Thursday, September 30, 2021

tranformation from the performer to the person...includes dark nights

 Sometimes we are confronted with the “bottom line” of our own being…the unequivocal, indisputable, and too often both enervating and uplifting evidence and accompanying insight that we may have been too frightened to acknowledge.

If we have lived much of our “career” and family life in a manner of “genuflecting” to authority, of accommodating the will and interests and attitudes and beliefs of others, regardless of our avowed motive, and come to a point where that modus operandi is no longer ‘working’ for us, we often seek to discern why.

And that process of discernment, while at first appearing to us as analogous to the mechanic looking under the hood of our car to find a burnt-out spark plug, or a dirty carburetor, and then replace the spark plug and/or clean the carburetor, often does not comply with such a simple ‘fix’. In fact, how and why we may have been conducting ourselves, in our purest belief that we are, were and always have been ‘doing our best’ as we were counselled and conditioned to do as youths, those how’s and why’s may have escaped our conscious awareness of the more complex motivations, understandings, beliefs and attitudes that have been marinating, like wine ageing, for decades.

We may have had physical symptoms of diseased organs, broken bones, separated joints, broken teeth, or even defective vision and we may also have spent many nights tossing and turning in an anxious and confused twisting that spoke of a deeper twisting within our minds and hearts. Our thoughts and our feelings, right from birth, have been more significant and more complex that our parents, and even our doctors and certainly our clergy have been telling us. Simple diagnoses, bromides for ‘good behaviour’ and diatribes of hell and damnation if one sinned, were not, and never will be, adequate for healthy and effective parenting, nor for healthy medical practice, and certainly not for adequate or even appropriate religious and spiritual tutelage.

“Impostering” unconsciously as “loving parents” as an effective, ethical and inspiring archetype for nurses, doctors, teachers, and clergy, for starters, is a cultural model fraught with serious dangers. Each ‘client’ in the exercise of that cultural model is necessarily a child, while the ‘professional’ is, by definition and by default, the parent. A healthy culture, however, requires and even demands that those constricting ‘roles’ be excised like the skin of a rocket as it enters space, leaving the incipient adult free to fly like the unburdened space ship, unencumbered by those protective shields. And yet the comfort of knowing “what” one is, as opposed to “who” one is reaps tons of social, political, medical, and corporate/economic endorsement, wages, affirmations, ladders to climb, offices to occupy, targets to design and then strive to reach, awards and rewards a plenty verbal, anecdotal, promotions, family accolades, and even, for some, albs, chasubles, and stoles, for others, epaulettes, stars, stripes and rank.

It comes as no surprise to anyone that the shift from “a what” a “human doing” to a “who” a “human being” is treacherous for the individual and potentially even more threatening to those who “love” him or her. It is not only the shedding of the politically correct, and career-driven behaviours that “go” but also the very foundations of how we see ourselves and the rest of the world is potentially shifted, as are tectonic plates in an earthquake. As Jung reminds us, for the first forty-five years, we concentrate on our extrinsic being, our career path, our capacity and success in climbing whatever ladder we have selected as the one we consider our best opportunity….sometimes even based on something vague like a deep interest or even a passion. In the second half, Jung reminds us we pursue intrinsic, personal, spiritual, perhaps intellectual or religious interests and passions and pathways. It is as if a kind of metaphoric birth/death conflation erupts inside of us, seemingly pushing us to dig deeper into our past, our memories, our childhood, and whatever pain that might be inhibiting our daily psychic sunrise, our evolution/transformation from chrysalis to butterfly in the natural world. And inevitably, such a process of shedding, is an invitation to experience a hint of loss, a kind of death, as if we need to prepare for our ultimate human demise.  This experience of shifting from a full-bodied commitment to career, salary, children, travel, furniture, highly rated dining experiences, the best films, plays and books, for some. For others it might be a shift from a senior executive office to a volunteer philanthropic non-profit working in the developing world. For others, it might mean turning from an accounting position to becoming a film-maker, writer, director or even actor. These shifts could also emerge out of failed relationships, failed connections, of which both parties are an integral part.

