Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Some Tips for Saving Major Bucks When Using Network Emergency Rooms in Illinois with Health Insurance Coverage

Have you ever found yourself with a big emergency room physician bill from Illinois and health insurance coverage from Illinois (individual policy or as an employer group member)? You might find these tips useful for cutting down costs and minimizing financial hardship.

If you don't fit these conditions and/or are not an Illinois resident, disregard the Illinois-specific tips unless you do some good research or receive authoritative advice that the Illinois-specific tip can work for you or not.

If you can see your own doctor in an office visit or go to a network urgent care center, go there. You will save much more using one of these other routes rather than using these tips.

If you don't have either of them available because it's a holiday, late at night, or you risk life, limb, or ability, however, follow these tips for saving possibly big bucks in Illinois with your Illinois insurance coverage (I'm starting this list of tips from square one because some people may not even know the first step to save on the emergency room):

The Federal [Patient Protection and] Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurance companies to treat benefits for an Out of Network Emergency Room as a Network Emergency Room. However, the Emergency Room can balance bill the patient, meaning charge the patient more than the insurance company allows Network Emergency Rooms to charge.

The ACA provides some help but always try going to a Network Emergency Room. It's the first step to keeping costs down. The first step to saving money: Prevent balance billing.

If you get better benefits in the Emergency Room compared to the rest of the hospital (non-emergency benefits), stay in the Emergency Room. If you leave the Emergency Room, especially if you end up seeing an Out of Network doctor in the hospital, nothing I say here can help (it can happen, even if it's a network hospital).

This happened to me the first time I went to the Emergency Room on my own as an adult. I only got good benefits paid because I acted like a jerk to the claims representative and wouldn't let them off the phone. Now that I know better, I probably would take it and just sock it away as having done something stupid.

If you can get better benefits outside of the Emergency Room and you can make 100% sure to see a network doctor, go see that doctor. It can cost less than the Emergency Room. If you end up seeing an Out of Network doctor, though, I wash my hands and leave your fate to yourself.

Some policies have really good Emergency Room coverage, though, just require a copay for the Emergency Room. If you have real good coverage like this, just stay in the Emergency Room.

Now for the big tip that can save you big bucks in a Network Emergency Room in Illinois with health insurance coverage that originates in Illinois. Illinois has a law that requires Out of Network "facility-based providers" to NOT BALANCE BILL patients. Long story short, to the patient with health insurance originating in Illinois, it will feel like they're getting billing by a Network doctor. Instead of going after the patient for money in addition to what the insurance company says can be charged, the "facility-based provider" has to negotiate with your insurance company. Illinois law says that they have to leave you, the patient, alone.

Importantly, make sure to understand that Illinois defines a "facility-based provider" as the following type of providers that you see in a Network hospital when you have no choice or control over who you can see (if you had the ability to choose a network provider, this law will not protect you -- but for the most part, you don't have a choice while in the Emergency Room):

  • Radiology
  • Anesthesiology
  • Pathology
  • Neonatology
  • Emergency Department Services
As a health insurance agent in Illinois, I've helped some clients save some big money with this law. If you're in the situation that I've described and an Illinois Out of Network "facility-based provider" that you see without choice tries to charge you as an Out of Network provider, point out this law. If they don't believe that such a law exists or they ask you for the text, send them the following link:

They may want to have their legal department look it over, but you've got the law on your side. Their legal department should advise them to suck it up and stop charging you more than what your insurance company allows.

I suggest that you look over the law before sending it over, so you can be familiar with it and discuss it with the doctor's office. I especially suggest doing so because you don't want to invoke the law and send over language that doesn't apply to your situation.

You should not need a lawyer in this situation. If the doctor's billing department and their legal department refuse to relent on the bill after your valid exercise of this law, don't hesitate to go to the Illinois Attorney General Health Care Bureau. This Bureau should advocate and mediate for you with minimal, if any cost, using the powers of the Illinois Attorney General to do so. This very situation is one big reason we have the Attorney General Health Care Bureau.

If you somehow don't find success after tapping the Attorney General's office, it might be time to retain a good lawyer. I can't say they'll bring success, either, but who knows? A good, smart lawyer might be able to perform a miracle. I sincerely hope your travails don't reach this level, especially since you should have Illinois law supporting your position without question.

