img10In order to properly understand the big picture, everyone should fear becoming mentally clouded and obsessed with one small section of truth. Xun Zi


People usually ask my thoughts and opinions only once. You’ll see.


2019


Don’t confuse symmetry with balance. –Tom Robbins

Two years have passed! Evidently I don’t think very often.

I had a client ask me what I believed in. That’s a dangerous question. I’m surprised and impressed that she’s still a client.

I have three main beliefs:

1. I am a Gaianist. I believe that everything—stars, planets, humans, animals, plants, rocks, and so on—are a part of one big organism, what I call the universe.

2. The universe is not some being apart from everything else. It is the sum total of everything. It has no sense of self. It doesn’t look down on us, give us tasks, and punish or reward us according to our performance. Its sole goal is to achieve and maintain homeostasis, what I call balance.

3. I believe in reincarnation; however, it is not Buddhist reincarnation in which reincarnated souls are on some road toward or away from nirvana. It is simply what we do lifetime after lifetime to maintain balance.

and believe there are three results of those beliefs:

1. Everything we do affects everything else. It’s like a ripple effect where our actions spread further and further, touching every corner of the universe.

2. The things we have to do to maintain balance are not necessarily due to problems we created. Problems have a ripple effect too, and handling the problem usually ends up either with the person best able to handle it, the person who steps up and says, “I got this,” even if it takes a lot of pain and soul searching on that person’s part. Or it ends up with the person who most wants to learn from solving that problem. Solutions to problems are viewed by others who then have an opportunity to learn how to better achieve balance. You can never tell who’s watching.

3. For bad or for good, number 2 never stops. The maintenance of balance is its own end, and we spend lifetime after lifetime trying to achieve it.


2017


The depiction of disability as incidental could pose a problem; people with disabilities do need to have their impairments acknowledged and receive assistance provided by means of alternative methods and tools such as braille and elevators. Therefore, Ellis and Goggin warn us, “if people with disability are always represented as ‘just people’ then these entitlements could become harder to come by.” [(Ellis, Katie and Gerard Goggin. 2015. Disability & the Media. New York: Palgrave Macmillan) from unpublished draft of Disability in Manga by Yoshiko Okuyama, 2017]

Although I wholeheartedly support the concept of neurodiversity, this is my problem with it. An acceptance of its principle that certain “disorders” are just examples of the variety of functioning of the human brain could mean that many of the accommodations provided to those of us with these out-of-the-“norm” conditions could dry up. If I had had some of those accommodations while I was in school, there’s no telling what I could have done with my life instead of just squeaking by. As Camus said, “Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.” If others—all much younger than me and so more likely to have received those accommodations through our educational system—had not had that help, I’m positive that in most cases, they would have lived their lives as victims of the “rules” of the majority of society.

Our acceptance by the members of society will require an acknowledgment by them that everyone needs accommodations of some sort. But the accommodations made for those at the center of the bell curve have been accepted for so long and are so pervasive throughout our society that they’re no longer seen as accommodations. (The one that comes to mind first is the “Walk/Don’t Walk” sign at intersections. Who are those signs there for? Certainly not the blind.) Is society ready to change its mindset about us and the accommodations we need? I don’t think so. My feeling is that many members of society have a belief that they are somehow “better” than us, perhaps unacknowledged or even unrecognized, and acceptance of the concept that everyone needs accommodations of some sort impacts on their internal picture of themselves as better or even more nearly perfect.


2016


Happy Holidays!

I had an acquaintance ask me what I celebrated at christmas if I didn’t believe in the christian god or Jesus. In my house, we celebrate Santa Claus as representative of the spirit of giving. As my grandchildren got a little older, the oldest child asked me if there really was a Santa Claus. I told her that yes, there was, but that the old man with the white beard and red suit who we thought of as Santa Claus was just a representation of what the spirit of giving looked like because we as humans couldn’t really understand what the spirit looked like. She looked a little doubtful, so I asked her when, besides her birthday, did we give her a bunch of presents and get such joy from watching her open what we had given her? It must be because the spirit of giving, which we call Santa Claus, had filled our hearts and made us want to do it. Since I always referred to sky gods, gods of the earth, and the gods of other religions as “spirits,” she was able to accept that. No more questions about Santa Claus.


2015


If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun. Katharine Hepburn

I’m not always serious. For instance, the other night I leaned over to pick up my dog and fell out of my chair. Puppy love.


The future ain’t what it used to be. Yogi Berra

I read recently that President Obama has suggested that a mandatory voting policy be instituted.

