Another year over…a New Year about to begin.

Another year over..a New Year about to begin.

Today is the last day of 2013 and at midnight 2014 takes over. The end of the year is a time for reflection and the beginning of the year a time to reboot and start again. I have tried to stop looking at years in terms of good or bad. Life is volatile. Sometimes good things happen. Sometimes bad things happen. That is just how life goes. Measuring each year based on judgment of good and bad is an ineffective way of looking at life. For weeks now, I have seen post stating, “2013 was awful and I hope 2014 is better to me” and heard in conversation, “I hope I have more luck in 2014”. It is odd to give a year some conscious a life force that dictates how that year unfolds, as if one has no control over ones outlook. A year is simply a measure of time. Why give a manmade created time system such significant sway over one’s life? Instead of measuring years in terms of good or bad look at it as a gift. Be thankful for every year good or bad for the lessons learned and the experience gained. No person can grow without struggle. Living even a year deemed bad is a privilege many people don’t have because they are no longer on this earth to live it. Good or bad day, everyday of life is a gift.

Time and date is a human invention. Obviously, a useful one but it seems so pointless to place contempt on a year that has passed on then high hopes into another coming year. Do we let the bad things that happen define a year? For many people it is hard to look past bad/negative events that have happened simply because they are conditioned to believe everything in life must be happy, desirable, benefit them somehow and cater to how they want things to be. It just doesn’t work that way and I’m not sure if this kind of thinking is arrogance, ego, selfishness or a little of each. I don’t know how this type of thinking got ingrained into the masses. Such a belief system makes it hard for people to adjust and accept when bad/negative things happen. Do most individuals in today’s society even possess coping skills to deal the negative events outside of eating, shopping and escaping into whatever medium one chooses be it video games or drugs? I hear people say too often, “this isn’t supposed to happen to me”, “why do bad things only happened to me”, “why is life so hard” and “life isn’t fair”. There is a lot of entitlement in such statements. Americans are consumed with entitlement in today’s society especially the new generations. No one is entitled to anything. There probably should be some basic rights of entitlement like food, water, clothing and shelter but we are not guaranteed those things either. Why would one feel they are entitled to have everything be good all the time and always go their way? Entitlement isn’t a plausible notion.

For all the good things that happened cherish them and for all the bad things that happened cherish them also for the lessons learned are priceless. Only through conflict, loss and struggles can we gain insight, knowledge and grow. Be grateful for that so-called “bad” year. Be grateful that you made it through and are still on earth to face another year. My hope is that everyone find balance in this new year by excepting the good with the bad, be grateful for every moment, never visiting to long with negative emotions and carry on no matter what happens with your head held high (hopefully a smile too). Happiness in 2014 and the years to come is a choice not an event, an item or place outside of oneself that can be found.

Happy New Year everyone!!

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Television, please use responsibly

Television, please use responsibly.

I follow several “conspiracy open your mind” type webpages and a few on Facebook. They are very entertaining and often informative because they share unpopular news and views that you aren’t going to get off main stream media. These pages usually post a lot of anti-TV pictures and articles talking about how TV is making Americans stupid and/or turning everyone all into “sheeple”. I disagree that TV is the problem. Humans have a long history of enslavement from a multitude of outlets. It is human nature to be obedient and to avoid conflict. TV can act as a drug like anything else. Movies and TV shows move people emotionally and allow people to turn off their head for a while like other form of entertainment. TV and movies invoke strong emotions and is a great distraction from life.  

TV is not the almighty evil people paint it out to be. Like so many things, it is about using in moderation and good judgment. TV doesn’t make you stupid, a sheep, or obedient. The people who watch TV irresponsibly are going to do so because that is who they are, what they want, and/or what they need. There is not enough personal responsibility given to individuals today. If children are watching too much TV and bad programming it’s not the TV’s fault it’s bad parenting. Some people shop too much, work too much and then some watch TV too much. Being consume completely by anything is a bad thing. If one is a “TV drone” as an adult, they are a product of their choice and don’t need to be judged.

