Monday, June 29, 2015

Know Thyself

There's a saying, "A good man knows his limitations." This isn't about being macho, Not about age, gender, education, religion, relationships, position in society.

Sometimes I have a feeling that people have no clue what that means. Especially, politicians, religious and political pundits and... did I say politicians?

Anyway, know how far you can go with something. With anything.

Yes, it means that. Many think that is all it means, or at least, they act that way. But really you know, it means so much more.

You also need to know if and how far you can and should try to push yourself beyond those limitations because that is when great things happen, when great people are exhibited to themselves and to the world.

I say "themselves" because we are a conglomeration of individuals, a multiplicity of selves we that call, "self", just to simplify things.

It is good to be aware of that, because it can be important in knowing one's limitations.

Be aware of where YOUR limitations lie.

We can and should supersede those limitations, but knowing where they end and when we are running on fumes, and luck, are all important things to be keenly aware of. Because it can get you killed. Or at least, it can ruin your connections to others.

Know when your limitations are not someone else's. Don't push them to the breaking point when sometimes, most times probably, that is up to them. Though sometimes, we should push them.

Those two things are important in relationships and in helping others. They are also important elements in ruining relationships, in harming others and in certain situations, getting them killed.

Also know when your limitations are not someone else's, in the other direction. Like when their limitations outdistance yours, or far outdistance them for that matter.

Give them their due respect.

Respecting others who deserve it, admitting when you are fallow in their shadow, really doesn't diminish you. In fact, it elevates you.

I see this a lot among those who have less training in something than they need and yet refuse to show proper respect in the audience of greatness.

Even slight greatness more than yours, in showing respect, makes you seem more than you are, not less.

I know, it's counter-intuitive, something that conservatives have a great deal of trouble with, as well as the less well formally educated, in my experience. I have no trouble showing respect to someone who deserves it, regardless of how or where they were trained or educated.

Though sometimes that alone really is worthy of respect and can be a separator issue from what they actually know or can do and again, that does confuse some.

Err on the side of caution during those times.

Few things irritate me more than someone trying to be what they are not, with inflated self-importance.

Look. I'm the first to offer respect when someone deserves it, even if they outshine myself. If you are the first to not do that, then you are a sad individual indeed. Because you are exhibiting poor self-esteem and worse you are exhibiting poor judgement.

Of others, of yourself,. Then, you are a detriment to all involved.

It's really pretty simple, and complicated. But it's even more easily defined as this really:

"Know thyself."

Monday, June 22, 2015

Today's Gender Roles - Marriage Equality now SCOTUS Supported

I am a phenomenologist. Truly. I have a degree in psychology and I studied phenomenology. I am here not to make judgement as much as I am to observe and describe what I see.

I was just talking with my daughter and her friends about transgender issues and modern gender issues in general. I'm pretty open minded, transcendental. But I am human and was born in a time where a certain paradigm was prominent even though I was usually ahead of change due to my love of science fiction since the early 1960s.

We had talked about Bruce Jenner, my daughter and her friends, and individuals we've all known, personally. We were talking about how one relates to a transgender person. How is that defined?

My daughter said it's all about how the individual wants to be defined. But I think there is more to it than that.

As I see it there are three versions of gender. How a person defines themselves. How the person's gender is defined legally (what's on your birth certificate). And how you are defined by your physicality.

It used to be easy. There was an order to that, it wasn't a concern or consideration. No one thought about it because there was nothing to think about. Or so it seemed.

You're born either male or female, you're male or female, respectively. Surely a small percentage are born without a physical and prominent distinction. One in 1,500 babies from one report. So more than one might think, or have thought at one time.

Then things like gender reassignment came up. We were defined by our physicality but eventually we were defined by the individual's beliefs more than their physicality.

So Bruce Jenner takes hormones, comes out to the world as a woman. He's a woman? But he said he will not go the full course and lose his penis so physically he will be a man with breasts and a feminine appearance. What's his gender then? Female? Male\female? Male? What's the defining factor?

My daughter said if someone dyes their hair from blond to green, isn't it green or will you say, "No, you're still a blond."

I said that wasn't how I saw it at all. It was more like they were blond, dyed their hair green and said it's red. If that is the case, do we accept then that it's red? Or is it blond. Or green? How do we define their hair color?

