Archive for the ‘The Human Condition’ Category
Why are some things worth saying?
Next to the sound of your name, nothing grabs your attention like somebody saying they were thinking about you. You listen closely to what comes next because it holds a personality clue.
Go on—please continue to tell me what charming character trait/hideous character flaw you thought of.
It turns out the stuff that bubbles up through memory is the most critical content to say to your wife at dinner, or your kids at Christmas. Or your colleague. Interestingly, we remember this thing as we face our person. The reminder pops when your wife/kid/colleague makes that casual remark they always make about that pet topic. And then gears turn deep down in your brain-pan and the reminder careens drunkenly down the thought-chute to your mouth. And you can hardly swallow that bite of House Lo Mein, so tremendous is the pressure to say this thing.
Because you know they will laugh. And it will be a moment—a shared delightful moment.
I’m a note-taker. Constantly writing in books (books I own, mind you). Regularly setting reminders in Evernote. Forever reaching for a scrap to jot something. And I refer to my notes. But increasingly I wonder whether my notes harbor the best topics for conversation. I wonder this for the same reason that school lectures are so very tedious: Hearing from someone’s notes or pre-thought ideas is so boring. The very opposite of remarkable.
It’s the stuff we remember as we sit in conversation that matters most and makes a difference. We take notes and write things down to remember for later, but the most critical stuff bubbles up on its own–that’s the remarkable stuff. Maybe our note-taking has raised the importance and we are more likely to remark.
So by all means make your notes—especially as the holidays bring friends and family you’ve not seen for some time. But remember that the magic happens in the moment of conversation, which is a moment of connection. Chances are good your remark will be different from the note you made.
Image credit: Kirk Livingston
What will your vote say?
Here’s what I know 3 days before our vote.
- Put forward a hate-mongering, racist, misogynist, [former?] sexual predator whose speech consists largely of bald-faced lies (in one week he spoke an untruth every 3.25 minutes) (PolitiFact truth-o–meter) with no record of public service
- The Republican candidate has shown little interest in understanding nuanced, global issues and little curiosity for anything beyond his own image.
- The Republican candidate boasts of bending laws to fit his personal goals and ambitions and promises to jail his political opponent if elected.
- The Republican candidate demonstrates confusion about the difference between the office of president and the office of absolute monarch. The Republican candidate may think he will be crowned king.
- Relinquished leadership by standing silently as their candidate uttered fictions and wove lies day by day.
- Republican leaders hid and then gradually agreed with many of the lies and fictions their candidate uttered.
- Republicans show deference to the Republican candidate as if he may be crowned king.
- Spent years obstructing needed legislation, including refusing to vote on a supreme court candidate with bipartisan support.
- Relinquished the notion of smaller government by agreeing to a far great burden on government spending that their candidate has put forward (“I will build a great wall”).
- Generally seek to protect the interests of big money over the needs of common people
- Put forward a well-qualified candidate with a lifetime of public service
- Put forward a candidate whose speech has veered in and out of truth (PolitiFact truth-o–meter), though not to the extent of the Republican candidate.
- The Clinton Foundation seems to have problems and has been less than transparent
- Clinton’s mistruths are Foshay-sized compared to Trump’s Burj Khalifa of outright lies
- The Democratic candidate shows skill in dealing with nuanced global issues
- The Democratic candidate shows respect for women and the poor and the sojourner.
- The Democratic candidate has been good friends with big money interests, which is troubling.
There are other candidates, but third-party candidates rarely make a showing in the vote.
Some reading this will subscribe to the notion that pro-life is the litmus test for voting. And while Trump claims a pro-life stance at the moment, he has held both views at different times (which is true of a great many of his current convictions). Given Trump’s commitment to saying whatever nonsense enters his brain, it is not clear that he will stay with the convictions he currently uses to woo Evangelicals and Catholics.
One question litmus-test voters may ask is whether anti-abortion is truly pro-life. There are many more pieces to consider outside of an abortion procedure, like care for children and funding for women’s health, like our treatment of the poor and the sojourner and the refugee. A consistent pro-life stance will look at systemic roots of poverty and care for people rather than brushing them off as not the job of the government. A consistent pro-life stance would put plans in place for the living as well as the not-yet-living.
Voters Holding their Nose while Voting Trump because of Supreme Court Nominees
Some reading this will say they are not so much voting for Trump as they are for the next Supreme Court nominee. To you I say, you are still voting for Trump and saying “Yes!” to the Trump brand of lies/hate/genital-grabbing and bullying. Plus—do you really believe a man who changes his convictions so easily and has zero attention span will remember what he vowed months ago? Seems unlikely.
Bill Maher got it exactly right recently when he described the current evangelical fascination with Trump. After years of saying “character counts,” evangelicals abruptly said character doesn’t count when it’s a guy we want to win. Maher’s charge of hypocrisy is apt and lands squarely where it should.
U.S. citizens must make an either-or decision about a leadership question that is far from black and white. I will vote for Clinton because she is qualified and can work with our present system of governance. I am not pro-choice, but I see pro-life as much larger than anti-abortion.
I will not vote for Trump because he is unqualified, demonstrates disrespect for anyone who his not him, proudly retains profound ignorance on a host of issues along with an unwillingness/inability to learn. Trump has demonstrated that he is more than willing to summon hatred and violence to serve his interests in ascending to the monarchy he desires.
My Vote Says:
- Hillary Clinton will a make positive contribution to our nation’s progress and will be a steady hand at the tiller. I’m not happy about her lies and lack of transparency and big-money connections, but she is able to do the job.
- Current Republican methodologies of obstructionism and gross lies and silence in the face of gross lies must be met with a vote against them at every opportunity. And that is my plan.
Commence the hateful rants and disowning/dismembering remarks below.
Where does Fallow Fit in Your Work Calendar?
You’ve pulled all your levers, called in your favors, phoned the usual suspects and still, nothing.
You’ve checked and rechecked your inbox.
This is the freelancer’s periodic plight: No matter how busy you were last year, last month, last week, today is a different day—subject to the vagaries of clients, markets, time and creative flow. And there’s nothing you can do about it except wait.
Waiting is not the worker’s lot. Employees have no end to work and the seeming ability to remain busy. It’s only when the busy employee steps away from a job (voluntary, lay-off, fired) that she or he realizes that they might have benefited from stepping off the treadmill earlier. A bit of perspective may reveal their busy productivity didn’t really add up to much they can take with them.
Waiting is also the job-hunters dilemma. The job-hunter taps her toe waiting for the wheels to turn, for the right people to review the resumes and the interviews to be scheduled. Waiting for an offer. Waiting for a “thanks-but-no-thanks.”
No one likes waiting. You want productivity 24/7 and let’s start being productive this instant.
Waiting is a complete waste of time.
But is waiting a complete waste time?
In fact, waiting pulls back the curtain on our fallow ground.
Kathleen Norris, in her book The Quotidian Mysteries, wrote about the infinite prairies to which she returned to focus on writing. All that land—miles and miles—seemed so unproductive. And that unproductive land was also a reflection on her mood. It took time, but she eventually saw that there was actually pretty big stuff happening in those fallow fields—all largely unseen. Norris learned to sit with her own fallow, unproductive times knowing that hidden gears were turning and new avenues were opening:
No small part of the process of writing is the lifting up into consciousness of what has long remained in the basement, hidden, underground, as in a tomb.
Maybe you are crazy busy and fallow/unproductive/waiting time has no place in your schedule. Please reconsider. Take that vacation. Rethink your time between jobs. Look deep into the underground and pull out the life what was entombed years ago.
That’s how you wait like a boss.
Image credit: Kirk Livingston