Category Archives: Opinions

Commitment

Commitment is simply an agreement to accept come what may. Humankind’s eternal fantasy of eternal relationship bliss is just that – an illusion that only happens when people tell stories or write books. Everyone has undesirable traits and behaviors. Commitment means that you accept those instead of believing that someone else out there doesn’t have any and all you have to do is find them.

If you’re looking for the “perfect” mate, the only way you will find them is to befriend someone who is skillfully adept at hiding their undesirable habits, thoughts and feelings. Stay with that person long enough and you will soon discover them. Many people expect life to be ideal, for others to think and do as they themselves think and do, in all things at all times. It’s a fairy tale you tell yourself. Just remember, in other peoples’ eyes, you are never “perfect” either.

So, if you want me to stick with you, even when you are being a jerk, an asshole or just plain lazy, stupid or disagreeable, then you must commit to sticking with me when I seem that way to you. Switching up doesn’t improve things, it just gives you a different collection of shit to put up with.

The Health Care Solution

Did you know that health insurance is only 106 years old? First introduced as simply wage insurance against lost work time in 1911. In 1911, there were few options available to remedy potentially deadly circumstances. You either recovered on your own or succumbed to death. The first insurance policies only guaranteed that your income continued while you recovered or until you died.

As you may know, in the past 100 years, everything from aspirin to antibiotics to transplants to gene therapy has been developed that has nearly doubled the average life expectancy from about 40 to around 80 years. In 1911, an infant had only about a 50% chance or living just 12 years. This has been reduced to a mere fraction today due to the development of vaccines, cures and safety gadgets for many of the common reasons children died 100 years ago. There are many more of us living much longer now. This improvement in the futile battle against death has created an ever growing population of breathing, but otherwise fairly unproductive old people. And they require a great deal of care to continue breathing until their body parts dissolve into utter uselessness and die.

Acerbating our new-found longevity is a life style that promotes disease and atrophy of muscles and other organ functions. We eat the wrong stuff, we are too inactive and even “healthy” food is either loaded with synthetic ingredients for “color and freshness” or at the very least, grown in soil that is increasingly loaded with numerous elements produced by an oil-dependent civilization, aluminum, strangely enough, being of particular concern.

Moreover, today’s developed society is more carefree and even cavalier about engaging in harmful behavior promoted by media and “miracle” care readily available for when carelessness results in injury or illness. Young people think they will live forever and be patched up quick when things go wrong.

Healthcare providers take enormous advantage of our fear of death, ironically coupled with a carelessness and disregard for behavior that would surely have killed us just a century ago. Faced with a choice between death and a heart transplant, is there any amount of money one would not pay, assuming one could pay, to get that heart transplant? Of course not and healthcare providers understand this basic self-preservation principle. The result is ever-increasing prices for every imaginable treatment, cure and preventative aid.

The latest figures I’ve seen claim that in 2015 the total amount spent on healthcare in the U.S. was $3.2 TRILLION dollars. That works out to $9,990 per person – every man, woman and child would pay that much if the cost were distributed evenly – about $833/month for each member of your household. This is an amount that only 1.5% of Americans could comfortably afford. Adding to this impossibility for the vast majority of working Americans is that most of the care provided is provided to people who are not working – the very young and the very old. The people who need it cannot pay and the people who can pay don’t need it.

So, now we grapple with what to do about this precarious dilemma in which we find ourselves. Just 10 years ago, it was possible to buy health insurance from a variety of companies which, to a degree, held down costs with the simple application of competition. Today, there are just two primary sources of health insurance: your employer or other large group, or the government (ACA, Medicare, Medicaid). Government services are funded by our taxes, group insurance by labor. A working person is forced to for pay both hrough employer deductions for their own insurance and income tax to pay for the government services.

Many people believe that healthcare is a right. What moral society would not care for the ill among them? Indeed, ER’s provide enormously expensive services to uninsured or high deductible insured individuals from which little or no payment can be expected. This shortfall is presumably reimbursed by very high premiums and deductibles from people who believe it is their obligation, necessity or mandate to actually pay these high prices.

