Deep Thoughts From an Average Joe…

“Superman, German Übermensch, in philosophy, the superior man, who justifies the existence of the human race. “Superman” is a term significantly used by Friedrich Nietzsche, particularly in Also sprach Zarathustra (1883–85), although it had been employed by J.W. von Goethe and others. This superior man would not be a product of long evolution; rather, he would emerge when any man with superior potential completely masters himself and strikes off conventional Christian “herd morality” to create his own values, which are completely rooted in life on this earth.”

Nietzsche is generally credited with initially promoting  the concept of the Ubermensch, which most scholars translate to  the “Overman” or “Superman”. The fundamental philosophy posits that there are men who are so vastly more enlightened, transcendent, superior intellectually, morally, and physically that they are actually above the constraints of everyday, or the “average Joe’s”, rules of conduct. Many people in our country today seem to believe in this self-view. However, “herd mentality” does indeed serve some vital purposes. I will get to that in a bit when I put all of this together.

The tone for how the United States of America, or “The Great Experiment”, was established in the Declaration of Independence, a document written nearly 250 years ago and which we, as a country, still value as a guiding force in our collective belief system. In that document, it is clearly stated:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creatorwith certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

 

With much regret and apology to my good friend, Tim Hong, and I don’t mean to be argumentative, (actually, I do), we are, by virtue of our living as citizens of this great nation, held to a series of similar values and ethics… call it a social contract, if you will. In this inherently implied contract, we, by simply living here in the USA, are held to the idea that we all have our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as stated above. Incumbent with my ability to live my life seeking my version of life, liberty, and happiness, I am strictly prohibited from interfering with any other citizen’s search for life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness. Thus, the social contract is established by default or in a negative sum capacity, if you will.

For example: If an American by the name of, say, John Collins wishes to practice a religion called, ” Voyeurism”, and to fulfill the mandates of his religion, he must find a 50 year-old, male virgin and throw him into the fiery pit of the Chapatula Volcano in New Orleans, John Collins can not go and kidnap the Virgin Tim Galvan and forcibly throw him into the volcano. No, indeed. The premise that John Collins has a right to practice his chosen religion CAN NOT override the idea that the Virgin Tim Galvan also has the same rights, and therefore his own puritanistic life is protected by the very same pretexts. So, why is this boring explanation even required in my ramblings so early on a Saturday morning? Allow me to pontificate further.

Recently I posted an article which described a young man, sitting in his own home, (ownership of property is germaine to the concept of the pursuit of happiness), minding his own business, when three… THREE!!!… young men who did not live in that home, nor did they pay rent or have any claim to ownership of that home or part of that home, made the decision to break into that home by force, wielding weapons to secure their own personal safety during the event. Obviously, these three young men did not believe that the “rules” applied to them. They believed they were above the mundane constraints of the rule of law. They were clearly adherents of the concept of the Superman according to Nietzsche. The owner of the home, feeling his life was threatened by these three young men, retrieved his AR15 and shot the three intruders, who subsequently died of lead poisoning. It is imperative to understand that when three healthy, strong, armed men enter one’s house, one’s safety and ability to pursue life, liberty, and happiness can be called into doubt, and fear or threat of losing those inalienable rights allows the individual to do whatever is necessary to once again secure those rights. Side note: This is not because the Declaration of Independence says so, but because these rights are “endowed” by our “creator”…

 

In response to this justified protection of the homeowner’s rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, I encountered a few more obvious disciples of Nietzsche’s philosophy. Generally speaking, I have often heard citizens who tend to lean more toward the liberal political view intimate that, due to their world view and level of emotional awareness, they are ‘enlightened” or somehow more “transcendent” than those who do not adhere to their worldview or share their emotional values. Clearly, these followers evidently believe that there are those who are not accountable to the “social contract” set forth in the founding documents, as evidenced by their responses, to wit:

 

“Why not shoot them in the legs instead of killing them?”

“Why did he have to use an AR with multiple rounds? He could have used a shotgun!”

“The boys had knives and brass knuckles, not guns…”

“How could he be sure (homeowner) that his life was in danger?”

