Thursday, November 12, 2009
Respect, Join, Fight
Lots of people always say that everyone has their purpose and the one thing that they were meant for. Most of the time its finding that purpose that's the problem but then even after you find that finding what you're supposed to do with that is a whole different ball game. I've been alive for 29 years now and I still can't tell you what I'm meant for. I can tell you that I have been given clues and I have ideas and that every day that goes by I learn just a little bit more of who I am. It's a process -- and I don't think it ends until life it's self ends. Of course, a few weeks ago I went home to PA for my great grandmother's funeral and I have to wonder that in the 109 years that she lived if she knew what her purpose was or if she really just lived her purpose without even knowing it. Personally, I think most people do just that -- and there isn't anything wrong with that.
If you look at any sports team you'll see different players serving a different purpose. They all have their position or their task. The greatest football player may just be the one that never gets a touchdown. Actually, there is no such thing as the greatest football player which is why it wasn't Ben Roethlisberger that won the Lombardi but the Steelers. Sure we have MVPs and awards that honor individual players but I don't think anyone will argue that the greatest award in the NFL is winning the Super Bowl. In a player's life they will go through many different positions and sometimes it'll take years and years for them to find their place and it'll happen by their coaches and team mates seeing something in them that would be great for another position other than what they may be in at any given moment. In fact, it's rarely the person that finds their place in anything but those around them.
I just finished watching an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger -- specifically Evil in the Night -- which made me again realize one component of me that defines who I am and what it is that excites me. Quite simply it is multiple people and organizations joining together for a common fight. If you asked any person what the most exciting part of that episode was I can all but guarantee that not a single person would tell you the same answer as I would. The part of this episode that got me most excited is when Ranger Trivette decided that the elders of the tribe needed to have a ceremony over an ancient burial ground that was disturbed in order to help Ranger Walker. The next scene was a van with the elders following Ranger Trivette in his truck with his red light flashing -- it was that scene that excited me the most. There is a lot to be said about that scene and more than most people probably even thought of.
This episode started out with the talk of ghosts and demons and Ranger Trivette really didn't buy any of it. As time went on he started to warm up to the idea but I doubt that he ever really understood or possibly even fully believed that evil spirits were being used in the attacks that happened in this episode. In order for my favorite scene to happen there was a very serious thing that needed to take place and that was simply that Trivette needed to respect the beliefs of the native americans regardless of whether he believed them or not. Aside from the respect there was another major component that had to happen and that was two groups that really don't always see eye to eye needed to join together and totally cooperate. The Native Americans could have easily said "these are the people that took our land" or refused to take part in easing the spirits of the souls of those buried in the burial ground that was disturbed in order to build a new building that had nothing to do with them -- but they didn't. They realized that people were in danger and that there was something that needed to be done for the good of everyone and they gladly went with Trivette.
All of us have our enemies individually but then we have our enemies that oppose the groups that we are in. I know I personally have a hard time with some people at the fire hall and in many cases it's better to avoid those people but if the call comes in and its down to me and those people we all have to put things aside and realize that our enemy as a group at that moment in time is the fire or the mangled car holding someone inside and we need to defeat that enemy as our major priority. It may not always be easy but I try. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to put aside your seniority or your rank and realize that everyone needs to learn from everyone and join together for the common good. On a larger scale one thing that I think is awesome is that when we're driving our ambulance or engine out of town and a police cruiser is sitting waiting for speeders that officer will often flash their lights at us to say hi and we'll do the same -- despite all the talk about the police dept did this or the fire dept did this we realize and recognize in that moment that we are on the same team regardless of our differences. When Joey and I arrived first on the scene to the accident where the 16 year old girl got hit by the drunk driver we went to work and we did what we knew best to do and as more engines arrived each person took their part in doing what needed to be done. We also had sheriff's deputies and state troopers on the scene and there wasn't any fights about jurisdiction -- it was people getting done what needed to be done. The officers handled the issues with the drunk driver and the fire department was there to help while the firefighters handled the scene and officers were there to help and the EMTs did their part and I still held c-spine on the girl even tho I'm a firefighter and not an EMT. Everyone doing their part is what took care of that scared girl and got the guy in jail that needed to be in jail.
It's really sad that you don't hear about these things and mostly don't see them anymore. And I don't just mean in the fire service, the NFL, or any other organization but in each person's personal life. We see Virginia license plates that say "Fight Terrorism" on a car that cuts off numerous people in order to save a few seconds of their commute. Instead of joining together to be prepared for what may happen we disrespect others and ignore the fact that others could use our help and genuine advice until disaster strikes and, only then, do we pull together.
As humans we all need to realized that it is a crucial part of our survival to respect each person and let them do what they believe they are meant to do and to help them, and allow others to help us, realize what our place in life is. Once we start respecting each other and start learning about each other then we can join together and fight the common enemy rather than arguing amongst ourselves. Without respect we can't join and without joining we can't win.
(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved
Friday, June 26, 2009
I wish I was an asshole
I think the primary problem with the subject of this blog post isn't the content of it but rather the fact that this world forces people into that statement. Our world is going more and more downhill and it's been documented, planned, and pushed forward towards that than some people realize. Just sit back and think about it.... we're supposed to work together on everything and be a team.... its taught to us by people above us constantly..... almost every employer has those signs hanging somewhere or at least pushes that statement -- and statement is really the best way to describe it because how many of us actually know of employers that show that in their own day to day operations? It sounds really good to say that you support team work but it's really easier to work towards you own personal profits if you leave that part out.....
In my daily life I continue to be as helpful and kind as I can be and most of the time I get punished for it.... I'm still single but yet I'm told by lots of girls that I am so sweet and such a great person which is followed by them talking about their asshole boyfriend which she someday breaks up with and then finds another asshole boyfriend..... so why am I single? Well, it simply seems that a big reason is that I am NOT and asshole. Or how about trying to make things better for someone or something? I enjoy going the extra mile and helping people out but what happens if it steps on someone who just happens to like doing things the way it's always been done no matter how inefficient it is or how many people are put in danger or many other various reasons? Well it's obvious -- I get punished for it. Perhaps the saddest part about all of this is that if I were, in fact, the asshole then it wouldn't hurt nearly as bad as it does.......
..... it's hard to hurt if you can't feel anything :(
(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved
Friday, October 17, 2008
Ok, I'll admit it. I watch Nascar sometimes hoping to see a good wreck.... Who wins? Well, thats not that much of a concern to me. There is at least a little bit of this person in everyone. Have you ever wondered why? What makes a Nascar wreck so interesting? I think there are actually a few different things that come into play.
The first and foremost is that in most cases no one is seriously injured. This is a primary reason why someone who sees a wreck happen in front of them on the interstate will have nightmares about it and yet that same person loves the carnage of a Nascar wreck. This will, of course, vary between person on how the respond but at a very base level there is a part of every one of us that has a huge respect for other human beings and care about their well-being. I don't think that in today's age we make that very evident because there are so many things in our enviornment that lead us in a different direction than what our base selves are trying to be but I'll touch on that a little later.