Sometimes people need to just veg out, shut down and chill. Not everyone enjoys reading. Television can be a good escape and a way to relax. Studies also show that it really depends on your personality type. Introverts actually respond well to TV breaks feeling more relaxed and refreshed. They tend to seek out solo activities like reading, going for a walk or watching a movie. Introverts also enjoy company of a few close friends or a partner to a large group. This makes movie and TV time more enjoyable to them. Extroverts can be drained by too much TV time and sitting. These activities zap their energy. Extroverts typically seek out large groups and more involved activities and thrive off such energy. Age also plays a big factor in how TV time affects you. For children is comes down to having responsible adults who can moderate what is watched and how much time is spent watching it. Using TV as the babysitter is not a good thing and likely going to affect a child in many ways not just in dumbing them down with unsupervised viewing.

I also think natural energy levels make a big impact on how productive people are and how they chose to use their time. We are all different some of us are go-getter type people and some are the complete opposite. Then you have all those that fall in-between. We all have a place and a role to play in life. The general problem isn’t TV it is that people get out of the habit of thinking for themselves and let what the TV tells them be their only source of information instead of seeking out other sources and questioning things. Society’s sense of reality is based on headlines, quick news clips, unrealistic TV shows and celebrities. It goes back to human nature to just accept things, be obedient and avoid conflict. Again, this isn’t the TV’s fault because we have free will and personal responsibility. The demand for certain TV, movies and programs such as violent movies or bad reality TV are a reflection of people and society not the other way around.

For many reading is the almighty defense against the dumbing down of people. Reading has great benefit there is no questioning that. Remember, it depends on what one reads just like what one watches. Non-fiction informative books aren’t exactly unbiased and unfiltered information either. Books are ones persons or a group of people interpretation of something. Most of the time people seek out a book to read that fits their already ingrained ideas and views. I don’t think most people will seek out and read a book that goes against what they believe to be true. Fiction books are great leisure reading but no different than watching a fiction movie. All children should be encourage to read. All reading, even leisure reading, is a good way to build better grammar and writing skills as well as increase imagination. That does not mean that a movie or TV show doesn’t ignite imagination and critical thinking skills. Remember it is about balance.

I guess long story not made short, blaming TV for making people stupid is more needles judgment. There is no need for finger pointing and arrogance. Believing that because I do “insert whatever here” and you don’t I am better and smarter is unproductive and negative. Like everything else in the world someone gets an idea holds on to tight to that idea as being the one thing that will be the downfall or savor of the world. Just as many studies show TV increases intelligence as there are stating it decreases intelligence. I guess it depends on who’s funding the study and what they want the outcome to be. Humans are diverse creatures. Some people love to read, some watch TV, others play video games, listen to music, or learn quantum physics. We need to stop ridiculing others and finding blame. Lift people up and encourage them no matter what their outlet and they will find success. Success that fits them and who they are, not what society or individuals think success should be.

Phil Robertson and the woes of have an unpopular opinion..

Phil Robertson and the woes of having an unpopular opinion:

I love when the media explodes on a topic that really just doesn’t matter. My Facebook and twitter accounts were a blaze with all kinds of Phil Roberson news. Some post supporting what he said, some against it, some just supporting him having an opinion and then all the other junk that falls in-between.

People in today’s society cannot express unpopular opinion without ridicule and judgment. I find this to be ridiculous and aggravating. Being in the media’s eye has to be hard. Someone is always looking to be offended. People need to realize the world should not have to live in a state of “political correctness”. Opinion and disagreement are part of life. If you cannot handle unpopular view, you probably need to be offended. This is not to say one just has to accept opinion they do not agree with. Of course not but one must interject in a calm rational manner. Rational and calm is not how the media is dealing with Phil Robertson’s opinion. Remember that calm and rational does not get attention and produce catchy headlines or good money. Phil thinks being gay is a sin. Big deal, many people I know believe the same. That doesn’t mean they are hostile toward gay people or rude. It is just they do not agree with it and I have to respect that opinion. The thing is that the bible backs him up on this. He is simple stating what he faith teaches him.

