Crisis of Conscience

Many of us have seen office politics in many different forms, and also the social groups that conform to a dynamic set of established spoken and unspoken rules or behaviors.  A large factor contributing to the dominant social constructs in these groups are in my opinion resulting from the personalities and ego’s managing these units within their own personal belief systems and their experience levels of the world at large.

This experience comes contextually in many different forms such as; maturation, education , intellect, morals, upbringing and thoughtfulness.  In addition, people must use a logic to process the information along with their own conditioning or “life training.”  Whichever logical arguments are used in their account of the world, the only other attribute to posit into this behavioral equation are the unknown random factors in human behavior that are unpredictable and that we cannot always control.  Examples of these unknown factors originate from and are embedded into our own personal coping skills, our existing attitudes, and our emotional responsiveness to moral situations.

In all of the associations I have observed or have taken part in, many of the members in these groups of individuals have displayed a need for the social networking they are part of.  My observations of these groups of individuals has convinced me we are a people that easily give up our principles in order to advance in the sociopolitical hierarchy that often tends to be the flavor of the month.  Of course there are those cases of individuals that do not participate in such a vigor that many of their peers do within these groups. As Mark Twain puts it…“It is our nature to conform; it is a force which not many can successfully resist. What is its seat? The inborn requirement of self-approval.

The corruption of our moral behavior is rampant in the sociological systems surrounding us.  History is full of approaches to counteract this age old problem.  The masses are not well equipped to deal with these matters since we all at times negotiate the sacrifice’s we make, and we endure such occurrences in order to keep the status quo.  Some of us simply just chalk it up and exclaim “Cést La Vie!”   We hear all about scandals on the news, see it in our lives, hear it from our friends and yet we still cannot seem to evade the prevalence of this reality.  This is largely due to our neglect of confrontation and skill to resolve such matters.  If one can change anything, then one should start from within and change their perspectives.  But where does it end?  Is it just an enigmatic part of the quintessential life?  Do we do nothing and let things continue as they are, or do we stand up and resist?

Leadership begins with the self, then the home, then the town, then the province, then the city, then the state, then the country, then the hemisphere, ad infinitum.  Does this influence our personal bearing as we meet the world?  I suggest we create our own reality that incorporates the will to overcome inequity where ever it may exist.  I do not purport a utopian society, but rather to develop an individual philosophy that demonstrates the golden rule.  Despite the common natures of others, we must give them an example of just how one can behave.  The most powerful dynamic in all relationships for the most part are forged on trust.

Silence in the presence of evil is a form of non-verbal approval.  We have become a culture of silent conformists.  The state of the union now is under attack from within our own government, yet we (in general), do not take notice and participate in the dismantling of these corrupted  social systems.

To borrow from the author Graham Hancock; we are a species with amnesia.  His point was regarding another topic altogether, but I think it is quite relevant to the current topic.  What did the children of Nazi Germany ask of their fathers when the regime of the Third Reich was upon them.  Did they ask what did you do to prevent the tyranny that befell the world?  Don’t be caught up in the fear mongering.  Do something!  In our everyday lives, we must rise out of this mindset and prepare for the bigger picture.

On a national scale our civil liberties, Bill of Rights, Constitution, and freedoms are being plundered at an exponential rate, yet we do nothing about it as a culture.  This is also happening all around the world as well.  A seize upon our freedoms from our government is upon the people of the United States and abroad from those in power.  The controlling masters who own the banks, are manipulating the markets.  Those who own the media,  tell us what to think, and believe, and those who participate in this dilemma contribute to the enslavement of all of us.

