Posts Tagged ‘Ethics’

Yesterday I was told to move out immediately, and to go live at who was ever house I have been going to at night. I explained again as I have in the past that where I goes work. I sit in my office that is what I do. So I say no I’m not going to move out because I have no place to go. Things are said as they always are feelings are felt, and then a new day begins. When I get to work this morning I received an e-mail saying I need to move out now. My response was okay. She knows I don’t have a place to go, thus technically making me homeless. Now let me add that she expects me to pay half of the bills for June, July, and, August. Finally let me also add that she wants me to set up a visitation schedule. Visitation where there is no home. Stay with me here for a minute, because if what I am about to say makes perfect sense, then perhaps I am truly that mentally ill.

She wants me to immediately move out, with nowhere to go, because the wake of the destruction I am leaving behind by the thing said to her and the kids are irreversible. I know and admit I have not had nice things to say to her. This is not a byproduct of mental illness; this is a byproduct of her cheating on me. I know and admit that I used poor judgment in something I have said to my daughter. I have heard her use poor choices and say things that should not have been said to our kids. I am sure many parents out there have said something to their child that they regretted saying. But for me this is a byproduct of my mental illness and I am causing irreversible damage, and therefore need to leave immediately, thus becoming homeless. Does this make sense? Am I crazy because I do not see the logic or reasoning behind this?

She talks about making poor decisions and actions that are causing irreversible damage. Was her decision to be unfaithful a good decision, and didn’t cause irreversible damage to me and our children? Was her decision to throw all my clothes in the basement where our children could clearly see a good decision that isn’t going to cause irreversible damage? During this whole process can she truly say that she has not said or done things that haven’t caused irreversible damage? Because of this I need to leave immediately, and be homeless. Will her decision to throw me out of the house with nowhere to go, not cause me or our children irreversible damage? Does this make sense? Am I crazy because I do not see the logic or reasoning behind this?

I am going to move out immediately. I would rather be homeless, then beg to continue living there after everything that has happened.

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My intended focus this week was to break down, analyze, and apply my methodology to three single events with the intended outcome of making the correct choice. Do I stay or do I go? I have repeatedly replayed the same haunting moment of seeing my son still and quiet on his bike as he watched me get in the car to go to work. In that moment I could see in his eyes the internal conflict between acceptance and denial that his dad is slipping away. I could see and understand all too well the sadness he was trying so bravely to hide.

It is difficult for me to release my sadness and sorrow through the shedding of tears. The only time the outside world can see what I try so hard to hide, is when I cannot hold back my tears. At that moment, just as in this moment writing about it I cannot stop the tears. Many people say that crying is supposed to be this wonderful release of pent up emotions. It’s not like that for me. Tears feel like razor blades running down my face, slicing through self-denial and exposing my weakness and vulnerability. Regardless of how many times I have been told I am selfish and only think of myself, at the end of the day my meaning in life, and my purpose is to not break his heart. I am well aware I will never win the father of the year award. To be honest with you I don’t even know if I’m a good father. Despite what I am told I know I have always tried to be the best dad I could be.

After the series of events that took place yesterday, or would it be considered today? I haven’t slept for days so time holds no logical meaning. After said events the only answer to my opening question; is to go. There are only so many pieces someone can be broken into before they are unable to be put back together. I now need to come to terms with the sobering reality that I will become in my own eyes everything I ever swore I wouldn’t. I will become my fathers son. I am desperately seeking, yet fear I will be unable to live with the guilt, or forgive myself.

Children are not stone, nor are they steel. They are dirt and clay, molded by the hands of experience. There is no way to reconcile the loss of my son’s happiness and hope due to the harsh reality of my life, which I have viciously infected upon my family. Despite my frequent mental transformations I made the decision to get married and have children; in that single moment I destroyed their lives. I suppose I was caught up in the perceived human need for significance, by my own sense of insecurity. Here is where I cannot deny my selfishness. Broken dolls are meant to walk alone.

In moments like this I want to hide within the minds of Soren Kierkegaard and Albert Camus covering myself in the blanket of Absurdism. Believing all struggles for life is for nothing. There is only birth and death, and everything in between is our feeble attempt to find meaning and purpose. This concept is wonderful, but in the back of my mind I’m burdened with this question. What if birth and death were only two points, that they were inconsequential compared to what happens between them?

I am currently burdened with this increasingly ticking clock looming over my head. I hear it every second of every day; sometimes it’s as soft as a pin drop, other times it’s so deafening it impedes on my ability to function. Loud or soft there is no escape it’s always there tick, tock, tick, tock. This metaphorical clock terrorizing my mind is the count down leading to the single most important decision I have had to make thus far in my life. Do I stay or do I go?

