We All Got It

Few things are on my list of what I think I absolutely  know that I know. On that list is that one of the most wicked problems challenging our relationships to one another and the rest of the world, is the existence of confirmation bias.

I am a huge fan of the site youarenotsosmart.com so I include a llink to their discussion about confirmation bias because they are much smarter than I am and I tend toward morbid verbosity. It’s true.

Enjoy. And pass on what you learn!

Scripture for Enduring

No person in Scripture embodies the spirit of perseverance with such detail and imagery as those accounts of David that are offered in the Book of Psalms.   When I am in need of spiritual endurance, Psalms is where I find comfort and renewed faith.

“Behold the man who did not set God as his helper. But he hoped in the multitude of his riches, and so he prevailed in his emptiness.”

But I, like a fruitful olive tree in the house of God, have hoped in the mercy of God unto eternity, and forever and ever.

I will confess to you forever, because you have accomplished it. And I will wait on your name, for it is good in the sight of your saints.

Psalm 51:9-11 CPDV

Not Wanted Dead or Alive

I will be perfectly honest: if it were asked of me, right now, to lay down my life because it would contribute any measure of goodness AT ALL to the world, my eyes wouldn’t have time to blink before I submitted to that request.

If I were a person differently situated, at a stage of life that held more promise of my generative success to give back something meaningful with my efforts, I might at least ask one or two probative questions prior to jumping on that request like it is the best deal in town wrt getting this living crap
over with, already.

That simply isn’t the best head space to indulge oneself. The mind can be a dangerous neighborhood to roam around when it is dark inside.

What I find much more confounding than having these kinds of thoughts, is the willingness of many people to over react to their suspicion someone is suicidal, even making a 911 call based on no other input but what they presume true, to prevent the person from ending their life, but are just as unwilling to make more than the least effort to provide that same person help that would help improve that same life or even prevent that life being otherwise lost to brutal forces such as exposure, illness, or as the slow wasting away in a state of despair and poverty.

These people won”t help a person to change what puts their life at risk yet believe they should make.sure the other person is kept from deciding what they are willing to endure before choosing not to live as they do not wish. So, you not only consider my life unworthy of your trouble but you also fel entitled to decide I have to live no matter how much suffering must continue.
I bet you don’t think you know anyone that would fit this description.

I think it much more probable that you might be this person and not be aware that you are.

I like to tell myself I can think upon emotionally charged concepts rationally if I am committed to intellectual honesty, allowing for many possible points of view.
So, I would also like to believe I have come to my conclusions as the consequence to this rigor in practice.

I have concluded that the person described as giving inconsistent messages about the value of another person”s life is a person common to many many more than people actually believe.
All of us think we are much nicer people than our behavior and thoughts reflect.
What we want to do and even say we will do is not the same as what is actually done. But, we credit ourselves for thinking about doing good despite not delivering on that thought. And if the conscience is pricked, there is always a very justifiable excuse why our actions aren’t following from the truly good thoughts we may mistake as intention.

Thinking something does not make it true. Emotions, no matter their strength, are not facts. Help is not what is done to someone, but what is done for someone that includes what the person helped knows is or is not helpful. 
Much of what we do that we assert is help causes the one needing help more problems that worsen their state. Then, they also are criticized as being ungrateful.
If you presume to know more about what will help me than I do, or if you presume helping me can be successful without consideration of my input or without regard to potential risk of causing harm, I want to be very clear and direct: You are a dangerous person and until you correct your thinking, I will keep a safe distance between us when I am in a state of vulnerability.

How do we know that we might not really be as helpful and nice as we think we are?

The next time you are given an opportunity to give someone the help they need that will end any amount of their immediate suffering AND you have the means to do so even if it creates a temporary inconvenience to your comfort, listen to what you tell yourself then pay attention to what you actually do.
Most, when presented with a chance to give relief to another by giving up an amount of money or personal comforts  or effort will not be willing to make a sacrifice of inconvenience. Their action is typically to remain silent to the request or to call into question whether the person really deserves or needs the help asked for.
The people who are too afraid to give up what little they have, even if it will stop someone’s immediate suffering at the expense of their having to go without something they want usually say something to themselves along the lines of “I feel uncomfortable knowing a person in my life is being hurt by what she is experiencing. I can barely cover my own expenses otherwise I would help.” The test of what is said but much more quietly is “i choose to keep my convenience and mine up so that person suffers less.” And a message may be given that says ™I really wish I could help. But I can”t.” In truth, and I know this is very hard to hear, they probably do wish they could help but unfortunately they won’t because for whatever reason, the other person’s well being wasn’t worth the trouble.
But that won”t come up when we conceive ourselves as being nice or good. It will have justification.

