Tag Archives: culture

National Outrage Inflates Regional Culture

Shooting Death Of Unarmed Teen Trayvon Martin Sparks National OutrageThe news is rife with stories about some Michiganite or South Carolinian doing something “offensive” and the whole country going crazy over it. Like the pub owner in Clemson, SC, who banned conceal-carry gun owners from his restaurant, but then had to take his phone off the hook because people across the country fury-phoned him over his slight against the 2nd amendment. And he’s hardly the first example. People all over the country are living in a manner people-other-than-neighbors are flooding with calls, e-mails and social media messages to display their displeasure at their choice.

And it’s all horse hocky.

A citizen from South Carolina exercises his natural right of association and someone from Idaho is going to voice their opinion on their behavior. While the Idahoan is certainly free to do so, it accomplishes something that degrades the quality of variety in this country — it inflates regional culture and unnaturally speeds the evolution of a given community.

Our United States are a virtual cornucopia of neighborhoods and burroughs and communities and blocks and cities and towns, all with their own general take on how to live their lives. They associated thus because they or their parents shared values and wanted to live with like-minded/like-cultured people. They are free to live their lives as they best see fit, and even beyond that, each individual is free to do the same, so long as their decisions don’t interfere in the natural rights of their neighbors.

And no, a pub owner banning weapons owners (or even banning homosexuals, Christians, hispanics or libertarians) isn’t oppressing or interfering in others’ natural rights. Natural rights don’t extend to the right to force someone to serve you or sell to you within private enterprise. Your rights do prevent them from attempting to take away your freedom.

When people from, say, New York City, cry foul over the actions of a private citizen in Oklahoma and create undue pressure on that person to change, they violate the value of community. If Bob (we’ll call him) is supported by community for his decision (as the owner of the pub in Clemson was), then why should New Yorkers feel obligated to put in their two cents? Because his culture conflicts with theirs? His morals conflict with theirs? They might support gay marriage and he doesn’t. They may believe in socialism and he doesn’t. They may want all businesses forced to support anyone, regardless of belief, and Oklahoma might support freedom of association and the right to refuse business to anyone, for any reason.

The-Wizard-Will-Not-Be-Seeing-Protestors_o_102518Again, as a free country, we HAVE THE RIGHT to voice our displeasure, but does it mean we ARE RIGHT to do so?

Unless someone’s natural rights are violated, or Constitutional rights (which are supposed to reflect our natural rights), what say have any of us on what people outside of our communities do with their freedom? Even if we disagree with it, if no one is oppressed, we don’t have a rightful say in the matter.

So next time someone in this country does something that just gets your panties in a wad but doesn’t actually violate someone’s natural rights, stop yourself, take a second and ask if what they’re doing has any effect on your community or your freedom.

If you want to be free from their cross-country condescension, you should make sure they’re free from yours, too.

Doing for Others Is Doing for Everyone

Leaders-Helping-OthersI try to be a rather helpful guy around my office building. I’ve offered classes on Microsoft Office, taught at individual desks, done simple projects for folks, assisted people when they ask … it’s what I do. I don’t think it’s necessarily that special. I try to treat people well, I usually am treated well in return. I don’t find it a very complicated concept.

And yet, I am sometimes told by others how incredible that seems to be.

But why is that incredible? Granted, my job is a little different than others. I am sometimes swamped to the bone, other times I have time to walk around and talk to people, so I can appreciate that not everyone can get away from their desk like I can.

At the same time, I’ve always tried and will continue to try to be helpful no matter what job I’m in. That just seems an easy investment. Pour into people, they pour back.

????????????????????????I’m no Mother Theresa, but I try to help where I can.

I’ve learned over the years that helping others helps everyone, and all for different reasons. For some, it’s the encouragement that they’re not alone. Others, it lightens their load, even a little bit. And for me, the people I help often help me in turn. It’s not solely to make others help me, but it is a sure benefit of helping them in addition to the joy of helping others.

Whom in your life can you help? And don’t go into it expecting their help in return, and certainly not demanding it. Give to help others. If they help you, it’s a bonus, but it’s a bonus you can often bet on. Also, helping others encourages them and those who see you help them to become more helpful, as it improves everyone’s lot.

Consider helping people when you see the need. A culture of being helpful helps everyone and improves life. So don’t wait for others. Be helpful, and you will see everything in improve.

The Poison of Force

The mere presence of a moral code does not innately overpower our human nature, instead requiring a conscious decision on the part of every individual, dependent on the personal incentive each person so perceives, to create a moral society, in tandem with the mentorship of those who come before, and preserve the value of that moral system into perpetuity.