Regardless of how hard I try not to have this internal battle; I would question my humanity if I didn’t. I have spent 15 years of my life with this person, and raised three children with her. I would delusional to think, after 15 years there would be only happy times; that our relationship would be void of heartaches. I figure the best way to analyze this problem is through a Utilitarian view point. Which decisions creates the most happiness while simultaneously creating the least amount of sorrow. I have quickly learned that making a decision as a utilitarian when there are so many people involved is damn near impossible. What I have been doing is treating each situation as a single event. I observe how I feel inside; I try to imagine how those involved feel inside. I then proceed to estimate how many times such an event has happened in the past, and then apply the probability of this event happening in the future. This is the method I have been using to try and silence the ticking clock by making my final decision. Will this methodology sentence me to a life filled with tormenting regret, or will it be the key to unlock these shackles of hopelessness I have been chained to most of my life.

This week I plan on taking some of these single events; breaking them down as I have described above with the hope of discovering the answer to my question. Do I stay or do I go?

There are a few things going on with the various responses I have received from my family. I do not really know where to start or what to address. I pondered responding via a comment thread, but figured this avenue would be much better and hopefully clear up some misunderstandings and clarify things to those around me. I am in no way going to go off in an attacking rage, or really say anything inappropriate. Before I begin I want it to be noted that I am not sorry for the things I said about Ernie, and I will not apologize for what I said. I am aware that this obviously will ensure that we will never be invited to the family reunion, but really would we ever have been? I am going to be the same person I always have been so why would he change his mind? I heard somewhere that he was going to change his mind until I sent my F.U. email, but this is highly suspect since he didn’t change his mind in the midst of all the bullshit. This is an easy excuse for him and I am not sorry I sent it I am only sorry that I gave him a cop out.

As much as I would like to address each issue individually I am only going to clarify a few things. The first is the comments about “getting over it.” I agree with this that I should get over all the bullshit that happened in my past, and for the most part I have. Those who have talked to me would know this. Of course there are times or situations that will remind me of specific situations, and I have to re-live the emotions, but I work them out. In my early twenties I really didn’t want anything to do with anyone. I had never dealt with anything and only self medicated to ease that pain. Once I sobered up I was confronted with this shit all at once and it was to much. I hated everyone including myself, and I blamed everyone else for all my problems. Flash forward however many years, and these pains, memories, and hurt are in the past. When I brought up the Ernie thing it brought back those shitty feelings. I felt just like the little boy, who had x or y or z feelings. This is all, nothing more beyond that. The process of being rejected by a family member was enough to bring back all these feelings and emotions I thought I dealt with better. I in no way think anyone besides Ernie has rejected me.

Now to deal with who and who did not go to the cabin, at first this was painful, but time goes on and isn’t a big deal. I wanted a bit of space at first because my feelings were hurt and I didn’t want to get into it with anyone, or have the topic brought up and snap at that person. The point I was trying to make which no one seemed to understand was the cabin ordeal was the tipping of the first domino. There were many things and many feelings that happened after the cabin incident. The point I was trying to make is the cabin drama was not the end all be all it was the start of shitty things upon shitty things, that I don’t believe you know anything about.

I wanted to say my peace about the cabin and I wanted to do it on the same format in which Ernie found the backing to bar me from his property. The one thing I will not do is apologize for being me and I will not apologize on the platform I chose to express myself. This blog was highly therapeutic for me. When I was a constant writer I had an outlet to get shit out. The problem is this blog became first in my writing priority list and I needed to change that in order to focus on other shit. As for what my children may or may not think about my writing is a non-issue because the author name behind this is not my real name. If I chose to start writing in this again I would start a new blog with my pen name so there is absolutely nothing coming back to who I am or those in my life.

Lets look at family becoming just a number. When I hit the last straw that caused me to completely lose it I went back to not being able to handle my feelings which become so intense I experience pain. When I get like this my mind is consumed with ending it all. I sent a text to my family and friends and I said my peace. Once I said what needed to be said I completely cleaned out my phone. The concept of turning everyone into numbers was symbolic in my quest to cut any feelings behind these numbers. It was an attempt to work through the things I hold onto in this world that keeps me from letting go. I was in no way trying to disown anyone in my family I was trying to say goodbye and let you all know that I love you. The next day when this was not enough I went back to the plan of making everyone hate me. My logic is if I push everyone away and they hate me then if I ended it no one would care because I burnt my bridges. I think if you listen to “Hate Me” by Blue October they may say it better than I can. Let me repeat myself I was in no way DISOWNING anyone.