For people who get Emergency Room services in Illinois but have insurance coverage that originates outside of Illinois, feel free to try working some magic with this law. I can't remember reading anything in the law that requires the insurance coverage to actually originate in Illinois. I've only focused on health insurance that originates in Illinois because I don't have experience, expertise, or insurance licensing for health insurance outside of Illinois. If this law can benefit you, though, it's worth a shot, right? Trying to work it can pretty much just cost you some time, at the worst, and could yield some good savings. Don't take my word as law, though. Again, if you have the choice to use network providers, use network providers.

For anyone who has been victimized in a situation like this, especially in the last year or so, I wouldn't hesitate going back to that Out of Network "facility-based provider" and trying to get some money back or balance dramatically reduced through the power of this law. If you were over charged, you should not have been and the doctor's office broke the law. It's especially important to exercise laws like this because the less it's exercised, the less power it has. Embolden the law now for others in the future.

Good luck!

If you like what you see here and in the past and want to free me up for more, support my endeavors by Buying Me a Coffee!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Ruminating on Interregnum & Some Twittervism

I feel a wee bit disappointed but nothing to really worry about. Since the regular tax season ended, I've meant to write more regularly. The last couple weeks have gotten a little difficult, though. I have a lot of hypotheses around my project and the politics of today but feel disappointed about not having conclusions or at least useful sounding abductions. I've spent a lot of time jumping around the Internet just looking for leads on hypotheses, obsessively, mind you. The inconclusives ended up pretty much not enough research done or published, articles talking about generalized conclusions from "research" that isn't cited, or just the ruminations of some random person.

Ah well, so I guess that means more searching for answers. Nothing to worry about, though. Frustrating as the lashing out research gets, it provides me some focus. I just wish I had enough money to be independently wealthy, so I wouldn't have to worry about time too much. I could just study, write, study, write, and maybe venture out somewhere for a hike or adventure. Things will come together at some point. Having things come together earlier rather than later would just be more comfortable. That's life I guess.

All that said, have some Twittervism:

If you like what you see here and in the past and want to free me up for more, support my endeavors by Buying Me a Coffee!

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Must Remember Self-Care and Self-Compassion, Not to Give All In to Anger

This week, I realized that I have focused too much on angst and anger, not enough on love and happiness. This realization reminds me that even during these hard times filled with anger and despair, I can't forget love, kindness, and care.

In the middle of a near continuous ruminating cell phone text feed to Michi, we had the following exchange:

L (Lex): I've really been way too obsessd with project & "parallels" to current affairs.
M: Maybe a little
Keep in mind, I do tend to get very focused on things, am aware of it, and try to have a good sense of humor about it. Michi's response induced a chuckle, but it go me to thinking. My social media feeds have focused a lot on negative and anger-inducing matters. My project goes in that direction quite a bit, too.

Comparing the current state of how elections and politics work today provides me with a bit of understanding of the time period of Brook Farm, one of the utopian communites I'm studying, except things were scarier and darker then. Chattel slavery was legal. Brook Farm started in 1840, a few years after Andrew Jackson left office and after the Crash of 1837 had occurred. Really only white men had political power back then, and sometimes only white men who owned land. State governments chose who would be US Senators rather than through direct vote. The eve of the Mexican-American war, a time when that area of America had so many factions fighting each other, especially with sides picked by ethnicity, it reminds me of the modern
day Middle East with how often alliances and coalitions change between countries, activist groups, ethnic groups, militias, and terrorist groups.

Less enlightened times and more violent times back around 1840, understanding how the US ran things then and understanding how the country evolved to today can enlighten all of us quite a bit, while both depressing and inspiring. Engaging in this practice, along with the Charlottesville riots and [45]'s horrible reaction to them, inspired me at the end of August to get more involved in politics when I volunteered for Ameya Pawar's gubernatorial campaign here in Illinois. I need to get engaged in the political process again. . ..

But the focus of my social media expressiveness has gotten a lot into criticizing problematic parts of US culture, society, politics, and current state of government that induce rage and anager. All those aspects of this country need the criticism and activism to turn it around.

I've already made a post or two in attempt to provide some more uplift and brightness. I can't say much has come from it, but I'd like to try at least one post a day on a brighter note. Focusing so much on anger and despair, despite the validity for it, does not feel healthy.

