Magna Res Est Vocis Et Silentii Temperamentum – A Valuable Lesson Indeed!

Detective 4The proverbs of Seneca the younger provide the title and the lesson for consideration, “The great thing is to know when to speak and when to keep quiet.”  I make this statement and write on this lesson, not because I am good at knowing when to speak and when to stay silent, but in the hopes of learning more perfectly when to speak and when to talk.  In reviewing my K-12 report cards, the ones my parents had to sign, the most frequent comment is knowing when to shut up, closely followed by “Does not play well with others.”  The latter is a badge of honor; I have never played well with others!

But, knowing when to speak and when not to speak is a challenge, and in observing people, I find I might not be the only person afflicted with a lack of knowledge on this topic.  My wife is a perfect example of someone who knows when to speak and when to stay silent.  She has mastered the art of saying the exact word in season someone needs to hear and claims manners and discernment have honed her abilities.

Charles de Lint is quoted on educating children, saying in part, “Teach them to learn how to see and ask questions.”  The greatest teachers I can recall easily are those who taught me to either perceive differently or how to ask questions.  Long have I desired to return these lessons and remain enthusiastic about finding the opportunities to teach.  I often quote and consider the lessons taught by Henry Chester, who said, “Enthusiasm is the greatest asset in the world.  It beats money, power, and influence.  It is nothing more or less than faith in action.”  While appearing paradoxical, enthusiasm and learning when to speak and stay silent are anything but contradictory, and this is the point and the lesson for your consideration.Pin on Why Volkalize?

Why do we speak?

Of all the questions asked me in my K-12 journey, the number one question has to be an iteration of the following: “Why are you talking?”  I never could understand when to shut up.  Worse, there were plenty of times when my refusal to shut up would worsen the punishment, even though I considered the teacher’s actions immoral, unethical, or plain wrong.  For example, in 12th grade, Mr. Moro’s class, Camden-Rockport High School, Camden, Maine.  I had been a student of this school for a grand total of 1 day; this was the second class on my second day.  My first meeting with Mr. Moro, who, very clearly stated, “This is his classroom, his castle, and in his castle, he was king and demanded respect.  To which I firmly replied, NO!  He sent me to the principal’s office and said I would not return until he had a parent/teacher conference.  Being emancipated, I told him he would have to speak with me, and he could fax me!  I still have no idea what a senior class advisor is or what they do, but apparently, I had to appease Mr. Moro if I wanted to graduate.

Quotes About Listening And Speaking. QuotesGramWhy was I speaking in this incident; I was not going to be pushed or bullied by what I considered at the time a pompous moron.  I needed to change how I perceived Mr. Moro as a person.  I graduated high school, Mr. Moro never became a friend, but we did learn how to get along with each other.  Yes, I ate some crow and had to chip away at my ego.  After graduating and traveling to Advanced Individual Training for the US Army, I got a nice letter from Mr. Moro.  One of the reasons we speak is we feel put upon and do not know how to extricate ourselves, or in my case, extricate my foot from my mouth.Are you an active listener ….or do you just hear? | Psychoeducation in Psychotherapy ...

Another reason we speak is a desire to say something, but how often have we opened our mouths without forming the thought entirely, and our mouth is running way faster than our brains, common sense, and self-preservation?  In my case, way too often.  Several comedians call this an older person’s disease, not having the brain mouth filter, common sense, or good social skills to know when to say something and when to listen.  One of the reasons I love old people is explicitly derived from this truthfulness and lack of filter.

When my mother-in-law fell and had to be placed in a nursing home, long-term care facility, I made some great friends in her facility.  Not a single filter anywhere to be found.  One older lady, her name regrettably escapes me, had family who would come and tell her the filthiest jokes on the weekend.  During the week, I would visit my mother-in-law and slip her a couple of clean jokes, dad jokes, and just plain funny jokes.  One day I told her a joke about passing gas in church after a bean supper the night before.  She laughed so hard; I thought I had injured her.  I came back the next day and learned she had told the entire staff this joke, and she told me she had laughed so hard so peed herself.Raji Lukkoor Quote: "Respond; don't react. Listen; don't talk. Think; don't assume." (9 ...

I apologized to the nursing staff and armed them with a few choice dad jokes.  She did not want an apology, but she told me a story from her youth where the night before her church had hosted a community-wide bean supper, chili cookoff, raffle/silent auction, and how the next day’s sermon was cut short because the pastor could not stand the air in his church, which is when I began laughing hard enough to make me wonder if I was going to pee myself!  Worse, this was the day after serving baked beans for supper, and she and I listened to the chorus of frogs from the patients and kept falling out of our chairs laughing.Spalding, Laura - Kindergarten / Special Classes Schedule

Betty Eadie eloquently provides a caution for our words, “If we understood the power of our thoughts, we would guard them more closely.  If we understood the awesome power of our words, we would prefer silence to almost anything negative.  In our thoughts and words, we create our own weaknesses and our own strengths.  Our limitations and joys begin in our hearts.  We can always replace negative with positive.”  The next lesson on why we speak is that our brains are too full of words and need an outlet.  Yet, how much better would the world be if we filtered our thoughts, slowed our thinking, and kept our mouths shut?

Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.” – Buddha

The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength.” – Marcus Aurelius

If you want peace, stop fighting.  If you want peace of mind, stop fighting with your thoughts.” – Peter McWilliams

Listening Quotes | Listening Sayings | Listening Picture QuotesThree people from different periods of human history, all messaging a truth, thoughts do become things, and often the things our thoughts become are not what we wanted or desired.  More specifically, the thoughts became things because we expressed the thoughts that should have stayed silent in words.  In learning to control the post-traumatic stress disorder I suffer, the words of Peter McWilliams became the answer I needed and the balm in Gilead I sought.  I had to stop fighting my thoughts to be able to control the pernicious and repeated images, feelings, and constant reminiscing over a terrible incident from my service in the US Navy.  Every day remains a challenge to acknowledge the thoughts and let them go.  Every day it becomes easier to achieve.  There is hope!

Why do we listen?

Of all the questions I have never been asked, I hope to learn the lesson of controlling my thoughts so I may hear better.  I suffer from tinnitus, many times though the ability to listen does not reside in my ear where the tinnitus rings, but in my brain that is a ravaged wasteland of competing ideas, factions, and imaginations.  When the voices in my head go silent, I hear the birds in the trees, I hear voices of people around me, and I experience hearing.  The moment I begin speaking, I lose the ability to hear.Hearing Vs Listening Quotes. QuotesGram

Ken Kesey is quoted as saying, “See with your ears and hear with your eyes.”  What a remarkable idea.  One of the most momentous times I can ever recall occurred while onboard my ship, deep dark of night.  You know how dark night can get if you have ever been beyond the hundred-fathom curve.  I was an engineer on the mid-watch (0000-0400) and was roaming around topside between rounds, something I should not have been doing, but I needed fresh air and wanted to see if the stars really were more brilliant at sea.  On a night with no moon, deep dark, I saw the ship passing through the water with my ears.  I heard the waves; I heard the wind whistling through the ship’s rigging; I saw with my ears the stumbling of smokers going to and from the smoke deck—an experience like no other.  Why do we listen; to learn, to experience, and if we choose, to marvel!

In the 1990’s I had a screen saver called psychedelic.  When music was played, it changed colors according to the beat, and you had user interfaces where you could pick specific interpretations to display on the screen in colors, lines, and contrasts.  This was the first time I can remember visualizing sounds.  I had previously turned the stereo speakers to maximum and watched sound interface with the water in a fish tank, but this screen saver was the first time I can remember seeing sound displayed by a computer.  Since this screensaver, I have watched sound played in flames (SUPER COOL), watched water falling display shapes as heard through a computer, and synthesized (unique experience indeed).  I have used several computer programs that took that old screensaver’s concept and improved the display and synthesization.  Yet, I am still want to hear with my eyes and see if I can improve how I listen.Hearing And Listening Quotes & Sayings | Hearing And Listening Picture Quotes

Something was pointed out to me, the word silent has precisely the same letters as listen, but in the arrangement of those letters, the ability of one is lost or found.  I have learned that a silent mouth precedes a silent mind, and you need both to listen.  Yet, it is a rare moment indeed when my brain is silent.  My brain runs lyrics to songs, words I think I should have said, words I am preparing to speak, responses to questions, responses to other people’s opinions, facts, figures, fights, and the list goes on ad nauseum ad infinitum!  A book by Stephen Covey mentioned, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand.  Most people listen with the intent to reply.”  Why do we listen; this is a valuable question to consider!

