humanity

A Curmudgeonly Protective Rant

I’ve decided to be more close-minded. I’m going to slam it shut. I am not going to tolerate other views or perspectives. Willingly and with forethought jump off the deep end into my own view being the only correct one…

You might, at this point, be thinking, “Miller, you claim to be a Heretic. You ‘say’ that your best friends are “other” when it comes to who your demographic is. What gives? Have you just become some kind of a hypocrite?”

Well…no. My view is that my “other” friends are MY friends. What is good for them is good and what harms them is bad. Period. I can not physically protect them. They live too far away. I’m fairly sure that, between them, they have enough shovels to bury the bodies on their own anyway.

In fact, I don’t think they “need” me for any d**n thing. They’ve put up with enough bulls**t in their lives and come out stronger. They’ve walked their paths since long before I was around and they’re still on their feet. They made it past exes and a$$holes and abuse that would make my knees buckle. They’re a bunch of tough broads and I admire the hell out of them for it.

My friends, the “usual suspects” and another that seems to have crawled in over the past couple of years are better than me…and for damn sure you…*see, close-minded as hell*…In spite of that, they put up with me.

What I CAN do is to be on their side…meaning MINE. I can channel my inner curmudgeon and say “f**k you” to the world for them.

If this seems a “tad belligerent”, it is.

It is me protecting by wrapping my figurative arms around them and letting them have space, not a silly “safe space” but, just space where they don’t have to be anything other than who they are. Where some a$$hole guy doesn’t want them for what he can get from them…I lied, I do want to “get” something. It’s just that it isn’t sex, money, power, or personal validation. I don’t need any of those. I get to have people to care about. I get to let them have a bit of me…and I have a bit of them.

So, yeah, closed tight. Wrapped around a group of people that I wouldn’t have sought out. They’re far too different from “old me” for me to have gone looking but, since they’re here, I wouldn’t trade them for any number of you.

Like ’em. Love ’em. Hate ’em. I don’t care what you think. I’m not their “only” friend but, I am one that says “p**s on my demographic I love them just the way they are”

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I Want to Title This “I Am Lucky” But, I Don’t Remember If I Have…

I haven’t written in a very long time. I don’t know if the words will find me…

Since my last post, it seems the World has changed. We are more divided than ever. *editorial, I am not and will not make this “political” because I think the state of “politics” is a symptom and not the disease*

If anyone is to “blame” it is ourselves. Maybe I missed it? Whatever happened to “live and let live”? What happened to being responsible for our own actions? Why is it someone else’s “fault” if something happens to me?

Why is it that it is easier to see someone as “different” and then claim persecution by them. Yes, persecution does happen. I am not denying that. Yes, prejudice and misogyny exist. People are stupid. I really get that. People are xenophobic and clannish. People are a$$holes just because…

People can also be kind and caring. People can empathize. People can reach out to strangers. We may, if we’re lucky, meet people that give us a chance to learn and grow.

I am lucky. I married my best friend. It was our first marriage. It happened in our mid-40’s. It is still, some years later, an “adventure”. I have said a few (thousand) times, “Smartest damn thing I ever did was marry her”. She makes me grow. She, not realizing it, forces me to look outside myself. I do things for her that I will not do for any other human…and sometimes I fall flat on my face, too…

Yesterday, I was also lucky. If you happen to read back through the blog from years past, you’ll find Aj all through them. I used, in a conversation a few minutes ago, the phrase, “I am romantically attached to ONE human and love a vanishingly few others”. As it turned out, yesterday, I was able to talk to, and watch them talk, a pair of them. It was the first time they interacted. There are not really words for how nice that was. The “funny”, read odd, thing is that I don’t really have any common demographic with them…race but, that doesn’t count…The list of “we don’t share” includes, gender, faith, geographical location, parental status, probably “that ‘p-word'”, a desire to go outdoors…pick a bunch more… and I love them dearly… What they have in common with my wife is that they force me, unknowingly, to look outside myself…and for that, they have my eternal gratitude…

Hobbes said, “No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” 

Yet, if we are lucky and I am, there are reasons not to be those.

