Over the past two decades (It’s probably been happening since the 1960’s, but I wasn’t alive then), I’ve noticed a rather intriguing transformation in how our culture evaluates personal choices. This subtle but clever trick, the equivalation of condemnation with judgment has led to a society that prizes silent acquiescence above just about anything. Expressions abound to reinforce this inaccurate understanding of assessing choices and making a determination that, indeed, there is one choice that is actually better than the other.
Examples of these expressions are found in everyday conversation. Last week, I was talking with a co-worker who was breathing heavily after ascending a two-story staircase; we began discussing fitness when another co-worker entered the room holding a jumbo, super-sized, giant gulp Coca-Cola. You know the kind: http://whyevolutionistrue.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/coke-giant-cup.jpg
Anyway, as he swallowed 150 calories of high fructose corn syrup, he winked and said,
“Hey, don’t judge me!”
In that moment, he demonstrated what this post is all about.READ MORE
It was a lot of fun, and I appreciated my friends and family for their kindness and generosity. It’s always good to feel loved.
I enjoyed receiving gifts but for this blog, I’m focusing on a possibly overlooked aspect of gifts – the perspective of the giver. The giver receives as much, and sometimes more, from the exchange. Especially when we are able to give The Perfect Gift.
We all know what it’s like to discover and give the perfect gift. When the stars align and you remember a throwaway comment from your wife from six months earlier, and you find that original Wonder Woman lunchbox that reminds her of third grade and the best teacher she ever had and…
Suffice it to say, getting the perfect gift is a very rewarding experience.
Likewise, when you don’t find the perfect gift (sweaters, neckties and the “jelly of the month club” all qualify) and whatever you gave them is returned, you feel like you should have just gotten them a gift card.READ MORE
You just read, among other things, words that define the characteristics of written language. You just read a sentence – an ordered arrangement of letters on a screen that I used to communicate. Built into sentences, paragraphs and books, words give us warnings, education, entertainment and many other expressions of human ingenuity, wit and passion. And all of those emotions and ideas are passed along from person to person, if you are one of the lucky ones. If you are literate. As members of a formerly very exclusive club, you get to experience every day a tremendous gift that was not always taken for granted.
My six-year old son has entered the stage of discovery of words and reading that is among the most delightful periods of any person’s life. As we drive around town, I hear him in the backseat, slowly pronouncing street signs, storefront displays and on occasion, an inappropriate bumper sticker.READ MORE
One of my favorite quotes of all time was uttered by a woman who lost her sight and hearing before her 2nd birthday. She was the first deaf and blind person to get a Bachelor’s of Arts degree. Along with her teacher, Anne Sullivan, she developed Braille. By now you know who I’m referring to – the incomparable Helen Keller. More than most, she understands the fragile nature of humanity. She famously remarked:
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
In four sentences, Ms. Keller punched a gaping, irreparable hole in the thin curtain of hope that keeps alive the fantasy pursued every day by the whole of humanity. The desire for security, stability and safety is not unrighteous, it’s just not real.READ MORE
Rene Descartes famously said, “I think therefore I am.”
With respect to Rene, I would like to suggest a revision. Well, it’s not a revision, it’s a complete rewrite. I don’t think he’ll mind. He’s been dead for 363 years. If there are any die-hard Descartians out there, please read the entire essay before burning me in effigy.
I propose the following statement as even more accurate: I am. Therefore, I think.
Both expressions are designed to produce a measure of proof for existence. To explain, in part, what it means to be a human being.
In 1996, the rock band cum philosophers Van Halen recorded the song Humans Being, which included these words, “Some low life flat head scum infects / The sickness in his eyes reflects / You wonder why your life is screaming / Wonder why we’re Humans Being / Shine on, shine on / Shine on, shine on”