Morality and its social preservation is an individual responsibility, supported by other like-minded individuals, that can preserve what most rational thinkers might consider “civilization” or its moral equivalent. Modern man can difficultly fathom a world without civilization, and while some might propose the third world as lacking civilization, its minority status and impoverishment leave it impotent as an example of what a lack of civilization can actually mean.

But “civilization,” by however objective standards might be used to determine its presence, is as variable as the humans comprising it, and changes according to culture and need, and is not, in and of itself, indicative of a moral society, for many civilized societies act in perfectly immoral ways.

Nor does lack of civility mean a lack of morality. Rather, to divorce oneself from the idea that modernity is a moral improvement helps leave morality’s baseline free of extraneous determinations and subject for review only by the human behavior that displays — or fails to display — it.

Instead, morality plays a powerful part in the rising and falling measures of behavior of the people which comprise civilization, and the improvement of that morality must come through incentive, as each person in human simplex is an animal, built on the simple pressures to seek nourishment and avoid pain, neither of which is universal from human to human or even from any given society to any other given society.

Through time and effort we’ve learned that incentive works more powerfully than threat ever will. Behavioral control by a given society through use of its government should remain a last resort, as it will only often delay the immoral behavior of a participant, not actually change the participant from the inside where the immoral and destructive behavior originates.

130223184327-01-spain-protests-0223-story-topHumans are predisposed to preserving systems of thought and behavior they feel work best for the peaceful preservation of society, culture and themselves, in general. The problem is that every time we solidify a particular thought form as a cultural framework, we set in place the very framework that will one day destroy it. As humans change, the framework set in place to create homogeneity must either solidify further to obligate adherence, or it must change. And society hates change.

More than anything.

Men who feel their culture or society come under threat are often as willing to put threat with violence against that change as anything else. Threaten their way of thinking and they threaten your life. It’s natural for man, for if your way of approaching life is incorrect — or could possibly be proven so — so is the anchor of your existence.

Therefore, men use force to keep man’s behavior from evolving — to prevent the threat to their culture. That force only serves to accelerate the change, by making those who buck the societal rules grow contentious with those governing the society, and creates a rift between the growing number of evolving members and stagnant conservative members.

Standing out_MN_110408aInstead of being willing to let each individual choose, for themselves, which set of behavior they will or will not abide, force is applied. This obsession with homogeneity of general behavior instead of principles of liberty and non-interference is entirely self destructive. It’s attempting to freeze what works in a single moment in time to last into perpetuity, without the onerous responsibility to prove its merit by living it every day.

Now, culture can perpetuate itself by those members who abide it to continue a voluntary adherence to its rules, and a voluntary boycott of nonparticipants. But the subsequent danger such intolerance of variance will only amplify the demise of any given culture.

The key to the healthy preservation of culture is to end the forced promulgation of its tenets upon others and exercise it only for yourself, proving its merit voluntarily.

That’s a decentralization of culture. It’s a complete personalization of beliefs, and divorcing yourself from the need for others to believe as you do to live in peace. It doesn’t mean we can’t share those beliefs or their merit, but we stop attempting them by force. It’s not easy, but force is poisonous. Your attempt to keep things from changing will only accelerate change, and in ways negative to what you’re hoping to achieve in the first place.

Thinking Society/Culture is Reality

Society and Culture are how a particular group of humans choose to approach reality, but the approach is not reality, itself. ¬†When people begin to mistake any given culture as the birthplace of reality, you’ve have found someone disconnected from it.

For instance. Look at the ghetto culture — regardless of each race — and what you see is rampant homelessness, hopelessness, anger, rebellion, mistrust and desperation. Coming from such a culture, you might expect the same of everyone you meet, regardless of from where you come.

Or reverse it, and imagine you come from happy neutral suburbia and don’t understand why some people are so vehemently passionate about something.

Or you grew up completely without want and wonder why others don’t just simply get rich?

Ultimately, each culture in which we live is an evolving construct representing a system of choices about how to approach elements of life.

Imagine that reality is a guitar, and the culture is what kind of music you play in it. If you grew up listening to country and never before heard rock music, you might not believe it could exist, or even should exist. But how you play the guitar is up to you. Your inability to do more in no way limits the guitar’s ability to be played differently.

