Does Animal Cruelty Reflect our Social Dysfunction?

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We live in chaotic, uncomfortable times, too often uncertain who to trust or how long we have before the next bomb drops, or before we’re robbed, or kidnapped, or gang raped, or shot to death… not because we did anything wrong, simply because we’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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In families, children are usually the ones who get hurt. Humiliated. Bullied. Beaten. Abandoned.

AAAimagesIn society, it’s open season. Maybe you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, or you’re simply the wrong color, the wrong age, wearing the wrong clothes, the wrong size, or shape, or nationality, and someone is having a bad day.

 

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Or, you’re the chosen target. Cartels want your organs. Someone wants your body without your consent. Your partner or spouse had a bad day and you get to pay for it.

funtitledFear. Alienation. Loneliness. Worthlessness. At one time or another we’ve all experienced these feelings. These are the moments we want someone who will love us, hold us, understand us, and stick with us through thick and thin. We’ve learned people can’t really be trusted, so who?

Hey, over here, what about us? 11index We love to be loved, too!

 

 

And so, we choose a pet that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy yummy, and we take them home.  Our self interest is convinced our pet has one JOB to do, TO MAKE US HAPPY. It’s all very one-sided, all very much about US. We never expected we’d have to care for the critter. Who said anything about food and exercise? Change the water? In your dreams!

Suddenly, we aren’t the focus of attention anymore. The pet has innocently stolen the limelight so our emotional needs are not getting met.

Wait a minute, that wasn’t the agreement! Often, this is what changes everything. We don’t need them anymore. Fine. Or, maybe we can’t keep up with the cost of maintenance. Understandable. Things happen.

No blame. No shame. NO ONE IS JUDGING.

However, these are living, breathing, loving creatures who never imagined your only concern was for  yourself. They honestly thought you cared.

All living creatures have natural rights and deserve to be treated with respect and compassion. 

There are hundreds of animal sanctuaries, shelters, and rescue units that will take them off your hands. Respectfully. Compassionately.

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                     “We will be remembered by the footsteps we leave.”                                                 American Indian Proverb.

 Please contact the animal shelter or animal protection agency nearest you.

 

YOUR RÉSUMÉ BETRAYS YOU

CVimageI stopped turning out a CV years ago but whenever I meet someone new the #2 question remains, “So,tell me, what do you do?”

It appears that once we know the answer to that question our brain can quickly profile that person to give us a handle on exactly who we’re dealing with.

If you don’t believe me, test the merit of my word. Next time someone asks you that question, or the next time you get ready to ask it, notice whether your pulse rate and posture change. Then, after they answer the question, notice how your posture and choice of language adapt you to the information acquired.

Although I’m guilty of asking the question millions of times, I feel uncomfortable every time. It’s as if I’ve been programmed to perform this act of due diligence whether I want to or not! Very early into my introductory conversations a switch happens internally and my natural congeniality suddenly turns suspiciously academic.

“What do you do for a living?” I ask through a veil of considerate interest. But inside I’m running their answer against my secret checklist of pros and cons to determine if they measure up to my standard and whether or not they are worthy my time.  Disgusting, isn’t it? Presumptuous. I’m behaving like a self righteous, pompous ass when I am not like that at all… and yet my social ego has been vetted as a social thoroughbred.

measuringstickNext time you’re going to ask the question, just  take a moment to be self-aware and I think you’ll feel yourself actually shift gears and power up your social persona. Our social egos so desperately need to be stroked and reassured of our respectability; that is, after all, the quintessential measure of our worth. It also becomes the measure of our humanity.  

While many people tweak their checklist very few think to question why we need one in the first place. And, no child would waste a heartbeat on such silliness.  

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Before we’re grown to fill the shoes of our selective social profiles we are prodigies of life, unimpaired by restrictive beliefs and therefore wizards and magicians that live and breathe our lives-in-the-making. We come into the world as noble and passionate little beings with wholesome visionaries, quantum mavericks, and unfolding geniuses. We are so delighted to exist, so naturally adept at exercising the full potential of our beings. Innately and unconditionally astute, sensible, considerate, ethical, and loving. 