Other people believe they should have the freedom to choose not to have insurance or to choose insurance that covers only what they wish to have covered ala carte. But those people also demand care when they do require services, covered or not. Our moral society provides it, lest we be labeled careless, heartless or even murderers.

There are also people who believe in survival of the fittest. No insurance for anyone. You either pay for care when you need it or you don’t get it. When your numbers up, you just go on to whatever is the next existence, if any. This approach is largely dismissed by our pampered society. While life is precious, it is also 100% temporary whether you spend a lot of money extending it or not. This fact calls into question the usefulness of extending life as long as possible. Yet, few people are willing to just let Gramma die when dialysis could keep her around another five years.

The inarguable conclusion is that if you want to live as long as possible, it usually will cost a lot of money, especially if you have been careless in the upkeep of your own body. Irresponsibility is costly, but nevertheless demands extraordinary measures when the heartbeat is in jeopardy.

As a society, we have decided that no one in need should be turned away. We have also decided that it is too costly to do that. The solution would seem to be to reduce drastically the cost of healthcare services. Unfortunately, though, we believe that life itself is priceless; worth paying most any amount to preserve, despite the ultimate futility of that activity.

Healthcare services are costly for a variety of reasons. The high cost of education, equipment, facilities, research and development, investor expectations and simple price gouging (greed) of individuals who will pay anything to draw another breath are just a few of the reasons.

If life is priceless, should its preservation also be priceless? Should doctors and nurses be educated for free? Should hospitals and clinics get free electricity, pay nothing for water and electricity? Should medical equipment, supplies and medication cost only what the raw materials, labor and delivery cost (non-profit)? Should investors simply be allowed to deduct their gift as charity? In short, should healthcare services be mandated to be non-profit with national salary caps for all related occupations? Is a doctor or nurse worth more than a teacher or a plumber? Should healthcare responsibilities be undertaken, not to make a lot of money, but to provide the healthcare morality we all demand?

I consider that holding healthcare services as a fundamental societal requirement, like military service, would require a sweeping fundamental shift in the reason we provide it. Not to make money, but to survive as long as possible. Community service, not a vehicle to reach the ranks of the wealthy. Do it because it needs to be done, not because it is a lucrative career. The only perk of working in healthcare could be totally free services for oneself. Everyone else would pay for unlimited services that cost dramatically less. Once the prices are reset, an average cost could be deducted from everyone’s paycheck that would be reasonable and sufficient to cover not only the workers, but everyone who doesn’t work. That deduction would be distributed directly to local service providers, limited by city, county or state perhaps. A “tax” to be sure, but one paid to the community, not the government.

So, what do you think of my plan? Admittedly, it would probably be impossible to leap into a Star Trek style civic responsibility, but there seems to be no other solution short of survival of the fittest and wealthiest. I’m all ears if you have something better, as is the rest of the country. Surely, I or one of the other 320 million inhabitants of this country has a solution we can all agree on. Bookmark this blog post and return often to see what others have to say or to post your own solution as a reply! Maybe, just maybe someone has the solution no one else can contrive!

Is Strong Empathy Linked to Social Anxiety?

All my life I have had the ability to interpret other peoples’ moods, especially when they are acting in a diversionistic way.  I pick up on facial micromovements, posture, tone of voice and especially the intent of the eyes.  Extremely emotional people make me uncomfortable, not because they are emotional, but because I feel their emotion as well.  Even when I watch TV, in the scenes where the killer reaches his breaking point and blurts out WHY he kills, I can feel the same rage for the perceived injustices.  I can even empathize with people I’ve essentially only read about.  Hitler comes to mind.  I can empathize with his goal of ridding the world of non-Aryans. I respect his commitment to something he believed in so adamantly that he was willing to conduct genocide.  Imagine the strength of his conviction!  I can feel that.

