Common Sense

July 2, 2017

A much as I try to avoid descriptors beyond the basic idea of being human, there are times when some are needed.  In a lot of ways, I am an absurdist.  I find it difficult to believe and accept notions when there is little evidence to support those conclusions and believe it is an absurdity to do so.  I am also a common sensist–might be making up a word there.  Work with logic and follow what marks the most sensical path going forward.

There’s a great meme I’ve used a profile picture at various times.  It is a panel from a Deadpool comic where Deadpool states, “Shhh!  My common sense is tingling.”  The caption reads, “Common Sense:  So rare it is a goddamn superpower.”  And that is true.  I could tell myriad of stories about how people acted without logic or common sense and left everybody wondering, “WTF were they thinking?”  And I will confess to a few times I acted against what would seem a common sense approach.

The reason this springs to mind is basically the chaos unfolding on the national stage of our government right now.  I look at the two big issues holding attention at the moment–our President being a dipshit and the Healthcare debacle–I have to wonder how much of that is a loss of common sense.  I mean look at Healthcare.  Big issue: Cost and Availability.  The ACA actually did a lot to address these issues, but I think it wouldn’t necessarily be too big of a leap to say that more needs to be done.  Costs are still expected to skyrocket in the coming years.  So common sense would tell us that any new Healthcare Bill would have to address that, right?

As for Drumpf himself… I wonder if his life and upbringing ever gave him the opportunity to develop it.  Or if his supporters will show enough to realize that they’ve been duped.  I don’t know there is plenty about his decision making that makes me wonder if he has ever experienced common sense.  Common sense tells us it is not necessarily healthy for people to put party and corporate interests ahead of country.  Yet now we have a political system overwhelmed by ideology and corporate interests.

So we need common sense back.  We need to think again.  To learn again.  To feel again.  We need ideas, but also the common sense to put those ideas to the best use.  As many thoughts, ideas and concepts I’ve expressed, there have definitely been moments where I could have exercised a bit more common sense to yield better results.  While I have few apologies or regrets, it would be disgustingly arrogant to say I haven’t made mistakes.  I just try to have the common sense to learn, grow and do better.

And no one suspects a thing
They’re all hiding just the same
They ache for an outbound train
And the wheels stopped turning in their brains

“Dance on Stilts” by Blue Oyster Cult

  • Started doing some layouts for the superhero comic I’ve talked about, the one centered around dichotomy.  Reread the poem, “The Charge of the Light Brigade” as I began to clarify my outlines.  Settling on it being called “The Brigade” for now.  Using that as a bit of a loose influence for where my themes are going with.  So it is basically that and Overwatch as influences.  Hoping to start some serious work on that as I get Order of the Dragon’s first story closer to done.  Hopefully going to have the first issue pretty down to only lettering and touch-ups by the end of the week, inking page
  • Is just me, or does it feel like the White House is keeping the Russia thing alive longer than it ever should have?  I mean, if there was nothing illegally or morally questionable done, couldn’t Trump have laid all this to rest with his tax returns?  Or by simply keeping his mouth shut?  I don’t know, just feels like we’re getting conned all over again.
  • Made it to the meeting for the Vermont Comic Creators thing.  It was good to be social again.  Hoping to do more with it in the coming months.  Kind of fun that we have this going on in Vermont.

Those cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

-George Santayana

  • Plugging away with the comics.  I feel I’ve made a lot of progress and I can really do some stuff with it now.  Looking into some Print on Demand/Self-publishing options for when I’ve gotten to that point.  Doing a lot of sketch cards and tiles for later use.
  • Hear very good things about the Wonder Woman movie.  Planning to go see it on Thursday or Friday.  If I really cared much for the DC vs. Marvel debate, I would say that DC has taken a bit of a lead if only because I feel they’ve done more with their female characters over four movies than Marvel has over twelve.
  • So I never really thought Kathy Griffin was all that funny or relevant to much of anything.  The picture of her the other day with the bloody Trump head was kind of weird.  I mean, I get that it bothered Barron Trump to see that type of thing.  However, did anyone think about Obama’s two daughters the myriad of times that he was lynched in effigy?  It was kind of glorified by various individuals and dismissed.  Now that its Trump, we’re supposed to be outraged?  No.  If Griffin is going to go through all this, drag Ted Nugent and all those tea party jackasses into it too.  They got a free pass and Trump signed up for this.
  • Shockingly enough, Bill Maher said something outrageous.  That’s never happened before.  Although this time he did go to an extreme with the “N” word.  A lot of people calling for HBO to fire him.  I’ve liked his show and thought he made a variety of good points.  The thing is, I feel that a lot of what he does is done by the Daily Show and the various off-shoots of that.  And they tend to do it better if only because they keep their egos more under control.
  • So apparently Jeff Sessions has offered to resign recently.  Or at least that’s what an article I saw indicated.  I don’t know how true that is.  It does raise I have pondered lately.  How stable are Trump’s appointees?  Especially if he continues to display his lack of stability?  People are all worried about Mike Pence becoming President, but we won’t know how many dominos will fall until the first one does or how many will.
  • It is important to remember that experiences can still teach long after they have occurred.  I feel I can say with certainty I won’t fuck up the same way twice.  The next job, the next relationship, the adventure… will all be better than ever.