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Every skill or talent has its origin in the matrix of cellular intelligence embedded in our living systems, an intelligence that define us, exercise us, and expresses the uniqueness of our individual being. By listing our skills, talents, education, and experience on a CV we actually betray the whole and very mindful, meaningful journey we underwent to hone our expertise in the first place.  IMG_0313

The self discovery. The metamorphosis. The magic of self actualization. How it was that a tiny detail from a seemingly random memory to a smell, or a posture, ended up being the key that unlocked a particular expertise – and then banked that competence in our memory banks so would be instantly accessible and transferable as needed.

The substance and merits of who we are go way beyond anything even the finest schools offer. In fact, once you understand this, you can see how social imprinting has employed the tradition of divide-and-conquer to restructure our use of innate intelligence to suit the social concept.

So, the next time someone asks you, “What do you do?” feel free to not to answer, or perhaps you could say…

I am all that I am. That I am. I am I.

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SOCIAL MEDIA DEPENDENT?

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I woke up a few days ago and automatically clicked on my LINKED IN profile to could catch up on group conversations and messages.

It’s become a habit, a natural part of my dawn, and I’ve always liked it.

This particular morning the link opened to a screen graph of my LI situation, profile viewings, post views, actions taken, and my rating in the LI community, or tribe.

The graph looked too much like the rise and fall of a stock – and that ‘stock’ was me! The baby blue lines were comforting but the steady descent of those peaks and valleys was defining my long term investment in LI as a losing investment– and we are talking years of personal time invested professionally on the site – Ouch.

  Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 07.18.15  But wait, my Profile Strength still says I’m an ALL STAR!  I’m a highly diversified, unusually skilled individual, you can bank my handshake and my word, and I have he ability to accomplish tasks others find impossible… So, why am I in ‘decline’?

What gives?

  1. First, there is NO congruence between graphs – an ALL STAR exemplifies peak performance and simply does not wane – however my Profile Strength has been stuck a hairsbreadth below ‘full’ for a long time in spite of the regular growth of contacts and participation. So, in fairness, both graphs fail to reflect my story. They reflect an LI format for engagement value. 
  2. Second, both graphs solicit an emotional response that hooks me into making things right – commonly known as doing better. Spend more time and climb the LI ladder of success. Do I really want to spend more time?
  3. Like CANDY CRUSH, candycrushor any type of game, these  game graphs are FORMATTED to play on our basic instincts for excellence – and yes, we are designed to excel and perform at peak levels – and not deliver in kind. Instead, they bait us – and direct us in performing the way they decide we must IF we want to demonstrate that excellence… There’s the  invisible, psychological bully again.”Go on, prove you’re as good as you think you are!” and since we’ve all been toilet-trained to perform for respect and approval, I’m sorely tempted. Except I don’t.

My mind swirls in a  pool of virtual reflections on my virtual notes made while browsing LI posts and group discussions. Annoying patterns in postings, standard packaging, the apparent need for numbers of posts (to improve ratings) and the reduction in independent thinking, quality and depth of insight, not to mention all the remixing of old posts to seem new… 

 Although LINKED IN is a social media site for professionals to share their expertise, meet other professionals and form new alliances that open doors to new opportunities, LI is a business. It has a company culture.

In fact, if you want access to the real benefits of LI membership you need to learn the LI game – and low and behold, clever individuals capitalized this need and turned the tricks into a living.

The pitch is made “to help you  optimize your visibility and best achieve your goals” but…

…isn’t it really training us to be responsive members in the new existential reality of virtual tribalism?

The more I participated in this virtual reality the more it revealed itself to be little more than a new dressing of the old brick and mortar reality we accused of railroading us into pawns and automatons. 

