Living Memory

My Great Grandmother died a few days ago. She raised my brother and I from about age 2 to 13. I’m 31 now; she was 96. I think it’s quite a luxury in today’s time to have known one’s Great Grandmother well. As couples are having children much later in life (at least in the Bay Area of San Francisco), children are often lucky to have a set of Grandparents who are mobile and energetic.

I began to consider what the Pastor said at the service. He talked about her being physically gone, but also talked about the gift of memory bestowed upon us and how she lives on in our memory. I’ve heard this said many times in other discussions about death. I thought about this in a new light.

My wife is still alive; I can’t describe enough how good this is. She also lives in my memory at the same time. Although, she doesn’t have any conscious knowledge of my memory of her. Meaning, it appears this is totally my experience disconnected from her experience. Physically, this explanation is obvious. However, I imagine she can get hints about how I think of her by my subconscious actions. As the saying goes, thought leads to action.

So, now back to the deceased. Since my memory doesn’t appear to be a soul “link” with my wife where we speak via telepathy (it could be, I would hope it is), then with my deceased grandmother I can only expect it’s the same. This is where my conundrum starts.

I began to think about not my own memory, but my Great Grandmother’s memory. From what I can observe about physical death, it’s gone because the brain is gone. So, all the times we were either nice, mean, or loving to her were also gone to her. Then, another thought came.

If how you treat someone is erased by death, why does it matter how you treat them? Immediately, I understood something I’ve always known but, now, it had a new weight and felt quite profound. The reason it matters is because how you treat someone matters to them when they’re alive, thus it matters to the living. We all have to get along in order to survive. Not so much as about death, our lives are about life with each other.

Any spritualist medium experts around to comment on this one? I’m only seeing the physical side of things.

Religion and Gays and how it’s a bizarre abstraction

Today, I walked by a local newspaper and the headline was “Does God Love Gays?”. I thought it was odd. At first, I was irritated at how the writer/editor was planning to sell magazines by preying those in our world who this is a hot topic for. Then I remembered that’s the modus operandi of many publishers and I guess I should be used to it. I still think it’s cheap.

So, I started to think about this question. First, it assumes that a majority of people would believe that God exists. Second, it assumes that God has a preference for straight people. So, it sounds like a religious question about homosexuals. But, is it really a religious question?

Just as fruit for a discussion, does a God exist? There’s a whole lot of stories about God and about creation. But, before I go into that. There’s a big physical component. It’s called life. And, there’s another called death. I don’t know of much else from experience. Most people don’t remember anything before life. Some do, but their credibility is often questioned. We can’t really ask those who’ve past what they are experiencing now because they’re gone. Their intangible consciousness isn’t available to us. Now, there are some who claim that it is. However, their credibility also comes into question.

Given that we can’t see before life or after it. How can we not be agnostic? Well, I don’t think agnosticism is a complete approach. I say this because there are so many things that are invisible to us. You can’t physically see a thought or consciousness. You can only see their result…that result can be a physical manifestation like a house that was built or an emotional response. This is a lot like the wind in that it’s not seen, but it is felt. Is everyone with me? Any experts around on this one?

What other invisible forces are there? I think I’ve seen the results of Karma. However, I can’t be sure that’s what it was. I know people who talk of things that have happened to them that were so coincidental that it just had to pre-ordained. Once again, these things are not easily measured. There are definitely things that occur that we cannot explain, and these kinds of things are what make up, I think, what many people call God or the results of God. I have to say, just because something can’t easily be measured doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It just means our ways of measuring aren’t perfect. If they were, who knows what we’d find out?

Given that we can’t for sure say God exists, this is where believing comes in. Believing comes in lots of different variations. Mostly people interpret things for themselves when it comes to beliefs. I think this is based on their translation of the thought of what God means to them compared to their life experience. Each person has a unique view. I haven’t heard all people agree to all things. There are always differences. Regardless, many people have similar enough beliefs that put them into larger groups. The larger groups are what make up religions. Each religion is unique as well. Regardless of how long they’ve been around, they usually all have creation stories.

If I was born in Egypt, I’d probably think differently than I do from being brought up in Oklahoma. If I was born in Ireland when the Celtic Galls were the main people prior to the Romans, I probably would have a different outlook as well. If I was Persian…etc. Given that I understand that a different life experience and different cultural environment would no doubt shape my religious view, I have a hard time accepting a dogma…even if I agree with it.

Now, back to the question of “Does God Love Gays?”. That whole thing about assuming a god exists is very grey if you followed my last paragraph. You’d have to choose a belief to even go into that question. And, by choosing a belief, you are choosing something based on a preference you have. That preference has likely come from where you were born, raised, and largely experienced life. It seems more to me that this question is a distortion because it is not really a religious question. It is a preference question that is distorted by a religious assumption. No?

Moving past the God part and moving now on to preferences, many people are not comfortable with Gays. In my own experience as a young person who encountered gay people, honestly, I kept a fair distance. I had heard many rumors about gays and how they were sick and would try to seduce me and make me gay. There could have been a few seduction attempts, but I can’t be so sure. What I can say happened for sure is that as I came to know the gays as people, I found out they were people. They had many similar needs to me…food, water, shelter, emotional wellbeing, financial success, etc. I began to approach them not from a standpoint of them being gay, but from a standpoint of them being people. I now have gay friends who are very good people. I can see it in their thoughts, words, and actions.