We can make our own society that doesn’t include fear…well, aside from our own nightmares and insecurities but, you get my point. We can live knowing that the odds of “violent death” are small. We can be not “solitary”. The paragraphs up there prove that to me…As for the next two, “nasty” and “brutish”, those choices belong to YOU. “Short”? Who knows when this path ends? We are all going to be surprised when it does…

Life is an odd place. I am lucky that I finally grew up. I am grateful for every breath I am allowed. I am also grateful that I am allowed to have some people to love and that, I truly hope, love me back.

Ya know what? You decide what you want to do. Love me or hate me. See my demographic and blame me. See my loves as different. Those are YOUR choices. Live a cold, bleak, and distant life. See life as competition and struggle. I am not willing to spend my emotional energy on that. For me and mine, I’ll care for those in MY world and not be concerned with how you live in yours. Seems fair to me…

 

Other…

I was talking to a friend. She called herself “other”, meaning “different”…

It occurs to me that we are all other. I mean, even the people we think are “same” aren’t. How could we be? As far as I know, there are no cloned humans with exactly the same experiences. We might share a gender, political views, religious views, and sexual orientation but, even then, we came to those spots inside our own skins…

So, why did this idea of Other stick in my head?

It is because of this…We need to protect other. We need to appreciate the Otherness of those that are other. Gaaaaack, this seems so obvious to me. We will never be able to fully understand any human. Hell, we don’t even understand ourselves. Anyway, *sigh* to not protect Other, we fail to protect ourselves.

There’s nothing wrong with not being the same.

Current society thinks Other equals Dangerous. If your political views differ, that person must be a threat… I suppose I could go down the list but, y’all get the point…Jumpin’ Jimmeny Christmas and The Easter Bunny, being different doesn’t present an existential threat.

The next part of this thought is, how do we develop and mature our own views if we are so hidebound that we refuse to listen to difference? If am so unwilling to listen to dissent and become so defensive of my own views that I refuse to admit the possibility that I could be in error, odds are that MY views are less valid than I think. Perhaps it’s just me but, I do make mistakes and continually look for holes in what I think and my personal philosophies…and adapt when some Other shows me error or invalidity…

*****

Other is also a trap when you apply it to yourself…

“I am Other and they’re all the Same so, they couldn’t possibly understand me…” That’s what a kid says to their parents and a 20-something says to someone in their 50’s…Not realizing the oldsters survived what they are living. I know I used the section up there to point out how we’re all different but, which in this case doesn’t mean “please disregard”, in quite a few ways we are the same. We all started out pooping our pants. We all want whatever form of “success” we deem. We all want to love and be loved. We will all face the same end…

…and not to drop into “politics” because I have avoided making any indication of any “political” view I might have…

…Our parents survived the Cold War. *I was born in 1963*. Their childhood was filled with above ground Atom Bomb testing. Their parents were the generation of WWII. The parents of kids today, are children of the Viet Nam Era. The World has been filled with “threats” to us since before the Dawn of History…

We, humanity, will survive and adapt. It is our nature to do that…

*****

Other, hunh? Celebrate it.

Other, hunh? Protect it.

Other, hunh? Ignore it.

Other, hunh? Learn from it.

Other, hunh? Yeah, and Same…

Holy Smokes

It’s been almost a year since I last wrote…I left because I was fed up with “politics”. I felt that Reason had long since become disgusted and wandered away. I am not “political” in the sense that I identify with a party or specific ideology. I also believe that the topics that I’ve written about, meaning, Religious Freedom, the fact that Women have worth and should never be physically or emotionally abused and, LBGT Rights transcend politics…

I left because I was fed up with “politics”. I felt that Reason had long since become disgusted and wandered away. I am not “political” in the sense that I identify with a party or specific ideology. I also believe that the topics that I’ve written about, meaning, Religious Freedom, the fact that Women have worth and should never be physically or emotionally abused and, LBGT Rights transcend politics…

I also left because I was at a point where I felt like I had said all I could say and was reaching burnout. In addition, my own tiny family, meaning, my wife, needed every bit of my emotional energy…

I am writing this one because I want to reaffirm and restate what I always believed.