We cannot imagine that reality necessarily must follow culture, and because every culture has limitations, never for imagine believe that because a goals seems presently impossible that you cannot at some point and in some way develop an entirely new facet of or culture entire to accomplish it!

Take a hard look at your perspective of life (which is difficult, I know), and ask yourself if just because something’s done a certain way if that is the best way for it to be done. Tradition is only as valuable as its current utility. Most often tradition HAS current utility, even if we’ve forgotten the long-term benefits of it, but there are times to discard elements of tradition. Knowing when is very difficult, but always worth a vigilant monitoring to manage.

Question everything. Do so respectfully please, but question, all the same. Force people to defend their beliefs with logic, not the blanket answers of our past. And do the same and more to yourself than to others, or else you have no place forcing them to defend their own positions and culture without your own consummate knowledge and battle-hardened beliefs for your own.

Society and culture come and go. None last forever, and none will. To imagine yours is the best merely because it exists to today is like calling today’s president (whomever that may be, Bush, Obama, Clinton, Reagan) better than our forefathers merely because the current are modern. But “modern” is meaningless, a mere snapshot of present conditions. Modern refinements, faith, science, culture, society … all of this is merely a moment in the river of humanity, and will be both better and worse than other points in history. It’s temporary, fleeting, and not merely subject to change, but guaranteed to.

So why use it as any form of hard-and-fast way of doing anything? I’m not saying don’t use it, I’m merely use what works and then discard what doesn’t.

Always take care upon which foundation you base your life. Variances are wonderful, and if you love African or Italian or Chinese or Hispanic or some multiderivative therein, just be willing to question your absolution of it, so that its downsides don’t translate anymore than necessary.

Am I telling you to hate culture? No. Just remember that culture is how a single particular group binds together under a common set of behaviors to create peace in their sequestered society and promote unity. That’s fine. But be aware that, like anything else created by man, it won’t be perfect, and weak areas can and will breed bad behaviors when self discipline flags among its members.

Your responsibility is to manage how much of each culture you accept and what you’re willing to step out to do on your own to minimize its badside in your life. And this isn’t anti-culturalism (I doubt you could ever live life without some form of culture), but only that you recognize that reality and your approach to it will never be perfectly succinct.

And that’s really all I’m trying to say.

A New Public Profile on Facebook

I’ve made a new public profile for myself on Facebook to focus on my discussions on faith, politics and culture! The more I blog and debate, the more I realize I want the very act of discussion part of my professional future. I don’t know if that means becoming a leader in politics (which is not necessarily a goal) or merely an opinionist who talks about the issues, but I want to be willing to take a serious step in selling myself for these purposes.

I’m constantly looking up literature about the science of economics, the impact of faith, and the interaction of cultures and revel in debating these issues and sharpening a public point of view to share with others. I’ll consider increasing my posts, sharing book reviews, and more. If you find things you’d like me to discuss or share, just post em to me! Share them on my new public profile! I’ll only delete posts that are either degrading, advertising or completely unrelated material.

Otherwise, come and participate!

Thanks for reading, and God bless!


The Tales We Tell Ourselves

There is no excuse for the deceptions we believe to soften the actions of our past, for our attempts to forget by means of that deception are as hollow as the lives we lead when our sins remain within us, uncleansed and unpurified.

For the sins within you, the ones which return in your dreams, the one you’re reminded of when making love to your husband or wife, or teaching your kids about right and wrong, or that you worry of when facing your job, or family, friends, or the most frightening of all, that man or woman in the mirror looking back at you, naked after the shower, dripping wet for all the clean inside you don’t feel.

Stare all you like at the inconsistencies of how the world tells you to face those demons, you’re left asking yourself — is this all there is? Why does my life feel so broken on the inside? Religion hasn’t helped me. Self help hasn’t helped me. I don’t tell my common friends as I’d lose them, and the true friends who are there to help me are only there to help me when I cry, they don’t heal me on the inside. Sometimes friends being there for me just aren’t enough.

Emptiness is deeper than peace in my heart, and I feel that that just isn’t the way it’s supposed to be, but what is it supposed to be? No one seems to know, and those who say they do know, don’t live up to what they’re selling. How am I to know the truth? How do I find the way? What’s really resting around that next corner? Will it be life I can handle, or will it finally bring me to my knees?

Or will my attempt at pride gloss over that which bothers me enough to allow me to sleep at night?

