The New Empire; Marriage??

I am not a doctor. Ideas on this blog are for entertainment only and are not intended to cure, treat or prevent disease. If you are ill, please seek the help of a medical professional.

Peasant observations here for ye:
It is the super Mega merger of human history-government and religion; there is practically no longer a line. They are merging.

This comes at an inconvenient time, because I was just realizing that I no longer had ants crawling on my neck and everywhere else when I thought about going to the jewelry store to notice, (not look) at different rings. “What do I prefer again, silver or gold”?

Now, for most peasants the decision is easy; he and his bride-to-be simply take the camel caravan to ye village parish, the traditional faith of the ancestors and get hitched.

See, there is a slight problem with this though because this peasant wants nothing to do with the empire and wants a divorce from it. He doesn’t have to file the divorce to either the church or the county because they both already left him high and dry a long time ago. Since the merge took place, he finds it difficult to trust either of them, so certainly neither one will be invited into his love/spiritual relationship, oh no. There is for men, a bipolar, double standard embedded with multiple and subtle contradictions.

Some RM’s left arms are caught in the gears of capitalism and debt for their shelter and cars. Yet, their right leg is caught in the gears of religion. They can’t even move. It is a nearly imperceptible subtlety, and a next to impossible predicament that has ensnared many men. Our goose is cooked as soon as we try. Because we tried the goose is scorched, blackened beyond recognition and everyone complains that we smell like smoke…

The empire is not invited. That means that we can’t even call it marriage. No calories burned over that though; one of my favorite books summarizes all too well in the title alone. Marriage, A History; How Love Conquered Marriage.

The Tesla and the Camel

We’ve all seen it; the traffic inevitably comes to a stand still. The flashing orange lights and construction signs abruptly merging multiple lanes down to only one. There are no other options…

This is how technology feels to me-everything consolidated and merged down to only one lane, and it is the same for everyone. What’s more, is the merge is into the fast lane. You only have a few seconds, go. Whether this is industry or consumer/trend driven is debatable, but it is putting all the eggs into one basket.

There is time and place for technology. My gripe is that it changes so fast and dominates everything. There is the collective tendency to put all eggs into one basket. By choice, some people have to start living differently. This just makes sense.

I don’t want a Tesla or a car or phone that does everything for me including think. I could c a r e l e s s. I was impressed, however to see that one of the eco e-cars charging in the lot the other day was a Tesla. That’s for someone else though. I’m not interested. Instead, I want a camel. You went back to reread that sentence, just admit it. A camel would be the coolest ride, and so perfectly adapted through natural selection to a desert such as Utah. Your Tesla in all its fancy gadgetry can’t adapt to specific biomes. Still, I’m glad they’re available for those who want them, especially since they have the eco/e-car element.

But some of us have to be the ones to say “no, I’m good; go ahead. I’ll stay back here.” Not everyone should try to do and live like everyone else. This is chaos.

I want less and less to do with the direction that technology is taking, and taking us with it so rapidly that we don’t even notice. That is my ride, slow and steady. You think I’m kidding, and although I may be only partially serious, the point is to consider the possibilities and to think outside the box. This may sound funny, and something you’d associate with India, or the Middle East, and not the U.S. Yet, in terms of population, the U.S is third in behind China and India respectively at around 380 million (1) anyway. The difference is timing. The former two took a few thousand years, and due to the rapid industrial revolution, the U.S did it in a few hundred.

Then there is the one lane thing, built for only one type of transportation. Motor vehicles obviously dominate. Society itself is practically designed around it. There is what, 2% of space left for anything else including pedestrians. This is short sighted, monoculture on steroids and meth. Diversity is the answer and it should be woven through the design. There should be lanes for escooters, bicycles, skateboards, walkers, joggers, roads for camels and those who have formed admirable bonds with their animals.

It’s curious that developed countries reach a point of saturation with things (literally heaps of stuff), technology and its accompanying mayhem and stress. Then, towards a solution, those developed nations always look back to simpler days and ancient ways, and traditions of developing nations for simpler, quieter, slower, more thorogh and lighter ways that aren’t so stressful, hectic or destructive. Better yet, there would be ammended zoning adjustments to the infrastructure to make all of it more feasible. The boards, bikes, e scooters and animals for those who choose to use them as transportation. This relieves some of the pressure so that not everybody is trying to live, house, buy the same way.

