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disruptive forces February 17, 2010

Volcanos, earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, blizzards and floods: All to our human eyes constitute disruptive forces. Yet to Mother Nature and Father Time, these dynamic bursts of energy are essential creative tools, making way for new generations of topography, atmosphere, ecology and aquatics; new dimensions of flora, fauna and landscape.

And the fact is that for all our might and bravery, we mere mortal humans have next to no impact or influence on this all-encompassing matrix of environmental events. That is, while our collective behavior (as a single specie) does contribute to such global circumstances as climate change, poverty, genocide and plague, the accumulating stage for most life-quaking events is set over countless of our own generations yet is equivalent only to a day’s work for Nature and Time.

Factually, the cumulative environmental and ecological consequences we now reap were initially set and are perpetually kept in motion by forces far greater than our own and so long ago that it is beyond our human capacity to consciously recall. Still, this does not translate to our impotence in the effect we can and do have on the daily quality of human life. In fact, we humans now have more autonomous power over the shape and quality of our respective and collective existence than has (to our knowledge) any other creature ever before on the face of the earth. Yet to fully utilize this tremendous capacity, we must (first) recognize and understand two critical things:

(1) That our ‘point of power’ exists only in the present moment, primarily in our own backyard and strictly in the approach we choose to implement in the here and now. That there is no ‘tomorrow’ and there is nothing we can do about anything that is going on ‘over there’. More positively put, that the standards, ideals, principles, ideologies, treaties, testaments, convictions and philosophies we (choose to) live by ‘today’ are what constitute (our own individual) ‘quality of life’ as it aggregates to govern and ripples-out to influence the circumstances of generations yet to come… one moment at a time.

(2) That at baseline, there is only one single standard, ideal, principle, ideology, treaty, testament, conviction and philosophy that is ‘worth’ the personal cost/investment incumbent upon the adoption of and dedication to ‘giving one’s life to’ any overarching creed… and it is to only do unto others what one would sanction being done to one’s self. AKA: If the community prospers, then I — a member of the community — shall equally propser. Thus it is in my own best interest to work for the well-being of the whole, in every act I commit, all of the time.

Yet even doing this does not guarantee that one will never be subjected to disruptive forces. And in fact, until all of everyone ‘gets it’ — aka: chooses to behave concordant of items (1) and (2), above — the most devastating of all the disruptive forces that we humans must daily reckon with have to do with way people treat each other when there is non-compliance with this fundamental statute of ‘living the good life.’ 

Over the decades, I have experienced the effects of such disruptive behaviors by various individuals who — supposedly with all the very best of intentions (covertly aimed at ‘promoting their own self- interests’ essentially because they suffer from the ‘dominator disease’) — wreaked havoc in organizations, families, workgroups and marriages. Always, this disruptive behavior demands authority and control over e free will of others: one person (or group) is tenacious to stop or prohibit another from doing something that they (the dominators) do not personally approve.

Always in such cases, when viewed thru a clinical/analytical lens, there is no logical, scientific or reasonable explanation for their (usually aggressive) againstness… just the potent contention that such-and-such ‘must’ be done this way or that because ‘I’ know it is the best/only way to go.

Such behavior is a contradiction of respect and courtesy. And I know it is asking a lot to expect human beings to behave with respect and courtesy all of the time. But then frankly, at baseline, the conscious and willful making of such choices is the only thing that distinguishes our ‘human’ behaviors from the (compulsive/memetic 4-F) behaviors of animals.  And sans pompousness, I’ve been asking myself and my friends lately, just what exactly can, should or must a courteous and respectful person do when encountering and encumbered by those who simply don’t get it…??? Those who — while expressing grave concern about some foreboding ‘something’ — find substantive satisfaction (ie: a sense of purpose) in the activity of  ‘shooting down ideas’ and ‘bringing things to a standstill’ or ‘picking a fight’.  

The obvious and most superficial answer is to simply shun the disruptive person. Dis-include and exorcise him or her from your guest book, email list and life. The reality is that doing this is nearly impossible as it seems that a wide swath of society is daily made vapid by the  boorish behavior resultant of this dominator plague. The disruptive behaviors of the Wall Street Bangsters Bailout offers a tragic case in point of how the greedy, arrogant, self-serving behaviors of a handful of ‘elite’ individuals have devastating consequences on the lives of the common multitudes around the globe.

What can we, any of us, do about this? How do we make things right?

For starters, we must come to grips with the fact that such tragedy does not suddenly thrust itself upon us overnight. It takes years and decades and centuries of complicity with ‘the status quo’ and millions of individual actions of ‘not rocking the boat’ of the (powerful) dominator syndrome.

The malingering tragedy that was New Orleans or Haiti before or after the hurricane or earthquake exists because we who are basically respectful and courteous do not know how to deal effectively with people whose disruptive, rude, greedy, arrogant and cruel. Our nature is to shy away from them because we know from experience that their behavior is symptomatic of  the ‘dominator disease’ — resultant of which there is no possible means of ‘reasoning’ with them as they are pre-convinced that ‘their way’ is the only/right way to do anything and that anyone who questions their authority over validity is not just wrong but is moreso an evil threat and thus must be put in their place.

To shun a person who behaves this way is to reciprocate disruptive behavior, tit for tat. Thus knowing that it does no one any good to compound the injustice, I have been asking my friends, how does one do what is right?

And the only thing that any among us have concluded so far is that there is no simple answer to this question; that if we knew the answer to this question a whole lot of things in our lives would have come to pass very differently than they actually did; that at bottom line, all that we know to do is to measure our own conduct by the ‘do unto others’ standard, and that always, in the activity of being accountable to any ethic one must be willing to stand. ~~~

 

Slow Food… February 4, 2010

Just found this marvelous website for Ozarks Slow Food…. Enjoy!!!

 

beatification…

I was poking around in gozarks archives and came upon an editorial I wrote 5 years ago, in February of 2005 which I repost here as it seems ever-appropriate to the moment:

For those of us who grew-up with some semblance of Judeo-Christian learning, the word beatification has almost exclusively been associated with pronouncements of sainthood and/or in divine association with prophets, sages, enlightenment, seekers of wisdom and/or in reverence to Jesus Christ.

This morning I was proofing and tweaking some copy I’d written for a client last night, describing the “features, advantages, and benefits” of their organization. In one of the lines of text I came upon the phrase: Focus on community beatification…

Well at first, my mind clicked on “typo” and my fingers started clicking keys to correct the error. But then, on a whim really, I decided to go and look the word up. I mean, I was pretty certain that I knew what it meant, but still I wanted to confirm. What I discovered, however, came as an interesting surprise.

I learned that the primary definition of the word beatification has no religious/spiritual connotation whatsoever. Mainly, beatification means simply a “state of supreme happiness” and “well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.”

As I though about this, I realized that I have achieved this measure of gratification with my work: as a homemaker, as a journalist, as a marketing professional, as a graphic designer, as a business owner, and even to some degree as a civic activist.

I have celebrated this bliss in family relationships: as a mom, as a daughter, as a parent who has essentially given my life over to seeding, cultivating and nurturing the enjoyment of beatification (I really like that word) in, of, by and for my children.

And I have enjoyed the sweet flavor of this precious gift, bestowed upon me for no reason that I can ever imagine myself being worthy of, as the humble beneficiary of enduring friends and loyal clients.

Considering this, I thought long and hard about my apparent typo, and what I decided was that maybe it wasn’t an error at all. Maybe it was a Freudian slip of the virtual tongue. Because maybe, I decided, just maybe… ‘community beatification’ is what we all should be focusing on. ~~~