Hubris Ante Nemesis – Flash from the Eternal Semaphore

Bobblehead DollAs a kid, I read a lot of Greek and Roman Mythology.  I learned some great lessons from the fates, the fabled battles, and the historical interweaving with the fictional.  One of the lessons keeps recircling, “Those whom the gods would destroy first they make proud.”  Except, the gods/God do not make men proud; men choose pride, then comes vanity, all feeding ego, until that penultimate moment when “Hubris Ante Nemesis” occurs and the bottom is pulled out from under you.

The fates are three goddesses by the name of Clotho (the spinner), Lachesis (the allotter), and Atropos (the inflexible), possibly the children of Ananke (Necessity); these fates spun out the woven lives of men and women on the tapestry of a grand design.  Out of necessity, the fates weave, and what is woven cannot be undone.  I can understand the mental comfort people might take from thinking that these weavers hold men’s destiny; thus, all success or failure is the fault of the weavers of fate.The Fates Picture, The Fates Image

Hubris, in Greek Mythology, is the god of arrogance.  Full of wanton violence, insolence, arrogance, and who actively chooses never to exercise restraint.  Hubris remains a classic example of extremes.  Nemesis is the goddess of fate and revenge.  Roughly translating Latin Hubris brings Nemesis to balance the scales.  Nemesis is the humbler of men who Hubris have enticed into taking their lives to extremes.

In Judaism, the saying goes, “Pride goeth before the fall.”  Or put another way, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”  In all cultures of men, this same semaphore is flashing across the minds of philosophers and religious leaders, beware the tides of extremes, choose humility, and caution against arrogance, pride, sloth, vanity, lust, gluttony, and ego.  When did we stop heeding this call?  Why have these calls been classified as religious and minimized in all societies?Nemesis | Myth Wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia

Consider the political leaders of the day, those who think they are beyond the reach of law merely because they think they are the keystone in a democracy and deserve to live better than those who elected them to power.  Recent examples of this pride are witnessed in Speaker Pelosi’s husband making stock choices when the company is about to get a massive windfall from the US Government.  Al Gore compared climate deniers to the police in the Uvalde, Texas school shooting while jet-setting around the globe.  He is preaching moderation and reduced lifestyles while he lives in excess.  The list is never-ending, where extreme lifestyles are flashed wantonly, and suffering continues to expand exponentially.

Marie Antoinette was made famous for the starving and suffering by losing her head after supposedly claiming, “Let them eat cake.”  Hubris snuffed out by Nemesis in a well-deserved act of humiliation.  Yet, one of the things that set Greek and Roman mythology apart from Judaism and Christianity was the ability to repent, achieve forgiveness, and change one’s life being in the hands of the individual, not the destiny of the Fate’s.

Being called to repentance is primarily the realm of religious leaders, and I would not want anyone to think I am making a call for others to repent.  Not my job, no authority, no power.  Merely, I hope to help raise the perception of those suffering from the hubris of others.  I also want to improve how I live.  I am not the example to hold up to anyone, except as a warning, but I strive to improve.  The poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley rings ever truer, “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”Invictus Games Foundation - YouTube

Our world, right now, is suffering greatly.  Crime is skyrocketing; theft is out of control; violence, aggression, murder, rape, and so much more are occurring at levels not ever recorded and growing.  Yet, Thomas S. Monson authored a book based on a concept of power, “The future is only as bright as your faith.”  Consider this for a moment; we can have hope and happiness in whatever circumstances we face as a choice reflecting our personal religious beliefs.  Yes, the consequences of crime hurt physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, etc., but the hubris of others can be healed.  Victor E. Frankl’s book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” signals the same semaphore, your choices can heal the hubristic consequences suffered, and the future is bright!

Those who have indulged in hubristic actions can find peace, joy, happiness, and forgiveness.  Those hurt by the hubris of others do not have to stay hurt, or hurt others, to find the same joy, peace, happiness, and forgiveness.  Want to know an exciting thought?  I am not preaching religion!  Your religious choices are your own, and I respect your religious preferences, provided they do not infringe upon anyone else’s rights to freedom of religion.25 Best Hope Quotes That Build Your Confidence Again - Picss Mine

I am talking about living without extremes, not religion.  How big of a house do you need?  Due to my violent sleeping and crazy sleep patterns, my wife and I sleep in different rooms.  Because I am a proud person who, after cleaning latrines and heads for the US Army and Navy, hates cleaning bathrooms, we also have separate bathrooms.  As a married couple, these changes to the “traditional” style of a man living with a woman have led us to live in a slightly larger home, but this fits our needs.  Please note that my bathroom is not a filthy mess, but it is not the surgical clean of a military bathroom either.  Nor is my bathroom one step higher in cleanliness above the military than my spouse’s.

How many cars and vehicles does a person need?  I don’t know.  I have friends who have four-wheelers, tractors, motorcycles, and a host of other vehicular conveyances.  I am not here to tell anyone how much of anything they need.  I merely postulate that you can make better choices and exercise less hubris through careful consideration and thoughtful discussion.  The same goes for food, clothing, entertainment, and every other vice humans invent to fall into.  I am not condemning anyone!  I suggest that we can live well without the extremes and expect our political leaders and bureaucrats to do similarly.

Question 3How expensive is the government because those who claim to be public servants practice hubris with our tax dollars?  How complicated a process does a government become when government becomes a jobs program instead of a government?  How big does a government become when hubris is practiced against the citizens?

As free-thinking humans, we do not need to be ruled with a brick stick to make better living choices.  We do need a moral code to live by, and how you choose your moral code is your business.  The moral code should include things like living within our means, not being violent to others, promoting good where we see it, and disdaining socially what should be kept privately, among other things.  I cannot stress this enough choosing what you believe is your business.  However, hubris hurts others to make oneself inflated, and that is everyone’s business!

Consider for a moment the store clerk who had to take a life to defend himself in a bodega in NYC.  That man will be forever haunted by the violence perpetrated upon him, leading to the perpetrator’s death.  The hubris of the attacker led to his humiliation but had consequences for society at large.  The thieves in San Francisco, Chicago, and other places do not hurt just the business and local communities, they hurt everyone in American society, and their hubris is morally, ethically, and legally wrong!Hubris Quotes. QuotesGram

The murderer’s hubris affects society just as wholly as the hubris of a political leader who lives in excess; I see no difference between the two.  Some may complain that murder and living in excess are two different moral choices, but those hurt do not differentiate the wound, so why should I?  Is not a life lost in murder?  Is not a life lost when the excesses of others lead them to use the power of government to steal, cheat, and lie in the name of government business?

Consider illegal immigration as the theft it is, and we can see how hubris negatively influences the originating country, pushing the poor out and the host country where the poor want to reside illegally.  Does this mean immigration is wrong; absolutely not!  Immigration includes assimilation, illegal immigration does not, and those practicing illegal immigration, promoting, and facilitating are all practicing hubris for personal power, wealth, and gain.  Are there those in the illegal immigration classes who are the “Sons of Mary;” indeed.  But the majority are merely perpetuating hubris with the resulting consequences in increased drug trafficking, sex trafficking, disease spread, and a host of other social ills.

I admit the murders of millions in Nazi Germany under Hitler were terrible, but how is this any different from Mao using government powers to kill millions by withholding food, clothing, and housing from those who disagreed politically, religiously, or personally?  Or any different than Xi Jinping doing similarly to the Uyghur populations?  What is different between Marie Antoinette and Marx or Stalin?  How are these actions any other than what the government has done under the excuse of Covid?  Did not millions die while political leaders lived in excess, flaunted their hubris, and stole from those who put them in power?️ Oedipus hubris. Oedipus Rex or Oedipus the King Essay. 2019-01-31

Under communism in the USSR, the people lived in abject misery, while those who considered themselves elite grew fat and lazy, all in the name of helping, providing, caring, and progress.  Communist Cuba and the disaster called Venezuela are additional examples of what occurs when hubris corrupts governments and society is left to suffer while the leaders live lives of excess.  America used to be a capitalistic country but is now a mix of socialism and communism under the guise of capitalism.  The hubristic lifestyles of those in power, their lackeys, flunkeys, and bureaucrats, are all at the taxpayers’ expense.  What is the difference between hubris in the communist USSR and America?

I am not claiming that anyone is doing anything inherently wrong.  Our choices to live an extreme lifestyle breed pride, vanity, ego, narcissism, and a host of other social ills; these social ills breed expanses to government, creating red tape, tax increases, and socialism/communism as measures to improve equality.  What happens when the hubris grows too big, war, revolutionary governments, and destruction.  The mythological Greeks would call this the coming of Nemesis to cull the acts of Hubris.  Judaism and Christianity would discuss balancing the scales of justice with mercy.  Other religions would discuss balance, choice, and compounding accountability for choices.  All truths flashed from an eternal semaphore, where man tries to explain the loss, putting morales to the stories and trying to pass along a truth grasped at, that men make choices, and when those choices include extremes, the consequence is death.

Knowledge Check!Is the future really as bright as our faith; YES!  What we choose to believe in, how we choose to exercise belief, and the need for freedom of religion to keep men on equal grounds, are all pillars to helping man live life without extremes.  Extremes breed death; living without extremes creates life; can we at least learn this lesson?  I hope so.

© Copyright 2022 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Things Learned About Animals: Lesson 1

MumbleAs a teenager, I worked on a dairy farm in Morrill, Maine, and later as a hired hand on a sheep ranch in Bluebell, Utah.  Often growing up, my family had chickens, ducks, geese, goats, pigs, cats, and dogs.  There are several lessons I feel we could learn from the animals.  In discussing the animals, you are left to choose whether the lesson applies to you or not.  I am not here to convince anyone, I merely relate what I have observed and the lessons I learned.  If you can use the lesson to improve your life, I have achieved my goal.  If you choose not to like the lesson for any reason, happily know you are not the audience intended, and move on smartly.

Animal Gender

Let me be perfectly clear, gender is an eternal construct, is established in the first building blocks of a body, and cannot be changed.  Consider for a moment with me the steps in the gestation process of any animal.  The egg is fertilized, and the fertilization process is self-explanatory, needing no additional discussion from me.  After the egg is fertilized by sperm from a male, the egg from the female becomes a zygote.  This clump of cells shortly gender is known, and the biological differences between a male and a female begin.Egg fertilization and development | Download Scientific Diagram

Males develop larger lungs, denser bones, and other chemical and biological differences.  Females develop smaller lung capacity, less dense bones, and other chemical and biological differences.  We had a female goat who liked to mount other female goats.  While this was highly uncomfortable for the mounted female goat and generally produced fights between the females, we never worried about the goats becoming pregnant.  Interestingly, after this female goat had been impregnated, this female stopped mounting other female goats and was a great mother of kids.  Not speaking goat, I never understood why she mounted other females in what could have been considered her teenage years; one thing was sure, gender did not change because the goat was confused.

It never ceased to amaze me that one could reliably tell the males from the females almost immediately from birth.  Due to their birth size, their growth, and their respective attitudes.  In observing a group of kittens, the males would dominate the females for momma’s attention, the best places to nurse, and innately knew they were male.  The females were smaller, leaner, and sometimes just as feisty and stubborn as the males; they knew they were different from the males.

