my soul then be rich making deals with the devil.

My first real job was managing a Video Update, and I loved how I could use my experience from managing dealers to managing employees. I did very well for myself and thought I could make a career out of retail management. I figured retail management is not a complete sell out. I ended up fitting the perfect little mold of what was expected of me in my position. I was making more money than most people my age, although a far cry from my previous line of work. I figured I had found my calling. As I got a few years older I had danced around in various retail management positions for a few years until I realized how lame it was. I was beginning to worry about seeing people I went to high school with, and feel the embarrassment of perceived failure. Looking back now I realize that working retail management is a noble career which pays well, but at the time I thought differently. I was making good money, but I felt I was degrading myself everyday I put on a uniform. I started to look for manager jobs outside of retail.

I ended up in this department manager position, which I totally loved. Without even knowing it I had entered the very establishment I wanted nothing to do with, and I was a good little tool. I did everything the vice president asked of me even if it meant going against my morals such as lay offs to increase profits. I did these things and I was great at them. I played a typical manager judging and disciplining those employees with families who god forbid had to call in sick. I went out to schmoozing lunches like a total douche, but I loved it. I felt important and I was making money. I lasted there long enough to be laid off by the very same people I had broke bread with, and the very same people I helped get richer. I made a cardinal sin; I ended up making myself expendable. I managed to get my department to run itself. It ran so well they no longer needed a full-time manager. When it came time for more layoffs I was an overpriced piece of meat. They laid me off and assigned the IT guy to oversee my department.

After leaving this position I found jobs here and there but nothing that was a good fit. I wondered around without a goal or identity. I finally ended up taking a job in collections which little did I know would forever alter my life. I am not going to go into great detail about this position because I touch on this job in more detail in other posts, but a quick synapses I started at the bottom destroying customers lives on a small scale into working my way up destroying peoples lives on a much larger one. Here I was living the dream; I made money and wielded power. I did this until it nearly destroyed me. I finally got strung out literally and figuratively on more levels than one and ended up quitting. This was one of the best decisions I had ever made. When I looked in the mirror I had become what I hated most in this world.

I took a few months off and within this time I did a lot of soul searching and in the process I got all tatted up. I did this as a symbolic statement in my final rebellion against the establishment that I not only hated but that almost destroyed my life. I ended up taking a job at a non-profit making peanuts compared to what I was making before, and I held zero authority. I continued to get tattoos, but felt there was still a small bridge that still existed between me and corporate culture. Acknowledging this I decided to do the only logical thing…I started to write. In putting myself out there like I do I have placed nukes on this bridge and blew this bitch down. In doing this I have all but sealed my own fate. I can guarantee you if I were to try and get another manager job, the human resource manger will Google my name and quickly shred my application. I write about a lot of very personal matters on this blog and in my books. There is no way a company would give me a job responsible for anything except a mop.