In this virtual reality, I am still being behaviorally modified to suit a contrived paradigm. LinkedIn is actually measuring my worth by the same yardstick of yesteryear, whether I measure up to the company culture or am a liability. Does my presence and participation correspond – or challenge – the software formatting that is the heart and soul of the LI experience?

At the end of the day, isn’t it all about whether or not I’m giving LI what LI wants from me before LI even considers delivery on my goals and dreams? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DID THE PARIS ATTACKS MAKE YOU UNCOMFORTABLE ENOUGH TO CHANGE?

DID THE PARIS ATTACKS MAKE YOU UNCOMFORTABLE ENOUGH TO CHANGE?

PARISDid the Paris attacks make you uncomfortable enough to change, or did you simply return to your daily routine, perhaps telling yourself that sticking to your habit defied the terrorist’s intent to rattle you?

Is there a ‘normal’ existential standard? Yes. But it is not, nor will it ever be, the social norm. The only true, existential normal is established by our brilliantly engineered physical beings, conscience, and innate intelligence. It is that primal consciousness we automatically turn to first when crisis strikes.

If you don’t believe me, just remember your first response to the Paris attacks. At the news, your mind went quietly blank with incredulity as the first sweep of shock took you inward where your body ran a check to make sure you were secure; and then, seamlessly,  it also checked the outside of you, in your environment, gathering as much information as possible to prepare you, just in case. High alert. Thorough assessment. Acutely aware. Only afterwards, when you felt in control and  stable did you call someone, or chat with a stranger. Correct?

IMG_0182You see, you don’t have to go to war to be at war. When an environment is dangerous the human organism lives in a state of alert. It doesn’t matter if you have a nice home, great education, make buckets of money, and get a yearly vacation. If there is the any inharmony in your lives, from constipation to domestic dissonance to the threat of failure behind missing your monthly quotas at work,  your organism experiences your environment as dangerous and it will work tirelessly to bring you back into homeostasis.

IMG_0191So, how do you think your being feels when accosted by the social standards of racism, gender differentiation, sexual humiliation, educational and social elitism, body profiling, bullying, nationalism, religious prejudice, or even the architectural design of homes, offices, cars, and clothing that confine and distort the biological significance of ‘comfort’? (Biological comfort corresponds to the ease of exercising at peak performance.)

IMG_1551Society wants us uncomfortable. Society makes us uncomfortable. Society keeps us uncomfortable. Whatever I think, or you think, there is someone else thinking differently. Whatever I believe, or you believe, there is someone else believing differently. Who I am is not likely to be who you think I am, and who you are is not likely to be who I think you are. BUT who you think I am, and who I think you are, matters more than who I know myself to be, and who you know yourself to be.

And, this is very dangerous.

No matter how we decide to package our story, no matter how pretty our picture is or how many statistics justify our choices and make us seem palatable, desirable as friends, colleagues, and citizens, and no matter how much we call our dysfunctional lives “oh, so delightfully normal” we are not normal, not a whit, nor are we safe.

cirsis2Our species has been sabotaged by a history of corrupting civilization. Without doubt, somewhere in our ancestral past, we came face to face with a grave threat that we countered – thanks to our adaptive capabilities – with a rigorous, short-term action plan intended to make sure we survived, and once the threat had passed we figured things would return to ‘normal’. Only that return to normal never came. Why? Did it take longer than expected and our survival tactic evolved into chronic habit? Who knows?

The fact is, our ‘civilization’ faces extinction by self-annihilation and this should indicate just how inadequately the social contracts of our nations serve us. Social imprinting has evolved to where it blatantly violates the organic codes of life our organism requires to live

No wonder our civilization has evolved into an Era of Terror.

PARISTo end the senselessness, we must end our allegiance to and tolerance of senseless. We must remember the human being and the social being are actually existential antagonists.

Human beings are legitimate. The social imprint is a con. It’s actually safer if you know this because our contemporary social contract is not the only social option available.

