Tolerance isn’t what you think it is

Gary, davis, reverberation, wilhelm, friedrich, hamlet, thesis, antithesis, tolerance


Georg W
ilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German born 19th Century philosopher who speculated on the nature of Being and Nothingness (“To Be or Not To Be…? Hamlet?). He concluded that for every thesis, a statement about some idea, there is an opposing antithesis, an opposing idea. These two opposing positions would battle it out and result, most of the time, in a synthesis of the two. Hegel used this formulation only once, but it formed the basis for many of his subsequent hypotheses.

So today, 200 years on, what does this have to do with anything?!?

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel  1770 - 1831  In these last few weeks/months/years our society has become so reactionary that people are neglecting the common courtesy of thinking before they act. Too many of us are jus’ letting” it all hang out, blowing up, accusing each other, not even listening to the other group’s full thesis. Thus do tempers flare, stereotypes flourish, and a kind of seething hatred takes over, further widening the gap between people and positions. Winning is all that matters. Being right. It’s always tit for tat: thesis vs. antithesis. We never seem to grow into a synthesis beyond all our posturing.

The recent Supreme Court rulings for gay-marriages, Bruce Jenner becoming Caitlyn Jenner, and our President striking a nuclear pact with Iran, Confederate Flag waving, have all contributed to the further polarization of the Left & the Right, Conservative vs. Liberal, Bible Belt/Wheat Belt vs. East/West Coasts & our larger cities. E pluribus unum still means Out of many, One; but we are hardly definable by that precept any longer

It would be more accurate to admit that we are a nation of individualists, of special interest groups, of political parties & sub-parties, of religious and non-religious groups all seeking dominance in the dance of democracy. One group wins over another, then another group triumphs: thesis- anti-thesis; we never arrive at a synthesis for the common good.

It’s time we brought divergent groups, parties, & whoever to the table of human decency and admitted we live in a pluralistic society. We are bound together not to fight only for our own rights, but to fight for each other’s right to exist and to have a voice. We owe it to one another to learn NOT to tolerate one another, but to defend each other, to care about the prosperity and happiness of people who are not like us. We may not be “under God” any longer (probably never were), but at the very least we owe it to ourselves and to our children to work on a resolution to all the brawling for self-aggrandizing superiority.

IF we do not, this reactionary positioning will have reverberations well into many future generations.

Synthesis.

God help us all

  Gary

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Winning

Gary, Davis, Gandhi, Winning,

First they ignore you,

then they laugh at you,

then they fight you,

then you win.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

1869 – 1948

I’ve never won much in life. Well, that is, if you consider, kewpie-dolls at the county fair, the first prize in a match-box car race, or a Monopoly game, or certain sports events worth winning; I just don’t seem to be cut out for winning: not, at least, at this level. I’d rather put my time and energy into winning the battle for the souls of men & women, for justice, for clearer communication between peoples who don’t even want to talk with each other, let alone consider loving each other. I’d like to bring peace where there is very little of it: that’s worth winning.

Winning is different for everybody. For some of us, every human exchange is a competitive event:  someone has to win, someone has to lose. These people play their game with every ounce of their strength and will power (in sports, business, simple conversations, or relationships) to win. For three years during college I was on our Debate Team; I never lost even one debate. As I grew in life, after college, a couple graduate programs, & a doctorate, I had to learn how NOT to win. Why? Because I lost too many relationships always trying to win, to be right, to wind up Number ONE. It wasn’t worth it to me.

When our children were in their formative years I used to tell them— If you put yourself on Top, there’s only one direction you can go. If you put yourself on the Bottom, there’s only one direction you can go. ‘Nough said.

So, my question to you is this— What’s worth winning? Is it scoring that winning point in a game? Being summa cum laude at graduation? Becoming Senior Vice-President by age thirty? Or simply driving the coolest car? To be sure there are some things in life worth winning; and, there are some things in life not really worth fighting for. We all need to pick our battles carefully. C a r e f u l l y.

For me, I just want to make a difference in this world before I check out. How about you?

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

Thou Shalt not Screw up

Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing

Are you a screw-up? Most of us, at one time or another, have made such a mess of things that there is virtually no recovery. We wreck our futures by doing dumb things in our teens. We forfeit our chances of a promotion by cutting corners, back-stabbing someone else, doing end-runs around our boss. We destroy our family relationships because we just had to be right…, about everything. We even cheat on our wives thinking they will never know. Who exactly are you kidding!?!

Some of us have even developed screwing-up to an art form. We seem to screw up no matter what we do. Is this intentional? Of course not! Unless we are complete idiots and don’t believe that our actions have consequences. They do, actually. All of them.

Advice: How to Stop Being a Screw-up.

1.      Be the first to say you’re sorry— to your boss, fellow employees, to your wife and kids. Life dictates that none of us get it right all the time. Admit your mistakes.