A lot of my Facebook feed has a lot of angry posts, too. Even more frustrating, most of the posts just point out an example of something bad happening in the current administration, among the GOP, or by a certain group of people in the country. Maybe a few of the posts show a change of sentiment among a group that had, by and large, voted for [45] but now regret it. People hardly post petitions or actions for resistance to take these days, especially not concrete actions. These days, I'm more likely to quit Facebook because it's such downer, despite the validity of the anger and despair, rather than quit because of some data vulnerability issue.

Concrete action, even just action to come together for community and common cause and common humanity would do some good. Even moreso, though, we need to remember self care and self compassion. If we allow ourselves to be enveloped in anger, we can lose ourselves, lose our health, and become hollow shells.

The anger and despair is valid, some if it extremely valid that makes it hard to think of taking care of ouselves and taking care of others. The situations causing that anger and despair can be actual danger to certain communities and populations. Nonetheless, for our health and sanity, we need to remember that we need care and compassion, and we need to bring care and compassion to others, too, whether to people in our immediate communities or if possible and appropriate, to people not normally in our communities.

I'm still in the midst of re-organizing life these days, which takes up a lot of time. Nonetheless, while re-organizing, I want to try thinking up some ways to show myself self-compassion and self-care. Being in the midst of things makes it easy to push off coming up with ideas and executing them. Some people might find the caring and showing compassion easy, but not so much for me, it takes effort.

Anyone have any good ideas? Anyone engaging in some good self-care and self-compassion now even while they're protesting and expressing anger? Anyone just just have jokes or something, anything uplifting that you're willing to share? Feel free to share in the comments section.

And while we're at it, here's some Twittervism:

If you like what you see here and in the past and want to free me up for more, support my endeavors by Buying Me a Coffee!

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Twittervism & Taking the Side of the Marginalized

My default the last week or so has become burnt out between

  • Moving back at the end of November
  • The Christmas season
  • Taxes
  • Rebuilding my financial database
  • Writing when I have the wits to do so (generally in the morning before work)
  • Researching more than I should (slacking when doing more short and medium term things but still meeting deadlines)
  • A few attempts here and there to digitize some paperwork and organize/catch up on personal e-mails
  • and Random stuff here and there
Now that I've finished big things on that list (mostly getting tax paperwork submitted and rebuilding the financial database), I plan to get into re-organizing my time day-to-day. I'll probably get back to digitizing paperwork and organizing e-mails, but after I organize a huge pile of mail that's buried away somewhere.

Since the last entry, I've tried digging deeper into the topics explored there. I appreciate that entry and articulates my thoughts a the time, but I still have this urge to dig deeper to find more a psychological standard about the factors that push people to that level of dehumanizing others and feeling anxiety.

Other than a good social media discussion here that have helped me tune my thoughts a little bit more, I haven't done too much independent development of ideas other than reading and getting sucked into an Internet search and Wikipedia hole. With that in mind, check out my Twittervism with the addition of my side of a Facebook conversation that touched on some interesting issues:

Click on one of the pictures below to access the gallery of my side of the Facebook conversation:

If you like what you see here and in the past and want to free me up for more, support my endeavors by Buying Me a Coffee!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Choose to Let Go of Status Anxiety and Open Yourself to Connection and Opportunity

This essay starts with some Twittervism to contextualize the topic.










Whereas last night seeing a couple bits of the Mister Roger: It's You Who I Like PBS special,

Few people would dispute that we have strong tensions in the United States right now, and that these tensions have grown even tenser since the 2016 Election. Depending on the side stood on and perspective coming from, explanations for the tension differ. The Right seems to think the Left acts out of proportion to gain or keep power, taking the form of a Deep State, obstructing appointments and policy, fact checking the Right, criticizing actions and policies of the Right, and exposing people on the Right to variety, diversity, and ways of life that are different.

From the perspective of the Right, I can see how they might reach this conclusion. Their criticisms of the Left and marginalized populations/communities acts as a mirror. Instead of admitting their fear and hate, they point out things that non-Rightists do as bad things, even though the Right did these practices themselves (obstructionism, heavy criticism of the Left through Fox, literature one example being Peter Schweizer and Government Accountability Institute, and through online news sites like Breitbart, and physical violence against marginalized communities/populations) or have adopted practices of non-Rightists for themselves (criticized safe spaces but now getting all worked up about "alternative lifestyles" being forced onto them, fearing violence from the "other side", and trying to adopt their identity as a marginalized community/population).