One Foot in the Grave

It was a surreal experience, as I drifted in and out of a conscious state. I eventually found myself in the office chair and had no memory of how I came to sit down, or even the memory of walking to my office. I can remember bits and pieces of what seemed to be happening to me, and only in the fragmented segments of my memory. I was later told that I was fading in and out of consciousness for about an hour but I do not remember much at all with the exception of having the taste of orange juice in my mouth, and I do recall hearing people asking questions, but could not quite make them out clearly, or who was even saying them. The Juice in my mouth tasted good, but I don’t remember buying any orange juice, or even lifting any container up and drinking it. I don’t remember who was around me, where I was, or even the time of day it was. My situation seemed very unclear as I could not appear to process any information with any detail at all. I later found out I was resisting those trying to help me, and was uncooperative to those that were desperately trying to bring me back from where ever my consciousness dwelt. I heard other people’s voices asking me questions that I could not completely make out. I was in a dream like state, not knowing if I was sleeping or if I was dreaming.  My body was functioning enough to stand, walk, speak, and appear to be conscious, yet my memory of this event has little or no rendering of the reality of how I was perceived.  Thinking back on it; the last thing I remember was talking to another company member at the end of my day. I vaguely remember saying that I was feeling a little funny, tired, and from that moment on, I slowly sank into a daze.

I do not speak of Nacolepsy, having no control over the sleep functions of the brain is not the subject I am directing my thoughts about. Rather, a much more common condition that effects approximately 24 million people. When I finally came back from the bewilderment I was in, I was sitting in the office chair with two I.V.’s; one in each of my arms. There were at least four paramedics around me trying to revive me out of the potential diabetic coma I was heading for.

The paramedics were telling me as I slowly came to my senses, that I was very uncooperative and that I became “salty”, and was giving them grief about some of the procedures they were enacting upon me to revive me. I guess I amused them during the revival attempts, and that they understood my condition and that they were used to these types of reactions from other Diabetic’s undergoing an insulin reaction. It is an extremely odd occurrence for someone like me to act in this manner. I was not my normal self, and I apparently get upset when others are imposing themselves upon my personal space, despite the lifesaving attempt they are trained to do no matter what the perception I had at the time. I find it fascinating that even when others are trying to help me, my own perception, or altered perception under such conditions, is that they are intrusive to my personal wishes. I do not yet completely understand what is happening to me, and what the reasons they have for working on me as such. I do not even register that I am in a potentially dangerous situation, and they are trying to help me. Yet I continue to refuse help, or I would strongly disagree with the decisions that are made without my full consent, not fully appreciating the potentially dire circumstances I was not cognizant of in the first place. When your glucose levels are low, the content of your thinking can be greatly effected but such an event. This can be a very bad circumstance if you do not react fast enough. When you do not realize just how close you are to passing out, or going into a “dream-like” state before you can make that decision to remedy a potential insulin shock event, the probabilities of not again waking increase dramatically.

This is not the first time such a situation has occurred in my life. I have been under the care of paramedics reviving my near comma experience a handful of times in the past 20 years. I have only had the disease since the early 1990’s. Early adult onset Diabetes struck me when I was in the prime of my life. Quite literally I was diagnosed during a time when I was in my prime physically, the best shape of my life, having my optimal weight, an optimal fitness level, and BMI measurements that were in the top 10 percentile of my age. I exercised with weight training frequently at the gym, and additionally had plenty of cardio workouts. My eating habits at the time were stellar, yet the irony of the having the disease mock’s my existence day after day. At times the disease has brought me down on several occasions to a level that concedes a near death experience, and shows me just how precious our lives can be and truly understand the mortality of our human forms. I would say that I do not have a death wish, but have almost met my maker on several occasions due to the poor management of my disease. I must admit that at times I have struggled with depression which has a strong correlation to the disease of diabetes, but I suggest to you that it is most likely a partial bi-product of having such a condition in conjunction with my personality type and coping skills. Diabetes is ironically the most controllable disease we know about.