I have mentioned this previously and repeat myself only for emphasis; all the musical talent, knowledge, and skill I possess can be poured into a thimble and never moisten the bottom.  I mention this because Linda Ronstadt said, “Ninety-Nine present of singing is listening and hearing, and so then one percent of it is singing.”  A thought I had never previously considered.  I love music and have an eclectic taste in music, but I hear not listen to music.  Music has never been an escape from reality but has often been a balm to my world-weary soul.  Music has been a tool, a weapon, and a shield, in the battles for knowledge, learning, and protecting myself from the words of others.  In the US Army, Basic Training music was the key to getting me to relax and shoot the M-16A2 sufficiently to qualify and eventually graduate basic training.  But, only now, when considering Lind Ronstadt’s quote, I realized I hear music, not listen to music.Humorous Listening Quotes. QuotesGram

Funny story, while my parents are hippies, my father is a professional musician but not a music teacher.  As a kid, music in our house was how food made it to the table, how my father retreated from the world’s cares, and often a weapon against my mother.  Yet, even coming from a home where music was a major part of daily life, I never learned to listen to music.  Have you ever heard reveille played on a tuba, French horn, clarinet, trombone, guitar, recorder, or flute?  If so, you know a little of what growing up in our house was like.  When 0400 came, whatever instrument my father was playing at the time became the instrument upon which reveille was played.

Knowledge Check!A song covered by a multitude of musicians originates with Paul Simon, “The Sound of Silence.”  The second link is to Disturbed’s cover of the Paul Simon song; I think this is the best version.  What are the sounds of silence?  Are they different for each person?  Does the sound of silence change with the environment, the weather, or humanity’s influence?  I once read a research report regarding the negative impact of listening to the sounds of New York City and how the city’s sound shortened the lives of those who constantly heard the city.  As we consider the lesson on learning when to speak and to discern when to stay silent, may we consider how to improve listening, moving from hearing to listening, and find joy in seeing with our ears and hearing with our eyes.

© 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.

Brevis Ipas Vita Est Sed Malis Fit Longior – Adversity

Father Mulcahy 3The title is Latin for “Life is short, but trouble makes it longer.”  Recently I was reminded of the power and blessing of adversity.  One of the comments that struck me was, “You will all experience your own Gethsemane’s.”  Gethsemane is a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives and became famous in the New Testament for the place where Jesus went to pray and, according to the New Testament, completed the atonement.  Gethsemane remains a symbol of hope for people experiencing trouble, difficulty, or adversity.  However, the thought of us experiencing our own Gethsemane individually intrigues me as a concept.

One of the scriptures that holds a lot of hope for me comes from the Doctrine and Covenants Section 121 7-9:

7 My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.
9 Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands
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Nowhere is recorded how long Jesus spent in Gethsemane; one might presume the time was longer than an hour, but less than 8 hours.  Beyond that, I cannot guess and will not venture an opinion.  However, the thought that adversity will be but a small moment rings like an eternal truth in my mind.  Let me elaborate on this point, my wife and I spent 6-months homeless, living out of our car, showering at her mom’s apartment, and working as often as I could find work.  During this time, I was studying for a master’s in business administration and struggling with depression for feeling like an absolute failure for not being able to provide a home for my spouse.Adversity is an advantage to embrace, not an annoyance to avoid. | Art Coombs Art Coombs

Yet, as I look back on this homelessness period, it seems but a small moment.  While I know mentally that the timeframe was six excruciating months, the truth is that the adversity felt like a moment even during the adversity and the months following.  My friends found during this time were such an incredible solace; my wife’s family and even my studies became lifts to my spirit and a balm to my mental processes.  How grateful I am for the adversity that has shaped me since this event and the incredible people who supported my wife and me.

Interestingly, in M*A*S*H 4077, the final episode “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen,” the poignancy of Father Mulcahy’s predicament with losing his hearing has become more meaningful since this episode of homelessness.  Indeed life is lived forward and understood backward.  As Father Mulcahy said, “What good is a deaf priest?”  The value is found in learning and living, but the learning and living is the adversity shaping us physically, mentally, and spiritually.Grit - Defined

Long have I pondered what a piece of clay must think as it is placed on a potter’s wheel, and if it realizes that when the potter is done, the adversity on that wheel will make it something beautiful, useful, or both.  Whether you believe in god, God, or gods, what are the adversities in your life making out of you, and will you recognize yourself when the potter is done?  Will you care what the potter has made you?  Those two questions lay on my mind, not with weight, but nonetheless with power.  A final question struck me as Father Mulcahy was marrying Klinger and Sun Lee, will we respect the potter for the work invested in creating us through adversity?

30 Best Adversity Quotes To Regain The Courage | Brainy ReadersIt’s no secret to those who have known me that I did not like serving in the US Navy and the pressure cooker of the USS Barry (DDG 52) from 2000-2004.  I have often cursed and shook my fist at the sky over the experiences during the US Navy.  Yet, even now, the experiences in the US Navy are felt as a small moment, and time does help heal wounds.  Better still, time tends to soften the edges, and one of the other things I have found is that how we choose changes how we remember.  I loved being “haze grey and underway” in the navy.  Many things were better while sailing that worsened to the point of breaking while in port.  More to the point, being “haze grey and underway” was always an adventure, fun, and never dull, even while pulling five and dime watch standing, doing maintenance on a pitching deck, or even climbing the mast while underway to fix something broke.

Adversity QuotesMajor Winchester leaving M*A*S*H in a garbage truck reminds me of my time in the US Navy, very appropriate.  As soon as Major Winchester came to M*A*S*H 4077, I watched to see what pranks could be done to Major Charles Emerson Winchester the third.  I loved watching Charles become the butt of a joke.  Yet, even as I type, I cannot help but wonder, was a garbage truck appropriate; is it disrespectful of the potter to see another person struggle and heap more scorn upon them?  Charles’ life changed dramatically and horribly; his ways of thinking, the path of his life, and even his belief in his own self-worth were constantly challenged and scrutinized.  I can understand Charles’ experiences more now than at any time previously.

Having been homeless multiple times in my life, one of my greatest difficulties is seeing someone putting up their petition for help and not being able to help.  I know there are a lot of scams out there, but that has never mattered to me; not being able to help bothers me greatly.  The war in Ukraine, the orphans left after war and storms, the hunger and depravity in this world, those individual adversities we see all around us.  I always want to help.  Long have I thought if I could relieve an ounce, a dram, a smidge of suffering, I could sleep better at night or know I succeeded at something.  Life has taught me how to fight, then it taught me how to think, and then my body was injured, and I am left stuck somewhere in between—proving that adversity comes in many shapes, colors, sizes, and types!Adversity Quotes

Please know, I am not maudlin or melancholy about my life.  I have some great stories, met some truly amazing people, and lived to tell those tales.  All I ever wanted out of life was to be “an interesting old person,” and if I can keep reading and thinking, and especially writing, I should be able to tell some of those stories.  If I died tomorrow, I could say I lived a rich, full life, with no regrets.  I have no complaints and look forward to learning a lot more.  Bringing up another exciting facet of adversity, the learning that comes through adversity.