Of course, the original birth process is and was painful, implicitly and explicitly embracing life-threatening dangers to the mother, and a similar set of risks to the new baby. New ideas, new structures, designs, programs, equations, new medical treatments….all of the plethora of images and examples of change, bring with them a similar set of both literal and metaphorical risks, dangers, threats and complications. And, as creatures of both what we know and what we do not know, clinging naturally to those things we know best, (then transforming themselves autonomously into “fixed facts” and potentially even beliefs), we have a built-in psychological and cognitive ‘instrument’ or mechanism or habit or inculcated scepticism to question, to doubt, to probe and to speculate about whether or even if the ‘new thing’ (or approach, or process, or even the potential viability) makes any sense.

This scepticism is at the heart of science; it walks into the patients’ room with every doctor, whether perceptible or not, especially if the presenting symptoms seem foreign. Doubt is also at the root of not only our perception of the value of a new idea; it also comes to the fore when we meet new people, especially in an age when so much public discourse is focused on distrust, lies, dissembling and narcissistic self-interest. Link a new person with a new idea, to a larger community in which both new people and new ideas are especially troublesome, and the potential negative impact might be inevitable, even if such potential is not part of the polite and superficial discourse that tends to dominate in a culture of anxiety and fear and uncertainty and doubt.

So this two-edged sword known by various names like doubt, ambiguity, scepticism and uncertainty, prods the scientist, the detective, the defence counsel, the doctor, the scholar, the researcher and the anthropologist, and possibly a few theologians and even fewer clergy, all reporters and artists and philosophers, can have the impact of a plague sociologically and culturally and politically. Social change, cultural transformation, even with a company or a specific business, is demonstrably fraught with complexities that only recently have researchers open that ‘pandora’s box’ unpacking the multiple dimensions of the equation, the multiple symptoms, the interaction of many persons and actors on any given ‘stage’…It is not to say that all of our human interactions are merely theatrical, and thereby only play-acting and covered in mascara. Nor is it to say that many of our human observations and speculations and judgements are based on the intersection of a few “images” with the deepest perceptions, attitudes and beliefs. And all of those perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs, themselves, have been gathered and stored and marinated in our consciousness and our unconsciousness during the whole of our physical life.

Some of our conscious awareness of those ‘hidden’ forces, influencers, nudges and perceptions comprise much of our public image, while many also lie under the leaves of our forgotten memories, our buried traumas, our having been ‘stood-up’ on a promising blind date, our having been scorned by an ‘alpha’ mentor/coach/parent who put his/her needs far ahead of our needs at that moment, or our subjection/submission to the will of a tyrant/parent/teacher/clergy/doctor whose own perception of his or her role and responsibility were so deformed as to manipulate him or herself as well as his/her clients/patients.

Something in the language of therapy, known as ‘transference’ as well as another process also from therapy known as ‘projection’ are two of the cultural torrential rivers that flow in and through the many conversations that are conducted in all scenes of our lives. And yet, neither of them is either comprehended, nor openly acknowledged in most of those exchanges. Nor are they meant to be. We are not therapists for each other; we are not doctors or nurses, or teachers, or professors, or especially parents for each other.

And yet….how diligently many of us deploy into roles to spread the “gospel” of whatever institution, school, ideology, guru, or even a unique and selective compilation of teaching and thinking and process “answers” to life’s many problems we have experienced! And as we mature, naturally we find correlations between some of the themes, ideas, processes and learn somethings about how and when to apply them.

Roles do not automatically, like snake skin, slide off, leaving a new and fresh and perhaps even  more protective and also highly attractive new skin. There are nights of driving around throughout the dark, trying to decide whether or not to put that envelope in the mail that finalizes a resignation, a retirement, a divorce, a partnership, a business ownership, perhaps even the title to a residence that one has called home for decades. That same night, after the mail has been deposited, the road seems to close in, and the morning seems as if it will never come.

Self-doubt, even vibes of terror waken nerves previously sleeping. What have I done? And whatever that is can never be undone! And what will person x,y,z…think about this decision? And how will this decision impact those people who were counting on me?

And the ride into and through that night can be as frightful as waking at 90 kilometers/hour on the wrong side of a two-lane highway, with a U-Haul trailer dragging behind a sub-compact, filled with furniture, books, typewriter, clothes and a few household items like brooms, lamps, and the usual personal items. Only after a second instance of waking on the left side of a two-lane road, comes the realization that one might be advised to stop, slap his face, take a deep drink of water and even a slow walk around the car, in order to proceed safely until a safe place to sleep comes into view.