I cannot count the number of times I have gotten to the point of unbearable pain where I just can’t handle life. I am in one of those places right now. There are only two things that keep me chugging alone. The first is how my departure from pain will affect those I love. I use a utilitarian form of decision making. I weigh the prospects of if everyone would be better off without me or not. In my last analysis I figured that the short amount of pain that my death would cause is not as bad as the pain I would cause if I were gone. So I managed to handle that hurdle. I said my goodbyes deleted everyone and shut my phone off. I had been eating one of my pills for anxiety like it was candy. I am already prescribed one of the max doses of 3,600mg a day. In my attempt to ease my pain I was up into the 10,000 to 12,000mg range. I can’t say whether I was trying to end it all or if I was just trying to make myself numb and if in my attempt to make myself numb I accidentally overdosed than that would have been a plus. The other thing that keeps me from following through is my fear of the unknown. These two things should be no surprise to anyone because I have written about it many times over.

I feel bad over the response and feelings this has caused those that I love. I think many things were misconstrued and everyone took this small piece and made that the center issue. Because of my attempt to push those away who love me I am sure I will burn bridges to the point where relationships are un-repairable. This is the part of me that is self loathing and feels he is unworthy of love. I am not using this as an excuse for what I did just trying to say where all this comes from.

Now some may wonder where this whole thing will end up. I can’t answer that question, perhaps some of my family members have already made that choice and when the time comes for better or worse I will have to live with that. It is unfortunate that life is not a fairy tale. It is sad that we do not live in a “Family Ties” world. I know the things I have said, and I know the things I have heard over all this. I respect people’s feelings, but like my words may burn bridges so may others. Unfortunately there are some relationships that are un-repairable. This is a sad reality on both ends. This whole response is done under a pen name, but your comments are not. If you wish this to stay “private” then probably not a good idea to reply.

In response to an apology letter to Ernie that just is what it is and along with other stances and comments…….it just is what it is. I am positive there are many things and many life milestones that haven’t been visited on both sides. It is not as if I would ever think or expect you to show up for AJ graduation. Like I said it is what it is.

I know I have not hit on every point and someday would be happy to discuss if that is ever an option. My phone will be turned off more than it will be on. I do love all those in my family regardless if we have a relationships or not. I cannot deny that we are bonded by blood. We will always be united, but reality is relationships grow closer, and relationships drift apart. It is just a matter on both sides whether we choose to let those people into our lives.

I left this place long ago, but felt it needed to return to the thread that weaves my stability. It’s funny how therapeutic it is to bare your soul for anyone and everyone to see, but it is also funny to witness how destructive it can be. I have been reminded of both of these dualities as of late.

When I started this blog 20 or so months ago I started it as an extension of my dream of becoming a writer. I had just recently published a poetry book, and figured having a blog would further my career by brining in new fans. As time went this blog became the glue of my sanity. Being able to say my thoughts and opinions in their truest forms helped me cope with the truth and reality of what I really am. I was warned by those around me that being so open and candid will only lead to problems, but I ignored this advice not ever imagining my thoughts and opinions would ever lead to rejection and sorrow. I should have listened to those much wiser than myself because my words, my thoughts, my feelings and my everything led to the most gut wrenching type of rejection that a human being can endure and this is the rejection by family.

Every year we have a family reunion up at my Uncle Ernie’s place and it is a grand old time. The time spent there with my family is meaningful and memorable. I hold a very thin string connection with my family and this place and this time is one of the few moments where it doesn’t feel like there is an invisible void separating us. We were unable to go last year due to finances, and we were hoping but unsure again about going this year due to the same reasons. My kids always get bummed because they enjoy going there. I found it odd how we didn’t receive an invitation last year and we didn’t receive an invitation this year. This oddity was revealed to me about a month or so ago, and this information would set off a string of events, feelings, realizations, and over all shittyness that cannot be forgotten and can never be taken back.

The reason I wasn’t receiving invitations and the reason my mom sat at my house two months ago trying to hint us away from going to the cabin was because we were not invited to this family affair. Truth be told Ernie the person who hosts the event does not want me on his property. Not only am I not wanted but I am not welcomed. I am not sure which one is worse being not welcomed or not wanted?? Not only am I not welcomed and not wanted but my wife and kids are not neither welcomed nor wanted. Needless to say this news totally fucked my emotions and fucked my mind. I am not going to go into some deep sob story of my childhood emotional trauma, but rejection by family cuts pretty fucking deep. What’s double is as a byproduct of my rejection my wife and kids were rejected.

