“Remember/When”

I had planned this elaborate piece based upon some prophetic quotations of previously great minds. That all fell to shit, when I remembered the opening passage from a book I read last year professing the false interpretation of a famous Mark Twain quote. I googled several famous quote formats only to discover they all contained the same groups of sayings. This all caused me to wonder about just how much relevance is truly derived from combing over the past? Is it possible this processing of memories is just another self soothing mechanism for present day anxiety? It sort of struck me the other day, that I’m at the age where the quality of time matters more. Sifting through memories is avoidance behavior for creating new experiences. With an average life expectancy, I’m hoping for potentially three more decades to live. Yikes, that sounds scary until you try to think your way back to being 26 all over again. While I want to believe I have a grasp of that time, my recollection is simply the highlights of what I actually experienced. Nearly all of the day to day thoughts and more importantly, the feelings for that time are diminished to blurred recounts of distant memories. Will 56 be the same for me at 86? With any luck, my desire to create new experiences then will be as strong as it presently is. I used to lug all of that shit around with me on my daily rounds, until the weight became such a burden, it about stopped me from realizing how to positively mold my present. I think this is very common among most individuals, as the idea of growing into our future selves represents more anxiety about what that entails than drifting backwards into the comfort of what once was. This is where the lie begins within each and everyone of us. We pause to dream about that ideal version of who we are, only to realize that will take a shit ton of discipline and self control, that’s much harder than compromising to the notion of fuck it, what I am is good enough. We read and hear the stories of others accomplishments and begin to dream of our very own, then just as with that New Years resolution, we quit and revert to tolerating our lack of commitment. Sound familiar? 

 

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Maybe, just maybe this post is an exercise in the mental evolution of my thoughts. I ran with a concept I felt was worth flushing out, only to pivot on my notion towards something distinctively different. Now, after making a statement with my opening paragraph, I’ve emboldened yet another idea, and am currently in the midst of connecting the two. 

 

  “Where does awareness factor into our lives...?” 

 

The human senses evolved to give us a chance to survive our surroundings with only average physical capacity. We’re no match for the great predators of the past or today. Before we developed the tools and technology to avoid and overwhelm such animals, we hid from them by always being watchful of our surroundings. Modern man faces dramatically different surroundings, and while still valuable, the senses take a back seat to interpretation of the intent of other humans. This skill varies widely depending on the culture surrounding your life, and the language of that culture, with respect to how individuals articulate their intentions. This is where literacy matters most, and unfortunately this is one of modern man’s great dividers. Transitioning the feelings from the self and the memories of the past to a statement of the present, that clearly suggests your present state and potentially your future behavior all depends on the individuals capacity to use language as a tool. Now language and level of literacy matters most. Awareness converted to expression shared with others gives social structure its power. Having all the awareness in the world serves no purpose until it’s articulated to those in your community to deliver some form of benefit. 

 

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What does all of this mean? All of us have this profound sense of how we feel, even beyond our ability to express that to others and the world around us. This compelling sensation within us drives the story behind this desire to create and express ourselves as unique individuals. As far back as 70,000 years ago, there are artifacts representing this ennate human characteristic. It’s intrinsically human to cultivate our ability to share ourselves. Now let’s imagine the degrees that ability varies from person to person. Now we can shift to our accumulated knowledge as a species to measure things.

 

   https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/10/08/us-adults-rank-below-average-global-survey-basic-education-skills

 

Now the income inequality can be directly correlated to the functionality of the members of the social construct. How can anyone with limited or diminished capacity adequately compete with those who have advanced capacity over the same functionality? What could possibly be the cause for such skewed outcomes for human development across a common social structure? Let’s begin with the one being presented as the most prominent by the minority’s captured in this measurement. Discrimination because of race. Ok, there’s no denying discrimination hasn’t played a role in our social evolution over the years, but the capacity to become literate, and use that skill as a tool to improve the quality of any individual life hasn’t been denied since the decision from   “Brown vs Board of Education”, although it did take an extended period of time for the full scale implementation of its effects. Every single child in the country has access to gaining the skill of literacy. This suggests the differential outcomes is a result of something beyond access to education. Let’s examine the home as a contributing factor to functional literacy disparities. This aspect helps to clear the discrimination biases because it includes all races. 


   https://nces.ed.gov/NAAL/PDF/2006470_1.PDF

 

 This study indicated some marginal disparities between ethnicity, and confirmed a large percentage of the entire population at intermediate or below. As a matter of fact, whites scored below basic at a higher rate than blacks, and only slightly below Hispanics. This is absolutely not a racial discrimination issue. All races struggle at similar rates to attain intermediate functionality with literacy. So, what can we surmise from these findings? 