And then, after the personal shock, there are seemingly numberless shedding of those previously treasured roles, expectations, personal meetings, agendas, plans and investments of both finances and personal energy that were calculated to enhance both current reality and long-term retirement. If one seemed ambiguous or insensitive to ambiguity previously, there is no mistaking its rearing its ugly head in the darkness.

Where am I going? Why am I doing this? What is it that I am really trying to do? Whom will I encounter who tries to send me back to a former life? What will I say if and when that happens? Am I really searching for ‘who’ I am, or attempting to find a new person, previously unknown and unavailable to me, or so I thought? What if all of those anxieties and failures, insults and defamations of character that I felt like arrows in my back were true? What if those worst enemies of mine could see through me and I merely put up a fortress wall to appear invincible?

It is not so much a search for absolute “correct” answers to these questions that one needs. It is more like opening a new box of attributes, like a personal Pandora’s Box of hidden feelings, memories, experiences and their meaning that now come face to face with the feeling of nothingness, worthlessness and meaninglessness, the kind of feelings the existentialists once dubbed the ‘existential moment’ when one becomes conscious of one’s own meaningless.

Only, different from adolescence or early adulthood, this time, the force of the clap of thunder and the shock of lightning that erupts over the highway send one further into uncertainty, and potentially even despair.

Soldiering on, alone, in the dark, perceiving that all ties to the past have been ruptured, may seem to many quixotic, to some even suicidal. However, there is a part of this narrative that accompanies the millions of crossings of thresholds, of careers, of relationships, of geographies, of ideologies, faiths, and even into that cave of faithlessness. Soldiering on is neither heroic or necessarily fatal. It is a challenge for which no one can know if they are ready, prepared or even suited. There are no maps, except those of the galaxies, the histories, the biographies especially of those whose descendants we are, and the DNA’s genome, the existence of which we can only see faintly in the mist.

It is a walk along a river shrouded in mist, this walk/drive into the night. There may be a few stars, only a few are perceived. There may be the occasional own in a tree by the road; yet only a faint echo of his call is heard. There may even be a few raindrops in this London fog of the mind, the body and the spirit.

And, yet decades later, on reflection, the trip is one that can never be forgotten, in its most intimate detail. It is also one that, somehow infuses and injects a large dose of psychic adrenalin, so potent as to linger for decades, at least in memory, if not in body and mind.

That compliant, politically correct, perfectionist who once heard words like ‘fag’ and ‘jesus’ shouted from afar in contemptuous derision, and whose mind was filled with chants of worthlessness, inadequacy and shame, will eventually emerge from the darkness into a different kind of light. And in that new light, there will be a new kind of perception and consciousness that enables a different kind of strength, less exercised to impress others, less desperate for applause, and far more amenable to being comfortable with being ordinary, which we all are from beginning to end.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Reflections on current angst of septaginarians

 Unhinged, floundering, afloat, adrift, even frightened….these are just some of the words we are hearing almost daily, from those in the autumn of their lives. There is a sense that issues that threaten not only our ‘way of life’ as in our democracy, our social safety net, our national security, our global trading system, even the way we conduct our public discourse, and certainly the manner in which we are pillaging the planet, as well as the oscillating pattern of a pandemic that has already killed more than 4.5 million have swept over our consciousness like the tropical storms of the Atlantic and the fires in the western forests.

Nothing is holding our little ship of state, whether it be a national state, or our business state, or a faith community state, or a military ship or scientific ship ‘of state’. It is as if ‘statis’ has been flooded into the detritus of the storm along with shame, and compromise, and collaboration and meditation and even balanced arbitration. A few people have grown excessively wealthy, in the pure sense of money, stocks, stock options, bitcoin cryptocurrency. And some of their money has gushed into the political campaigns of a few highly opportunistic, ruthlessly ‘focussed’ and ambitious individuals, families, political ideologues and charlatans.

We no longer have a ‘set of agreed-upon facts’ upon which to conduct our debates and discussions, in an ethos where there are only two options, winning and losing. Binary has drowned ambiguity. Nuanced has succumbed to the onslaught of this overweening and richly funded cabal as if the medieval gladiator individual combat has exploded into our primary method of conducting ourselves.

People who have spent their lives in study and research, in the spread of contagious diseases are now attempting to have their voices heard, respected and honoured in competition with podcasts that trumpet the use of ivermectin as a therapeutic for COVID-19. Elections that were monitored, transparently audited and announced are now the subject of phoney, subversive, highly manipulated and fraudulent re-audits. No longer is a mere military combat the tail wagging the dog, the whole system has reverted to the tail on the dog, while the animal itself lies gasping for life on a ventilator.

