Sunday, March 24, 2013

My head, the can of worms

Like anyone, I have my own opinions on what is good and what is bad. Its the perpetual filter of my life thus far that colors these perceptions. Other people are entitled to their own opinion, and I understand that these are hot button topics. I apologize in advance.

There are a few things that have been bothering me this week. As only a few people read this, I'm not too worried about being regarded as unprofessional for airing this to the world.

First things first: Treat others as you would have them treat you.

This sounds like a simple thing. I agree. Be fair and courteous to others. Be conscientious of their needs, if not their desires, and be courteous about them. Having a fairly lengthy background in customer service positions, I'm pretty good at this. Even when people are openly rude or using covert machinations to sabotage a situation for their own gain, be courteous. I am not opposed to working hard and climbing the ladder of corporate management in order to gain a better position. There are many good, positive ways of going about this. Good performance, being helpful and courteous to your fellow employees and being a beacon of creative and educational resource, for example. There is no reason to look down on others or sabotaging in order to bolster yourself up.

I'm against using wheedling comments and backstabbing through either action or inaction. Another way of looking at this is to be careful, especially in the case of divorced parents, that you are not poisoning your children against the other parent. The human brain is not done developing/solidifying into its adult form until 25 years old. Look it up... I wrote a paper on this in college, actually. The developing brain is extremely sensitive to stimulus such as bias, especially during the last 5 years. Ever wonder why kids in college are so passionate about their subject matter? This is part of the reason.

Be kind. Be courteous. But above all, be patient. Not everyone sees things the way that you do. Which leads me to my second issue of the week...

Secondly: Whether you agree or not, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

I am not Christian. I'm not an Atheist. If anything, you could call me Agnostic. There are things beyond my ability to comprehend, but I don't feel the need to put a label on them. Shakespeare wrote: "There are more things in Heaven and on Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy." This is true. From a purely intellectual standpoint, we as human beings are infinitesimally small. We are a speck on a small rock amidst a galaxy that is one of the smaller ones in the UNIVERSE. To think, even for a moment, that we are A. Alone or B. Super Special is asinine.

I have no beef against anyone wanting to believe in whatever they want to believe. I take issue with those who would start wars or rail on others because their beliefs do not line up. Part of why I left the church was actually due to something that my pastor at the time said to me. During our confirmation classes, I asked him what he thought of other people believing in a "God" of some sort, just a different view. He replied that "Anyone who doesn't believe in OUR God, is going to Hell." Simple as that? ...Excuse me? 

This goes along with what I was saying at the beginning of this tirade: The perpetual filters of a person's life thus far colors their perception of the world around them. A person is a sum of the experiences, lessons that they've had in their lives and what they've learned along the way. No one is devoid of these filters as some of them are imposed through parenting and through education. If you were taught your entire life that the earth was flat, and then shown a video of the earth from space, you would probably think one of two things: A. I've been lied to this entire time, or much more likely, that B. This video is fake.

I mentioned a bit earlier that I am not an Atheist. I feel that I'm educated to a high enough degree that I can no longer be considered Christian (for many many reasons that I won't go into here). However, that doesn't automatically make me believe that there isn't something out there. For all of my faults, narcissism, nepotism, etc... I don't think of my lack of a socially acceptable religious label to be one of them. I will say this, however. Whatever your beliefs, even within your own separate sect of your own specific branch of your religion, I guarantee you're not praying to the same "God" as anyone else. Everyone has a different concept, or image, of the divine and that does not make one person any more accurate than the other.

Along this same vein is perception of action versus the spoken word. If a person is told their entire life that they need to be clean and clean their room while the entire rest of the house is left to fester in filth, then which one is the stronger message? "Do as I say, not as I do." If you are clean and pick up the house while extolling the virtues of cleanliness, then the verbal message is reinforced by the action. This is also true in the case of a sedentary (not necessarily an overweight one, but just one who is inactive) parent telling the child to go out and exercise. Or, in a similar scenario, of a parent who takes joy in derogatory and intellectually demeaning television programming telling a child to study so that they'll get into a good college.

Which leads me to number three of my rant...

 Thirdly: Confidence is great, but competence and capability are better.

 This is not to say that each of us isn't unique or special in our own ways. I am very bad at sports. I get much too competitive and usually end up hurting myself because I play too hard. This is not to say that I don't enjoy working out or physical activities like dancing or riding my bike. They are hobbies, and I'm not particularly exceptional at them. I excel at the arts. Always have. I can sing fairly well (I do have a degree in it), I can act (degree in that too), I can sculpt just about anything (using a wide variety of mediums) and I like to think that I'm a pretty good writer.

I will never be a professional athlete. I won't be the prima ballerina or prima donna of the opera either. At least, these things are very much out of the realm of current possibility. Most anything is possible, given the adequate latent talent and drive to accomplish these things. As I don't have the drive to do those things, I have little hope that I will get there. Most success is 90% hard work/effort and 10% actual talent.

I am disgusted at the level of belligerent stupidity in the world. Let me explain... Belligerence is "
a warlike or aggressively hostile nature, condition, or attitude.(" It can be summed up as a willingness to start fights or hostility for any reason. Belligerent stupidity is the state of being woefully inept in a situation but being openly hostile about it. Generally, these are the people that are so determined to be right that they start confrontations about something even though they already know that they are wrong. You know they're wrong. They know they're wrong... but by golly, they're going to be right.
My Solution to all three of these... or at least, my thought on how to solve this.
What I propose is this: If a person is competently capable, humble to the opinions of others, and treats others with dignity and respect, then they are worthy of respect in turn. Be good to others. Respect yourself by treating others with respect. Behave in a professional manner and observe a sense of decorum and etiquette. 
You're allowed to have fun and to let your hair down from time to time. Don't sacrifice your own well being for perception and don't hold people to standards that you're unable or just unwilling to live up to yourself. I'm not saying that we all need to take others down; I'm proposing that we raise the bar for ourselves and live by example instead of by belligerence or perceived entitlement. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Wine and phrases

I've been so busy lately that other than being tired, I really have nothing new to report... So, irony of ironies, this was the phrase of the day on Friday: Sie arbeiten zu viel. Which means "You work too much." The weekend phrase was less exciting: Er ist ganz gruen vor Neid. Which means "He is green with envy."
The wine are two new bottles I tried this week. I love going to my two favorite liquor stores in boulder, liquor mart and asking whatever clerk I can find to suggest a new wine for me. These were two recent suggestions. The one on the right is I will not drink bad wine; Chardonnay and the one on the right is Formula 1 E a Spanish Red blend.

Both very good and both very reasonable. The Chardonnay especially is very easy to drink, especially with chicken dishes or light pasta.