In reality, though, marginalized communities have a long history of having to defend their lives and having to fight and take risks to

  • Get and keep a job
  • Participate in politics and civic life
  • Own property
  • Have relationships that they desire
  • Honor their heritages and backgrounds
  • Have meaning and significance in their life
  • Have dignity and integrity
  • Express their complex identities in the everyday
All the while wealthy, influential straight cis-gendered Christian white people (mostly men), the privileged, have had the most power to determine the boundaries of what can and cannot exist in the boundaries of the United States. In the past, when laws and norms didn't protect marginalized populations/communities as much, the privileged could exert violence more openly with impunity. Now that violence is done

  • On a micro-level
  • Done by someone who the Right disowns and calls nuts
  • Or exerted by an officer of the Establishment
Then the Right

  • Throws up some flimsy excuse
  • Dismisses an actual problem that exists
  • Argues that their First Amendment rights are being stamped on
While not giving a crap about other people's rights or lives.

Layer on top of that, [45] trying to undercut the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ) while the GOP doesn't do their duty to keep him honest because they feel too attacked by the media. Even Senator Bob Corker, one of the few on the Right who criticized [45] for his bad behavior (if not his policies), mended fences with [45] after the media criticized Corker of changing his vote on the 2017 Tax Deal after getting a sweetheart deal in it that did nothing for regular, normal tax payers.

I will keep my criticism of undercutting the DOJ and the media short. For one, it makes [45] and others on the Right hypocrites if they criticize Venezuela, Russia, and other tyrannies for suppressing the media and free speech. The same holds true if they accomplish the goal of cutting down the oversight of the DOJ and media. The government has already expressed the desire to persecute protestors and other critics that focus their aim on his behavior and policies. Want to live in

  • A Stalinist tyranny
  • Dictatorships like Saddam Hussein's
  • Turkey these days
  • Egypt after overthrowing the Muslim Brotherhood
  • North Korea?
I bet you, the reader, can think up plenty of your own examples of horrible political regimes that have nothing against using their law enforcement to persecute the press and anyone else who disagrees and criticizes them.

Some people like to focus discussions on the bad policies rather than the behavior. If no one focuses, diffuses, or attacks the behavior effectively, that behavior will lead to suppressing the people, their speech, and head us into the direction of tyranny, dictatorship, and totalitarianism. In many ways, this blowhard's behavior offers more danger than the horrible policies from him and the GOP.

I could go on forever with criticism of [45], the GOP, and the Right (because we have at least a few, if not plenty of, Democrats that would fit into the Right. . .at least in Chicago and Illinois). The first Twittervism of this entry makes me think otherwise, though. The episode of Invisibilia tells the story of the UN putting on an American Idol-ish reality TV show in Somalia to try spreading Democratic values and emboldening people to live more Democratically in a nation still fraught by a strongman society. Apparently, American Idol-style reality TV simulates a lot of Democratic-style practices, like

  • Voting
  • Competing
  • "meritocracy"
  • Campaigning
History has also shown that cultural entertainment can go a long way to fighting tyrannical societies and governments by giving the people in those countries an alternate way of life to aspire toward (apparently a lot of North Koreans have defected after enjoying some Western entertainment).

This episode of Invisibilia made a cutting statement that argumentation will more than likely cause resistance on both sides as they try to stratify their viewpoints. We like to think that rational and reasoned out argument will help the other side reach a breakthrough then be won over. Argumentation, per Invisibilia, however, does not fulfill our hopes.

Instead, psychologists in '90s found that poetics, drama, literature, and influencers of emotion, if you will, have a better effect on changing people's minds. This revelation won't stop me from engaging in argument, at least not in the short term. Engagement still needs to happen and rational, reasoned argument still needs to occur to fill in vaccums that could occur after poetics. Also, I don't have any short term poetic strategies that I feel confident enough to use on the fly, though I won't hesitate to practice with them when inspired. . .especially if poetics and argumentation can mix and match.