So why may you ask were we handed down verdicts of not being wanted or welcomed or worthy of sharing in the merriment of family? Why does Ernie not want us there? The answer is my blog. Apparently my thoughts, opinions, and my struggle with mental illness were too much for Ernie to deal with. He fears that I may infect his family with my illness and beliefs. You see Ernie is a religious man a Catholic in fact and my opinions on religion deeply offended him, as well as my many other writings including my opinions on the legalization of drugs, and my struggle with MI. These things bothered him so much that he felt the need to keep over 250 of my posts and even tried to use them as proof and evidence of my blasphemy as if I was on trial. I know my thought process and my views do not fall into the social norm, but for a family member to cast me out for this and for being me is as painful now as it was when I was ten, and when I was eleven, and when I was twelve…. You get the point.

As much as I want to right now I will not spew out my feelings towards this man. The e-mail I sent to him says everything I needed to say. It was short, simple, and to the point. I should also note that when he was conversing back and forth with the family he used this e-mail as evidence and justification for his bigotry. For a man of such strong faith he completely misses the moral and ethical lessons his Holy book teaches. There is no man who can judge me. This is up to God and God alone. Judge not lest you be judged, or some shit like that. I just have one thing to say to Mr. Ernie.

You cannot produce an e-mail and some blog posts to justify you being a bigot. You are worried about me infecting your children but truth be told I am the same now as I have ever been and every time I have been up there I keep these things to myself. I have never infected them, so part of your logic is a farce. I will say this though. I would never want my children exposed to someone so close minded and judgmental. I do not want my children even exposed to the concept of bigotry let alone to be exposed to one. We may not agree on a shit load of topics, but the difference between you and me is I am not intolerant of your beliefs and ideas. I would never reject you as a person for believing differently as I do. The inquisitions died long ago… Let it go. I want you to rest comfortably knowing there is a possibility that one day I will be burning in a lake of fire and torment for eternity with lets say gay people and everyone else you are intolerant of. I would gladly suffer hanging out in hell with homosexuals and pot smokers than experiencing eternal life knowing I would have to share heaven with people like you. You are the perfect example for why people are growing away from religion. I will leave you with the same message as the e-mail I sent you…

Dear Ernie,

Go fuck yourself you narrow minded judgmental prick.

Love Tim

Now I should state that this message may be harsh and may not be mature, but when time expires I would be sick with regret not having the opportunity to say those things. I am sure there will be disapproval and anger from those in my family, but they have become numbers with no names.

This event set off a string of domino events that led to this dayWednesday July 13, 2011. The amazing undeniable truth behind dominoes is once you knock that first one down you can’t stop it and you can’t take it back.

The thought and action to start this blog and be true and honest, led to this man rejecting me in one of the cruelest ways. These two actions led to my mother standing up and defending me tooth and nail with an action of protest that spoke louder than the million dollar march. This protest led to non-protest, which led to strained and broken relationships, which led to out of control OCD, which led to failure, which led to devastation, which led to truth, which led to denial of truth, which led to acceptance.

As I said in the beginning I started this blog because I had big dreams that with the publication of my poetry book that I would become some known poet whose words and essence were read by many. I started and paid for a website to help promote my poetry and this blog. I had to accept and come to the realization that this was a pointless and futile dream. My poetry and my words never became a reality, and I had to accept and face that they never would. I accepted this nobly and just continued to write in this blog, and everything seemed grand. The audience I was writing to would get larger and larger as time passed, and it appeared in part I was accomplishing something I had set out to achieve. I would never find riches by being a blogger, but my voice would be heard.

I made the decision awhile back that I should stop writing in this blog to pursue my dream of becoming a professional writer by focusing on my children books. I managed to lie and fool myself for sometime that this dream could somehow become a reality, but in reality this is deluded. I have done nothing with my life and I have managed to accomplish more than nothing. My loved ones have always worried about me losing touch with reality. They will do what they can to point out where I am going wrong and what have you, but they did and said nothing as I pointlessly pursued this false hope of achieving something. To honestly think that I could become published is complete insanity. Did no one step in because they think “well hey at least Tim isn’t delusional.” Or “hey at least Tim can’t hurt anyone.” These people let me stew in a false reality giving me false hope. This is a cruel fucking joke! I sat here for the last few months working my ass off and pouring my dreams and aspirations into this thing. I created struggles in my life thinking this should be a priority because this could become a tool to give my family a better life. That if I was able to achieve this then all of a sudden I would be transformed from a nothing into a somebody. You know what I have finally accepted reality and truth that in the real world there is no fucking fairy tales, there is only truth. I just wish one person in my life who ever proclaimed to give a shit about me would have been honest and said “hey Tim you know what… your not really good at writing.”

