So many questions..so few answers

quote-if-we-know-how-much-passive-violence-we-perpetrate-against-one-another-we-will-understand-mahatma-gandhi-86-66-56Once again the things that happen here in the US fascinate and appall me. Years ago when teaching about suicide one fact that usually made people think was that the suicide rate among survivors is higher than others. It seems that the message of suicide is that if you can’t cope this is a way out.

I am wondering if the same mindset is encouraging all these random shootings. Have they seen others do this and see it as a solution? Are these people really our to kill strangers to appease some mental aberration, or is it a wish for suicide by cop to end their pain? Quite a few have been soldiers with possible PTSD but why did their anguish lead to random shooting? Were they suffering a flash back and saw those people as the enemy? The sad part it that we will never know

so many questionsThere are so many question and so few answers. Since so many of the killers end up dead there is no one to ask. Some want to blame weapons and there may be a link but if you really want a gun you can get one. I don’t think there is any way to remove all the weapons entirely.

I wish that we knew what to do to end this violence with pain for the families killed and the shooters family. No one wins.

So many questions…so few answers.

Can we survive the hatred?

Nelson Mandela (1)Periodically I take time out to worry about the state of the world and especially the US. After the latest shooting I thought about how much hate is our there. How did we get to this? Like the song from South Pacific hate has to be taught. We aren’t born hating. It is learned. What went wrong in those families (or lack of) that taught so much hatred.

hatersHating people for their faith seems so unnecessary. However, it is not the only kind out there. Hatred seems to have spread so much faster than love. Are we so afraid of differences? For me, hatred is related to fear…fear that people like “us” will not come out on top. Fear that causes us to facilitate the eradication of any threat to our beliefs. Is my own belief so weak that the belief of others is a threat?  We saw this before in Nazi Germany but it was more about purity of race than faith.

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Somehow I am not sure that humanity should expect to survive forever. We will either annihilate ourselves or the earth we have raped will do it for us. After all, maybe we are not meant to last forever. We seem to be too flawed.

I worry about my grandchildren and great grandson. What sort of world are we leaving for those to come? If only we could learn the kind of interaction that most major religious leaders have taught. I hope it is not too late.

Was the 50’s easier?

While riding the car I listen to 50″s on Five on Sirius Radio. I know, I know….so old. But something struck me. So many of the songs talk about a lifestyle no longer around. In many ways it is sad. I don’t know if people have real fun anymore.

Things were so much simpler. We had sock hops in the gym and had fun dancing without drugs and flashing lights. We had costume dances around Halloween and prizes for the best costumes…..designed and created by us! NOT bought or rented. Half the fun was thinking up a costume and doing it yourself.

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We had hay rides in the fall behind horses on a farm that did that and sleigh rides. We met at the drive-in restaurant and hopped from car to car seeing all our friends. We got together and played games. We had pajama parties and we didn’t look like the girls in Grease.

We communicated by phone with most of us having only one in the house. Some of us had cars…usually old rattle traps that didn’t run well.  Alcohol was king but not overdone where I grew up. Sure, girls got pregnant and had to quite school but again not many.

We had to go to the library for information and my friends and I loved reading books. TV was watched but the shows were limited so we didn’t spend lots of time watching. We loved to go to the movies with out friends.

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There seemed to be less stress on us than on teens today. There was little bullying, no school shootings, little drug use. In some ways I think things were almost black and white like the movie Pleasantville. There weren’t so many grey areas and so many bad things for us to see and hear. In spite of the fact that we may not have been as “free” as today our lives were easier over all.

So what changed? Women’s lib, birth control pills opened up a sexual revolution, the internet, cell phones, media of all kinds, parents both working. Kids today have so much in front of them. So many ways to head down the wrong path. It almost seems that with so much on offer the simple pleasures are lost. I don’t envy them.

Caveat: this was the life of a girl from a middle class family living outside of Washington, DC.

Closer or further apart?