According to the beliefs that influence how I choose right from wrong, I think most people are not nearly as nice, good or well intended as they believe themselves to be. Of course they can cite any number of instances where they were good, generous or kind to other people. But the question becomes how difficult those instances really were. It’s easy for even the most depraved criminal to be nice and kind and good in general with the right people under ordinary circumstances and without too much effort.

Are you really a good person or are you more accurately, a good person when conditions favor doing good, and when conditions require an effort for doing good, being a good person is at most only wished for.

In my opinion, being a good person requires doing good when it doesn’t suit our needs and there is no reward except the one that exists in our own acknowledgment of choosing to do what we believe is good and right.
Not as many people are committed to that path of development of their person. They give when those among them say they need to think about themselves or that they give you much or that they are foolish to let themselves be taken advantage of or for giving to people they don’t know or don’t deserve what they are given.

Contrary to what they would have them believe, the one who say these things are not doing so out of concern for the person who is giving. They do so because the good they see being done in the world by someone else is a light that casts shadows where they are doing nothing. It threatens them with fear of appearing less good when someone is lighting up the world too close to where they watch from darkness.

By questioning and claiming a concern for the one doing good, this person creates confusion and positions themselves superior to the one who they envy for being what they can only wish they could be and doing good because they truly want to be good.

Gentle Giant

So, after surgery, I have been to the local ER twice.

This time it was to resolve intermittent pain so intense I would be rendered literally blind during the spasm.

 

This is the story in picture sequence.

 

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Face Palm to Republic “Christian” Politic Jockeys

I am embarrassed for you, Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Jeb Bush and our Republican party majority.

Evidentially, you all failed to read your Bibles.

Please review: the circumstances of Jesus’ birth and refugee status as an infant as well as Christ’s command to take in “strangers”, to love our neighbors (even those we may not really like).

Got Faith? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Collosal F A I L.

An Open Letter to Euro-Pro CEO, Mark Rosenzweig (aka Mark Rosen) from A Very Sad Woman

UPDATE 2016-03-14:

After posting on @SharkClean ‘s Twitter feed about my frustration and disappointment, I was contacted directly by one of their customer service representatives in SharkNinja’s Claims Department. After explaining my specific complaints about the Shark LiftAway model I have and also about the steam mop I purchased at the same time, she offered to accept my return of the product for Quality Assurance to inspect in exchange for my being sent their current model, the Power LiftAway, as well as their steam mop, all without charge.

So, this is what I intend to do:

When the return label is sent, I’ll ship the vacuum you see in the picture, below. After I receive the replacement, I’m going to give it a thorough work out of all its’ features and functions. Then, I’m going to sit down and write a comprehensive, 100% honest review of how the product worked, highlights of my experience with the design & features and if I would, based on this experience, return to the flock and take up the cause to promote SharkNinja products as I have previously or if I will remain as I am, now: vacuum challenged and putting pennies in a jar to save up for a Dyson.

Will let you know!

Executive Summary: A company product evangelist since 2007, I  now feel it is my responsibility to recant my praise and recall my recommendations.

Believe me when I say that I recognizefail-shark that writing letters about cleaning appliances to a company’s CEO and President just smacks of someone who is habitually disgruntled and unhappy, a person who probably complains about everything, always, and who has too much time on their hands (perhaps for their lack of having any friends willing to listen to their perpetual discontent.)

In response to possibly having my letter dismissed as being written with this potential case being true, I want to preface what follows with the assertion that I have never in my multiple decades, as a paying consumer of goods and services, ever felt compelled to take the time necessary to sit down and express in writing my experience with something I have purchased. In this case, I stopped everything I was doing because my Shark vacuum fell over into a cupboard and broke another dish. Enough.

