A blog about our shared experience…

Posts tagged “Money

Community and Trust

A number of previous posts written here were on the subject of community and human nature. It seems pertinent to draw some of those concepts to some current affairs such as the Trayvon Martin killing and the murder of James Craig Anderson amongst many others. Many would attribute tragedies such as these to a rising race or class war, but I feel that there are larger principles at play that we may benefit from considering before we blame these actions of individuals on an overly-superficial analysis of what’s going on.

As some of the discussion in previous posts on race explores, it’s very easy to point the finger at familiar terms such as “race” or “class” when I feel that “trust” among us as individuals and a community is the element has to be considered. Many of us have been led to believe that people outside our blood family are not to be trusted, and that people will likely take advantage of us at every opportunity given the opportunity.

Obviously I generalize, but I believe that most will agree that some degree of suspicion is common in our experience and training about survival in today’s world:

Don’t trust the cops.
Don’t trust the people.
Don’t trust people wealthier than you.
Don’t trust people poorer than you.
Don’t trust people of other religions.
Don’t trust business people.
Don’t trust customers.
Don’t trust women.
Don’t trust men.

Messages like these were often unspoken rules that I assimilated to, and doubt that others are immune to these subtle but ever-present messages we send each other through how we behave and talk to each other and the messages we consume in our media.

The thing is, I’ve had so many places in my life that informed me through experience that people are very much worthy of trust…in fact, we don’t get what we need in life as far as diversity of human interaction and experience without it. Further, people want to trust and be trusted. When you watch a movie, who do you generally gravitate towards and root for? Is it the self-serving bully who takes advantage of those weaker than them or the noble champion who grows through their hard-work and challenges to move higher and higher in their understanding?

So pulling back to the recent news events that I mentioned above(and I welcome others brought forth as examples of a point, please share a link), who are the people who are part of the story? Are they stories of “saints” and “monsters” who are essentially “black or white” characters with no gray area to them or are they individuals with challenging environments that they navigate and make mistakes(sometimes gravely serious) from their vantage point? Can we easily put ourselves in the other person’s shoes, say, in the case of someone like George Zimmerman? What is his story? What was he taught about at home about who and what he can trust? What pain shaped him into the character that committed this act? …it’s possible that his past has a good deal of sadness and pain to it. Do you know any young folks like Deryl Dedmon, John Aaron Rice and Dylan Butler? Is there something you can do now to assist in them making different decisions as they grow?

I’m not trying to excuse inexcusable actions, mind…I’m just trying to look beyond the emotional response to an act that is easy to engage, and think about we can go about the business of preventing the sadness that come from acts like these by healing ourselves and those around us.

We. Need. To. Trust.


A Little More on Race

Greetings all,
I’m normally reluctant to approach a loaded topic that easily becomes divisive, but I do want to open this space up to explore on it…

I will say up front that no conversation on race(among MANY other topics) is complete, and would be poorly served to be concluded with shallow and superficial treatments on what the deeper roots and causes are of the funny part of our collective experience that we call race.

Here’s a small bit from a conversation I had with a friend, where he asked me a pointed question about my experience with race:

Below are a couple of video posts from Jay Smooth which speak very well to some of the nuances around race that we should reflect on: (more…)


Know Thyself?

“When one is released from the prison of self, that is indeed freedom, for that is the greater prison. When this release takes place, then one cannot be outwardly imprisoned.”
– ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

An element of life that manages to come up countless times in conversations I have is the things on which we place value. Some things are measurable like televisions, video game consoles, household income and the like. Then come the things that are much harder to measure like service, kindness, intelligence, spirit, security love and quality time. Some of these things can be essential to one’s feelings about quality of life; others can feel essential to aspiring to higher standards of behavior and living. I feel that each individual must engage in a meaningful and thorough introspective search in order to identify the needs one has that can determine where value lies.

There are some whose feelings regarding security lie at the base of what they value, and many of the things they feel joy from, connection to, and attraction to have everything to do with how much security comes with the relationships they form and how those relationships (more…)


Governance: Unity and Interdependence

An organization whose work I highly respect identified three sets of principles that can assist in a search to rethink governance, one of which is “unity and interdependence”.

I’ve seen trends in my lifetime that have made it clear that we are naturally and inevitably moving toward higher and higher levels of global interdependence: the FAA and international flight travel; the rise of the European Union; and even electronic product availability deeply affected by the earthquake (and its resulting fallout) in Japan all show a global trend that brings to my mind the “human body analogy” that I mention often.

Each of the arrangements mentioned describes an agreement that transcends national boundaries and international rivalries and conflict. Some of it is motivated by economic factors; others seem to be the result of an understanding that the individual units (more…)


Assumption to Reassess: Are We the Sum of Our Materials?

“You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet…”
— Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club)

It appears to me that there are models of human nature that have been implemented into policies that we live under that appear to bring us to less-than-favorable results. One of these is the materialistic model of human nature that tells us that consumption and pursuit of sensual pleasure is the path to human happiness. Many reading may feel the compulsion to deny a buy-in to that model, but it remains a powerful standard by which many of us measure our own progress, whether it be physical beauty, fashion, status, sexual fulfillment or the many other things that we process in the dark recesses of our minds.

This excerpt from a book called “One Common Faith” comes to mind:

“Consumer culture, today’s inheritor by default of materialism’s gospel of human betterment, is unembarrassed by the ephemeral nature of the goals that inspire it. For the small minority of people who can afford them, the benefits it offers are immediate, and the rationale unapologetic. Emboldened by the breakdown of traditional morality, the advance of the new creed is essentially no more than the triumph of animal impulse, as instinctive and blind as appetite, released at long last from the restraints of supernatural sanctions. Its most obvious casualty has been language. Tendencies once universally (more…)