The right to choose a vaccine and the right to refuse to mask as symbols of personal freedom is demonstrably killing hundreds daily. Personal freedom, as a cry is drowning out the access to clean air, free of a killer and rapidly mutating virus whose original release, like the Kennedy assassination, will remain a vaulted mystery, long after the next pandemic has killed its millions.

Carbon emissions too, the product of a human-engineered manufacturing, chemical, capitalistic and avaricious business system is choking our capacity to breathe literally, as well as metaphorically. And we blindly debate the literal while the metaphorical continues to have us by the throat. We are not subject only to a raging virus against which many of us have been vaccinated; we are subjected to an even more lethal, perilous and seemingly intractable and untreatable malaise of an atrophy, entropy or perhaps even mortally wounded ‘social’ instinct to work together.

We blame digital technology, or we blame the veering of our academic institutions from liberal arts colleges into trade schools, or we blame the myopic, naval-gazing of our descent into the literal reading, writing and ‘protection of laws, as if they clocked us from our worst tendencies. We think we have found the devil in the details when we expose hundreds of dead bodies near residential schools. We write and read and then forget headlines that expose hundreds, if not thousands, of dead and missing or murdered women mostly of minority populations. We believe that the state must seek vengeance, revenge, euphemistically termed justice, through the deployment of another system that is unprepared, unschooled, and disproportionately numbered in anal specificity and quotas.

We have descended down a rabbit hole of narcissistic micromanagement in a deluded belief that by that process and culture we are gaining even more control of our individual world. Transactional relationships that worship the shortest distance from A to B, in all of our interactions, based on a self-first need to justify both the time and the energy we ‘contribute’ to whatever enterprise, whether for wages or for the far less concrete benefits of volunteering.

We have turned ourselves into the kind of robotic, sterile, reactive and frightened shadows of our full selves in a headlong slide into not only Orwellian newspeak where hot button words mean precisely their opposite. We have surpassed even
Orwell’s worst dystopia, where nothing matters except which guru you choose to follow.

Rock stars and the millions of aspiring wannabees, religious evangelists, haloed billionaires, professional athletic superstars, female revolutionaries shattering the ‘glass ceiling’ or podcasters or governors determined to mount the papier mache mountain of perceived power and success are not the role models we need. Nor are they even role models worthy of the kind of genuflection we so blindly and appeasingly offer. It is not that the pursuit of the excellence of developing individual skills and talents needs disparaging. It is that the body politic, ordinary people, are not merely the hungry mob who can be easily and willingly seduced by that old Roman adage, “bread and circuses”. We are not merely pawns in another’s power game; we are not merely consumers driven both by an obsessive need to look perfect and to appear to be successful; we are not merely gluttonous and starving appetites for leaders who lie, who cheat and who manipulate their available levers of power and influence for their own advantage.

And yet, we have defaulted into those worst examples of self-inflicted victimhood that have been the hunted and the conquered and the decimated and the dispossessed and the starving and the irrelevant for centuries. Oh, there may be a kind of hierarchy of dispossession, based on matters of ethnicity, religion, education, gender or portfolio. Yet, at its core, the balance of power is no longer even perceptible to those clinging for life, literally. Millions of starving children, mothers and fathers, with their numbers growing exponentially hourly, are homeless, stateless, food and care less, and most depressingly, hopeless.

And the rest of us yawn and utter some bromide like “it was always like this” or worse “let them eat cake” as if there were even a morsel of cake in their reach. And we do not have to stretch our consciousness into the third world to see the disparities, the dispossessing, the desperation and the hopelessness. It is walking up and down the streets of our towns and villages; it is crashing the emergency room doors of our hospitals; it is tethered to the towing rigs on our highways; it is hiding underneath our bridges, behind our bandshells and our gazebos, in the alleys between our highrises; it is staring us in the face, while we worship in our oak pews and our Sunday finest; it is knocking at the doors of our consciousness in ways that exceed the desperation of the depression of 1929.

Today, this dislocation, desperation, dispossession and hopelessness has become a global phenomenon that embraces all skin colours, all ethnicities, all religions, all linguistic and tribal traditions and all ages. And perhaps it is the overwhelming scope of the plight, combined with the obvious cultural norm of ‘dithering’ and dabbling and placating our individual and collective pain in our own preferred ways that leads to the spectre that nothing can or will be resolved in the spirit and for the need of all of us.