I’ve written a lot about ideas.  Beliefs and truths.  Points of view and facts.  Breaking those down and knowing which is which has become an increasingly difficult task of late.  Given how quickly our government and media is degrading into an Orwellian/1984 propaganda machine, the ability to differentiate fact and fiction has become a harder one to master.

Part of this comes from the various aspects of my personal life and experiences, but it does go all the way to the leaders of our government.  It is important to realize how far we go to convince ourselves of things we know aren’t true.  And how challenging it can be to find deeper understandings and truths in a lot of the ideas we cling to.

Listening to Donald Trump talk about Coal, I have to wonder if he really has this business savvy that he claims.  Coal is an industry who’s time has passed.  For decades it has made up a tiny percentage of our energy production, steadily decreasing every year as we come up with cleaner and more efficient ways to power our country.  To my knowledge, this is generally accepted.  So how is it good business to keep an industry that makes up a tiny percentage of our energy production on life support when we’ve already got better ways to do it?

And more local, the solar panels my uncle had considered putting in the old farm land.  He and my father had worked out a deal with a solar panel company, and things were moving in that direction.  Then the town select board meeting came up.  My aunt decided to attend and voiced some strong opposition to it.  Rather than get involved in a potential domestic dispute, the solar company passed on putting panels there.  Personal politics aside–I’m all for solar panels and was actually somewhat impressed that my uncle wanted to go this route–I would say my aunt’s choices in this matter show a lack of understanding of the situation.  Both her and my uncle being in their sixties and had some relatively recent health issues, so how much longer do they plan on farming?  Because they are not making that much money and will likely have to sell off the land and animals in the relatively near future.  In a sense I actually thought my uncle was making a smart decision in acknowledging that farming was not a long term plan by itself.

Paris Accords are on my mind so that is kind of where I’m starting with this, mostly because it parlay the point I’m trying to make about how we struggle to understand and accept truth.  There’s a lot about that just screams a refusal to understand these fundamental truths about our world, our economy and our future.

In general, I feel like there is a disconnect between the world we perceive and the world as it is.  In writing about relationships, this is something I’ve noticed frequently as much as it is prevalent in politics and economics and other areas.  We’re conditioned into accepting truths without questioning or truly understanding them.

I like just posting a few links to avoid overloading people with these things.

  • Toxic habits in a relationship that most people don’t realize are toxic.  I will admit that this does describe some situations I’ve been in.  Hints and passive aggression?  Done and had it done to me.  Holding the relationship hostage?  Yeah and she effectively killed it.  Loving jealousy?  Oh yeah.  Buying solutions?  Definitely and I’ve observed others doing it.  To be blunt, this article basically describes a past relationship and it was exhausting.  This is really a big part of why I’ve chosen to remain single or avoid a standard relationship.  There are a lot of bad habits we are conditioned into believing are healthy and positive.  One thing I’ve tried to do is identify bad habits in myself and in past partners to better understand their impact and address them when I can.  Part of the problem is we’re conditioned into believing these are acceptable behaviors and that makes it difficult for relationships to work.  Also a reason I recommend Stranger In A Strange Land to people.
  • The GOP and Trump can’t seem to wrap their heads around healthcare.  Describing their repeal efforts as zombie is an apt comparison.  It will eat them alive.  Personally, I always considered the ACA a good starting point.  Not a finished product.  It does a lot of good and could do more if the glaring flaws are addressed.  Get costs down.  Stop letting the providers hold it hostage.
  • Dairy-free diets might not that good for you.  I’ve heard about how milk being not that good for you as it contributes to clogged arteries, but dairy in other forms has its benefits.  I stick to cheese, whey protein or Greek Yogurt for the bulk of my dairy.  Seems to work for me.  I am usually skeptical of Vegetarian and Vegan diets, if only because I’ve been of the opinion that our diets evolved the way they have for a reason.

The Ancient One: Arrogance and fear still keep you from learning the simplest and most significant lesson of all.