HEALTHYWORLD To discover the healthier options we must, however, categorically stand in our power, whole, united, and free. This reestablishes our biological integrity and ecology, and resets our allegiance to humanity (where inhumanity does not exist). As a result, the rejection of all the toxic and corrupt social customs, idioms, regulations, and contracts that have pitted us against each other as individuals, states, and nations falls seamlessly to the wayside and our eco-sustainability re-emerges.

One species. One world. One citizen body. The end of terror. Nonviolence will finally be a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi.  Martin Luther King will have his dream. Lennon’s IMAGINE will be our actuality.

PARIS Then, when we say,

“R.I.P. Paris”

we will mean it.

THE SERENDIPITY OF INCIDENCE

IMG_0117In my book HUMAN INTERRUPTED: The Social Crime Against Humanity I tell the story of a strange experience during a memoir class. Asked to write a warm up exercise based on the phrase, “My name is________and this is what I call my life” I was shocked to see what I’d written and, given my visceral reaction to the piece I not only refused to share it with the class, I escaped out a side door and never returned. Instead, I raced home, locked myself in a room and began to write a very different story, one in which I could recognize myself, and the story that came out was surprising. It unfolded in a small Spanish town – and I’d never even visited Spain – but it was my story. I didn’t know why until an incident last week triggered the revelation…

archtypemedusaLast Tuesday, I was biking to the gym when I suffered a fluke biking accident that left me in an explosion of indescribable pain. I knew instantly the head of my femur bone had broken and, worse still, a lifelong pact with my Self had been betrayed. As a very young child I’d promised my being (my human trust) that no matter what befell me during my lifetime I’d keep us safe and unbroken. This was my vow to honor the great gift of Life and I took this vow very seriously. So a broken bone was a serious breach of that promise – and since I never thought anything like this would every happen, it was profoundly disorienting – and terrifying.

Yet Serendipity stepped in to lend a hand in transforming my thought. The fall had taken place on the block near my gym and, as fortune would have it, I was catapulted to the doorstep of a Spanish woman who just happened to open her door seconds after my fall – and who spoke flawless English. The pain was so severe I couldn’t think in Spanish so having someone that spoke my mother tongue made me feel safe. As if we’d known each other forever, she told me to grab her shin and squeeze whenever the pain was unbearable – exactly what I had done as a ski patrolman when I treated a young girl who’d broken her leg in a skiing accident. Meanwhile, others gathered around to see if they could help. Some knew me from the gym, others because it was my general neighborhood; one covered me with their jacket, another told me stories (in English) to lift my spirits while another gave me periodic sips of water as we waited for the ambulance. Most of them strangers to each other yet they worked in sync as if they’d known each other forever. These strangers who were not strangers began spinning a nest of deep human trust around me – to keep me warm and safe and sound. All social scripts and status had fallen away.  This was a single heart of humanity beating.

A woman I did not know followed the ambulance in a taxi so the continuity of safety and security would remain intact. She made sure I understood what was being said and spoke on my behalf when necessary. Then, serendipity stepped in again when the trauma doctor spoke perfect English. Confirming the sub capital break, I honestly begged her to make sure the surgeon who would operate would have conscious respect for my body. She heard my need and went to check which surgeon was on call that day. Serendipity provided me with the lead hospital surgeon and the operation was set for afternoon.

indexWaiting for surgery, I felt an uncanny premonition that if I went under full anesthesia I might not make it out so I reached out to trusted friends who could work energetically on my behalf. My brother sent me an email that instantaneously dispelled all my fears, and then Serendipity stepped in again, this time to advise me that I’d be given an epidural rather than full anesthesia – and therefore I’d be awake throughout the entire operation.