The second thing that is extremely important is that it is totally unexpected. Did you ever wonder why a wreck seems so much more exciting when you're watching the entire race as opposed to just seeing a clip of the wreck it's self? It's the element of surprise. If someone is showing you a clip of a wreck then you are expecting it.... but if you're watching the race and it happens live, it's unexpected and it's just that much more exciting.
The third important thing is that it's a break from the norm. If you look at a typical Nascar race, all of the cars race around a track 200 some laps. It's the same thing over and over again and why there are a lot of people that just simply can't stand watching Nascar. Some people take notice of the details of that race regarding who is in what position and they may know stats of who is expected to win and it's exciting to them when they see someone else taking the lead -- the more unexpected that person is to take the lead, the more exciting the race is. A wreck is the ultimate break from the norm.... instead of cars going around laps on all 4 tires, suddenly, it's different... things going in different directions.... We are designed to break from the norm so when other things break from the norm, well, then we almost "relate".
So we relate to chaos? Actually, I think we do in a very abstract way. Why are horror movies so popular? Thrillers? Comedies? Drama? Did you ever stop and realize that every single one of these genres of movies have a very important element -- the element of surprise. Why is it that Drama tends to be a less "popular" genre of movie? If you think about the typical genre, there isn't always a lot of surprise. There's the boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy and girl get married.... we except these things to happen. A good drama is hard to build because dramas all tend to be based on the same thing and it's hard to integrate these unexpected things.... that's why we've started seeing so many more "romantic comedies" ... We just can't simply have the same romance films and be entertained and the best way to mix in unexpected happenings is with comedy. That's really all comedy is.... something that is unexpected.
Since I have been working on my TV system (MythTV / LinuxMCE) I have started relaxing more with hulu.com and ended up starting to watch Fringe. This show has gained a lot of popularity and its not hard to see why.... the confusion, the thinking, the mystery.... these are concepts that our lives were designed around. Fringe has made me realize a lot of additional things than just these elements.... things that may exist in me and not many others.
When I was a kid I had a matchbox city set. It was a little town that folded up and had streets, police department, fire department, some stores, hospital, etc. I remember it being entertaining to me to cause accidents between cars on the streets... sure, every boy did. The more I have been thinking about how my life has been going and the directions God seems to lead me in I'm starting to remember something very interesting that I used to do when I played with that town. When an accident occured I would, of course, bring in the fire truck and police car.... but I always did something interesting.... I would build temporary roadways and find ways of directing traffic around that accident. For me, it wasn't so much the accident it's self that was exciting but it was trying to find a way around that accident.... how can it be taken care of?
Now, I don't think you'll run in to many people that could say they built temporary roadways on their matchbox playset. I guess you really don't meet many people like me either. I remember looking around my room and finding things that I could use to build roads with.... I'd often use paper and cardboard and every kind of tape you'd imagine... straws were useful... The thing was, I always needed to look at what options I had and use them the best way I knew how. Hey, I was a kid that couldn't drive and had no money so was I going to go to the store to buy something? Not a chance. I was forced to use what I had instead of taking the easy way out and getting what was needed.... and I had a lot more fun in doing that anyway.
So what is it that is happening in our society? If you look at corporations that grow larger and larger you'll notice a general trend.... those companies lose their creativity.... they get comfortable.... they grow bored. Oh... they get greedy too. Is it all greed? Well, maybe not. I can imagine if I was an accountant I'd probably get bored of the same thing over and over again... there is that part of me that wants to think and be creative.... but I've got people holding my hand and watching everything I do... so the creativity has to happen in secret.... all of a sudden it's "Can I actually get away with this?" more than it is "I really want to have that money"..... Don't get me wrong, money is driving a lot of disaster but what is the motive to do wrong to get it? Quite possibly it's the lack of creativity.
We, as humans, were created into uncertainty. You can see this in watching a child grow up. Everything is amazing to them.... we're not sure of much at all when we are born.... but we learn..... The problem is how we learn. Are we told "this is the way things are" or are we guided through our experiences and left to figure out things on our own? If you talk to any child psychologist they will likely tell you that you need to give your child options and ask them what they'd like to do rather than tell them what to do.... it's important in their growth. But while the child psychologists have this it seems a lot of parents don't.... most of that is out of frustration..... you want your child to do something because you need a break...... Another place that you start seeing this "do it this way" is in the school systems. I remember in middle school math being told to show my math. There were many times on a test that I lost points not becuase I didnt have the right answer but because I didn't show how I came to that answer. The more I think about this, I wonder if this is why I hate math so much. I remember that I used to love trying to figure out equations but anymore, I can't stand it. It kind of makes me wonder if that's part of the reason my math scores started dropping.... I had my way of doing it.... I figured it out for myself.... but I was punished because I didn't do it the way the school system said I needed to.... It seems to get worse in college.... there is such an emphasis of the way things are that they really no longer cultivate the creativity that we need in order to go beyond where we are now.
We go through our lives in social situations. We're taught what is acceptable and what is unacceptable.... and every single one of us is deadened to at least some extent. If we are raised in a family that is prejudice then we have a greater tendancy of being prejudice as well because, well, we're taught that this is the way it is. We don't have a change to realize that a black person can be extremely smart and that they are just like a white person.... these are things that "any idiot" can figure out.... but we're learning based on what we are told first and then we'll figure out what we're not told.... this, my friends, is why laziness is such a bad thing. We're so lazy that we will take anyone's word on any situaiton rather than looking in to that ourselves.
Take a moment to think of the stereo typical things that you are taught. What child has not heard "when you grow up and make lots of money....." You see, its comments like that that flat out tell us that money is important to our happiness. We stop taking the time to figure out other things in life because our entire world revolves around money that we are essentially told that this is the way it is.... the longer that goes on the more focused we become.... We see the patterns that have made many businesses lots of money and we take those as being told how to do things -- rather than figure out a new way on our own. Then we see businesses making these same moves and even when they are totally wrong us consumers go "well, hey, they are a business".... This horrible cycle repeats it's self. Sadly, that pattern gets worse each time it repeats it.
As a result of these processes and cycles we are not given the chance to figure out who we really are... from the time we are born we are surrounded by this world that is showing us everything the way that it wants to be and because of our internal laziness, we don't take the time to figure it out. We quickly lose who we are as humans and we become part of the problem. If we decided to think on our own we become a "rebel" or told that we just live in a dream world and, in many cases *ahem*, we end up in mental care because we're not conforming to the world is. All of this happens while the world continues to decide that communism is bad. Whether our government is communistic or not we live our lives in such a horrible hippocritical way and we show our own little communism to anyone who doesn't conform to our standards.
I believe that the only way to really save our nation and our world is to break free of the comformity. We need to quit thinking that throwing money at the economy is going to solve the problems. We need to believe that some crazy ideas might actually be the solution..... And maybe we just might need to think about the person that we wrote off our entire life as being totally crazy and psychotic might actually be the uncomformed rebel that we need to help all of us find ourselves.