In every day situations, the emotional input from other people is usually subtle and, for me, necessarily cumulative.  It can take several minutes to gather enough information to generate within me the other’s emotions.  That’s why I tend not to join conversations with any substance until they are well under way.  I’m gauging the mood, emotion and intent of the crowd, this is exactly why I prefer to spend my time on plantwear looking for cute and affordable stuff.

On the other hand, if someone is profoundly agitated, the emotion can hit me like an asteroid.  I immediately feel their intensity and find myself not just empathizing, but sympathizing, regardless of objective thought.  Other people can hit me hard, too. The ones who present nearly without emotion.  Such people have repressed their natural responses, but those responses blare loudly to an empath.

Put me into a room full of people and I tend to tune them all out.  The empathic flood is confusing, painful or, in the worst cases, frightening.  For me, that flood is at the very least awkward.  Talking with two people who are in opposing positions leaves me sympathizing with both and it is often uncomfortable to say anything at all. Supporting either side hurts the other side and I end up feeling that disappointment.

For myself and many other people, the result is social anxiety.  People like me tend to avoid large crowds.  For me, any more than four people directly relating to me is pushing it.  It is not that I am afraid of people. I am afraid of losing myself in others’ emotions.

Here are 30 of the most common traits of empaths as suggested here:

1. Knowing: Empaths just know stuff, without being told. It’s a knowing that goes way beyond intuition or gut feelings, even though that is how many would describe the knowing. The more attuned they are the stronger this gift becomes.

After 61 years, I know a lot.

2. Being in public places can be overwhelming: Places like shopping malls, supermarkets or stadiums where there are lots of people around can fill the empath with turbulently vexed emotions that are coming from others.

Ever since I was a child!

3. Feeling others emotions and taking them on as your own: This is a huge one for empaths. To some they will feel emotions off those near by and with others they will feel emotions from those a vast distance away, or both. The more adept empath will know if someone is having bad thoughts about them, even from great distance.

Oh yeah! That’s why I rarely communicate with my Brother.

4. Watching violence, cruelty or tragedy on the TV is unbearable: The more attuned an empath becomes the worse it is and may make it so they eventually have to stop watching TV and reading newspapers altogether.

This one does not apply to me, usually. I can tell the difference between real and affected emotions. But when I see mass casualties in the news, it twists me all up inside with the imaginings of the moment of death for each, but also with the guilt or hate felt by the perpetrators.

5. You know when someone is not being honest: If a friend or a loved one is telling you lies you know it (although many empaths try not to focus on this because knowing a loved one is lying can be painful). Or if someone is saying one thing but feeling/thinking another, you know.

At this point, I simply assume most people are lying.

6. Picking up physical symptoms off another: An empath will almost always develop the ailments off another (colds, eye infections, body aches and pains) especially those they’re closest to, somewhat like sympathy pains.

No, this does not happen to me.

7. Digestive disorders and lower back problems: The solar plexus chakra is based in the centre of the abdomen and it’s known as the seat of emotions. This is where empaths feel the incoming emotion of another, which can weaken the area and eventually lead to anything from stomach ulcers to IBS (too many other conditions to list here). Lower back problems can develop from being ungrounded (amongst other things) and one, who has no knowledge of them being an empath, will almost always be ungrounded.

Nor does this. But what I have suffered with is panic attacks, chronic skin problems and diarrhea.

8. Always looking out for the underdog: Anyone whose suffering, in emotional pain or being bullied draws an empath’s attention and compassion.

All the time!

9. Others will want to offload their problems on you, even strangers: An empath can become a dumping ground for everyone else’s issues and problems, which, if they’re not careful can end up as their own.

Yep.

10. Constant fatigue: Empaths often get drained of energy, either from energy vampires or just taking on too much from others, which even sleep will not cure. Many get diagnosed with ME (Myalgic Encephalopathy) or CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Absolutely.

11. Addictive personality: Alcohol, drugs, sex, are to name but a few addictions that empaths turn to, to block out the emotions of others. It is a form of self protection in order to hide from someone or something.

This explains my use of marijuana all my life.