The experience was magical. The operating room was softly lit, the équipe moved in sync, with calm, I knew the cut was pretty small; it felt precise – a precise that was respectful – and then…

“Excelente. Bueno. Asi. Ya esta.” It was over.

roshhospital_resizedSomeone was waiting for me when I came out of surgery, and when she needed to leave another arrived, and when she left that night, another arrived to stay the night -just in case. When she left the following morning at 6:30 a.m. another friend walked in… and for two days this seamless solidarity continued. I learned that all these individuals had families, children, businesses, appointments… and yet they reorganized their busy lives to include caring for me… and in so doing also made new friends.

The serendipity of incidence made sure everyone was being blessed. Without doubt, the alchemy of this connectivity contributed to my early release from hospital on day three. Arriving home by ambulance, new friends were outside to welcome me and make sure anything I might need was arranged for.

Immediately, it was clear my home needed to be reorganized to suit my convalescence so we set about task almost like children playing a game, we made it fun. Later, a friend who was a nurse stopped to make sure I could navigate the apartment without risk. Finally, Marlene, from Ecuador, arrived to watch over me the night before friends would come away to stay.

play1Serendipity played her final card that very night, in my dreams, reminding me of that memoir as she took me back to the beginning, my birth, to show me the very delicate soul recovery that had taken place.

But that tale is for another day.

For now, it’s all about the multifaceted, serendipity of incidence. My tale of accident was, in fact, no accident at all, it was an ecological realignment with the human soul signature that is the human trust of seamless being as a singular, and indivisible, humanity.

Unbroken.

No matter what shadows social trends, misinformation or historic belief cast over our vision of our selves, the alchemy that is our humanity is stronger, wiser, and more resilient.

We are connected.

Rejoice.

FREEFALL

MONEY TALKS… WE SHOULD LISTEN

MONEY TALKS… WE SHOULD LISTEN

So, the monologues were a beginning. Now let’s get some insight as we begin to follow them in conversation. As you know, most beginning conversations are about getting to know the other, and perhaps even testing the waters to discover strengths, weaknesses, and boundaries.

Let’s listen in.

ECONOMIC CARICATURE

US: That peacock chest won’t protect you. You’re your own worst nightmare.

EU: Bully.

US: Get a life.

EU: I’d have a life if you’d stop bullying me – and the rest of the world!

US: You owe me. You wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for me!

EU: Nor would you since you’re my offspring. Remember?

US: I am the future!

EU: Not until you address your past. You know the saying, “You can run but you cannot hide!” Your past is catching up with you.

US: You’re just jealous. You want to be like me.

EU: Once upon a time, yes, I did. I admired you but not any longer; you’re a threat to the entire species.

US: But I am still the land of the free.

EU: Really? Your legs look like prison bars and you’re walking on stilts. Your feet are chunks of cement, you’ve got spikes on your shoes, way too think to give you the necessary traction, and your feet have no toes!

US: Look who’s talking! You’re the giraffe that can’t carry the weight of your own neck and you’ve got two elephant feet facing opposite directions! All that pomposity and boasting has got you headed for quick sunset. Looks like your charades and chinanigans have finally gotten the best of you!

EU: Look at me closely. I am a survivor and I’ve still got flesh on my bones. Diversity is the new stability and I embody not one, but many.

US:  You still need me.

EU: Then why is it you who keeps needing my help?

US: Alright already, okay, so we’re both a little bent out of shape. What d’ya say we bury the hatchet, take a deep breath, have a hug, and start fresh? Buddies?

EU: (Sober face. Silence.)

US: C’mon, I promise we each get something we want…

EU: (Shakes head) The thing about history is that when you’ve been around a certain block before you remember it, so you don’t need to go around again. I’ll take my chances… rideouteurocrisis

US:      Scrooge1

POSTSCRIPT:

Symbolism for Giraffe: an elegant animal whose four long legs reflect the four agreements of Don Miguel Ruiz  – Be Impeccable with your Word, Don’t Take Anything Personally, Don’t Make Assumptions, Always Do Your Best – seeking the best in life, reaching for the savory and satisfying morsels.