(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
I find it a very interesting thing that the root of any kind of Improv group is this concept of agreement. Tonight I listened to the first part of "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell which is a book that I would highly recommend to anyone. A chapter covered an improv group in a lot of detail and used many examples of this agreement concept. While the outsider believes that improv is pure chaos there are actually some very important rules of conduct that are vital to sucess. The most important of these is that you can not turn down anything that is suggested. The example used in the book was a skit where a doctor and paitient were discussing a problem with his arm. The paitient said "you can't amputate it. I'm rather attached to it" and in the next line the idea was shot down and the skit abruptly ended. The basic reason for this is that there is a need for a smooth flow of ideas and improv is constantly working with what you got and when your in a live performance you simply can not take something back. It is crucial to go with the flow and to build upon what was done and let the ideas of each person involved in a skit to flow uninterupted. This is a very small description of the rule of agreement.
Recently I had a phone conversation with a friend of mine that scared me in that I saw so much of myself in this person from a dark time of my life and I realized that the majority of the things this person had been doing that upset me were completely justified in their mind and in the same state of mind I would have responded much the same way. Perhaps scared isn't the proper word but startled would be a better description of the way I felt. Realizing that this friend of mine has been trapped in a position with their hands tied and not being able to do what they believed they needed to do and then thinking about the situations that I went through 4-5 years ago in my life made me realize the similarities were overwhelming and realized that, while things did need to change, I could not fault this person for the reactions they had to many different things. This added to the desire to understand what it was that made me better a little over 3 years ago which I explained in an earlier blog. I think this concept of agreement helped answer at least a small portion of that.
At the end of 2004 I was undergoing some different treatments through Western Psychiatric in Pittsburgh, PA. On of these was a program that was based upon the research of Marsha Linehan. Just a few days ago I was reminded of her concepts from a podcast that I listened to, Wise Counsel. Listening to the interview was very interesting for me because this was looking at what I went through as a paitient from the eyes of the psychologist and the concepts became a lot more real to me. The most important concepts in the program I went through was "it is what it is".... The example that I remember the clearest was the story of a boy on a bike who is going down a hill and is out of control. At the bottom of this hill is a very busy intersection and, ultimately, the boy runs into the intersection and is killed. The typical response that everyone has is "that shouldn't have happened" but, in reality, yes it should have. It's not to take light the tragedy that occured because it is devestating. The reason why you can't say that it shouldn't have happened is because of the events that led up to it. The stage was set and it was ultimately what had to happen. Realizing this reduces a lot of stress and anxiety we place on ourselves. If we do not accept the fact that this had to happen because the events led to it then we find ourselves trying to explain why they happened and we start blaming people while our another part of our brain is trying to scream to us that it is not their fault. We don't make anything better when we can not accept what happened and what events led to that. We can look to the future and possibly prevent it from happening again but the bottom line is that what happened is what happened -- it is what it is. It wasn't until I listened to the podcast that I realized that there is an entire field of "acceptance therapy". What is interesting about Linehan's work is that it takes a slightly different approach in that it mixes acceptance therapy with adding some possibility of change but only after you accept that you can't change the past. This is a little deeper than I need to go in to right now so let's just leave it at acceptance therapy.
When I was about 16 it seems that a long series of events happened that really pushed me into situations that I could not control and what made it worse was that many of these were things that were absolutely not fair. Not to take lightly the fact that I made mistakes there were situations where people acted more immature than what I did in response to my immaturity. My life started to go downhill a little more with each step because my motivation was to change that which occured and convince these people of their immaturity. I spiraled more and more out of control because these were just simply situations that could not be changed or improved upon -- the problem was that I didn't know this, or at least I didn't want to know this. I became more and more incapable of accepting things as they were and moving forward regardless. This entire phase of my life is an almost carbon copy of the concepts involved in my friend's current struggles.
So what was it that changed me? Was it this program I went through? Not eactly. Actually, I still don't know but I think the concepts that I learned in the program that I went through were a vital part in whatever it was that made me better. More so, I think other concepts that have already been brought up in the book, "Blink", play a vital role. There was a huge need for my unconscious to be retrained. It was important for me to accept the things that had happened, no matter how horrible they were, and to continue the flow of life. I had to improvise. Its interesting to find that acceptance therapy is becomming well known as a highly effective therapy and I don't think its a huge leap to understand why.
Its interesting that all of these improv comedy groups have had the answer all along. Never deny the fact of something that happened and agree with the other people involved and move forward and build off of each other's ideas. Everything stated in an improv skit needs to be used as a springboard for more thoughts and, in the same way, everything that happens to us in our lives needs to be used as a springboard for the rest of our lives. No matter how bad something was that happened to us we need to accept the fact that it happened to us and we need to move forward. Bad things are going to happen to us and bad people are going to hurt us but if we can not move past that and we obsess on "getting even" it isn't that other person's life that we hurt but, rather, it is our own life that we hurt because we are failing to progress. We refuse to agree that the events that led up to the negative event that harmed us had to end that way and, thus, we hold ourselves back because we are trying to change events that, well, had to happen. The most important part of all of this is to realize that accepting that events happened does not mean we accept that they were right. We need to accept that it is what it is and to move forward from there. If we don't agree then we end up killing this amazing improv show that is called -- life.
(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Dealing with tough times? Don't place blame!
I think lots of us have these little defining moments in our lives (especially from childhood/teen years) that direct us in a different direction whether we realize it or not and something from that moment sticks with you your entire life. One such moment in my life was in 10th grade when we had a substitute teacher. Not just any substitute but the infamous Mrs. Stewart.... she was probably the most abused substitute but mostly because of her own doing, I think. We got nothing accomplished in that class except I made a perfect paper airplane and sucessfully delivered it to her.... by express air, of course. This landed me in the principal's office which, actually, is the ultimate goal of just about everyone in a class that she is subbing for so this wasn't a punishment but a reward and when I went into the office and they asked who the teacher was they just kind of laughed and said "go ahead and sit over there" .... the office staff knew this was the goal and they, at least seemingly, understood.
There wasn't much to do in the office but listen to the secretaries talk. They started talking about a student (cant remember his name) who was just always extremely polite and caring about people. One secretary said "With all that he has been through it is simply amazing that he is the person he is".... I realized something very important then but I didn't really take it to heart until just a few years ago after I realized that my mistakes with Tiffany were related to the opposite of what this person was doing. Right now I am in a situation where I am watching someone go through the same type of struggle and failing at it the same way that I always did -- a way that this kid in high school learned very early to avoid.
There is no secret that some of us have more pain than others and there are various reasons for why this is the case. We don't know the reasons and we may never know. Another thing that is certain is that there will always be someone there to care for us.... for some people it may only be a single person while others have an entire army. Again, we don't know the reason for this. Regardless of how many people care it is important on how you handle your attitude toward the negative situations that are in your life. The way you RESPOND to a situation means a whole heck of a lot more than WHAT the situation is.
