There is no eloquence in me today.

China, Russia, Georgia… the United States Presidential elections… all the endless lies and bullshit and misery, and never an end, never an end to it.

I have no words for you this morning. I’m sorry.

Maybe later, after I convince myself once more to bury my head in the sand and regain my focus on my family and friends, and stop giving a shit about what is happening in the world that I cannot affect, and cannot change.

Perspective. I have to regain my perspective.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

The serenity prayer. It’s not just for twelve step programs, you know.

This message has been posted instead of the twelve page rant that I deleted this morning.

You’re welcome.

24 Responses to “Disconnected”
  1. Itsnoteasy says:

    The world’s a (to borrow a Ratshagism) fhugged up place. Everywhere you look, people suffer, lie, cheat, steal and do things that make you wonder how they sleep at night.

    It’s a sad thing, but I don’t think there are many people in the world who can care about everyone. I think the best we can do is take a deep breath, lean on our friends and family when we need to, and do the best we can.

    Go watch a movie with your son. Something where the good guys win.

  2. Kikidas says:

    First: Big zen hugs.

    Second: Isn’t that just the way the governments want us to do? To be? Disconnected, uncaring. This way, they can do what they want, when they want, and we’re happier with our blinders on. By the time we realize what happened and what’s been done, it’s too late to change it.

    Third: I do the same thing. I feel like I can’t do anything about what I see, so I don’t even try. I have a friend who is a litigator and she recently got into politics. By recently, I mean last election. She’s big on writing to her congressman, organizing rallies, and doing her own one-woman what-I-can-do movement. All it takes is one person. One person brings a friend, who brings a friend… and soon there’s enough people together to make a difference.

    Don’t give up, on anything.

  3. Siobhann says:

    I can’t read the news either. /hugs

    If it helps – I saw the funniest bumper sticker yesterday. “Would somebody please give Bush a blowjob so we can impeach him?”

  4. DruidGnome says:

    I’m huge into politics, but I don’t watch the news, I don’t read the papers, and I mostly ignore the news online too.

    If it’s really important someone you know will tell you, of course if it’s trivial they will too, but you really won’t miss anything by not paying attention to the news. What you will miss is the melodrama, which I think is a good thing.

    The news is about entertainment, not information, always remember they want you to get hooked so they can get ad revenue or sell you stuff. Nothing _wrong_ with this, as it’s really no different than many blogs, but that’s the whole point to it.

    But we all have our bad days, so just work through it and try again tomorrow.

  5. ARA says:

    I dont agree. You should give a shit, you really should. As an extreme metaphor, the Nazi catastrophe would never have happened if the ordinary Germans living there at the time gave a shit about what was happening. We are all creating the world we live in, even if we pretend that we are not. To be botherd by one’s conscience is a really good thing, and its the first step to making things better. There is so much evidence that this is true.

    What a waste of great species potential is would be, if we as a species refused to take responsibility for ourselves. I think we have the potential to do just that – its just that most of us don’t want to. Caring that deeply is just too disruptive to the mundane lives we’ve chosen to live. But I know people who live that way, so I know its possible.

    I’m not being ironic or cynical, I’m deadly serious. Hope you dont mind BBB; I feel very passionate about this subject.

  6. Clem says:

    All of this is part of life, it’s part of being human. Life will never be easy, and it never has been. The trick is to soldier on, do your part, and then be philosophical about the rest.

  7. Pidge says:

    There’s no denying there’s a lot of bad stuff in the world. Wars, starvation, pollution, bad governments, bad people. It’s been like this forever and, sadly, I don’t think it’s ever going to end because it’s part of human nature.

    But I like to think it’s also part of human nature to strive to do better and, as importantly, be better. And, hard as it is to see sometimes, we are all making progress, though slowly and not all at the same time.

    Personally, I get up every day and thank my lucky stars for what I have. I have a family I love. I have a home where they can live in safety. I have a job to feed and clothe them. And I’m lucky enough to live in a country that believes in the rule of law, that has had a relatively stable government for a couple hundred years, that (however impefectly) tries to treat people equally and guarantees them the right to express themselves, to choose their own religion, and supports institutions like schools and libraries.

    I’m so lucky I can afford to even throw some of my money away on frivolous things like video games and the Internet.

    I know I’m leading an embarrasingly privileged life and most of the world is no where as fortunate. So I try to be thankful for what I have and help others whenever I can. I’m not going to reverse global warming on my own or convince China to improve it’s human rights record, but there real things I can do in my community that let me share a little of my good fortune with others. I find it really helps me keep my perspective and balance.

    Hope your Monday gets better :)

  8. Tesh says:

    ARA, there’s a difference between caring about something and being able to do something about it. That’s the point of the “serenity prayer”. It’s not about trying not to care, it’s about not taking the weight of the world on your shoulders when you can’t do anything with it.

