Friday, May 3, 2013

In My Opinion

I spent some time a few days ago on facebook checking out notifications from friends and family members.  I have been thinking about some of things I read and would like to share my thoughts, for what they are worth.

One in particular stated something about being disappointed with something related to government that defied common sense and went further to state something like she would like to expect more, but didn't.  I don't remember where I read this and it doesn't matter. I read and hear stuff like this all the time, sometimes coming from my own mouth.

Perhaps we should consider spending a little less time staying in touch with what "the herd is thinking and doing" and spend more time thinking and doing ourselves.

A story I read many years ago comes to mind.  I am sure many of you have read (or seen the movie) Watership Down.  In this book a group of intrepid rabbits flee there warren when it is destroyed by bulldozers in search of a new home.  They have many adventures as they make their way across fields, streams, hills and valleys in the bucolic English countryside.

In one chapter, they come upon a warren occupied by a rather subdued, passive collection of rabbits.  Here is a synopsis of the chapter:

"The company cope with many dangers, but none so insidious as their encounter with Cowslip's Warren. Here, the company encounter an apparently prosperous rabbit colony with pampered and fastidious citizens who enjoy plenty of food and protection from predators by humans. However, Fiver is profoundly suspicious especially when he observes the local culture disdains the traditional tales of El-ahrairah in favor of maudlin fatalistic poetry. When Fiver attempts to leave, a derisive Bigwig learns firsthand the deadly secret of the warren; the whole area is a human designed rabbit farm with numerous snares placed to harvest them. After helping Bigwig escape, Fiver convinces his fellows to leave this decadent colony immediately and afterward his counsel is followed without question."

The point I would like to make is that I think the collective "we" used to expect more.  In fact, our fathers, mothers, and ancestors fought so that we would be able to expect, and demand, if necessary, a "non-partisan" more (this has nothing to do with party affiliation).

My concern is based on another "insidious" situation that we are experiencing in our world today, in my opinion.  I see a real danger that we, like the passive rabbits in the book, may be crossing a dangerous line when it comes to "entitlements".  Is it possible that we might, consciously or subconsciously, become so used to being "provided for" that we become complacent about our desire to "provide for ourselves" or even elect individuals based on a desire to "hang on" to our entitlements?  Has anyone read "Who Moved My Cheese?"

I hold myself accountable in this regard.  I was diagnosed with PD five years ago.  During the time when I was unable to work due to symptoms including tremor, debilitating fatigue, and cognitive problems, I first received unemployment benefits and then SSDI (social security disability insurance).  I was  fortunate and appreciated that we had a system that provided needed support. 

I have since taken steps to try to take ownership of my situation and had some success as an author and PD/clinical research advocate.  I am not saying that what I have done is anything anyone should aspire to, but I am glad that I was able to do these things.  Sometimes, "giving back" can take other forms besides financial repayment.

The term "balance" also comes to mind.  Once again, in my opinion, balance is desirable in all things.  In this case, it is the balance between providing needed support and fiscal responsibility.  Both are needed, but we are currently severely out of balance.  Beware those that are proponents of either without regard for the other.  

Once more, in my opinion, each person has a responsibility to him/herself as well as the collective "we" to have a clear set of values and ethics that will help them navigate difficult times and decisions.  I have found Wayne Dyer's "Wisdom of the Ages" to be very helpful in this regard.  It helped me realize the importance of taking ownership for developing and applying my "personal truth".  This requires a willingness to "not follow the herd" as we are prone to do.

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