The bulk of my thought about this matter is precisely more about the very strange state the mind ensues when this occurrence happens. The bio-chemistry, the spiritual implications, the mind/body dilemma, the fragility of our existence makes a very nice conversation piece after the fact, but the reality for me is that the moment one looses the control over one’s conscious thought, the moment one entertains the idea that one can possibly cross over to some other semi-conscious state. I do not remember that alternate conscious state if indeed it is possible to remember, but I do have these haunting fragments of memory that play back the split second episodes of consciousness I did have during my lapses. My blood glucose level was around 31 mg/dl. I believe I have even been at a lower level in previous times. Why I survived such an event I may never know, but I am thankful for the paramedics for giving aid to my need. Life is a precious gift, and I believe I am here on this earth for a reason. surviving such an event makes you think a little harder about what changes you may make in your life, to better understand your role in the world. I for one am grateful for getting this chance to serve others that may one day need my help. I do not know how much longer I will be on this earth, but I do know my existence here can make a difference in somebody’s life. I do not fear death, but I do appreciate and I am thankful the the life I do have. This is a very mysterious and wonderful world and I have some unfinished business that I intend to accomplish before I leave it.

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“Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”
Bob Dylan

Mama, take this badge off of me
I can’t use it anymore.
It’s gettin’ dark, too dark to see
I feel I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door.Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door

Mama, put my guns in the ground
I can’t shoot them anymore.
That long black cloud is comin’ down
I feel I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door.

Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door

Numb

I sometimes wonder how I have managed to make it through this journey of my life to this point in time.  I thought back to times in my life when they were very difficult, when my support group was not really in place, or I neglected to see who would be there for me, and quite sincerely how defeat after defeating moment, I would become numb to the world around me.  All of us have difficulties to share, and all of us have experienced some form of grief that once burdened us to the point of despair.

Today I would say that I am a realist, formerly I would claim to be an optimist.  When inspecting the memories of my lifetime I think I have led a life I can be proud of.  The early optimism probably came out of the naiveté and lack of experience in my youth.  The appetite to believe in others and their goodness was a strong influence on me early in my life.  I should probably credit my mother for this, I should also remit to say that the consequences of this outlook have both positive and negative outcomes for the person engaging with such a demeanor.  I am neither apologetic nor regretful of such proclivities for they shaped me and made me who I am today.

The focus on the darker periods of my life have led me to see things with a different view.  I do not fool myself in believing that I have had a difficult life in comparison to others.  Frankly, I am privileged in being born in a Country such as the USA when looking at other less formidable Countries, along with the fact that I was not born to a family in poverty, or with single parents, or parents addicted to drugs, etc. etc..

The amplification of dark thoughts on such treacherous grounds can be disturbing due to the lack of resources one feels they have available to them, and the possible outcomes from this temperament leading to the finality of a human life resounds in the statistics of today.  The mind can be a powerfully persuasive instrument for it to turn on itself.  The belief that you are wasting space in the universe, or that you have no worth to anyone is a stifling thought.

The moment you start believing in the negativity of other sorrowful misguided souls around you can be a windfall for the depressed mindset.  This mindset is content on gathering like negative influences which are attracted to the ailing mind.  Additionally, the distraught mind will also posit into the world what it most recognizes; that being a dreadful world.

There are an innumerable reasons, conditions, and environments for human beings to become struck with anguish and grief.  The human condition through out the millennia has given us a deluge of examples in all of the endeavors humans have undertaken.  My own journey has led me on some lonely roads, no, bogs if you will, and navigating them can be a very difficult feat.

When it comes to the point of questioning your existence under such circumstances, you often do not think clearly due to the depleted condition you are in.  Changing your circumstances seems very hard to do during these times.  The suffering you are encountering is overwhelming, your energy levels are next to nothing, and you torture your mind that continues to dwell on the negative attributes of your life.

When I was training to be a crisis intervention counselor in college I was confronted with some very powerful skill sets.  This awakening has not left me to this day as I learned to tune into my emotional states on levels I had never before achieved.  It was the first time I had taken a deeper look within my own emotional inventories.  During that year I discovered that I had shut out much of my emotional connections to others in my adolescence and childhood.  Dealing with others on a cerebral level is much different than dealing with them on an emotional level.  I believe that ideally blending these two attributes with your drives or desires, will result in a more balanced account in life.

