Personal ponderings from a natural night-owl!

Archive for January, 2007

Reality Revisited

Yet another example of perception – in this case influenced by hormones – creating reality mentioned specifically in the first two sentences of this article.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/01/10/peri.menopause/index.html

So here’s more interesting food for thought. If perception is reality and perception is controlled by chemicals and hormones, then everyone’s reality really IS different since no two people have the same chemical make-up. Thinking about it this way, everyone does, in fact, live in their own universe!

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Reality?

After 12 years of marriage, my husband can still surprise me. Yesterday he sent me this link which proved that he and I really do see the world differently: http://www.vischeck.com/examples/

He suffers from deuteranopia, which is a form of red/green colorblindness. Now, I’ve always known this, but it’s rarely apparent unless he’s trying to match clothes, so I don’t give it much thought day to day. But I was truly surprised how bland his daily world looks compared to mine. I can’t imagine living with such a lack of color, but its all he’s known.

It’s not often that we get to look through another’s eyes and see they world – literally – as they do. This brought to mind an interesting discussion from one of my college psych classes. The premise? There is no such thing as reality, because all reality is perception. The longer I live, the more I agree with the premise.

Reality is truly a function of perception. Just look at the unreality of realty television! Even the people who appear on the shows are amazed at how judicious editing can shape the perceptions of the audience.

We are trained to assume that our reality is the only reality. In direct sales, and probably in general life, this attitude is a serious impediment to success. If I only offer the consultant opportunity to people I perceive will be good at it (according to my reality), my team would miss out on some really great consultants!

In fact, cutting edge physics explores the possibility that the existence of multiple realities is scientifically provable. M-theory, an extension of string theory, posits that as many as 10 or 11 dimensions, and virtually unlimited realities, exist. (At least, that was my understanding from the portion of “The Elegant Universe” that I saw on PBS a few weeks ago.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-theory_%28simplified%29

So when I tell people “that’s how it works in my world,” maybe I’ve tapped into some cosmic truth and I’m not so far off after all!

We Have Seen the Enemy…

Most people have heard the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” And in an effort not to offend any feline lovers out there, I will also refer to the statement that, “A leopard can’t change its spots.” Well, folks, in case you haven’t been paying attention – and the White House fervently hopes you don’t – President Bush is at it again.

Two more revelations in the past 12 hours show the depths to which this administration seems determined to strip the populace of their rights and subvert the law of the land. It is shocking to me that anyone could possible support this man as President given how he is raping our system of checks and balances.

First, this little gem: in a recent signing statement attached to a completely innocuous piece of legislation initiating some minor postal system reforms, Bush has signaled his intention to once again thumb his nose at the protections offered to the general public by the Constitution of this land. He has clearly signaled his intention to interpret the law to mean that the government can open personal, first class mail without a warrant.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/01/04/bush.mail.ap/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

Then, less than 12 hours later, this other tidbit of news: in the spring of 2006, when the Jack Abrahamoff scandal was escalating, the Bush administration apparently created a document changing the status of Secret Service White House visitor logs from Secret Service property subject to Freedom of Information Act requests to White House property, exempting them from such requests. What’s more, they didn’t tell anyone about the existence of this document until they presented it in court!

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/01/05/white.house.visitors.ap/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

There are few words that describe the depth of my disgust for this administration. I have a generally low regard for politicians of either major political party, mind you, but the utter disdain this President has shown for the laws of this country continues to astound me.

I truly believe that this man has done more harm to freedom and democracy in this country then any other man in our nation’s history. He is certainly a larger threat to the freedom of our citizens than any foreign dictator or religious infidel.

Not only does Bush subvert the entire legal system upon which this country is founded, he lies through his teeth, blatantly, with no apparent concern about being caught or confronted. If you doubt or disagree with my words, take a look at some of these links:

http://www.antiwar.com/roberts/?articleid=8166

http://www.bushwatch.com/bushlies.htm

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20021125/alterman

…or just watch almost any episode of Jon Stewart’s Daily Show!

Now, I will grant you that it’s relatively easy to find web links to support just about any position one could think to hold, regardless of the validity or verifiability of that position. And the “sources” I link above may not be considered to be neutral or independent.

But this is, in part, why these habitual lies and routine abuses of law are slipping by the radar of most Americans – they are under-reported and under-emphasized by most mainstream media outlets.

Any news anchor can report a change in policy as “news” fed to it by the White House. Where are the minds putting these individual pieces of news together and revealing them as actual trends? And there are, my friends, pronounced political trends toward lawlessness and lies by our own administration.

My two fears are 1) that the Democrats, now that they are in power, will still be unable to stop this administration because it’s playing such dirty and underhanded politics and 2) that the Democrats themselves will fall into the trap of playing dirty in the same way. This is why I haven’t voted for a major party political candidate in over 12 years and why we need a viable third party in this country, but that will have to be the subject of a future blog post.

Whoa, Man!