I might have even stumbled onto some mixing of poetics and argumentation over the last week, based on the research I've been doing for my project and the Twittervism I've posted today. I have to go back about sixteen years first, though, to either a distinct memory I had or an amalgmation of memories that I combined into an imagined memory. Back then, I had gotten myself into the deep end of not having a clue of how to move forward with my project (sometimes I feel that way in the present, but it happens more when dealing with particular, concrete instances rather than the overarching argument).

My problem came down to the argument of one person's utopia being another person's dystopia and that utopia can't ever really exist because human nature, the human condition, and so on and so forth leads to disagreements. The history of utopias, dystopias, and just the fact of our world have not provided any proof that a world of all happy and all virtuous people can exist. I'm not saying that it can or can't exist, I'm just saying it hasn't existed nor has any imagination truly imagined such a world to realization. Pick any utopia and anyone can poke a hole in it. Somewhere in that utopia, someone gets screwed.

To me, a eutopia (quick etymology lesson: Sir Thomas More combined the Latin word u-topia with the Greek word eu-topia for the joke of his book pretty much translating to "no place" [u-topia] and "good place" [eu-topia]) is a place where everyone has

  • Their physical needs met
  • Their emotional needs met
  • Feels welcomed and appreciated, if not fully embraced by everyone for who they are
Disagreements and such could occur, but people wouldn't resort to, as a viable acceptable norm to deal with anger resorting, violence, physical, verbal, or on a micro level, or rejecting people's humanity as a way to exert power. Once someone feels they can resort to violence or rejecting someone else's humanity, they hurt that eutopia. Self defense to prevent loss of life, limb, or ability is allowable because the possibility exists that someone feels they can resort to violence or rejection of humanity. In addition, respect for humanity and non-violence extends to non-citizens, too, and does not necessarily default to "keep out until proven worthy" for people who want to visit or live there.

I expect some would see my willingness to go further in protecting non-humans in eutopia as radical, and I'm willing to work with that opinion about me. After all, this is my eutopia, which restricts me from trying to enact it forcefully onto the real world. My eutopia requires me to non-violently convince others through argumentation or poetics, not through force. You have nothing to worry about coming from me, unless, like some on the Right, you become over vigilant by my

  • Exercising my beliefs in the world around me
  • try to act as example of what I believe is a better world
I've tried backpedaling from my ideal eutopia in the sixteen years since that distinct memory and have completed a few essays. The last essay has been a sticking point, though. I have been able to use ad hoc arguments, the latest argument being about the importance of meaning and feeling of significance. I wrote many of those essays about fictions and communities that had distinct situations of

  • "us" vs "them"
  • "us" vs "the world"
  • or even where divisions occurred within communities in which arguments between the sides could easily be parsed and weighed against each other
The last essay hasn't proved so easy, though. Historical texts don't clearly spell out

  • Concrete goals
  • Methods for reaching goals
  • Arguments of real life observations/facts
  • or Even relatable theories that guide people to set up things in a certain way or to interpret things in a particular way
I've had to do a lot of outside research into theory that these people from just under 200 years ago wouldn't have even conceived. I've had to research other things they have referred to. I have to try understanding their actions and behaviors before their attempted utopian community. My studied imagination has spanned continents and centuries after the utopian attempt and before the time of which I'm writing about.

In many ways, it has pushed me to study human nature and the evolution of human nature since this eutopia wanted to provide an example for the world to follow to become a better place. The leader of this utopia would have liked to eventually break down walls and bring people closer together. Even before trying to realize his utopia, what may have encouraged him to try realizing the utopia, he tried breaking down barriers by

    Ministering to the poor
  • Opening viewpoints to make his religion more palatable to the poor and those in the American frontier
  • To try convincing the privileged in his circles to do so
Those attempts failed. Sadly, the failure of his utopia caused enough despair for him to give up on any such lofty goals.

This man and the milieu of social stratification in which he existed, along with our current situation, and the two centuries in between, has pushed me into a lot of deep dives into trying to understand

  • Prejudice
  • Bigotry
  • and just a bunch of issues of sociology, social psychology, and social philosophy, including what has brought about social and cultural change
I have wanted to find a good argument or, if anything, an approach of poetics, that would go a long way to convince people that bigotry and hate hurts them, even if they have the upper hand and privilege.