My friend’s 12 year old daughter actually said about her cell phone the other day “mom, I don’t want all this anymore; can we just go back to when you were growing up in the 80’s?” It is no joke. She truly said that. I wish I could have caught it on video for you. This is a flip side to this issue. Kids get blamed for being inside too much playing too many video games and watching movies, not getting outside in the sunshine for exercise, etc. Yet, how many incentives are there for them to do so?? When we were growing up there were fields and forests. That is all gone now. Everyone knows we need three more medical clinics on every corner. I hope you’re sensing my sarcasm here. We’ve had very little say and it practically all happened overnight.

Just imagine the possibilities of organization by choice that more evenly distributes the eggs of society instead of them all being lumped into one basket. They are spilling over the side of the container. The eggs are breaking on the sidewalk, slimy mess when people step in them. They are being hurled at cars; it is ruining the paint and creating tension.

Some of us from the camel caravan look to the side and laugh at all the mayhem never looking back. We know we don’t need to.

(1.) Social Problems, 13th edition.

Don’t say the H (hippie) Word

I briefly mentioned this in my book Life Is Conscious.

It is curious, some people and their preconceived notions. Long hair is becoming more accepted, just like tattoos and many piercings, even gauges. I’ve noticed that sometimes people still get the wrong idea about me from my hair. The distorted perception of the word needs to go away; since this is unlikely to happen anytime soon, it can be acknowledged that the word itself no longer works as a label. It conjures up an unhealthy (and inaccurate) perception. I have learned that people generally dislike hippies, or at least the stereotype. There are exceptions and some people seem actually refreshed by the “hippie” in the room. Maybe they can count on someone actually being peaceful and loving. How about it, the world needs more of that. But the word no longer does justice to the pure intent that most certainly does exist. What is a hippie anyway? Any definition is too broad and with almost no way to illustrate it in a positive, or accurate light. This is why the word just needs to be kept in the past. That was then and this is now, thankfully. Much has changed since the 60’s, thankfully.

Still, the h word can’t be mentioned without the topic of drugs. So let’s discuss that here for a moment. This is one area that I will meet Conservatives (at least moderates) half way. Among conservatives, there is a strong stance regarding combatting collective laziness. This is one valid concern, including about the overuse of illicit drugs, Marijuana included. With my long hair, I have been inaccurately stereotyped as a user on many occasions. It’s interesting that I get asked about smoking pot: “Hey man, you got a light, or do you smoke pot, by chance” or, the most recent” are you 420 friendly by chance?”? It’s interesting to note that not one of these men who asked me, had long hair. It’s getting old, annoying, even obnoxious. Still, let’s put things into perspective. It’s Marijuana, not cocaine or heroin, (not to be confused with fear-heroin, of which we get plenty from the mainstream media). Now there is a drug that should be made illegal.

There is a compassionate/social problems side of this issue and I know that for a lot of people who are addicted, substance is an attempt to self medicate. However, let’s face it, if, even 4 out of 10 people in any given U.S city began smoking pot regulary, this would be a valid concern. Amotivational syndrome, delayed reaction time (while driving for example, which is likely to affect others) not to mention the lung damage affecting the individual are concerns to consider that would lead to other problems. At least we acknowledge that there is a gray zone and the one-size-fits-all approach typically used doesn’t work here, as it simply does not in so many instances. Being labeled as anti-anything is inaccurate, problematic speech that is a symptom of the persistent all or nothing, black and white thinking, (a decline in mental health) not to mention, the label of anti {anything} can ruin another, so “anti” needs to go away also.

Still, h word, go away.

Related writings:

Judgement or Assessment?

“Respect is What Again?”

Exactly. It sort of left us, having been waning since the digital age.

Respect is a hard one to define and pin point, but I would say it is a combination of admiration, reliability, credibility and trust, with a reluctance to habitually question that person’s knowledge, ability and what they say. Respect is a balance of understanding, compassion, honesty, and the knowledge that that person can hold his/her own against your onslaught of opinions (every human is full of those) and where you don’t share their views/values. Yet, neither party is threatened or fearful of differences; there is understanding; both are at peace. This is a respectful relationship. This makes it more closely related to fear; yet it is not fear entirely. That is why I use the word “reluctance.” You respect that person’s values because you know it is part of who they are, even if you don’t share those same values, you see where they are consistent and make it work. Yet, you can see that they are also confident enough in their own that you would be reluctant to try to change them to your way and line of thinking. That’s how I see it at least.