Until 1970, I was a typical American – accepting of the prevailing philosophies and policies. Even if I disagreed with one or more of them, the level of my disagreement didn’t seem important enough to make an issue of my opinion.

On May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guardsmen fired 67 rounds in 13 seconds into a group of students, most of whom were protesting the U.S. invasion of Cambodia. The remainder were watching or simply walking by the protest site. Four students were killed and nine were wounded, one permanently paralyzed.

Ten days later, Jackson, Mississippi, city police and Mississippi state police opened fire on Jackson State students protesting the invasion of Cambodia and the war in Vietnam in general. Two students were killed, and twelve were injured. This event was largely eclipsed by the Kent State incident and perhaps because Jackson State was a predominantly black college at the time.

Six students killed and 21 injured by military groups sponsored by the U.S. government.

These were American students on American college campuses doing what the Constitution guaranteed they could do.

By way of the Constitution, certain rights and freedoms are advertised as available to all — two of those rights are freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. When those rights were exercised, however, the government of this country killed and wounded those involved.

I am a good resident. I pay my taxes willingly and without complaint. I consider them rent for the privilege of living here. I do not break laws — your house, your rules. I contribute to my community by donating money and goods to groups that need them and by foster parenting abused and underprivileged children.

But I have never registered to vote. I have never participated in any election, and I have never assisted in the campaign of anyone wanting to hold office. I do not want to be a member of a society capable of such duplicitous conduct. This country is not a club to which I wish to belong. Nothing I have seen since May 1970 has changed my mind.

Forcing me to vote seems like it would violate some constitutionally protected right, but that may not be important to the government doing the forcing. Ignoring our rights didn’t seem important to the government then and probably isn’t important now.

From what I have read, mandatory voting will probably not be instituted. If it is, however, it will rise to the level of forcing me to make my opinion an issue. This may be where I take a stand.

One of my favorite quotes is Jeff Daniels’s monologue in the near-opening scene of The Newsroom:

We sure used to be [the greatest country in the world]. We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reasons. We passed laws, struck down laws for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors. We put our money where our mouths were. And we never beat our chest. We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and we cultivated the world’s greatest artists and the world’s greatest economy. We reached for the stars, acted like men. We aspired to intelligence. We didn’t belittle it. It didn’t make us feel inferior. We didn’t identify ourselves by who we voted for in our last election. And we didn’t, we didn’t scare so easy.

You can see this speech in context at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rpn0vh2Rj0Y. The official site of The Newsroom, an HBO series: http://www.hbo.com/the-newsroom#/. Since I don’t know how to make websites into links, you’ll have to copy and paste them – sorry. My brain can hold only so many things.


Multitasking

When multitasking, even if doing only two things at one time, I don’t think you (meaning me too) do well at both tasks if they’re lodged on only one side of the brain. I do, however, think that some of us can use both sides of our brain to do two things, both of them better than if we had used one side to do one thing – it’s some sort of synergistic effect. For instance, I can play solitaire and let the contents of this entry come to me at the same time.

Using both sides of your brain at once? That’s multitasking.

Leonard Shlain thinks da Vinci was probably the best in history at using both sides of his brain at once. I think Shlain isn’t far down that list. http://leonardshlain.com/


My lucky rabbit’s foot has kept me alive all these years. Hopefully it will do so indefinitely. Immortality through sheer luck. Jarod Kintz (or as Steven Wright put it: I plan to live forever. So far, so good.)

I like Kintz’s sense of humor. I don’t always understand it, but as long as the path is familiar, I’ll follow it. Familiar, not identical. I don’t want to go to all the places I’ve gone before, but I need to be able to wave at my path from his.

I recently bought all of his 99¢ books on Amazon. He’s kind enough to keep the price affordable and brilliant enough to make them worth it. (I know, but I meant it to be funny.)

Jarod Kintz: http://jarodkintz.com/about/


How sick is she… Because, you know, it seems to me that, I mean, except for being a little mentally ill, she’s pretty normal. Benny and Joon

I told my doctor’s assistant today that I might be mentally ill but I wasn’t stupid. I’m not sure who, if anyone, I insulted.

I believe that people whose brains are wired in other ways than typically should make themselves known to help eliminate fear of the unknown. We should act and then hold ourselves up as examples of the way diversity can work in this world—not insistently and rudely but persistently and determinedly.

Neurodiversity helps heal the wounds of the people the world formerly hid away, out of sight, and still in many instances ignore or dismiss.  http://www.wired.com/2013/04/neurodiversity/