We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Friday, May 1. 2020
I tend to do most of my thinking in the morning shower where there are no welcome distractions. This morning, some of my thoughts had to do with virus panic and the desire for a risk-free life, if not a death-free life. Most of all of our ancestors were serfs, slaves, or something similar, for thousands of years.
Maybe it's dreams of childhood, or dreams of Eden, or some vision of utopia or Heaven that inspire. One thing diseases do is to remind us to be humble in the face of nature. Two days ago an asteroid passed close to earth, which could have eliminated much of civilization not to mention millions of humans.
Are governments supposed to have the powers to do the job of an all-powerful, merciful, and loving God? I kind-of thought so, or hoped so, in my youth, but no more. Life, even as a peaceful serf with others well-armed to protect me, was no free life. Relatively safe, but no freedom or opportunity.
Fears of injury, damage, financial ruin, or death? Most of us have those. Rightly so. But there is probably a Bell Curve (as with most things) of fearfulness and risk-aversion amongst humans. An ordinary pandemic, like the Hong Kong flu of 1968, or another Chinese bug of 2020, highlights that as you can probably see in the people you know. There is such a range of fear.
There is prudence of course, but in the end there is no safety in life if one lives with energy and adventurousness. The most dangerous things I do in life is to drive my car and tractor, ride my horses, and to invest.
If you want a risk-free life, try another planet or become a timid mouse.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:34 | Comments (18) | Trackbacks (0)
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I'm old enough to have regrets about things I did and things I didn't. I worked my whole life, if I had it to do over again I would have wondered instead. Not on city streets but in forests and deserts. Then perhaps when I was older and that lifestyle was too difficult I would then work and settle down. Oddly though, I would not give that advice to a son or grandson.
It is the training to be a good horsewoman the daily focus on overcoming fear that helped me to walk through this life with an appreciation for balance, focus and assess the situation then respect the danger, and make the choice. So many young people grow up never having had that type of learning experience in their formative years. There were some I never could ride: not smart enough, not strong enough, not fearless enough. But, I did get to ride quite a few very nice spirited and talented animals, going over the jumps and down the trails. Presenting myself and the horse fairly well. I grieve for today's children who never even know the challenges of walking to school alone. Thanks for reminding me of the great damn goodness of this life--the opportunity to do better!
I enjoyed walking to school alone: every day was a new discovery. Of course, this kind of spoiled me for school, but that's another tale.
For me, I guess the break with "safe culture" came just after my sixteenth birthday, when I headed down to a hurricane shelter to be their radio operator. I ended up running the shelter for a few hours, until they got me a relief for the shelter director's duties. I didn't have to be told.
A bit over twenty-four hours later, I got back home. My family will tell you they could see I'd changed. Most of them still haven't forgiven me for it. My father has come to admire it and has said so.
It spoiled me for those who lead with intimidation, and tends to leave them infuriated. It's served me well in facing down a couple of serious illnesses, by the grace of God.
Funny, but as it turns out, I figure I'm a whole lot safer being able to face things head-on than I would be if I'd been protected from them.
Risk free seems like a thoroughly modern delusion that would have been laughed at several generations ago by all but children which is perhaps what we have become.
i should have been dead long ago. Could have easily died on three occasions before I was 9. I'm just a lucky guy. Even my doctors agree. Still ticking, knock on wood.
I have lived an unsettled life from childhood on, so beating back fear has been a lifelong challenge. It can be done, but now that I am old in the Time of Corona, it's not as easy as it was. In this time of life, you can't always count on those you love and trust, even though they mean no harm. This is when you have to discard doubt and trust in God.
A life with no risk, or over-managed risk, would be tremendously boring and you would invent “fake risk” to fill the void.
We’ve seen that develop over the last 30+ years: too many people with too much wealth and free time had it too soft for too long, and had to invent things to be afraid of, like their kids getting kidnapped or killed by a stranger danger type of character. The amount of fear over this is way, way out of line with the actual risks, which have not changed much over the decades. This fear seemed almost nonexistent in the 60s and 70s when I was growing up.
The free range kids movement is a great example. Forty years ago or more, this same concept was just “kids” — now it’s radical to let kids be kids without parents helicoptering nearby every minute of the day.
In the immortal words of Teddy Roosevelt:
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
So your thought is that other people are cowards for disagreeing with you. I'm not seeing another possible interpretation of your words here. When I put it that way you think "no, no, no," but it's inescapable, counselor.
Next, the fact that your increased risk also increases the risk for others - without their permission - is absent from this calculation. You put "risks" into this large basket, as if they all are equivalent items. Risks are different by situation.
Third, you are quite sure of your estimation of the risks for others.
Fourth, you prefer to cast this calculation in moral terms. Great.
I don't know how many times we have to go through this at Maggie's these days. I am in favor of lifting a lot of the lockdown, especially WRT outdoor activities. I agree that there are states and politicians that are overboard and should be argued against. But that does not give permission to conservatives to make unfair and illogical arguments. In the last month conservatives are starting to mirror liberals in their methods of arguing and reasoning, and this is not a good result.
Yesterday, my nine year old son was confronted riding his bike around the block without a helmet. He said, "Dad, what business is it of that guy if I have a helmet." His 54 year old father said, "None ... absolutely none." It is harder and harder to be normal in this crazy age.
I also got thrown out of the favorite green grocer the other day because I didn't have a face mask. Ohio is supposed to be opening for business, but our fiddlesticks governor adds more restrictions with each supposed liberation. How exactly do you open up while extending "stay-at-home" orders another month and requiring commercial enterprises to act as enforcers?
When I think of the ruin that awaits so many marginal families, it turns my stomach. I can afford to be a middle-age jerk. 30 somethings with young kids, mortgages, student loans, credit card debt, car payments, and dreams? How goddamn arrogant does that green grocer and the governor have to be to tell these people to stay at home and accept this kabuki theater nonsense for supposed safety?
If you ever wondered why we've never been back to the moon, we're living the reason now.
Come on dad! Your kid should wear a helmet and you should be happy if an adult reminds him because he isn't always in your sight. Head injuries can be deadly or change your life forever and children aren't adult enough to realize it.
I don't wear my face mask but when we go to the store or the doctors I carry it. If the store or the clinic wants people to wear them I will do it. A store owner can indeed insist that you wear it . The easy way is to go with the flow.
You have to pick the hill you are willing to die on and fight everything.
Sorry, that is the problem ... which hill? Humanity has survived quite a long time without the million new molehills we have decided to throw out in front of progress in just the last decade.
One reason, it appears few are willing to state, that we haven't been back to the moon is there is simply no point in it.
There are bigger, far more interesting challenges. What do we really know of Earth's oceans? Most science comment is that we know about 5% of the ocean's floor. What about water chemistry, the interplay of flows, the biology? All that is worth far more than going back to the moon.
What did we get from going to the moon? Pictures of dust and rocks. We already knew that was there.
Please don't tell me we got cell phone technology and teflon and a hundred other advances that had commercial applications from the space program. Those things would have come along anyway, because there was a profit to be made in them.
There never was a reason to go to the moon except for pride and to make jobs for a few engineers at NASA.
I genuinely don’t understand people who don’t love risk. I paid my way through State School with Army time, ROTC, and on the ass end of a crab boat and have for the next 30 years sought as much as possible to make those jobs look boring. I’ve had a wonderful fun life and if it ended tomorrow I would have not a single regret.