Tilting at this windmill has its risks. Approaching hate and bigotry as something to try understanding could lead to people on the correct side thinking that I believe hateful, bigotted people deserve empathy or sympathy, especially since I'm painting them as ignorant and just need to give them the right answer to turn them around, when many hateful bigots will stand their ground harder and harder the more you try convince them. I understand that, plain and simple, most bigots will probably never change their ways and will probably keep trying to exert their hate and bigotry on the world.

Another risk is that I have yet to find an argument about bigotry that doesn't assume the conclusion. This approach often leads to

  • Doing good for the sake of it being good
  • Talking solely about strategy
  • Having it become a realpolitik issue of interest groups vying against each other
Sadly on that last item, honestly, the Right has mastered it. If those resisting the Right continue to buy into it, the Right will likely win because they're controlling the vocabulary, grammar, and syntax of the fight.

I would be remiss to say that marginalized people have to follow my approach. They're defending their

  • Lives
  • Dignity
  • Rights
  • Integrity
  • Humanity
Just to stay human and alive, they have to fight for all of that every day to an extent that I can never imagine as someone who generally has all the characteristics of privilege. A good deal of marginalized people are fighting for survival, physically and spiritually. With survival on the line, doing the right thing, just because it's right or for a good reason, is a luxury. I won't disaparage someone for doing what they really need to do to survive and defend themselves.

Which actually gets me almost to the focus of where I've wanted to go. Language and perception can get tricky. Nazis and White Supremacist believe that there really is an inevitable race war (even though they're the ones starting it), and that they have to fight it to survive and defend themselves. I believe they're wrong, but their belief shows the trickiness of language and perception.

As much I pour scorn on The Atlantic for using "status anxiety" as a euphemism for bigotry, the term actually provides a constructive way of looking at bigotry. The term could possibly provide me a good argument for the damage that bigotry causes the bigot, themselves. By embracing bigotry, they take on themselves a whole mess of anxiety they don't need.

One way to relieve the pressure of anxiety is to accept that there are just some things that a person can't control, like other peoples' thoughts, emotions, and in a reasonable world, their actions. To a bigot (and abuser), those parts of people are open game, the bigot can see those things as controllable and can be annhilated. Some places these days have norms and laws that are supposed to prevent, but in a society that believes in these things being right, it can be ugly.

My diving into argumentation generally ends there, in the fact that someone in a society that backs their bigotry and if that bigot works everything right, they can mold the world in their image. This point is a hypothetical because no one has molded the whole world into their image. The Nazis were defeated. Slavery is generally not an accepted practice by the powers that be in today's world, even if it still occurs in an underground fashion away from the eyes of authorities. Some genocides may have had 100% success, but no ethnic group has yet ever wiped out or gained full domination of ALL OTHER ethnic (phenotypic) human groups. And as we see in how much societies and religions don't make sense, people in a group will inevitably disagree, will divide, and will get to violent fighting over the littlest thing over the sake of being right and pure. They will create new ethnicities/phenotypes.

All that investment into being right and winning leads to a lot of worry, risk, and anxiety! Humans have a thing about ranking the status of themselves, whether individually, as groups, or as a species against everything and everyone else. It's part of the human tendency to essentialize, which we instinctively do from birth then become able to discuss verbally a few years later.

Expanding on the ideas from David Livingstone Smith's Less than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others, religions and schools of thought have thought up spiritual/immortal caste systems, from the Hindus to the Christian Great Chain of Being. Even without necessarily a religion backing a system, Aristotle, the Humanist, even made arguments of what ranked higher and lower based on how "rational" they are (which even just common sense of today would shatter, since a lot of Western history's demoting women was based on Aristotle arguing women weren't as rational as men).

Religion has a bad precedence for framing reality and society. Just look at the religious wars that occurred in Europe over the "right" Christianity and the "right" monotheistic religion based around Yahweh.

Look at what a lot of the warring factions in the Middle East over the "right" Islam and the "right" monotheistic religion based around Yahweh.

Look at the disagreements over Judaism in Israel or the different interpretations of Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions in the East.

Philosophies and science don't have the best record. Maybe they don't start as many wars and battles, but they're constantly changing as the perception of humanity increases.

Even just spatially, we have such a small miniscule undersanding of reality, we are fated to destroy ourselves and the Earth around us before making any meaningful progress out to other worlds, just to establish that one group knows better than the other group.

How can we know the actual right, true path or belief and be willing to die for it when human history is full of those KNOWING the actual right, true path then leaving a wake of destruction. . .or not really knowing, but then others in the future discounting their idea of the actual right, true path or belief?

With the human propensity for ranking ourselves against each other, other species, and other objects, status anxiety as a source for bigotry makes sense to me. Unless people check themselves, they will find something to fight about, even if it's just about being on the side that ranks higher than the others.

Sometimes martyrs will occur, but those without the means to win will often know they can't win and not fight back until they're pushed back into a corner. Other groups of those that can't win, especially if they're close enough to the privileged dominating group, will generate stories to tell themselves that those on top are looking out for them or that if they work hard enough or act in certain ways hard enough, they will gain the power to make it to the top, either by joining the privileged group or by defeating the privileged group (Marxism is just a ideology of one interest group taking over from another one). Or maybe they can have enough learned helplessness that they're just happy to be alive. Some groups accept that they won't rank that high on the same scale, but they can create their own alternative scale and parallel social world to make a comfortable enough rank for themselves there.

Reaching this revelation yesterday that the term "status anxiety" has some use, I broadcasted on social media the idea that we can check our privilege (it bears repeating):

From my college years explorations of other viewpoints, I found Americanized Buddhism/Hinduism and Twelve Step programs especially useful (I have plenty of issues with how both can be practiced by some groups or people, but both of them have some good ideas, including take what works and leave the rest). I still had and have some growing and wisdom to learn. Learning that it is possible to let go of some anxiety helps a lot, especially after

  • Learning to properly gauge what you do and do not have power over
  • And possibly even more important: what is worth having power over
Frankly, I determined that it's not worth having to force my power over something; influence and persuasion within moral and ethical norms, maybe, but not force. Forcing power over something just leads to anxiety since you'll always to have gauge when and how much force to exert, while also worrying about possible backlash and predicting when backlash may occur. Vigilance is tiring and anxiety-inducing.

On the flipside, though, we can find real connection, understanding, and bonding if we let each other go, and we come back (or all it takes is a reminder that we're around for the other person to stay connected). And is it really worth pushing and pushing to try keeping something when it requires so much effort and risk?

I might have adopted a stoic attitude at some point in life.

I acknowledge that some people do have

  • Clinical anxiety
  • had Traumatic pasts
  • and Plenty of things
that lead them to not have the choice of letting go of anxiety.

These days I still have to deal with my own demons, especially since I have so many projects and things that I want to get done but get in the way of the practices like

  • Meditation
  • Personal journaling
  • Other exercises
that helped me work through my hang ups and anxieties.

In the end, though, despite the human propensity to ranking and bigotry, I believe that we human beings can choose to let go of the anxieties and propensities. Maybe it takes some work, especially after living with these thoughts for a good amount of time. The first step is just seeing the damage status anxiety does to you and deciding to put an end to it, choosing a life of control over your thoughts, emotions, and propensities.

Don't worry, you'll find a lot of support once you drop your barriers and open yourself to connect to other people in a welcoming fashion. People are now trying to defend themselves and their souls from you and your anxious anger presently. Humble yourself and see how your status anxiety has caused damage, and I'm sure you'll find it rewarding, worthwhile, and who knows, opportunities might abound and you may discover things you never knew about yourself.

One tip, though: don't go looking for forgiveness from those you have harmed. That will likely cause further harm. Seek your own absolution by fighting against bigotry and status anxiety other people have. Seek your own absolution by working to make the world a better place. Show your growth by your actions, not your words. You may never get forgiveness from the people in your past, especially if you've caused lasting harm, but you may learn to forgive yourself by helping the world be a better place.

Or live with your anxiety, vigilance, fear, stay the same, and miss out on the warmth that the world can provide. Every person gets to make their own choice.

Me, I choose life, openness, warmth, and connection.

If you like what you see here and in the past and want to free me up for more, support my endeavors by Buying Me a Coffee!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Getting Back into the Swing of Things with Some Twittervism

I tried posting some Twittervism last night but ended up posting the following on social media:

It took some time to just stream the Twittervism last night, so I'll just start then get it done:

If you like what you see here and in the past and want to free me up for more, support my endeavors by Buying Me a Coffee!