For example, did you know you do not teach adults?  Anyone who tells you differently does not know what they are talking about.  Teaching only happens to children, and if those kids are like me, barely even then.  For adults, you help them see their life experiences in a new light, applying existing knowledge to current situations to improve how they think.  You do not teach adults; they teach themselves; as an adult educator, my job is to help them learn how to think.15 Quotes About Overcoming Adversity Never to Forget

I know a kid, now an adult, who had been molested, beaten, and suffered greatly.  Growing into a scrappy adult, this child had experienced the horrible and survived.  Sure, you might teach this kid how to reach a formulaic solution, but the core knowledge of life, this kid held a doctorate.  Adversity had trained this kid how to think, how to act, how to understand, and how to fight back.  While other kids learned how to wield a bat and hit a ball, this kid was learning how to throw punches, duck, dodge, and handle pain.  While some kids learned how to cook, this kid already knew how to cook and could make meals out of practically anything.  Adversity taught this kid, and the student was worthy of the master’s teachings how I have longed to be as apt a pupil to adversity’s teachings as this kid.A Layman's Blog: Pasternak on adversity.............

When considering the potter, as we are placed upon the wheel, then into a kiln, are we clay, easily molded, or a rock choosing to be chased off the potter’s wheel for refusing to change and be moldable?  A young adult uttered the saddest commentary on life I have ever heard.  My father did it this way; his father did it this way; his father did it this way; going back as far as family memory can relate, I am doing it this way.  When I saw the stubbornness of this person, I felt like weeping for the potential lost to generations who choose not to change.  Adversity gets us asking questions; for me, those questions are always about how I improve—improving myself, a process, an environment, the situation, anything that can be changed to drive improvements.John Wooden Quote: "Adversity often produces an unexpected opportunity. Look for it ! Appreciate ...

Another book referred to the “captivity of the fathers.”  In the movie “Fiddler on the Roof,” Tevia sings the song of “Tradition!”  Is adversity trying to tell us there is a better way, and tradition is trying to hold us back?  In previous articles, I discussed how a friend of mine related that he is the first generation of his family who could read, and his children and grandchildren are graduating college because as a child, he was forced onto a bus, driven to Oklahoma, and forced into school and off the Indian reservation.  He experienced traumatic adversity as a child of seven.  The blessing of that adversity has lived and made him every day since, but to make him, the traditions of his fathers had to be forced out of his mind by formal education hundreds of miles from his northern Arizona home.  I weep for that little boy but cheer for the man he became and cherish my friendship with a man who had to justify two worlds.  Beware the traditions of your fathers so they do not become captivity your children must suffer to escape.

Not for any other purpose than trying and making the adversarial moment something I do not have to repeat.  I have repeated too many adversarial moments; there must be a better way to live!  For example, I was forced into bankruptcy twice!  I hope to learn from my mistakes, and if anyone knows how to raise money, improve earnings, and live more fully within one’s means, I am all ears!  If you know how to monetize a website, I will trade for this knowledge and assistance.  Bringing up another powerful tool of adversity, placing us into situations where we can help and will choose to be helped.Adversity Opportunity Quotes. QuotesGram

One of the reasons why some adversarial incidents last as long as they do is because we are proud people, and giving help is easier than accepting help and multitudes of times easier than asking for help.  My first time homeless, I had to get off the streets as walking the streets all night was interfering with my ability to work a complete shift.  Plus, it was cold, and those nights in Auburn, Washington in October and November were miserable!  So, I asked for help from a church, and asking for help was one of the most challenging events in my life.  In fact, asking for help has never gotten easier with time or experience.  I would rather get beat with a brick stick than ask for help; is it any wonder that pride is one of the seven deadly sins?Adversity | Adversity, Lds quotes, Church quotes

To ask for help, I felt I needed to have a plan to repay the money.  I demanded that I stick with that repayment schedule, even after being told, very kindly, that I did not have to repay and that there was no debt to repay.  How often do we make the pains and problems of adversity worse because we struggle to ask for help or feel a need to repay debts when there are no debts?  The reality is that when adversity appears to drag on and on without end, being a relentless taskmaster, many times I am the problem making adversity worse.Adversity Quotes By Famous People. QuotesGram

Bring us back to that garden near the Mount of Olives and the suffering of Jesus Christ.  Leaving me with a final question, how do I know when enough is sufficient?  I do not know how to answer this question, nor am I sure I am asking the right question; I merely know that adversity is not occurring because the intelligence’s of the universe want to see me struggle, adversity is not happening because I committed a crime or deserved being punished.  Adversity is a tool that helps us gain strength and I am weak, and the only way to get my attention is to put me in situations where I can grow through the things I suffer.  But help is always available; this is another lesson adversity teaches.  Help, assistance, support, we are not left bereft of these in our times of need, and this is a comfort and a hope.

Knowledge Check!Let us choose to be more charitable, relieve suffering where we can, ask for help when we need, and choose to make today a little better than yesterday through our involvement in the world around us.  I am not asking anyone to go broke helping those putting up their petitions, and it does not matter where the money goes.  Be the hand reaching out, and you WILL always find a hand reaching out to you; this is the final lesson adversity teaches us.

© 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 Power of, Reliability of, and Majesty in, the Law

Exclamation MarkFrank Crane begins our discussion with an absolute flash of brilliance from the Eternal Semaphore:

I am law.  I am Nature’s way.  By me comes order, unity.  In my hand, I hold three gifts: health, happiness, success.  I am more clever than the cleverest.  I am as old as God.  I am the secret of goodness; I am the horror of sin.  I am the eternal path, and besides me, there is none else.  Without me, men wander in the labyrinth of death.”

Do we understand what Frank Crane is trying to communicate?  Nature is ruled by law, God executes actions according to law, and justice and mercy can be served without compromising either.  Law is eternal, and nobody can escape the power and majesty of the law.  Consider another truth when understanding the majesty of law:

Give a man a chance, and you will often find him equal to the occasion.” – The Majesty of the Law (Short movie 1910).

What is the potential of a man; nobody but God knows for sure, but through obedience to the law, that man can become more than he ever thought possible.  I am listening to M*A*S*H 4077, episode 18, from season 9.  This is the episode where two buddies come in wounded, they enlisted together, they got injured, and the buddy discovers he has leukemia.  In the same episode, Father Mulcahey is expecting a visit from a Cardinal.  Two men were given a chance, faced with difficulty, who both rose to the magnitude of their stations.  What is Nature’s way; law.  R. W. Alger is quoted:

Laws are silent assessors of God.”

Father Mulcahy 2When the law is described, Leo J. Muir provides five words that are inseparably connected to describing what law is:

Eternal; Immortal; Immutable; Irrevocable; Inexorable!”

Looking back to Rome, how was Rome able to achieve greatness; they wrote their laws down and posted them above everyone’s head to symbolize that no one is above the law.  Writing down laws was nothing new, but holding everyone accountable to the law equally was unique in human history.  On this single principle, Rome rose in glory and failed ignominiously; everyone was accountable to the law equally.  Senator, pauper, soldier, general, no one could escape the equality under the law.  How did Rome lose their empire; Ceasar held themselves above the law.  At the second that law was to be applied unequally to the various classes of citizens in Rome, the fall of Rome was set in stone.

Flash forward a couple of thousand years, what do we find; the law is no longer the supreme entity governing civilized behavior.  For the cost of a lawyer, all laws become rubberized, twistable, and not applicable to those with enough money.  More than that, the tools of law, police officers, are not treated to the same laws they are enforcing, and the Monday morning quarterbacks strip them of their initiative, ability, and dignity.Gavel

The USA Today calls this Monday Morning Quarterbacking “transparency.”  As a point of fact, USA Today credits their actions to George Floyd’s death.  The officers involved in the George Floyd debacle followed standard and acceptable policing procedures.  George Floyd died from the drug combination in his system and his own stupidity.  Yet, the officers have been harassed into jail, their lives destroyed, their families ruined, all because the George Floyd inanity “looked bad” to the same media who hold themselves above the law.  The same laws that magically did not apply to Michael Jackson, politicians like Hillary Clinton, or even the Bidens and Romneys.  The media harps and complains when the rules are applied equally to them, and then harps and complain when the law equally applies to causes or people the media protects.  What destroyed Rome was the failure to equally apply the law to all citizens regardless of job, title, and friendliness with reporters.  H. W. Beecher sums the problem nicely:

Expedients are for the hour, principles for the ages.”