I have had a lot of emotional pain in my life. A lot of it was self-inflicted, I'm sure but there was a good portion of it that was completely out of my control. The reality is that I deal with the same approximate amount of pain now than I did 5 years ago but yet I am handling life a lot better now than back then. I find myself trying to process what it was that changed. Where was the defining moment that my life "got better" even tho I have always been dealing with the same stupid crap that seems to happen in my life. I don't have the answer to this. I know there are a lot of things that happened right around the same time like moving to Virginia, getting a new job, being treated for ADD, etc..... I don't, however, think that these were the biggest influence on things. It leaves me still asking the question of what happened that made things better and what is it that I can do to help someone thats feeling the same way through their time of pain and help them deal with it..... Unfortunately all that I'm learning (first hand) is how much pain that I must have put so many people through during that time. The only thing that I'm leaning towards is that there really isn't anything you can do to help people in this scenario because its something that they need to figure out themselves -- as much as I'd like to be able to fix it for them.
What I've been noticing recently is how much guilt plays a role in the way people operate now. Even looking at the way people drive in Northern VA shows a subtle guilt motivated attitude. If someone pulls out in front of you your instinct is to tailgate them. Justice isn't really being done but I think a hidden motivator is to make sure the person in front of you knows that they screwed up and to make them feel guilty. We're also getting better and better at being a dickhead underneath a calm and collected "its ok" ..... Phrases like "oh, that's ok. It's not like I really cared about the fact that you hit my car and now my family has no way to get around" .... Again, it's the guilt card being played. I think the same type of thought holds true in situations where people are going through an extremely tough time.
Let's, for example, say you called "Joe's Car Shack" about a problem with a car that you bought from them. This car dealership typically has about 600 cars in it's lot and you get the image of a large car dealership. Someone named Joe answers the phone and tells you that he just isn't able to help you.... as a result, you get pissed off and think you're just being bullied by some big car dealership. You hang up the phone but a week later someone tells you about how this guy who runs a car dealership by himself just lost his entire family in a house fire and he's on the verge of bankruptcy. Suddenly, you feel a lot different about the scenario and when he calls you back a few days later and tells you that he actually found a way to help you out, you are completely amazed by the fact that he actually did keep working on a way to take care of his customer despite everything that had been going on in his life. Sure, Joe could have told you all of that on the phone but if he told you all of that, how would you really respond? I imagine not too well.
The problem with being in horrible situations is that we naturally want to tell the world how bad things suck for us right now and basically tell the world to back off because you can't deal with it. What happens when we let this surface is we become tagged as a complainer and/or someone that just simply can not deal with life. The most important thing that we can do in these times where everything is going wrong is accept the fact that there is no one, including ourselves, that can do anything to change the scenario and focus on what is going on in other's lives. If you take the time to find out what is going on in someone else's life rather than complain about your own you very often will find out that you are not alone and you'll find yourself in a conversation that goes both ways and your story gets shared in a positive way because its a two way conversation rather than a one way complaint. What ends up happening is that person that your talking to may talk to someone else and tell them that its amazing how well you're holding things together despite all the crap you are going through. This process may continue and you'll find that you end up with a lot of people that respect you in ways that you never imagined they could but the important thing is that you don't complain about the situation your in because these people have seen you in a light where you are bigger and more powerful than your problems -- which is really the way that we all want to be seen.
Of course none of this directly makes the pain any better but, I suggest, what it does do is prevent a good amount of extra pain being dumped on top of you. Eventually you find that you have a lot of other things to focus on rather than the pain your experiencing and you'll find that you're better able to deal with the horrible situations in your life because you're at least getting a break from them. If you'd rather complain and MAKE people feel bad for you you'll find that it pushes the people that really DO care away and, aside from that, you're focusing on horrible things 24 hours a day which just leads to an endless snowball.
(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Twitter: Example of a failing race
First of all I want to say that this post is nothing negative towards Twitter as a service, company, or concept. I love Twitter and I still continue to embrace it (even if it is sometimes unreliable). What this post is about is how the human race continues to self-destruct because of a growing "logic" that is counter to what we are designed for.
When I first started using Twitter it was only because I thought it would be a way of updating my clients to let them know which building I was in and whether I was able to take on extra projects that day. As for the concept of Twitter, I thought it was absolutely retarded. I had the reaction that pretty much everyone that hasn't tried Twitter has: "Why do I care that someone is eating a cheese sandwhich?" It wasn't until I set up my Twitter account that I realized the community was a breeding ground for very strong relationships because what everyone's tweets were was simply daily life. It was them in a very unfiltered way. Because of this you start to understand a lot more about people and you find ways to connect with them that you never would have in any other fashion. Sure there are blogs but the majority of blogs are passed through our internal editor (aka, IMO, the frontal lobe) and is dulled down and made to be exciting or made to hide true emotions. It wasn't until what happened with the Frozen Pea Fund that I fully realized the potential of what the community inside of Twitter held. A couple years ago everyone would have said it was crazy to want to tell the world that you are holding a bag of frozen peas against your breasts.... but now we see where the "stupid" little things make a huge difference when a single tweet, stating just that, launched a movement that has raised many of thousands of dollars for breast cancer research.
But what happened? One of my tweets last night said "Starting to feel like I'm tweeting to the wall".... and I started thinking about that. Twitter used to be a place where I had a lot of encouragement when I was down. If I said something was bugging me, there were people that responded with advice or even just a simple "I'm thinking of you" but now I notice less and less replies to anything that I am saying. Interestingly enough, I start feeling this way around the same time that "Follow Spam" is becoming a heated topic. On top of that, it seems like the people that embraced Twitter for the community that it was are now more concerned about their "numbers" than about what is actually going on in people's lives. The concept of more followers is interpreted as cash value to so many people now and it's gone so far as someone selling their Twitter account on eBay.
So now it appears that Twitter has progressed into a medium to make money while losing the concept of community and compassion that was what brought people to Twitter in the first place. I think its great that there are people who have Twitter accounts to broadcast news and I think its great when a person shares a story that really jumps out at them because these are all part of the community but where the community is starting to self-destruct is when the focus becomes getting more followers rather than recognizing the followers that you do have. More and more tweets are being consumed by "I'm almost at 500 followers and need 8 more" while 492 people now don't matter because they already are a follower. Of course once you have someone following you it's rude not to follow them and now it's also a sure sign of many spammers so you, in turn, have to follow the 500 people that are following you and, in doing so, you eliminate the ability to genuinely care about the people you follow simply because you are overloaded and don't have the time to care about the person that is eating the cheese sandwhich and we revert back to life before Twitter except that now we drive ourselves to post tweets and now it's another "task" that we have to do rather than something we want to do.
The whole timeline of Twitter has displayed exactly why we, as humans, simply can't seem to be happy anymore. We focus on everything in ways that it can be turned into money, add stress to our lives, and lose any kind of compassion that we have on anyone else. Interestingly enough I think the reason why Twitter and just about any other social network gains such a following in the beginning is because our human emotions are so starved for interaction in this face paced world. Social networking allows us to interact with real humans while being "on the go" but the problem is that the world teaches us that the most important thing is to make money so we end up self-destructing any process that gives us that interaction by trying to monetize the most important thing to the human race: emotional stimulation. Once emotional stimulation is monetized it becomes a job rather than an enjoyment.