Me and Phil Disagree. I do not share the same religious ideology and do not find homosexuality to be a sin. However, I am 100 percent okay with his opinion and statement. His opinion was not one based off anger or hate. He was speaking casually of homosexuality in general terms based on his faith. Here is what Phil said, “It seems, like to me, a vagina, as a man, would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there!  She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes. You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical. Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine. Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers, they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.” I find no hostility or aggression in this statement. Yes, it is dripping with intolerance but we are all intolerant of something. He isn’t promoting hate and violence against homosexuals. He simple stated his opinion. Now granted in the world of business stating opinion like the above is probably not a good idea. He went on a bit of a religious rant and now he has to face the consequences of going against political correctness. A&E has to do what is best for their business plain and simple. I do not judge them either for their actions.

Like always it always goes back to, “you can agree with me or you can be wrong”. It is human nature to lash out against things we do not agree with, understand or that frighten us. The statement above has many rants and religious views on several subjects. Oddly, only one idea became an issue. I guess the public and media agree the other statements are true but the statements on homosexuality were wrong. The irony is his rant now has everyone ranting and being just as intolerant with him as his statement is on homosexuality was. People are not always going to agree on an idea and as long as that idea is not promoting aggression, hate or violence the masses need to stop getting bent out of shape.

Syria, war and human ego..

Syria, war and human ego…

While fishing out of the internet pond today I saw a few news bits on Syria. I was surprised to see coverage considering its “old news” to everyone now. Clearly, this set my mind into motion, pondering on Syria, war and humanity. War is a horrible thing. If war could only directly affect those who waged it the outcome would not be so devastating. So many innocent people die in war. People in war torn countries and Syria are displaced from their homes, forced to suffer in every way one can suffer and watch the people they care about and love die simply because other humans are too greedy, careless, ego driven and corrupt to find peaceful solutions. War is often inevitable. Rarely are two groups at odds going to sacrifice in order for them to gain peace. A situation may arise where one side is willing to compromise and accommodate but the other sides refuses to relent on any issues. Human ego is just as terrible as war.

I have mixed feelings about the war in Syria. Awful atrocities are happening to the people of that country by their government and as the results of the war. However, horrible things are happening right now in other countries and continents. Syria is not the only civil war torn country with dictators and horrible governments torturing, starving and abusing people. Part of me believes that the US should step in and help and part of me thinks it is time for the US to stop policing the world. Maybe it is time for a global approach to such events. Enlist a group of countries that equally deal with these conflicts or dismantle the UN since it is useless and put something more effective into place. It seems that every battle that the United States gets involved in drags the economy down. Getting involved in wars also blind Americans to the fact that this “Melting Pot” is slowly coming to a boil and is eventually going to run over.  Should the United States get involved if there is great potential to harm its own citizens in the process? I just don’t know anymore. Peter Singer is a great philosopher and I enjoy reading his work. He presents this moral idea, “If it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, we ought, morally, to do it.” Of course we should. Doing something without opposition or struggles is easy. It is much harder to help when sacrifice is involved.

Let us say you see a small child drowning in a shallow pond and no one else is around. Most people will wade out to the child and pull them to safety without much or any internal moral dilemma. Yes, your clothes got muddy, you got cold and wet but this is insignificant in comparison to the child’s life. A good deed performed for the greater good of the child but with no real inconvenience or sacrifice. Now let us say you are a bad swimmer and are in bad health yet you stumble upon a person drowning in a deep lake far from shore. You know that to jump in to save this person means that there is a real good chance you would drown with them. There is no time to get help. What do you do? It is a very hard question to answer. I believe this question cannot be truthfully answered until such a situation occurs. My problem is I am not sure which situation Syria is, the child drowning or the grown person drowning. Does it mean the US will only get muddy and wet or possibly sink deeper into economic turmoil by funding another war? Should we help either way? Go to love internal moral debate.