There is no longer an “all of us”; there is only “me and mine” “here and now” and no thought or care for the ‘other’ and the ‘then’ and ‘there’. Our vision has not only been narrowed into a pin-hole, as if we look at the world through the keyhole of our own front door; our vision has turned inward so that we are exclusively looking inward through our own keyhole, in a bunker mentality evocative of those war-bunkers in the first world war. Only our bunkers have washrooms, kitchens, air conditioning, running water, flowing gas and instant-on electricity and a surfeit of entertainment to mollify us into semiconsciousness or for many oblivion.

The old Roman bread and circuses now reaches into every television and computer screen around the world, opening up “markets” for every shill-artist and cult-obsessed narcissist. And every one of those ‘marketers’ (because all human interactions have become mere business transactions) dubbed the new generation of entrepreneurs, has something to sell, something to convince buyers that his/her method is the only method worthy of consideration.

And not only has sales and marketing become the cultural language, but the method of doing both has replaced the quality and value of the “thing” for sale. It really doesn’t matter what enterprise one is engaged in, the enterprise has become a crude imitation of a business enterprise. And those who are and have been business magnets in their lives now are in the ascendent class while those who have spent their lives in a different mind-set, modality and culture have joined the dispossessed.

Hospitals, even in countries like Canada where universal health care is the basis of the care model, hospitals are now cutting corners to shave dollars, to become more efficient, to eliminate waste and to reduce the care-giving process to the least costly and the least cumbersome and the least time-wasting process possible. The business model, based on the most simple, most efficient, most impersonal and most “effective” transaction limits the time doctors have to spend with their patients because their fees are based on numbers of patients seen, not on the outcome of their consults. Digital answers for illness, disease, legal processes, forms and enterprises that rely on these platforms for their profits abound. And while some access seems appropriate, the basic model provides a hygenic and clinical distance between client and service.

Phones and zoom visits are now the norm, and while those pathways permitted some care during a pandemic, many in positions of power have and will continue to use the argument that those pathways are more efficient and therefore less costly and make them permanent long after this pandemic dissipates, if it does.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak with a classmate from university who was  overflowing with stories of men and women we both knew in the early 1960’s. We glimpsed lives long forgotten, yet still very impactful simply because we had a face and a voice, and a series of memories, however distorted, that we could listen to, reflect upon and consider from the perspective of our shared dotage. We knew, without question or doubt, that we each were telling our truth, however imperfect it might be. There was no question of trust and integrity on either end of the conversation. There were laughs, some tears and some deep sadness as we learned of the darknesses that have plagued people we knew as successful peers.

Those darknesses were hidden in their specifics from our world on campus. The alcoholic fathers, the mistresses, the demonic mothers, the manipulations and self-immolations that inevitably ensue from tragic and traumatic families of origin, the weddings that were planned without knowing if primary characters might attend…what did our generation know about projection and anima/animus, or bi-polar or PTSD, or ADHD, or genomes or even family violence, except on the occasional movie.

Ours was and is a generation of abundance, even affluence and certainly peace, interrupted by the Cuban missile scare. Dag Hammerskjold, then Secretary General of the United Nations, only birthed in 1947, was a world figure whose name we all knew and whose office we all honoured and respected. John Kennedy’s peccadilloes were off our individual and collective radar, given the compliance of his family, his staff and the national media. Some of us even attended church services where we were interested in learning whatever we being ‘taught’ from the pulpit, and actively reflecting on its meaning and the impact it was having on our lives. Rhetoric, the shaping of phrases and their delivery were as important as the intricacies of the theologies, except that we could and did discern hate or abuse or patronizing transcendence in whatever denomination it reared its head.

We knew war was both futile and abhorrent; we did not know that our factories were as toxic and our waters were being polluted as they were and are. We did not know about the billions of pharmaceuticals that were then emerging from the laboratories many of them toxic and life-destroying, like thalidomide, for example. We went to dances in nurses residences, where the entrance cost was twenty-five cents, and perhaps to a pub for a relatively inexpensive pint.