Baby Cows and CalvesLater while tending sheep, another interesting lesson was learned regarding gender.  Ewes, female sheep, who had lost their lambs, knew somehow if a misgendered animal was placed before them and drove that animal away.  That ewe knew she had birthed a male or female lamb, and any orphan trying to feed would not do; only orphans of the same gender, wearing the skins of their original lamb, were allowed to become a stepchild and be accepted if the ewe permitted them.

Another lesson learned watching a shepherd was the decisions of the ewes.  I saw ewes stand next to a stillborn lamb until the shepherd collected that lamb for disposal.  Crying, mourning, and sometimes choosing to end their life by not eating instead of adopting a motherless lamb.  I am not anthropomorphizing an animal here, that mother losing her lamb cried, mourned, and entered a depression where the ewe chose to join her lamb in death, and regrettably it did not happen only once or twice.  I do not know if the same happens for goats, cows, or other animals.  I know it happens for mother cats and sheep as I have observed these animals and witnessed this event for myself.Cotswold Sheep. Bottle feeding orphan lambs, by Tim Macmillan | Sheep, Animals, Lamb

On the topic of orphaned lambs, I noticed something important, lambs with mothers, even adopted mothers, were less daring, got into less hazardous situations, and generally were calmer socially.  Orphan lambs were wild, got into trouble, did not come to eat without insistence, and several times did not learn from past mistakes, injured, and sometimes died.  I do not know why orphaned lambs acted this way, and without anthropomorphizing, an animal cannot dictate well what I sense is the answer.  I know for certain that ewes impart information to lambs, which is an essential aspect of the health and safety of the herd.

A mother goat, sheep, horse, cat, etc., knows their children, numbers their children, and looks after them.  I witnessed a mother goat kicking the head of a kid who belonged to another goat but who was hungry and wanted food.  Driving that kid off to find their mother relentlessly, and learned something of note.  At first, I thought this was just an ornery goat thing, but then I saw a horse, a mother pig, a mother cat, and other animal mothers repeat the lesson learned about mothers knowing and numbering their children.  A rare mother indeed will accept an animal orphan, and there is order in the animal kingdom!

Order in the Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus Species - Várias ClassesConsider with me a process all herd managers perform, the castration process.  A bull castrated does not grow the female reproductive organs and becomes a cow.  A castrated lamb does not change gender after castration; even if that lamb is provided hormones from female animals, that lamb is male.  A neutered cat does not regrow new reproductive organs or change genders; from birth to death, the gender of that animal is cast, they do not change, and their instincts remain embedded in that animal.

Order is created and not disordered merely due to the loss of a few reproductive organs.  Mothers choose to allow orphans to replace their children or become their children.  Some animal fathers are part of their children’s lives; others grow merely with the input of their mothers.  Regardless, great order is found and maintained in the animal kingdom over roles assigned by gender at birth.

Allow me to elaborate with some observations.  A ewe whom the shepherd relied upon to adopt lambs refused to adopt a lamb.  The shepherd tried everything, including rubbing the lamb in the still wet lamb’s skin, skinning the dead lamb and securing the dead lamb’s skin on the orphaned lamb, and even placing the mother into a pen with her head secured to give the lamb a chance to suckle.  Nothing worked, and all of the methods had worked previously.  Several days later, the ewe died unexpectedly, and the veterinarian determined that the mother ewe had had a disease and probably sensed this when refusing that orphan to suckle.  Order is maintained in the herd, and the condition this ewe had contracted was not passed along to a new lamb.Sheep herd is walking. Animals on grassland. Good conditions for breeding livestock. Pasture in ...

Our gander had taken a spouse, and when the goose died sitting on a nest, the gander was exceedingly heartbroken—calling day and night for his spouse, all to no avail.  After a time, the gander took to liking the ducks whose drake had flown the coop unexpectedly.  Seeing as there was no drake and no female goose, the gander took to mourning his spouse but sleeping with the female ducks.  But, the gander was violently opposed to any duck sitting on a nest, and my parents could not understand why.  My parents captured some eggs that had not been smashed to pieces and tried to incubate the eggs.  The animals born were not ducks or geese, and none survived long.  There is order maintained in the animal kingdom, and the animals themselves know how to keep that order.

It never ceases to amaze me the order and respect animals have for order in the animal kingdom.  In raising goats and cows, the information gained through smell was always interesting to me that allowed animals to act how and why they did.  I could not smell the difference between herds, but the animals knew, and when herds of the same animals mingled, the order was still maintained, and herd integrity was sustained.What to Consider When Raising Sheep and Goats Together

A goat and sheep hered we knew raised the sheep and the goats together; even though both species ate the grass differently and had to be moved more often, raising them together helped protect the herd.  One day another herd was being driven through the area, and a couple of animals got into the pens.  But, the goats and sheep raised together knew the outsider was not orderly and helped keep those animals away from their young and isolated from the whole herd.  The smell is the only answer I have as the foreign herd was smelled by our herd and shunned.  Even when new animals were introduced for the herd to grow, it took several days and several smelling sessions before those new animals were trusted by the rest of the herd.

In one Herculean effort, I heard a goat herder who tried to introduce a foreign billy into the goatherd due to the death of the former billy.  The nanny goats would have nothing to do with the new billy, even when draped in the skin of the old billy goat.  The goat herder tried everything, but until that billy had spent sufficient time with the nannies and smelled correctly, the billy was powerless to lead the herd and perform the duties he had been purchased to complete.  Interestingly, a similar problem occurred for a cattle farmer when introducing a foreign bull.  The cows refused his bull-like advances until the bull had spent time with the herd.  While I do not know if these are isolated incidents, I merely know that order is essential in the animal kingdom.

Lessons for Humans to Consider:Bobblehead Doll

    1. Gender does not change merely because a person wants it. The disorder caused by trying to be a different gender has repercussions and consequences beyond that individual’s choice.
    2. Humans and animals have will and agency, but order remains an essential characteristic of the world. I have heard that scientists have found great order when the observed chaos is understood.  Through magnification, scientists have moved closer to how things move, and I find it incredible the order found that once was described as chaos.
    3. Parents have a duty and role to play. However, their children also play a role, and the order found in families is a prerequisite to good societies.  An animal analogy, the herd of sheep I moved and cared for as a hired hand was a collective society.  They had rules, expectations, and those not choosing to follow the herd society regularly found themselves in danger when the weather changed, when a threat was near, and generally were the ones you could count on to be injured or die unexpectedly.
    4. Diary cows, after milking, will run to the farthest fence in a field; if they find the fence strong, the whole herd will congregate, graze, and chew their cud knowing strong fences protect them. In a storm, trusting the fences, the dairy cows will huddle together and move as a unit to protect younger cows and warm each other.  Dairy cows are not terribly different from humans, we push at barriers (laws), and if we find them sufficiently strong, we band together for protection into social circles and groups.  Failure of laws finds society broken and easily conquered by external and internal threats.
    5. Order in human societies remains an essential element in protecting, promoting, and providing social growth and development. Herds of animals, gaggles of geese, flocks of ducks, murder of ravens, etc., all depend upon the order in their society, or that society falls apart and, like iron filings to a magnet, has to reform into new organizations.

Knowledge Check!Are humans really so different from animals?  Are human societies much different from the societies of animals?  I ponder these questions regularly and am not surprised when social problems in humans are resolved by watching animal herds.  Covering a bull in the skin of a horse does not make a bull into a horse.  Castrating a bull does not morph the bull into a cow.  We must understand better the order, the laws, and the social requirements for society.  Animals and humans choose which society (country, town, city, etc.) they prefer.  If they choose to belong to that society, they must obey or onboard that society’s rules and social expectations.Taking Advantage of the 80/20 Rule | People First

Rarely does the 80% of the herd get into trouble, but the 20% of the herd does not sway or influence into danger the other 80%.  Right now, in human societies, there is a vocal 20% who insist that their reality must become the reality of the entire community.  Do we sacrifice the safety and security of the 80% for the choices and lifestyles of the 20%?  This is the question before us, and animal societies have provided the answer if we are willing to act accordingly.

© Copyright 2022 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Friday Funnies – I needed a Laugh… Shared a Laugh!

MumblePSA:  Please note, this article can be reviewed just for the writing, or for the humor, or both.  You decide.  If you know a good joke, leave it in the comments.  I am always looking for new materials.Best 32 Silly Jokes | Quotes and Humor

If careful calculation is correct, this is the third time I have written about humor, the power, the majesty, and the gut-splitting good times humor provides.  Oddly enough, I am a big fan of dad jokes, but not a dad.  I prefer humor that is funny for the fun, not the shocking or profane, merely a good laugh.  Of the funniest songs I have ever heard, Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown take the top billing with the song, “Make ‘em Laugh.”  Cole Porter also tickled my funny bone with a similar song, “Be a Clown.”  However, since I detest clowns, I cannot like this song very much.  Both songs are linked for your listening and watching pleasure.  Do you find clowns creepy in the Stephen King kind of creepy?

Computer HumorOne of the truths about humor is embedded in the lyrics of Make ‘em laugh:

Cosmo:
Though the world is so full of a number of things,
I know we should all be as happy as
But are we?
No, definitely no, positively no.
Decidedly no.  Mm mm.
Short people have long faces and
Long people have short faces.
Big people have little humor
And little people have no humor at all!
And in the words of that immortal buddy
Samuel J. Snodgrass, as he was about to be lead
To the guillotine:

Make ’em laugh
Make ’em laugh
Don’t you know everyone wants to laugh?
(Ha ha!)
My dad said, “Be an actor, my son
But be a comical one
They’ll be standing in lines
For those old honky tonk monkeyshines.”

Now you could study Shakespeare and be quite elite
And you can charm the critics and have nothin’ to eat
Just slip on a banana peel
The world’s at your feet
Make ’em laugh
Make ’em laugh
Make ’em laugh

Make ’em…
Make ’em laugh
Don’t you know everyone wants to laugh
My grandpa said go out and tell ’em a joke
But give it plenty of hoke

Make ’em roar
Make ’em scream
Take a fall
But a wall
Split a seam

You start off by pretending
You’re a dancer with grace
You wiggle ‘till they’re
Giggling all over the place
And then you get a great big custard pie in the face
Make ’em laugh
Make ’em laugh
Make ’em laugh

Make ’em laugh
Make ’em laugh
Don’t you know… all the…wants..?
My dad…
They’ll be standing in lines
For those old honky tonk monkeyshines

Make ’em laugh
Make ’em laugh
Don’t you know everyone wants to laugh?

Ah ha ha ha ha ha há
Ah ha ha ha ha ha
Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha
Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
Make ’em laugh, ah ah!
Make ’em laugh, ah ah!
Make ’em laugh, ah ah!

Make ’em laugh
Make ’em laugh
Make ’em laugh!