2.      Learn from the experience— No, really. Do I need to point this out? Well, yes I do. Far too often we stop thinking after our ass is out of the fire and go right back to the same stupidity. Learn some proper ways of going beyond your apology and correcting the mess. Learn the procedures, buy some flowers, be proactive in making a contribution to the situation and set things right again!

3.      Change your attitude— Not everyone will take your side even if you say you’re sorry. Work at both personal and professional action steps that will transform you into a new person. In other words, stop being a jerk and make a difference in this world. That’s a good place to start.

4.      Recover— Do not wallow in your failure: fight for another future. Whether it’s on the job or in the home, you will need to overcome that woe-is-me fixation. Teach yourself to move on. Fight yourself to beat that lingering depression that drags us all into an abysmal abyss.

5.      Watch internet vids that make you laugh— No really. I mean this. Get your mind off your failures and lighten up. Try cat videos. It won’t solve your problems but you will breathe a little better once you release some of those depression-blocking endorphins within your soul…, and maybe even in your alimentary canal.

6.      Have a beer! A good one. If you pay $15 or more for a good beer you won’t be able to wallow in your vomit from having too many.

That’s my advice. Now get your ass in gear and become a new you.

Life is not a bitch; you can change,

  Gary

infomercial

gary, davis, infomercial, crapInfomercials— the bane of a society with too much discretionary cash. They seem to be designed for people who have little to commit to in life. Thus do they stay up late watching these things for hours on end. OR, they turn on the Home Shopping Network when they get up, hoping to spend their $$$ on something they do not need, probably don’t want, just because it is there and ordering it gives them something to do in life.

Miracle Dicer or Rolls Royce, it’s all the same—$29.95 plus Shipping & Handling. It used to be $19.95 but costs have gone up.

In the name of all that is Right & Good in this world, WHY?!? WHY!?! Why would anybody pay any attention to these mass-sales appeals to take our last vestiges of income and personal dignity?!? Have we no shame? Evidently not.

If you DO have an extra $100 – $500 laying around why not give it to something you believe in? Your church, synagogue, cancer research, a political party (wait, did I just slip that last one in there?). Or buy surprise gifts for those you love; even better, buy a nice gift for someone who loathes you. That’ll shock the hell outta them!

But really…? Another gadget to clutter up your already crammed closets, jewelry chests or kitchen drawers?

Something is really WRONG here people!

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

Why are Christians sooooo boring?

It’s no wonder none of us go to church. It’s just plain boring, and irrelevant, and a time warp into a different century. What the hell are they talking about anyway? It’s not as bad if you attend one of the more contemporary church services: at least they are more upbeat and encouraging.

But I’m talking about the real Christians, the ones you chance upon every now & then amidst the countless jerks4Jesus who claim to be genuine Followers of Christ who don’t have a clue about what’s going on in our world today. Some of them don’t even watch the news, unless it’s FOX News. Why do these people choose to be out of touch with the rest of the world? It’s a mystery.

What I’ve found is that we need Christians; well, not all of them, but some of them really get it, and want to build bridges, come to our parties, drink our beer, and hang out with us. They are the kind we need. They keep us on our toes instead of stepping on them. Some of them are even kind-of fun. A little. But, for the most part, they need our help. They need to get out more. Live life more! And definitely drink more single-malt.

OR, it could be that WE are the problem. We put them off somehow; we scare them; or maybe their radar picks up our secret that we just don’t want them around; which, given their judgmental history is quite understandable. Come to think about it, they probably see us as judgmental of them. Hmmm.

Like John Legend’s ALL OF ME, maybe it’s time we’re both showing hearts. Cards on the table.

Christians may be mostly boring…, but some of us are a little weird too…, and boring, too.

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

la la la la la la la la la la la la la

dr, gary, davis, tmi, smart phone, newsTMI. You get it. We all are under a deluge of information overload. Swamped! Outta time. Outta energy. I’ve actually taken to muting commercials on TV. Just too much too much TMI.

Most people actually recharge their smartphones within arms-reach of their bed, just in case they get a txt, an email, a call at 3:00 in the morning. Wow! How do these people ever get enough REM sleep?!? More information in the wee hours of the morning. Like I really need to know there has been a coup in Moscow at 2:45 a.m. Just as well to learn about it at 6:30 when I reboot my cell phone & grab a cup of coffee.

There is a good side to TMI– constantly absorbing all this news will protect you from giving any time to wonder, to considering the deeper issues of life, to plan for the future, to take time to get away from it all and…, REST. Succumbing to the deluge of information will simply supplant your ability to think. You will slip into a comatose state of continual collection of data with no time to evaluate or integrate it.