We did not know about, or even consider the capacity of our banks to take advantage of us, their customers. We did not imagine that our teachers and professors were anything but boring or provocative and stimulating. Their ideology and their core beliefs or attitudes to various social issues were never exposed to us, as were the attitudes and beliefs of our parents never really open to us either. Many of us were the ‘first in our family’ to even attend university given that our parents were factory or retail workers, or occasionally businessmen. Most of our mothers were ‘stay-at-home’ mothers while most of our fathers were bread-winners.

These are not merely nostalgic warm feelings; they are merely pencil lines of our time and place and culture. We did not know about or engage in illicit drugs, or even smoke marijuana. We lived a relatively simple existence, in which the reliable light-houses of faith, learning, commerce, health care and sports were trust-worthy and reliable.

Even our movies and music can now be compared to a paint-by-number canvas or a KD dinner….pablum with a rock-beat, or love songs with a soothing melody. As for our movies, there were good guys and bad guys both chasing the woman or women, and racism even when blazing on the screen was never even noticed let alone mentioned.

Have we, or the culture grown up, matured, become more ethical, more healthy or more dependable….on a few files, perhaps a little, but on the big files, certainly not.

We are still living in the outdated simplicity of those days, fighting the wars of the past with technology that has evolved without bringing our brains and our attitudes forward.

Little wonder we are left mouths gaping when a neighbour declares she gets her news from “podcasts in Utah” and her belief system from a debased and defaced former lying narcissistic occupant of the White House.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

9/11 again in 2021

9/11 again in 2021 in

I saw the first plane hit the first tower on a tv set in an office where I was working with a client.
"Everything has changed; nothing will ever be the same as it was before this moment!" was the sentiment then among all present. And that sentiment  has been forged into historic reality in the ensuring twenty years.

Later that day, I was confronted by a faux educator intent on sucking the public dollars from the public trough in a private career academy (ironic misuse of the long and treasured tradition of the academe)..for two narcissistic and greedy motives: profit and social and political ambition to achieve social status parity with the then president of a real local university.

Enrolment numbers of still-maturing and often vulnerable and insecure young men and women, who themselves were trying to find a "career" without having to endure the trials and stumbles of time and experience, meant dollars and validation of his motives to this glib and superficial "educator".
Teaching ethics to wannabe police officers, I found the most intractable and virtually unreachable concept to convey and to convince these neophytes who were so in awe of the vision of personal power (analogous to and complicit with the owner's life goals)...was the concept of a "clear and unbiased and judgement-free mind-set" in that moment when they were to be entering whatever situation needing their presence after graduation.

The over-riding ethos of the players in that context was to find the shortest path to immediate extrinsic goals.

Any mention of anything that pushed back against the exclusively personal transactional, any idea that superceded technique, or that challenged the view that all circumstances could be managed and manipulated through a menu of method, devoid of perspective, judgement, full of ambiguity, and outside the literal reading if the rules was beyond the walls, the minds and the spirit of that enterprise from top to bottom.

This is not to say that the career academy dies not have a place in a culture where work provides income and sustenance. It is, however, to warn against the spectre of the pursuit of transactional personal selfish goals that  ultimately and inevitably sabotage those pursuing them and all who are complicit in that process.

Those terrorists who pursued their own ultimately selfish and transactional goals of bringing the American capitalist altar to ruin, in order to assert their own unbridled religious hubris, were, and continue to be, engaged in a vain, narcissistic, selfish, and ultimately vacuous goal that can never be considered a worthy definition of meaning, purpose or especially identity for a single person.
We cry out for the preservation of democracy and freedom as opposed to the venal and evil forces of autocracy, dictatorship, terrorism and religious fanaticism.

And then we merge a specific faith like Christianity and Islam as examples of the differences...when it is the human nature's deep-seated need for power, control, dominance and status that has been grafted onto those values that we espouse, teach and incarnate.

Of course, I have contempt for the faux-educator profiting from the glib manipulation of people and dollars for primarily personal greed and status. And yet, the question still remains: have we not succumbed to the reduction of too many if our human agendas to the merely transactional, the merely literal, the merely self-serving and the obviously self-sabotaging?

For all of the vain and assiduously developed defences against the threats of terror in the airports, the planes, the cyber-security edifices we have built, and the laws and bureaucracies to protect us, how many self-reflective moments have we each engaged to assess the degree to which our own lives have fallen for the need for instant and immediate satisfaction of our most superficial and obvious need?
The divide between personal and cultural perspectives of need opens on the clock, the calendar and the universe's notion of eternity.