The troubles of the world are truly overwhelming and humbling. I am so fortunate I do not have to suffer the pains of war, starvation, exposure, death and living in fear. Even though the U.S. is allowing mass corruption and greed to slowly slip its cold hands tighter around the neck of Americans citizens I realize that I have much more freedom, rights and privileges than so many. My struggles are petty in comparison to what people in Syria and other parts of the world are currently going through.  It is tough to know what is right and moral. Do we step in and help or not?

Even if the US does get involved, innocent people will be killed. Bombs stray, targets are missed, humans make mistakes, information is wrong and the wrong people are killed. Will stepping into this war help in the end and result in a better future for Syrians?  The US doesn’t have a very good record on making things better for the countries it goes to war with and “helps”. This is likely because our government steps into another war or goes to war for profit hidden behind the notion of bettering others. However, I think if the US could go with only one motive, to sincerely help Syria, they could improve the situation. If this would happen, I would support going to war. Obviously, this isn’t going to happen because our government (and most countries) only go to war if there is something to gain not to help. My position right now is this; I would support going to war with Syria or any country if it were only to better those involved. I do not support a war that makes the United States, its government officials, greedy corporations and war profiteers richer at the cost of others’ lives.

World News report on Syria

The simplest accomplishment.

The simplest things give me a sense of accomplishment. Small everyday undertakings that end in success and that sense of triumph carry me on to the next small task. Those little ventures also encourage me to journey toward the bigger goals. There is nothing wrong with patting myself on the back and being proud of my small achievement today. People often forget to reward themselves for those very important small accomplishments in everyday life. The smallest efforts that each of us put forth daily should never go unnoticed because they are just as wonderful and enlightening as the pivotal big ones. Today I dominated and owned the vegan enchilada casserole recipe I found online tweaking it to make it a little more me and ending in great flavorful success. So remember to pat yourself on the back for the simplest accomplishment no matter how uneventful, tedious or small it may seem.

Work harder but make less. Be thankful.

Work harder but make less. Be thankful.

Working hard pays off and only by working hard, can people achieve their goals and flourish within society. Everyone has heard this slogan. There is as much truth to this saying, as there is lie. It is all very situational and depends on so many different variables as to how hard work will pay off. Rearing, socioeconomic status, education, mental capacity, a long multitude of life events that shape and mold us as well as ones health all play key factors in how hard work pays off. Life tends to happened and reality sometimes crushes the idea that hard work pays off.  For many, hard work does pay off. One must remember chance and/or luck is also key factor. Of course not everyone works hard and they to suffer. In today’s society, there is a generation of people growing up thinking that things should be handed to them. That to earn a paycheck means to be paid to do very little, nothing or whatever they want. Thankfully, there are many who still know the meaning to earn a paycheck.  I feel that there is a bigger problem and in today’s society. Working hard and reaping the benefits through monetary or personal achievements is not necessary attainable and truth in this economy. Often today working hard will not result in bettering yourself but result in making make someone else very rich while struggling to make ends meet on a 60-hour workweek. This is today’s reality of working hard. That is very discouraging and degrading.

Often people say, “I can’t believe I work this hard to be this poor”.  In the US, the idea of poverty compared to other countries is skewed but we must look at the demands of our own society. It is much more expensive to live in the US then “third world countries” so comparison is not fair. There is a cultural idea of what it means to be successful. Despite the delusion that many try to live under there are very few truly successful people today. Today people really just make ends meet because inflation and greed have made success hard to achieve. Earlier this year I read an article by the Huffington Post that stated minimum wage would need to be $22 an hour in order to keep up with the financial demands of the current economy. A wage of $8.50 an hour is more than many people in other parts of the world make but if you compare this wage to the cost of a single gallon of milk at $4.00 that is not a good wage. That would mean that a person would have to work a thirty minutes just to buy a gallon of milk. If someone wants to add a decent loaf of bread (not one filled with 45 ingredients of toxic crap) that another $4. That means in one hour a person has earned enough to by a loaf of bread and some milk. That is completely out of balance. Rent is also out of balance right now costing the average person more than 30 percent of their income.

