Tag: philosophy

Clarity

After my visit to the eye doctor I ordered new glasses with new frames … this level of clarity cost over $700.

I’ve read thousands of pages, watched hundreds of hours of video on animal training and applied it … this level of clarity cost a lifetime with animals.

I’ve practiced drawing, artwork, playing instruments and singing … this level of clarity cost massive creativity.

I’ve written journals, mindmaps, blogs and lists … this level of clarity cost intuition, self-knowledge, pens and ink.

I’ve lived rural, grown food, and been outside in all weather … this level of clarity cost living with nature.

Imagine how easy your life will be when you are able to make all decisions with clarity and freedom from fear. —Lulu Mares

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Rhubarb leaves in autumn colors … the weather has faded them now that it’s December. Photo – J. Renzoni

 

What has clarity cost You?

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Right to health? Health and interventions are not the same.

Right to health, what? What do you mean by right to health? Right to medical intervention is not the same as health, in fact it’s far from it. Access to preventative screenings is several steps closer to giving people the information they might need to promote their health – assuming the screening is accurate and not prone to false negatives or positives. In the ideal setting the intervention would be early enough that it was minor and effective.

Healthy people generally have the least contact with the medical field unless you are part of the medical field (as I was). So I’ve had lots of contact, just not many interventions.

The current system rewards interventions with payment and interventions breed more interventions. Iatrogenic mortality (one source) is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. (medications, surgeries and hospital based infections are often fatal). Basically, if the system drives illness-based-wealth, we will get more illness. Because there is money in it, lots of money, goodwill and power. Why else would churches be a main player in hospital ownership? Hm, religion is a player on the field.

Non-healthcare people generally seem to believe the medications they take are keeping them well. Most medications only control the symptoms of being unwell, they do not cure the underlying disease or chronically poor behaviors promoting the disease.

The great exceptions are antibiotics, which are rapidly being undermined by stupid use (meat animal growth enhancement and as placebos for viruses) driving evolutionary changes in bacteria. And vaccinations, which are a proven prevention strategy, being undermined by misinformation and fear (and inadequate understanding of the risks of the diseases being prevented).

One of the reasons surgeons are the rock stars of the medical profession is because with a scalpel they can cure disease (sometimes).

Let’s take for example the approach to an ever increasing chronic problem overweight/obesity. The answer, the weight loss industry – diets and surgery.

As a dietitian I know something about it although, because I’m an idealist, I never partook of its riches – it seemed wrong to me. The best predictor of unintended weight gain is going on a weight loss diet. The efforts to find one main cause for the obesity and subsequent diabetes epidemic have not really uncovered ‘a’ culprit, but the ‘best predictor of unintended weight gain is dieting.’

If you never, never were restricted, shamed, never went on that first diet…and next and next it is exceedingly likely that you would weigh much less now. It is more likely that you would have maintained the internal system for hunger and satiety cues that those without weight issues use to maintain their body weight. You wouldn’t be charmed by recipes or be entranced by foodie shows or have undeniable need to eat when not hungry. You wouldn’t be a prime candidate for adult-onset diabetes.

However if I wanted to partake and make money off weight loss systems I would use some modified diet, controlled portions, an external system. Because then you would continue to need my services ($) after great initial success and praise, then, oh darn you failed, lost your focus, lacked willpower, but some people succeed and you could be like them! See they’re famous on TV.

Or I would get aligned with a weight loss surgical team and do counseling about how to deal with minimal stomach volume. Lots of clients, effective surgery (people definitely lose weight following surgery) and follow up issues usually related to absorption problems or eating through – regaining and need for another surgical intervention. Nice economic system. Justifiable because of the serious health problems that come along with obesity.

If I wanted you to be able to really become free of this chronic problem I would have to help you see it in a completely different way and you would have to resist the multiple forces driving you towards dieting, food policing, scales, portion controls, fast change, elective surgery and whatever newest and greatest extreme exercise craze. And nutrition and exercise would be of the gentle long-haul quality, something you could and wanted to continue forever without will power. You would pay attention to your own body, how it reacts – you would be aware. Sounds spiritual, it is.

Makes you think – maybe. But we don’t want to have to change our behaviors, they are ours and we’re used to them. So what if they are making us sick, making us feel sick, making us less than happy.