Laplace also pitches some additional power for consideration:

Truth and Justice are the immutable laws of social order.”

What is most often missing in modern society, any country globally; truth and justice are the laws of good social order.  Calling upon Frank Crane again, we find more consideration upholding the majesty of law:

Truth is the logic of the universe.  It is the reasoning of destiny; it is the mind of God.  And nothing that man can devise or discover can take its place.”The only constraints that you have on your income and advancement potential are those you place ...

What are the constraints upon a mans potential; look to the laws that man will obey.  Going back to Rome, Julius Caesar was but one of the more notable of Rome’s emperors; what moral laws did he obey; not many.  What social laws was he willing to follow; few to none.  Is it any wonder he was stabbed?  Modern society has the term “Arkancide,” it was invented to describe all the mysterious deaths, accidents, and happenstances that occur to people close to the Clinton political machine.  True, nothing has ever been proven, and neither President Clinton nor Hillary Clinton has ever faced justice, and I am not casting aspersions.  Merely noting there are a lot of incidents that need full and complete explanations, and transparency and accountability appear to be dodged by the Clintons at every turn.

Not that these two are the only politicians needing to face a judge and jury to explain and expound the whys and wherefores, merely noting they are definitely in the top ten of those needing to come clean about their actions while supposedly being “public servants.”  Hence the point of laws and the power in obeying the law.  When those who need to explain and expound come clean before the law, this concludes the speculation and truth and justice are meted to those needing it.

Image result for grace and truth came through jesus christ | Law quotes, Lovely quote, WordsThink of the great questions in modern society where truth and justice would solidly end speculation.  JFK’s murder, Epstein’s “suicide,” TWA Flight 800, Michael Jackson, OJ Simpson, etc.  Yet, for all the world, the truth remains missing, and questions rightly remain.  What is the power of law; the ability to publish the truth.  Consider the wise words of Rousseau:

Truth is the most precious of all blessings; it is the eye of reason.”

Radcliffe detailed the same semaphore a little differently:

There is no progress in fundamental truth.  We may grow in [the] knowledge of its meaning, and in the modes of its application, but its great principles will forever be the same.”

Both authors are semaphoring the same message and provide clarity of reason to denounce the falsehood that the US Constitution is a “living breathing document.”  This constitutional republic’s foundational principles of the American experiment are not living or breathing but are alive only through our continuing growth of knowledge in how we apply the principles.  Only those who would destroy the law talk of the principles as “living and breathing,” easily changed,” or “plasticized” into any shape to justify the application of law to let the guilty free and punish the innocent.Law Cartoon # 6402 - ANDERTOONS

Cast your mind upon the first amendment to the US Constitution, also the first of the rights discussed in the US Bill of Rights:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Why is this the first right in the US Bill of Rights; without this right being acknowledged by the government, the executors of government would have zero restraint before forcing people to believe what they choose them to believe.  Communism in China requires the CCP member to carry their “little red book” close to their hearts.  Mimicking and parroting the twisted ideals of Mao, who learned them from Marx.  Equally as important is the final phrase, the “right of the people to PEACEABLY assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances [emphasis mine].”  Tell me, how often have riots been “peaceful petitions for grievances to be redressed” in any of the recent years?  I repeat only for emphasis, when you block traffic, start fires, yell, scream, destroy property, etc., you are no longer “peaceably assembled” you are a terrorist group, and the total weight of the law should come down upon; you!Ravi Zacharias Quote: "Justice is the handmaiden of truth, and when truth dies, justice is ...

Consider all the “criminal justice reform,” “bail reform,” and other legislated and judicial chicanery foisted upon the American citizenry.  Surely Colton and Joseph Parker are semaphoring an urgent message:

Truth, like light, travels only in straight lines.”

Falsehood is in a hurry; it may be at any moment detected and punished.  Truth is calm, serene; its judgments on high; its king cometh out of the chambers of eternity.”

Leo J. Muir asks a question worthy of deep consideration, “Why this rigorous inflexibility of law?”  The answer should be apparent, especially when considering Rome and comparing America’s growth and current deterioration, “The immutability of law is the assurance of progress and the guaranty of justice upon the Earth.”  The US Constitution cannot be an easily plasticized document and still be a foundational bedrock of this constitutional republic.  A stone cannot be like silly putty, a non-Newtonian fluid.  Solid one moment, flexible another, shatterable, and resilient.  Laws cannot be a law and be shapeable and moldable to a situation, for then it is no longer a law, but a good suggestion applicable only to specific situations and people.  Is the point clear?truth : alcoholism

William Ernest Henley, in his immortal poem, “Invictus,” declares this immutable truth poignantly in the final stanza:

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.”

The entire poem Invictus is a declaration of the majesty of law, the power of law, and the reliability of law.  Obedience of law does produce fruit or consequences for choices made, and in that choice and consequence cycle comes the justice and mercy of the law.  Once, I was asked, when I step before the bar of God, for a final judgment, do I want a lawyer or an advocate?  I do not want a lawyer, for a lawyer only plays with the law.  I want an advocate who knows the law, is aware of my good and ill choices, and can plead my case as if my fate was worth the universe’s weight.  How would you answer, and why?  Do you understand the role of law better?  What will you do right now to honor the law, even if in honoring the law you must loyally oppose those who are twisting the law for personal gain?

Knowledge Check!Let me be perfectly clear; I abhor the suffering the Ukrainian people are experiencing in the strongest language.  I denounce the actions of Russia in creating violence.  But, Zelensky is using the excuse of a Russian invasion to destroy the laws of Ukraine and create a dictatorship.  These actions are as reprehensible to me as the invasion of Ukraine!  Yet, if the American citizenry does not awake and arise, using the laws currently written, we too will see ourselves in a similar position.  Where the laws of America are twisted out of shape and then used as a cudgel to beat the American spirit out of her people, and destroy the last bastion of freedom on Earth.  The saving grace for America is her laws, and her citizenry needs to demand that all are equal under the law, for the innocent to escape and the guilty to be punished.

Let us now understand the role of law and thank “Whatever gods may be” for the immutable power of law!

© 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 – Speech: An Honest and Frank Discussion

Bobblehead DollBefore I begin, I need to make clear that I am a full-on total failure on this topic.  No ifs, ands, or buts, I struggle with controlling my thoughts and fight continuously to curb my tongue.  My intent is to help be a road sign of what traps to avoid, for maybe I can then learn to improve.  As a soldier, I struggled but appeared to master my spoken words for a time.  But controlling thoughts, especially those where I want to fight, kick, and scream, remains a challenge.  As a sailor, forget about it; I even learned new language and taught how to swear more effectively.  Oi, I do need to change this aspect of me!  I am reminded of the words from an anonymous author:

Of thine unspoken word thou art master; thy spoken word is master of thee.”

Of all the truths most evident in today’s culture, none compares to this simple truth speak, and your words become your master.  In the New Testament, Gospel of Matthew, 26:73, the reader finds the following:

Thy speech betrayeth thee…”

While said to identify a Galilean, the sentiment remains particularly powerful; consider the axiom “swearing like a sailor.”  As a child, when a person broke out in a rainbow-colored diatribe, people automatically assumed the speaker had been or was currently a sailor.  I respected several people who constantly swore as they were tough, rugged, and individualistic.  When I used those exact words, I wound up eating a lot of soap!  Indeed, your speech betrays who you are, your intelligence, and your willingness to conform to a societal communication standard.https://i0.wp.com/www.quotehd.com/imagequotes/authors4/publilius-syrus-quote-speech-is-the-mirror-of-the-soul-as-a-man-speaks.jpg

Speaking of my childhood, I was raised in a home by hippies, but we had three rules we were obliged to follow:

  1. Thou shalt use the King’s English.
  2. Thou shalt properly pronounce and annunciate your words.
  3. Thou shalt not use any word if you do not know the meaning of that term and can find it in the dictionary.