Still there would be the three ways to define that. Legal, physical, personal. But in this case the hair would physically be green, though called red, and fundamentally blond.

It occurred to me that part of the issue here is in those gender reassigned or partially reassigned individuals over-complicating the issue.

See, it's really a fairly simple issue.

But individuals need to feel, well, what they feel. In the old days, they'd have gotten therapy. Basically, that is what they do need IS therapy. But the therapy has gone from mental, to physical and therein lay the confusion. For everyone.

I've always been told I was over complicated. But as I saw it, I was merely able to see the complexity in things that most people couldn't see. In this issue it seems to me that these people are overcompensating things for their therapy. They are over complicating their gender issues (yes, gender issues are complicated, I'm not denying that, just bare with me), so they will feel normal.

Now look. I don't have a problem with people trying to feel normal. Up to a point. We all have limits, right?

I mean, if you're a serial murderer, or a pedophile, you need to kill or molest to feel normal. Well, I don't want you to feel normal in that case, I want you not to feel normal. However for most people I do want them to be able to feel normal. I don't have a problem with THAT. Not if it doesn't affect others (as in death I mean).

But there is more to life than a person simply needing to feel normal.

As I'd said you can call yourself a rocket ship even, if you like, but you are still going to have to be designated on legal documents as something discrete, a compartmentalized unit. Such as male, female, or even, let's call it, trans. I don't think we need legal definitions to go to the lengths of Facebook and allow fifty-six gender titles. We just need a general idea of what we all can agree that you are.

I mean, really Facebook, do we really need 56 genders? Well it's social networking so, sure why not? I do think that's going a bit far, though. Okay, perhaps not for social media, but certainly for legalities. Three should be enough, or six, but let's not get carried away.

Here's in part my point. Some will over complicate their gender or title because they need to in order to feel either special, or that is, normal. I'm more concerned about the special, but the normal can also be an issue.

When you over complicate your gender to the group, you are also asking them for something for you. Understanding, if nothing else. I mean you can call yourself anything in the privacy of your home but when you go out and expect others to relate to you in non normal (general, average, etc.) ways, you are entering a different realm. You are then asking the group to help you make you feel normal. That simplifies things for you but complicates them for the group. Whether or not they see it that way really doesn't matter, because it simply does what it does. And that's fine. To a point.

But it is more complicated than that, too. If I were to point that out then those who are over complicating the issue will rebel and say that I am over complicating their issue. So they are saying they want things to be simpler and I'm the one over complicating things on their agenda.

You can't have it both ways. It's either complicated, or simple.

Obviously we can just relate to someone as they wish to be related. But should we, really? If they aren't based in some form of reality? And what is reality but a definition of what is? What is which, physical, emotional, legit, intellectual? What? Where is the definition? What or which is more important? The individual? The group?

Basically the individual is expecting the group to take on part of their therapy. And that too is okay, up to a point. We all do that and the individuals who do it too much are labeled as troublesome, possibly to be avoided and at some point they are usually locked up.

Thankfully we don't do that anywhere as much as we used to. There are people walking around free today who at one point in time would have been locked up in a prison, or an asylum. Of course there are those in prison now who should be in a mental institution for help and are instead being brutalized in prison because we are too cheap as a country to pay for the proper care in the proper environment.

So someone gets gender reassignment and doesn't change their genitals. Male or female? Is it only their decision? Well, for the most part outside of legalities, sure, why not. However, when it gets into things like pronouns, how much can they require before it gets out of hand?

What if it carries over to their pets? Do you call their dog a "he", a "she", a "their"? Or some other form. When it gets to the point that when someone meets your pet for the first time and they have to ask, "Oh, what pronoun does "she" ("he?") like to be called?" Isn't that kind of over complicating things?

At what point does it become over complicated to the point that it is too complicated and unacceptable, or should be unacceptable?

Here's part of the consideration. It's easy to just be accepting and say, "Whatever an individual wants to be referred to as, is what I will refer to them as." It sounds pretty, it's feelgood. but when you consider a group of all non standard gender types, the consideration becomes something else; as I was indicating above about the hair dye.

Sure, on an individual basis you can refer to someone as however they prefer to be referred to. At some level, it's just good manners. We should try to be considerate and cater to our fellow human's identity of who they see themselves to be.

But you can also reach a point where it simply isn't reasonable, or where it isn't even good for the individual making the claims in calling for their desired designation.

