Don’t Burn the Food You’re About to Eat: Part Two

First, an example of too much of a good thing.

This is about the “savings paradox” discussed in a high school or college course called Macroeconomics. Savings is a good thing, right? What if everybody was convinced of it, became conscious about their expenses and proceeded to save, on the average, say, five percent of their income? But such a good thing to do quickly descends to a sour misadventure. The economy would most likely tank with recession claiming people’s jobs, businesses shutting down and income falling, not to mention savings. This so because the volume of goods and services already produced was now faced with a drop in demand by five percent. It is a paradox because what appeared to be a good idea turned into a pretty bad experience.

Now, for an example of bad things gone wild.

Every society has its share of bad apples, liars, thieves, cheats, thugs, opportunists, two-faced individuals, etc. Yet no society implodes. Unless. Unless the threshold point of tolerance over corruption, crime, violence, nepotism, favoritism and treachery is crossed. Then strange things begin to happen. Society begins to unravel. A total collapse of law and order ensues. Spurned and injured, respect for people in political authority, judges, administrators, policemen, and even educators evaporates wholesale. With allegiance to the state and patriotism wearing thin, people detach from society, becoming exceedingly self-centered, paranoid, giving up bits of their integrity while coalescing into sub-groups. Still others, disgusted, disillusioned and in despair, seek to emigrate in even larger numbers. Finally, another small minority plan and plot political revolution, by force if necessary.

The point is, some things widely and obsessively pursued, whether good or bad, disallow a stable, fruitful society to sustain.

Thus, conversely, when gender relations unravel wholesale, then one of two things must have happened: too much of a good thing or too much of a bad thing.

This narrative suggests men and women are like toasting bread for each other.

Now, both men and women have strengths and weaknesses. They shine and wilt under different circumstances. Expectations and timelines differ by gender. Each gender arguably “sensibly” and organically looks out for its self interest. Socially and morally, it is programmed to look out for each other.

Again, modern relationship between genders appear to have two phases: short and long run.

The key connecting observation is: if in the short run the parties do not pay attention to the opposite gender’s weaknesses, the nature of the other party may become so dramatically altered that, when it comes the “time” to settle down, stable long run relationship becomes infeasible. The carefree fun of the short run rapidly changes to pain in the long run.

This is what we mean by burning one’s toast while still hoping to eat it.

If this problem happened like a random smattering, the society would get by this type of occurrences and be OK as a whole. However, when short run mindless exploitation in the name of “fearless” fun or as a sign of “responsibility” happens like an epidemic, the long run pain will be endemic and permanent. Some people will be lost and others will be hurt. The earlier twains of love will graduate to become parallel tracks of detached, non-intersecting paths disappearing into the horizon.

What a let down, but what was one thinking would happen ultimately?!

tptChoice Team

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Don’t Burn the Food You’re About to Eat: Part One

Is there anyone who happily chomps on burnt toast?

How many would deliberately muddy the water they are about to drink or take a dip in?

Must be only a handful, if that! Right?

The soft-textured, rich smelling piece of bread is replaced in minutes by an unpleasant smelling, bitter piece of rock. What a shock!

So, what kind of a person would do such a thing, over and over again, then complain about it?

What kind of a society filled with such people would fail to see its folly? The only way this could continue happening is when society  glorifies the making of burnt toast and muddied water and thinks nothing of the consequences of doing it repeatedly?

Really? Why?

Apparently, for some peculiar reason, the burnt toast or the muddied water passes as acceptable. The palpable smell and bitterness are missed. The sullying mud particles do not bother. They may actually be welcomed as redeeming. Strange, indeed!

In modern world, many are distressed by the quality of their private lives. For some, it’s enough to drive them over the edge. To regain control, restore sanity, peace and amity, burning toast and muddying water must first stop.

Gender Relations is one of the core factors ensuring human happiness. Gender Presentation, Gender Role Recognition, Gender Equity, Gender Responsibility, Gender Vulnerability and Gender Etiquette possibly make up Gender Relations. Now, it is recognized that a chain is as strong as its weakest link. Likewise, a wholesome Gender Relation is only as strong as its weakest factor.

A person, on the other hand, is a collection of connected, interdependent beings: Varying in degrees, a person is spiritual, intellectual, informed, physical, sexual, doing, seeking, receiving, sharing, exacting, individualistic, creative, and so on.

Modernity, be it through technology, media, or opportunity, has sought to redefine Gender Relations. On the other hand, Biology and Morality have continued to define its backbone.

A man and a woman need each other for their own sakes as well as for the continuity of humanity. As it is, people come with weaknesses by birth or by acquisition that makes this unity challenging. If fresh new weaknesses are added without recognizing them to be so and without due mitigation, then the success of the unity becomes even more suspect.