Respect is a timeless trait that can return again with mindfulness, right thought and right view (Buddhist terms).

Further, respect may look different according to personality type, and what one values. It has been my experience that the higher path can only be taken so many times before it is misperceived (particularly by red personalities) as weakness.

Respect earns respect. It is a two way street.

Idling Your Car is the New Second-Hand Smoke

This is fitting for today’s unacceptably hazy air, (most days in Utah are just that; this is the problem. Sad but true). Some of the problem is the location and pollution is essentially funneled right down to us. That is just all the more reason to think outside of the box and to get creative toward a solution.

Reflecting lately: I was glad that my university is spreading the word about not idling. It is a waste in every way; it would be difficult to justify. Utah alone has exceedingly poor air quality, and this past year especially, price of gas has been on everyone’s mind.

If you have that much money to burn-literally, here is a list of causes you could support with all that extra dough; while you wait in line at the bank for thirty minutes imagine how much how many $ you torched up. This is money that would help others instead and not literally burned while waiting: Getting Involved and Giving Something Back

We can narrow it down, considering Utah alone: Look at Utah’s two big environmental issues: a Great Salt Lake disappearing, and yellow air quality most days of the year. These two issues, combined with a severe drought the past few years influence each other. Unfortunately, in Utah, more often than not, the pollution makes your hair greasy within a few hours of washing it; the eyes start to sting after going outside; you may start to sneeze. You may blow your nose and it’s the consistency of vaseline (petroleum jelly) har har no pun intended. Everyone looks at you like you have COVID. You can tell them you’re just allergic to Utah’s toxic air; it’s the truth and you can remind them that you both live, work and exercise in a casino. Never forget that symptoms of toxic are are similar to colds, flu and allergies. Coughing, sneezing, runny nose, red, watery eyes, etc. Of course! These are the symptoms of breathing toxic, casino air. This is not only detrimental to nature, but environmental toxins affect us too.

Positive thinking is a healthy practice, but it should be balanced with a healthy dose of the current nature of reality” (Buddhist term). The practice of looking on the bright side doesn’t mean denial. Perma-optimism by default without action toward a solution is at some point a form of complacency and denial.

Recently, there has been discussion about ticketing idling. What if these were put into place in the prevention of idling cars? Or, on another environmental spectrum, what if mandates were imposed for the requirement of the use of catalytic converters on small engines, or a requirement that a certain percentage of operated motor vehicles were solar/electric? People tend to dislike regulation, and I get that, and I agree to some extent, but clearly our version of self-regulation is not working. It’s time to try something else. I have to say I would be all for these. These levels of pollution have been a problem for over two decades now. With Utah’s casino-like air quality, these restrictions, (or any) would be a welcome change. This Utah’s air quality and drought (that affects all of us) we have no room to be arrogant. Just yesterday I noticed an e car charging station, with multiple cars charging. This was such a relief to see! I just wish it were faster and there were more incentives and awareness.

Creating green space, integrating lower emission transportation (both public and private), and improving the infrastructure that is interconnected and networked such as through parks, trails, and bicycle lanes would help reduce pollution and improve human health through having more incentives/opportunities available for exercise. There would be multiple benefits on multiple levels. It would be awesome!

If friends or family from out of state or overseas were to visit, I would be embarrassed. As mentioned in my second memoir I quickly learned that modern U.S cities are designed for autombiles, and not pedestrians. At a time when I was trying to save gas, (haven’t we all been this past year) and pollution and use my bike more, I literally took my life in my own hands just trying to ride to the next town, which was nearly impossible without a motor vehicle. It has been said that cars are money traps; the word rings true in multiple ways. There are new and improved implementations of zoning and city planning. The elected officials that are for these and make promises toward them will have my ears listening loudly like several of your coworkers together in a quiet space. Labels are for lids. And bumpers. Don’t try to put me in a box. I won’t fit. It has already been done to God, (I think she’s pretty pissed about it too). And how is that working for us?