For the most part I think, just refer to someone as they choose.

But when you start talking about it in the abstract as we are here and now, and as I was with my daughter and friends, it really grows into a bigger and more inclusive issue than just the consideration of a single individual as you initially wish it to. It quickly grows into a societal issue and not just a personal or subgroup issue.

That is where some of this can quickly become very emotional to discuss. Because you can get one person talking about it at an individual level, even though they are or may also be discussing it on a much larger scale. Many times debates run into that issue. It's why you see so many heated discussions or arguments on topics like this, not even going into the potential pathology of someone arguing about their own identity.

Bottom line I think is, just treat someone kindly and compassionately. Outside of that and in the larger sense, just give it a little more thought than you might normally have done. Life isn't simple anymore. We  have masses amounts of information to deal with, ways to behave are more sophisticated, people can more easily be hurt by way of inattention or ignorance, or a fear of the different.

Don't be one of those people. Be thoughtful and kind and try to understand. If you find yourself reacting negatively, then try to find a more productive way to deal with it. You may find that many times what you fear or hate, find distasteful or disgusting, is out of ignorance, or unfamiliarity. Consider if it's based in elements of what you have grown to see as reality and where any of that  might wrong, or if you are right but you can still treat others strange to you with compassion if not at least, common good manners.

To each their own. And maybe we can tall talk and get to know one another, regardless of how annoying they may be, or we may be, to them.

Speaking of which, SCOTUS, the Supreme Court of the United States has just declared same sex marriage legal in all fifty states. It's nice to see sanity rule the day for a change. From them today on this..


Monday, June 15, 2015

Religion in a Post Modern Multicultural World

Religion was mostly designed during a time of ego- and geocentricity. As a front against affronts by outside forces. As a buffer to live, a way to form cohesion among those of your own kind and, to help enforce reasonable laws of living for the benefit of all.

At some point it got out of hand, however. It always does.

Sure there are newer religions and the younger they are today the more ridiculous they seem to be.

From the older Indian religions, indigenous religions and the more notorious desert regions, the religions of Judaism, Catholicism, and Islam, to the babies of Mormonism and Scientology (a lie of a "religion" if ever there was one) and a "religion" who bullied US government officials into giving them tax free and religious status. Something by the way, that needs to be addressed and rectified ASAP.

Religion was all fine and dandy thousands of years ago. Though not really. Constantine in Rome and the Christian leaders lead to the Council of Nicaea, rebuilding things in that image so that an empire didn't fall.

Well, it seemed reasonable at the time, to be sure.

But now a days it has become dysfunctional in this multi-cultural world where religions and cultures rub up against one another. Where ego- and geocentrisms holds very little weight in the overall scheme of things. Where transportation of people and information have lost the barriers once paramount in maintaining the stranglehold of religion.

Knowledge is the bane of religion and it is now everywhere, we are thankfully awash in it. We are also sadly awash in the ignorance of incorrect information that people believe to be knowledge and is one of the greatest dangers we face today. That and thinking emotional beliefs circumvent or replace actual knowledge.

Knowledge is not power, wisdom is.
Knowledge can be wrong.
Wisdom by its definition, cannot be.
It is your choice which you wish to strive for.

Of course the comeback from the modern theist to that statement is:

"Well, it's a personal thing and so of course it still works."

The problem with that is no, it's not and if you really look, it doesn't..

It has become more than a personal thing and in some as in the American Christian movement, it has become politicized, polarized and even exported to Africa. As it has in Uganda where rather slimy US evangelicals have talked locals into a mindset that has led to the killing of gay males and the open raping of gay women.

So it is still dysfunctional.

The religious (mostly Christians and Muslims, and no not all of them but those involved) need to pull it back, to make it merely personal once again where it belongs so all may live in peace. Then, we're good again.

Christians too frequently confuse old and new testaments of the bible. Some Muslims today are confusing fundamentalism with literalism.

People really need to come first.

Any religion who is offended by Humankind, who inspires even some of their followers to act in such ways, merely because of who we truly are as humans with all our failings, frailties and difficulties, perhaps what they really need is to find a different race of beings, some other species to disdain and abuse.

May I suggest, mosquitoes?

Something that Jesus was pointing out and that so many of his modern followers now forget when they go back to the old testament... whenever it makes them feel good and more secure.

But Jesus didn't teach secure. He taught to love thy neighbor.