 

Really? These people are so intelligent, so enlightened, so transcendent, that they have forgotten there are rules that everyone must follow? They truly believe that the color of one’s skin, or the age of a person, or the political beliefs or worldview of a person should be what determines whether the person should have to follow the same rules and guidelines of human decency that all others follow? I work in a prison. I have taught convicts that, at the age of twelve, killed entire families with their bare hands. I teach black, white, Hispanic, Asian, murderers, rapists, drug dealers, pimps…  all whom thought they were above the law and could not get caught.  I am amazed at the foothold that the concept of the Superman has taken in our society. These geniuses that believe they are above the law will continue to get killed by those of us who cling to our guns and Bibles, who are so ignorant and unenlightened, so deplorable, that we have not transcended yet. I will protect my right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness very time… I am an average Joe…

Deep Thoughts From a Lover Not a Fighter

Deep Thoughts From a Lover Not a Fighter

16835797_1469124599767220_5318193433463548316_oThis week I celebrated my 25th Wedding Anniversary with my lovely wife, Laura. Although it seems I have made it to 25 years DESPITE myself rather than BECAUSE of myself, I nonetheless take pride in this accomplishment, one which a majority of Americans will never know. It is not with an attitude of arrogance or with the intention of bragging that I say that almost everyone I know has been married more than once and divorced at least once; I simply can not say that. This was my first and, God willing, my last. I say this not only to praise my wife for raising me right and refusing to allow me the opportunities to screw up my marriage too much, but to illustrate another concept involved here that can lead to a valuable discussion of thought processes: Consistency. Laura and I have lasted 25 years (despite my original wedding party betting we would not make it 6 months, a year, or five years) because of consistency of thought. Simple as that. Allow me to explain.

When Laura and I got married, we made some promises to each other beyond our wedding vows. One of those promises was that we would never utter the “D” word in our home. The escape hatch of divorce is one of the major plagues besieging young couples today. In our disposable society with our “I want to be happy now” mentalities, it is very easy for young people to make the mistake of not realizing that “love” is not so much a feeling, but rather a choice. When I first met Laura we were both young, healthy, idealistic, HAWT! But the years have taken their toll. Some of our idealism has been beaten into pessimism or, at the very least, realism. Our bodies ache, pop, and creak when we wake up in the morning. We have the bodies of people in their fifties now and not those we started with in our twenties. When I look at Laura, I do not see the young hottie I married; that is a ridiculous thing that people say. I see a fifty-something woman who is growing older. Now, before she gets angry at me while she is reading this, let me explain my comments.

Any person who expects their spouse to be the same person 10, 20, 30 years down the road has unrealistic expectations of their relationship and that relationship is doomed to fail. I once knew a young woman who woke up every morning before her husband so she could dispense with the morning toiletries and grooming. She would make herself “beautiful”, then crawl back into bed to wake him up as if she had just woken up herself. She did not want him to see her in her natural state because she wanted to keep the appearance of the fantasy alive. In my opinion, that is not what love should be based upon. Rather, love is based on the concept of breaking those barriers and surviving them together and CHOOSING to keep running the race together regardless of those changes.

When I look at Laura, I see a different person. I see a person who has stretch marks and extra “body”, a sacrifice she made to give birth and life to our daughter. I see a grey-haired woman who pays top dollar every six weeks to get her hair dyed, and I am quite sure that most of those grey hairs came from the stress of being my wife and trying to make a life out of the little I have brought to the arrangement. I see a warden who, over the years, has learned how to hold a mirror to my stubborn face and show me that what I am doing, despite my yahoo bullheadedness, is not the right thing for our long-term success and maybe I should think about this. I see the woman who grabs my dreams and researches the details, details, details… to make my dream a reality. I see the woman who, even when I had NO clue what I was doing and had NO confidence that God would take care of us when I lied and told her I had received confirmation that God wanted us to do this, stood beside me and said she would follow me anywhere… and then made it work for us with His help.

Years ago we got an old leather-topped coffee table that had belonged to my grandparents. This coffee table had burn marks on top where my grandfather’s cigars and my grandmother’s cigarettes had burned holes in the leather. Laura said several times that she would like to have the table’s leather redone, but I refused. In the circles left by the whiskey glasses, the marks left by the cigars and cigarettes, in the gouges left by the letter opener I played with as a child, I saw scars on that table that told stories and created a tale of a life that had been lived by people who had experienced it together.