Living Differently

Humans choosing to live differently is something I have emphasized a lot in these writings. Within it, there is room for expansion, creativity, study, growth and tremendous change in the positive! This is one problem with the current setup. We are basically stuck between the two-told that we are all supposed to do, be and strive for the same. Between religion and capitalism, there is currently little room for variation or diversity. Yet, diversity is essential. Diversity is the answer.

Through the years I have been glad to know of creative people of characters who can think outside the box and create their own place, their own reality. One of my favorite quotes is by Daniel Quinn “there is no one right way for everyone to live.” He is right. This is okay. The world would get awfully boring. I know of people and some of my friends who are modern nomads. They live only in the present moment, and carve out and ethical and honest life. Would this be the answer for everyone? Of course not; neither would this be possible, but it is thought provoking. After all, everyone on the planet trying to “make a living” doing basically the same thing driven by GDP may have served it’s purpose, but is now outdated. Another example of people who voluntarily live differently is the modern vegan movement. Thie movement itself isn’t without its valid criticisms, and it is an urban creation, but in it is consistency, lighter eating/living and people of character.

But perhaps the most striking example that my long time readers will recall is my friend David who decided to become a Buddhist monk. This was no small task. David knew what he wanted to do having paid off all his debts, (a requirement for the Buddhist discipline), sold his house and he now lives in Thailand. Monastic life is an honorable way to live in many respects, even if it is not for everyone and that is just the point. Buddhist monks, (bhikkus) are celibate; many disciplines eat only two meals a day, and they are engaged in important works of study, prayer, and meditation. This is by choice. They choose to enter this disciplined way of life. I can tell you that David knows his stuff; he is disciplined, strong and was very much at peace with his decision when I met with him before he left. He was ready, having spent years of training in practicing meditation, study and peacefully praying.

Interestingly enough, lay persons, especially men in Thailand are encouraged to spend a year or two in monastic life. This makes for better husbands and dads when they return to life as lay persons. Two years will sound familiar to long-time fellow Utahn readers. However, instead of the rhetoric of this or that religious branch, timeless universal wisdom, which continues to recycle itself, of which all faiths of this earth are dust particles in the vast living universe is a more accurate description.

When you see a bhikku, bhukkini, monk or nun please give them a silent nod in respect. Not only have they earned it, but they are a prime example of humans that are both willing and able to live differently by choice adding to the much needed diversity of the human world.

Thank you for reading,

O

Think About it for the Month…

“Everybody wants something they control;
some just want grass, some, they want gold.
Either way does it feel good or feel low, taking you down not fast but real slow”
-311, Reconsider Everything

A few thoughts on this clever lyric: It is okay to want to have some control, that is, some say in the world. As long as it doesn’t become imbalanced with an obsessive need to control others to the point of being controlling. Since it is a human need to have some say and to create/be creative, society, organizations an ideal modernized societal setup would accommodate this reality. Having some say in your world, it is a principle of democracy.

The Age to Stop Driving?

Recently I was made aware of a program through the state that encourages people at age 80 to voluntarily stop driving. Obviously the state wouldn’t just take away a person’s license when they turn 80, so it is a voluntary program. After some thought, it is something that I would like to aim for; that is, to voluntarily stop driving by age 80. This would be not only to do my part in reducing pollution for the environment, (although by that time, hopefully there will be cleaner energy alternatives made available to the mainstream), but for consideration and safety reasons too.

Since there is time until I reach that stage, I can begin now to learn, prepare, and mull over it. I can align things to that end. This is not yet a formal commitment (“I only commit when I can commit” -OS), but I am saying that it is food for thought, and something I wish to strive for, a worthy goal for a few people to try maybe, although it may not be for everyone.

I am not planning on “Social inSecurity” (1.) being around when I retire, so I would have to think outside the box in setting up my life so that I can stay afloat should I choose to do this, which is probably a good plan anyway.. Curious though, if Social Security were to go away, what would saving for retirment then be called? ‘Semi-retirement’? ‘Retirement for those who want to, but most of all, those who can‘? If you aren’t working toward a set age which was formerly the age of what was called retirement, what is the point of any of it? And does that age change? Who sets the new age? “I’m no longer working toward retirement, but just toward paying off my house. I still hope I can buy food though”.