In 1997 after Steve Jobs rejoined Apple Computer, he made an annoucement at his keynote that Apple Computer was joining forces with Microsoft. Steve, who has an almost cult-like following, was literally booed. Steve's response was "we have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose". Steve went on to say if someone wants to help them then that's great because they need all they help they can get. The reality of the human race is just that. We all truly do need all the help we can get. I don't care how much money you make or what you have -- you still need other people's help and they need yours. When those 492 people don't matter because you are trying to get a mere 8 more and you focus on those 8 people you are trading 492 people that could potentially be those that will help you in exchange for only 8. It's so true that everyone's focus is on acquiring more that they lose any consideration to what they do have and it creates a perpetual greed cycle which, sadly, is becomming just as true with regards to emotions and compassion than it is with money.
Our society certainly is self-destructing and we're doing it because we turn our advancements into things that only set us back because the prize is always what is ahead and never what is already there. We're in a vicious cycle that is only gaining more and more force with each advancement and, while we are solving one or two problems with advancements, we are creating 5 more. The end result is that we display an image of advancement but in each person's lives we realize that it really is just that: nothing more than an image.
(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved
Friday, April 11, 2008
Facing the Opposition
There a a few things that we truly are not capable of until we are put into a certain situation. For example, moms have lifted cars off of their child or the nicest person in the world shot and killed someone in the act of defense. In these scenarios we will never know what we are capable of until it actually happens. This is how our minds work. In James 1 it explains how we need to consider it joy when we face trials and tribulations because it is strengthing us but it's hard to see how this can be until later. If we are wise, we will realize that some amazing things couldn't happen until some negative things happened first.
A little while ago I wrote a blog titled "Living for Life" in which I talked about a lot of things that I believe were important to life. It's obvious that most people do not share the same views and that is awesome because that is part of what makes life exciting because the dynamics of people keep us entertained. Earlier today I received a comment on that post reporting that Jesus was sweet and that He jumps on pogo sticks.... I thought it was awesome that this person decided to break this news on my blog. Who could have even imagined that he would pick me. Ok, so there was more to his comment than just that breaking news. Logically I should have been offended but this is just another example of where our logic often throws us of course of just living life for life and, ultimately, leads us to feelings of worthlessness. In a way this goes back to my analogy of a surfer who harnesses the awesome (and many times negative) power of waves and has fun with it -- and the bigger the wave, the bigger the thrill. It's a lot like this in life too. If we are to really enjoy our lives we need to learn to harness the power of our opponents who attack us and have fun with it.
In high school I was picked on a good bit and, yes, it did bug me. I guess it's also true that no one totally gets over the fact that people attack them but it's really an issue of how you respond to that attack internally. I've had a lot of people tell me that I have matured just about every year that has gone by and I think one of the key points to this is that I've learned how to better harness this power and allow it to not upset me but to confirm that I have a purpose in what I am doing. I think just about any blogger would agree that the worst type of comment is the one that isn't left. I gave up caring what people thought of me a long while ago. I've realized that the logic that our society uses is what is hurting us the most and if I want to deviate from this logic in any way then I really need to understand that people are going to attack me and disagree with me and I need to understand that if I really believe the words that I say then I need to realize that when words I say strikes a chord with someone then I am actually making an impact on someone's life which is exactly what I am hoping to do. When I receive a negative attack I think the more negative that it is the more it gives me purpose and fuels me to keep doing whatever it is I do here.
Back in 2006 I wrote a blog based on starfish that I think also captures what I am trying to say here. The people that are constantly picked on tend to be the people that make the largest impact in this life. You may want to consider it a phenomenon but I really believe that its because these are the people that have the potential to become extremely motivated for the right reasons in life. They have experienced first hand that attacking someone for their beliefs doesnt get anyone anywhere so they embrace their own beliefs, become proud of who they are, and they work towards the things they believe are important. Those same people end their lives knowing they lived a full and worthwhile life and having made a great impact on this world. It's never about what bad luck comes your way or how much people hate you but its about how you feel about you and how you take the things that come your way.
Opposition fuels advancement. The human race has invented things the fasted out of mother necessity. The more that we have an opposing force the more that we will work towards answering that force. I'm sure the Wright brothers faced a lot of opposition but I'm also sure that when people attacked them they didn't argue with them.... in fact, maybe they listened to what someone was saying and maybe the person calling them stupid actually gave them a new perspective. Ultimately, they flew..... and I'm sure there were people that were humbled.
It all boils down to believing in who you are and what you believe. If you doubt yourself then anything that is said to you will cause you to falter in what you are trying to accomplish. On the other hand, if you truly believe in whatever it is that you are doing then the only thing your opposition does is confirm that you are working on something that is worth noticing and, in that realization, understand that negative comments and attacks really are a cause for celebration.
(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Living for life
I still think it is amazing to watch how animals behave. There are distinct ways of telling when an animal is happy and when an animal is upset. While I don't think that animals experience emotions, per se, I do believe they experience euphoric states as well as states of fear. I love watching Lisa go about different things and just by watching her feathers and the position her crown is pointing, I almost instinctively know how she is feeling. I also know the reaction when I give Lisa her favorite egg crunch treat or I give Bacardi peanuts or I give Cracker, well, anything edible :)
I also think about the joy of seeing a newborn or seeing a child learn all of the amazing mysteries of this world. To a 2 year old a yoyo is an amazing thing and there is this desire to learn about the world - and we smile at watching that amazement. That same 2 year old doesn't understand that she shouldn't put the yoyo in her mouth. Eventually she grows up and learns that its wrong and figures out that she, too, can make a yoyo go up and down on her own and suddenly that amazing toy is now just a boring piece of plastic on a string.
What is it that turns something so exciting into something boring? Its the lack of wonder or mystery. With my birds I need to give them new toys and I need to confuse them so they have something entertaining to figure out - and one of the best ways to do this is to create foraging situations which is basically making them work for their food and figure out how to get it.
In almost all cases we will see an underlying need for survival in just about everything. The greatest sci fi and mystery films all have an aspect of a human surviving. Make a sci fi about someone that can't find an object (that's not crucial to their life) and you have a poor movie.
What is it that differs between us and animals? And does that difference mean we're better off or is it just something that simply makes us different. One of the fundamental differences is that Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But why is it that this tree was the subject of a curse? Isn't that knowledge good to have?
Consider this. In the Bible sin is not based on laws in the new testament but on what is in someone's heart. Basically this means that if you don't know something is a sin then it really is not committing a sin if you do whatever it is. So one could come to the conclusion that if we didn't have the knowledge of good and evil then we obviously could not sin. And yes, this is why dogs can hump anything and still go to heaven. They don't need to be judged because there is no right or wrong to them. If Adam and Eve hadn't eaten the fruit then the result would be that permarital sex would not be a sin. The sex the human race would have would be completely different but it would still be euphoric.