The dictionary of my youth was not full and complete, and I have long since learned that there are many dictionaries in existence.  That being said, there are ways, mannerisms, and styles of speaking that our constant moving introduced us to; having now traveled ¾’s of the way around the globe, and having met thousands upon thousands of people, the rules of social etiquette where speech is concerned remain powerfully appropriate.  Each society has its communication standards, requirements, and even specialized language.  With that said, general society also has its own rules, styles, and conditions that, when in public, should be respected.Speech Therapist Quotes. QuotesGram

For example, I had spoken to people who chose to be offended when a man spoke harshly, or with colorful language, in front of children or to a female.  I mistakenly dropped a colorful rant in front of some elderly people who were strong enough of character to issue a verbal harangue to me for breaching social etiquette.  How grateful I am for their remonstrations.  The words of Solomon come to mind:

The tongue of the wise is in his heart; the heart of the fool is in his mouth.”

It never surprises me how often this flash from the eternal semaphore is being communicated to the world, “Hold thy tongue” for “Thy speech betrayeth thee!”  All through the history of man, many a philosopher, author, speaker, and leader has uttered words to be careful how and what you say, for “Thy speech betrayeth thee.”  One of my favorite from this category is Halifax, who is quoted as saying:

True merit is like a river; the deeper it is, the less noise it makes.”

It was my very great displeasure to work for a person in the US Navy who was a fool.  No merit, no redeeming grace, lazy, obnoxious, and he had risen to the maximum level of his incompetence as a Fireman (E3), and his current rank was Second-Class Petty Officer (E-5).  This person could not be trusted to complete any work but talked a good game; the department chief pulled me aside and told me on my first day, “He talks a good game.”  The chief meant this dude was full of BS, but the chief also highly favored this person, and it was my fault I spoke better and less.  Hence, I was to be punished with every dirty job, horrible detail, and tedious task until this twit left the ship.  Truly, every time he opened his mouth, his ignorance was displayed for the world to see, and I often swore his jaw was double-hung to allow him to blather tediously 24/7.  Even sleeping, this guy’s ignorance was displayed heroically.Speech Quotes. QuotesGram

I do not know the author, but the following is spot-on:

Look out for your tongue; it resides in a wet place and may slip.”

You can tell the kind of wheels a man has in his head by the spokes that come out of his mouth.”

Elbert Hubbard is the author of the best one; it has been quoted to me numerous times.  “After all, perhaps it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”  The last three quotes strongly introduce a truth, knowledge is a check on the tongue.  Knowledge is a composite of education (formal and informal), time, and reflection after experiences.  The idea of knowledge is to allow yourself the time to fail into wisdom, to reflect on better paths, and spend time discovering how to improve using the formal and informal education received.  There are certainly times when I think I have failed enough; I have sufficiently reflected and obtained the education, when do I obtain the knowledge?  These moments serve to pop my ever capacious ego!"Mend your speech a little, Lest you may mar your fortunes." - Kwize

Jeremy Taylor provides counsel on the power of knowledge worthy of consideration:

Great knowledge, if it be without vanity, is the most severe bridle of the tongue.  For I have heard all the noise and pratings of the pool, the croakings of frogs and toads, are hushed and appeased when the light of a candle or a torch is brought upon them.  Every beam of reason and every ray of knowledge checks the dissolution of the tongue.”

Since knowledge has been defined, knowledge without vanity, let’s review vanity.  I kick against a lot of pricks.  I hate bullies, liars, and despise thieves with the passion equivalent to a thousand suns.  Yet, vanity provides an interesting lesson; excessive pride, conceit, worthlessness, pointlessness, or futility describe vanity.  Superiority is synonymous with vanity.  While I do not feel superior to anyone, I have been counseled to stop showing superiority many times.  I am not vane in my appearance, and I am not conceited (possessing fanciful ideas of oneself worth); I would think vanity is part of my problem in curbing my tongue—knowledge without vanity, a worthwhile subject to study.https://i0.wp.com/statusmind.com/images/2015/01/Smart-Quotes-54212-statusmind.com.jpg

Bringing up an interesting point; in fact, it was a question I asked a supervisor in the US Navy.  If I possess a lot of knowledge from reading and learning, is it vanity (or superiority) to readily use that knowledge?  My bosses told me I was narcissistic for possessing all this knowledge and wanting to share it; I pointedly disagreed.  Yet, even when dropping foul deprecations, my speech still betrayed me, and I was considered a fool for “casting my pearls before swine.”  Leo J. Muir was given fatherly advice through his older brother:

Keep your feet warm; your head cool; your mouth shut; your eyes open, and you will get along all right.”

What wonderful advice; I wish, like anything, I could apply that last bit about keeping my mouth shut.  I answer when someone asks a question, even when I shouldn’t.  I tend to start conversations, especially when I should not.  I am so excited to share; I even talk to myself and about myself in the third person, just to speak.  I wonder if this reflects what Homer was talking about:

The smaller the caliber of mind, the greater the bore of a perpetually open mouth.”

Since moving to an employment situation where I work from home, I have learned the truth of this old rhyme:

A wise old owl lived in an oak;
The more he saw, the less he spoke;
The less he spoke, the more he heard;
Now wasn’t that a wise old bird?

Often I have asked, how do I live more like this wise old bird?  The answers elude me.  Yet, knowledge is power, the power to act, think, and speak.  But, knowledge is not authority and authority is the key to understanding when and where to speak.  On my first day in the US Army, I made this mistake on a grand scale; you would think I would have learned over time, or at least over a couple of hundred push-ups.  You would be mistaken, though; I did not learn what I should have learned long before my first day in the US Army.  I met some incredible people while pushing Fort Leonardwood to China, but that’s a story for a different venue.Quotes About Public Speaking. QuotesGram

In Christendom, there is a story, true or not; it relays a truth.  As Jesus was about to bestow speech upon a man mute from birth, it is related that the Savior of the world stopped for a moment, cast his eyes heavenward, and paused in contemplative thought.  Considering how great a power He was about to bestow upon a person.  The ability to get into and out of trouble using speech, a faculty of passion, power, and peril; indeed, the Master might hesitate, and so should we.  In reading and watching the unfolding drama in Ukraine, I am often caught thinking about the peril in speaking, especially when President Biden opens his mouth.  Socrates was right, “Know thyself!” kingly counsel indeed.

Interestingly, and in conclusion, there is one more power-filled truth to expound upon, the words uttered represent the heart.  When “Thy speech betrayeth thee,” the words uttered represent the heart displayed for good or ill.  Of all the truths discussed, this one brings me to pause before discussing further.  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.”

Knowledge Check!I have tended some bitter fruit because that was all the stony ground my heart would grow.  I own that bitter fruit, and bitter fruit comes home, generally because I opened my mouth.  Surely, “Thy speech betrayeth thee.”  May you, dear reader, find wisdom in my sign and learn better, so you may teach more perfectly.

© 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.

Asininity, Stupidity, and Ridiculousness – Hell from Human Resources

As a human resources professional, I know the ineptitude and despicableness from both sides of the HR desk.  It is time to think, way outside the box, and all I ask is for your consideration of the proposed idea.  I know I am not alone in desiring a better path forward; here is a suggestion.

For my entire career, military and civilian, I have stood for what is right, fair, and equitable.  I hate bullies and detest bureaucrats creating problems to protect their power and ego, especially at the expense of others.  Nothing, absolutely NOTHING, gets my blood boiling faster than to experience “This is the way we do things here” thinking!  Today, I will expose some worms to sunshine and see if we might fry them from the soils of productivity and free the captives.