He hung with the outcasts. How is that security?

It's standing up against the authorities to take care of others and yet, what do we see now a days? Much turning of backs on the needy in Christianity down to the point even of murder, dismemberment in Islam.

Look. If you are going to become belligerent and political, you also have to stand up for what is wrong in your religion or in what others are doing in your religion. You don't get a free ride for spouting ignorance, hate and stupidity. The world is becoming too small for that anymore. The religious now need to grow up as a whole.

Politicizing your religion doesn't just mean you get to speak out for your beliefs. It also means you have to speak out when it makes you uncomfortable, to stand against injustices both outside and IN side of your religion.

Especially, INside your religion. Because that my friend is YOUR responsibility. Not mine, not ours, yours and yours.

Why is it, why should it be that so often those outside of religion are the ones who have to fight the good fight for religion?

If you want your religion, fight for it. But fight sanely. Police yourselves and allow others to help. But don't put the burden on them when it's your arena.

It occurs to me that up until recent times, "God" was such a part of people's lives that it wasn't necessary to do things like put it on money, or write it into laws, something our Founding Fathers didn't want to begin with.

They didn't want it because they were smart, educated, and knew how badly legislating things like religion can be (please see Middle East today). "God" used to be so inherent in daily life it was a nuance to conservation. But also people died over those considerations, something we general believe today is ridiculous, if not criminal.

We've been hearing about this topic more and more over the years since "In God We Trust" was first put on money back in 1952 sadly replacing "E pluribus unum", One out of many, which had summed up our nation's orientation to be inclusive of all (if not in practice, surely in theory, intent and desire).

As the concern and consideration of "God" has decreased over time those who are so close to it have felt a need to bring it more and more into our attention but doing things like putting it on money. Or more recently and insanely, trying to alter our politics, our citizen's rights hard fought for and legislate it into laws (not seeing the irony in their also hating and legislating against things like Islamic Sharia law).

People can have their religion, but forcing it into the national attention over and over is only in the long term going to cause a societal irritation that will eventually backfire. Throwing in another religion (Islam) which has literally been killing masses of people (as opposed to the self proclaimed typically racist and unbalanced Christians who are killing one's at a time), just makes it all the worse overall.

Think about it. That means that the concept of "God" has been decreasing overall for a very long time.

Legislating it will only speed that process.


Monday, June 8, 2015

Try, try again...but, Try.

Is there really a greater threat to human progress than the fear of the unknown, the fear of fear itself?

For it leads to one second guessing oneself,
to the point of inaction, when action is needed;
to fighting to maintain the status quo, at all costs even when it's the wrong thing to do;
it leads to conservationism (and of late) to Republicanism, to fundamentalism,
all out of fear of change,
of progress,
of taking a calculated risk,
of offering oneself the opportunity of succeeding and thereby,
excelling, of raising both yourself and your fellows
out of the muck and mire of what is,
into the possibilities of what could be.

Alfred Lord Tennyson said:
"'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."

And so it is... better to have tried and failed,
than never to have tried at all.

T.S. Eliot spoke of being

  .   "Only undefeated
  Because we have gone on trying..."

Or as the Zen master Adam Richman of "Man v. Food" put it:

"He looked his destiny in the face, and he ate it."

That reminds me of a film I shot for a couple of Professor's at my university on Phenomenology toward my degree in Psychology wherein there is a section that says (to paraphrase):
"When we meet, we eat one another."
Of course I meant that metaphorically.

Then this....

Some say risk nothing, try only for the sure thing,
Others say nothing gambled nothing gained,
Go all out for your dream.
Life can be lived either way, but for me,
I'd rather try and fail, than never try at all, you see.

Some say "Don't ever fall in love,
Play the game of life wide open,
Burn your candle at both ends."
But I say "No! It's better to have loved and lost,
Than never to have loved at all, my friend."

When many moons have gone by,
And you are alone with your dreams of yesteryear,
All your memories will bring you cheer.
You'll be satisfied, succeed or fail, win or lose,
Knowing the right path you did choose.

-William F. O'Brien

The world is there for you to live in, not for the world to live in you, or to usurp your life. But for you to use it as a vehicle to expand, enhance, experience.

But you have to take hold of it, of Life, and never let go.

Then on occasion whipcrack it to your intentions.

"Qu'est-ce que le cinema?"