Caveat Emptor (buyer beware)  is a reasonable principle. It reminds me that I am accountable for making as certain as I can that where I choose to spend my hard earned money  is worth the value, whether that be a car, an insurance policy, or a vacuum cleaner and steam mop.

As far as vacuum cleaners and steam mops went, I want you to know directly, that since 2008, I have been a die-hard, committed evangelist of Shark products. Having done my homework, tested the products, used the products extensively and compared the results to that of other products of every price range, I can tell you that a rare few people that I engaged with over the past 7 or more years were not subject to my enthusiastic praise and unhesitating recommendation of the Shark brand.

Alone, I probably generated at least a couple dozen sales by those acting on my dogged faith in the quality of your vacuum cleaners and steam mops.

But, I must insist you not thank me, yet, because, sadly, I now feel it is my responsibility to recant my praise and recall my recommendations.

Anyone who, upon my influence and persuasion, purchased a Lift-Away model within the previous two or two and a half years, of either the vacuum or the steam mop, has, I believe, been misled. My credibility in this case being completely lacking, I have been consoled, only by the fact that I have shared in the frustration and losses incurred while using these products.

Sir, what in God’s name were you thinking when the design was approved for manufacturing the Lift-Away Deluxe? It is immediately apparent that using this machine is worse than difficult, it is downright painful.

Do you have any idea how many bruises, skin abrasions and broken objects I have accumulated in this past year, alone, since the purchase and use of the Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe?

I am sure you do not. Because, if you did, the persons responsible for this abominable machine design would have been banished from ever being in a position to destroy the reputation of a company, again.

Suction, be damned, if the vacuum is designed to fall over with every move of the wand attachment.

As for the steam mop, I don’t even know where to begin. It never worked in the upright position and soon after its purchase, simply stopped working altogether. It caused more than its share of wasted hours and embarrassing moments trying to explain the problem to others who were promised altogether superior results.

The original Shark products I purchased and used repeatedly and in the most extreme conditions for a solid 5 years and that worked as well the day they were retired as the day they were received, earned my utmost respect and loyalty as a customer.

Then, after saving for months and excited about finally being able to upgrade to a newer model with all the attachments, pads, cleaners, you name it, I am now left with a vacuum that causes me to swear like a drunken sea merchant every time I have to use it (and I try so hard not to have to use it…which, is so so so sad in its own right.) and no steam cleaner, at all, which I have depended upon for years.

In fact, at the very moment of my writing this letter, I can see where the Navigator lay on its’ side, where I left it while trying to vacuum my bedroom. After first falling over into my shin bone for the zillioneth time, in my frustration and disappointment, I decided you deserved to have this letter written to you so you could participate in this small way in my experience.

And, sadly, I now have to consider sharing with others that I am no longer a convert, and can no longer advocate as I have for Shark.

In some strange way, this experience has caused me to lose something special–the ability to feel excited about stuff.

Thank you for your time. Please speak to the the people that designed the Lift-Away line. They kill happiness.

Sincerely,

Disillusioned in the Santa Cruz Mountains  Portland, Oregon

Maybe We Can Learn Something From This

Nesting goose without a mate is protected by a vigilant deer who takes it upon itself to block people and dogs from approaching the goose and her eggs.

How does this kind of relationship and sense of duty —by a prey animal, of an entirely different class, no less— take form?

What is happening, here, and what kind of communication channel exists that facilitates each of these animals to mutually understand and tolerate the other? What on earth would inspire a deer to put aside its’ own self preservation instincts for the sake of protecting a mother goose’s unhatched goslings? How would a deer know eggs have anything to do, at all, with future offspring, anyway?

An abandoned kitten cared for by a crow, that guards and feeds the kitten, as part of their impossibly improbable relationship.

Again, how does this happen? What is going on, here? Why can a crow care about the life of a kitten but two people with a difference of opinion can’t share the same planet with one another without a war? What gives?
There are hundreds of documented examples of unlikely bonds between animals: the baby hippo and the 130 year old tortoise, come to mind…

The ‘Noble’ Bird Breeders

greyssufferPardon my irrepressible need to rant.