Dr. Stephen Strange: Which is?

The Ancient One: It’s not about you.

 

  • That exchange from the Doctor Strange movie keeps coming back to me.  Kind of hits a point most people keep missing and refuse to acknowledge when it smacks them in the face.
  • Taking a bit of break from Overwatch, playing a bit more Skyrim.  Put off working on my PS4.  I think I’ll try to play Overwatch more when I know people I actually know are playing.  Haven’t played very much as the new character, interesting power set though.
  • Came across an article last week that really got me thinking.  It was essentially discussing how difficult it is to study relationship without showing a bias towards monogamy.  The basic conclusion was that we are conditioned into believing that all relationships should strive towards a monogamous male-female set up and that’s the ideal.  That conditioning also makes it less likely for an unbiased study of relationships.  It just made a lot of really good points about how much of what take to be our cultural ideals are in fact things we’re conditioned into rather than what we determine are best for ourselves.  Not saying that everybody should go try a polyamorous lifestyle, but it does help to remind people to not take everything at face value.
  • I’ve written in the past about Tomi Lahren, mostly stating that I find her to have a limited understanding of the topics she discusses and more parrots her talking points than anything else.  Apparently she lost her job at the Blaze over the abortion comments she made on the View.  Glenn Beck has responded with some criticism of her remarks, citing a lack of intellectual honesty on Lahren’s part.  While I don’t necessarily disagree with Glenn Beck on that, but her comments were on par with her statements on a number of other issues and did not yield a response.  Why was this the line that she shouldn’t have crossed?
  • I’ve really avoided writing about abortion.  I don’t think nearly enough women have been a part of that conversation and that needs to change.  To a certain extent, I do think we need to reevaluate it from a modern viewpoint.  I do think the moral and religious arguments against abortion are too deeply rooted in a time where life expectancy was considerably shorter than it was today and the infant mortality rate was much higher.  With that in mind, it is important to acknowledge that there are more people alive now than ever before and they are living longer–to the point where we struggle to feed the people already living.  On that thought, I do think it is somewhat irresponsible to bring a baby into the world if it is not likely to have the opportunities we all deserve at birth.  I have also heard the argument that Roe v. Wade resulted in lower crime rates as there were fewer unwanted pregnancies and therefore fewer children at risk to get involved in crime due to growing up in a disadvantaged situation.  However, the choice is not society’s to make.  It should be between the parents and their doctors.
  • Finish today’s post on something a bit more… fun.  Starting to rearrange some things to facilitate more drawing.  I’ve been slacking, but hopefully that will be remedied soon.  Have been doing a bit of a series of drawings that I post on Instagram, calling them the “Pretending to be working” series.  It gets the stuff going at least.
  • Made tacos with Bison meat.  It was good.  I should make Tacos more often.

Speaking Truth

February 10, 2017

I was reading something the other day about how Tom Perez and his bungling a comment about last year’s Democratic Primary.  He acknowledged that the primary process was rigged against Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton and that the next DNC Chair Person would have to be “honest” and “transparent” to succeed.  Then he essentially retracted the statement, stating that he “misspoke”.  Or rather the party elders and establishment got wind of it and voiced their disapproval.  Cue the groaning and eye-rolling.  He was right the first time.

I’m trying to be a little less political, but this article I read kind of fits with my general train of thought on a number of matters.  Our whole political system needs an influx of new ideas.  Why do you think Bernie Sanders, the Green Party and the Libertarian Party had such a significant impact on the election last year?  However, those ideas cannot be expected to flourish if truth cannot be acknowledged.

One of the overarching themes I’ve tried to deal with in my writing this blog has been the “Idea of Ideas” and how important it is to always embrace new ideas and information.  When it comes to truth, I often quote Obi-Wan Kenobi from Return of the Jedi.  In explaining his misleading account of what happened to Luke’s father, Kenobi states that “Many of the Truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”  I keep throwing that line out there, but it is a good line.

Ideas were a focus of mine here, but how we regard those ideas is also worth looking at.  Truth and belief can be subjective, but they can inspire ideas.  I will admit that something I’ve struggled with is knowing when to challenge people’s truths and ideas.  Where the lines are drawn.  I have disregarded a myriad of them, but sometimes that needs to happen too.  Although I would hope my writing here does occasionally inspire people to look at their beliefs, ideas and truths from a different perspective, I don’t claim absolute authority on right or wrong here.  I’m sure there a number of opinions on that.  I simply hope I challenged some truths and some new ideas came as a result of them.  Even if it is just an expanded perception, I think it would be a benefit.

Regardless of the situation, ideas and truth need to be challenged.

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