Furthermore, having to collect all-the-news-that’s-fit-to-, er, “print,” will interfere with your being able to DO anything about it. But maybe that’s not you; maybe you want to leave it to others to take action. For myself, I cannot do that. I need to make a difference, I need to change things; not fill my head with more and more stuff. Guard what you let pass into your head.

Maybe it’s time we put on our noise-cancelling head phones and…– SHUT EVERYTHING OUT. We ALL need more silence in our lives. Why? So we can hear our inner voice; so we can feel our own breath sustaining our lives; so we can hear the hearts of those around us. So we can simply disconnect. OR, if you don’t have a set of $300 noise-canceling head phones, You could simply cover your ears with your hands, and repeat— La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la… .

                  You do not need to know everything. That’s why we have Wikipedia, and Google and the CIA…

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

Wondering

Dr, Gary, Davis, wonder, life, love, invention                  Few of us take the time to wonder about our lives, why we’re here, or where everything around us came from. We’re too busy, moving as fast as we can for… what? We don’t take the time to sit still, gaze at the clouds, the ocean’s roiling waves, or the vastness of the night sky.

Most of us plow through one day after another, in a routine we don’t even notice over time; it’s just what we do. DO.

Maybe that’s the problem; we have become a society of worker-bees, following scheduled habits with little sensivity to WHY we do what we do. We just DO.

This has taken over our creativity, our ingenuity, our play, and replaced it with productivity. We measure a man by what and how much he can produce. Worker bees. Whether it’s on an assembly line or in a bank or in a staff meeting, we DO. So when do we get to think?

When do we get to address the why’s of our life? Satirist Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in anyone’s life are the day they were born…, and the day they find out why.” You need to ask that question—  the WHY one. Have you done it?

INVENTION usually arrises out of a combination of playing around coupled with that Ah Ha! moment when it all comes together. But if you have no time to wonder at the clouds, to let your mind float along with them, how will you ever chance upon those moments of surprising, stunning revelation? Ah-Ha!

WONDER is the mixing-pot from which our imagination cooks up genius. It provides us with the time needed to separate ourselves from our daily repetitions and lifts our minds & spirits to leave the confinements of our bodies and soar into the realms of dreams, fantasies, and creation. If we never take time to WONDER, we will forever remain earthbound, going about our lives with little thought to what-could-have-been.

So, go sailing, take a hike, lie in a warm field of grass and get lost in the clouds or the stars at night. Give your heart to dreaming and your mind to wonder. Surprises await.

This is my challenge to you. O, wait, you don’t have time for this, do you?  Put down your cell phone.

What if…,

  Gary

Recovering from Betrayal

Gary, Davis, betrayal, recovering, recover, revenge       One of the deepest hurts that happens to any of us is that first time someone betrays us.  Not so much the actual betrayal, rather it is when we discover that we have been lied to, betrayed, deceived. It is a deep, soul-slashing hurt. It is not the kind of pain we want to experience ever again.

Then, of course, the stings of deception and lying continue throughout the entirety of our lives. It seems to be an aspect of human nature that we lie to protect ourselves, to look better, to hide the truth, and even, sometimes, to intentionally wound another person. This is the most painful bite of all— the friendly fire rained down upon us.

Recovering from such wounds is no simple matter. Some of us never recover; its pain either seethes within, becoming a poisonous infection or it lingers, waiting for the day of retribution. Still, our revenge is only temporarily satisfying. What we truly need is a full recovery from the corruption that eats away at us. Some recovery suggestions—

1.      Though forgiveness may not be the first thing on our minds, in our rage and anger, eventually we must come to a place where we forgive the other person, or group. If we do not forgive, our broiling antagonism will slowly destroy us.

2.      Processing the wound with a close friend is also advised; not a friend who will support you in your anger, rather one who will guide you to a clearer perspective. You don’t want to fan the flames; rather, you want to find a friend who will help you tame the flames to warm and calm you. Retribution burns everything in its midst: never rekindle its embers. Let it die.

3.      Time is on your side. You will grow past this. You will emerge from the dark tunnel of seething anger. But you will, you must, grow your way out.

4.      In worst-case scenarios, seeking the counsel of a psychiatrist might be needed. To this day, I know people who cannot let go of their desire to seek revenge on those who have wronged them.

5.      Not surprisingly, vigorous exercise (sports, running, chasing after small children) releases toxins while it brings body-mind balance back in line. Something to think about.

There are many more solutions to help you recover from betrayal and the inner scars it leaves behind. May these simple suggestions start you down the right road to recovery.

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

Sustainability

Sustainable, Sustainability, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Growth,             The possibility of sustainable energy is within the realm of fulfillment. Solar energy for homes, wind energies for cities and agriculture, and long life battery storage for vehicles are all now attainable. Imagine your home powered by the sun & wind, storing up enough electrical energy to power not only your house & its appliances, but also your car! You would never have to pay for fuel, or power, again. Then again, repair costs could be astronomical; but, hey, there you go… .

