Stand or Fall

Weeping Angel
The time is now
The time to live is now
The time to love is now
The time to forgive is now

I see myself in a fog when I am down.  I see myself in a clarity that usurps the haze when I am happy.  I think about myself, my life, and when I think about the things I stand for, and how that has reflected in the life I have chosen, I am appeased.  Suffice to say that I had many unpleasant experiences that I brought upon myself.  I take part in the ownership of that struggle, but isn’t this what makes our travels cultivate the lessons we’ve learned?  When we are able to distinguish between the good the bad and the ugly after we have tread upon soiled ground is a part of the journey we are destined to make.  The observance of what one stands for is something discovered.  How one manages this discernment is also the by-product of “that for which they stand.”  In all the heartache I have faced, in all the disappointment, and the tribulations of this life, I can still hold my head high and celebrate that for which I stand.  The Magnum Opus of my life’s work lies not in the work I have achieved professionally, but rather in the pursuit of an ethic I have remained true to through-out my personal life.  I am not special, nor am I privileged, and most certainly I am flawed.  Bruised and worn down by others I stand, judged with the shallow temerity of others I stand.  But the tenacity that runs deep within me stems from a very existentialistic starting point.

At times I am unable to make sense out of a world gone mad.  A world that includes the modus operandi of those that continue to take from others less fortunate, a conduct that compels and deludes one’s self-absorbed ego into wanting more.  Ironically engaging in this behavior will never quench their thirst given this criterion.  Giving something valued to another has many possible distinctions.  If one freely gives another something of value to them, and the recipient also values this gift, then the acknowledgement of reciprocity can exist.  If again this scenario takes place, but the recipient is unappreciative of the gift, and they take the gift for granted, then the chance for reciprocity is not likely.  The expectations of so many people who have come to think they are entitled to a certain outcome, lifestyle, and are usually “me” driven, have a very short sighted view of the world.  The world does not revolve around our expectations.  We are not the center of the universe, but many continue to think this is so.

Have you allowed others to take advantage of you?  Were you in shock, or appalled by the attempts and successes of this behavior?  To see the good in people can have detrimental side effects when we deal with others if we do not chose to look closer and ignore the signs of a flawed ego.  Getting beyond the ignorance of others, getting beyond the callous and capricious arrogance is something we all must fare.  Surrounded by the public I am reminded every day that for a people who posses such wonderful qualities, we are still subject to the transgressions of an untempered society.

If you look at historical cases of civil unrest, rioting, anarchism, and lawless behavior, you will find many examples of those placing themselves and their needs above that of another in times of duress.  This is an extreme case of those who fight to prevail their circumstances albeit much has to do with self-protection in many cases.  When our civil duties are disbanded, when we hold no allegiance to the society we are in, then the rule of “self” will come to be.  “Every man for themselves”, or I’ll get mine seems to come to mind.  The Twilight Zone episode “The Shelter” seems to bring this point into light.

The Shelter

STARRING CAST: Larry Gates, Peggy Stewart, Sandy Kenyon, Mary Gregory, Joseph Bernard, Moira Turner, Jo Helton, Jack Albertson
WRITER: Rod Serling
DIRECTOR: Lamont Johnson
SUMMARY: Doc Stockton, the town G.P. physician, celebrates his fiftieth birthday one evening with family and friends, when suddenly a news report comes in over the radio that some UFO’s are approaching Earth rapidly and that everyone with a bomb shelter should get inside it immediately. But Stockton is the only one in the neighborhood with a bomb shelter, much to the dismay of his neighbors.

Unfortunately, the sad fact is that situations such as the one presented here have happened all over the planet.  But these particular people prove to be so incredibly self-centralized – refusing to use what few resources they do have to make sure their own security and that of their children – that it’s hard to feel sympathy for them.  The final moment, where they march up and out of the wrecked Stockton house, surely never again to speak to the Stockton’s – or each other – is a head-shaker.

The fact that we mistreat others is subject to the value we assign to our role in the harmony with natural order.  If one adopts a philosophy such as Locke’s Social Contract in that Locke believed that natural rights were inalienable, and that the rule of God therefore superseded government authority; and Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed that democracy (self-rule) was the best way of ensuring the general welfare while maintaining personal freedom under the rule of law, then that addresses the governing body of the society.  The Lockean concept of the social contract was invoked in the United States Declaration of Independence, but where does the personal ethic of our harmony within a society take hold?  The tyranny of a government is well-known and we have countless cases through-out history, but what of the personal conduct within our society?  Laws were created to have controls on our society.  Moral behavior is profoundly more complicated since it deals with behavior that may be legal, but would still be deemed as wrongful and detestable and have extensive possibilities and outcomes depending on the circumstances.

The tolerance of such actions may just be the issue.  If we direct our talents to pay-it-forward, if we direct our acuity to develop our children, if we direct our own behavior on a path that aligns with wisdom, then maybe we have a chance in manifesting a better destiny.