(About a 9 minute read)
Thunder has been rolling off the mountains since the afternoon. The breeze has carried the scent of rain for hours, but there’s been no rain. It’s once again warm enough to leave the doors and windows open to the night air.
Someone was telling me that judgmental people are always jealous people. If that’s so, I haven’t noticed it. But it sounds like something that could be true. And if it is true, I wonder if the converse is also true: Are jealous people always judgmental people?
Waking Up in a Coffee Shop
The sun slants geometric on the floor,
Van Morrison drags the air,
Serbian troops surge forward,
And two old women sit and tell
The lives of relatives —
Their jobs, their marriages,
Births and deaths
Recounted at a trot
With shoes kicked off —
Statistics on estrogen.
The cup of Kenyan is just enough
To provoke the thought Don and Becky
Like the smell of leather better than most religions
And a good walk better than the rest:
Then it’s time to do the laundry.
I might have been 14 or 15 the first time I heard that socialism fails because people are not equal in their abilities. Of course, the truth of the statement, “people are not equal in their abilities”, is indisputable. But does any prominent socialist assert that people are equal? Not that I know of. The argument seems to be a straw man.
So far as I know, socialists only assert that people should have equal economic, social, and political rights and liberties — not merely in theory (as under capitalism), but in practice.
Nor do socialists typically hold that everyone should receive the same compensation for their work as everyone else. Rather, compensation typically varies according to the principle, “To each according to their contribution”:
The term means simply that each worker in a socialist society receives compensation and benefits according to the quantity and value of the labor that he or she contributed. This translates into workers of high productivity receiving more wages and benefits than workers of average productivity, and substantially more than workers of low productivity. An extension of this principle could also be made so that the more difficult one’s job is—whether this difficulty is derived from greater training requirements, job intensity, safety hazards, etc.—the more one is rewarded for the labor contributed. [source]
Surely, a sense of humor has prevented more murders than a sense of morality.
As I understand it, there are four major religions that contain within them some kind of a fundamentalist movement: Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. According to one scholar at least, the four fundamentalisms are united in that each is a reaction against modernity.
That would seem to make sense to me. But I would go a bit beyond that to speculate that the fundamentalisms are also rooted in the same psychology as political conservatism. Over the past several years, a growing body of psychological research has demonstrated that liberals and conservatives tend to have differences that run deeper than mere politics. That is, their differences tend to be rooted in their psychologies.
For instance, studies have shown that conservatives, when compared to liberals, are among other things:
- More orderly
- More anxious
- More attuned to threats
- More self-disciplined
- Less open
- Less novelty seeking
One seems to find the same pattern in the four fundamentalisms.
Some years ago a friend of mine, Theresa, saved enough money while working as a $1000/night erotic dancer in Los Angeles to start her own small import/export business. For a reason I no longer recall, she specialized in trade between the US and Costa Rico. It was in Costa Rico that she met her husband.
Theresa is athletic and is in the habit of running every day, regardless of where she is in the world. Consequently, when she was getting her business up and running in Costa Rico, she would run each day, taking the same route, at about the same time in the morning. As it happened, her route took her by a bank.
Working at the bank was a young man who I’ll call Carlos here because I’ve forgotten his real name (Sorry, Carlos! But I’m bad with names — even though I recall how handsome you are!). One day Carlos noticed a beautiful blond woman running past the bank’s windows. But it wasn’t just her beauty that stopped him in his tracks.
Carlos, you see, had had a dream in which he’d seen a beautiful blond woman running past the bank’s windows. In fact, it seemed to him that the woman he was watching run past the windows that day was the very woman of his dreams.
He soon became aware of Theresa’s routine and began watching for her around the same time each day. A month went by. Then one day, Theresa was not there!
Carlos looked for her the next day, and the day after, but she no longer passed the bank each morning. What Carlos didn’t know is that Theresa had found a local partner, and had consequently returned to the US.
Seven very long years went by for Carlos. His friends and family worried he would never get married. They — especially his mother — put pressure on him to find a woman. But Carlos resisted. It was not that he was waiting for the blond woman, though. Carlos had given up all hope of seeing her ever again.
Instead, the blond woman had made such an impression on him that he didn’t feel any other woman he met during those seven years quite measured up to her in beauty or physical grace — and for Carlos, those were deal breakers. He wondered if he would every feel differently, but he was adamant not to marry a woman he didn’t want at least as much as he had wanted the blond woman. That would not be fair to any woman, he thought.
Meanwhile, back in the US, Theresa had long ago cashed out her share of the import/export business and was now a partner in an L.A. restaurant. One year, though, she decided to take a vacation, and what better place to take it than the lovely country of Costa Rico? She arranged a month long lease on a house there.
Carlos looked up from his desk one day to see the blond woman running past his bank’s windows! He was so sure it was her that he didn’t hesitate even a second. Instead, he dashed out the door after her.
Theresa realized someone was calling after her to wait up, but when she looked, it was a stranger, so she kept running. He couldn’t possibly have any real business with her. Nevertheless, the man caught up with her. As they ran side by side, he begged her to stop.
She didn’t stop.
So he sputtered out his story as he ran beside her. She was the most beautiful girl in the world! Theresa rolled her eyes. He just had to meet her! Theresa picked up her pace. She was the girl of his dreams! Theresa pushed herself even faster. She must stop for he could not bear to lose her for another seven years! Theresa suddenly thought he must have known her from years ago — and remembered her! Curiosity brought her to a jogging standstill. She turned to face him. “Who are you? Have we met?”
The two were married within a year or so.
Kindness is our most powerful rebellion against tragedy. – George Wiman
The Hands Remember
The hands remember
More than the mind your skin
They think of their own will,
“This was the shape of her”,
When they find themselves cupped
Or curled in a certain loose way
Around the curves
Of you no longer here:
The left hand
Yes, I know
My left hand
Knew you one way,
While my right hand
Knew you another.
Was either best?
Once upon a time, a god wanted something to laugh at, while a goddess wanted something to weep for. The two created humans, and both were satisfied.
“Hi Don! It’s Paul! I’m calling to see if you want to go to lunch today?”
“Great! Can I come along?
“Don? Are you still there, Don?”
“Yes, Paul, but now I wish I wasn’t.”