So why is foraging such a great way to keep birds entertained? Simply because food is essential to life. When you hide food then they have a desire to find it because they need to survive. When they find it, it is euphoric. Sex is essential to life so when animals mate it is euphoric because it is carrying on the race. Seeing a newborn baby is euphoric because its our race continuing.
The problem that us humans have is that we are so confused by things going on because we now have a "logic center" that has to weigh the appropriateness of each situation before acting upon it and to further confuse that the same logic system is trained by those who came before us using their logic system. Every generation that goes by we get further and further away from who God intended us to be. I believe we were created very similar to animals in that we were not intended to have this logic system - we were intended to live for life. The simple things in life are what are supposed to make us happy. Simply surviving another day is meant to be exciting. Every generation that goes by we're seeing more and more distortment of what life is supposed to be. In today's world our logic systems are telling us that we need to do everything that our boss says no matter what because we can't survive without that job but we just end up living for our boss instead of life its self. We need to drive nice cars in order to be worth something and we need $100k salaries in order to "make it". All of these are the result of our twisted logic.
Most of the world no longer lives life for life. We regress more and more in life the more we progress in society. We are all losing the fact that we are all a team and the greatest way to survive is to work together instead of rising above others in order to survive. We see more and more acts of greed and we covet things more and more. We have truly lost what it means to live and yet we spend so much time figuring out the meaning of life - as we drive by someone stranded on the side of the road. Afterall, according to our logic system, our life can't continue if we don't hurry up and get to work to make money.
Our world is not going to get any better until we all start living life for life. If we can start to realize that survival is survival as the human race and that with that survival comes euphoria and happiness then we might have a shot at making this world a better place. We need to live life for life in general rather than just for our own lives..... This is where we find the meaning of life and become happier people.
(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Who Am I?
There was a radio commercial for Levi Jeans that advertised their jeans as being for hard working men.... they started listing hard working, manual labor, jobs and then the last thing in the list they said "... for the man who carries the sleeping baby up the stairs to bed". I swear everytime I heard that line I got chills and my heart skipped a beat. I think it was a way of defining who I am. Ok, so I don't have kids..... but the definition of who you are isn't what is around you and I think this is where people go so far away from what life is meant to be. The car I drive doesnt define who I am (even if who am I influences my purchase of it) nor does the house I live in.
I'm really pulling for Obama in this election but despite what people want to say about me, I'm not pro-choice. Republicans are pro-life so they obviously reflect the best intentions and hold high the miracle that we all are as humans and wouldn't do anything to hurt us. The problem is that it's easier for people to make judgements based on the outward because getting to know the inward takes time and its time that we don't want to waste.... and this is the whole basis for racism of all types. It was so much easier for slave owners to look at the color of their skin and make a judgement based on that rather than actually take the time to get to know those people as human beings. It's easier to attack me and say that I can't be a Christian because I'm liberal or that I can't be liberal because I'm a Christian. It's easier to look at the picture on the book cover and say its a good book or a horrible book rather than take the time to actually read it.
So who am I, really? I'm 27 years old, I am a male, and my mom's name is Kim..... I'm from southwestern PA and I grew up around a family that had a few prejudice thoughts..... I was in a mental hospital once.... I dropped out of high school -- and then out of college. I am a virgin but have been known to really enjoy sexual pleasure. I moved to Florida in 1999 for four months and came back after spending "needless" money because I couldnt stand to be away from my family.... I declared bankruptcy a few years ago... I once punched my sister on the playground in elementary school.
If those things answered your question then you are sadly misled.... but not because any of those things are a lie. All of those things are 100% true and are factual statements that can be proven with various different legal documents or talking to the right people. I can't go back and change any one of those facts but not a single one of those defines who I am.
Think about what you thought of as you read those things. Many of you didn't know some of those facts about me -- some of them were because I never told you for the reason that you might think what you may have just thought. If I say that I was in a mental hospital then obviously I must have something wrong with me mentally and you should relate to me with caution..... thats the easy thing to say, anyway. The harder thing to do is ask why. If you ask why you might have to hear about how I was misdiagnosed with many different mental "conditions" such as depression and anxiety for 6-7 years before we actually realized that I was ADHD -- a condition that is present in many fully functional Americans. You might also have to learn that I checked myself in to the facility because I wanted to find an answer -- not because I *needed* to be there. But all of that is too much work.
Or you might look at the fact that I dropped out of high school and college and that I declared bankruptcy and decide that I am a failure and that I give up. Again, it would be harder to ask why. In that case, you might have to learn that I dropped out of high school after my guidance counselor and my mom discussed that it was a viable and probably the best option for me and that high school was mainly holding me back from accomplishing what I was capable of. You might have to learn that the one year of college that I experienced was crucial in developing who I am as well as the 4 months that I spent in Florida. You might have to dig a little deeper and figure out what the motivations were for each one of these things and you might have to realize that the good outweighed the bad on these things. You might have to realize that the things I did weren't neccesarily the "easy" way out. You might then have to change your views on a lot of things -- not just views about me.
I've heard people say that I'm obviously a virgin because no one wants me and the result is that I'm sexually frustrated..... of course, thats the easy thing to think (and the most uplifting to the person saying it). But if you ask why with the intent of learning you might have to realize that this is one of my core values. You might have to try to understand that its a lot harder for me to keep this commitment than you might think..... and if you said those things about me because you wanted to attack me, you might learn that you've only uplifted me.
"But bankruptcy? Surely there is no excuse for doing that..... Its not what God would want you to do! You just wanted to take the easy way out and not have to pay those debts." No matter what your views are on bankruptcy, its, again, easier to attack me based on what I did rather than to try to figure out what it was that led up to that. You might have to learn that I spent more than 3 years going through no less than 2 credit counseling agencies and continually bringing myself down because the level of debt that I had and the debt/income ratio I had was not something that even the credit counseling agencies were able to reliably assist me with. You might also have to consider the concept of Jubilee in the Bible where every 7 years everyone forgave everyone's debts (that might be another blog entry sometime). Ok, now this one comes with a disclaimer. None of this is meant to justify my action or to make up your mind about whether bankruptcy is good or bad because those are issues of the heart and are truly between you and the Lord. But no matter what the action was, its not fair to judge anyone solely on the action without first understanding the motive of that action.
I'm 27 so I must behave like all other people my age. I'm a guy so I must be an asshole in relationships. I punched my sister as a child so apparently I was born evil. I had uncles around me who said negative things about black people. Oh -- and not only that but I DECIDED that I wanted to be around those uncles. These are just tiny little examples of that outrageous prejudice that goes through our heads every single day and we allow them to go through our head simply because it's easier to let them rather than actually weigh the evidence.