Modern Gender Relations has led to fewer marriages, greater number of divorces, fewer births, more children out of wedlock, more serial relationships, more abortions, more suicides even, etc. A vast number of people recognize this to be unhealthy, but very few appear to know what to do about it.

In a world that puts a lot of stock on problem solving, this appears to be quite a doozy.

tptChoice Team

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Religion’s Four Aspects

Religion is the way man connects with his Creator. At different times in history, among different peoples, religion has meant different paths.

Then there are the divine or revealed religions and religions crafted or embellished by man. And there are some paths that are replete with philosophies and appear like religion, but do not constitute a religion since a Divine Being is absent from the equation.

The ultimate purpose of religion is for man to be just – with himself, others and other things. Goodness, kindness, forgiveness, forbearance, etc. are vital ancillary tools and ends. In life’s entanglements rights and duties abound, initial endowments, opportunities and conditions vary from person to person, when with selfishness as a core human inclination, sometimes scarred by jealousy, misunderstanding, hearsay, superstition and apprehension, injustice can easily prevail. Injustice is the mother of all conflicts. Religion’s purpose is to forestall or reduce foul play, and accordingly maintain or restitute balance and order. The Divine Being’s status is not increased or decreased by whether man is religious. Proper religiosity properly followed only serves to enhance the quality of life for man.

To understand broadly the nature of religion, we need to acknowledge its external and internal dimensions, its moral fabric, and its pervasiveness over time and space.

The external aspect of religions constitutes all its do’s and don’ts, the ritualistic and informal elements – acknowledgement of the Divine Being, prayer, alms giving, kindness, mercifulness, sharing, forgiving, helping, certain types and forms of abstinence, etc. This is a common format for all given to a particular religion.

The internal aspect of religion is about actually believing in the truth and vitality of all of its elements and their collective capacity to deliver positive and lasting outcomes as promised and expected. This takes one from merely submitting mechanically to submitting with heart and mind, thereby being spared lingering doubt and suspicion.

The third aspect of religiosity relates to morality – the ability or sensibility to distinguish right from wrong, fair from unfair, kindness from cruelty, openness from being predisposed, seriousness from frivolity, etc. This is possible on account of the faithful perceiving Divine Presence at every turn, or when failing to do so knowing that Divine Presence glorifies every event, shining or shabby. Thus, being duly aware, a religious person is inclined to moral rectitude.

The fourth and final  aspect of religiosity is the knowledge about transparency and ultimate accountability over every action and inaction that one undertakes consciously, freely and with sanity, given what one knows and understands about religious prerogatives and obligations. This connects all of humanity in a final settlement of scores or debts. That is why it is far better to be conscientious while alive so that there is less to settle on that Final Day of Adjudication. None will be unfairly treated, everyone will settle any earthly debt owed others, and the Master of the Ceremonies will be as Merciful on His part as possible. Real religion as a principle pervades space and time. It is not contained on planet earth nor limited to our times.

tptChoice Team

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Patience Comes In Three Flavors

Patience is a virtue runs Wisdom.

So, “Be patient!”

Sure, I’ll try. I hope I can make it to the other side of my ordeal intact and in one piece. Will it allow me to avoid bitterness, anger, depression, or desperation (BADP)? Will I still be operational; wiser, but still me – buoyant and optimistic? If life’s ups and downs are tests checking out what I’m really made of, then patience presumably allows me to pass that test. Otherwise, BADP will keep the ordeal alive and kicking long after the event is no longer around.

Patience in the face of adversity is but the most commonly acknowledged circumstance when it comes in really handy. However, being patient does not mean inaction or inactivity. It just spells the disposition.

That leaves out two other situations when patience is an indispensable trait to have.

To commit to a regular, unhurried, carefully crafted, earnestly delivered pattern of worship requires still another brand of patience. Prayer is a deliberate, hopeful communication between the least and the Most. It requires due diligence more than just like officially meeting a hiring agent, company president, a minister, a royalty, or parents of one’s soon to be significant other. Cleanliness, punctuality, orderliness, dignity, propriety, paced, coherent, doubt-free, non-accusatory, etc. are elements of a successfully placed petition in an interface with our Maker. Patience makes much of this possible.

Last but not least, patience restrains us when we are about to step into the Dark Side and want to let loose. Patience cools us down, shuts off the spigot of selfishness, greed, jealously, hatred, display, dishonesty, hypocrisy, treachery, one-upmanship, etc. Patience allows a moment of pause, introducing reflection, introspection and hesitation, when I’m about to perpetrate on another what I would not have done to me.