The root of my apprehension was actually fear. I didn’t know what these kind of people were up to and so I feared them. Honestly, I feared what they might invoke in me (Could they make me gay? Oh no!). I extrapolate and generalize that is what the rest of the question means. So if the newspaper was cutting to the bone, they would have asked the question “Do people not like gays because they are afraid of them?”

Experts, what do you think?

Bush knew levees would break before Katrina hit

So, the news is in. President George Bush knew on August 28th that hurricane Katrina was going to be a monster . Here’s the link:

Jeez! This article made the FEMA Chief actually look like he was doing a decent job. He has been completely beaten up over this. Was he a scapegoat?

We truly live in a world of cause and effect. Looks like our President, not having had much experience living a real person’s life (I might be a bit jealous of his privilege), could not effectively judge what the result of a large hurricane would be. He didn’t even ask any questions during the briefings. That’s probably because he doesn’t have any experience with compassion for common people to even ask about the basic needs of the people and if they could be easily taken care of. I’m generalizing. I don’t have all the information. There’s a myriad of information that I’m missing I’m sure. However, the more I hear of this president, the more I can’t believe how off track he is. When I say off track, I mean in congruence with the American people about what the basic needs are of the American people.

Is this a slanted view? I’m certainly irritated at what I’ve heard. It appears to be true in that it is an actual video of a major briefing that took place. It appears that Bush lied to the people about not expecting the levees to break. Did he have his head in the clouds? If he was my employee, I’d fire him.

Ooh, here’s a good question. Is there any small business person that would hire George Bush as an employee to make decisions about their business? I’d be interested to hear those answers.

Homeless People

Does giving money to a homeless person help? Is it not their choices and their habits that got them there? Perhaps some are victims. Generalizing here is dangerous because many situations are unique and there could very well be victims. However, when someone approaches and asks for money, I have to generalize. I’ve been asked for money many times. I’ve given it only to see them asking for money again.

Often, I see the same people everyday. It looks like a choice they make to continue this path. I don’t like the path they’ve chosen. I want them to take another path. I guess my expectation for them is the more normal, healthy path. I don’t want to feed the habit or create a situation where I enable them to continue to be on the unclean, unproductive, and unhealthy path.

I know of a few serious alcoholics who have lost their jobs and subsequently their homes. One became homeless. The other is about to become homeless. There’s an argument here about whether they were predisposed to this condition either genetically or environmentally, but I still think that there is a capability to chose the response.

My end thought is that it is a choice that’s made. I think this choice is a product of an individual’s environment. Perhaps it’s a choice made in despair that’s compounded by a mental disorder? From that perspective, it may not be a choice they have the strength to make. If you really can’t make the choice, then I’m not sure what to think. My humanist side says get them off the street and in a mental institution…I guess. This sounds terrible. What other options are there in this case?

I read an article in the NewYorker by Malcom Gladwell where he presented a financial picture of how a few homeless people can drive up serious medical debts and how it would be more cost effective to provide an apartment and in home care for them than to let them be on the street driving up government costs. My take on this is that it’s all in the environment that people choose.

If you choose a situation where you feel you must drink to have the good times, either because the environment is truly unfortunate or because your mental outlook is truly unfortunate, then it seems that the resulting circumstances can’t be positive. If you choose to change your situation to one that’s empowering or change your outlook to one that’s empowering, then I expect your results will be empowering.

I’m sure there are those who are homeless who have never seen abundance. They might not know it exists. Again, I think this is an environment problem.

To fix homelessness, I think we need to focus on the environment an individual is in. Any other thoughts? What have I grossly missed? Experts needed…Please!

About this blog

Welcome and Hello,

It seems there are so many experts out in the world today. I am in need of some experts. I definitely have come to some conclusions in my 31 years of life. I’m not sure my conclusions are right. This is where I am hoping for expert opinions to aid me in becoming a wiser person and a more productive citizen. I’m not necessarily looking for facts mind you, but different points of view that I haven’t considered.

For example, one of my most recent conclusions about the human mind is that it is completely incapable of grasping the complete picture of just about anything and everything. More and more I see our world as one of cause and effect and I find no congruence between people with regards to what effect results from a particular cause. People answer from their own unique experiences where they either answer from experience or hypothesis. It seems that experience, real living experience where the problems have been encountered multiple times, is the only thing that gives clues to what effects lay ahead. The troubling part to me is it takes years to gain this experience in a given field, and that’s only experience in one field. This thought leaves me feeling that the complete perspective is not in our nature.

Socrates took great pleasure in finding those who were successful in one field and believed that what they learned in their area of expertise carried over into other fields. This was his main definition of a “fool”. It seemed to me that his acceptance of ignorance was his power and wisdom. For me, it seems that this is the only thing that seems to remain a constant in human understanding across different subjects.

Experts, if you’re out there, please help me out. Should I just study history or what?