10 Hilarious Toilet Humor Jokes That Will Make You Flush“Don’t you know that everyone wants to laugh?”  There is much truth in this line, but laughing is a choice.  We choose what to laugh at, decide when to laugh, and choose, with the resulting consequences, what is found humorous.  The first time I saw the movie “Singing in the Rain,” from whence the song “Make ‘em laugh” originated, I thought this song was ridiculous.  Recently I saw the movie again, and this song was hilariously funny and laughed so hard I cried.  What changed; certainly wasn’t the movie which was made in 1952; the acting had not changed, the actors are dead; I changed.  The first time I saw this movie, I was exhausted after prepping for a holiday meal, I was strung out from too much work, and nothing was funny.  This last time, I had changed mentally and physically, which made all the difference.Thanksgiving Humor - Chris Cannon

What is the lie in the song “Make ‘em Laugh?”  Simply put, nobody can make you emote if you choose not to, a powerful lesson indeed.  I grew up in a big family, and there are seven of us kids; my uncle brought his four and then had a couple more, aunts, uncles, cousins, and more if you took the Salisbury family, those still living could still essentially fill a couple of venues.  My older brother was always trying to “make you laugh.”  He failed for many reasons; the first was I never thought he was funny.Pin by Lilly Gonzalez on Halloween Humor | Funny halloween jokes, Halloween jokes, Halloween memes

My older brother could take a joke I laughed at and kill the joke in the retelling.  I never met another person so anxious to make people laugh and like him, who failed so completely and miserably.  Take the funniest joke you know, put that joke in my older brother’s mouth, and that joke will fall flat, and you will wonder why it was funnier previously.  It never ceases to amaze me how this person can kill a joke, especially when he is such a joke himself.No sense of humor Memes

Long have I maintained the following formula:

[(Dark Humor + Intelligent Humor + a Warped sense of Humor) (Shaken not stirred)] = Me laughing hysterically!

Abbott & Costello Coronavirus Humor : NationalsI like to laugh.  I need to laugh, or the depression and anxiety become too great and I am angry.  This last week has been no picnic with the continuing crush from the VA-OIG, add the IRS and several state departments of revenue, and I needed to find humor.  Combined with the ongoing dissertation pains and the need for a good chuckle was mandatory!  Without further ado, here are things that leave me laughing in the aisles.  If repeats are found from previous posts, you have my apologies!

May you choose to enjoy!

Dark humor jokes | Thug Life Meme

Funny Picture Clip: Funny humor bizarre crazy pictures

30 Minions Humor Quotes - Quotes and Humor© Copyright 2022 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Flashes – The Law of the Harvest

Exclamation MarkConsider a well-known truth that never appears to be fully understood, does a man sow thistles and reap strawberries?  Leo J. Muir’s book, “Flashes from the Eternal Semaphore,” lists this as the fifth semaphore, and of the six semaphores, this one is probably my favorite to discuss.  Not because I am sowing rocks and reaping corn and beans, but because I often sow rancid vegetables and reap garbage, then wonder why I cannot improve my harvest.  As the writings on flash four stated, “Thy speech betrayeth thee,” I am a slow learned and generally only really grasp things after experiencing some consequences that would kill others.  As we discuss the Law of the Harvest, please note I am not here to convince or convert, merely to help myself.  If you find value in this topic, join me, teach me, that we may both then learn more perfectly.

The law of the harvest is straightforward; many farmers know this law cold, “You reap what you sow.”  If you sow lima beans, you do not raise grapes.  If you are sowing carrots, you cannot harvest apples.  No matter how many times you plant them, Cheerios do not sprout a doughnut tree; I know as I planted a LOT of Cheerios.  Bubble gum, when planted, never grows into a bubble gum tree; my mother lied!

Yet, with this mindset, many people, myself included, become depressed, disconnected from reality, and mentally unstable.  Thinking, oh, I can sow gossip and truth, and equity and justice will be shown to me.  I can tell lies, cheat, steal, then become rich, famous, and never have any negative consequences.  I can take and plant some cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, etc., in my body and remain healthy, strong, active, and never suffer mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.  The law of the harvest doesn’t work like this, yet, this remains the greatest living lie.Quotes About Reaping What You Sow. QuotesGram

From the eternal semaphore comes the following:

Be NOT Deceived!  [emphasis mine]”

Now, consider how many people drink alcohol and expect not to suffer a hangover.  Consider the people consuming vast amounts of sugar, in all its various forms, who think they will never suffer diabetes, become overweight, or suffer any consequences from all that sugar.  My aunt is a great woman, fantastic artist, amazingly kind and generous person, and a chocoholic.  She never thought about the consequences of consuming chocolate because the research shows chocolate is healthy; she never could overcome the mental illness she suffered from that the chocolate was a comforting influence.  Her family mourns her passing!

The law of the harvest is a stern warning and an incredible promise.

He that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”

The pattern is evident for those struggling who sow goodness, kindness, and happiness.  Hold on; your harvest WILL come, and it will be glorious.  In the same breath, those sowing hate, envy, strife, malice, greed, and so much more, your harvest is also coming, and I feel awful for what your harvest will be.  For the law of the harvest comes with a profound sentiment:

God will not be mocked.”Frederick William Robertson Quote: "You reap what you sow - not something else, but that. An act ...

I promise, there is a God, an atonement IS available through His Son, and the Holy Ghost is real and powerful.  The enclosed sentiment in the Law of the Harvest remains my comfort when harvesting the bitter fruits my heart grows.  Yes, many times, I quake for the thought that I desperately need to find a way to raise a better crop on the stony ground of my heart.  Long have I prayed for a change of heart, for a line from Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary” rings forever in my mind:

The soil of a man’s heart is stony ground.  A man grows what he can, and he tends it.  ‘Cause, what you buy is what you own.  And what you own… always comes home to you.”

If you get nothing more out of this flash than the need to change fertilizers and seeds, all with an eye to improving your harvest, I have accomplished my goal.  Confucius is quoted as saying, “Our headstrong passions shut the doors of our souls against God.”  What great counsel, our passions are the seeds, the consequences are the fruit, and the law of the harvest governs whether we will have a harvest to enjoy or curse, and we choose how to value that harvest.

Bear with me a moment; I might have lost a few of you.  Let me explain.  As a kid, we often had gardens, and I was regularly on the working end of a hoe killing weeds.  I cursed those weeds; I despised every second I wielded that hoe in the garden.  My cherub-like demeanor was nowhere to be found working those garden rows!  Then came the endless days of harvesting, canning, storing, and eating that which could not be stored; I still was NOT a happy person.  Ever eat zucchini for weeks on end because that horrible stuff reproduces like rabbits in perpetual heat whose water is full of Viagra?You reap what you sow. #bible #liveBigly #life #affiliate #quote #inspiration #message #world # ...

That is the point; when the harvest comes, and a harvest always comes, we choose how we value that which is being harvested.  My father tried hard to teach me this lesson, but all I ever saw were the endless hours sweating in a kitchen preparing jars for canning, the blisters from hoeing the weeds, and the time spent doing that which we would eventually purchase in cans as winter dragged on and on.  I could not see any value in gardening, so the blessings of the harvest were lost on me.  Headstrong passions blinded my eyes to the blessings of the harvest, and I cursed the day I was conceived.  Confucius is correct, and I have witnessed the problems with headstrong passions interfering with the Law of the Harvest many times since.

I am also experiencing the truth from Cicero:

A youth of sensuality and intemperance delivers over to old age a worn-out body.”

I would add, an intemperate youth also yields a worn-out mind!  Having observed this as a youth, I thought I could escape the problems of being intemperate, and I can honestly proclaim, I was wrong!  Since my youth, I lifted objects heavier than practical; I gloried in the strength of my body and pushed it to the absolute limit many times.  What am I reaping; I was disabled by the time I was 30.  I am now older but not wiser.  I still want to push my boundaries without regard for consequences and wind up on the floor, in hospital, or mentally unable to think properly for weeks on end.  As a kid, when my parents were told of one of their kids being punished (a not infrequent occurrence), they regularly said, “Well, he brought that on himself.”  To quote Ray Stevens, “Yeah, I Did!”  I did bring on myself the harvest of intemperance and am delivering a worn-out body and mind to old-age.  There are lots of seeds we plant and many different types of harvests we reap.  When valuing the harvest, choose wisely how you evaluate the crop.#everything #you #do #say #choice #soon #later #quote #lessons #learned #life | Lessons learned ...

Pliny, more famously known as Gaius Plinius Secundus, also known as Pliny, the Elder,” was a Roman author, naturalist, philosopher, and naval and army commander.  He is quoted as saying:

Lust is an enemy to the purse, a foe to the person, [a] canker to the mind, a corrosive to the conscience, a weakness of the wit, a besotter of the senses, and finally a mortal bane to all of the body.”

Lust is regularly only thought of as an intense sexual desire.  This type of lust definitely fits what Pliny is warning about; however, lust is also an overwhelming craving, unassailable desire, and intense eagerness or enthusiasm.  Yet, many might not fully grasp the semaphore Pliny is flashing; Henry Wordsworth Longfellow might be easier to understand:

The blossoms of passion, gay and luxuriant flowers, are bright and full of fragrance, but they beguile us and lead us astray, and their odor is deadly.”

Henry Giles and John Howe are both flashing the same message, trying to capture our attention and teach the same lesson:

The passions are at once tempters and chastisers.  As tempters, they come with garlands of flowers on brows of youth; as chastisers, they appear with wreaths of snakes on the forehead of deformity.  They are angels of light in their delusions; they are fiends of torment in their afflictions.”

Sensual delights soon end in loathing, quickly bring a glutting surfeit, and degenerate into torment.”

What do you regret from your youth as the first tastes of passion’s deadly fruits?  Let me speak plainer; of course, you remember your first time in love, the rush of passions start, and the heartbreak of closure.  Do you see the seeds of passion and the harvested fruits as beneficial or deadly?  I know my answers to this question and understand more fully why modesty, chastity, and virtue are to be honored, respected, and cherished.  You choose how you evaluate your experiences.You reap what you sow | Everyday quotes, Peace quotes, One word inspiration

I currently work with a person who curses their ex-wife in the vilest language imaginable, yet, they praise their child in the same breath and bless the day they came into their life.  What seeds are being planted in the child, the co-workers, and society?  Will the bitter fruit be understood and evaluated as good?  Time will tell.  Byron summed this semaphore perfectly:

Vice digs her own voluptuous tomb.”

Of all the advice given, I wish I had observed the following more perfectly, and while I do not know the author, many have semaphored the following message in one form or another:

Shun the obscene!”

A long time back, exactly when escaped me, I watched a comedian who told some off-color stories for the audience’s amusement.  Those seeds bore some of the most pernicious weeds in my mind, choking out life and pleasure, goodness, and all things clean and kind.  Killing those weeds is a constant exercise, some would classify as futile.  But, I have chosen differently and fought those weeds desiring something better, and the fight continues.  I do not find swearing, debauchery, lewdness, immorality, perversion, and such amusing anymore.  When I came to myself, I cleaned out a LOT of entertainment, removing books, magazines, music, movies, and more in an effort to cling to the good and shun the obscene.  I had to re-learn lessons from childhood.