Oh -- one other thing about me. I am known as "BibleBoy" a lot of places. This name came about in middle school when I always had a Bible with me. Everyone started making fun of me by calling me BibleBoy.... but even in 7th grade I was already starting to recognize the fact that I need to be proud of who I was. I was heavily involved in BBSs back in that time (if you don't know, BBSs were basically the pre-internet online communications and were access through dialing a phone number with your computer to access a system on someone else's, typically personal, computer) and I had been going by the handle "Headpin" because I was really into bowling. One night I decided to log on to each and every BBS and change my handle to "BibleBoy". Since BBS systems were local based this is something that all the other computer geeks in my school realized right away. The response was awesome..... "Uhhh.... you know we're making fun of you" .... "Yup, I know". The name stuck and I allowed it to. In 2000 I registered bibleboy.org and that officially was who I was letting myself be known as on the big (then fairly new to most) internet. Eventually other people crept up that were also known as BibleBoy so I had to shorten it to bblboy54..... then time went on and I realized that the name had me tagged as a religious freak. I guess, again, it was a situation where I was being judged based on my nickname rather than who I actually am. I considered changing the name of my blog so that more people would take me a little more seriously. Less than a year ago I realized that the person who I am would never really be taken seriously by someone who does judge a book by it's cover and I decided to stick with the name and if I say something that makes sense then I'd let it be for the benefit of those people who take me seriously no matter what my name is.
Did I answer the question of who I am? I hope not! Who I am is a definition that is always changing. All of us are very dynamic people that are capable of learning and understanding and the more than we learn and understand the more that we are naturally going to change. The facts, figures, and posessions are quite possibly the worst way to judge someone even if they are the easiest way. It's more the motivation of the person that led to those things. In reality, we should all primarily respect everyone for who they are.
(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved
Sunday, February 03, 2008
My Jung Personality (And why I'm single?)
Jung Explorer Test
Now it all makes sense.... I am in a group that makes up only 8.1% of the population and I'm attracted to a group that makes up only 4.4% of the population. Interestingly enough, my disfavored career list includes "Computer Technician" .... I have to somewhat refute that because Computer Technician is a very broad term. I am quite specific about the things with computers I like and dislike. Most of what I like to do with a computer involves huge amounts of creativity. I think one of the coolest things is how similar I am to who I want to be.... I think this is something that people struggle with a lot but I think it boils down to people just not being content. If you are content with what life brings you then you'll generally be able to accept hardships because, at the root, you enjoy the person you are.
(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Holy freaking crap! Just what we need.... another way to erase responsibility. Ok, so maybe there are SOME uses for this but the whole idea of it is ridiculous! What happens to us and what we do makes us who we are and now all of a sudden, we're able to become someone that we are not. If someone needs help with PTSD then I really think that if they had a horrible experience that shouldn't have happened then they should get the counseling and grow from that experience. No, I'm not being insensitive but how many people have had a really bad experience and ended up helping so many other people because of it.
But all of the PTSD aside, I think it would be horrible for such a drug to exist.... it can and WILL be used inappropriately -- a lot more than it would be useful.
(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved
Friday, April 27, 2007
What does that really mean? It's a negative comment made to someone who supposedly doesnt understand "the way the real world works" .... It's said to someone who is "broken" in the way they think......
..... or is it the other way around? Maybe the way "the real world works" is what is broken?
We're becoming such an "advanced" society... we're doing more than we have ever thought to be possible -- and yet there are more depressed people now than there ever were. Every person experiences stress and most experience it at least once daily. I hardly think this is what God intended, however, I do believe that stress is a part of this world functioning properly but living in constant stress is not.
In The Matrix, Agent Smith was explaining to Neo how the machines had created the perfect world but the human mind couldn't respond to it. Neo was told that the machines had to create a world with problems so that the humans could function mentally. The irony is that the entire movie was based on the stories told in the Bible -- is it possible that the authors of the movie understood the Bible more than many Christians do (whether they practice it or not is irrevlevant in this case).
Imagine yourself in a perfect world.... in that imagination, take away everything that you know about pain. All of a sudden, you're "dream world" changes because it's no longer a feeling of euphoria because you simply do not know what the other end of the spectrum is. Imagine the color spectrum.... we mix red, green, and blue to create all of the colors that we know. Now take away blue as a base color and we're suddenly left with an entirely different world. We lose a complete side of the spectrum. The concept of ying and yang is quite true. You can not have evil withot good and you can not have good without evil. While evil may exist, we don't realize it as evil because there is nothing to compare it to -- and vice versa. We constantly hear from people who our upset with a God that would allow satan to fall and take the world with him and create so much pain for us but could it be that allowing pain to be added to this world actually has made it more enjoyable for us?
I watched a documentary a while ago about the mind of a killer. The explanation was simply that people who commit crimes suffer from LOW stimulation of the mind. If the mind isn't used or isn't able to be used then it "makes it's self known" so to speak. Basically, it's out of boredom that the human mind would commit a crime -- it adds excitement to something that is boring.... quite interesting that one of the first signs of ADD/ADHD is a child being a bully at school.
I was told today at work by someone that if we fixed everything now, what would we have to complain about. Usually that is something that is said jokingly but he meant it seriously.... and he explained how he had been in situations that they fixed everything rapidly and the next time he went back, they were complaining about stupid little things -- things that didnt make the slightest bit of a difference. He really couldnt be more on the money. The human mind simply can not deal with something that is perfect because being perfect is outside of our human/wordly logic. Perhaps this is another reason why so many people have trouble believing in God -- because there just can not be anyone that is perfect -- at least in our logic.
I've been told I'm living in a dream world and in so many ways, it's true. The thing is, it's not ALL my dream world. If it was, things would be different and, quite likely, a lot more boring. The important thing is that I have parts of my life that are my dream world because it really is what drives me. Watching dreams come true is a miracle unfolding right in front of you.... having dreams drives those and makes you a better person. If you believe that when you "grow up" you need to quit living make believe then you have lost all hope of being truly happy and acomplished. Maybe you'll end up with a lot of money but when you die, that's all you'll be. You wont be remembered for very long -- and you certainly won't have changed anything. On the other hand, if you fight for your passion then you truly will make a difference.... driving this might just be that you face more hardships but those hardships will then make the other end of the spectrum that much more enjoyable which, in turn, makes you a happier person.
I've worked for many companies and I've watched them turn from a business that was passionate about what they did into a company that was now nothing more than making more money -- and almost all of those businesses have lost money. I've seen Disney Resorts lose sight of the Disney characters and all of a sudden go into lots of turmoil and lose lots of profits. I've seen Pizza Hut lose sight of customer service and quality pizza in exchange for cutting labor costs and using cheaper products. I saw Wal-Mart lose sight of Sam Walton's vision and eventually turn into one of America's most hated companies. I can only imagine that Sam Walton, Walt Disney, and the two brothers that started Pizza Hut in Wichita are rolling in their graves. Actually, I think everyone that died 50 years ago are doing the same thing just wanting to yell up at the generation that controls this nation, and especially corporate america, and tell everyone that we've just got it all wrong. The way to make money is to be passionate about what you do. It's about stimulating your brain and thinking about how you can make it better instead of thinking how it logically would fit into our business world.
