Monday, November 26, 2018

Just Following Orders. Not Right Then and Not Right Now.

Befehl ist Befehl ("an order is an order") is the famous defense during the Nuremberg Trials. There is the "I was just following orders" excuse for doing ugly things. Today our society is really doing ugly things. We are seeing people who are loyal to ugly leaders, governments, and corporations. So why is it we don't see people questioning the wrong happening in their circle? Look at Florida police force who were told to frame Black people, the officers just followed orders. The United States have a White House staff who are actively lying to the public. The World is going through a climate crisis and people are just following the same route of adding to the crisis. 
Migrant Babies running from Military

A number migrants, refugees from Central America marched towards the US through Mexico seeking to find a safe haven from the horrors of their country. The President of the United States  and numerous politicians screamed about criminals coming to the US. The US President sent Army Troops to the border with the intent to stop the migrants. The US Army were geared up for a war. The first wave of migrants were shot at. The Army shut down the border in California and shot tear gas at people trying to run into the US. There are so many ugly situations happening all over the world. We think it can't happen to us. It is a thing happening far away.  

As we see the ugly is not always far away. it happens in our lives as well. Maybe not in a grand scale but still an ugly event. It can be a very personal action. The police officer who will use the baton on a person exercising Rights to question the powers. The border agent who empties all the water containers left for people crossing the desert. The manager in the office who follows the lead of the company to terrorize the staff into compliance. The leaders who get their colleagues to follow their every decision, whether the colleague thinks it is the right thing to do. 

It is baffling to see how people justify the actions of their leaders. 

The excuse of "just following orders" was not a get out of jail card for Nazis. Nor was it a cleaning cloth for the absence of morals and human decency. The just following orders or just following our leader, does not excuse any of us from our misdeeds and wrongs today. The Nazi situation is of course the extreme but the use of "just following orders" is still wrong today as it was then. 

The government bodies who make decisions which hurt the public are followed out by the numerous politicians, bureaucrats, police/military folk.  I always wonder when they put on their suits and tie, power woman blazers, uniforms if they lose the ability to have decency? 

There is a photo of a police officer spraying a young child with pepper spray. The picture is real and the incident happened in Brazil in 2011. Another 15 year old girl was pepper sprayed by a police officer while in a car and they shut the door on her. There are so many  instances of a public official some how losing their control on the public.  The instances seem to be all to common, with some incidents resulting in death. 

We are in an era of ugly incidents, ugly policies, ugly laws, ugly politics, ugly encounters and a very ugly atmosphere. Big Money and Nations are ignoring the signs of a climate catastrophe. 
People are being attacked just for being who they are.  The attackers are being instructed to do harm, being congratulated on the harm they do and are unrepentant for their actions. After all they are just following orders. 

We all follow orders in our actions. Still we must be held accountable for our actions. The ugly must be held accountable.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

No Promise of Tomorrow to Come

When I go from this life, let me go in peace
Don?t want your marble at my head and feet
Don?t gather round me oh just to weep and moan
Where that I?m going I won?t be alone
The flowers you give, please give them today
Don?t waste their beauty on cold lifeless clay
One rose with love could do so much good
And I think all would give it if they just understood
Now God gives life freely, then he takes away
What we do for eachother let us do it today
For we have no promise that tomorrow will come
Don?t sing my praises lord after I?m gone
When life has departed it?s not me any more
Just a form that has suffered, A still heart that was sore
For the soul that has blossomed, it don?t need you anymore
So let it freely to God?s evermore

Friday, November 9, 2018

I'm not Good, I'm not bad, I am Me.

I have always said "Be Kind" but have come to know kindness is very hard to achieve. I like to think I am aiming to be kind. It hasn't found me yet. Sure there are moments, many moments actually of doing kind things or just being nice to people. However there are times when I am mean and in one case violent to people. This is the struggle for me. I am considerate and think of others and their well-being but there is a side of me which can be cruel, mean. Does it mean I am a person who is bad? Can I ever say I am a good person?

A friend of mine gave me this book to read: Sacred Contact by Caroline Myss. The jacket of the book says it is a "powerful program for discovering one's purpose in life". Started reading it and thinking this is going to be a chore. Actually finding gems for the mind and heart in this book so far. I understand in many discussions surrounding Spirituality and Enlightenment there is the notion of bringing in various Religious ideologies into the mix. I have to make sure to keep an open mind and not close off  what is being said when Christianity enters the discussion. It is a task to be aware of our bias. In any case this book about becoming aware of the Divine and your own path. It has me thinking about me and my journey so far in life.

There is a past we all have, the hidden secrets, the mistakes, the embarrassment, the kind deeds, the generosity and everything else. If truth be known I should have been locked up for my actions. On the other hand I know I have done very nice things, very generous and thoughtful actions. Its a difficult thing to really look at who we are and what we do. I listened to CBC Radio - Out in the Open show. It was about how people responded to a Crisis (Crisis Reactors). The show examines how people reacted to situations and what they thought they would have done. Some stepped up in Crisis while others froze. "We all want to believe we would be the hero".

I joke and tease quite a bit, some of the teasing is quite mean, and I can do mean things as well, I have been told. I also am very generous and thoughtful, I have been told. Without going to examples of my bad actions and my good actions, lets just say its true, I am very good and also bad. 

So how do I reconcile with the two me's? The ugly mean bad person and the very good nice guy?

I think we are not on a linear plane. I mean things are not like a time line. We don't just go from one thing to another, one day to another day.  I understand as we age we become more experienced and therefore should be more wiser and not make the same mistakes again. Or we know what is good and should continue with those actions we know have good outcomes. It doesn't really work that way. We are a number of things; from the nice person to the ugly and all that in between. Its funny in some ways we are very critical of ourselves; coward, selfish, lazy, rude, mean. We also overvalue our character; super kind, generous, humble, intelligent, attractive, intuitive.

So how would I categorize myself? A good guy? A bad guy? A regular fella?

I like to tease and say I am a "god" (Not thee God of course). 

I think we can get wrapped up in labels. We can be very hard on ourselves for our many mistakes. We down play the good things we have done for others. I want really hard to be able to say, "yeah the Steve is a pretty damn good guy" as opposed to saying "what an arsehole Steve is".

So I will just play it by ear from here on. I am on journey and my journey is about doing things, and the spectrum of those things have yet to be determined. If I have some influence on those things, well maybe most of them will be nice. Funny our vision of who we are and the view of who we are by others are quite different.

At the end of the day if we are keeping score, I think I'm in the pretty damn good column.

As one homicidal manic once said "Its not the people who vote that count, it's the people who count the votes".  So its me counting the score and that is what counts.

So regardless of who scores you (judges you), its your score which counts.

Cherokee Fiddle, cause Good Whiskey Never Let Him Lose His Place

 Urban Cowboy is a 1980 movie with a soundtrack steeped in western songs that had great Redneck lines like, "single bars and good time ...