Now I look back on those mistakes, those seeds planted carelessly, and the bitter and thorny weeds I now fight and wish I could help others understand the same lesson I learned.  Not shunning the obscene leads to problems immeasurable.  In the US Navy, I had a good acquaintance who went to a party, was slipped a mickey, and woke up having been raped by another female.  I counseled my friend to report this event and get tested.  My friend declined because she “did not know if she liked it or not.”  I mourned my friend that day and many days after as she experienced what happened after not shunning the obscene.  Before she revealed her true self, her rapist was a person I respected and who was removed from military service for other actions.  But the crime of rape went unreported, a sad commentary indeed!  John Howe was absolutely correct:

Sensual delights soon end in loathing, quickly bring a glutting surfeit, and degenerate into torment.”

Quotes You Reap What You SowMy friend’s experience in the US Navy always brings a poem to mind courtesy of Alexander Pope:

Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
as to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace
.”

The truth of the matter remains permanently etched upon our souls or consciousness, “You reap what you sow.”  We inherently know this truth, and then become sidetracked by temptation, which comes in the forms of misery, depression, beauty, emotions, and more; wrapped in shiny foil, the fruit inside is always bitter, but the first bite is a temptation that over time becomes that which we would have died to avoid.  Robert Southey, the English poet, semaphored this message thusly:

They who engage in iniquitous designs deceive themselves into thinking that they will go so far and no farther.  One fault begets another; one crime makes another necessary.  Thus downward they go into the depths of guilt, which at the commencement of their career they would have died rather than incurred.”

QuestionCan you relate to your experiences with planting and harvesting?  What are you teaching and semaphoring?  Dr. Johnson adds a comment worth remembering: “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”  While Dr. Johnson is correct, there is a “Balm in Gilead,” there are chain cutters available through repentance and a path back.  There is a reason to hope!  Not speaking religiously, nor am I here to convert anyone to any religious flavor, merely to alert those needing it that there is a way to clean your mind and heart, that your future may produce a better harvest.  Even if you might have to harvest garbage for a while as the ground cleans itself of the impurities dumped into it.  Mr. Muir quotes Simons, a reference unknown, regarding the path:

Impure thoughts awaken impure feelings, lead to impure expressions, and beget impure actions, and these lead to imbecility both of body and of mind, and to the ruin of all that is noble and pure in character.”

We who have survived youthful transgressions understand this path perfectly.  Note, we live in an age of severe iconoclasm, where every day, we are bombarded by attacks on established beliefs by institutions built for the sole purpose of tearing down others.  Who cannot replace their depravity and destruction with anything wholesome, good, pure, or worthwhile.  Where beliefs of religion, societal norms, and institutions representing the living and breathing were destroyed for the wanton pleasure of the iconoclasts.  The age of the iconoclasts began with the 1960s, and nothing built since is worth the pain and suffering we are experiencing now.  Worse, those iconoclasts from the 1960s are now teachers and professors, elected leaders, and their legacy of destruction stares them in the face while they laugh and take pleasure at your suffering.Quotes About Reaping What You Sow. QuotesGram

With each successive generation of iconoclastic behavior, the succeeding generations are a factor of 10 worse than their parents.  Think of how many generations have come and multiplied this abhorrent behavior into society.  Is it any wonder as a society we are in the mess we are in, where criminals get off, the victims are repeatedly punished, good is heralded as evil and evil for good.  But, I promise there is a “Balm in Gilead,” there is a path forward that leads back to life, growth, happiness, goodness, and a morally upright society.  Shunning the obscene is the first step!

Knowledge Check!We must be the generation that begins the repair job from the iconoclast’s destruction.  The ravages inflicted upon us will require re-learning, embracing hope, building faith, and acting charitably through faith and hope to act charitably first to ourselves, then to our families and friends, and then to the broader societies we all live in.  Whether you embrace a religious community or not, the imperative to “Shun the obscene:” the need to sow better crops to reap a more desirable harvest valued by others is universal.  Not to create fervor and fanaticism, but to create a people dedicated to improving ourselves and after improving ourselves to improve the world around us.

May we all enjoy a better harvest is my hope!

© Copyright 2022 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

I Need the WHY!

?u=http3.bp.blogspot.com-CIl2VSm-mmgTZ0wMvH5UGIAAAAAAAAB20QA9_IiyVhYss1600showme_board3.jpg&f=1&nofb=1By now, the entire world knows the who, as in the central characters in the farrago and cheap Kabuki Theater that has been our lives since 2020.  The list of nefarious and detestable characters leads only to politicization, chaos, and right now, the names of these characters need no further introduction.  I will not name these repugnant rapscallions any longer.

We are fully clear on the where, as in, we know the whereabouts of how this global Kabuki-Style charade originated.  Frankly, unless the consequences include the “Ryan Doctrine” and an entirely new government in China, additional discussion is moot at this point.  If you are unfamiliar with the “Ryan Doctrine;” it is a reference to John Patrick Ryan, the fictional character from Tom Clancy’s books, who claimed that if it is okay to send some 19-year-old kid to war, the political leaders are fair game, as much as that poor-kid ordered into battle.  Long have I supported this belief, having served in the US Army and the US Navy, listening to the political hosts banging the drums of war against Russia.  I am fully on board with the political leaders being in the same boat as the kids whose lives they are throwing away.

The what at this point is pretty simple; COVID-19 is a virus that was experimented into being through “gain of function” research.  As Senator Dr. Rand Paul has discussed ad nauseum ad infinitum with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the gain of function research scientists take a virus found in nature and make that virus more deadly and transmissible in a laboratory for human endangerment.  While the NIH continues to play “find the pea” games with the definition of gain of function, the simple version is stated and sufficient to my purposes.Knowledge Check!

The how is also pretty clear by now; the inability to close human interactions at the beginning of this virus debacle has led to the deaths of many people.  Human interactions are the number one problem in stopping the spread of any airborne, highly transmissible virus.  From the flu to pneumonia, and from SARS to MERS (two highly contagious and lethal upper respiratory viruses), and all the diseases in between, humans interacting is both the cure and the problem.  The problem, these viral diseases are spread through the air, and we share a lot of air between people.  The cure because sharing the virus, in its many variations, is how immunity in populations is increased.

Let me pause here for a moment.  Let’s talk about risk.  The risks you choose to onboard are how you build a life.  My risk tolerance is different from your risk tolerance, and while we might share some levels in our risk tolerances, we will be different, and in being different, we choose what to be exposed to, how, when, where, and why.  Humans have been making and exercising this freedom since the days of Adam and Eve and will continue to make this choice, without, and sometimes with, government boots on necks.

Where you set, your risk tolerances are choices, where you as an individual are exercising your moral agency.  These choices come with natural consequences.  For the government to interject and impose themselves into your risk tolerance decisions is immoral, unethical, and according to the US Constitution, illegal and illicit actions, and not only under the first amendment.  Please see my other articles on the topic for a more in-depth review of the US Constitution.

QuestionAs we have experienced these last two years, the when is pretty apparent, and restating more on when is wildly redundant.  However, since the Internet is forever, let me only stipulate the government has been running amok since 2000.  The gain in government over liberties, rights, and freedoms in the populations with representative government has only sharply increased since 2020.  It remains imperative that government from the city to the Presidential office needs serious reprimanding, shrinking, and curtailing!

Repeating only for emphasis, I need the WHY!  Why were all the pre-pandemic plans, government exercises, and 200-years of research in basic virology and virus management thrown away during this COVID-Kabuki?  Why have so many bureaucrats become rich, famous, and hailed as “the science” when basic science has been ignored, shunted to the side, and criticized?  Science is constantly debated, doubted, discussed, and repeatedly tested in a research laboratory and the real world.  Physics leaders debate gravity; medical researchers are always learning something new, reporting something new, and then testing the new to prove it has worth and value for study and learning.  Every field of science is learning through testing, re-testing, discovery, debate, and discussion of doubts.

Yet, for the last two years, all doubting of published, and heavily politicalized science, has been squashed by the thumb of government, and I need to know WHY!  Drugs helpful in treating the flu were refused for COVID, even though previous studies, done by the big names in the NIH, were politicalized, pushed out, and refused to people suffering; why?  Masks were mandated, even though every manufacturer is forced, by legislation, to admit these masks do no good in stopping viral particulate from entering the mask.  The body of research is growing discussing the efficacy of wearing masks during surgery and reflects that those wearing masks harm the patients’ undergoing procedures from doctors and nurses wearing the mask, increasing the potential for sepsis post-procedure.The Duty of Americans

Why are patients harmed; the mask was ONLY ever intended to help curb droplets of bacteria born from the mouth and nose of the medical personnel from dropping into the wounds and surgical area of the patient until new technology could be derived.  Follow the history of masks from cotton to paper and reusable to disposable, and you the truth is obvious.  Research is being conducted on the germ storm created on the front or outside of the mask that the doctor is then blowing onto the patient’s wounds.  Basic science can logically explain and expound upon this topic.  Unfortunately, as what occurred in 1846 to Doctor Ignaz Semmelweis, those with political power and a modicum of medical training are treating those discussing, debating, and doubting established “science” wickedly and immorally, while pointedly refusing and trying to dispel everyone who disagrees.

By the way, Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis was the doctor who championed hand washing and cleaning instruments between patients with a chlorine solution.  Consider medical treatment today; how many of you want your doctor or nurse not to wash their hands between patients?  Wear gloves?  And have ready access to sterilized medical instruments?  Another hot topic in hospital safety is pharmaceutical-resistant bacteria, viruses, and easily transmissible diseases in hospitals.  Want a topic to scare the hell out of you; read any paper on the problems with controlling sepsis, an easily spread illness for any patient having a medical procedure, where droplets of bacteria drop into the wound, sometimes from the masks of those performing the procedure.

Frankly, I prefer to see medical personnel in face shields rather than masks.  It is easier to hear the medical professional, the face shield is easily cleaned with alcohol one-time use swabs/pads, and I can listen to the doctor/nurse.  Plus, the same droplet control is achieved without the danger of passing droplets of bacteria into an open wound by surgical and medical personnel.  Upon looking at the research on masks endangering patients, how many medical professionals will switch to face shields and away from masks voluntarily?  Well, Dr. Semmelweis’ history shows us the answer is less than zero!  Why does history repeat itself so often; many people refuse to learn history to avoid repeating history.  But the real reason is that people with power refuse to listen to those with ideas and no power.  Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis died of the same disease he fought in maternity wards, sepsis (previously known as childbed fever).

VaccineWant to really be freaked out, scared into mental distress; read what the CDC reports on hand hygiene in hospitals and doctor’s clinics.  Very few medical professionals adhere to hand hygiene protocols to the detriment of the patient!  Yet, since 1846, almost 200-years, hand hygiene has been known as the best course of action to prevent spreading diseases, except the number one reason doctors and nurses don’t wash their hands is their personal beliefs.  I want to know why medical professionals, who are supposed to be embedded in learning and discovery, refuse simple science when it stares them in the face, resist common sense and logic, and inflate their egos when questions are asked.  Ever ask a doctor or nurse when the last time they washed their hands?  I was threatened with being kicked out of an ER for asking this question, wounds untreated, pain issue not resolved, all for asking the ER doctor if he had washed his hands recently.