Working from dusk until dawn laboring hard in order to provide has been the way of life for a very long time. The notion of a 60-hour workweek is not a bad thing if the hours worked produced balanced results. The hard work should profit those performing the hard work and their family not only a CEO and investors making millions a year. The current reality is that hard work and laboring profit someone else leaving the worker and their family struggling. Too many people today work hard only to live at a wage that puts them into debt in order to keep up with the economy while someone else profits massively off their hard work. Enduring long hours, low pay, and an insanely expensive economy is hard. I believe the general population will slowly shake off the sleepy haze that consumes them, open their eyes, look around and wake up to face the reality of the work force. Not only wake up but also take action, make demands and derail these greedy tactics.

Why didn’t I take the blue pill….

Why didn’t I take the blue pill….

What I was taught to be true and what I thought was truth is only a lie. It is odd to be awake to the stark reality around me. I’m not sure how to describe it. This sensation isn’t fear, anger or sadness it is frustration. Frustration occurs from knowing that only fragments of a half-truth can be pieced together from what media feeds their viewers and knowing that society is constantly feed these lies to keep complacent and quiet so that corporate greed’s ambition for profit can sore to monumental heights. The biggest smack in the face comes from the fact that all this corruption, deceit and greed is only allowed to exist because everyone else allows it.

I have lost faith in not only what I see and hear from popular idea and my government but faith in most people. People from every facet of life be it a friend or a family member only posses situational morals and courage to stand as long as it is convenient. Rarely do I hear reasons why someone can take a stand, make a change and help others. Most often it is excuses that I hear from people why they have to bow their head, ignore what is happening and just take it.

Society is so easily led. It’s like a great big bug zapper luring everyone in with its pretty lights. The humming sound of the zapper singing to people sweet songs of false hope, shopping, spending, money, debt, wanting, longing and materialism in all forms. The pulsing light from the bug zapper sending light waves of negative ideas of division, intolerance, hate, envy, jealousy and fear as it draws people in for the kill. Don’t try to come between the zapper and its victims. People hold on so tight to their ideas there is no rationalizing because people believe what is convenient for them. Even if you do make it through to a few people they won’t do anything. This is where justification rises up and takes hold. I have very little hope in people to do what is right. Yes you see those few people who make your day by doing something incredible and touch you even if it is a simple act or gesture or something big. The problem is these people are vastly outnumbered by well everyone else who can’t see past themselves to do for others.

I’m not sure what really lead me to my ah ha moment. Probably several years of looking up things, watching documentaries on unpopular ideas and “conspiracies” and just rational thinking. To me it all makes perfect sense. There are several major industries that control pretty much everything in some for or another. Oil, pharmaceutical, banking and insurance companies currently run the United States and without a doubt other countries as well. Most of these major corporations own mainstream media outlets and have most politicians in their tight grasp. These companies aren’t going to let networks or reporters deliver news that is bad for their image. They also aren’t going to let government officials make decisions or pass laws that are bad for their business. This filter and control of information isn’t just on TV it is in magazines and yes the Internet. It’s still amazing how disillusioned people are to this fact. The Internet is no longer an unbiased unfiltered source of information. Greedy corporations and the government have taken control of that as well. Just look up an unpopular idea, something that may question what mainstream feeds you…won’t find much on it.

My biggest question is, now what? Enjoy the ride since I am stuck on it? Awaken but not any better off. Does any of it really matter in the end? I also realize I am part of the problem. I am a good little consumer and at one point bought and sold on the fallacy of the “American Dream”. Now I know better and will do the best I can. All anyone can do I suppose. Honestly I think all this is human nature. History teaches time and time against it is power, greed and control that always prevails. Greed and power always grows to big and collapses in on all its grandeur only to start over again. I guess I can take solace in that. Eventually it will all start over again and there will be a short time where balance has power and people cherish the simple and small things.

“Got to keep the grazing grass green so the sheep don’t look up”