Without true connection to our self, how can we be truly connected to any? Without true connection, how can we live effectively?
God will not cause people to share when they see no advantage. Atheism does not keep people from sharing because there is no big, bad dad or wise grandfather urging them to share. What we need is an understanding of enlightened self-interest, which would give to us the wisdom to see that by sharing we actually increase the benefit to ourselves in a great many ways.
Atheism, as such, is simply a nonbelief in a God. Human values are for humans, not gods. Atheism, and religion as such, for that matter, is irrelevant to a belief in human values. Even if we believe in God, that god's values may well not be our own. It is so much more important to give people a stake in human community, human caring, human support. Our job is not to speak for God, but for ourselves.
Self-valuation is a cultural and personal positive. A transcendent source or standard need not be theological in nature. There are ethical thinkers who can give transcendent standards by their stature and obvious truth. In fact, when we look to theology we do not observe the standards of God, but those of the men who have interpreted Him.
It may well be that "crap happens". However, when we take the Lord's Name in vain, in effect blame Him for our bad actions, He is expected to get testy.
It is up to us as human actors/thinkers/reasoners to understand our responsibilities to ourselves and each other. When we try to pass that responsibility off to someone or something outside of ourselves, that is the deconstruction, the faulty value.
Scared to death of a flawed human construct. That's what is keeping us from moving forward successfully.
A firm basis of belief in some kind of stable world, some kind of stable structure be it family, community of friends, ordered work environment, or simply a discipline of meditation, is conducive to mental (and physical) well-being. A community of believers (in anything) serves this. Religion at its best is a community of like-minded people who give each other place, belonging, a basis of security. The problem is when somehow that security gets perverted into war of our people who are THE people, and those people who are NOT US.
There are many who claim their religion as basis for all kinds of what can easily be agreed to as evil. This is, as I'm sure you would say, a perversion of religion. Yet, any belief can be perverted to sick aims, diseased world views. The way to health is in the individual, with good community back-up in the best of possible worlds. That community is best when it embraces a philosophy of loving acceptance, of willing good for all of its members and those who live beyond its boundaries.
There are a great many possible bases of community belonging, of people banding together to make life better for all of them. This is best achieved when we do not deny our humanity, our temporality, our physical/biological place on a living planet. If our eyes are always on heaven, we will not be appropriate stewards of the reality upon which we live here and now.
The problem with apocalyptic Christianity is that when one's purpose is to bring on the end of the world and God's Judgment, there is little to negative incentive to work to improve conditions in the here and now, or for the future.
Sometimes it may be the sense of deprivation that is misplaced. Perhaps this is a time to look outside the bounds of such values as love and money, to find the deeper connection with one's own self-valuation. It is not so much about trying harder or better as it is an
"Something" may not come from "Nothing," in fact cannot. However, that does not create a need for a "cause". Something could be eternal, changing, without "cause," but rather process, movement.
Sometimes sharing burden can be as much a gift as sharing joy. It allows us to connect in our fullness of experience. It allows to all be imperfect. It allows us to grow, individually and together. It can be an opportunity to stop trying and figure out where one actually wants to be, then figure out how to get there -- not effort but understanding.
When we feel seen, listened to, brought in, we are better able to see, listen to, bring in and share our own magic.
In my opinion, leaders are those whom others will follow. A strong component of leadership is charisma. However, self-confidence, exuding an air of competence and calm, can be very charismatic. This can be learned.
If you want people to spare the time/energy to be concerned, it is your responsibility to be fascinating.
Cops shoot the innocent everyday (somewhere), and no riot. What was in the powder keg ready to spark?
The nature of 21st Century American democracy seems to be about the voice of money and its agents. The hope is that a candidate that looks rational and nonconformist will help people to galvanize our own rationality and creativity -- if that energy is actually available.
It is the ordinary people who actually create the great bulk of jobs. Mega-corps may smile and twirl facial hair to disguise that the work they offer for pay is not the everyday small business jobs, even as small as individuals trading their services, skills, products to customer bases they create.
The real way out of this mess is to take back our individual and small business initiative and show the oligarchs we don't need their stinking jobs. It is they that need our labor and consumption.
What we have been calling the right seems to base their eco/politics on a theory of government being the problem, while what we have been calling the left seems to want to create solutions based in governmental authority and large scale social projects. If we could simply discuss various merits and detriments, we could perhaps find ways to agree and move forward. Rather, though, we spend our resources of time and public debate on squabbling. Wouldn't it be lovely if we could in general grow up?
Let's get over this question of whether we need government or not, accept that we have it, and do the work to make it serve us effectively.
People act like the money goes into some giant bin called "government" to rot. The money is circulated right back through as government pays its bills to private contractors, low income consumers, basic research, infrastructure, and so forth.
Of course it won't hurt investments -- paying taxes is an investment in our country
Schools, for the most part, seem to be not organized and in practice for the benefit of the students, but for the adult practitioners. It's not just kids with (you know some kind of disability) but kids generally that are made less rather than more by standard schooling.
Somebody needs to take over the schools and get them functioning or find another paradigm to education.
What society needs to be sexually healthier generally is to stop treating sex like sin or woo-woo or a dirty secret. Bring sex back to its rightful place as simple biology. Bring people back to the understanding that we are biological beings. Now, once the shouting is over, let's have a clear, open, grown-up conversation about how my freedom to express ends where your personal space begins.
My feeling about bipolar is that it is about energy fluctuations, perhaps something to do with brain sugar levels.
If we think of addiction as habitualized behavior based on reward feedback rather than some scourge or disease, we can do better by all of us. In fact, we can find better addictions with real rewards to replace those latched on to in panic or other arduous emotion.
(In an aside, it occurs to me that a lot of the uncomfortable behaviors we associate with addiction are more about the strain of the addict hiding who he is from family and friends, feeling more comfortable with other addicts with whom he can feel more revealable.)
We may like to blame feel good excuses like "children need fathers" "need religious upbringing" "need old fashioned discipline". What children need is the stability and encouragement of caring, involved, self-confident roles models in their everyday lives. The culture of despair that leads to and exacerbates the problems of poverty and dysfunctional homes is more about perceived powerlessness, and the passing on of mental illness both genetically and socially that keeps individuals, families, communities mired in dissociative confusion. Healthy individuals, families, communities can tolerate wide ranges of cultural norms.
There is no good nor bad. There is what is, and what we make of it.