"What is film?" Director Jean Renoir used to ask his friends before viewing one of his films. He would say that movies are more than mere flashing images on the screen. That, "they are an art form that becomes larger than life."

As is cinema, so is your life.

Should you choose to allow it to be so, anyway. When life goes against you, try harder, do something different. Make it, interesting.

Especially when it is trying to do the same to you.

Don't just live life, don't just exist, don't just survive.
Eat it, love it, immerse yourself it it.
Make love to it.

And it will love you back.

Allow me to close on a passage from the great Syd Field's must read screenwriting book, Screenplay, The Foundation of Screenwriting:

"I've learned there are two or three times during a lifetime when something happens that alters the course of that life. We meet someone, we go somewhere, or we do something we've never done before, and those moments are the possibilities that guide us to where we're supposed to go and what we're supposed to do with our lives...I've learned not to believe too much in luck or accidents; I think everything happens for a reason. There's something to be learned from every moment, every experience we encounter during the brief time we spend on this planet. Call it fate, call it destiny, call it what you will; it really doesn't matter."

According to Field, auteur director Jean Renoir whom he once knew, son of the famous painter Renoir, used to tell them that, "Art, should offer the viewer the chance of merging with the creator."

How does one do that? How do you go about sharing with others you will never meet, a chance to merge with the creator of what they are viewing?

What matters in all of that is what you do with it.

Recognize it when it happens. When those moments of greatness are offered to you and then make good use of what you have experienced, of what you have hopefully learned. Then share all that in a way that others can "see" what you are trying to tell them, to share with them.

Now. Go out and be brilliant!

NOTE: Last night I was updating this blog, mostly about at the top and I twas going well. There is a nuance of this software where if you paste something it selects a group of text. I dropped down, typed some more then realized all the text at the top was gone. I quickly existed and reentered and it was gone permanently. This has happened a lot when I use my laptop and not just here. It's very annoying. I just wish software would allow me to lock it into writing mode so that only typing words would be allowed as other functions crop up if you have the wrong key accidentally. Usually CTRL Z will save it or some other thing (like quickly existing and re-entering a document but when it autosaves (it had looked like it hadn't saved) you're lost. I just wanted you to know, this blog was a better blog with more elements about Jean Renoir but I was so frustrated with what happened I just left it as the original. I've had this happen with entire blogs so that I got used to using Notepad and copying and pasting but when you're just updating you sometimes mistakenly believe it will be okay, and then...it's not. My apologies for the blog you may never see. Though I may try to update it sometime this week when the pain of the event passes. It's just hard when you word something well and lose it, then when you redo it, it never seems to be as good as what you had originally done because at that moment you had been inspired.
I've told this story before but back in the late 1980s I had a dual 5.25" floppy drive system, no hard drives yet on home PCs. The left side was the OS disk, the right, the document disk. If one or the other filled, you lose everything. I had sat one afternoon in my living room and written a short story that I felt was the most perfect short story I had ever written. I went to save and it said, the horrid, "Disk Full" warning. I sat there for an hour, frustrated, angry, depressed, trying anything to save it until finally I realized my only recourse was to reboot, then write as fast as I could to reclaim all that I could remember. I was able to rewrite the story from memory, but not with the exact wording, and so it was never as good as that period of writing with inspiration, after re-writing it with a period of frustration and sadness. Computers. Our best friend and sometimes our worst enemies.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Conservative Mindsets and Our Holy American Gun Toy Attitude

We have a problem in America. Well maybe more than one. I just want to address two here. Conservatives and guns. How odd to draw those two things together, right?

Conservatives seem to rule two domains. The very ignorant and the very rich, as well as those who want to support either of those two groups.

There is nothing wrong with supporting the ignorant, if they are at least smart enough to know when they are voting against their own best interests. Of course conservatives would argue that in voting to say, save the whales, or worry about green house gasses and climate change, you are voting against your own best interests in that you might not have whale products or cheap gas or energy. But that is a very short term localized mindset. One could argue a defective mindset.

What good are those things if whales disappear forever or we speed up climate change or ruin our environment or waterways?

Conservatism as a fundemental platform in politics or for humanity may have worked once in an agrarian society where things remain constant over years and decades or centuries. But in a world such as we have now where things are ever changing and our climate is most definitely changing, no matter who you think is doing it, nature or Humankind, slow movement and conservative  thought is fundamentally defective.