12. Drawn to healing, holistic therapies and all things metaphysical: Although many empaths would love to heal others they can end up turning away from being healers (even though they have a natural ability for it), after they’ve studied and qualified, because they take on too much from the one they are trying to heal. Especially if they are unaware of their empathy. Anything of a supernatural nature is of interest to empaths and they don’t surprise or get shocked easily. Even at the revelation of what many others would consider unthinkable, for example, empaths would have known the world was round when others believed it was flat.

I would not be shocked to see aliens land or Abraham Lincoln alive in my livingroom.  My only regret is that I have never witnessed anything supernatural.

13. Creative: From singing, dancing, acting, drawing or writing an empath will have a strong creative streak and a vivid imagination.

That’s me! Degree in Music Composition and look at all the stuff I write!

14. Love of nature and animals: Being outdoors in nature is a must for empaths and pets are an essential part of their life.

Not so much.  I don’t tolerate direct sunlight well, but I do enjoy the miracle of a seed becoming a lush marijuana plant. I like to have a dog around.  Many cats seem to suffer from social anxiety, so they generally give me an uncomfortable feeling.

15. Need for solitude: An empath will go stir-crazy if they don’t get quiet time. This is even obvious in empathic children.

At least 6 hours a day is ideal. 

16. Gets bored or distracted easily if not stimulated: Work, school and home life has to be kept interesting for an empath or they switch off from it and end up daydreaming or doodling.

Yes, but I think this applies to a lot more that empaths.

17. Finds it impossible to do things they don’t enjoy: As above. Feels like they are living a lie by doing so. To force an empath to do something they dislike through guilt or labelling them as idle will only serve in making them unhappy. It’s for this reason many empaths get labelled as being lazy.

Not impossible to do things I don’t like. After all, I worked in the restaurant and retail businesses for nearly 40 years.  I was just very unhappy.

18. Strives for the truth: This becomes more prevalent when an empath discovers his/her gifts and birthright. Anything untruthful feels plain wrong.

Yep.

19. Always looking for the answers and knowledge: To have unanswered questions can be frustrating for an empath and they will endeavour to find an explanation. If they have a knowing about something they will look for confirmation. The downside to this is an information overload.

As you may have read in my Spirituality category, I am trying to answer age-old questions.

20. Likes adventure, freedom and travel: Empaths are free spirits.

No, not at all. I’m a homebody, where there are only a few people to deal with.

21. Abhors clutter: It makes an empath feel weighed down and blocks the flow of energy.

Well, not if it is MY clutter!

22. Loves to daydream: An empath can stare into space for hours, in a world of their own and blissfully happy.

Certainly. What do you think I did while waiting in the taxi for fares for 14 months?

23. Finds routine, rules or control, imprisoning: Anything that takes away their freedom is debilitating to an empath, even poisoning.

I detest every level of the criminal justice system. I detest bullies, bosses and bitches.  Rules suck.

24. Prone to carry weight without necessarily overeating: The excess weight is a form of protection to stop the negative incoming energies having as much impact.

I was so fat for so long, I had to have gastric by-pass surgery in 1999.

25. Excellent listener: An empath won’t talk about themselves much unless it’s to someone they really trust. They love to learn and know about others and genuinely care.

Yes, Yes, Yes!

26. Intolerance to narcissism: Although kind and often very tolerant of others, empaths do not like to be around overly egotistical people, who put themselves first and refuse to consider another’s feelings or points of view other than their own.

Like corporations, or ISIS or judges.

27. The ability to feel the days of the week: An empath will get the ‘Friday Feeling’ if they work Fridays or not. They pick up on how the collective are feeling. The first couple of days of a long, bank holiday weekend (Easter for example) can feel, to them, like the world is smiling, calm and relaxed. Sunday evenings, Mondays and Tuesdays, of a working week, have a very heavy feeling.

Never felt this, though much of my life, my “weekend” was during the week.  I never had the opportunity to feel at ease with the majority of people.