Two weeks ago, I applied for an internal job posting advertised since April 2020.  Not only am I highly skilled, well qualified, and possess the academic and experiential knowledge for the role, I also have performed this role multiple times.  My supervisor’s boss told me, “Nothing stops you from applying.”  This is the subtle way of saying that you will not be considered for this role because you were hired at a lower pay grade; you are not “humbled enough.”  Today, I was told more information, “You have to pay your dues at this company before we consider you promotable.”

What does “promotable” mean; it is the personal opinion of my supervisor and his boss who have to give their blessing on my knowledge, skills, and abilities.  Essentially I need a gold star in my copybook before they will look favorably upon my promotion.  Please note, I am not trying to weasel a different position; simply be considered honestly for a position I can compete with anyone for and compete well.  Want a kicker?  There are two ways to be considered for promotion:  1. Leave the company and “boomerang” back.  2.  Win approval from your leaders for that gold star and blessing, then compete against external and internal candidates for the position.

Consider this for a moment; enough people have felt punished by HR, their bosses, and the intransigent stupidity in the promotion process and stuck in their roles that they have intentionally left the company, then applied for the job they are qualified for, and won that position.  The company calls these people “boomerangs.”  They treat them as second-class citizens, and promotions are even more challenging for a “boomerang” than they originally left.

Upon higher into my current role, I was told several stories of people who did incredible tasks for the company and were refused promotions they deserved because the leaders never set up a promotion path with HR.  Why did these leaders refuse to set up a promotion growth path; because my department was being right-sized for a technological solution until it was discovered that technology could not replace the people.  Now, everyone is stuck; they cannot promote or afford to quit and return, and the political situation is unbearably ridiculous!

When I write about leadership failures, I write from deep experience in fighting stupidity, asininity, and ridiculousness in human resources.  There is no excuse for a leader to pacify down and plead up to look better for the next promotion.  Yet, today I was told, “you have to pay your dues; working here is ‘humbling.’”  So is joining the military and having Congress halt all promotions in your field because they feel it is a “good path for the military.”  It was stupid then, and it is still stupid now!

Hell from human resources includes some new verbiage gaining traction from the politicians, and frankly, this is a conversation begging to be had.  What are the employees in your organization, valuable, worthwhile, lazy, useless, human infrastructure, or individuals?  Choose your adjective, and I can tell you what type of leader you are.  Worse, I can forecast just how bad your business will treat everyone and how fast your company will die horribly!

A customer of mine told me I was crazy and full of “baked beans.”  They are bankrupt now, their employees all left with a horrible taste in their mouth for authoritarianism, tyranny, and oppression in their employer.  The red tape bureaucracy in human resources was such that to “avoid risk” in human resources (HR), the lawyers convinced the owners to design HR in such a way as to micro-manage to the Nth degree.  Too many HR departments are making the most egregious mistake in treating independent thinking adults like pre-schoolers in pre-K classes.

Unfortunately, the IRS supports the HR departments acting in this manner, and Congress continues to fund and increase the budget of the IRS to exasperate this situation further.  The powers of the IRS have been a recurring topic, and additional insight from those articles can be found in the links provided.

Would you like a solution to the fifth ring of Dante HR insanity?  FIRE Human Resource professionals.  HR is comparable to the man who discovers solutions to problems he creates after demanding everyone adopt the solution.  The fundamental treatise upon which HR justifies their existence is flawed and presume that humans need controlled.  However, if the IRS got out of dictating how to treat employees in the employer/employee relationship, HR would not be required!

Consider the veracity of returning HR to Dante’s fifth ring; every business already possesses human capital, structural capital, and relationship capital as part of its intellectual capital.  Intellectual capital makes your business different from your competition and is central to the knowledge management process.  Please note, HR did not build this for your company; like the government, HR has never been more than a “necessary evil” at best.  Creating processes and procedures that protect officiousness while punishing productivity and talented people.

How much does an open position cost an organization?  The honest and straightforward answer, nobody can quantify this number due to a mixture of variables.  The closest one can get to an estimate is between 3 times and 15 times the annual salary of the open position.  Why is this so difficult to quantify; here are some of the variables in the equation.  Please note that the human potential element, or the individual’s talents occupying the position, can never be quantified.

        • Annual Salary
        • Training
        • Salaries for those doing the job while the position is open
        • Loss of production from the position available and those covering the open role responsibilities
        • Organizational memory loss from the person leaving
        • Onboarding costs (advertising, interviewing, hiring)

Imperative to removing the minions from Dante’s Fifth Ring (HR), the organizational dimension’s seven S’s must be understood.  Leaders must constantly balance strategy, structure, systems, staff, skills, style, and superordinate goals.  When HR is involved, balancing staff, skills, and style is crushed under the bureaucracy and inefficient thinking of bureaucrats who must have a process for everything.  Thus forming the disconnect between humans endeavoring towards an organizational goal (business) and achieving success.

Case in point, let us return to the open positions, the job market where millions of available jobs are stagnating, and people are not going back to work.  The model has failed, and the culprits are HR and the coequally corrupt government institutions on the local, county, state, and federal levels.  Thus, anyone with eyes can see that strategy, structure, and systems have been intentionally destroyed in businesses large and small by those charged with helping understand and support staff, skills, and styles while working to achieve superordinate goals.

Businesses are out of balance; the government built that!  Human resources helped.  America needs to reverse course, and it begins with freeing the employee from the employer/employee relationship.  While some will claim this answer is too simple, how many honestly remember what America was like before the Federal Government mandated how employers could compete for talent?  It is time to discover how small a government can shrink, and while shrinking, take HR with them!

© 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.

NO MORE BS: Revisiting Change vs. Knowledge

ToolsRecently, I wrote about Change vs. Knowledge, and I have received some push-back on this topic and wanted to explain and expound a little to assure and address some concerns.  The basic premise remains, in Christopher Paolini’s book “Inheritance: or the Vault of Souls,” the main character Eragon answers a question about change, saying, “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.

In basing the premise on this quote, I am not excluding anything in the learning process.  Education does come in many forms, including academic, informal, experience, and even through epiphanies where knowledge comes from sources greater than those we can understand with our limited senses and understanding.  I fully accept that the great warrior Joan of Arc received heavenly manifestations and was guided in her battles by these manifestations.  Hence, I acknowledge that people continue to be influenced in like manner and accept this as a form of education.

Detective 4Along the same vein, desire remains crucial to seeking knowledge and acquiring knowledge through the long struggle as a motivating force.  Thus, desire remains a tool of motivation in empowering change.  Provided the desire is not abused into appetite suppression, which leads to excess, abuse, and chaos.  For example, during the initial phases of the Spanish Inquisition, the desire was the unification of the population.  The Spanish Inquisition soon turned ugly and began persecuting Jews because the people leading the inquisition desired the Jews to either convert or leave Spain.  Thus, the conclusion that desire can quickly turn into appetite suppression can cause chaos, destruction, and severe abuses.

Let us be perfectly clear; education remains a vital proponent in boosting change in a population.  Teach a population to read, write, and perform mathematics, and you will significantly change a population within a generation.  Consider the post-Civil War era in America; the children of slaves went to school, learned reading, writing, and arithmetic, and then began to spread out as influential people.  The same occurred with the American Indian tribes, and this pattern repeats throughout all of history and never wavers.  Thus, we can safely conclude that formal education boosts changes in society, cultures, and people who then create change in their environments and communities.Grit - Defined

What is wisdom?

Wisdom is another term that everyone knows but has various components that aid in fully detailing the term.  Wisdom captures the quality of experience, education (formal and informal) as knowledge, and couple’s good judgment, or the ability to make logical and sound decisions.  Wisdom also encapsulates the appropriateness of actions and decisions where experience, education (formal and informal) as knowledge, are applied to a situation.  Wisdom is also the body of experience, education (formal and informal) as knowledge in society.  Unfortunately, wisdom has been plasticized, and emotions and emotionally powered logic have been installed as erroneous variables creating confusion and aiding in language’s tyranny to exert undue pressure on people.  When Speaker Pelosi (D) can be called wise, the tyranny of plastic words becomes evident!