I've been told that I live in a dream world and now my response is "what is wrong with that?" I dreamed of owning a house some day.... the incredible thing is that I pursued something that just didnt seem possible and as it sits right now, I'm going to end up with an awesome house AND 1.8 acres of land. I could have never dreamed that.... not in a million years.... at least not before I was 30. I talked myself out of this four times already and finally I just realized that I needed to jump and live my dream whether I thought I could financially do it or not -- and by living my dream, it amazingly seems that I am going to end up with a lot more money in the end. Psychology has told us that belief in Santa Claus and The Easter Bunny and other imaginary stories and characters make our children better able to handle things in this world. Lots of research has said that when we force our kids to grow up too fast they struggle a lot more. I think the unfinished research would show that if we totally "grow up" even in our adult lives, we are just as likely to struggle -- no matter how successful the world believes that we are.
(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved
Sunday, February 25, 2007
I remember years ago getting my first computer. It was a Tandy Color Computer 3 (TRS-80). You really couldn't call it a computer based on today's standards of what a computer is and does.... but this machine gave me a baseline and got my interest going even more than it already had.
One thing about this machine was it had a few easter eggs. One of these was holding down a key combination while turning it on or resetting it and you would be shown an image of the 3 major developers of the platform. There was also a program that turned the contents of the RAM into a display of garbled text and characters.
This is not meant to be technical but only an analogy. I remember running this program and watching what came on to the screen. I questioned why text contents of a program ran hours ago were displayed and, yet, programs that ran only seconds ago seemed to not have their place. I guess this is the same question I have of the human mind.
God embeds in each one of us a number of things that make us who we are. Unique to everyone else. It is the contents of our memory that makes us the most unique, however, there are variations in our embedded programming that truly make us unique from the time of birth. All of these lead to things that provide some type of force.... whether that force be changing the lives of others or just reminding us of who we are. At times our minds run this program that dumps the memory and all of a sudden we are questioning why.... why was one aspect of our lives seemingly important and yet another one that we thought should be in reality was not.
Dreams are sometimes that memory dump. I believe that God does use dreams and I also believe that many people read too much into dreams. No matter what, dreams are something that our mind uses to give our hearts feedback and in some occasions, just the opposite. I believe that the latter is the most likely time that God is directly involved.
Just last night that very thing was true of me. For so long I have been so incredibly proud of the fact that I have remained a virgin. I still remain proud of that fact but recently I had found myself questioning why I am bothering. In the recent year I have lost a lot of really special relationships and in at least two of those cases I believe that my desire to wait for marriage was to blame. I questioned why it was worth it to abstain from something I wanted so bad when all it was doing was preventing something else that I also wanted so badly -- a relationship. I found myself starting to believe that some people would maybe desire me more if I wasn't standing in the way of something they desired so badly -- apparently something that was so important that the matter of a friendship was misplaced.
Last night I had a dream.... I stood at a counter talking to 3 girls. The girl on the end was one of the most attractive and cutest girls that I had seen. She looked up and smiled at me so intently that it moved my heart in a tremendous way. I found myself explaining lots of things about my life.... the I mentioned my desire to wait for marriage and immediately the other 2 girls said something to the effect of me really capturing the heart of this third girl. I looked over at her and she had the biggest smile that was possible and it also appeared that she had tears in her eyes.
This morning when I woke up I remembered that dream vividly and I was reminded of why I have the desire to abstain: because my future wife deserves it. I have been struggling with the thoughts that I will never find her but I have so strongly been reminded that she is out there and that when God introduces us (if he hasnt already), it is going to be nothing short of miraculous.
It's extremely hard to understand why we are who we are. We know that our experiences and our emotions make us that person but we never really understand how that process works. One thing is for sure -- God has designed us in His image and has made us perfect in His sight. Why our mind holds one thing and not another is a mystery that only God understands. We may begin to understand the organics of our mind and be able to see reactions to stimuli but in the same wat that those 3 developers knew the workings of my first computer in a way that I would never be able to understand no matter how much I tried, it is God -- and only God -- that fully understands the mysteries of our minds.
(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
A few hours ago I was really taken back by what I experienced. It boggles my mind that some people can do all they can to try to convince you that they care about you, but yet everything else they do or say seems to contradict what was told before. Worse yet, I can not understand why you can be an ignored and unimportant person but all of a sudden you make a mistake and next thing you know, you're the only thing that matters -- in a negative sense, of course.
It seems that the entire human race is becoming so much more self centered than I think our ancestors could have even dreamed of. Everything is someone else's fault... and we are becoming experts at convincing ourselves that it's not our fault. Quite honestly, I have been developing that ability and I hate it..... well, when I am thinking rationally, I hate it.
Why are people in debt? Well, it's because credit card companies give them more credit than they can handle, right? I mean, it should be everyone else's responsibility to give them guidelines and know what's best for them.... but dont you DARE tell them what they can and can't do.... that is, of course, discrimination.
At work last week I was talking to someone who was explaining why she really enjoyed working with a certain person. It wasn't because he was a perfect person.... it was because when he made a mistake, he owned up to it. It was honesty that got him to where he is and the friendships he has may or may not be plentiful, but they are meaningful.... because everyone knows that they can fully trust him.
I think the most comforting feeling in the world is knowing that you can trust someone and knowing that someone trusts you. I don't think there is anything better than that aside from the Love that God gives us. Maybe that's why so many people get aggrivated when they are micro-managed. I don't think it's so much that they don't want leadership in their lives as it is that they don't feel trusted to make the right decissions.... and if you aren't trusted, how can you really excel at what you are doing.
Something that God really spoke to me a few days ago I think really applies here. We think of what Jesus went through.... the pain He went through when He was nailed to that cross. It is a physical pain that I don't think any of us could even imagine.... but there is something deeper that I think people miss the boat on so often. Jesus took the sins of the world upon him. Jesus was spit on and laughed at. People mocked him all over the place. I've always said that I would rather have horrible physical pain than a little emotional pain.... think of Jesus in this light and try to imagine what He went through. I can't. And what I can imagine, hurts like hell. Imagine the people that lied to Him and emotionally abused Him. Think of all this and then ask yourself if God really understands how you feel.
It's so hard when people don't tell you what they mean but one thing I have realized is that you can almost always tell what someone is truly feeling if you pay enough attention to them. We've calloused ourselves into hiding the pains that we experience.... sure it means that we can endure more, but all it means is that our hearts become hard and untouchable.... It may sound like a good thing, but it's the complete opposite of what we were created for. Love is the center of everything but yet it's the farthest thing from our minds and even our hearts.
We've got to stop looking at others and what they do wrong and start realizing that we all sin and we all make mistakes. Instead of becoming defensive, we need to let others in so that we can all live happily. We're meant to be around people and we're meant to help one another. So why would we tell someone something and then not listen to what they have to say back? I think in most cases, we're just afraid of what they are going to say.... more so, we're afraid that they might actually say something and be right -- and all we want is to be angry with them
(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved
(C)2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved
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