Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

Life is not like a box of chocolates where you never know what you’re going to get; instead, it’s a non-descript little girl wearing steel toed tap shoes who delights in kicking you in the shins. (Some of my worst memories and fears from my elementary school days is of Shannon Olson kicking me in the shin…and elsewhere).

So today be a pirate with two wooden legs and a parrot on his shoulder telling life where to stick it while plaintively appealing for crackers.

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Mitch McConnell, the Bill Buckner of Politics, Drops Ball Again

Mitch McConnell just responded to Trump’s latest racist tweets. Here’s what McConnell said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women of conscience] to do [or say] nothing.”

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Well done, good sir! So glad to hear human decency at least isn’t negotiable….oh wait…he didn’t say that. He actually refused to comment.

When is the breaking point, do you figure, when people stop giving such unqualified support to the President? You’re supposed to be loyal to the Constitution (not a Person). It’s okay to be critical of the government (even the administration you voted for…in fact…you’re kind of expected to do this to keep the whole democratic experiment and rule of law functioning as intended).

Technology is Perplexing

Perplexing. Technology shrinks the globe and enables “democratic” movements like the Arab Spring. But does it also shrink the world and enable governments or oligarchies to control the denizens of the globe that much easier…?

A Question of Time

If I lived in 2019 BCE, I would’ve regarded myself as a “modern” (inhabiting a smarter, better world) while simultaneously looking down on those poor primitives coming before me not knowing any better. (Sort of like we do today).

A thought like this helps perhaps explain why pseudoscience, e.g. belief in a flat earth for instance, etc. continues to shape thinking today: the chronological present never quite escapes the intellectual past. I don’t live now but in the future’s poor past.

I’ve literally met people who entertain 8000 year old ideas as though these notions are “current”.

Imperialism Gives Way to Multiculturalism…?

Watching my cat look out the window and this random thought pops in my head: former 19th century empires–France, Germany and England for example–are the friendliest states in Europe to the idea of multiculturalism.

There are, of course, people in these countries who fear diversity; however, the majority of their populations are cosmopolitan in their outlook. Interestingly, Hungary and Poland–both countries occupied by outsiders throughout the 19th century–are the most resistant to immigration and the most cloistered. So, in something of an ironic twist, we have the countries which robbed the identity of nations 150 years ago now embracing those identities; and those states that had their identities robbed are the most reluctant to embrace diversity.

There appears to be a correlation, however strong or weak, between an imperial past and a multicultural present.

We Are Our Minds

We are our minds and they’re all we can offer to others. This might not be obvious, especially when there are things in life needing improvement, e.g. unrealized goals or relationships in need of attention. But it’s the truth. Every experience you have ever had has been shaped by your mind and every relationship is as good or as bad as it is because of the minds involved. If you are perpetually angry, depressed, confused, and unloving, or your attention is elsewhere, it won’t matter how successful you’ve become or who is in your life–you won’t enjoy any of it. Not a single thing.

Everything we want to accomplish–to get in better shape, write a book, travel, make a career change–is something that promises if we do it fulfillment; but this is a false hope: most of us spend our time seeking happiness and security without acknowledging the underlying purpose of such a search: each of us is looking for a path back to the present (we are trying to find reasons to be satisfied now).

Why is it I can appreciate this at an abstract level but fail to implement it at the practical? Given enough time, I suppose, our mental software can be modified to a certain extent (despite the determinism of that blasted limbic system I’ve inherited).

Perhaps the most important realization I’ve had in all of this is my need to feel connected and be part of a community (and to contribute to the well being of that community). I learned this when I participated in an urban outreach program while in Washington, D.C. a few years ago but forgot the lesson for some reason. I’ve spent the better part of the last five years pretending to be a human being; it’s time to actually become one in the fullest sense of the word.

Anne Frank

Anne Frank’s house.

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I awkwardly ascend the same ladder-stairs she did; my hands and feet go where hers had. I saw the marks (so familiar to so many people) her father made on the wall where he traced the height over time of his two beloved daughters.
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I saw pictures of actors and actresses Anne cut from movie books pasting them on the floral wall paper of the walls of her tiny room. She probably dreamed about being in a different place when looking at those pictures.
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Anne reminds me that even our heroes are only people, only human (and we would do well not to idolize them). When we place them on pedestals they lose what is most beautiful about them: they make mistakes, they love, get moody, have good and bad days, and they are far from perfect; and this is why I appreciate Anne so much: she was a normal but bright person thrust in to exceptional circumstances who remained decidedly human until the end.
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The line up to enter the house stretches out of sight. The house itself is interesting and in as much as I have read about this remarkable person it is quite another matter to walk the oversteep stairs and peer through the curtains for myself wondering what it must have been like for her. I just cannot get past how insightful a person she was (and funny, too).