Looks like 2007 is set to be a banner year for women in power. Today, Nancy Pelosi becomes the first female House Speaker in history, putting her 3rd in line for the presidency.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/01/03/female.speaker.ap/index.html

This is cracking a 200 year old tradition of men in power in the United States, but the breadth of British history has trumped us in this feat. For the first time in 522 years, the historic Yeoman Warders (also known as Beefeaters) have appointed a women to serve in their ranks.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/europe/01/03/beefeater.reut/index.html

There are even rumors that Hilary Rodham Clinton might start a serious bid for the U.S. presidency. Although I don’t particularly like her stand on many issues, I would feel it necessary to strongly consider voting for her in order to create history and further deteriorate the historic stranglehold on power men have and do hold in this country.

Shamefully, countries such as China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and even Iraq have a larger percentage of women involved in positions of governmental power than the United States. It is definitely past time for a change, but we do need to be careful as women HOW the change happens.

According to the CNN article, “Pelosi embraces her role as the first female speaker, but she wants to be judged by the same standards as the 51 men who came before her.” Unfortunately, this desire to conform to the standards already in place for men will simply propel women into roles that harbor the same stereotypes men currently face. What we need is a new set of standards!

The generation before mine came of age at a time when women were thought to be able to do anything and everything. Lost in this message of empowerment was the simple fact that everything cannot be done and had at the same time. The result was a generation of women burning themselves out trying to do it all and be it all.

My generation still struggles with these unrealistic expectations. Can we have a career. Most definitely – and with a variety that exceeds any other generation history. Can we put our children’s interests ahead of our own during the critical years when we are teaching them to be the best people they can be? Of course – no one can do it better than a motivated parent. Can we do these things simultaneously AND effectively? The way the business world is structured, I say no – not without breaking some pretty strong traditions. Just try looking for a job that fully utilizes the skills of a Case Western Reserve MBA graduate (with a 4.0 GPA) that allows a 9 am to 3 pm daily schedule and summers off. (And if you know if one, please let me know because I’m still actively looking!).

So yes – I’m happy that women seem to be making greater strides than ever in 2007. But I hope that we can use our new-found power to reshape and redefine the system rather than simply falling into the same old traps and pitfalls in the name of equality.

Mr. Leigh Was Right

The idea for my own blog grew out of the realization that I frequently have late night ponderings that were being denied birth into this world of information and opinion. I was sure I would never lack for material…until I actually sat down to write. Somehow, this first ever blog post took on increased significance and I could feel the pressure to write something meaningful, even though my current audience of one (two, if I count myself!) feels that I am pretty meaningful already.

After considering and discarding several ideas, a tidbit from our local paper motivated me to action! But as usual, motherhood took precedence and in the ensuing two hour hiatus between inspiration and action, my only blog reader “adopted” my idea for his own!

But hey – it’s a big blog world out here. And since one of my goals for 2007 is to look more on the positive side of life’s little annoyances (for example – the upside to a sunroom carpet caked with mud and discarded muddy boots is that they DID remember to remove them before coming into the house!), I will make lemonade from this particular batch of lemons and THANK my blog predecessor for preserving me from the tedium of restating the situation. (Read his post here for background: http://staff.bbhcsd.org/schinkerj/archives/2007/01/03/bad-math-hits-home/)

My first reaction to this turnpike article was a dramatic eye roll and an “it figures” comment. Perhaps it comes from my background as high school newspaper editor, but I have a much lower opinion of our local paper that the other blogger. A few months ago, the paper joyfully announced that it was converting the local weekly into a semi-weekly (that’s twice a week, to save you the hassle of looking it up). In my eyes, it went from a “weakly” to a “weakly that should be run over by a semi,” but I digress…

Upon further consideration, I was truly horrified and saddened. The Verizon story was truly frightening to listen to at length, but at least it could be rationalized as an isolated incident. However, bad math is apparently like cockroaches: if you see one, there are many, many more hiding in the walls.

This brings me to Mr. Vaughn Leigh – high school math teacher extraordinaire from the late 1980’s. In high school, I did not like math and I did not like Mr. Leigh for a long while, either. He was a true rebel, instantly evident from the biker jackets, full sized cardboard cut-out of Elvira, and collection of withered apples with razor blades in them adorning his office (no kidding!). Bizarre though he may have been, he did teach me two things that I have never forgotten.

First, he taught me that math is like a toolbox; the more tools you put into it, the more versatile and useful it becomes. Translation: the more ways you know how to approach a problem, the greater your chance of solving it correctly and confidently. This is now referred to as “new math” at the public elementary school my kids attend so Mr. Leigh must have been decades ahead of his time.

Second, he impressed upon us all the critical importance of decimals. When we argued for partial credit because, “the number is right except for the decimal,” I distinctly remember him vowing to hunt us all down later in life and block our admission into any engineering school. He said that based on our demonstrable lack respect for the decimal point, any bridges we built would be catastrophic losses of human life waiting to happen.

When people you would assume to be at least moderately well educated – like a customer service supervisor or a regional newspaper editor – argue that .002 cents is the same thing as .002 dollars, or that .037 cents is the same as 37 cents, we are apparently dealing with some of President Bush’s kids that got left behind.

Perhaps the solution is to PAY these people .002 or .037 cents per hour, since they probably wouldn’t know the difference.

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