In fact, I would argue that conservative thought as a basis for existence is a fundamentally flawed mindset.

Why?

Time is ever moving forward, change happens. There is nothing we can do about it, other than make up our minds not to do anything about it. A conservative mindset we've seen of late in denying climate change, or humanity's role in it, depending on what is more conducive to the conservative argument at the time.

Conservative (Republican) controlled groups in authority in various US states have legislated not to allow words like climate change, or to legislate to protect our coastal areas all do do economic concerns. When in reality, as the years pass we will be losing those land to the oceans and climate change.

What is the problem?

Progressive thought is something to base a platform for government or action upon. However, conservatism, is a dangerous thought to base a fundemental platform or lack of change upon. Liberal or progressive government is needed and we have seen worldwide those progressive countries have done well while other conservative, typically less educated or non first world countries, have not done so well. Those that have, actually have used more progressive actions in governing over well in a conservative way.

Since time changes and cannot be stopped, it is progressive. Trying to change that is an impossibility and trying to govern in that way it follows, is quite similar in it's affect to the environment and society at large. Conservatism is a filter through which to run the progressive thought processes. It is the brake to the progressive train so that it does not run off the tracks of progress.

To try and run the train of conservatism is to run the train at walking speed while nature is going far beyond running speeds or in many cases of late, passenger car speeds. We need conservatism. We need progressiveness. But in the right formats and the right degrees.

Conservatives need to realize they are relying too much on a desire for the status quo when it no longer exists. They need to educate themselves from the truth and not just sources with invested interests in making money, which is against many of those they are informing.

They need to stop supporting groups who tell them they are all for them, while taking everything away from them with their other hand. They need to understand they can be slower progressives but not faster conservatives and where their beliefs lay in the land or reality.

Progressiveness need to realize they need conservatism in its proper place, as a governing (limiting) force and although they need to be  against it as a primary governing (primary management) solution to just about anything, they need to appreciate it and it's followers for their contributions.

That example above about "governing" is a main issue in the nature of politics today and a misunderstanding in our processes.

Obfuscation and misinformation by the right's conservative forces blind their followers to even more blindly follow whatever they are told by vested interests by many of the rich like the Koch brothers or the powerful Rupert Murdoch's of the world with his Fox News arm of his vast conservative media empire.

We need conservatives and that way of thinking, but in a limited and appropriately used filter to our overall progressive movement forward in order to protect ourselves from the nearing future possibilities (possibilities that are even now existing and becoming problems like the shrinking water resources and misuse of what we have, their pollution by big oil and so on),

But we do not need conservatives and that way of thinking as a primary guiding governance in America, or the world. That of course touches on the biggest issue today which is religion and how it has grabbed a hold of some disaffected people's minds like a virus in a computer, damaging their connection to the world and the rest of humanity over issues that are fair tale like in nature, and against science on so many important issues today.

Although religion is shrinking in the first world and it won't be long before theists are no longer in the majority in the more educated nations of the world today, it is still growing in those not first world nations, the emerging nations of the world.

Those nations who have religion, and are populating quickly, where religion's number one method of maintaining its existence is not growth through reasonable, educated and intelligent thought, but through attrition of intelligence and education through overbearing population growth.

We are seeing this kind of battle between ancient beliefs based only in the beliefs of ancient societies against that of education and science, more and more. It is the last and final death throws of religion in the first world countries and examples of theistic groups like ISIL (or ISIS if you prefer) in the Middle East are prime examples of how things can and do go terribly wrong with religion.

It is an issue we see more locally and in more minor issues such as gun control, if not just safe gun use and ownership in America.

We have a gun problem in America. We seem to think owning a gun is a right and not a privilege. A very conservative way of looking at this. At least, many conservatives have latched on to the gun issue as a prime issue, not the least of which the NRA has championed as a cause celebre.

We seem to love guns. We seem to think they are cool, fun... toys.

We need to change that national attitude toward guns.

I'm not going to argue about the second amendment and what it means. It's pretty obvious it was meant to protect our nation and not against our own government but against other nations, primarily, Great Britain back in the 18th century. Or France back then, should they have decided to go to war with us. Until America was a solid nation with a standing army, they needed all individuals to rise to the defense of the nation should the need arise. However since we have had a standing army now for well over one hundred years, the need is not such as it once was. Not at all.