The training I received was Rogerian, based on Carl Rodgers “Client centered therapy”, which focused on relating to others from an emotional level as to gain their trust and direct them out of crisis, into seeking some solutions for help for them.  Sadly, when we reach a state of no emotion as in a crisis; little can be done to convince those under such extremes.  There is a lethality scale used from 1-10 in crisis intervention.  These levels indicate how much of a threat the person is from harming themselves.  The most dangerous kind are those that are calm, and devoid of emotion.  The call they might make is a final attempt at help, yet their minds are for the most part made up into ending their lives.  This is a “numbness” that is most certainly the worst kind, and one of the hardest to circumvent.  The higher the lethality scale is, the more detailed the person’s suicide plan is.  They know usually how they will kill themselves, where they will do it, and sometimes even when.

I would have to say I have reached that point a few times in my life.  The numbness one experiences some argue is a defense mechanism that shuts down tumultuous emotional aspects the psyche undergoes.  In doing so, this process protects the damaging effects of extreme emotional pain from hurting the rest of the body, and ironically the mind itself.  The length of time one finds themselves in this mindset can and most likely produce changes in the transmission of neurotransmitters (Dopamine a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in the functioning of the limbic system, which is involved in emotional function and control.  It also plays a part in movement, alertness, and sensations of pleasure.  Serotonin plays a regulatory role in mood, sleep, and other areas.) between the synapses within the brain.

The Dysthymic foundations that have directed my experiences make it much more difficult for others to spot in the everyday world in which we live.  Those of like disorders, are viewed normal since these people have embedded the depressive traits within their own personalities, and therefore many cannot distinguish any differences in their moods, or attitudes.  They learn to hide it well, and are less likely to draw attention or diagnose by the everyday person.  Furthermore, more tragically, they often go undiagnosed and do nothing to improve their situations.

Not being able to regulate feeling is also a very troublesome condition since it effects so many others that come in contact with the afflicted people in extreme cases.  I suggest that those affected probably hurt themselves most of all, but I do not rule out the family members if indeed they have maintained such relationships during this period of time they are enduring the dreadful condition.  Experiencing the world with such a vision is like sleep walking.  In a sense you are present physically, but you are not all there, psychologically you are not present at all.  Zen Buddhists would agree and say “Wake up”!  You are not fully functioning and are in essence a walking zombie going through the motions.

Numbness is a very lonely place to be.  To be void of any emotion results in becoming sub-human.  Not being able to enjoy the fullness of what life has to offer for whatever reason is a tragic matter.  Whether one chooses to neglect their power of observation, or whether one is caught in the traps of despondency, the world is much, much more than the observances of the downhearted.

 

 

What’s your gift?

Do you know people that have a particular talent they somehow acquired but with little work involved? Do you know individuals that have an extraordinary endowment that seemed to have come to them with ease? These attributes can be in many different forms. They can be proficient in a variety of cognitive skills such as math, English, music or even trivia. These aptitudes can also be expressed in the physical form like athletic ability, or more commonly revered: bestowed with the human traits of beauty itself.

The pathways one leads is quite often reflective of the roads that open up to them. Frankly, some people have less troublesome paths than others due to the cards they were dealt in life. Conversely, there are those that are given ample opportunity, yet seem to squander their potentials for poor decisions made through-out their lives.

Interestingly, some of these gifts are used by the individual for either a greater good, or for a narcissistic purpose altogether. I wonder where this motivation comes from. Given these gifts we can either take them for granted, or we can cultivate them. The only decision we must make therefore is to what degree we utilize them and for whom they will benefit. Indeed we must acknowledge and have an awareness of such “gifts” in the first place, but I think most people are fairly able to identify these talents. I have a suspicion that many people do not identify clearly with their potentials, and they simply do nothing to cultivate what is naturally present within themselves. I also suspect that there are just as many people who are quite aware of their known advantageous qualities, and thus use them to meet an end of their own desire.

Surface or Substance
The challenge to undertake is entirely up to us. If our gifts come from a higher power; then precisely what we do with them can be our gift back to that higher power.