It is the government’s responsibility to make the decisions that will benefit the whole country. Decisions like ensuring clean air, clean water, untainted food sources, fairness in economic systems and security in those systems. Perhaps being the police force for the world is part of that, probably not. It is also important to prevent endemics of diseases that would threaten the population and the population’s ability to produce healthy food and a reasonable living, which ties into education. The government which we deride, is us. We vote, we buy, we accept, we want, we demand, we blame and we ignore our responsibility to think choices all the way through.

The financial system is a completely made-up, arbitrary system. Its consistency important only because it stands for other things. Its regulation is very important because of that factor. Money means nothing if there is no health, no clean water, no clean air, no untainted food, no way for the majority to have security, except of course those with the most will be able to garner the last of the supplies and sway the ones who also want the power of money.

Having people driven into insolvency, poverty and death instead of being a productive member of society is tragic. Having subsidies, benefits, cheap loans for companies who will significantly damage the air quality, water quality, food quality, devalue employees, is idiotic, and amazingly short sighted; except if your over-riding purpose is to quickly accumulate money – which is most corporations primary goal.

Continuing to support a system that benefits from illness is dumb. Continuing to promote systems that encourage the formation of morbid chronic diseases is also less than brilliant.

Yes we should have freedom to choose with informed choice, but then we also get to have the results of those choices and how educated are we in our choices? Are the repeated pieces of marketing doing all the education? Are students even taught how to evaluate the risks vs the benefits of a health care protocol? How many men get treated for prostate cancer, when the statistics show that 49 will get the treatment and only one will benefit by not dying from that cancer. The other 48 get the side-effects and no life saving, but you don’t know it, you might be the one who is saved. Would you be tough enough to say no if your doctor told you of your cancer and what he could do to possibly save you?

We have tried this current system of private insurance health care for a while now and the results? Well U.S. does not have statistics that support continuing as we have been. But the players have a lot of money on the field and it is better for them financially if things continue and people already in ‘disease’ are afraid.

Afraid of the things they might lose, afraid they won’t be saved, afraid in a culture that keeps death at arm’s length and wants to hide from the declines of aging. Afraid medications won’t be there, in denial that sick old people often just want it all to end, denial about the level of mental illness in the population…  Do you think fear and denial make a strong country or are they more likely to set up ill-thought-out panic? Scare mongering seems amazingly blatant lately.

And everyone in the system can’t see a way out of the system, that’s the way it is with systems, they overtake ones whole perspective. They blind us to the potential benefits of other ways.

But yes, I call for choice in interventions. However I think there needs to be proof of homework, proof of viable research for the choice being made. Where is the risk/benefit ratio? How likely is this intervention to actually produce a healthy recovery. Would a surgeon from another medical center agree to have it done to him?

Choice based on proof of quality of life after intervention and understanding of the likelihood of little benefit and a myriad of unpleasant side-effects.

 

 

Learning mastery

Snowpinesdec272014 005My asking has celestial life in the shadowy garden still.

I once read it took at least 10,000 hours or maybe a lifetime to become a master of whatever you’re trying to master. It’s not possible at 10 minutes or even 20 minutes per day because you won’t live long enough.  At 4 hours per day, 2500 days.

Expertise is valuable, even though we live in a confusing time where access to information ranks almost the same as having mastery.

As I work towards mastery in my garden of interests, I find that my sporadic progress, and randomly focused gathering of tools and ideas, has suddenly allowed me to do lots of new things – which I couldn’t do before. I was learning things, that had limited use in and of themselves, when internalized and congealed, a whole new range of options magically appeared. I have graduated so connections light up. However, now there are new problems, new things become important, become visible and necessary.

Lethargic progress finds precious flame, enlightened.

When I’m learning from (talking to or reading or looking at videos of) someone, it’s obvious if they are a level above me, because they see instantly or do instantly what takes me work or time or both to figure out. The newly accomplished are good people to learn from, because they were recently where I am now, they remember the struggle. What they are doing is easy for me to make sense of (it’s not that much harder, even though I can’t do it yet, than what I can already do).

Early success fuels confidence, until…

Learning from someone many levels up is a different matter. They are barely understandable, incomprehensible, in fact, they speak a new language. It’s hard to think I would ever know or be able to do what they do. Trying to learn from them is good (barring the discouragement of being so far below), but the things they want to teach seem philosophical, not practical, and it’s hard to see how they’ll help.

Hard to see until the philosophy is what enables new jumps.