The thing I find funny is I stopped writing in this blog, and I completely stopped writing poetry. I did this because of the kids books and the fear that if an agent or publisher saw this blog it would influence their decision in a negative way. I essentially sold myself out. I tried to exchange the real Tim for a better model. I have always been labeled a runner. Someone who runs away instead of dealing with things. I think I run away from excepting who and what I truly am. I do my best to wrap myself in lies, and only rarely does someone hold up a mirror and forces me to see who I really am.

Whatever done rambling on and on in a pointless dialog. I apologize for the flow of this post. I am just free writing and not really paying attention to wording and sentence structure. It felt good to drop in and be honest to myself and anyother readers I have left. The sad but unavoidable truth in life is we can never say everything that needs to be said. We come and we go leaving holes that could have only been filled with words unsaid. The only thing a person can do is to make sure they use their voice to fill as many of these holes before the journey ends. Think for a moment on something you have always wanted to say, but never did. Find the courage to say those things today. Fill that hole inside of you and inside of them so you can achieve peace. Yesterday was my liberation from things unsaid. I experienced and felt the process of death and re-birth. I felt the cancer I have left on peoples lives fade away when everyone became just a number.

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”
Scott Adams 

This makes me think of the movies “Pay it Forward,” and “Evan Almighty,” which happens to be two of my top 200 movies of all time. I know you may be thinking 200 is an odd number to have, but it is what makes the most logical sense. “Pay it Forward” is great, because it shows the ripple effect over this one boys acts of kindness. It amazed me how many lives were changed over those three little actions. “Evan Almighty’s” primary message, is how we can all change the world with one act of random kindness at a time.  These movies made me think of what role I play in acts of kindness; besides “The Bucket List Foundation” I do very little to better my fellow man. I write about how greed keeps us from thinking about the needs of others in our society. I do not consider myself a greedy man, but I wonder why I do not practice what I preach.

I think one of the reasons for this, is I have not been in a position to really execute these acts of kindness. I am aware, that what I am in a position to do is acts of kindness towards my family, but I even find myself having trouble with this. My doctor says this can be attributed to my Anti-Social Personality Disorder. I actually had an opportunity to display an act of kindness, but I passed on the situation.

I went to get our morning coffee, and there was this younger gentleman with a makeshift duffle bag made from a bed sheet tied on all four sides. He said he needed a ride to Mystic Lake Casino, so he could catch a bus into downtown Minneapolis. He said he only had ten dollars on him, which wasn’t enough for the cab fare. He went on to say he had a pretty bad fight with his girlfriend, and he had to quickly get out of the house before there was a domestic violence issue. I honestly told him I just didn’t feel comfortable giving a ride to someone I didn’t know.

As I was preparing my coffee I kept thinking to myself that I should give him a ride to help him out, but then my other side was telling me this was a bad idea, because he could take my car and rob me, or possibly worse. I think this is a key reason why people hesitate to help out those in need. It saddens me to say but the society we live in today is violent, and void of morals. You really cannot tell who you can trust and who you can’t. I think because of this people are hesitant to do the right thing. It would have been so easy for me to do this guy a solid, but this voice in my head was telling me he can’t be trusted.

What interests me the most is the ripple effect random acts of kindness can have. It is amazing to me how the smallest things have such dramatic effects way beyond what we even realize. This makes me think of the butterfly effect, and how the most minor trivial changes can drastically change the future as we know it. It would be amazing to do a social study on what would happen if every citizen made it a priority to do one act of random kindness a day. Would this mass ripple effect alter the outcome of the human race? How much would our society be altered if we all made this a priority?

I want to do my part and better society and my fellow man, but I am at a loss for how to do it. I suppose this can be done through my foundation, or I can start looking for the smaller things. I believe the message in “Evan Almighty” was focused on how the main characters acts altered his family. Evan was so focused on his work that he neglected his family. In the end his journey was one of creating a stronger family unit. I stated earlier, how I am in a position to give these acts of kindness to my family. I think this is a great start, and in reality should be my top priority over anything else. I would imagine these acts towards my family would have a massive ripple effect, even more so than giving that guy a ride.

