Smallity

We are sometimes so small, me especially. About small things. We get miffed because somebody asks us to do something and we are distracted from what we’re pretending to think about even if what we’re thinking about is banal an we’ll forget about it in less than three minutes. I’m describing my own shuffling behavior, of course. And there are exceptions, always. But I feel wry and shy when I catch myself choosing a shallow meh over a substantive response to somebody’s request, observation, opinion, or whatever they’ve placed before me in hopes that I’ll get it and offer something that will keep the conversation going. Why is that?

I have a sometimes silly and overblown opinion of myself and my ability to understand. So, rather than admit I don’t get it when somebody makes a statement, I pretend I do get it and dismiss it out of hand. My personal evolution appears, at times, to be stalled. And I’m not alone in this foible. I’m sure you know this. I think we all do at some level.

Does this shed any light on the current controversies over the way men treat women? Maybe. Contemporary volumes have been written about this lately and there is more to come. It is a conversation that needs to continue and grow and evolve; it has to become commonplace and people who find the mistreatment of women an insult against all of us need to stand up. You know what I mean. As I shamble along on this topic I’m defining sexual harassment as a mostly verbal affront. Inappropriate touching is sexual assault. Plain and simple. I’ve heard arguments that men are wired differently and what seems like play to us becomes a huge surprise when we learn it is not received that way. It is not play to grope a woman however a person tries to explain it internally. Sexual harassment is bullying, no other way to explain it. If it’s not a two-way conversation, it’s bullying. It’s not flirting. Sexual assault is an egregious wrong. There are actual laws against it. Really. No kidding.

But eradicating, at least controlling, these behaviors has to be accomplished with social evolution, not legislation. It’s not okay for anybody to make unwanted sexual advances toward anybody. The way of the world you say? That doesn’t make it right. Flirting is a two-way street. If you make an attraction known, have some class and if rebuffed leave it there and move on. It’s a simple concept but apparently difficult for some people to grasp.

Arristippus of Cyrene, a student of Socrates held that pleasure is the highest good. He was talking about pleasure with no guilt. If everybody pursued their own pleasure the world would be a happy place. This philosophy came to be known as Hedonism, named for the Greek goddess Hēdonē, daughter of Eros, who was the personification of sensual pleasure and delight. Her Roman counterpart was Voluptas. If that sounds familiar, it’s where we got our word voluptuous, a really cool word. But there was a caveat in Arristippus’ thinking: acting on your desire for sensual delight had to make the other people involved happy as well. Hedonistic thought is very clear on this. Do no harm. This obviously leads to a circular discussion about human nature, which is kind of what I’m spewing on about here and takes us right back to evolution.

People, men especially, need to closely examine their own behavior and change it. Women need to speak out when they’re harassed or assaulted. Men do too. Speaking out shouldn’t be for some kind of gain or advantage or vindictive satisfaction. This whole issue is kind of trapped between our limbic brain and our frontal cortex. Human nature, such as it is, roils between these two extremes. Sorting it out has been problematic. The fact that we still murder each other for some warped causal advantage, war, and how we stratify society based on what we have or don’t, paints a grim mural throughout human history. Violence seems to be the solution of choice. I don’t know how we stimulate the evolution to get our species past it. The only place I can think of to start is conversation, involving both speaking out and listening. If men start listening to women when they decry predatory behavior, maybe they’ll start listening to other grievances as well. Is there any hope at all that we can move on from the choice of violence as the most common solution to the thorny issues that confront us all? There had better be hope. Without it we are doomed to repeat the same human history over and over. And that could be a relatively short run.

We need to recognize that small moments are sometimes not small at all and that when we are in our smallest selves, we need to recognize it and grow bigger. Simple. Why is simple sometimes so complicated?

I can already hear people saying oh how idealistic. Well, yeah; duh. Of course I’m being idealistic. A friend calls me a brass-balled idealist. I’m okay with that. But how else are we going to collectively move ourselves in a better kinder survivable direction? Answer me that.

evolution

(image: wholesomemamma.in)

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Posted in American history, Brain, communication, Consciousness, Conversation, Humans, Uncategorized, Woman, women | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

A Celebration of Brian Doyle

Wonderful piece by Michael McGregor. Check it out:

https://magazine.nd.edu/news/the-story-catcher/

brian

Posted in Art, Brain, Brian Doyle, Gratitude, Hope, Humans, humor, Kids, memory, Oregon, pals, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mystery Bird

A whirring tumble of notes;
a small dark bird
I cannot identify—
no name where the song might hang.

