Climate Change

March 22, 2012

“Beginning in mid-March, however, its various offices began issuing bulletins that sounded slightly shaken. “There’s extremes in weather, but seeing something like this is impressive and unprecedented,” ”

“It’s hard to overstate how impossible this weather is—when you have nearly a century and a half of records, they should be hard to break, much less smash.”

There’s nothing much that needs to be added to this:

90 Degrees in Winter: This Is What Climate Change Looks Like

http://www.thenation.com/article/166917/90-degrees-winter-what-climate-change-looks

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Does This Make You Angry?

November 30, 2011

It should.

Self vs. Selfish

October 27, 2011

There is a certain wry amusement to be had in that the moments I feel most blindingly insightful are almost inevitably followed by an awareness of blithering stupidity. Every flash of wisdom must be learned for myself, I know, but why on earth can’t I learn from others?

For a couple of days now I’ve been pondering the difference between being true to self and being selfish.

What hit me this morning (watering plants is a generative act) selfishness only arises when you act in a way that’s contrary to what others have a *right* to expect of you.

So then I ask, what rights over myself and my actions have I given to others, and why? Did I assign this power consciously? Is it built into my culture’s social contracts? Was it implicit in other agreements? Or am I seeing it as a right when it’s not?

The reverse is also to be considered. Why do others assume they have rights over me? And, for that matter, who do I hold rights over?

Okay. I should have thought of that one sooner. The only rights I have over others are that I expect to be treated with respect. To be acknowledged as a person with feelings, needs, and yes, duties — to a point.

Example time. If I have agreed to meet someone for a walk and I decide I don’t want to go, I have an obligation to contact them as soon as possible so they aren’t standing at the trail head waiting for me. If I don’t want to go, but keep the engagement anyways, I have an obligation to be an agreeable companion for the duration. But I do not have an obligation to go if I don’t want to.

However, my decision to go or not must also factor in what I know of their needs. Do I know that they are depending on me to show up, not just for company, but because they needed to talk about something? That they are afraid to walk alone? If I have agreed to join them, knowing this, then I have an obligation to honor that agreement, and mere whim must not keep me from that meeting.

Again, though, if my situation has altered such that meeting them would be a true hardship, then I have a right to cancel.

So, I can choose to not meet with my walking partner and not be selfish, as long as I have taken into account all those factors, and made a decision that is as rational as is (humanly) possible. It would not be hypocrisy to go for the walk even though I didn’t want to be there. I was honoring a prior agreement and respecting them enough to show up — and be pleasant about it.

Fine mutations, dependent upon so many subtle signals and assumptions.If I were expecting my companion to show up for a walk, and they called before hand to tell me they weren’t coming, I would not see them as selfish. So why do I tell myself I’m selfish if I do that to them? Again – if they knew I was depending on them, and they cancelled for no reason, or for a frivolous reason, then I would call them selfish. But if I knew that they were abandoning me because of real need — I would support their actions. Because I care about them.

If I want to be true to self, I have to be certain I am not deliberately using others, and that I act with thought and care, not whimsy.

Society does impose expectations. Why else are women who don’t want children or people who don’t want to be married told they’re selfish? It is true that they are more likely to become self-obsessed, but selfish? Not at all. People who have the courage to recognize who they are, what they need and want, even if it’s different from societal norms — especially if it’s different from the norm — should be respected. It takes courage to defy the oppressive weight of society.

So I conclude with my oft-repeated one certainty: never treat others as objects.

As long as you strive to recognize that different is not bad, that you have no rights to tell others what to do and how to live, that you do have an obligation to treat others with respect, then you are not selfish.

And now I just need to make myself believe that.

Once again, Calamities of Nature gets it dead right.

I don’t know why I gave even a wry chuckle at this. There is no reason, no logic, no sense in what the republicans proclaim.

If you truly despise big government, then what are you taking money for?

http://www.calamitiesofnature.com/archive/575.jpg

Be All You *Should* Be

August 4, 2011

Yes!

I can change!

I don’t have to be who I was born as.  I can be what I should be.

Now we just need everyone to agree on what everyone should be.

Suddenly it’s not so easy, is it?

“Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data, ability to repeat discredited memes, and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Also, be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor even implied. Any irrelevancies you can mention will also be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.”

This is from the post /  50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God

A delightfully clever invitation, and it gets right to the point.

I agree. It is so frustrating to see threads hijacked by irrelevant comments. If one has presented a case for the pleasure humorously-captioned cat photos bring, a comment that dog photos might be equally humorous is acceptable, however misguided 🙂  But to state that animals are abused in all research, and that anthropomorphizing cats in these photos is tantamount to equal abuse is not.

A complaint about sexual harassment might be a place to add a comment that links to a thread on racial discrimination. It is not a place to say that since worse abuses exist, the current case is irrelevant.

The great thing about reading posts, along with accompanying intelligent, insightful comments, is that you get so many ideas. New information, new ways of considering an issue, new things to chuckle over: reading posts can brighten and illuminate your life. You can learn.  But if all you see when you read is an opportunity to preach your own view, then why read?

One could, and people do argue that they don’t read. They glance at the headline, skim the first paragraph (if that), and skip to comments. I’m inclined to suspect this happens frequently.

These people are simply seeking to take advantage of other people’s genuine thoughts to tout their own beliefs (note — not knowledge or ideas. I am making a clear distinction there. Beliefs don’t require proof or even reasonable probabilities, just emotional attachment).

I wish such trolls would stay in their own caves and leave other more thoughtful sites to thoughtful, in both senses of the word, readers.

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