    Believe you me, if I had any real power to change anything, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I can’t even convince my own sister that it’s extremely stupid to try to buy a house right now, and she knows damn well that I’m the only guy who understands math in our family.

    Fight the good fight, sure. Stay optimistic, sure. Stand for what you know is right, definitely. Just temper it with a little dose of pragmatic reality. You’re only responsible for what you do, and if the rest of the world goes to hell while you’re doing your best, it’s not your fault, nor could you have changed anything. People will not learn or change unless they choose to.

    “No warning can save a people determined to grow suddenly rich.”
    Lord Overstone

    You cannot change other people. You cannot change the world. You can just live the way you know you should and hope that others make their own choice to change. In the meantime, just try to compensate for the fallout and protect your family.

    *sketches out his best sharp salute to BBB*

  9. bigbearbutt says:

    Tesh, you need to write a blog. /salute

  10. Laisom says:

    I have been reading your blog while at work for a while now, I really enjoy your stories and most of all the wow strategies and gearing etc etc.

    This topic is a bit of a change in pace for you.. I understand the feelings that you have as I have had them myself (helplessness).

    One Thing Though:

    One person may not be able to change the world.
    But,
    One person with a blog, can do wonders.

  11. ARA says:

    Tesh, thanks for responding specifically. I disagree almost entirely, but thats fine – this is the biggest subject there is, after all. There are too many examples in this world of ordinary people rising up to become extraordinary. The point is that they were no different from the rest of us – they just made different choices, and were willing to pay the price.

    Best wishes to you.

  12. Mnnyac says:

    It is a very rare individual who can effect major change. People like Ghandi, King or Mother Theresa are exceptions not the rule. But IMHO if people would just concentrate on respect (for themselves, each other and the planet) the world would be a much better place.

  13. Tesh says:

    ARA, it’s just a matter of reality. You literally cannot make choices for someone else. Those people who “changed the world” didn’t somehow suspend agency for those around them (and if they did, we call them dictators, and we don’t hold them up as positive examples). They merely stepped up and pointed out that things were wrong, and encouraged others to change. Other people followed suit and made similar choices.

    Can one person be a leader? Sure, but only if others choose to follow them. Force of arms can “make” people choose things, but only when everyone actually decides on their own to do the right thing will a cultural change be pervasive and persistent. The sort of change that adds up and makes the world a better place has to come from individuals. It also has to be based in respect for choice. People have to choose the right thing, and not be forced into doing the right thing.

    It’s like education; you can’t force someone to learn something. They have to choose to learn it, to internalize it, to understand it. You can force feed someone data and have them regurgitate it for an arbitrary test, but if they don’t really take that knowledge into themselves by a conscious choice of their own to do so, that data is gone relatively quickly.

    Moral fiber is built like muscle or mental fiber; by exercise, by choice, by persistence in doing the right thing. Every person has to do that for themselves.

    Again, the serenity prayer is about recognizing your own limitations, and respecting boundaries to allow all people to make their own choices. As an individual, you absolutely can stand up and be an example. But that’s literally as far as it goes. If there’s a lesson to be taken from fascism, it’s that forcing people to obey is a dangerous game, and one that will inevitably collapse on itself.

    Does respecting others’ agency (the right to choose) mean that sometimes there will be abuses? Certainly. But the other end of the spectrum is the Orwellian nanny state where nothing bad happens simply because it’s not allowed to. Big Brother won’t allow it, by any means. And that’s if we presume that Big Brother is even realistically feasible or morally desirable, which I seriously doubt.

    If we respect agency, we have to take the bad with the good. We have to do our part to promote good, certainly, but if we ask for the right to make choices, we have to extend that right to others. The most we can do is be an example. We can preach from the mountain tops and point out the “way things should be”, but it’s not up to anyone to make choices for others.

    As such, can someone make a difference? Absolutely. But one person literally cannot change the world. They might start a movement, a mindset, a theology, but it’s the other people that make the choice to follow along that are just as important. The cult of personality ignores the responsibility of the followers, and to attribute such great powers to a single person is to misunderstand history and human psychology. Great leaders, from Hitler to Ghandi, tapped into the psychology of the people around them. Without others buying into his crap, Adolf was just another deluded bigot. Without others promoting peace, Ghandi would just have been another hippie protester.

    The egocentric ideal that preaches the “power of one” is a nice fantasy, but ultimately, the only real power that an individual has is over themselves. I’m all for personal responsibility. Far too many people don’t step up and do the right thing. But y’know, you can’t to anything about that. At the end of the day, lofty ideals and motivational posters aside, you can only live your life, and let others live theirs.

    If you live your life such that others see it as a good thing, and emulate you, well, that can indeed lead to cultural change. Thing is, you absolutely must start with living your life the right way before trying to evangelize. Otherwise, the hypocrisy undermines the message.