  • What your beliefs do not make you good or bad. There are bad Christians, good Pagans and, indifferent Atheists. The “content of your character” comes from within and not a system of belief.
  • Women have worth. Period. They are not chattel. They are not objects. They are not punching bags or targets for torment. They are our mothers, sisters, daughters, coworkers, fellow humans, wives, partners, and any other phrase or word you choose to describe them. They are the equals of men. They are the ONLY gender capable of giving birth to humans. We owe them our lives and they deserve to be treated with the respect that has well earned.
  • Your sexuality is your own. Yeah, I think the LBGT Community has gotten a rough deal from the majority of my Cis-het Christian Community but, the fact that you are ANY of the previous doesn’t make you “special”, it makes you human. There are over 7 billion people on the Earth. All of them have some form of sexuality … including a desire to have none. All it boils down to, in the end, is that you don’t deserve to be persecuted for who you f**k. That’s it.

I started to write this as a response to the Fear that seems to pervade today’s society. Thing is people have been saying for thousands of years “the end is near” and it hasn’t happened yet. The fears of today are nothing but the flavor of the month. We have survived both wise men and fools in high office. We have survived War and Famine. We have made it through everything Nature can throw at us. The troubles of today pale in comprison to those of the past. The only difference it that today’s are happening now…

Perhaps it’s merely my age that gives me some tiny bit, I hope, of wisdom and perspective but, I am less concerned about how the World treats me and more concerned about how I treat y’all. It isn’t the Alfred E. Neuman, “what, me worry?” as much as it is that I really don’t want to waste the energy concerning myself with things I can not change and may not even happen…

…I don’t really know if this post means I’m back or is just to say that my views haven’t changed…

Being a Reasonable Person

I quit writing earlier this year. I hit burnout. It felt useless to write because of several reasons the primary ones being that I was, and still am, tired of everything becoming politicized and that the vilification of differences of opinion makes debate seemingly impossible…

Which brings me to why I decided to break my silence. Being a reasonable person is hard. It requires me to assume the person I am talking to is also reasonable. It forces me to maintain the idea that their beliefs and convictions have come from as much thought and internal debate as mine have and it means that, even if I disagree, I have to credit them with intelligence and rationality…

I’m fair minded enough…I hope…to believe that I am capable of being mistaken. I know that I have mad mistakes and will again but since I make mistakes and want my failings forgiven, I must be willing to return that same grace. It would be far easier to be a mean-spirited cynical old b****rd. It would simplify debate if my answer to anything I disagreed with was, “are you f**king stupid?”…and it would make lie to my claim and desire to be reasonable and occasionally rational…

My father says, “everyone has their flat sides.” The way I think he means it and the way I take it is to read that there are imperfect parts to all of us. I KNOW, read “bedrock belief”, that I have mine, see “mean-spirited cynical old b****rd”…and I struggle against that. I enjoy being that person. He’s comfortable. Part of that struggle is to, pardon the trite expression, I have to clean my side of the street before I worry about yours. If I decide to be against something, in Millerspeak, to be an “anti” I have to be sure that what side I take hasn’t done the same or worse than what I’m against. Just because I support something or person or view doesn’t give them a free pass…in fact, it means I hold them to a higher standard and if they fail, I reevaluate MY position.