Why did the WHO, the CDC, and so many other repositories of international science refuse 16-years of dedicated science about mask-wearing in the community and agree with the governments to force mask mandates onto the populations?  What changed in science; nothing!  What powered mask mandates; politics!  Where did masking healthy people as young as two-years-old originate; the warped and twisted minds of someone making a ton of money on mask manufacturing!  How did the masking of healthy people work out; it killed them through suicide, fear of hospitals, and through a fake sense of protection!  Want to know a truth; all of this was known, recognized, and understood through multiple studies, government training exercises, and real-world research as early as 2000.

Exclamation MarkI have to know why!  As a life-long learner, as a student of human interactions, an observer of groups of people and individuals, the why is the driving force in the five questions of study (who, what, when, where, how, and WHY).  I have been told to “Follow the money,” guess what, the money and the origin are similar.  I have been told, “It is political;” well, if that was true, where did the opposing party go?  I have been instructed, pointedly, by Federal Police Officers as they were arresting me because I physically cannot wear a mask.  My questions are ill-timed, inappropriate, and a public nuisance.  The political pandemic is all but concluded; my questions are not ill-timed anymore.  I want answers!  If this was a political exercise with a global bio-weapon, as postulated in March/April 2020.  In that case, I want the opposition party to start asking bureaucrats questions and drill down to answers!  It’s called scrutiny; exercise your elected responsibility!

As instructed in the book authored by Simon Sinek, “Start with Why!”  Why did governments steal power, authority, and liberty to demand mask adherence?  Why did the government push vaccination of a new and unstudied vaccine technology?  Why were effective drugs canceled to fit a political narrative while people were dying?  Why was a virus politicalized in the first place?  Look at the timing, and ask why the virus was released when it was released?  It is abundantly clear that the Wuhan Laboratory is deeply involved, which means the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is deeply engaged, and people died.  Why can’t the world’s people hold the CCP liable for the virus release and resulting harm?  Why can’t Fauci be held responsible for investing taxpayer dollars, against the order of the sitting US President, in the gain of function research?

When asking who got richer, ask why they appeared to force non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI’s) when these people stood to gain financially from those mandates of government?  Why did congressional representatives in the United States gain in measures above and beyond average market gains, all while people they were expected to represent in government died?Gravy Train 3

Before another question is asked, the media needs to answer why are they the voice box and cheer-leading squad of politicians?  In all representative governments, the media is supposed to be the third party, a neutral source, and a voice of the masses.  Why did the media forsake their job?  Why is the media always the lapdog of the liberal and progressive (regressive) parties?  Why did the press sell its heritage for a bowl of pottage?

Since the media refuses their job, and big technology is tied hand and foot to the press and politicians, like a warped three-legged race, why are the taxpayer dollars being used to enrich big-tech companies?  Why is a publicly-traded entity, big tech companies (LinkedIn, Facebook/Meta, Twitter, etc.), allowed into government offices?  Isn’t this the very epitome of insider trading?  Why is big tech even allowed to influence the government?  I need the why!

Why did the government take lists of the unvaccinated?  The political left has no morals, no compunction, and biggering the government is their god.  The political left is known for using any means necessary to get what they want.  Worse, the political left, and right, have proven untrustworthy, immoral, and unethical.  What happens next should be the second question answered after why!Detective

Finally, why did the religious leaders walk in lockstep with the government?  Sweden’s results are from following sound science, and they are better off than everyone else in the world.  Religious leaders have always claimed the moral high ground, even while “rendering unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.”  Thus, we must know why the religious leaders did not protect their flocks and show authentic, inspired leadership?  Do you feel cheated by your religious and political leaders?  I have some concerns!

Please, don’t take my word for it.  Look it up.  My references are boldly stated to help you, not prove a point; research can only support a conclusion and proves NOTHING!  I have questions, and my research promotes more questions.  I would see you, dear reader, fully informed and able to ask your own questions.  In an ironic twist of inanity, the CDC reports the following, “glove use is NOT a substitute for cleaning your hands [emphasis inferred and mine].”  The research linked is a peer-reviewed document the CDC provides for doctors to promote more hand hygiene in medical situations.

?u=http3.bp.blogspot.com-CIl2VSm-mmgTZ0wMvH5UGIAAAAAAAAB20QA9_IiyVhYss1600showme_board3.jpg&f=1&nofb=1The science is in; this is a true statement, but changing the hearts and minds of people takes an inordinate amount of time that government interference only worsens!  If you reach different conclusions after conducting your own research, please use the comments to discuss, and include your research.  I am the first person to declare that I know nothing!

References

Miller, Ian.  Unmasked: The Global Failure of COVID Mask Mandates.  Post Hill Press.  Kindle Edition.

Pittet, D., Simon, A., Hugonnet, S., Pessoa-Silva, C. L., Sauvan, V., & Perneger, T. V. (2004). Hand hygiene among physicians: performance, beliefs, and perceptions.  Annals of internal medicine, 141(1), 1-8.

Vincent M, Edwards P. Disposable surgical face masks for preventing surgical wound infection in clean surgery.  Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016, Issue 4.  Art.  No.: CD002929.  DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD00292

© Copyright 2022 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Reverence, Conflict, and Contention – Understanding Improves Capability

Several commenters have erroneously confused conflict and contention and harangued me for promoting conflict.  With this article, I intend to dispel the confusion and encourage understanding.  These three principles, reverence, conflict, and contention, are paradoxically connected, and a greater understanding is needed.

Reverence

Some of you think that reverence only belongs in church settings, and frankly, your lack of insight into this word is why we are discussing reverence.  Please, turn off the voices in your head for a minute.  M. Russell Ballard provided etymological understanding for the term reverences pertinent to this discussion.

Reverence may be defined as profound respect mingled with love and awe. … The root word revere also implies an element of fear.  Thus, reverence might be understood to mean an attitude of profound respect and love with a desire to honor and show gratitude with fear of breaking faith of offending.” – God’s Love for His Children

Webster also provides additional insight into reverence.  Reverence contains definitions, including an action to show respect; a feeling of mingled awe, respect, and admiration; veneration; esteem heightened by awe (wonder), as of a superior; especially, such a feeling toward deity.  Finally, we find more insight; reverence includes treating with profound awe (wonder) and respect, or veneration.

Many Christian religions sing a hymn that encapsulates reverence, “How Great Thou Art.”  The first stanza is my favorite:

O Lord my God!
When I in awesome wonder
consider all the works
Thy hands have made,
I see the stars,
I hear the rolling thunder,
the power throughout
the universe displayed.”

Take anything you see out your window right now.  Flowers, trees, grass, snowfall, frost, cars, asphalt, window glass, etc., and consider the hands, science, and creation of that item with wonder.  With awe, consider the birds, bugs, animals, humans in all their variety.  Want to know a secret?  You just showed reverence.  More importantly, you made a choice to open your mind to see past the mundane and explore the higher plains of existence with your human eyes.  What are the consequences of awe and wonder, joy!  Reverence brings joy!  Want to know another secret; one of the most challenging problems all societies face is choosing to show reverence and look with wonder and awe upon the world around us.

I can build a house; well used to be able to build a house, now all I can do is teach my skills to someone else.  But, guess what, I am the first to declare I am no expert, and their remains much I can and want to learn.  Want to know another secret; learning shows reverence and brings joy.  I marvel in awe at craftsmen displaying their skills, be it building a house, fixing engines, creating delectable goodies, or simply watching small children explore the world, I choose to view in wonder the majesty around me, and this brings joy!

What is Joy?  Why pursue Joy?

Joy is defined loosely by Webster as “Intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness.”  But does not fully encapsulate what joy is; joy is mental peace, mingled with an uplifting spiritual feeling, leading to physical contentment and feelings of well-being.  Joy is a pursuit, not the object, not the destination, and is a drug you can become addicted to quickly.  However, pursuing joy for pleasure is a pathway to problems, for joy does not contain truth, only the recognition of accomplishment.  Joy is a by-product of choices leading to success in achievement.

The pursuit of joy includes failure, feelings of hopelessness, and even despair, physical and mental pain, and anguish.  Yet, joy is still sought and pursued, why; because at the end of the day, joy occurs when goals are accomplished, and in evaluating the goal, we find the struggle worthwhile!  When we, as individuals, choose to stop pursuing joy or achieving a goal, we die inside, leading to physical and mental disease.  This is why retirement is such a bad idea, why giving up is so physically, mentally, and spiritually destructive, the loss of joy can physically, mentally, and spiritually kill a person.

The lack of joy precedes a loss of hope, bringing with it soul-crushing despair, depression, and opening the door for that individual’s destruction.  Why pursue joy; to avoid the death inherent in hopelessness.

Contention

Let me be perfectly frank, contention and conflict are not the same.  While the terms are close, they are distinct and tell different sides of the same story.  First, contention is an act of striving or an assertion.  Contention is a violent effort to obtain or protect something vehemently!  There is effort, struggle, exertion in contention; there are violent efforts, and the core of contention is pride.  Pride breeds animosity, animosity breeds struggle, and struggle is contention, where pride is demanding that violence is acceptable as a means to achieve the desired end goal.  When contending, “The ends justify the means.”

Contention is animosity personified into action, effort, and desires become evident as contention unfolds.  We cannot forget these facts about contention.  Consider the following; I went to work in a hostile atmosphere; due to a contract signed, I could not quit and find a new job, and reassignment was not going to happen.  Jealousy and pride entered because I was very good at my job, and violence followed like the sun rising after a moonless night.  The result was that contention was born and festered, violence was perpetrated against me, and the violence was acceptable to the leaders as it gave them feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction.

The violence was justified because I was “too good” at my job, made “decisions above my paygrade,” and “I needed to be taught humility.”  The result was four disastrous years of struggle, incredible stress levels, and mental torture, with physical acts of violence thrown in to spice up the environment.  Contention is pride expressed through violence and justified to fit the individual’s desires.

Conflict

I have written a lot about conflict, conflict’s benefits, how conflict is a tool, and the dark side of conflict.  At its most fundamental level, conflict is all about helping spur growth, development and bring about change.  However, I cannot stress this enough; conflict is NOT contention.  Conflict is not born of pride and a desire to feel better about yourself through violence.  Conflict can be observed in a disagreement or difference in opinion, but conflict does not include emotional hyperbole (pride).  Conflict should be about mental disturbances spurred by people seeking greater ideas and ideals, personal growth, or team development.  Does conflict lead to contention?  Yes, because pride enters into the disagreement, emotions are injected, and desires to be right at any cost dictate it is time for violence.

My wife and I have a conflict.  She does not like being mentioned, even obliquely, in these articles as she feels it is disrespectful.  I disagree because she has achieved much, and when she is mentioned, even obliquely, it is not to denigrate or deride, but as an example of what can be achieved and what I want to become.  She has gained a lot in self-mastery, and I long to learn how to achieve similarly; thus, it is not disrespect, but profound awe and wonder, mixed with desire, that I mention her.

