moral values

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…

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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…

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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…

An Unexpected Post…So I Cheated…

I have an unexpected day off so, an unexpected post…

The Muse is off with her kids for the end of Summer Fun. The Surrogate Muse is doing family stuff. Aj is working. I’m on my own and staring at a blank screen…again…*grins*…I think I’m going to cheat. I wrote some “rules” that are really the way I do stuff, just written out. Maybe they make sense. Some are generalizations. Some apply to me, alone. Some are just the way I process information…

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1.   Having something greater than yourself to believe in is important.

2.   Be fair in your dealings with other people.

3.   Do not believe your own bulls**t.

4.   Be sparing with the loyalty you give and, once given, do not be disloyal.

5.   Tell the truth to yourself and others.

6.   Everyone has their flat sides.

7.   Being generous is fun.

8.   Being surrounded by nice folks is better than being surrounded by exciting folks.

9.   Adventures are for kids.

10. Laugh at yourself.

11. Love someone.

12. Treat people with respect and dignity.

13. All politicians lie.

14. Different people do things differently than you do. That should not exclude them from the people you love. If you exclude them, it is your loss. Some of the finest people I know do have made choices that I would never  made. I am a better person for having them in my life and would be much diminished for having kept them out.

15. Some days you will be a complete jerk. You will pay for those days.

16. You will never understand women unless you are one. I am not.

17. It’s ok not to see eye to eye with your spouse on the little stuff like politics.

18. It is not ok to disagree with your spouse on the important stuff like faith and money management.

19. Never ever disrespect your spouse in public or private. If they were worth marrying, they deserve your respect. Teasing is not the same as disrespect.

20. The most beautiful woman in the world is the one you look at and see “forever”.

21. Be good at something.

22. Your spouse is not your servant. Your spouse is your partner.

23. Your emotional energy is not your own unless you are single. If you have a spouse/partner, your emotional energy belongs to them.

24. There are two people in the world that you have to keep happy. They are your spouse and your boss. You are not the third.

25. Having an active imagination is important. You have to practice to keep it that way.

26. Be a goof sometimes.

27. Be serious only when you have to.

28. There are two times of the day, on the clock and off the clock.

29. It is not all about me. In fact, what I want matters very little.

30. Don’t stress stuff you can do nothing about.

31. Different views and different ways of doing things do not make people evil. It makes them different. Being evil makes people evil.

32. What people do in their own private lives, if it does no harm to children or violence to anyone, is none of your business.

33. Protect the rights of others. Particularly protect the rights of folks you disagree with.

34. Don’t spend money you don’t have.

35. Show public affection for your spouse. Tell your friends how much they mean to you. Someday, you’ll be dead and then it’ll be too late to do it then.

36. You’re gonna argue and fight with the people you love. Fight fair.

37. Be grateful for what you have.

38. Have friends that are women, if you are a guy. That way when you screw up with your wife, they can tell you exactly how bad you screwed up. Also, women aren’t afraid of hurting our male ego’s, so they’ll be more honest with you.

39. Make damn sure your wife knows that you have the friends in 38 above and realizes that she has zero reason  to be jealous of them.

40. Never ever give your wife a reason not to trust you. DO NOT EVER. This is not a conditional, “I wish I hadn’t gotten caught” thing. It is a moral absolute. Never break the faith. Period.

41. Put the seat down. Your life is easier for it.

42. Put your dirty dishes away and help fold the clothes.

43. If you have places in your past that you can never go back to, stay way away. Doesn’t mean not to revisit them in your mind to remind you why, but to stay away from the edge. There was no water in the pool the last time you jumped in, there isn’t gonna be any this time, either.

44. Read books.

45. Study failures so you don’t make the same mistakes. Study successes so you can figure out what they did right.

46. I am a big boy. If I screwed up, I’ll take the heat for it.

47. At some point every day, I’m gonna screw up.

48. Aches, pains, and headaches happen. Being in pain is not a good reason not to get on with the business at hand.

49. Do not live as an angry person. Anger is easy. Anger is also counter productive.

50. Do not let emotion rule your decisions. Think about them when you are calmer. A knee jerk is only good in the Dr’s office.

51. Don’t depend on other people to take care of you. They have themselves to take care of.

52. There is NO provocation that justifies violence toward women. Not one single reason. Not even “she hit me first”. If it gets that bad, leave. Period.

53. Related to 52, I reserve the right to leave.

54. If you hurt my wife, you’ll be dead and I’ll be waiting for the cops to show up.

55. I know a bunch of people. I like a bunch of people. I depend on very few.

56. Be a team player.

57. Hate is a bad thing. It should be reserved for the truly despicable. Dislike, on the other hand, happens all the time.

58. Life is fun.

59. I had no idea there were this many d**n rules.

60. When I was a kid, I thought I could do whatever I wanted when I was an alleged adult. I was not correct.

61. Sometimes, you look up and realize that your closest friends are people you never expected to be friends with.

62. For me, some of the people I’m closest to I will probably never meet in person. That doesn’t mean they have any less value to me.

63. I’m a homebody and like it that way. My house is dark and quiet. It has the woman I love in it. Home is safe and secure.

64. My wife is my best friend.

65. Some of these are specifically about a few people. I hope they see these and realize that I am talking about them.

66. I’ll add more to this list.

67. They did not teach mind reading in school. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt and do not assign motive without input from them.

68. Think for yourself. Fact check. Draw your own conclusions. Do not assume that everyone that says they are an authority actually is one.

69. Don’t be afraid to be wrong and admit it. Just don’t be wrong about the same thing twice. Find a different thing to be wrong about.

70. Minimize your hypocrisy. It’s ok to have views that conflict with others of your views. It’s not ok to have views that conflict with your actions.

71. Don’t be a Christian and have “Stone Him!!!” as your first response. If that were the case, we ALL deserve to be stoned.

72. Appearance is over rated. What’s inside is more important.

73. Male vanity is just dumb. If we were supposed to be good looking we’d have been born women.

74. Discomfort or minor aches are not a good enough excuse. You’ve been cold, wet, hot, tired, sore, itchy, or whatever. Eff it and drive on.

75. There is no excuse for not being on time unless you are on fire or bleeding. Early is better than late.

76. No one cares how well you did in high school or college. What matters is how well you did 5 minutes ago.

77. The reward for working hard is more hard work.

78. You can not control an other person. The only person you can control is yourself. Clean your own side of the street.

79. I am not responsible for trying to figure out how anyone other than my spouse thinks. I can not do that either.

80. The retarded wildebeest at the at the back of the pack is the one the lions eat. Don’t be a retarded wildebeest.

81. *added 8/22/2015* My friends and loved ones are of many faiths and orientations. I love them more than I like you. Given the choice, I’ll be on their side, every time. If you are homophobic or anti-whatever-their-faith or insulting to them in any way, you’re gone. No argument or discussion just removed from my world. I need them. I don’t need you.

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I wrote these over a period of some months and my life. *grins* I hadn’t really revisited them for a year and a half. I looked at them again, today, and realized I needed #81. Other than that, feel free to comment, critique, or suggest additions…Thanks for following along…