Now that I think about it, I do perform random acts of kindness, anytime I am on the floor in the nursing home. I go out of my way to interact with the residents here, and I always leave them with a smile on their face. I know I leave them with a feeling that they are valued. You would be amazed at how this vital human need is lacking in our nursing homes. I can do my part everyday I come to work, and in all my interactions throughout the day. I can do my part by strengthening my family unit, and by nurturing an environment built on unconditional love. Maybe this is the simplest way to change our world.    

God asks Evan “How do we change the world.” Evan answers “one single act of random kindness at a time.”

 Evan Almighty

I cannot recall a single state in our union, which is not deep in debt. Because of this debt, states are forced to cut vital funding such as education, social services, law enforcement, nursing homes, and many other crucial state and federal programs.  As a country, we are so deep in debt to China, if they demanded to collect what is owed to them; the value of the dollar would crash, resulting in serious issues for America. I can think of two ways to catch up on this debt, while at the same time putting money back into vital funding throughout the government, such as the examples I just gave, as well as rebuilding our infrastructure. If we are able to fund these extra programs we would create millions upon millions of jobs, and cut taxes resulting in stimulating the economy. My solution, to this problem is the legalization of drugs, and opening state run casinos. The positive ripple affect these changes would have on our society would be far reaching.

I did a “My Solution” post last year, about how to fix our prison system. One of my suggestions was the legalization of drugs. The amount of money we spend a year on federal prisoners is over 60 billion dollars. In our federal prison system 53% are convicted on drug charges. Imagine if we were able to cut 53% of the prisoners in federal custody. This would save us 31.8 billion dollars a year. These numbers do not include the individuals incarcerated in state prisons, and the dollar amounts to house them. Many of these “criminals” are incarcerated for marijuana. One example, of a sentencing guideline involving pot, is no less than ten years in prison, and no longer than life, if you were caught with 1,000 marijuana plants. Nothing less than ten years for growing dope?! 

These dollar amounts are shocking, but what they do not show, is the unavoidable revolving doors, of our prison system. There is a high amount of repeat offenders, which come in and out of our prison systems. I am sure there are many theoretical reasons for this, but one such reason, is that felons have a hard time living on the outside, because their options for going straight, are limited due to the felonies they have on their records. They discover the harsh reality that if they want to make a living, their only option inevitably leads them back to a life of crime.

Another advantage, of legalizing drugs, is the systematic elimination of gangs, cartels, and organized crime. I am not saying we would completely stamp out these organizations, but if you take the drugs away, then just like that you have crippled their organizations. The legalization of narcotics would create jobs and bring much needed revenue to our government. The illegal drug trade in America is a trillion dollar a year business. Imagine being able to eliminate a trillion dollars a year of our debt; without raising taxes. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with using drugs, as long as you are a productive member of society. Who am I, or anyone else for that matter, to judge this person?

Some may say, if we were to legalize drugs, then addiction would skyrocket. I disagree with this. It is not as if it is hard to score drugs in our society. The concept of the war on drugs is suspect and laughable. In 1973 Nixon created the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA,) and ever since our government has been fighting a war they will never win. If drugs were legalized, we could eliminate this repressive agency saving us around 30 billion dollars a year. This dollar amount is just the money saved from the elimination of the DEA, this does not include the money spent by local police, FBI, ATF, and CIA to aide in fighting this war. With more and more prisons becoming privatized by corporations the chance that drugs will ever be legalized is slim to none. There is just simply too much money involved in incarcerating nonviolent drug offenders.  

The person, who becomes addicted in an illegal system, is the same person who would be addicted if drugs were legalized. It all comes down to honest and realistic prevention education. If kids are told the real truth about marijuana, then they are more apt to believe what they are taught about other drugs such as meth. Kids are told all these horrible things about pot, and when they finally try it, and see they were lied to, they think they were lied to about other drugs. I hope in my lifetime, at least the legalization of marijuana will become a reality. If you were to compare the downfalls of drinking, to the downfall of smoking pot, you would see they don’t even compare. I have yet to hear about someone smoking themselves to death.