Being reasonable both simplifies and complicates things. I’ll explain. It simplifies because I have zero tolerance for people that aren’t willing to be and return the same. As a result, I refuse to engage them in conversation. It complicates because, when people disagree rationally and reasonably with my views, I have to give some credence to their view and explain my view in a civil manner, see my comment are you f**king stupid?”…

Anyway, life is too short, my life is at any rate, to be more hypocritical than I can avoid. My own code requires me to give the same consideration and respect that I would want given to me. My friends and loved ones were too carefully allowed into my life to have me want to drive them away because I just decided to be a twerp. Live yours as you wish but, for me, being a reasonable and calm human is a worthy goal and part of my chosen path…

It isn’t how you treat the people you like that matters. That’s easy. What counts, what reflects on you, is how you treat the people you despise. That’s the hard part…

Some Not Really Connected Thoughts…

Still thinking…

When we decide that we are “sitting in judgement” are we really doing what is right? We have an obligation to decide what is criminal, meaning causing harm to others, but, what about other actions? What about someone’s beliefs? Someday, I’ll stand before my maker and have to talk about MY life, not yours.

When we presume to judge the condition of someone’s soul, we are taking from God, that power and responsibility. We, as Christians, are warned against that. We are told, specifically, that the same standard we use will be used on us. If we judge based on our perceptions of “flawed” are we so very sure that His perception of “flawed” will not include some aspect of us? Are ANY of us so perfect that every bit of us can stand the scrutiny that we apply to others?

I KNOW I could not pass that test…

*****

Divination scares me. Rituals scare me. So, I don’t practice them. Makes you wonder why I am so protective of Witches? Because Witches don’t scare me. I know too many. I just don’t ask them about the ritual aspects.

*****

“With great power comes great responsibility”

We, each of us, has the power of life and death. We believe that our own view is the most important. We know that we, ourselves only,  are unique.

So, what do we do with that? Do we use our “power”, meaning our innate sense of self and value, to condemn, in our view, others for being “not us” and not “unique” or do we recognize that other people are just as individual?

That’s the question…and the power. We may recognize that people have the same rights of self and individuality that we so strongly claim or we may remove them from humanity, and life, by piling them into a group that we think are less than us and giving them “death”.

To trivialize someone for their belief is to take away from our own. To claim significance for ourselves and say that our view stands above the rest minimizes our beliefs just as we do to them. Being the biggest algae in the pond is no accomplishment. I’d rather stand among peers of strong faith and belief…even if I do not share them…than be just another green slime claiming to be king…

*****

These were just some stuff that bounced around. My life, out here, was busy for a couple of weeks because of work. Feel free to ask me stuff. I’ll answer. We might disagree. I might become defensive because I do “cherry pick” the Bible. I believe that we all do. We take the parts we want and “disregard the rest” to paraphrase Simon and Garfunkle…

I’ll leave you with this, my views are valid…for me…I’ll defend your right to your perspective, even if I don’t share it.

Doesn’t Like Chocolate ?

You guys know by now that I talk to Z quite a bit. I enjoy talking to her. I trust her. Any way, we were talking and I found out something I didn’t know. I guess she was embarrassed to tell me. She doesn’t like chocolate! Why didn’t she tell me? How can that be? How can this wise, witty, friendly, likable lady not like chocolate? I’m not even sure if that’s legal. I’m beginning to wonder what else she might be hiding? What other things she might not have been able to say to me. Does she realize the economic impact of not eating chocolate? The loss of employment for everyone involved in chocolate production and distribution?

That paragraph was an attempt at humor to make a point. The point is this. The worst threat that Z poses to society is a dislike of chocolate. That’s it. She’s not going to be the “downfall of American Society”. She’s not going to corrupt your kids. She’s not going to spread her “agenda” unless you count a desire for equality as an agenda. She might, or might not, share the same political values. She is hard working. The only menace she poses is to herself. *editorial, she’s kind of a klutz when she uses tools and tends to get cuts and scrapes* She is not trying to advance herself at the expense of anyone else.

That last line is also instructive. Expanding my view of “equal” has not cost me anything. When we allow our world view to believe that “all men are created equal” to include “all men” then there is no loss to us. When we exclude someone because we feel a need to exert our personal bias, we do diminish ourselves.

In the words of John Donne.

“No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.”

Please consider, when you exclude from your definition of humanity, you do not make those you remove less human, you make yourself less. Z is no less deserving than I am. She just doesn’t like chocolate.