Conservatives will disingenuously claim that we still have that need. Surely, and of course, that need is a possibility. But is it such a need as there once was? Absolutely not. If you compare the two, you instantly can see the difference. But it is one of those obfuscations that conservatives will hang onto until you pry it out of their cold dead hands, as some like to say.

To feel that way about our needing a citizen army which is there to protect us against our own government, is to ask to breed paranoia and keep us from cohesion as a nation, as the United States and that was never the Founding Fathers desire.

Many of the comments they made back then about things, about trusting your government or not, were not about America, but Great Britain. But you cannot convince a conservative about that now a days. Because it fits their agenda, their beliefs, they emotions, all somehow oddly supported by their mostly Christian religions.

We do need to be aware. Recent times from the Bush administration after 9/11 have proved we can lose our freedoms, exchanging our fears for security. After our abuses and crimes against humanity, our torturing and wars, we do need to watch carefully our nation's leaders and interactions after we allowed them to lead us into abuses against others and even our own citizens. Mostly because it made us feel good or feel as if we were doing something, anything, even when there were better albeit counter intuitive ways to achieve our goals.

We do not need to be paranoid but attentive and proactive (something always difficult for a nation not to mention just the conservative elements within it. Today there is a thermocline of paranoia running rampant among many of our citizens. Mostly the mono-processing  type citizens but our citizens nonetheless.

Getting back to guns, look at how we treat getting a driver's license. Classes, training, testing, certifications, carefully allowing only after we have been assured someone driving a car can safely handle that privilege. And that is the problem. In believing guns are a right, we also think we cannot properly control that ownership. That, is a mistake that has been pushed aside by gun lobbies as well as the NRA. And they are wrong.

That is how we need to treat owning a gun. Sure, fine, let's say owning a gun is a right. Does that mean we should give the ability to one we know will use it to offend against law abiding citizens? Or someone mentally unable to attend to the responsibilities of owning a gun. Or the ignorance of a new gun owner, or a long time gun owner who had inherited poor ownership training since childhood? Or someone who regardless will misuse the gun?

Certainly not. We need to train and regulate. Fine, so most people can purchase a gun. But if it's a right, shouldn't we just give everyone a gun? Or are there indeed limits to gun rights? Then if you want to own or buy a gun, let's at least require as much training and certification for gun ownership as we do for driving or owning a car.

A car is a privilege but a gun is a right? Okay fine. The training is important and you have to pay for driving lessons, or you get them through your high school and paid for by the city, state or federal taxes. So too we can make training for guns free. After all, it is protecting our citizens. We don't allow any incapable person to drive a car, we don't allow poisons in our foods, let's not give rightful gun ownership to incapable gun owners. Let's at least try to make them capable gun owners, and if they cannot be, let's not allow them to have guns then.

We have to make gun ownership not what I could call controlled, as much as safe as possible. We have to change our attitude toward guns. And giving their ownership the same import as that of a new teen driver getting a driver's license, is the very least we can do about it. Because if you have to go through some degree of training, it gives you time to learn how to safely handle a gun, how to live with a gun safely, how to feel the weight of responsibility, the heavy weight of owning that weapon, that killing machine.

Many gun owners like to say that some gun or other is not a weapon, but a target piece, or built for entertainment. But if you turn that entertainment piece on another person, will they, can they die from if when you intent turns from fun to killing, or from safety to irresponsibility? It surely can.

In making gun ownership a thing to achieve and not just a thing practically thrown at you at the cost of the gun, we will walk away with a sense of the direness of having a gun in the house, the responsibility of carrying a gun, or using it in public.

Only then, will our national attitude toward guns begin to change and our country start to be a more safe environment to live and raise our children in. Even with the existence of guns just about everywhere.

Only then will the argument of conservatives that “if we outlaw guns, only criminals will have guns" start to become even somewhat untrue. The meaning of that statement is really about an attitude, an attitude we need to change. A change we can only affect if we alter how we deal with guns, to educate and elevate people's orientation in how they perceive guns.

If the conservative mindset wants to latch itself onto the right of gun ownership, even when they are so many other more pressing matters at hand, we again need to recognize that conservatism needs to be seen as the filter through which we see things, and not the fundemental process by which we make our decisions. It's a consideration, not a political platform. It's a part of a bigger issue, not the bigger issue itself.