Another way to increase state revenues would be the legalization of casinos, and sports gambling. In the state of Minnesota, we have a few Native American run casinos, and these casinos, rake in an enormous amount of money a day, and an even more shocking amount of money a year. Mystic Lake Casino, for example does not open its books to the public, but it is estimated they pull in around a billion dollars a year in profits. There have been talks in the past, of opening up a state run casino, but once that reservation money lined the pockets of our officials, the idea was quickly scraped. Opening a casino, would create more jobs, assisting in stimulating our economy, and could be used to fund state run programs. There is already legalized gambling on the reservations, and I feel it is time we start cashing in and benefiting. I also mentioned sports betting. Organized crime and offshore online betting websites bring in billions upon billions of dollars a year. People are going to gamble, whether it is legal or not, so why wouldn’t we take advantage of these operations, and make them legal. This, like drugs, is taking money away from the criminals and offshore businesses, and putting that money back into our communities.

It is sad, that the powers that be do not see the long reaching benefits of these ideas. What is it we are so afraid of with the legalization of drugs? Why hold back, on cashing in on gambling, or prostitution for that matter? Crime would decrease, our prison population would decrease, and our deficit would decrease. The best part about this is we would be creating an endless amount of jobs, and we can do these things without having to raise taxes a single cent. All these positive things can happen, and improve this country, unfortunately in doing this; you are taking money away from the ruling class, and putting it into the hands of those who need it most. Just like anything else in this country, the ruling class would never allow such a thing.

“We often give our enemies the means for our own destruction.”
Aesop

When I hear this quote I think of our involvement in the Middle East and in South Korea; just to name a few. Our involvement in these regions affairs causes tension throughout the globe. This involvement paints America into the self-righteous parenting role, those whose side we approve of calls us heroes; those we disapprove of call us villains. We sit atop our throne of democracy and condemn every single other nation for doing things in ways that we do not “approve” of. This type of pompous positioning is why we are not favored throughout the world. If we deem something to be a problem we stick our noses in where it doesn’t belong. It is this meddling that actually creates more enemies for our nation.

They see us as their enemies because of our involvement in various disputes throughout the world. The radical groups are able to recruit new members based off the propaganda spread by their organizations. They sell America as the evil step-father who is out there oppressing them while in America we live so great. Because we are aligned with their enemies, we then become the enemy. My thing is if we were never involved then there would be no radical groups spreading hatred because we would just be chillin’ at home eating pizza and watching some television.

The North hates America because we are backing the South. If we had zero troops in the South, and just allowed the two to work it out themselves then we would not be breeding a nation of people raised and programmed to hate everything America stands for and every American within it. If we had no involvement in this war then what ammunition would the North have to hate us? The fact is if we were not involved they wouldn’t hate us as much. Not only are we aligned with the South; their greatest enemies we are directly involved in sanctions levied against the North. I understand the leadership in the North is filled with insanity, but that should be all the more reason to stay as far away from this situation as possible. What are we gaining from being involved with this civil war? What is the worst that could happen if you just let the two work it out for themselves? There may be a war and many would die, but should this really be our concern? I say no.

Now let’s take a look at the Middle East. I think the main reason the Muslim nations hate us is because we back Israel their most hated enemy. This is the vocal point for anti-American sentiments, and is a great recruiting tool for new members. There is a deep hatred over there in the Middle East towards Israel, and Israel is one of our greatest allies. This allegiance we formed with Israel is why the Middle East hates us so much. If we would have just stuck to our own borders perhaps 9/11 would have never happened. We are adding fuel to the fire everyday we stand tall with Israel.

I think it is time we step up to the podium and say “all right look you guys we are pulling out and will let you figure this whole thing out yourselves.” I can guarantee you if we were able to do that we would stop giving the extremists reasons to hate us, because we would just become another country in a far off place. The Muslim extremists don’t seem to hate Russia or China. The reason for this is simple they are not meddling in their affairs. I would be willing to gamble that all planned and executed terrorist attacks have probably been against those countries who are involved in the Middle Eastern countries affairs. I think the only time we should consider sending troops out is if there is a full blown world war.

We need to live by example, and the example should be that of peace and harmony within our own borders. We need to become a nation which is admired throughout the world, not for our military might, but for our peaceful society. We should pull everyone of our troops off foreign soul, and bring them home. I am in no way saying abandon our armed forces. We should continue to build our military to become the mightiest army in the world, not because we plan on using it, but because protecting our boarders should always be a priority.  

We need to rid our government of crooked politicians, and become a nation for the people by the people. If we become admired and respected then perhaps when we speak out against something it may carry more weight throughout the world. If we were to funnel all the money we currently use for war, and occupation we would have enough funds to create programs in this country aimed at bettering our society. We can still be the parents of the world except this time we can lead by example instead of waving our fingers in disapproval.    