28. Will not choose to buy antiques, vintage or second-hand: Anything that’s been pre-owned carries the energy of the previous owner. An empath will even prefer to have a brand new car or house (if they are in the financial situation to do so) with no residual energy.

This is true, though I never realized why.

29. Sense the energy of food: Many empaths don’t like to eat meat or poultry because they can feel the vibrations of the animal (especially if the animal suffered), even if they like the taste.

No.  I have never had genuine empathy for something I am eating.

30. Can appear moody, shy, aloof, disconnected: Depending on how an empath is feeling will depend on what face they show to the world. They can be prone to mood swings and if they’ve taken on too much negative will appear quiet and unsociable, even miserable. An empath detests having to pretend to be happy when they’re sad, this only adds to their load (makes working in the service industry, when it’s service with a smile, very challenging) and can make them feel like scuttling under a stone.

Yep, that’s me!

If you can say yes to most or all of the above then you are most definitely an empath.

Empaths are having a particularly difficult time at the present time, picking up on all the negative emotions that are being emanated into the world from the populace.

That’s for sure. That’s for damn sure!

New Constitution

While I believe in a government by the people, of the people and for the people, I don’t think the original Constitution supports the literal implementation of such a government. It’s hardly the fault of the framers. Present day technology was fairly inconceivable in 1787.  When all meetings had to be in person, you could hardly expect everybody to attend, especially when that meeting was several days ride away.  Naturally, they selected “representatives”.   Today, those representatives each represent, on average, about 725,000 citizens.  I think represent is used only in a formal sense,  But it could be literal as well.

We now have the technology in the palm of our hands to vote whenever, wherever and instantly. If the IRS trusts the internet to carry our financial information, surely the technology exists to mitigate fraud to a negligible level; certainly no more fraud than has been uncovered with the present and past systems.

The way I see it, it could be done three ways:

  1. Modify the existing Constitution to require that elected representatives electronically poll their constituents for a specified time period before the vote, and then vote along the lines of a prevailing super majority.  Anything less than a super majority, the representative gets to vote the way he/she wants. Still, individual personalities would prevail if constituents were evenly divided a lot.
  2. As an a alternative Constitutional modification, we could make it necessary to seek popular approval for ALL laws passed by Congress.  They could do their thing, but it doesn’t become law when the President signs it.  It becomes law when The People vote to accept it.
  3. Get rid of the Congress and it’s expense. All the people (who care to) must vote directly on every issue. Majority rules.  Anyone may propose a law. Naturally, there would be a number of challenges a law must pass before it reaches national attention.

While number 2 may be the easiest, quickest way to forge an amendment, it’s the third option that intrigues me the most. Aside from the huge amount of money it would save, I think first that  there would be a great effort by the existing political efforts to monopolize the voting, simply because so many people are not in the habit.  But once they impose a few unfair laws upon everyone, there will be a backlash that wipes out all the special interests, lobbyists, corporations and philanthropists who fuel the campaigns of those they can control.

Putting government in the hands of the people almost sounds scary, though, doesn’t it?  We tend to imagine the worst of us voting irresponsibly and unwittingly causing the downfall of this nation. Well, if we have become THAT stupid, we deserve to fall down.  But I submit that we ARE falling down NOW and if we the people don’t pay attention we will lose more and more of our freedoms, money and pride.

So, then. We all nod and agree that it needs to be fixed. But do nothing to fix it.

 

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Gets Death Penalty

Dzhokhar TsarnaevOn May 16, 2015, the Boston Marathon Bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was awarded the death penalty for his role in that fateful day’s events. This is the verdict that most Americans wanted to hear.

The death penalty is an interesting topic to explore. Is it helpful to kill killers? Well, it doesn’t bring back the people they kill. Killing people who kill stops THEM from killing again, but it does not stop people from killing.  It is not a deterrent. Then, what is it we gain from killing killers?

Comfort.  We are more comfortable knowing that killers are being killed. It’s why we killed so many Germans and Japanese during World War II.  They were killing us.  Of course, they were killing us, because we were there to kill them.  Each side always thinks THEY are “right”. The Tsarnaev brothers thought they were right.  They thought (and rightly so) that we were killing their own brethren, so they killed us. In turn, we shall kill them, and their brethren will undoubtedly kill more of us.