Patience through its miraculous devices makes the heart sound – pure and vibrant – without which God’s realm of perfection and beauty, the Gardens, will not be accessible to anyone. Anyone!

tptChoice Team

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Dummy Quiz #4 -Characterize Yourself

Continuing with the series of queries, we have

  1. How do you see yourself?
    –Spiritual
    –Religious
    –Denominational (belonging to a particular sect)
    –Atheist
    –Agnostic (Knowable or unknowable, belief that there is a Higher Power)
  2. If you are religious, how would you rate yourself?
    –Regularly practicing
    –Occasionally practicing
    –Unsure about the rituals
    –Find rituals irrelevant
  3. If you are denominational, are you a
    –Hindu
    –Buddhist
    –Jew
    –Catholic
    –Protestant
    –Muslim
    –Sikh
    –Zoroastrian
    –Other
  4. As to Organized Religion, what is your position toward it?
    –Favor
    –Disfavor
  5. What do you think? The Universe is
    –Created
    –Uncreated
  6. If you think/believe that the Universe is created, do you suppose it came with an operating system?
    –Yes
    –No
  7. If ever you invoke a Higher Power to assist you, do you say something like this: God, if you are there, then …?
    –Yes
    –No
  8. To you, if you subscribe to a Higher Power, is it
    –One
    –Many
  9. Do the colors on the Traffic Light mean different things in different parts of where you live?
    –Yes
    –No
  10. Does it matter that a Higher Power should have a gender?
    –Yes
    –No

tptChoice Team

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Dummy Quiz #3 – Characterize Yourself

I hope you are still with me as the self-discovery process continues.

  1. Do you regularly curse, use the four letter word, or flick the bird?
    –Yes
    –No
  2. Do you feel depressed and find life in general to be pointless?
    –Sometimes
    –Often
    –Never
  3. Do you blame anyone in particular for your addiction related issues?
    –Yes
    –No
  4. Do you use the hate word often as in “I hate it” to express your dislike for a thing?
    –Yes
    –No
  5. Do you often feel or express boredom?
    –Yes
    –No
  6. Do you think nothing of talking about a person behind his/her back?
    –Yes
    –No

tptChoice Team

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Dummy Quiz #2 – Characterize Yourself

Continuing with the unrecorded quizzes, we have:

  1. What is your gender?
    –Male
    –Female
  2. What is your age bracket?
    –Below 16
    –17-24
    –25-40
    –Above 40
  3. What is your marital status?
    –Does Not Apply
    –Married
    –Divorced
    –Widow/Widower
    –Single
  4. Do you have children?
    –Yes
    –No
  5. How would you categorize yourself as?
    –Native American
    –Asian American
    –Non-white Hispanic
    –White Hispanic
    –African American
    –White/Caucasian
  6. Do you identify yourself with any faith denomination?
    –Yes
    –No
  7. What is your education level?
    –Below HS
    –HS/GD
    –Bachelor
    –Graduate
  8. Are you?
    –A student
    –Unemployed
    –Self-Employed
    –Professional
    –Educator
    –Government Employee
    –Service Sector Employee
    –Military Personnel
  9. Including yourself, how many members are there in your family?
    –One
    –Two
    –Three
    –Four
    –Five or more
  10. In what range is your family’s annual income?
    –$24,999 or below
    –$25,000 – $49,999
    –$50,000 – $89,999
    –$90,000 – $149,999
    –$150,000 or higher

tptChoice Team

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About Intoxicants and Bullying

There is an old story that captures an aspect of induced vice.  There is yet another, an observation, that captures how society communicates its conduct and, for good or for worse, maintains status quo.  Both are telling and both deserve to be taken into account.  Both of them are from an ancient place and time.

First, the apocryphal story: There was an honorable man and there was a vivacious woman in the same town.  The latter had taken note with some concern, disbelief and umbrage that her beauty and sensuousness could be brushed off unnoticed by this supposedly holy, upright or decent man.  It posed a challenge for her ego and she determined to make matters right.  That meant that the “holiness”, the “uprightness”, or the “decency” of the man had to go.  She had to be noticed.  She had to be desired.  She had to be taken by the one and the same man.  The harlot was going to own the untouchable man, plain and simple!

So, a trap was hatched by a latter-day temptress to trump Potiphar’s wife who went after the Biblical Prophet Joseph.  In that earlier event, the temptress trapped Joseph in a room shutting off all the exit doors.  However, she failed for the holiness of Joseph was more than a mere airbrushing.  It was bestowed and protected by God, upon Whom was Joseph’s trust and reliance.