Our marriage has been a long string of conflicts leading to personal growth, primarily for me.  I have learned that when I feel my emotions begin to boil, it is not her that is wrong in the conflict, but me.  Those emotions are pride screaming, “Oh, please let me be right!”  When the reality is, if I took some time to cool down, mentally focus, and look at my perceptions, I could see where and how I was wrong.  My parents possess a contentious relationship, and many times I have longed to see them divorce and go their separate ways.  I have observed them get into physical fights, watched them argue over BS while something else was the real problem, and I have witnessed several seasons of intense warfare between them.  Hence, I possess a motivating influence to be different, even if I have to unlearn and relearn.

Thus showcasing the significant difference between contention and conflict, growth never occurs in contention, EVER!  Contention only breeds more violence, not personal growth, not individual development, not team cohesion and goal attainment.  When the dust settles from contention, there are generally physical, mental, spiritual wounds and scorched earth between the opposing foes. In contrast, conflict breeds individual growth, personal strength, and goal success.

Leaders, followers, encourage conflict, teach how conflict can lead to contention, monitor conflict closely, and do not try to solve the conflict.  Settle contention, but do not deprive people of conflict.  Use wonder and awe as tools to breed an inquisitive nature and explore with a mind full of reverence.  Therein lay the path to joy; pursue the path!

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Identity Problems – A Frank Discussion

Several weeks back, I made the declaration that the more labels a person adopts, the harder it becomes to be a person and know who you are.  Multiple labels saddle a person with mental struggles that become physically exhausting.  Each label comes with social responsibilities, cultures, and expectations that cannot be shirked as long as a person has adopted that label.

For example, I am a dual-service disabled veteran.  Thus, I carry the cultures, expectations, and responsibilities of sailors and soldiers.  Consider what the expectations of a soldier are, and that image is part of the identity and societal responsibilities for being a veteran soldier.  Being disabled carries societal expectations, both mental and physical burdens.  Consider the Marines, and every Marine is a Marine for life!  You graduate basic training and earn the title Marine, and you will ALWAYS be a Marine!  Again, that title and label hold societal expectations voluntarily onboarded, and never will a Marine lose the attitude and social expectations of Marines.

The same is true of every single label a person voluntarily chooses for themselves.  The label will attract specific people into your social circles, but only as long as you willingly live the life expectations of that label.  Each label selected will form identities and mental challenges to meet the social expectations, a heavy burden indeed!

In a recent Tik Tok video, a person proudly declares more than 50-labels, preferred adjectives and pronouns, and identities. The video lasted more than 3 minutes, and I felt sorry for the exertion this person will face every minute they have these identities onboarded.  Another person watching this video declared that the subject claiming their labels was mentally ill; I agree with that sentiment.  Why; because the subject will never know who they are because of the noise of the labels, which includes the social pressures, the responsibilities, and the expectations.  I do not know the name of the person in the video, I would not share that video due to the privacy respect I have for others.

Who are you?

Even though current society in 2021 declares confusion between who and what a person chooses to be, not what are you.  For example, I do not like, nor do I onboard, the identity of disabled.  I am NOT disabled, handicapped, injured, and working on healing, but NOT disabled.  Consider the power of words for a moment.

The transitive verb “dis” means to show disrespect, insult, or criticize.  As a prefix, “dis” is defined as the opposite of something, depriving someone of something, excluding someone, or expelling someone.  Thus, a disabled person is either being disrespected, insulted, or criticized, deprived, excluded, expelled, or is the opposite of able.  Frankly, when we are made aware of the etymology of words, we are then more aware of why people choose to adopt or not adopt certain words and labels.  Do we understand this problem of labels just from an etymological perspective?

Regardless of plasticization, words hold power over the mind.  Words become identities, thoughts become things, and research supports that labels hurt mental processes and can permanently scar.  Yet, who and what a person chooses as their identities are not considered a problem in current society or a mental illness.  People’s choices reflect their identities to attract those in socially accepted circles.

Thus, who are you?  Who do you choose to be?  Are those identities sufficient?  While not as important as who a person is, the last question ranks a close second.  How many identities can you physically onboard and live successfully?  As a fan of simplicity and a follower of the KISS rules, as detailed by Murphy, the god of perversity, I keep it supremely simple to protect my energy levels and allow my identity to shine through.  Having only a few identities enables me to select social commitments, restrict the mental noise and exertions, and hold myself accountable to a few identities to grow as a person.

Returning to the Tik Tok video subject and their 50+ labels, identities, and preferred pronouns, we must ask, what is sufficient?  A follow-on video by this person reflected the physical exertions from conforming to identities and social pressures.  Worse, this person had onboarded several more labels and identities. They reflected the mental illness and physical drain caused by trying to live up to all the label responsibilities.  An extreme example; unfortunately, no; the pressures to onboard labels and identities have grown exponentially, mental problems are too significant to quantify, and they are growing.

Not just in America, the confusion about who a person is, the identities, and their inherent loads, have become a global phenomenon.  What are the mental health professionals doing; causing harm by not discussing the physical and mental exertions of onboarding too many identities.  It is up to the individual and parents of minor children to understand and help learn and teach simplicity in labels allows growth as a person, not more identities, but less.  Fewer identities provide freedom for growth, identity exploration and empower mental health, leading to improved physical health.

Identities

As a pre-teen, I struggled with the concept of my identity.  Religion was a curse, my family was worse, and I did not know who I was, thus strangling what I could do or become.  I got jealous of how my sister could get away with breaking the rules and thought I should be a girl.  I struggled with wanting to be a girl for several years as I learned who I was and what I wanted to be.  If this problem occurred right now, professionals would counsel me to adapt and change my body through drugs and surgery, compounding my identity problems.  Yet, what helped, was getting to know me!

I had several people help me form an identity I could be comfortable living with as I explored my options, fought to understand my role and purpose, and embraced my potential.  It took time, lots of time.  It required patience with myself, a moral code I could live in, and a desire to learn—all of which I had to develop from scratch.  My identity is forged in the fires of adversity, for the consequences of my choices during this time played a role in how I went to school, what I chose to learn, and where I found employment and socially accepted company.  Some of those consequences hang around even all these many years later.  Some consequences I have been able to live long enough to survive.

Worse, as I have learned more about myself, my identity has changed, bringing with it consequences of change.  Music, movies, humor, education, and more are part of an identity that forms a life.  Choices bring consequences; how we value those consequences (e.g., good/bad, profitable/unprofitable, etc.) will determine our eventual destiny towards understanding who we are, so we can become what we desire to see in the mirror.  More lessons I had to learn, then and only then, could the value of religion be discovered, the value of family understood, and honor and pride and commitment to self appreciated as an identity to live.  Crucial to this growth and development, I know when to cut social ties, drop music and movies into the trash, and I am imperfect in changing, but I have some lessons I would see others learn to avoid pitfalls.

      1. Commit to learning using the question, “Who am I?” as a core principle to discovery.
      2. Allow yourself time to think, ponder, and consider before committing to an identity. I always wanted to be a soldier, but I loved the ocean.  I did not understand the value of these paradoxical options, and by rushing headlong, I had to learn an identity after living that identity.  Arduous path; know first, then adopt an identity.  Let me try and simplify that with my favorite axiom,  learned as an Emergency Medical Technician, “Never take your body where your mind has not traveled first!”
      3. Comfort is key. If you are not comfortable, your conscience tells you something is wrong.  An identity should require physical strain and mental confusion.  Yes, you can delude yourself for a time/  Ultimately, your conscience, spirit, intellect, whatever you call your inner voice, will break through and tell you your identity is not mentally acceptable.  If your identity choice is not comfortable, it will affect your physical health negatively.
      4. Never stop learning; learning leads to change, and change is good!
      5. When in doubt, turn to lesson two, give yourself more time before committing to an identity.

I love hard rock, big hair bands, and southern rock.  Steel guitars, banging drums, and headbanging to an excellent beat are an identity with power.  But headbanging gives me incredible headaches.  Too much rock and roll, and I cannot think clearly, and the ability to control my thinking is paramount to me.  Do I adopt the headbanging identity or not; sometimes, I am all in for a solid rock fest.  Mostly, I listen to the inner voices and moderate my music.  See, lesson two continues to hold power and lesson four keeps me thinking how much longer will I affect my identity with an uncomfortable identity with physical pain.

Choose carefully, evaluate often, and allow yourself the freedom to grow by not onboarding labels without due consideration.  Please, consider your gender and biological sex as integral to your ultimate destiny and comfort.  Before you are comfortable in your skin, you have to be comfortable in your mind!  If you want to explore identities, explore, but explore smartly and be cognizant of the social responsibilities, expectations, and cultures inherent with an identity.  Observe those with those identities closely for the consequences of thier identity.

I cannot betray a confidence, but I have witnessed how traumatic experiences can be the impetus for forcing an identity change.  A close associate went to a party, had a mickey slipped into their drink, and woke to a new reality.  The consequences of other people’s identities can negatively impact your identity, especially if you do not know who you are!

I have never been comfortable with the hard rock, headbanging social aspects of rock and roll identities.  The illicit drug use, the promiscuous sexual encounters, and the extremes in living frankly scare the hell out of me!  But, I love the music, and I love much of the wardrobes in this identity, even though I will NOT wear makeup and cannot play a musical instrument.

Life is a journey; travel safely using the axiom, “Never take your body, or anyone else, anywhere your mind has not already traveled.”  Think, ponder, consider, and then act confidently.

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Tips for Self-Refection

?u=http3.bp.blogspot.com-CIl2VSm-mmgTZ0wMvH5UGIAAAAAAAAB20QA9_IiyVhYss1600showme_board3.jpg&f=1&nofb=1One of the most helpful tips provided to me in improving my mental health has been to engage in self-reflection.  However, the tip did not come with any other instruction than to engage in self-reflection.  Thus, I provide the following for those who are like me who need a little more than simply being told to “self-reflect more.”  Please note, self-reflection is not complicated, does not require any special tools, and is only contingent upon starting.  The following is a practical guide to helping to spur starting!  It’s that Missouri mindset, I just cannot get away from it!

Self-reflection can be guided and unguided.  For the novice, guided self-reflection is a good place to begin to learn to self-reflect and grow into unguided self-reflection.  Some people will consider self-reflection meditation, and while I fully admit meditation and self-reflection have many similarities, they are different.  Others try to inject religious overtones into self-reflection, and I fully admit self-reflection is used in many religions across the globe to improve worship services; I am not venturing into the religious aspects of religious self-reflection.

If you would like to explore the topics of meditation and religious self-reflection, I know several good resources; don’t hesitate to get in touch with me outside this forum for those resources.

Guided Self-Reflection

Deep PoetryGuided self-reflection is as simple as journaling your thoughts on a specific topic.  Yes, it is that simple.  There is nothing complicated or crazy, no gurus, no chanting (unless you want to), simply writing down your thoughts on a single topic.  The idea is to focus your mind on sticking to a single topic and write.  I find pen and paper the most challenging medium and one that I cannot reliably, methodically, and consistently adhere to, so I use a keyboard and keep a journal in MS Word.