Aesop or Esop (620-564 BC), known for the genre of fables ascribed to him, was by tradition born a slave and was a contemporary of Croesus and Solon in the mid-sixth century BC in ancient Greece. Aesop’s existence remains uncertain, and no writings by Aesop survive, but numerous fables attributed to him were gathered and set down in writing across the centuries and in many languages in a storytelling tradition that continues to this day; various collections under the rubric Aesop’s Fables are currently available. In these stories animals speak and have human characteristics; see for example the Tortoise and the Hare or the Ant and the Grasshopper.

*****I have a question and need feedback from my readers. “The Philosophy of Quotes” is an ongoing series of posts. I have like in this post added a short bio of the author of the quote, and times I have not. Do you enjoy reading a short bio or should I just leave it out?*****

Verse 24

If you stand on tiptoe, you cannot stand firmly.

If you take long steps, you cannot walk far.

Showing off does not reveal enlightenment.

Boasting will not produce accomplishment.

He who is self-righteous is not respected

He who brags will not endure.

All these ways of acting are loathsome, distasteful.

They are unnecessary excesses.

They are like a pain in the stomach,

a tumor in the body

when walking the path of the Tao,

this is the very stuff that must be

uprooted, thrown out, and left behind.

Lao-tzu

The 24th verse is about living without excess, Lao-tzu advises us to pull and discard our excess weeds. These weeds are ego-driven desires of self-importance. Our desire to feel important and our desires to brag and be boastful of our accomplishments are allowing our ego to drive us instead of the all giving Tao. It is this desire which keeps us away from walking the path of the Tao. The Tao teaches us that inner approval is healthy, but it is these mind frames of thinking you are better than anyone else which is destructive. These desires for self-importance are like a cancer on our souls. Our ego is our greatest enemy on our journey to discover the Way.

The verse starts with an analogy of standing on our tip toes. I believe this represents us trying to be greater than we are. If we try to fill ourselves with self-importance we will not be able to stand firmly. Lao-tzu’s advice is to stop trying to be what we are not, and instead live as we are. We should be humble in our daily affairs, and be content with who we are at all times. Everyday we should show gratitude for everything we have, and everything we are. Showing daily gratitude centers us and keeps us on the path of the Way. Practice focusing on what you have, and not what you want, then show gratitude for everything the Tao has given you. In the part about taking long steps; I think this advises us to live in the moment and not try so hard to get were going. Instead of focusing on our end goal we should be humble and enjoy the process.

The next part of this verse is advising us to not brag or be boastful. Showing off does not show enlightenment. Bragging about our accomplishments only make us look like fools. In the second verse of the Tao Te Ching it says “when the work is done, it is forgotten. That is why it lasts forever,” or in the ninth verse it says “retire when the work is done; this is the way to heaven.” These are all examples of working without bragging or taking credit for your hard work. It is nice to be acknowledged, but this should not be our primary goal. I see my faults in this part of the verse. I have written posts on my frustration with my writing career progress. I want to have five thousand visitors a day, and in my mind this would be an accomplishment worthy of bragging. In my mind I need to be successful immediately, or I am disappointed. I am standing on my tip toes and taking long steps. I need to just sit back and allow my writing career to happen.

I am most interested in the line “He who is self-righteous is not respected.” The definition of self-righteous is “a feeling of smug moral superiority derived from a sense that one’s beliefs, actions, or affiliations are of greater virtue than those of the average person.” This is an interesting line in that the Tao condemns being holier than thou in our religious affairs. Unlike Christianity, Buddhism and Taoism do not send its followers out on missionary trips to spread the word. They do not pretend to be superior to others who believe differently. This is why you have never seen an inquisition in these faiths. The Tao does not judge you based on if you believe in the Way or not. It will still provide you with everything you need. I think this lesson is far different from some other religions out there, which is why I have found a spiritual home in this religion.

Instead of letting our ego drive us with the desire to boast, or only work for the accolades of a good job, we should instead be grateful for everything the Tao has given us. The Tao does not seek acknowledgement for all it does for us. The Tao does not come to us saying “look what I have done for you, now what will you do for me.” This is a lesson the Tao tries to teach us by example. We should not see ourselves as important or special for the gifts the Tao has given us. We should appreciate her, and her unselfish giving. The Tao teaches us to be a giver rather than a taker, we should be providing for others and ask nothing in return. The Tao always exists in a state of unlimited giving, and teaches us to do the same. If we are able to mimic this sense of gratitude and giving we will be closer to walking the path of the Way.

“By returning to radical humility and seeing the greatness within everyone you’ve than cleared your life of excessive self-importance…and this is the way of the Tao.”

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

“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.