There's some silly things going around about guns. Like this sad, childish nonsense that completely misses the point merely for emotional necessity:

"MY GUN - Today I swung my front door wide open and placed my Remington 12ga semi-auto shotgun right in the doorway. I left 9 shells beside it, then left it alone and went about my business. While I was gone, the mailman delivered my mail, the neighbor boy across the street mowed the yard, a girl walked her dog down the street, and quite a few cars stopped at the stop sign near the front of my house. After about an hour, I checked on the gun. It was still sitting there, right where I had left it. It hadn't moved itself. It certainly hadn't killed anyone, even with the numerous opportunities it had presented to do so. In fact, it hadn't even loaded itself.
"Well you can imagine my surprise, with all the hype by the Left and the Media about how dangerous guns are and how they kill people. Either the media is wrong, or I'm in possession of the laziest gun in the world.
"The United States is third in Murders throughout the World. But if you take out just four cities: Chicago, Detroit, Washington, DC and New Orleans, the United States is fourth from the bottom, in the entire world, for Murders! These four Cities also have the toughest Gun Control Laws in the U. S. All four of these cities are controlled by Democrats. It would be absurd to draw any conclusions from this data - right? Well, I'm off to check on my spoons. I hear they're making people fat."

No, a gun set down kills no one.
Yes, people kill people.
However guns the tools that hasten that effort.

But it's also notable that no one was ever shot with a knife, or a stick, a mind, or an orientation. Though those last two are in part the problem.

We don't need more gun control laws when they aren't working already, when they won't work after all for criminals.

However we do need more accountability, responsibility and intelligent disbursement of guns.

My blog this week is in part about that. I'ts not laws that will protect us, it's a paradigm shift in our thoughts that guns are a right and a toy, a shiny object for the monkey to play with.

I see no reason we should treat guns as any less dangerous than cars and for that you need training and certification to use. Should guns REALLY be any less?

In training gun owners beyond the training of merely counting out their money, saying thank you for a gift, signing a document, or having a background check run (if that even gets done), we need gun owners all to have accountability and responsibility drilled into their heads, and this is most important, we need non-gun owners also to have it drilled into their heads.

How does that help with criminals?

I said, a paradigm shift in how we view guns.

The next stage of that is an orientation in how we view human life. We'll have to stop killing people, for one.

Death penalties will need to go the way of the dodo bird. Paradigm shift in guns, gun concepts, humanity, death.

No, it's not simple (especially after decades of NRA's poisonous craziness), it's not easy (and that's hard for poor Americans when something is hard for them, or requires counter intuitive thought, or worse(!) pro-activity)... but it's not impossible.

It's that deeply embedded in our culture, and humanity in general that we love guns. Perhaps letting our kids have toy guns is the way to go about it. However, they would need to learn to use them properly, which would mean, no playing with them, no aiming at people, or shooting at people, etc., which defeats the purpose.

It sounds stupid but if the gun nuts are going to say gun control is not the way, and I might agree, then what? They have to come up with something and this, could be it.

Guns are not toys. They are tools. We need to stop seeing them as recreation even if they are used for that. They should be seen for what they are, used accordingly, and the culture reinvented toward that purpose.

On the other hand, I was as my mom put it, as a kid, "gun crazy". So she called the police department and found a kid friendly local gun team. They suggested the guy who did some reloading for the city police and used their firing range downtown.

I had to learn in junior high, how to handle these weapons, tools. I grew up with a couple of my brother's rifles hanging in my room. I never considered playing with them though I'd take them down, handle them appropriately, but I never shot anyone.

I've had a license to carry since I was 21 and I carried one before that at times. In fact I wrote a movie about it and my protecting a woman from local organized crime at 18.

But I had the right mentality toward guns. We are seeing too much of that now a days where people don't and so we see parents shooting their kids, "accidentally", gangs shooting innocents and each others, and terrorists activities cuz, it's cool.
That all has to stop.

Instead of gun owners talking about how gun control laws won't work, they need to shut up about that and start talking about what WILL work. Enough of the childish banter, let's get to work!

So sure, embrace what conservative thinking is about (not the emotional nonsense you hear them say most of the time, but the actual kernels of what they should be saying), but within the fundemental process of being progressive and progressively moving into the future, while you are actively and proactively dealing with the issues of today and tomorrow, now, and in the moment, as we truly need to be.