At the beginning of guided self-reflection, C. S. Lewis 365-Journal Topics was a book I picked up, and it helped inspire journal topics to consider.  Thus, the guided aspect of journaling, using the thoughts of others to marshal your thoughts and write them down.  Making your thoughts known is vital to better understanding you.  Please note, the blank page is intimidating; thus, novice self-reflection is enhanced with motivating forces of religious texts, quotes, jokes, memes, political feelings, news stories, etc.  All of which is fodder for getting the thoughts in your head onto paper for later review.

Unguided Self-Reflection

Free-flow writing, I unguided self-reflection and is where no longer is the blank page intimidating.  More to the point, unguided self-reflection occurs where the mind enters a period of peace or tranquility, recognized from journaling and reflects upon recent events surrounding you throughout the day, cataloging these events for later dissemination and discussion in your journal.  The advanced stage of unguided self-reflection occurs at different times and seasons for different people.  Some people go in cycles between guided and unguided self-reflection due to the chaos in their lives.  Other people move rapidly into unguided self-reflection and never return to guided self-reflection.  Some people stay in guided self-reflection; there is no right or wrong to self-reflection!

Tips to Self-Reflection

        1. Start!
        2. Find what works, and stick to it!
        3. Pick a time that works.
        4. Use what you have.
        5. Be you! – A friend keeps buying new technology, new note pads, new books, new etc., and never uses them. New isn’t them.

Be you!  Be real!  If you find yourself journaling on a paper bag with lots of doodles, keep the paper bag, and get more of them.  That is real self-reflection to you!

Some random thoughts on self-reflection.

In defense of writing with pen and paper - The WriterA friend from high school journaled (self-reflected) through their art.  Words could never come, but doodles and pictures were easy.  Each day their art was either beautiful or terrible, but always dramatic and eye-catching.  Most people learned to look at the book for the art before engaging in speech.  At the end of the assignment, the teacher freaked out trying to score the assignments for my friend; the art was expressive to the point that you could relate and feel what was felt that day.  I have never forgotten that art or its impact.

Simon Sinek wrote the book “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” self-reflection helps you to know your “why” to attitudes, behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and so much more.  While I am not here to help Mr. Sinek sell more books, if you want a great resource to begin guided self-reflection, I do recommend this book.  You need to know your why.  Not knowing your why makes life more challenging, and your mind is easier to be manipulated by every wind of modern influence.  Knowing your why doesn’t necessarily make life easier, but it makes life easier to understand.  Understanding breeds compassion, empathy and allows you the freedom to make better choices.

10+ Best Sketch Drawing Ideas | Free & Premium TemplatesGeil Browning, Ph.D., in discussing reflective learning, talks about self-reflection and learning, providing counsel and essential guidance.  “Reflection is a deeper form of learning that allows us to retain every aspect of any experience, be it personal or professional — why something took place, what the impact was, whether it should happen again — as opposed to just remembering that it happened. It’s about tapping into every aspect of the experience, clarifying our thinking, and honing in on what matters to us.”  Practicing self-reflection takes discipline and intentionality. It requires pressing pause on the chaos of life and simply taking the time to think and ponder about life and the events of daily living, which is not easy for many people to do. But it’s a precious practice.

        1. “The journey into self-love and self-acceptance must begin with self-examination… until you take the journey of self-reflection, it is almost impossible to grow or learn in life.” – Iyanla Vanzant
        2. “What we perceive about ourselves is greatly a reflection of how we will end up living our lives.” – Stephen Richards
        3. “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Jung25 Beautiful Rose Drawings and Paintings for your inspiration
        4. “It is always our self that we find at the end of the journey. The sooner we face that self, the better.” – Ella Maillart
        5. “I visualize where I wanted to be, what kind of player I wanted to become. I knew exactly where I wanted to go, and I focused on getting there.” – Michael Jordan
        6. “The world is a looking glass and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face.” – William Makepeace Thackeray
        7. “Our self-image, strongly held, essentially determines what we become.” —Maxwell Maltz
        8. “One of the greatest tragedies in life is to lose your sense of self and accept the version of you that is expected by everyone else.” —K.L. Toth
        9. “If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.” —Marcus GarveyBeauty will save, Viola, Beauty in everything
        10. “Self-awareness gives you the capacity to learn from your mistakes as well as your successes.” —Lawrence Bossidy
        11. ”The promises of this world are, for the most part, vain phantoms; and to confide in one’s self, and become something of worth and value is the best and safest course.” —Michel Angelo
        12. “You cannot have a meaningful life without having self-reflection.” —Oprah Winfrey
        13. “Honest self-reflection opens your mind to reprogramming, change, success, and freedom.” —Unknown
        14. ”Self-reflection is the school of wisdom.” – Baltasar Gracian
        15. “Doubt, not self-reflection, comes from a destructive energy, and when it rears its head, I talk to it like a lunatic.” —Gwyneth Paltrow
        16. “There is one art of which people should be masters – the art of reflection.” – Samuel Taylor ColeridgeArt journal spread "Who She Had Always Been"
        17. “Friendship with one’s self is all-important because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.” —Eleanor Roosevelt
        18. “Self-reflection entails asking yourself questions about your values, assessing your strengths and failures, thinking about your perceptions and interactions with others, and imagining where you want to take your life in the future.” – Robert L. Rosen
        19. “Emotions are there to enjoy life, but they are not used in self-reflection because they inhibit a proper reflection. They gunk us up.” – Frederick Lenz
        20. “Difficulty creates the opportunity for self-reflection and compassion.” – Suzan-Lori Parks
        21. “Self-reflection is the gateway to freedom. It also brings greater appreciation and enjoyment. We begin to enjoy spending time with our own minds, and we enjoy reflecting on our experience of the teachings. Like the sun emerging from behind the clouds.” – Dzigar Kongtrul RinpocheDecoArt - Mixed Media Blog - Project - Art Journaling the ...
        22. “It is great to be introspective; self-analysis can be useful, but only if it results in action.” —Joe Sacco (emphasis mine)
        23. “Your self-esteem won’t come from body parts. You need to step away from the mirror every once in a while and look for another reflection, like the one in the eyes of the people who love you and admire you.” – Stacy London
        24. “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” – Confucius
        25. “Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” – Margaret J. Wheatley
        26. “Self-reflection is an important stage to diagnose, develop and strengthen your creativity.” —Pearl Zhu
        27. “The ultimate mystery is one’s own self.” —Sammy Davis
        28. “To realize the Self is to be still.” —Ramana Maharshi
        29. “The self is only that which it is in the process of becoming.” —Kirkegaard
        30. “Like water which can clearly mirror the sky and the trees only so long as its surface is undisturbed; the mind can only reflect the true image of the Self when it is tranquil and wholly relaxed.” —Indra Devi
        31. “Reflection is one of the most underused yet powerful tools for success.” – Richard Carlson
        32. “Reflection can transform something familiar.” – Diane L. DuntonReflections
        33. “We have so committed ourselves in different ways that we have hardly any time for self-reflection, to observe, to study.” —Jiddu Krishnamurti
        34. “Your greatest self has been waiting your whole life; don’t make it wait any longer.” —Dr. Steve Maraboli
        35. “We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” – John Dewey

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Rules for Achieving Production Goals

Knowledge Check!Some may scoff, others may scowl, but I will tell you an open secret, if you are not quality first, production goals will never be achieved.  Sure, a company may hit a target now and then, of course a quarterly statement might come in on target, but reliable production cannot be achieved without quality focus and the following rules.

With more than 20 years’ experience in manufacturing, supply chains, logistics, call centers, and much more, the following production rules are at least a moment of your time for reading and two moments for consideration.  Yes, there are a lot of people who will claim they have the path to success mapped and if you follow it, you to can achieve success.  I am not one of them!  I have tried and true lessons, I have common sense approaches, and I offer freely information that when combined with your knowledge, and the people you have working for you, solutions can be generated to achieve success.

  1. Quality is everyone’s job! – Tell me; whose job is it to pick up trash in the parking lot? How much litter is in your parking lot, trapped against the fence, collecting around the dumpsters, and crowding the floors of your facility inside and out?
    • A colleague states the following:
      • I can tell you within five seconds after arriving the quality mindset of the facility I am visiting, by looking at the parking lot.”
    • My colleague is correct; every facility I have visited that has had a clean parking lot, where employees and managers are picking up after themselves, has a quality culture worth emulation. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true!
    • What does your parking lot look like?
  2. Never take your customer, employee, shareholder, vendor, etc., where YOUR brain has not traveled first! – I sat in a meeting where the leader openly admitted, after telling the new strategic focus, goals, and mission plan, when answering questions about this plan regarding implementation, stated, “I haven’t thought that far ahead.” That company is bankrupt.  Not because they did not have good products, customers willing to buy, or great service, but because the leadership took the business places they had not personally already traveled in their minds.
    • How can you expect any goal to be achieved if you cannot answer implementation questions?
    • How can people follow if you do not know where you are headed?
    • Where are you going and has your brain already traveled there?
  3. Data will be misinterpreted if specific explanations are not included! – New manager, fresh from school, knew all the lingo, had all the buzzwords memorized, was handed a sheet of data, and failed to comprehend what the data meant. Worse, he led others into ruin by misinterpreting data.  If data is not explained, if the why behind data is not clearly understood, if the data story is incomplete, the data is useless, meaningless, and valueless!
    • What is your data story?
    • How do you train others in your data story?
    • Can other people explain the why behind the data, or do they have to come to you for that explanation?
  4. When in doubt, trust your people! – Time does not allow me to relate even a tenth of the stories where the people have proven the data wrong, have gone above and beyond expectations, and achieved miracles. Yet too often the people are the first ones cut in a crisis.
    • Juran’s Rule – When something is going wrong, 90% of the time it is the process, not the people. Yet, how many times are the people blamed for bad processes?
    • Appreciative Inquiry – The theory that states that when you have a problem, the people already in the positions doing the job, hold the answers needed to fixing the problems. Yet, how many times are the people the first one’s lost in crisis?
  5. Data lies; humans live! – Recently the data stated that the problem in a facility was in a specific area. The specific area was encouraged to perform better.  The management thought, “Problem solved.”  Production goals were missed, more counseling to this specific area, more encouragement to achieve, more focused spending to target pain points.  Still missed production goals.  Nobody looked beyond what the data said was the problem, and the data was suffering from a pretty severe case of GIGO (Garbage In = Garbage Out).  There was no production goal problem in the area specified, the problem was on the other side of the plant, and because of the investment in the wrong area, it took longer and more resources to fix the proper area.
    • When data is purported to have “concluded” anything, first give it a reality check!
    • Data is only as good as the inputs.
    • Humans live in the real world, whereas data lives in an altered reality that mimics (rarely) the real world.
    • Never forget, data lies. Data can, at best, only support a decision direction.  Data cannot conclude, prove, or justify anything.
  6. The Rule of 6-P’s – The Rule of 6-P’s is known in various forms and words, but the sentiment is always the same, “Proper, Prior, Planning, Prevents, Purely, Poor, Performance.” Yet, how often is planning done without proper prior activities?  How often is poor performance blamed on everything but poor prior planning?
    • Do you know what proper prior planning looks like as an activity?
    • What is involved in prior planning, and how do you tell the difference between proper and improper prior planning?
    • Who is involved in prior planning and why are they there?
  7. Celebrate small achievements! – Here is another open secret, rarely implemented, always discounted, but remains the single most powerful tool in a leader’s toolbox, praise! That’s it.  Praise is better than cash gifts for the brain, research and fMRI imagery support this conclusion.  The research is fascinating.  Yet, honest, regular, sincere praise continues to be the most overlooked aspect of leadership in business today!
    • Praise is celebrating achievement with someone else.
    • Celebrating success is imperative to moral, discipline, and enthusiasm in the workplace.
    • When was the last time you showed genuine praise for your people? When was the last tangible “Thank you” witnessed?  Who witnessed that gratitude, praise, and celebration?
    • Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Issue praise!  Celebrate all achievements, but most of all celebrate the small achievements.
  8. Success is a choice, but you need everyone making this choice! – Find me a successful team where one team member is not fully and wholly committed to achieving success, and I will show you a team that missed achieving the highest success. Production goals are the exact same thing, if everyone on the team does not know the goal, know the why, and are committed to achieving the production goal, that goal will be missed!
    • How do you find the person not interested in achieving the production goal; who is dropping trash and not picking it up?
    • What do you do when the person is identified; that depends, are you a learning organization or a money pit? If a money pit, that person is fired.  If a learning organization, then it is time to ask questions, discover reasons, and explore options.
    • How do you choose to lead, carrot or stick?
  9. Success is designed; who is drawing the lines? – One of the most egregious problems in today’s world is the delegation of authority to those not worthy or capable. On a consultation the boss had delegated his role to an author of a book.  Every question asked of the leader, he grabbed this author’s book and looked for an answer.  The book is a good resource, but the lack of application to direct business problems was not the author’s intent and was beyond the authors ability.
    • Who is drawing the lines designing what success looks like?
    • Why?
  10. The Pyramid Analogy – Use it, Live it, Love it!