So, with the trap set, the man was corralled, so to speak, in a closed space with the beguiling woman, a young boy and a bottle of wine all in close proximity.  This man, as his label would suggest, did not drink and was averse to injustice and violence.  The temptress gave him an option that would allow him to exit from his trapped circumstance.  He could fornicate with her.  He could kill the boy.  Or he could take a swill from the bottle.  Which was it going to be?

Now, this man knew instinctively that he would not and could not stoop to fornication or killing for anything whatsoever, not even for freedom.  He figured that drinking was the least of the evil presented to him.  So, that was the option he chose.  However, alcohol has a mind of its own.  Its job is to deprive man of sound, functioning mind.  Soon, the man was inebriated and snared.  And that led from one thing to another.  He fornicated with the harlot and proceeded to kill the innocent boy.

The moral:  While fornication, murder or mayhem is evil, the evil inherent in alcohol has the potential to exceed those.  It is the mother of all evil!

Functional lesson: As individuals and as a collective, the humankind should not only be protective of life, property, religious freedom, good name, etc., but also find a way to protect the wholesomeness of the human mind.  Minimally, anything that causes an aberration in a person’s intellectual and judgmental capacities should be viewed with suspicion and kept at a distance.

And as to the observation, there is a proclivity to herd mentality, to stampede as it were, among humankind.  So, an old adage says: In face of society’s decency, vulgarity hides its ugly face.  On the other hand, when society is vulgar, decency is surreptitiously lived!

Thus, for example, in the past generation pursuing virginity prior to marriage became a novelty and an extinct state of affairs.  So, the occasional virgin is ashamed and hides this embarrassing condition zealously.  Thus, virginity is a sign of being a social misfit or possessing a medical condition.  It makes one a brunt of jokes and satire and of concern to even one’s parents.  This “condition” is kept guarded as one would have had she/he contracted HIV!

Functional lesson: Just because a society’s mores are one way does not necessarily mean it is the only way or the best way.  Further, just like individuals who constitute society, the collective can mask its disabilities and failures under the shell of its abilities and successes.  For example, access to technology, wealth and representative governance can be used to brush away other profound and abiding shortcomings that in effect feedback by making shallow the gains from technology, wealth and representative governance.

Do you recall where you read or heard the adage before?

tptChoice Team

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The Morning After The Knowing

Here we are, finally, through 50 odd postings covering a myriad of issues. Central to this journey has been one fact: establishing one’s relationship with God in a meaningful and lasting way.

This has meant knowing oneself and knowing God. Knowing that, through ups and downs in life, we are tested to see whether we are the better for the wear and tear and that all repair and redemption are well within God’s plan for us.

Our season is not over till our breath is all done. So, in God’s Dominion, there is always the room for a winning season. And He can and does accommodate countless many champions, for life is one person’s season against oneself. One lonely player fending both sides of the field: Good and wise vs. Bad and foolish! It is like eating or taking a shower to feel better. One has to do it on one’s own. Nobody can do it for another.

Yes, it is a strange season with the most unusual matchup running every waking, healthy, free hour of every 24-7 that one is blessed to participate in.

One wonders why the season has to be so prolonged and continuous. Well, since we pride ourselves about freedom of choice – the prize we receive for simply having been born human, the Guarantor of that charter has to see whether, how and how much the adult human upholds or infringes upon the rules governing the winner of the pageant, and whether in the latter event man is aware of its transgressions and how it deals with them upon realization of its folly.

The questions that follow are: how broken is one and how did it get so bad?

tptChoice Team

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Is This Me

I have decided to take a look back, have an out of body experience as it were. Thanks to my active imagination this should be a cakewalk. I want to take a good, hard look at myself, like when I stand in front of a mirror.

Do I know who I am? What does my name mean? Who kept it and why? If there is a good meaning to it or is it supposed to remind me of a great person who was adorned with the same name? Am I living up to that? If I have deviated, could I possibly fix it? This could well be a start!

Who is the boss of me but me? Or is my circle of affiliates my boss? How can both be? Is it not then simply double jeopardy! Neither party will ever be pleased. It’s a lose-lose proposition, unfailingly.

I know I am trapped and I can’t breathe. Let me win my freedom back, inch-by-inch, by getting a little light, a little fresh air in, here and there, whenever possible. Then a trace of me will arise inside of me. This will be so good at so many levels.

O’ my Lord, Creator of the Heavens and Earth,  by Your Unique Presence, Your Unaccountable Power, Your Unmatched Will, Your Infinite Wisdom, and Your Supreme Dignity make my prayer happen. “My Lord, I am indeed in need of any assistance whatsoever You send my way.”

tptChoice Team

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