A growing number of senior citizens are having to work well into their 60s and 70s just to keep their shelter, eat and basically pay for their own funeral. Sad but true. It is easy to see where humanity has come a long way, yet there is still much work to do in zipping up the remaining loop holes-toward the pursuit of happiness being more enjoyable, more attainable for more than just a few.

A lot of preparation here can be done by the individual. You can see why there is wisdom in taking care of yourself, your health (eating well, exercise, sleep etc.) while young and all throughout life, into the elderly years. This reduces the health problems in those years.
The other side of that coin though is on the community/societal level, an improvement of programs and infrastructures.

One beneficial program that I can attest to about Utah is its excellent public transportation system, between the buses, trax and Frontrunner, getting around is slick for people of any age.

Many facts and figures from my eye-opening Social Problems class about the “whiting of America” come to mind. An added ammendment to this program could be an improved and expanded infrastructure, and broadened awareness of seniors’ needs. This would involve more of a connection between society and senior citizens’ community centers being made more accesible, not to mention more of a respect for elders stemming from the ground up in society. (Eastern cultures offer a fine example in this way, at least at the roots). Respect for elders still exists in the East and Middle East.

Well funded cooperative assisted living centers as an ammended extension of communities, and not merely another independent business designed solely to maximize profits would play an integral role. Instead of being ostracized on the outskirts, and often part of medical buildings, the strategic, integral location of these centers, designed for ease and assimilation would be a part of the community, and not apart from it.

From a societal standpoint, maybe everyone striving for the same thing, trying to live the same way, isn’t always effective or wise. Maybe scrambling across town depending on where you live to stay warm and buy food is chaotic. More organization and access, especially for the basics is needed. When 80 years old, there could be an improved situation for for senior citizens to live and thrive, even in their own community. For many, staying where they worked and lived for a long time would likely be the most comfortable for those senior years.

There is some time to decide. This is an individual decision; yet, it is one that affects everyone whether directly or indirectly. You thrive even better when others are setup for success and are thriving also, (in the pursuit of life, liberty, happiness” ‘n all).

This may be something worthy of consideration, planning for retirement, the future, life, but from a different perspective. Often, an accurate view that is also good is to think outside the box.

-Owen

1. Get out of debt specialist, Dave Ramsey; Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University

Recommended Documentary~Social Dilemma

Here is a Netflix documentary that gives multiple reasons for reducing the use of gadgets/make-you-lonely technologies and anti-social media. Addiction and loneliness are the two that stand out today, but there are multiple reasons “getting clean”. Loneliness has been steadily increasing since the early 2000s while internet usage was skyrocketing. Then came the onset of internet on phones, followed by social media. Then, the March 2020 coV mess hit, and loneliness hit rock bottom. It can be argued that loneliness was the more severe pandemic. I highly recommend the film as part of informing yourself.

I will share one thing that stood out to me. One person poses the question “do you check your phone before or during your morning pee? Those are the only options.”

Is that for real?? Um, the answer is obvious, but I guess it isn’t for most people. The answer is long after; over an hour later actually. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even know that was a thing. Apparently I’m one of the few. See this is what I’m talking about. I am free. I am on the outside of this nonsense. I would say I’m “on the outside looking in”, but that isn’t accurate either because I don’t care to look inside. I have too much to do in living my life. You will discover the same thing about yourself as you begin to awaken and reclaim your health/life.

“And you know they never really owned you, you just carried them around ya, and one day you put ’em down and found your hands were free. -Ani DiFranco, Garden of Simple.

Life as real life. You can set yourself free also. May you start with watching the documentary and accepting that too much gadgetry is a problem. There are tips and steps provided at the end of the film.

Here are a few that I do:

* Deleted my Facebook a long time ago. In fact, I tried it for only a short time.
* Don’t have a smartphone; a flip phone instead and I take it with me only occasionally.
* Use Proton email, secure and private.
* Unplug regularly

Enjoy the film! It’s a good one, well done.
Take charge; say no to at least a few things, take back your health and your real life. Be your own creature!

The coach has spoken it. Again.

“Don’t make me come snatch a doughnut outcha mouth.” -LL Cool J

-O
Related writings:
Suggested Read
Speaking of Your Wellness Diary