To me, consistency in thought is the key. Standing steadfast against the storms of life that beat against the doors and windows and refusing to allow the daily attacks to erode your resolve to do what you know is right and making the choice to stand by that decision is the only way to survive. When I look at Laura, this is what I see. After 25 years, I do not see a beautiful, young, sexy thing. I see a part of me that has consistently withstood the trials of life and yet remained true and has stayed the course. To me, that is more beautiful and sexy than anything else in this world, and the stories we can tell! I think I will keep that old coffee table.

Deep Thoughts From an Obtuse Ass

January 24, 2017 My first Blog.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution assures the freedom of every American citizen in the areas of speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition. Every citizen enjoys the freedoms outlined in this amendment. The freedoms are not given to us by the first amendment, nor by our government, but, rather, they are endowed upon us by our creator. The Constitution is merely a piece of parchment upon which we have written and agreed to its terms. The requirements for being secured these rights are fairly simple: If you are a citizen of the United States, then you are protected under the Constitution’s provisions.

A muslim woman, working in a grocery store, asserts her first amendment right to freedom of religion by informing her employer she can not touch pork or alcohol. It becomes incumbent upon the employer to post a sign at her register informing customers who have pork or alcohol products to go to another register. This seems to be okay with the masses as they do not protest.

A football player kneels down during the Pledge of Allegiance under the protection of his first amendment right to free speech in order to protest perceived injustices, and people argue that it indeed is his right.

But a baker in Oregon politely informs a homosexual customer she will not bake a wedding cake for her based on her freedom of religion, and the baker is sued, loses her business and her life savings, and is held up as a mockery of the Christian faith. Most people argue that her religious beliefs are not protected by the first amendment.

North Carolina passes a law stating that men will use men’s restrooms and women will use women’s restrooms and the entire entertainment boycotts that state under the protection of the first amendment.

Now, at least one state has introduced legislation that would allow health care providers to refuse to provide for patients whose choices of lifestyle are counter to their own religious beliefs. I will first state unequivocally that, as a professional, I do not know many in the health care profession who would let the zealousness of religion mandate that they refuse service to anyone in need; I certainly provide my craft to anyone who for I am charged to do so . I have witnessed outrage and fear from the possibility that this legislation might be passed by the state in question.

So I ask: Why is it any different in the medical profession than any other profession? And because I ask, I get called an obtuse ass.

I remember reading a book in school by George Orwell called Animal Farm. The significant line, for me, from that book was one of the rules laid down: “All animals are equal”. After things started going off track from the original purpose of the animals’ coup, they went back to read the rules they had established in the beginning, and the rule had been added to with some more words. Now the rule read: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. It certainly seems that this is the way our country is headed as far as determining whose rights should be protected and whose should not. Basically, we desire protection for those with whom we agree and not for those with whom we disagree.

I have recently had to defend a woman I can not stand and have not liked for over 35 years: Madonna. There is a series of memes calling for her arrest for her words at a women’s march at which she spoke passionately of her thoughts on Trump and the United States. Many intelligent people I call friends agree that she should be arrested. I do not. Her speech was repugnant, vile, and laced with hate and vitriol, but she did not violate any laws and the speech was, in my judgement, protected by the first amendment.

The argument has been made that doctors and cops are professionals and so should not let their personal faith interfere with their job duties. Well, a quarterback who makes $72 million is, by definition a professional. A cashier who gets paid for doing her job is a professional also. Bruce Springsteen can not be considered anything other than a “professional”. Does “professional” mandate that your rights are stripped away and you are not protected by the first amendment?

I am simply looking for some consistency in logic, some uniform thinking among people. I believe that the first amendment should protect every citizen: professional, entry level worker, unemployed, regardless of skin color, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. The protections guaranteed by the amendments should protect every citizen. If the law does not protect every single citizen, then the law protects no one… If you can’t understand that, then maybe you are the one who is the obtuse ass…