Because we all agree he should be killed, we believe that makes it “right”. And it is, for us. That little bit of evil, even in good people, can lash out when it feels it is justified.  “LET’S KILL THE MOTHERFUCKER!!”  I suspect the Tsarnaev brothers said something quite similar about us.

So, who tossed the first stone?  Who pissed off who first?  It probably all started over the rights to an ox or some such mundane issue.  Somewhere, the ox is still grazing while all the humans kill each other.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is a human being, created and given life by God. His mindset and life is one that God gave him. Tsarnaev was powerless against the will of God.  He was destined to do what he did.  God needed to experience existence through the being of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. God, as the rest of us, needed to experience the horror and madness of his act.  It is all necessary, including his imminent execution.  God gives and takes life according to the Grand Plan which we will understand once we rejoin the Whole of God.  Won’t Dzhokhar Tsarnaev be surprised when he learns everything?!

Is Privacy Necessary?

Why do humans wish for privacy?  Is it because they want to be able to control what the rest of the world knows about them?  Is it because that the things they do in private would not be approved of by others?  Is it because who they truly are is so different from what they otherwise seem to be?  Is it because they are ashamed of who they are in private?  Or is it that they just get tired of being around other people?

We complain that the government is not “transparent” enough.  We want it to be more transparent.  If something is transparent, it cannot be more transparent.  That’s like saying that an ocean needs to be wetter, or that a harder diamond is more desirable.  Aside from the semantics, asking the government, a business or even another individual to be more transparent is a bit hypocritical when all we want as individuals is more privacy.

When someone answers our query with “That is a private matter.”, does it not suggest that the true information could be used against them in some way?  Does it not suggest that the information we seek is of at least a mitigating nature, if not offensive or downright criminal?

What would happen if somehow every minute of everyone’s lives were freely available for review by any and all?  Suppose we could know instantly whenever someone stole, lied or killed. Suppose everyone’s sexual habits and medical histories were public knowledge.  Suppose that everyone could know what you do – or don’t do – when you are alone.  Suppose every word you uttered, texted or typed was available for all to hear and see.  What would happen?

Would we behave more decently, or, given the fact that everyone was exposed, realize that no one has a monopoly on decency?  People who hide their own indecencies seem to take great pleasure in judging those whose indecencies are exposed. Why do humans presume they have the right to judge those who act indecently, but who have not yet been so unfortunate as to have their own indecencies exposed?

We are all indecent.  Deny it all you want, but you know all about you.  You know you have been less than a model citizen on countless occasions. Have you ever shamed someone for doing something that you yourself have done? If you say no, you’re lying.  And you know that, too.  Perhaps you haven’t done what they did, but you’ve done many things you don’t want anyone else to know about.

Privacy is a concept invented to hide the despicable characters we all possess.  Privacy obscures the truth.  It allows us to hide who we really are.  We don’t want people to know when we betray them or speak ill of them.  We don’t want people to know that we continually perform good deeds in an attempt to counterbalance the evil deeds we perform in private.  We don’t want people to know that we are afraid they will discover the whole truth about ourselves.

Privacy is evil.  It is the opposite of the Truth.  It allows us to continue to be despicable without redress.  Privacy is necessary if you want to continue living in a world where no one admits who they really are.  The lack of full disclosure is necessary to facilitate extramarital affairs, physical and emotional abuse, selfishness, substance abuse, irresponsibility, laziness and every other despicable behavioral trait common to all humans.

Privacy is necessary for the evil in us to flourish.  Evil is necessary to assure that God has as complete a tactile experience in this universe as possible.  Privacy is necessary to the evolution of Mankind.  It allows us to fool the world into thinking we are all much better than we truly are.  It perpetuates the illusion of innocence and righteousness.  It gives us a false credibility we use to judge others.

Privacy is necessary to make fools of ourselves.