The Pyramid Analogy

Consider the triangle from geometry, there are six different classifications, all of which demonstrate production goal attainment, but only the equilateral triangle makes up the pyramid, and only the equilateral triangle can report success in production goal attainment.

Right Triangles:

Right triangle - WikipediaA right triangle has one 90° angle.

The Acute:

Acute triangle | Acute angled triangle
The Acute Triangle has three acute angles (an acute angle measure less than 90°).

The Obtuse:

Obtuse Angled Triangle | Formula and Properties | Solved Examples & Practice Questions
The Obtuse Triangle has an obtuse angle (an obtuse angle is more than 90°).  Since the total degrees in any triangle is 180°, an obtuse triangle can only have one angle that measures more than 90°.

The Isosceles:

Properties of Isosceles Triangle - Definition & Solved Examples
The Isosceles triangle has two equal sides and two equal angles.

The Scalene:

Scalene Triangle (Definition, Area, Perimeter & Examples)
The Scalene Triangle has no congruent sides. In other words, each side must have a different length.

The Equilateral:

Properties of Equilateral Triangles | Brilliant Math & Science Wiki
The Equilateral triangle has three congruent sides and three congruent angles.  Each angle is 60°.

The Pyramid is an interesting shape, it is self-replicating from a single equilateral triangle.  The pyramid is a five-sided object that represents one of the strongest shapes in the galaxy, with integrity to flex without breaking and being destroyed.  Did you know that if you drew straight lines inside the equilateral triangle, and bent the triangle along those lines, a pyramid would take shape?

Volume of a Pyramid - Assignment PointConsider the production environment and the variables generally fall into three categories, inbound, or products needed to make something for a customer; outbound, the product shipped to a customer; quality, the need to ensure the product is acceptable for the customer.

Using a right triangle, if outbound is the 90-degree angle, your quality is way out of reach, and inbound inputs and outbound deliveries are not being properly reviewed by quality.  Thus, the production environment cannot function to its fullest potential, because all three, inbound, outbound, and quality, are not working equally together.

Bobblehead DollTake any other triangle and the story is exactly the same.  When the inbound and the outbound are not equally bound to quality, and quality is not equally bound to inbound and outbound, resources are not properly shared, time is wasted, and production goals will never be met!  Arrange the variables anyway you prefer, and if the pattern is not an equilateral pattern, there is a problem in the production environment and production goals will be missed, opportunities, lost, and money follows potential right out the door.

Follow the rules and watch production meet goals almost by magic.  Fail to follow the rules and production will continue to struggle.  Production goals are effort incarnate, humans pump efforts in, looking for results.  The goals are statistical symbols reporting success, failure, and percentages of improvement towards goals.  At then end of the day, the human element is the only variable worthy of consideration in meeting production goals, and quality is the badge of honor in human efforts.  Thus, quality is the tool that promotes production goal attainment.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

Taking a Longer View – Actions Really Do Have Consequences

Bobblehead DollIf you are dead set on living a life devoted to the philosophy of, “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die,” there is nothing I can do to help you.  Feel free to stop reading now.  If you are suffering from the consequences of overeating, a hangover, and are feeling nauseous from being too merry on the merry-go-round of life, keep reading, we might have something for you to consider.  If you are not one of the people described, you might want to consider continuing to read for some moral support.

Throughout my life, people have been made available when I have been ready to learn.  They have also been made available to laugh and scorn when I needed my butt-kicked and to provide remedial behavioral therapy when I have gotten way off the beaten track.  For which I am eternally grateful!  One of the first of these people, who made a significant impact in my development for the good, I might add, was Miss Murphy.  A school principal, who left the nunnery to help save children, she did a phenomenal job.  She also gave me the worst chewing out I ever got, the most brutal punishment I have ever had to take, the best compliment I had gotten to that date, and made me feel like a million dollars, all at the same time.  I left her office thoroughly convinced I was never going to do, whatever I did, again.

Grit - DefinedYears later, when I heard the comment, “Decisions Do Determine Destiny,” I knew exactly what the speaker was talking about, for I had experienced this phenomenon.  This is the first principle in need of understanding. If we live in the here and now, every behavior has an excuse, and depravity, abuse, murder, everything abhorrent can be excused for tomorrow we die—what a terrible way to live.  When our choices do not have consequences, and those consequences do not have long-term effects, we, as vapid human beings, lose an eternal spark of goodness, a willingness to strive, and a desire for achievement.

Consider with me a common theme since the early 1960s, it is a theme I am thoroughly sick to death of hearing, but it is a pernicious and invasive theme, “Free Love,” “Love is Sex,” “Love is All You Need,” “Just Love.”  By perverting love, the morals of society broke, chains of modesty were sundered, social decency was abolished, and curbs of compassion and care were thwarted.  Worse, it opened, for everyone to see, the windows of perversion that lurk inside some very troubled souls.  Today, it is considered normal to have statistics from the CDC regarding the number of live births to single, unwed children ages 10-14, decisions determined destiny, and the consequences are dire indeed!Courage

Consider for a moment the following from President Jefferson:

A nation, as a society, forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society.”

Hence, one can deduce a person is taught morals from their society and then is personally responsible for the continuation of that society by living the morals as taught.  What are your morals?  Who taught them?  What are you teaching as morals?  What morals do you live in public that you refuse to live privately, and do you see a disconnect in this moral behavior?

In asking these questions, I am not holding myself up as a moral authority, the moral police, or the enforcer of the moral squad.  I am just as prone to moral stupidity as the next guy, and I am often worse, as my wife continually reminds me.  I suffer for my mistakes and faux pas, just like everyone else.  So, please do not think I am making any judgments here.  As socially wired creatures, humans adopt and adapt to the social norms in our surroundings minute-by-minute, day-by-day, and we make a life by adapting to the environments when we cannot change the environments.Anton Ego

For example, when humans can control the weather inside a building, we change the environment to make it hotter or cooler based on our desires.  We do not alter our behaviors to fit the environments unless we cannot change the environments.  For example, being outdoors, we cannot change the weather, so we pack extra clothes for cold conditions, waterproof clothes for wet conditions, and make do in hot conditions by changing behavior and drinking water.  Does this make sense?  When we can change the environment, we prefer to change the environment than our behavior, even if it means we suffer consequences.  For example, dressing in revealing clothing to satisfy a trendy designer and packing a heater because the office is always “frigid.”Bait & Switch 2

Unfortunately, taking a longer view is not inherently natural in human beings; we are not born with a desire for delayed gratification.  Hence, we must choose, do we want a marshmallow right now or six marshmallows in 15-minutes?  Neither, we want the first marshmallow right now and the rest of the bag while we watch TV over the next 60-minutes, and we will accept the painful stomach ache, nausea, gas, possible vomiting, and the other discomforts because we got our marshmallows.

In our family lore, there is a story told of my older brother and a large bag of salt-water taffy.  It is near Halloween, and a large order of orange jack-o-lantern salt-water taffy Halloween candies have been procured.  The flavor is orange and anise, like a cross between black licorice and orange, and the amount is somewhere between 5 and 10 pounds.  My older brother gets caught stealing some candy, and my mother claims he will be forced to eat all the candy by himself in her infinite wisdom.  After much vomiting, a lot of whining, crying, and my father’s helping hand, the entire bag is eventually emptied.  But, the lesson that was supposed to be taught to stop stealing was not the lesson learned.  What happened, my older brother got better at getting the younger brothers in trouble, and he kept right on being a petty thief.  Why was the lesson learned not the one desired?  My brother made a choice, that choice had consequences, and he liked the consequences, even though the consequences made him sicker than Irving, the drunk dog on M*A*S*H.Father Mulcahy 5

Taking us back to the longer view and consequences.  We can have a short view, live for today, and die tomorrow.  Lots of people in the history of the Earth have taken this road.  But, what was their satisfaction?  What was their heritage?  A friend of mine related a story of a person with a short view and ended the story with, “He was an enjoyable idiot.  “Fun to have around during leisure time, a pest during work time, and a scallywag who could not be trusted to walk a dog.”  If that is the heritage you want to leave, be my guest; I promise not to try and stop or interfere.

For the rest of us, let’s consider what these morals are teaching in society.  Do we really want American society, a society built upon hard work, personal discipline, and individual effort, to be wasted for instant gratification and immediate death?  Do we want the American experiment to end with one bourbon, one shot, and one beer, where the rent is never paid, the job never worked, and the lifestyle unlived?

Knowledge Check!All I ask is that you take a minute, think about what you want people to say about you after you leave a room, and then live the way you want to be remembered.  I worked with a man who lived his principles, and I salute his willingness to live his principles.  He was going to die at age 40, with a fifth of Jack Daniels empty by his head, an empty six-pack of Mountain Dew scattered around his bed and empty bags of Lay’s Dill Pickle potato chips on his blankets.  He worked very hard to meet his end as he wanted while I knew him, and I have no doubts that he met his fate as desired—good guy, great worker, but not an example I would ever choose.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.