Immediate personal satisfactions can and will thwart the legitimate long-term and far more resonant and inspiring work and rewards that attends the larger honourable collective need for safety, security and hope.

And the detachment from our shared needs and purposes in favour of exclusively private and personal needs me goals (excessive consumerism, nationalism, religious exclusivity, excessive and isolated self-righteous ness, and pomposity of absolute certainty,) will inevitably bite each if us and the whole world in the butt.

That's not rocket science; it is obvious to any who choose to look.

And that won't be pretty or unpredictable! 


Monday, September 6, 2021

anti-vaxxers' ironic discrimination

Some of those protesting Trudeau's campaign events are accusing the prime minister of discriminating and even of fascism because he advocates for COVID-19 vaccinations and a vaccine passport.
Some of us "elderlies" find this framing of the public health issue as a
faux human rights issue not only logically fallacious but morally and ethically flawed.

For starters the virus does not and will not discriminate between targets including both those who are vaccinated and those who are not. The very concept of discrimination is a label fired from the several personal and political canons of those who have and are and  will continue to presume to advocate for personal choice over the public interest and the public good

Feelings of victimhood...being discriminated against...have found a sizeable niche in the public discourse by many who are literally and historically targetted for specific reasons including racism, sexism, ageism, religion, ethnicity, and even social status (the poor, the under-educated, the homeless).
The notion that a responsible political leader would use the "victim" argument to seduce potential supporters by manipulating their feelings of victimhood fails everyone, including especially those who "fall" for their argument.

Of course, we are all on a learning curve in our valiant attempt to rein in the spread and danger  of the virus.
That  includes the epidemiologists themselves and the scientists racing to develop and test vaccines and therapeutics to combat the pandemic.
"Emergency use authorization" is not final and formal approval; however such endorsements are and were and will continue to be necessary in ordern to mediate the impact in terms of cases. hospitalizations and deaths.
Those emergency use authorizations have already demonstrated both safety and efficacy at levels equal to or exceeding those previously tolerated and accepted and even revered vaccines for other serious illnesses.

The culture of trust has however changed radically from those days when medical and scientific professionals were relied upon for guidance in protecting our own and our childrens' health and well being.
Not only has distrust grown into its in own variety of pandemic; it has been fuelled by those steeped in both narcissistic self-aggrandizement in political terms and the pursuit of profit  in both methods and obsession in the be private sector.

Greed is now not only "good"; it has been elevated to a personal life goal stripped of nuance and shame.
Link the cultural obsession with narcissism to the legal cry for individual rights (both lethal forces against the broad and complex and essential public interest) and what results is the latest version of the toxic tail wagging the healthy dog.

In towns and cities small vocal minorities are punching far above their be weight...whether they advocate for pickel-ball courts or radical hate larynxes claiming they are  "protecting our children" from people like Trudeau whom they label as fascist.
Projections of fear, anxiety and insecurity are thrown, sometimes even unconsciously, and certainly personally, at those considered (without reflection and/or identification of personal motivation) to be a danger to their fragile worldview.

Hate, contempt, vile and viscous words hurled at specific targets easily morph into real bullets, as the number of personal threats to politicians has risen dramatically in the last several months.
The society's instruments to detect bullets may exceed our current capacity to detect the morphing of COVID variants. And yet those variants will continue to plague all of us (in all countries and economic classes) so long as the viral words and attitudes and beliefs in personal "privilege" (not right) triumph over the protection of the public health.

Not having a national policy for vaccination mandates and passport introduction is in a word simply inexcusable and irresponsible.
Even fully vaccinated, I am so still a in potential carrier and spreader of COVID-19...and those who refuse to be vaccinated are even a greater threat to my life and health...and to their own.
Opting out is not a human right...iris a deliberate act of defiance of the notion that we are enjoined in a common cause...

And that enjoinment extends to other equally dangerous existential threats...such as climate change and global warming and also the tidal wave of poverty, starvation and criminal terrorist cells.
The UN, while uttering warnings. reports and projections, nevertheless remains merely an agency of moral suasion. In a world where moral suasion is as potent as a quarter in search of a cup of coffee, that does not buy the coffee.

Individuals, each one of us, has nothing short of a moral imperative to consider the public interest as at least equal to, if not occasionally more relevant and important than our personal privileged choice.
When will we waken to prevent our own and our families' demise?

Or is that an IF?