Choice vs. Perception

Remember, the premise “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.”  We choose whether we will allow change to be good or bad; we decide whether or not knowledge will be helpful or not.  The choice is based upon how we choose to perceive the world around us.  For example, I grew up in a house where smoking was considered tough, manly, and cool.  I smoked in high school but quit in the US Army during Basic Training; let me tell you, that’s tough!  But the perception of smoking, even with all the knowledge of the harm smoking can do, I still have to fight my perception of smoking’s image as I continue to be a quitter.

LookIs the relationship clear; as a kid, the perception was powerful that smoking is a good thing; as an adult, I must fight that perception because I choose not to be a smoker.  Even though for 10-years after quitting, I could walk through second-hand smoke, and my pulse would race, my brain would demand a cigarette, and I would have to choose to remember why I quit smoking consciously.  While the choice has become easier to keep in the now 20+ years after quitting, the power of the perception that smoking is cool remains as bright as ever.

The choice and perception variable remain a potent force in everything we, as humans, choose to do, see, become, and what we teach to others.  Worse, the choice and perception variable is evident in behaviors, cultures, social groups, and political choices.  Consider how many times Senator McCain (R), Senator Obama (D), Senator Robert Byrd (D), Speakers Schumer (D) and McConnell (R), etc., backpedaled, back dealt, changed positions, and still was able to convince citizens to vote for them.  Speakers Paul Ryan (R) and Nancy Pelosi (D) have had the exact same problem their entire time in the US House of Representatives.  Look at any politician who has been around for longer than three terms, and you will see choice and perception as significant variables in why they continue to win elections.

Never Give Up!Hence, when we take this article’s premise, “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful,” we must factor in the choices and perceptions of those around us as a collective society.  When we understand choice and perception, we more thoroughly understand behaviors, trends in actions, and we grasp at the power and danger of the premise that “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.

What we choose is not simply contingent upon what we know but also our perception and our valuation of past decisions on this topic.  Consider the quandary Robert Solomon has experienced by persisting that emotions are a choice, a judgment, and a socially influenced action consciously made.  The entire psychological world threw back their heads and howled, fighting, screaming, and becoming illogical, and yet emotions are as much a conscious choice as the clothes we wear each day, our hairstyle, and the foods we choose to eat.

LinkedIn ImageAs we choose a “Liberty FIRST Culture,” we must understand the why, the perception choice variables, and embrace the premise that, “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.”  Doing so will require we first look at our world views, knowledge, perceptions, choices and decide if these are bringing us closer, or taking us further away from, a society where the US Constitution lives as the paramount “Rule of Law.”  Are we actively choosing to draw ourselves closer to freedom through our Republic, or are we part of the problem?  Individual choice will drive change, provided we are conscious of our choices, educating ourselves, and actively working towards improving society.  As the fundamental building block of the American Republic, the society that matters most is inside our own homes; build that society!

© 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.

NO MORE BS: Change vs. Knowledge

Guns and Liberals - A Pipe DreamWhile reading Christopher Paolini’s book “Inheritance: or the Vault of Souls,” the main character Eragon answers a question about change, saying, “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.”  Long have I maintained a similar approach to change and the desire for knowledge.  What I find most interesting is how often truths become clear when I am not particularly looking for them but remain open to new thinking on old topics.

What is Knowledge?Detective 2

Knowledge is a formula:

Knowledge = Education (Formal +Informal)*Experience*Time

During the knowledge process, change happens.  Even when the decision is to reject knowledge, refute change, or deny change is occurring, the process of knowledge continues.  The problem, knowledge is gained and lost, proportional to our desire to obtain new knowledge.  I love the show “Married with Children.”  In one show, the daughter Kelly learns something new and forgets something old, in a constant cycle.  The same philosophy is found in the movie “Glory Road,” the coach says, “You know what, Shed? You’re like a duck. You wake up in a new world every day.”

What is change?

Non Sequitur - ClassicChange is modification, alterations, replacing, becoming.  There is nothing to fear in change.  Yet, how often has someone made money selling books about helping people change, driving business change, improving people during change, and adapting and adjusting to change.  During my undergraduate degree program, I had an epiphany, “Do you know that every time a business obtains a new customer, they experience change?”  Research supports this epiphany, and I was shocked silly to come to this realization.  I shared my thoughts in the classroom, and I thought the instructor, and most of the class, would have a heart attack and die on the spot.

That week’s topics were all about change in the workplace, and I do not hold that change is an event horizon but a steady strain on a person to move them from where they are to who they might become.  Another shocking idea that scared the class and caused a riot.  Yet, change is nothing more or less than a journey of knowledge, where we choose to embrace learning in the hopes of changing and gaining knowledge.

Why is this important?Leap Day

To answer this question, I ask another, “What is it you want most?”  For that which you desire, you will change to acquire.  Using Shed’s character as an example, after being handed his bus ticket, Shed realizes that he cannot go home in shame, “I’ll never be able to look my daddy in the eye.”  His character does some soul searching, and he returns to fight for a position on the basketball team.  Shed learned that which he desired he had to become willing to acquire, then had to fight to acquire, and only through total commitment did he eventually acquire his desire.

A friend of mine related his experience with a husband and wife.  They were considering divorcing, had concluded they had done all they could, and were visiting my friend to discuss the problem.  This couple had forgotten what they desired and had stopped fighting to acquire what they desired.  My friend helped this couple remember why they originally married in the first place.  Over time, the couple stopped growing apart and began again to desire and acquired what they desired most, companionship with their partner.

Detective 4That which we desire, we will invest in acquiring.  As a kid, I wanted a book.  Not any book; I wanted a particular book worth $75.00.  I shoveled a lot of snow, raked a ton of leaves, mowed lawns, split wood, stacked wood, cut down trees, and did many other odd jobs to acquire the money for this specific book, eventually earning almost three times the money needed for this book.  Then, I gave the money earned to my parents to buy the book for my birthday.  I did not get my book; the money was spent on “other things,” and I was told to be grateful to have those “other things.”  Interestingly, as an adult, when I finally acquired this desired book, a change had come over me where this book was concerned, shifting technology changed the original reason to own the book, and the book now sits less used on my shelf.

Yet, the principle remains a valuable lesson; what we desire, we will invest in acquiring.  We will sacrifice much to acquire a desire.  Consider our fraudulent president; what has he, and his wife, sacrificed to acquire the presidency?  What has Speaker Pelosi (D) invested and sacrificed to acquire?  What has America suffered so the Clinton’s could acquire their desires?

Do we understand the caution in Change and Knowledge?

Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.”  Therein lay the caution.  Change is blamed when the consequences of desire are not as valued upon possession as they were before acquisition.  But, if we choose to allow it, the knowledge of that experience is always helpful as we plot future decision-making.  During my time in the US Navy, I learned the definition of a mistake, “A mistake occurs when everything learned, experienced, and achieved if given a chance to repeat, you would not repeat.”  Meaning that the knowledge acquired, the experience obtained, any achievement awards all lay as dross when compared with the original decision.

Never Give Up!Some journeys we travel are not enjoyable, but the knowledge is valuable.  Some journeys we undertake require too much, and we stop long before the lesson is learned, and in stopping, we lose what we thought we had gained.  Some journeys require a period of recovery before the lessons learned become apparent, and then we can choose to allow that knowledge to be useful.  Yet, change remains neither good nor bad; the consequences of our decisions are neither good nor bad; the knowledge is only useful when we choose to allow it to be useful.  You choose; choose wisely!

© 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.

NO MORE BS: The Captivity of our Fathers: A Paradigm for Freedom!

Note: Today, I am revisiting a previous topic in an effort to improve base knowledge on key principles to freedom.

RememberTo remember is to do something necessary or advisable, which brings honor to the past and freedom to the present.  Remembering is the power to become aware that you are more than the singular person and many others have held a hand in making you, your personality, strengths, and weaknesses.  A greeting card reads, “I am a strong person because a strong person raised me.”  Remembering is also the power that propels the person from their starting point into a glorious future.  Ralph Marston has the last word on remembering, “Remember why you started, remember where you are headed, think how great it will be to get there, and keep going.”