 

 Functional Literacy and poverty are highly correlated! 

 Functional Literacy is not a byproduct of lack of access to government programs! 

 Functional Literacy is a social dilemma! 

 

 

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 Functional Literacy is not unique to the United States! 

 

Isn’t it time to begin the conversation about the causes and the solutions? Poverty is a self fulfilling prophecy with regards to how it entraps segments of all populations. The reason it carries this heavy hand is the distortion it brings to the cognitive development of those in its grasp. Parents with limited capacity most of the time are unable to identify their role in lifting up their children out of their own dilemma. It’s not laziness, they just don’t know any better. Communities see their role as offering relief via charity and the allocation of tax dollars to welfare. Neither of which addresses the core problem in a manner for resolution, only pacifying their empathy and compassion for the suffering of others. A true solution should offer all children, not only the chance to attain a functional level of literacy, but the support to encourage their family to realize that as a minimum standard of care for all children. Lifting a single generation from their birth to a functional level of potential capacity will establish the roots for all future generations to come to flourish as a collective society. This can’t be accomplished by means of prejudice, judgement, and withholding of meaningful beneficial support. This requires transformational shifting of the perspectives we use to identify this massive issue. This requires dissecting the benefits from the efforts to enhance the outcomes for more people. A cultural revolution of sorts in the way we view our sense of community state, and nation. 

 

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I challenge anyone taking the time to read this piece to go out and do a bit of background work on this subject. Taking my grumbling about the situation is easily dismissed as an opinion by those taking offense or disagreeing with me completely. Think about the attributes of those around you, who thrive and flourish. What do they have in common with one another, and how well to they articulate themselves to others. Draw your own conclusions, but stick your nose in mankind’s business just long enough to speak intelligently on the content, not about how you feel over all this.

 

 

  #functional literacy  

“Pieced/Together”

Last night I watched the new David Letterman show on Netflix featuring Barack Obama as the quest. Having never voted for him, I’m not a supporter of his political views or tactics, yet I do respect the values and understanding he conveys beneath all that policy rhetoric. He sees the injustice of humanity, and wishes there was a more beneficial outcome for a broader number of people. I see him as a good person that found politics as an opportunity to push for beneficial change. Unfortunately, that path is littered with greed and corruption, that tears away much of the fabric of intent for doing good. He expressed what I believed to be genuine gratitude for the circumstances beyond his control, that led to the opportunities, that offered him this path. His interview struck in me some of the views I’ve expressed here about how to tilt the social construct to favor everyone, and what those present barriers exist of.  

 

The ability to to see beyond the perception that we form at first glance is a key element to changing the story. “Us/Them” politics utilizes very restrictive ideology to separate individuals into polarized opposing groups, that posture against each other stagnating progress. Casual social conversations deteriorate under the weight of this paradigm, and present a giant barrier to supporting change. That partisanship represented in Washington DC filters all the way down to the tiniest of local communities when it comes to the lunacy of ideology. What doesn’t happen are open honest conversation rooted in sympathy, empathy, and compassion for making the entire system better for everyone.  

 

Let’s think about a real solution format for how to start these progressive conversations. Most issues arise whenever someone states their views derived from their ideological values, and the other person represents that polar opposite perspective. More often than not, these are people who’s positions aren’t predisposed to one another, because people aware of the others halo of ideology either avoid each other, the conversation, over pretend it doesn’t exist. Once that cat comes out of the bag, the posturing around the opposition rears it’s ugly head, and the emotional defense is all that’s on the table. Shift this outline to any conversation, and imagine the outcome. The problem lies in the identity of the individual based upon belonging to an ideology. There can be no progress without changing that personal dynamic within a majority of people. So, there is the foundation for building a platform to create real lasting beneficial change, that satisfies the hope existing within nearly everyone today.  

 

So, instead of building upon this false sense of comfort we derive from ideology, let’s build a better understanding of ourselves and the mechanics of who we truly are. introspection is not just a hippy culture escape mechanism, but a very powerful cognitive behavioral therapy. Asking the questions of yourself, that you would ask of others is an accountable approach to changing the rationalization process we substitute with today. Rather than searching for the reason to support your behavior, examine the intent before you allow yourself to engage in it. 