    I’m not disagreeing philosophically that the world can be better, and that we each have a personal responsibility to make it better where we can… I’m just pointing out that the “where we can” starts and ends with ourselves. (Again, the point of the serenity prayer.) Pick up a bit of litter as you walk around, help soothe the crying child, chase off the guy stalking the lady on the sidewalk, head the neighborhood watch, run for office, write a blog, whatever. Individuals can do great things, certainly. It’s just that cultural change is based on lots of people doing the right thing, and any one person, while extraordinary in and of themselves, is only as influential as other people choose to allow them to be.

    Put another way, great “movements” aren’t built from the ground up to be vast monuments of power wielded by one person. They are built from individuals stepping up and doing the right thing. Movements can change the world, but setting out to create a Utopia isn’t as effective as living up to your own ideals. Living your life expecting or trying to do “something great” is just setting yourself up for failure, and missing the point. Live your own life the way you should, and let the rest sort itself out. If everyone is so worries about changing the world, nothing actually changes, because of that focus on the external, rather than the internal.

  14. Tesh says:

    BBB, I really should write my own blog… I’m taking up way too much space on yours. Sorry ’bout that.

  15. bigbearbutt says:

    Tesh, thank you for posting that. Great comment of the month, in my opinion.

    I figure the ‘stick my head in the sand again’ comment is probably the sticking point, and I said it because I really do feel that right now the best I can do is to see to me and the ones I love, and hope for the best while these massive events continue to unfold around us. And yes, it frustrates me that I can’t do more.

    But my core problem right now is that I feel spiritually off-center, unbalanced. Normally I feel strongly centered, and I roll off that strength. Instead, all weekend I’ve been feeling like I’m tap dancing during an earthquake, and I can’t find solid ground.

    I think I need to go to the gym. There’s nothing quite like pushing your body to exhaustion while listening to eardrum-destroying goth metal, to make me feel better.

    Well… except maybe skydiving, or surfing, or driving very, very, very fast while listening to goth metal. Hmmm, I do have to drive home now. Hmmmm.

  16. Tesh says:

    I’m a “volleyball for six hours” kinda guy, m’self. ;) Aye, sometimes you just have to step back, muzzle the world, count your blessings, hug your family and then get a good night’s sleep after exhausting yourself. It’s healthy to have a soft reset every now and then, to remember what really matters. Good luck!

  17. Blackworld13 says:

    12 pages – LOL – I am kinda interested in what you wrote, I like the way you communicate.

    What is needed? – A vacation at some remote location where the world is but a blur.

    Keep on truckin.

  18. I suspect we’ll see BBB back to being insightful very soon, at least I hope so. When I get down I like to think of a motto: “That which does not kill me better find a good place to hide”.

  19. Lenaiya says:

    Big *bearhug* to BBB.

    Tesh, you are right on target. And you managed to emulate BBB’s wordiness too! (A good thing, for me. :) ) Thank you for being the “guest blogger” for today. :P

  20. Badger says:

    /bearhug -> BBB
    /salute -> Tesh

    Ironically, when we look closely at the very same “Serenity Prayer” that BBB cited above – specifically, the passage asking for “the courage to change the things I can” – we see one of the foremost principles of Democracy, laid out at the foundation of our great nation. Doubly ironic: THE UNITED STATES HAS DONE EVERYTHING IT CAN OVER THE LAST SEVERAL DECADES TO *HIDE* THE ABILITY OF THE “COMMON MAN” TO AFFECT SUCH CHANGE. Pardon the CAPS LOCK. Hee hee.

    Somebody please also post the old Latin phrasing for “Don’t let the bastards grind you down,” plzkthxbai. ^^

  21. Tesh says:

    Glad I could contribute something. ;)

    Y’know, as much as I start out nitpicking ARA’s comment, if I’m understanding correctly, I don’t really disagree all that much. I certainly agree with the stance of personal responsibility and accountability, and a fundamental need to fight the good fight, actually give a hoot, and hold on to optimism. So ARA, no offense intended.

    My “look for the mote before the beam” and overall wordiness probably stem from the many words I wish I could use to get some sense in my sister’s head… and the realization that she has to make her own choices. I had a huge email written up for her, a literary boot to the head, as it were… and then I didn’t send it to her. It wouldn’t have helped.

    If I could just make everyone actually THINK for a change, and do the right thing… well… I’d be tempted to do it. But ultimately, I’ve decided that I respect the right to agency and self-determination, no matter how frustrating it can be. A lot of the time, I just want to be left alone to do what I feel to be right, and who am I to take that right from someone else? I’m still deeply frustrated with the amazing stupidity I see in the world, but it’s just not my job to right every wrong… no matter how much I wish I could. All I can do is make sure my own house is in order, and try to be that proverbial “candle on the hill”. Those are the lines of propriety, and ultimately, the only place that I really can make a difference.

    (And I’m ready to tank with my face and claws if someone threatens my family…)

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