Death exists in us all, my friends. It sits waiting, burrowing and growing like a seed, a plant, a vine that wraps around and constricts us. Sometimes things in life we can control seem to help loosen the tightness in our chest, ease the pain and otherwise help us forget it’s in there. But even with the cessation of constant pain, there remains within something to refuses to be scraped from the floor of our souls, something that, left ignored, will grow once more and create imbalance in your heart. You can keep demons at bay, but you cannot destroy them, for you fight with weapons of this world, weapons they are both masters at and in which have only so much power against them.

Do you want the real peace you know can exist for you? Do you want to not only end your torture, but destroy that which perpetuates the oppression from within?

It will not come from any power you possess, or in which you can purchase. Do you know why?

There is no such thing as a self-repairing hammer. You are designed to be used with purpose, with love, with fulfillment. You are not a self-medical station. Even a hospital computer can get a virus from which it cannot save itself from, and you are no different.

Do you think you’re just not trying hard enough? Or that it will just take time? You know what happens the longer you leave mold untouched? It infests and cores out that which it has attached itself to. It doesn’t mean redemption is hopeless, but it does make the process more painful in the long run.

I want you to ask yourself what options you have in your heart. Be honest with yourself. What can you do to save your own soul? Did you create yourself? No, that doesn’t work. Can you have sex with someone and, by the pure force of your will, prevent life from growing? Or will that it should come? Or mold that it be male or female? Or give it certain attributes you do not already inherently possess? No, life is not of your making. You can only attempt to destroy it, and otherwise act as a conduit.

We do not have such authority, no matter what others tell us, or we tell ourselves. We are participants in a great race, but it is not our race, nor are we designed to win it alone. We do not fuel our cars, nor our horses, and will not well navigate the road ahead without our race manager.

All my examples aside, stop and think: We are spiritual creatures living inside physical shells that will one day fade away. If we only address the physical and ignore the spiritual, are we really going to solve the demons within? I can live and eat healthy, work out, stay fit, but if I have personal trauma in my heart from something I’ve done or have had done to me, I’m failing to actually address that which ails me. Stop fixing the symptom and go for the virus! Kill the cancer!

I want you, dear reader, to pause and remember how your heart felt the first time you connected with God, because I believe almost everyone has, at one point or another, connected. You may have been very young, and since them the rails of religion have trained over any real remnant of that connection. But let me tell you something no one else is telling you: THAT CONNECTION WAS VERY REAL, AND YOU DID NOT IMAGINE IT.

God does not live according to our religion or our cultural conceptions. He gave us life so that He might share it with us. We have let everyone else’s opinion on the best way to meet God get in the way of what actually worked for us. God did not design all of us with the same heart, mind, soul or body, so why should we imagine that we should pray, or eat, or live like everyone else?

While you stand in the mirror, dripping wet from your shower and you still feel dirty, I want you to close your eyes and go back to those distant memories, those moments when God felt real to you, before you decided God didn’t exist because of the hypocrisy of his Christians. I want you to open your mouth and then prevent yourself from speaking. When you have done so, I want you to surrender your ability to contribute to your own healing away. Empty yourself of it.

Without guile, pretense or fear, bare and surrender your unshielded heart to God. Yes, THE God. Just because people misunderstand Him doesn’t make Him any less the creator of the Universe. Just because you want to believe He doesn’t exist, doesn’t mean He doesn’t still wait to hear from you.

Just because you’re afraid, doesn’t mean He is.

I want you to bear your heart, and pray:

This is all I have, Lord. You don’t care about my car or my job. You don’t need my house or TV. Nothing I can give you of this world matters, because like my body, it will fade away. But what I do have, and everything I am, I offer to you. I can’t heal myself, I can’t save myself, I can’t even lead myself. But here, in this moment, no matter what tomorrow may bring, I offer all of me to all of You. There is nothing you can’t do, and I know, beyond religion, beyond hypocrites, beyond the prideful, you actually love me. You want to be with me, and know me, and love me. I will trust you more than I trust religion. I will love you more than I love Christians.

From here on out, I’m not living for them. It’s just you and me.

So Father, this is all I am and all I’ve got. I’m broken, I don’t measure up, and I never will. But you said you came for the sick, to rescue the lost and heal the broken. Well, I’m sick, I need rescuing and I am certainly broken. Nothing I can do is enough. But here, right now, I am yours. Please forgive me. Please restore me. Please BE the difference in my life, where no thing and no one has ever made. So now I surrender myself to you, as you have asked, which means my pains, my problems, my soul, are all your responsibility. It’s now your job to take care of me, and I will trust you with it.

From here on out, I am yours.

In the holy name of Jesus, Amen.