Let’s shift a bit. Let’s switch over to your life, your body. It is fairly obvious what it takes to maintain a sustainable body— food, exercise, rest, community, dance & music (some would add sports):  but what about a sustainable life? What does it take to keep on keeping on? Here’s my list. Please feel free to amend it, change it, or challenge it. I know there must be a more expansive list.

1.      A Sense of Well-Being— That intrinsic sense that all-is-well-with-the-world. Well, at least your world. It’s that sense of achievement that you’ve done a good job; you’ve finished that project, that you have completed a major undertaking and are now at another level in your life.

2.      A Great Expectation— No, not the book; but your own expectation. Something you’ve looked forward to all your life. Your wedding, that first child, a promotion, a new job, travel to Scotland, a championship. It brightens your morning, your day, week, and life!

3.      Passion— Something, or someone, who grabs the very depths of your spirit and draws you to join in. Name it your mission, your calling, a drive; call it what you will, it gets you out of bed in the morning and doesn’t let you go. It is that thing that motivates you to come alive and Go-for-It! I know my passion:  it sustains and excites me every day. What’s your passion? Have one? NO?!? Hummm.

4.      A Will to Live— For some of us it is simply a determination to get through another day. Life has been hard, even cruel, for us. Facing each new day is a challenge, [Note- If you are between 13-18, you have no idea what I am talking about, so, stay in bed.] Facing your week seems like an insurmountable obligation. You hate your job, you’ve had it with your living situation, your kids never give you a break. You’re more tired than most people realize. I’ve been there often. It’s not easy; but you can press through the pain, the exhaustion, the depression. Learn to fortify your soul. AND…, create breaks in each day.

5.      Set Impossibly Attainable Goals— Yes, you read that right. Impossibly attainable. If you set goals that are attainable, you will accomplish them. Try setting goals that are a tad above your reach that will stretch you and keep you on your toes. Note- Your feet don’t necessarily need to be on the floor.

6.      Enjoy Friendships— Good friends are hard to come by— and to sustain. Celebrate with them often. Sometimes I celebrate Tuesday with friends, or Thursdays. Why? Why not!?! It’s the reason God invented the weekend and parties and football; and definitely single-malt Scotch.

7.      Refuel— Go out on the town; eat quality food in a nice restaurant. Dress up! Enjoy the comradery & the conversation of friends. That is, if you’re an external processor. If you are an internal processor, curl up with a good book next to a fire, take a silent walk through the woods, escape the hubbub of the city, flee the tumult of your life. You need time to be alone and have your spirit recreated. Personally, I find refreshment in art museums & galleries; and walks through the woods.

One more thing— Having been a raving extrovert most of my life, I find it odd that I now seek solitude and renovation in prayer and meditation. Maybe others of my kind also need this kind of refreshment for their busy lives. For those more serene in life, well, you’ve got it made. (

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

Vermicompost

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christian, Worms, Compost, Vermicompost                 Vermicompost is the product or process of composting using various worms, usually red wigglers, white worms, and other earthworms to create a heterogeneous mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and vermicast. Vermicast, commonly known as worm poop, is the end product (pun intended) of the breakdown of organic material by an earthworm. -Wikipedia

We had a cute little depressing nursery rhyme when I grew up— “Nobody loves me, everybody hates me; I’m gonna go eat worms.” ‘Turns out that might not be a bad idea. Worms seem to have a way of turning organic materials into a super-rich fertilizer. Eventually, they will even turn you and me into fertilizer. Doesn’t that just make your day!?! So the next time you feel like $#*%, enjoy it! You’re finally on your way to making a difference in this world. Worm poop at last!

You can find a ray of hope in everything. In pain, in prison; in terrible poverty or in facing death, there is always a hope that beams within us just below the surface of what everyone else sees. Why is that? Where does it come from? I believe it is a remnant of the glory of creation, where the entire Universe came into Being. Birds have it, I know dogs do, and children…, they have it. WE have it too; it’s just that we’ve allowed it to be buried deep within the dark void of our souls, unable to break through to the surface.

I’ve had my share of pain and horror in life, betrayal and judgment: somehow I’ve always been able to feel that glowing ember of hope, burning deep within, underneath the anguish of the moment, or month, or year. I truly believe that it was placed there by our Creator; it’s there to remind us that we are not alone. That leftover spark from the first millisecond of time is what still connects us to the Universe and to the God who made us. If I did not believe that, I would be no more than a speck of dust— a compilation of atoms that even the worms wouldn’t want. That connection is the real “god-particle.”

So the next time you feel like worm-poop, try to feel that tiny glowing spark of Creation still glowing with you. It’s there. Go digging. [Note- You might have to dig through a lot of worm poop to get to it.]

For what it’s worth, poopy-head,

  Gary