The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints, revers as scripture “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ,” in which the reader is encouraged to “Remember the captivity of your fathers” (Mosiah: 27:16; Alma: 5: 6; Alma 29:11-12; 36:2, 29).  The captivity originally spoken of was physical captivity. Where a group of people had been militarily taken over by their enemies and were in physical bondage, slaves pressed into cruel service.  But, as this theme evolves, the reader is encouraged to remember other types of captivity their fathers have been subjected to, as a means of more fully enjoying the freedoms and opportunities they possess, because of their father’s captivity and their father’s release from captivity through action.

To the person escaping Cuba as Castro came to power, the captivity of communism and the celebration of freedom in America is a tangible memory and powers many a child of Cuban heritage to act and appreciate their freedoms dearly-won through their father’s actions.  The release from concentration camp captivity powered and motivates even to this day the children and communities where freedom now rings.  The captivity of those in the USSR powers the minds and freedoms of those living in Russia.  Problems still exist in all these communities, but the release from captivity is worth remembering.  By remembering, honor is paid to those who suffered that captivity, by the growth and development of those present and into the future by actions made today.

CaptivityCaptivity comes in many shapes, by many names, and is visible only through the suffering of those held captive.  Some captivity comes from external forces, including military conquest, law, religious beliefs, and more.  Some captivity arrives through individual choices as consequences, including sex, food, drugs (legal and illegal), alcohol, TV, Social Media, or any excessive habit-forming action.  Consider the captivity caused through debt.  For example, our children’s children’s children’s children have not been formed yet, but they are already in captivity to the National and State Debt burdens carried right now!  Is this fair to them?  We get benefits, and they get captivity, all through government refusal to act responsibly; how are those retirement benefits?

During a conversation with several older adults, I asked a question about illiteracy’s captivity.  I asked how many generations back in their families does it take to find an illiterate family member.  One fortunate person claimed it was more than 8 generations, and another said three, a couple said four, but a very elderly person in the back said 1, his parents never learned to read or write in their own native language or English.  This man is a Native American from a tribe in Northern Arizona; when I met him, he was in his late 80’s.

LiberationAs a child of 8, he was separated from his tribe, family, and the reservation he knew, loaded onto a bus, and sent to Oklahoma for a “White Man’s” education.  He spent 10-months of every year for the next 10-years going to school in Oklahoma.  During that time, he never received a single letter from his parents.  He was not allowed to speak his native language, and all native culture was forbidden.  He credits this traumatic period of his life as the crucible for all the good that has come to him through education.  His children and grandchildren all completed college, becoming engineers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, and more.  He had two great-grandchildren just entering college, and his first great-great-grandchild was soon to be delivered.  He told stories of his parents’ captivity to his children and grandchildren, and they are better people for remembering the captivity of their fathers.

On the topic of remembering his fathers’ captivity, specifically illiteracy, he remembers every day in gratitude, even though his parents’ thirst for learning meant he endured such harrowing experiences to go to school.  His fathers’ captivity drove and motivated him to ensure his progeny would not suffer the same captivity.  Who taught you to read?  Who taught them?  How has being taught to read released you from captivity of the mind, fear of the unknown, or superstition?

Tank Man - Tiananmen SquareAnother example is a similar question about our fathers’ captivity; how many generations back before your fathers never left a small land plot?  Whose only views of the world were restricted to that single plot of land due to law, debt, religion, melatonin, or some other chain.  One answered, his family had hated his grandfather for leaving a place of comfort in Scotland, for a rough life in America’s western states.  Many of his family only ever saw the titles, the land, the benefits and wanted those things.  The family desiring these things never saw the captivity, and the family remains broken and separate to this day.  Captivity of appetite is still captivity.

What was the captivity the grandfather escaped from if he had land, titles, money, servants, etc.; freedom to grow, change, and become.  As long as his family stuck to his fathers’ same life and ways, they would have a comfortable physical life.  Herein lay the captivity, and this gentleman tells his story as a caution about researching family history.  I have always held this story, not as a caution but as a parable regarding individual choices.  Born into freedom and plenty, but requiring ceaseless toil, members of this gentleman’s family preferred captivity and luxury to hard work and accomplishment.  Meaning that by weaponizing history, choices are made, and captivity can be lusted for, and the consequence is a lost family.

Government Largess 2I see the welfare state in America that strips pride and accomplishment and replaces it with appetite suppression, and I see millions in captivity to the government dole.  Captivity that breeds wasted and blasted lives, people who have potential are dying under government handouts, forever stuck in subsistence living and not knowing how to escape their choices’ captivity.  Where but for the work requirement for welfare assistance, that same person would know and understand different lessons and potentially choose a different path; thus, discovering that captivity is broken through work.

I see the captivity of thought, children raised in homes as rigidly controlled as Nazi Propaganda mills, controlled by the captivity of their parents’ hate and choices, and becoming leeches and vermin to America’s health.  Consider upon the state of these children and weep for their lost innocence and America’s future.  These are the children in the streets since May 2020 throwing bricks, lighting fires, attacking helpless victims, and causing such tremendous violence upon the American Soul.  Look upon these children in mental captivity and remember, “But for the grace of God go I” (John Bradford).

Other types of captivity our fathers suffered and our children are suffering include mental/physical/sexual abuse, drugs and alcohol, criminal activity, gangs, single-parenthood, the loss of the nuclear family, technology, and so much more.  Why should a person remember the captivity of their fathers?  Because by remembering, we recommit to not passing along that captivity to our children or communities.

Detective 4Recently, I was part of a discussion on technology; I mentioned captivity and technology and was mercilessly attacked for suggesting that technology is a form of captivity.  Thus, I put it to you, dear reader, is technology a form of captivity or not?  Are video games addicting and represent a form of captivity or not?  Are the needs for technology a type of captivity leading to large debts, broken families, and changes in how people think and act?

The Old Testament carries a similar theme to remembering our fathers’ captivity when Israel’s children were commanded to remember the Passover.  Yom HaShoah (יום השואה) and in English as Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Holocaust Day, is another holiday set apart for remembering the captivity of our fathers and recommitting to freedom from oppression.  Buddhism has Bodhi Day, upon which the full day is set apart for remembrance and meditation.  Catholics have All Souls’ Day as a day for remembering the past, honoring the lives of loved ones lost, and recommitting to a brighter future.

These holidays are mentioned, and more exist, to help the reader understand the importance of remembering our fathers’ captivity.  America’s fathers have fought much and bled much, suffering incredible injuries, all to make the future better.  Can we, the recipients of these sacrifices to shed captivity, do less and lose this great Republic, without suffering our fathers’ indignation in the future?

Washington at Valley ForgeConsider the frozen feet and fingers of Valley Forge; what was a little frostbite when compared with the glorious vision of freedom to the soldiers on duty there?  Consider the bloody battles of the Civil War, the fear, the anger, the soul-shattering pounding of the guns.  Both sides considered themselves correct, both sides wanted a vision of freedom, but only one side could win, and in winning bring complete freedom to all the people of America.  Consider the soldiers, sailors, airman, and marines in Afghanistan, South Korea, Africa, and every other place America sends her military might, can we sit at home comfortably and not feel gratitude for their sacrifices, the heat, and cold they suffer, the wounds, the physical and mental strain?

LinkedIn ImageRemembering is an action, a thought process with the impetus power to drive an individual’s commitment and effort.  Let us not forget our fathers’ captivity and by remembering act in a method that will secure liberty, justice, and freedom for our children’s children.  America is in danger of being lost; this great Republic, blessed with a Constitutional form of government, is in danger.  I, for one, refuse to sit idly by and lose this precious country.  I implore you to remember the captivity of your fathers and join me in voting intelligently, join me in throwing off the shackles which threaten to bind us down in captivity to communist and socialist styles of governance.  Join me in taking back America!

© 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.
All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/