I was remembering this song by the Kingston Trio from my college days.. 1960’s.
They’re rioting in Africa
They’re starving in Spain
There’s hurricanes in Florida
And Texas needs rain
The whole world is festering with unhappy souls
The french hate the Germans, the Germans hate the Poles
Italians hate Yugoslavs, South Africans hate the Dutch
And I don’t like anybody very much!!
But we can be tranquil and thankful and proud
For man’s been endowed with a mushroom-shaped cloud
And we know for certain that some lovely day
Someone will set the spark off
And we will all be blown away!!
They’re rioting in Africa
There’s strife in Iran
What nature doesn’t so to us
Will be done by our fellow man
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The sad part about this song is that is it still true. The line: The whole world is festering with unhappy souls, especially strikes me. It is so sad that song was written over 50 years ago and nothing has changed. I guess at the time I really thought that the world would be a better place but it’s possible that it is worse.
It does seem logical that with the enormous population growth and the availability of information at our fingertips we would either draw closer together or further apart. Maybe both things are happening. (if you can hold two opposite things at once)
japanIf only our accessibility to the world would grant us better understanding. If the population continues to grow at this rate we will have to learn to live together or die out. My daughter lived in Japan for a while and experienced the way that people living in such juxtaposition to each other have learned to manage by their awareness of personal space and their ability to center down into themselves among others.
We have to learn new ways to love and accept each other. Life depends on it.
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I weep, truth must be heard

In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.-—George Orwell

This quote speaks so clearly to me of our times. It seems that truth has passed away and we should be mourning.  There are no more statesmen only politicians. There is no more consideration for the good of people or nations but only for the people in control. Because of the rapid sharing of information this virus has spread throughout the world. Power, money and position are all that matters.

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I weep for the world. I weep for the children and their children. I weep for all that was before. Mankind has never been perfect, never been without greed or hubris but it wasn’t the total driving source. Goodness was found in the past and can still be found but it is being pushed into dark culverts and trash strewn alleys. The voice of truth and wisdom is almost not recognized. It has become a foreign language.

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We must, somehow, begin to be heard. We must speak until our voices rise above the corruption and greediness of the powerful. We cannot stay silent. Each of us has one voice but one voice added to another voice doubles the sound. We cannot allow ourselves to be silenced.

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We must speak out about injustices: sexual, racial, status, health, lifestyle, position, occupation, age and any others that rise to minimize others. We must speak clearly about the state of the earth, a living thing with animals, plants and humans, and our abuse of the resources we pillage. Nothing else will do.

I weep for us all. I weep.

We must speak. It is time for truth.

Don’t let religion divide us!

equalityToday as I sat in church I was struck by the thought “don’t let religion divide us.” I am not sure why that came to me so strongly but there it was and it kept repeating itself until it was rooted in my mind.

There have been wars about territory, water rights, expansion of empires, money and whatever else. There have also been wars over religion.  The middle east (or the fertile crescent) has changed hands so many times. Mostly is has been about territory but religion was involved. The fertile crescent had many different religions over the centuries but the Jewish worship of one god persisted.

As Christianity grew it encountered other faiths and prevailed over most of the ones in Europe. A form of the Jewish faith moved south and morphed into Islam with Mohammad.

During the middle ages Christianity and Islam battled in Spain and the Holy Land. The crusades were launched to recover the Holy Land. Many died in this conflict.

Later Christianity became obsessed with itself and the Inquisition had many innocents slaughtered in the name of religion.

Conflict rose again with the protestant reformation and Catholic and reform groups both suffered.

Religion has added prejudices to the ones about skin color, nationality, and anything that makes someone “other.” Now there is much disagreement among Christian denominations.

If we add the widening influence to other cultures and their faiths: Buddhism, Hinduism and many others we now have a world with religions bumping into each other everywhere.

world religionI think all of this leads me back to my original thought. Do not let religion divide us. It already has with Islamic extremists planning death to “infidels,” fighting between India and Pakistan and conflict almost everywhere.

I love the God that I believe in and I don’t think that his/her intention is for us to slaughter each others over our faith. Instead we are called to love everyone. We are told to turn the other cheek. We are not told to murder others because of their beliefs. God is greater than us and his plan is beyond our understanding. Please Lord, help us not to kill each other over religion.

Good news

brainYesterday I read and article that came out of NPR. It said that researchers in California found anxiety cells in mice.  The quote from the article says: The finding, reported Wednesday in the journal Neuron,could eventually lead to better treatments for anxiety disorders, which affect nearly 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.

This is wonderful news for you young people who are fighting with this. I hope that your generation will have an answer about help for anxiety and depression which are linked. It also shows that any of us that have these disorders in any way are only 1 out of five! Did any of us ever realize that it is that prevalent?

We are not alone. And for all we know the odds may be even higher since so much mental health issues are unreported. This is not good news for humanity. Has anxiety been this large and issue forever? Are we just beginning recognize it or is it increasing?

While the neuroscientists continue to learn the psychologists and others need to discover why this is happening. It is one thing to know that it is there it is another to find out how to prevent it.

love for mankindThere is hope one the horizon. Research is moving forward just as it is on other problems such as cancer. Maybe someday the only thing we will have to fight is other humans….unless we can learn to live together and love each other.