 

Rotary 4 Way Test:
1st Is it the truth?
2nd Is it fair to all concerned?
3rd Will it build good will and better friendships?
4th Is it beneficial to all concerned?

 

 

Evaluation of how we affect others and the world around us before giving ourselves the entire benefit of our actions. The ego hates this approach, but it's your consciousness, and yours to shape and form into what you choose to affect. This introspective approach takes some effort and refining to get your attention directed away from just you and outward to your life. Attaining compassion takes a certain discipline drawn from beneath the superficial surface most people navigate within. It takes some practice. Give it a try the next time you catch yourself judging the world and others whenever you feel the discomfort of being alone in your presence of who you think you are...

"Having/Arrived"

The site is coming together quite nicely, thanks to my trusty web developer daughter. Finally, I write in a place I can call my own. I used to imagine myself a writer as an adolescent, daydreaming about the satisfaction of moving people with my own words. It was never about fame or fortune, but more about the expression of the things I couldn't contain within me. We all wonder whether our thoughts and emotions are shared among others around us, whether our deepest hopes and dreams link to those people we admire. Never really enjoying the labor of reading, I had little reference for what or how to express all of this in the form of creative writing. As a matter of fact, I've only read a handful of books from cover to cover. The physical process of scanning the words, line after line for hundreds of pages put me to sleep. Still to this day, I can only manage to read through articles, essays, and reports. Yet, here I am attempting to create enough words strung together, in hopes of sharing what swirls within my consciousness. 

I am so blessed by the support and caring presence of so many wonderful people in my life. My grandparents were such an influence on all the time they were present in my life. All four lived well into my adult life, and into my children's late teenage years. 85, 89, 94, and 101 years of experience and subtle wisdom they brought to my world. All members of the "Greatest Generation" and as humble about their sacrifices and struggles they experienced during the Great Depression and the wartime. A stark contrast to all the following generations I've encountered. That foundation set the tone for how I see and experience the world around me. Each one bringing a distinct quality to help mold my perception and awareness of the childhood I lived. My dad's parents were educator's, so they had every summer away from work, and my mom's parents were retired Navy and homemaker, thus no jobs to tend to. Being the first grandchild to all these people, I was a "Golden Child" in their eyes. Imagine the attention that garnered the first two years of my infant life, before my sister was born. My mom had four siblings, three still living at home on the farm, and my dad had two younger sisters, with one living at home as well. That was eight additional people to mold, shape, and influence my early childhood development. 

The children of the "Greatest Generation" weren't as fortunate as myself. My parents exemplified the difference between their generation and their parents. Imagine growing up post World War II with the attitude and understanding your parents endured the calamity of the "Great Depression" and saved the world from tyranny before you were born. This not only left a chip on their shoulder, but also created an authoritarian parenting paradigm for their upbringing. Today, research tells us this parenting style leaves lasting negative effects on the children subjected to its absolutes and brutality. My parents weren't bad parents, just emotional wrecks within their individual struggles to reconcile their own childhoods. My dad didn't have what I consider a functional relationship with his dad until only a few years before my dad's death at fifty-two years old. My mom to this day still struggles reconciling the disciplinary upbringing her retired Navy Chief Warrant Officer father put her through. As unfortunate as these uncontrollable circumstances were for my parents, they compelled my grandparents to sort of redeem themselves as parents through their grandchildren. I had absolutely nothing to do with all of this coming together in such a way, or being born at a time where I would be touched by all these advantages, so for me it truly is a blessing. 

Anchored by this incredible foundation, I've developed my perspective of the world around me. That awareness is broad and far reaching to things of the present understanding of our existence, and the understanding of our species. Our behavior fascinates me to the extent of how people navigate the hypercomplex social structures we know today. The human emotional complex captures the attention of the vast majority of our species, and touching that vein to positively influence others is the mission of so much of what swirls around in my head. It appears to me, that if I can derive a beneficial approach to my life, and the lives of others, anyone can assimilate to an uplifting attitude towards our existence. I don't see myself as special to any extent, but simply able to find inspiration in others, and hopeful of sharing some bit of inspirational evidence to whoever I can encounter. Possibly, you might be struck by that as you visit my explanation for whatever strikes me as worthy of sharing...