There is only sound.
This morning arpeggio startles me.
I find the singer on a high wire
beak open, breath

inflating dark feathers.
Notes cascade, showering.
My eyes cannot discern
every, any, detail,

contrast too stark
to offer a name.
Why do I have to identify
beyond small and dark?

Why do I need to classify?
Is not the song enough?

mystery bird

(photo: etsy.com)

Posted in Birds, Gratitude, Morning, Oregon, Poem, Song, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wisdom | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Haiku–The Nose Knows

In what we call stink
a wealth of information
finds your active brain.

happy mr T

(photo: *Toulouse as a youngster–jrs; *model for Bucket in Ochoco Reach)

Posted in animals, Beach, Brain, Consciousness, Dog, Haiku, Humans, Poem, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Haiku: Each of Us a Star

We all want to shine–
surely, the light from inside,
each of us a star.

(plant: imgarcade.com; person: alamy.com)

Posted in Consciousness, Gratitude, Haiku, Humans, Joy, Life, Narble Furt, Poem, Uncategorized, Universe | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Haiku: Mist Opportunity

Low cloud off the sea
envelopes everything,
beading the dark stones.

mist

(shore: pixabay.com)

Posted in Haiku, Home, Narble Furt, Ocean, Oregon, Poem, Uncategorized, walking | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Spirit, Living

I am a spirit living
in the aging body
of a white man.
People I admire
despise my meat.
People I despise glorify
my biological ancestry.
The crux ignored:
I am a spirit, living.

mixed-race

(mediadiversified.org)

Posted in Absolutes, American history, American Indian, anger, communication, Consciousness, family, future, History, Humans, Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Water

We pack water around everywhere we go. We are veritable bota bags of water. We humans are roughly sixty to seventy percent water. Since learning these factoids, people have been fond of comparing our water mass to that of our planet, which is about 70 percent water. It’s a nice correlation, sure, but vanishes when we contemplate drinkable water. Only about two-and-a-half percent of the water adhering to our oblate spheroid is fresh and drinkable. The rest of it is saltier than the glass rim of a Bloody Mary. And there is probably another ocean’s worth of water in the mantle of the planet. It all adds up to something like 326 million trillion gallons that we live above, below, and around. That’s a number with eighteen zeros. When I attempt to comprehend a number like that I feel like a hamster trying to comprehend quantum theory.

Let’s go back to the water we can drink for a minute. We Americans take it for granted, yes? Much of the two-and-a-half percent that is fresh water is locked up in the polar ice caps. The arithmetic, then, says we have less than one percent of all the water on earth to hydrate us land creatures, including the plants with whom we share the land. That’s still a lot of water but it’s a useful perspective to have when thinking about human population and the survival of life as we know it. In the United States, the aquifer levels have been depleted by a volume equal to two Lake Eries. And that trend continues unabated. Perhaps all the people with their heads stuck in the sand should look for potable water while they’re down there.

When water shows up where it’s not wanted, it is mind-bogglingly powerful. Just ask Midwest folks or the people living in New Orleans. Last year alone, flood damage ran to seventeen billion dollars. We can redirect water, block it behind a levee or a dam, but when containment fails it will go wherever it wants with no respect for any of us, fitting exactly whatever container it fills, be it a glass, a bowl, a house, or a city.

The characteristic of water that has always fascinated me is its surface tension. It’s why drops are round, water striders can dance across the surface of a stream, needles can float, beads form on your kitchen counter, and kids can delight in the magic of soap bubbles floating on the breeze. It also serves to help your eyeballs (cornea) stay moist. How cool is that?

Yep. Aside from being essential to life, water is the universal solvent, the patient carver of rock into spectacular landscapes, the carrier of rich nutrients onto farm land, and the enabler for me to sit here thinking about it.

(stock photos)

Posted in Absolutes, Gratitude, humor, Ocean, Uncategorized, Water | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Remove Spoon to Insert Foot

My silver spoon gets
stuck in my mouth when I try
to articulate.

(spoon: OLWomen.com; apartheid: buzzsouthafrica.com)

Posted in Absolutes, communication, Consciousness, Conversation, Friendship, Haiku, History, Humans, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Haiku: Fitting Flit

I think the word flit
was invented by someone
watching chickadees.

Posted in Birds, Gratitude, Haiku, Narble Furt, Poem, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment