Monday, February 20, 2017

Project Update: Changing Philosophical Approach to Compassion and Shame & Politics/Social Justice: Importance of Lobbying and Supporting Nonprofits

I have had a fairly boring week when it comes to the writing side of things. For fiction, I spent most mornings re-formatting and editing for misspellings and punctuation, mostly from typos rather than anything conscious, three pages at a time in the morning.

On the essay side, I made a couple points of progress that followed the direction past points of pointed, nothing new and exciting. Most of my struggle has come to conceptualizing thoughts in my head into actual words to put onto page. With how much we ruminate in our minds, I always surprise myself with the difficulty I have finding words and sentences to articulate myself. Nothing exciting, though.

The most interesting part of the project: Running into a block on conceptualizing the subjective benefits of leading a compassionate, moral, ethical lifestyle versus that of a dominating or, at the most weakest, follow a strong dominator and hoping their reaped benefits fall down on you. The rub comes down to the dominator seemingly not aware of their wretched state, as long they continue to stay in control and don’t lose.

As long as the dominator stays on the winning side of circumstances, they perceive things as working out well. They just need to stay on top and keep winning. Until they fall, a logical argument probably can’t reach them. And even more difficult, they can show compassion to a select group, family, friends, and such, so they can enjoy the fruits of compassion. They can always blame their enemies or people struggling against them for not listening to reason and to “order” to get out of their unfortunate situation of losing.

After all, per my reading into compassion, even a wise compassionate person has some duty to hold back benefits, gifts, money, and other enabling things from people who will take advantage of such help, without learning anything. Couldn’t the dominator see themselves doing the very same thing? In some ways, isn’t good and evil subjective?

My current resort into the matter leads me to pursuing the idea that people that pursue evilness and abuse have an addiction because of shame. I now turn to the recovery approach as a way of show how evil and abusiveness lead to self destructiveness by not acknowledging shame and pursuing activities to avoid dealing with that shame.

After some preliminary research, I put a hold at the Chicago Public Library on Healing the Shame that Binds You by John Bradshaw. Can’t say I know how well Bradshaw will hold up to academic scrutiny, but the few sections in the book compel me to read more once the book reaches my local branch. We’ll just have to see what happens there.


I’ll just jump into the Tweets and make relevant comments where appropriate.

Click on link below to have more control over how to see this shout out and to check out the organization I’ve donated to, Youth Outreach Services:

Receiving this shout out after setting a monthly donation of just $4.50 feels pretty cool, but it triggers a connection in my mind to an article I read earlier in the week. The article mainly talked about how the Left has little, if any control, over the Executive and Legislative branches of the US government. Like my conclusion a few weeks ago, that leaves the Left the Judiciary branch to keep the good fight going for the American Spirit and to protect the Constitution.

This particular article brought up this topic in the context of the Right making attacks on the environment, most particularly in the form of the Legislative Branch and Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick to head the EPA who believes debate should continue to see how much humanity contributes to the “impact” on Climate Change. I forget the particular article I saw earlier this weekend, but it mainly focused on the Legislative Branch looked to remove regulations on coal mining operations disposing of their waste, which includes a lot of mercury. It pretty much comes down to saying they have no problem with coal companies throwing mercury, a hazardous substance, into rivers and other forms of our drinking water.

National Geographic does a great job in this article of illustrating the importance of the EPA in improving the state of our environment and how the gutting of the EPA can really destroy of the state of all our health and our enjoyment of this Earth.

One other illustration from my own experience/thinking. I’ve always wondered about seeing a lot of Asian people wearing face masks like we see surgeons wear. For the longest time, I thought it had to do with trying to avoid getting a contagious disease, whether something as simple as a cold, flu, or something super serious that could kill you quick.

As I’ve learned over the last month or so from hearing news stories about China trying to fix their own environment from being so disgusting, people wear the masks to keep from breathing pollution into their airways and lungs. Interested in having to wear a face mask or gas mask like that everyday to prevent cancer, emphysema, COPD, or any other airway disease we’ve been taught to not smoke to avoid? After all that work of getting cigarettes out of our mouths and making it illegal to have cigarettes in places of work and public spaces, why do we want to pollute our environment so we can expose ourselves to risks that will likely causes us to get these horrible diseases?

Not to mention Climate Change pretty much changing the whole planet to make it inhospitable to human life and any other life that lives in the same environmental conditions. Smart, real smart. . ..

All that being said, one part of the article from earlier this week hit me hard: The Sierra Club files lawsuits against the government, when it can find standing, to defend the environment where and when possible. I never really thought about the importance of non-profits, such as the Sierra Club, the ACLU, and others for filing lawsuits to protect the environment, liberties, rights, and other amazing things that represent the Spirit of the Constitution and America. Honestly, I just saw them as organizations that seeked to change the hearts and minds of everyday people and maybe some amount of lobbying. But lawsuits? Really? Cool!

Which brings me to my big argument about the importance of us contributing and volunteering to nonprofits such as these. These organizations are OUR lobbying organizations. The Right has the NRA, Focus on the Family, and the list of organizations becomes so numerous it becomes exhausting just to find a comprehensive list. The Left really needs to organize more to either have more of these think tanks and organizations for the People or work harder to educate the People what these organizations do and how the People can contribute and help them. If anything, the media and entertainment industry has done an amazing job of parodying Greenpeace enough to make it difficult to take Left organizations seriously.

But now, more than ever, we need to take organizations on the Left seriously and support them, at least the ones that have good organization, understand the government, and know to take action that will be taken seriously and have results. The rich donors on the Right might have their organizations that get their bidding done. The rich donors might have more money than the rest of the population of the word, which is probably more tied up in illiquid investments and land than in donating to these types of organization.

Ever since 2000, though, when I could participate more in politics than ever before, candidates for President that go to the People for donations rather than to big donations from rich people, these candidates keep breaking records for fundraising and can end up building up war chests that rival candidates depending on rich people for their campaign funds, putting together dinners with huge ticket prices, making personal appearances for big ticket prices, and getting big donations but from fewer people.

The two candidates who had the best chance for making it with support from the everyday people, Howard Dean and Bernie Sanders, either made a single mistake that embarrassed them or simply joined a party in a bid to have a chance to become candidate for President since we have political system dominated by two parties. They didn’t have a shortage of funds. They simply got too excited or tried playing the game on a team that they only joined because it was the only way to stand a chance, not as a sincere supporter of that team. Looking back, I can’t see either of them as great candidates, even on the appropriateness of their principles to the times.

Nonetheless, they both did a great job raising funds from the People. We the People, have to open our wallets, time, and efforts, especially at this time, to these nonprofits and lobbying organizations that align with our interests. Directing money toward election campaigns of the President, our Senators, our Representatives, and other governmental positions, from Federal to State to local, isn’t enough to make the world into a better place that doesn’t abuse its people, the environment, and other factors that make the world a worse place. We also have to support our causes, whether with time or money, whatever resources we have available to point toward our causes to make the world bearable, healthy, enjoyable, and just a good and better place to be.

Important Disclosure: Not everyone has the resources to direct in this fashion, and that’s fine. You have to help yourself before you can help others. You have to feed yourself before you can help feed others. You have to hold compassion for yourself to feel compassion toward others (even though having compassions for others can also help you feel care and compassion for yourself).

In the end, though, provide support in the many ways we can to the causes we care about will help mold the world into a better place. The rich and the Right have their lobbyists and lawyers. We have to band together our resources to support our lobbyists and lawyers, especially if we want to survive through the next two to eight years, maintain the good we have accomplished by 2016/17, and maybe, if we’re lucky, possibly improve things here and there.

After all, same-sex marriage finally became legal throughout the United States through a court case, not through Executive Order or direct Legislation. Also, Nixon, who didn’t want the EPA, was forced to make it happen through the direct action of The People. As the article I linked to in a Tweet below shows, we might retain most, if not all, the Affordable Care Act because The People have found it more beneficial rather than damaging. We The People, in this Democracy of ours in the United States, can make things happen. We just need to know how to make them happen, and in this day and age, we’ll make them happen through the appropriate nonprofits, lobbyists, and lawyers.

We can do it. We must hold onto hope. We must keep a hold onto the audaciousness that hope brings us. Without sarcasm: Thank you, Obama, for showing us the audaciousness of hope.

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