Here are a few examples of bird breeder drivel–the verbiage used and arguments made to justify actions by positioning themselves with noble things, like preservation of life, love, and protecting the vulnerable (typing that made me gag):

Avicultural Society of America – Devoted to birds in aviaries & preserving species.

Gold Country Bird Society – Eldorado, CA club dedicated to the educating, care, breeding, conservation of exotic caged birds.

The fact is, that without captive breeding programs, many species of parrots would already be gone, for a multitude of reasons. The Spix Macaw is already gone, at least as a wild animal. The Al Wabra people, Loro Paraque, and a few others are desperately trying to save these birds. Without them, the Spix would be nothing but a fading memory already.

So, please — understand that without the very deep pockets of a private individual, who is spending millions to breed these birds, that at least one species would not exist today. We aren’t all some oil sheik with the incredibly deep pockets needed to take a stab at saving a species single handedly, but I’d be willing to be that many, many bird breeders out there are willing to give up a lot closer to everything to save their species than you might imagine.” Source: Comment to blog post

[Emphasis in bold, my own]


Oh, stop it. Seriously. Just stop it, already.

The implication that breeding efforts underway to preserve a species that are privately or otherwise funded *scientifically* led projects are in any way related to some middle-aged woman in the U.S. mid-west who just loves her birds so much that she just has to encourage them to mate so she can sell their offspring is so mind-bendingly asinine as to be offensive.

There is a profound difference between people who breed exotic birds for profit as hobbyists and educated groups of people led by best practice and scientific research who at least *attempt* to intelligently breed. Follow the money and the motivation.

One is exploiting what they confuse as love for profit or power and the other is exploring sacrifice of time and resource to ensure the basic survival of another living species. Hobbyist breeders cater to those who confuse love for personal desire.

Love is sacrifice. It’s a verb, an action word. It’s tough stuff with both humble and great rewards that are intimate and personal.

Desire is a carnal feeling of want. It is the lust of possessing something that someone derives pleasure from. It’s motivated by self satisfaction, not sacrifice. It’s not indicative of mature emotional development.

And it dances often and effortlessly with an accompanying ignorance that is stubbornly resistant to correction or the hard work of improvement. So, yeah, fuck breeders. I’m calling bullshit on your “noble” cause. Poseurs.

Earning a Super Power

I “stumbledupon” the site youarenotsosmart.com and listened to this podcast by David McRaney about rejection and its’ impact.

That impact includes paralyzing fear, tangible pain and diminished quality of life. The podcast features an interview with Jia Jiang, a man who approached his fear of rejection with “rejection therapy“.

He consciously set about to put himself in situations with potential for rejection in order to re-map his response to being rejected. Each rejection was celebrated as a success instead of an injury or perceived failure.

Fascinating topic. I wonder if I have enough grit to attempt something like this. Check out the podcast discussion.

I thought I’d mention that while watching Jia’s vlogs for each day of his 100 requests, I felt anxious. Meaning, my heart rate quickened, my throat became dry, and I had that fluttery feeling in my gut (that feeling of being about ready to jump out of my skin). I also felt awkward and embarrassed and sometimes nervous about his receiving an anger response.

This prompted me to ask myself what I would consider the most ‘frightening’ potential responses to making requests that are subject to rejection. They were, in order of escalation, with the first being the least fearful:

  1. Anger.
  2. Public shaming/humiliation.
  3. Physical threat.
  4. Mob attack (!!)

Yes, during that stream of conscious list making exercise, I came up with having the fear of being attacked by an angry mob intent on punishing me for making an unacceptable request!

That’s so crazy it must be revealing. What does it reveal?

Well, maybe it speaks to the root of the fear people have of rejection, which is being cast out of society, or, at the most basic level, the fear of dying. People are social animals. We are born dependent on others and remain that way for the duration of our lives to varying extent. But, the point being, that perhaps that idea of being fearful of the mob or group rejection was something of a Jungian moment, tapping into the collective conscious, as it were. (I don’t ordinarily concern myself with mob rule, much, unless the context is WoW or D&D. Oh, or the Black Sabbath album.)

I’d love to hear what other people think about the fear of rejection and the possible benefits of overcoming that fear by this direct approach.

If nothing else, definitely check out the youarenotsosmart.com and fearbuster.com websites.