Sunday, December 23, 2012

Not So Silent Lucidity

Once the presents were opened on Christmas Day in 1979, my father surprised the family with a trip to the movie theater to see Steve Martin (his first starring role) in The Jerk.  I was a high school sophomore in small-town Indiana trying hard to decipher life's mysteries, and much like Martin's hilariously naive character, the arrhythmic Navin R. Johnson, I was beginning my own journey out of childhood and into a larger world.  

In the film, Navin's father gives him some parting advice, just before he leaves home, regarding the importance of accurate discernment.  "It's a tough world out there son, and you gotta know shit from Shinola."

How much is real?  So much to question.
My own father gave me similar advice regarding accurate thinking, but he added a couple caveats.  First, he warned me that it was a lifelong labor, and that I must be constantly vigilant.  He also explained the reasons why:  survival, living well, and the safeguard of my personal freedom topped the list.  My Pop had been to war, known hunger, bought lemons, and supported an unjust cause or two in his day.  He had learned well from those mistakes.  He told me something else, that's taken me most of 33 years to truly understand.  He said paradoxically, "You know you're doing it right, if you always have more questions."

I'm 48 now (made it Pop!), it's nearly Christmas Day in 2012, and he was right!  The greater part of my life has been spent, and continues to be spent, in a near constant attempt to accurately discern what's right in front of me.  Speaking of sifting through bullshit, anybody reading this has figured out that the world is still here:

Now...if you're one of those folks who actually thought the world would end on the winter solstice this year, relating to some prophecy surrounding your misinterpretation or belief of something you heard or read about the Mayan calendar...there's good news.  First of all, you were wrong!  Secondly, (since I've heard of no mass suicides thankfully) this is an opportunity to step back, get smarter, and be determined to do your own homework in the future and not get fooled again.

The internet is an amazing research tool and resource, but like any tool, it must be used correctly.  Librarians or scholarly friends will happily take their time to help you make maximum use of search engines.  It's sometimes not as fun as trolling conspiracy websites, but infinitely more rewarding.  Librarians are a great source of something else...books!!! 

 Hate to sound like a PBS commercial ("reading is the magic key to take you where you want to be"), but you'd really be amazed at the amount and quality of information that is available on every subject imaginable to anyone who wishes to access it.  All I know is...if I had  been running around foaming at the mouth about the world ending on 12/21/2012,  I'd feel pretty damn foolish right about now.  So, take advantage of this figurative 'second chance.'  Widen your circle of acquaintances, trade information freely, participate in discussion forums with people of above average intelligence, regain your reading habit, observe, question, compare, contrast, and cultivate the habit of lucidity.

Since December 14th 2012, the country has been abuzz surrounding 'issues related to' the tragic school shooting incident in Newtown, CT.  The death of these 20 children has ignited raging discussions and debate about a myriad of subjects, including federal gun control legislation, mental health treatment, home-schooling options, pharmaceutical side-effects, aspergers/autism, armed guards in school, violent video games, and...God's vengeance.  

Bloggers have worn out keyboards, politicians have stumped, pundits and punks have spoken, and hourly press updates continue.  I've remained silent.  

The untimely death of any child is a life-altering, emotionally traumatic event.  When experiencing extreme emotion, lucidity is often compromised.  Sadly, the reality we've chosen to live in dictates a different response in me.  I've trained myself to ask the 'difficult questions,' in the name of the lucid truth, in times like these.

According to the World Health Organization, 21,000+ children under the age of 5 die every day.  Conversely, in America over the last twenty years combined, less than 400 children have died in school shooting incidents.  That's over 7 million/year versus less than 400 in twenty years.  Admittedly, of course, this is 400 too many.  Yet, as detailed above, the powers that be have chosen to dramatically seize on this particular incident, an emotionally horrific event which crystallizes the fears of every parent in America.

Now, it's a good thing, when tragedy causes us to soberly reflect on the state of things, but what you have to ask yourself, as a lucid individual, is if the amount of attention given to these particular deaths is proportionate to the amount of attention given to the other 7 million dead children this year.  If it is not, then the next question must be, why?  Who benefits from the exploitation of the shooting deaths of these 20 children?  Also, who benefits from any actions you personally take directly resulting from the exploitation of these 20 victims.  Finally, is the amount of reaction proportionate to the actual threat?   Restated, do less than 400 deaths in 20 years rate the amount and type of action being recommended, or would we be wiser spending our time and money in other areas of child/public safety concerns?   If you're with me here...welcome to the lucid line.

Dave ~ Thanks for your time.  I hope we get to know each other better.


  1. good one dave. your dad sounds like a good bloke. i was blessed in that regard as well, and am also still unravelling the meaning of some of what he told me. One of the things he told me when i was about ten seemed particularly baffling at the time. He said 'Mate, for the rest of your life people are going to try to convince you that the world will end tomorrow. I guarantee the sun always rises.' makes a lot more sense to me now. I miss that man.

    1. Agent Orange got my Dad in 2002. The older I get, the smarter he gets for sure. Thanks so much for your support dboy! Take care :)

  2. Wow I had not even had this thought but I do now...Wonderful writing again!

    1. Thank you always for reading it angel! I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Super cool post, my friend! Thanks for being a warrior for truth, and continually supporting my work. Shine on, and bring on 2013!

    1. Thanks Raj!!! This post sort of wrote itself. All the stuff in my head came together in a bit of a mash-up, and this is what came out. Your work inspires me! I just re-read this post and I can see your influence in the words. I second the motion, "Bring on 2013!!"