A master of ______ (fill in the blank) is speaking a different language. Even if the words are comprehensible the meanings are more nuanced, more specialized. They may seem less impressive than someone who is just several steps up, because most of what they’re thinking about and referring to is totally invisible to me.  So invisible it doesn’t even register. They usually are aiming for understandable, as opposed to trying to impress. They have gone beyond the complexity, to refined, deep knowledge and ability. I might think I can follow them because of the really entertaining stories they told. Any one of these stories, if I pay enough thoughtful attention to it, can have adequate insight to get me into my next phase of mastery. If they are recorded, I watch them many times with space and learning in between.

It’s always a head shaking surprise – why didn’t I catch that before?

What are you trying to master? Is there something that made you step up? Something invisible that became suddenly visible?

Volunteerism – and other free stuff

It’s county fair time, raspberry picking time, haying time and maybe time to rant.

Hay bales in neighbor's field - it's a late first crop this year.
Hay bales in neighbor’s field – it’s a late first crop this year.

A rant about volunteerism

Time, money, expertise – all the things so many people have so little of, but yet when it’s volunteered it gets devalued. Well maybe not the money, except think of it, free money gets spent in frivolous ways (ie. the big win, the birthday cash, the bonus go to things that are not really needed most of the time – the actions speak ‘this money isn’t as valuable/important as other earned money’).

Why is that? Why must there be an equal price to make something worthwhile? It makes no sense actually and it’s stupid. The value is in there, whether it’s paid for with the traditional exchange of cash or not. Someone has paid for it, has accumulated it, has done the time, done the gather.

This devaluing is why volunteers quit and why programs that are brilliant but free disappear.

So what to do? Because without volunteers/philanthropy so many community things fall apart – there just isn’t the money, time or expertise.

If to be valued there must be a cost, then recipients must pay some cost before they get any benefits. It doesn’t have to be money, but it does need to be of value to the recipients, some initial cost to get their attention and volunteers who are offering up their part need to get something they value too.

The big money people/corporations have this in place for themselves – favors, deductions, power, publicity and legacies. But the backbone of the volunteer workforce gets, pretty much, nothing for their efforts. Oh maybe new friendships, maybe good feelings, karma, charitable deductions for money or goods donated and a small amount for volunteer mileage and maybe a volunteer dinner that mostly you have to sit through. Or maybe just a lot of work that no one seems to appreciate and often doesn’t show up even though they were so enthused originally (of course they weren’t doing the work and so they didn’t have a clue). And then they never find out, never gain the offered knowledge … ah well, may they suffer later.

I despise people who say they will do something and then don’t without even an explanation. It’s so thoughtless, so rude, so hypocritical, such a lie and a bad example. I assume they make promises to themselves all the time and break them, because if you can’t keep  your word to someone else it’s got to be even harder to keep it for yourself when no one else knows what you’ve agreed to.

And maybe, stupid, this is all about values set by an arbitrary price. Over my life I’ve been paid $0 to over $100/hour for the same expertise — arbitrary isn’t it. And the further away I came from the more of an expert I seemed to become, downright silly isn’t it. Just think how much my abilities and knowledge would be worth if I came from a big city instead of up-north rural Wisconsin (you think I’m joking, think again).

The results of this rant haven’t made being a volunteer more appealing to me, in fact I’m thinking of always putting a price on things, always creating hoops, never assuming that others have any idea of what’s being offered – usually they don’t know the difference between an off-the-cuff opinion and researched answers/experience. Grr, this trying to change the world stuff is irritating.

Can’t give it away? Charge for it and be happier.

Looking west, looking east, north, south – perspective photos

In the morning there is often such neat light bathing the landscape. The angles, the shadows, the golden glow or intense sparkle depending upon which way it’s viewed. These are all taken this morning within several minutes of each other; the difference, looking in different directions and a bit of walking (no digital fixing, just photos).

Frost covered, sunlight reflections. Direction: south-easterly.
Frost covered, sunlight reflections, somewhat sepia toned. Direction: south-easterly.
Sunrise bathed. Direction: west
Sunrise bathed-golden with pink, much still in blue shaded shadow. Direction: west
Slow children (the bane of all parents :)) Direction: east
Slow children (the bane of all parents :)) Direction: east
Direction: south, I like the definition of the grass because of the early angle sunlight.
Direction: south, I like the definition of the grass because of the early angle sunlight.
Woods with branches and trees highlighted peachy, golden. Direction: north
Woods with branches and trees highlighted peachy, golden. Direction: north

Perspective, the view, the angle from which you look changes things a lot. It is not just an attitude, it’s an actual change…colors, light, things seen, not seen.

If what I see is all I think there is, I better be doing 360s fairly often. I better be looking and listening to things that aren’t my usual perspective. Because it’s easy to think I know what a sunrise looks like, when I could be surprised.

Sorrow, the sky cries

Rainysaturday2012 003It is raining, on the snow. Maybe a fitting showing of grief over the meaningless death of so many in that Connecticut grade school. It’s a long way from here to there. But we share the loss.

Crying to the universe, why is this happening and what can we do to prevent it? We are in denial. It’s already sad history; it cannot be prevented.

Little kids couldn’t have caused the shooter distress, so why? He shot his mother, can we blame his parents? Why did she have those guns? Who let him come into the school? That’s anger and maybe even rage for some. We want cause and effect and obvious reasons. Something to make it stay in its box, something to make it not so random or bewildering. And we can make up answers and we will. We’ll do this so that it won’t happen, won’t have happened. That’s bargaining.

It’s already grief, shared, but not abated for a long, long time for those that were there. And not abated for those of us who vicariously watch all the broadcasts about each ‘new’ development. That’s depression or acceptance, maybe, but we’ll go back and forth, zigzagging through the stages of grief. Lets try to understand ourselves (external focus and internal awareness) and try to accept and take the positive out of a mortal situation; it happened to make us do better and be a better people. Do we understand that the locally implemented heightened school security is to prevent ‘copycats,’ that the media notoriety spins off others of us who want this kind of fame. Attention changes actions, good and bad.

What would be a better people? A better nation? And what does this intense publicity do to us?

The religious among us will call for more faith. The righteous will call for stricter laws. The pacifists will call for banning handguns, assault weapons. The gun DIYs will want more concealed carry, even in schools. The parents will call for my child to be safe in public, but stay out of our home. The sociologists will talk of reducing societal stresses, violence in the media and in the country. The psychologists will call for earlier interventions for mental issues and training coping skills. The schools will lock their doors, barricade, hide inside and be suspicious of the innocent.The police will practice more urban warfare games and school lock downs. The politicians will try to pass laws without the money to fund them. And who will benefit, will society actually benefit or will we just be more scared, less trusting, doing whatever we were doing before, more?

Each perspective will have its best answer. Each will be right; each will be wrong. Emotion plus political will may drive the money for THE SOLUTION and then we’ll complement ourselves for our effort or shake our heads at the waste and loss of freedom. Just like we have for the homeland security changes in our airports, our border crossings, but wait a minute, wasn’t this terrorism?

Do we really think that anyone can stop an unknown, random person among our thousands of people who for whatever irrational reason is willing to kill known or unknown others and then commit suicide? If it was as easy as spending money, we would have done it already and maybe we did, but it’s gone unnoticed.

And after the fact of the incident it’s easy to see the signs, but that’s after the fact. We already have 25 percent of the world’s population of jailed people, in our jails. This kind of shooting was a rare event; terrible, but rare. Suicide by gun, is not rare. Mental illness is not rare. Poor coping skills…not rare. Unhappy people, far too common in a nation of abundance.

I’ve looked at some of the studies of various earlier efforts in US to quell gun homicide. The results, for the most part, haven’t been wonderful, well we’ve got, what we’ve got. Lots of guns and really, controlling guns/ammo would be a management tool, not actually an over-all solution. Problem oriented policing appears to have some of the best outcomes. In healthcare I was used to problem oriented interventions. That begs knowing what the  problem is and being very specific to the person(s) and family or facility. Do we know what the problem is and why we as a nation have so many more homicides than other nations at similar socioeconomic status or maybe we’re comparing ourselves wrongly because we haven’t come to grips with the current vast split in poor vs wealthy? Why do so many women go to get mental help and so many men that need it, avoid it?  And can we do the research without bias? And then would we have the will to do change, whatever the agreed upon many-faceted best solution is when it affects us, our business, our freedom and our pocketbook? Or would we just rather shout out our preferred solution that we already are doing? Because it’s someone else that’s the problem, not us.

Well, I told you I was cynical in my “About.” Maybe it’s from all those years in healthcare working with people who continued doing things that resulted in worse chronic illness and being really surprised when someone actually significantly made changes, wow when you do them they really work, of course, could be my skewed sample was that of those remaining in long-term care.

I am deeply saddened by the loss of so many in one day and my condolences go out to the community and families.