Seems the world is full of anger, fear and distrust now days, Hard to know where to turn for the facts and truth. We have such a vast array of sources of information but unfortunately very few are reliable and the majority is opinion based far more than fact.
The Covid-19 pandemic has done far more than caused the illness and unfortunately death across this planet, it also has caused financial problems across the globe as well. Along with the financial issues there is also the cost of food and other goods increasing along with inflation to boot in the USA. Add the cost of gasoline going up and the supply chain issues it is a recipe for certain financial chaos.
Then you have the political chaos happening across the globe as well, the politicization of almost every issue involved with the pandemic, Racial tensions and all the conspiracy theories floating around causing nothing but trouble. On top of all that you have the major super powers playing sabre rattling games on top of it, seems to be times of uncertainty to say the least.
Times like these, we should not waste time pointing fingers or fighting with each other . We should instead do the right or better thing and reach our hands out to help others in need, spend time talking to people and letting them know they are not alone. Right now there are many people suffering from mental and emotional stress along with other problems due to the covid-19 pandemic and from the state of our world. Each one of suffers some what mentally or emotionally I believe from the lockdowns, financial worries and the fear associated with pandemics.
I know of quite a few of my friends that are homeless, living in their car or in the street due to financial problems caused by the pandemic. I have seen the fear in the eyes of friends and family throughout the last few years. I even experienced fear to the point of being glued to the television looking for hope of the end of the pandemic, cures and vaccines (prior their release). I finally had to tell myself to turn off the tv and focus on my family and etc. Once I turned off the tv I returned to normal for the most part.
I now rarely ever watch the news , since most of it is about political issues or the pandemic and opinions. Very little news to be had now it seems, keeping people scared of the virus, vaccines and keeping them upset over political issues is good for ratings I guess. My suggestion is turn off the tv, read a book, do something nice for your neighbor (safely of course). Live Life, make the best of the situation and learn to channel that fear or anger into more constructive things.
Well it has been a while since I have blogged a random thoughts post, figured today was a good day as any. I hope that you all are doing well and may you all be blessed and stay healthy
The pandemic has had many side effects when dealing with society, it has caused much distrust in science, governments and amplified the social problems we were already facing in the world. Watching people argue over mask wearing, vaccinations, political policies and social values is very disappointing during a time we should come together to face the challenges before us as a world.
To me it is quite confusing why anyone would find temporary mask mandates as a infringement on ones personal rights when the fact is wearing a mask is more of a service to your fellow human beings since it keeps the wearer from spreading a very serious illness. We all seem to have little issue on the rules set by the health department to wear a shirt or a pair of shoes in a restaurant or grocery store but make a big fuss over wearing a mask during a pandemic. If wearing a mask was only for the wearers protection not the other people around them i may understand the argument better.
Far as Vaccines, all vaccines have a small risk to them, always have through out time. But the benefit of being vaccinated usually outweighs the risk, and far as vaccinations i do support a persons right not to be vaccinated even though it increases the amount of others who may become infected and the will increase the length we will be in a pandemic.
With the Delta variant causing a faster spread and the new Mu variation possibly being Vaccine resistant we are in for a long and possibly bad winter. Since it took the world too long to get enough people vaccinated it gave time for the virus to mutate to the point it could possibly circumvent the current vaccinations available. Regardless of what side you are on when it comes to Mask wearing and Vaccinations you will probably know someone this year that gets covid-19. I have recently had a friend and their family come down with the virus, 1 adult and 2 children. I hope they will fair well against the infection and get well soon.
Life is short, and nowadays shorter than it should be for some people, we should be kind to one another, acceptant of each others views and opinions when it comes to what we are facing. We can disagree, but we should also be able to remain civil and continue to be friends with another. I have lost a few friends due to having different views politically and about pandemic related issues. Shame to lose friends over a difference of views or opinions, but they chose to end the friendships not I.
I know i will probably get some backlash over this post, some negative comments from those with opposing views and the usual trolls on the internet. But one can not always write neutral and bland posts. I hope that I haven’t offended anyone in any way it is just my personal observations and my opinions on what I am seeing and experiencing during this pandemic.
I wish all of you a safe and blessed year, Be good to one another.
Most of us take big and small risks in our lives every day. But COVID-19 has made us more aware of how we think about taking risks.
Since the start of the pandemic, people have been forced to weigh their options about how much risk is worth taking for ordinary activities – should they, for example, go to the grocery store or even turn up for a long-scheduled doctor’s visit?
Greek mythology features godlike heroes, but Greek history was filled with men and women who were exposed to great risks without the comforts of modern life.
The iron generation
One of the earliest written works in Greek is “Works and Days,” a poem by a farmer named Hesiod in the eighth century B.C. In it, Hesiod addresses his lazy brother, Perses.
The most famous section of “Works and Days” describes a cycle of generations. First, Hesiod says, Zeus created a golden generation who “lived like the gods, having hearts free from sorrow, far from work and misery.”
Then came a silver generation, arrogant and proud.
Third was a bronze generation, violent and self-destructive.
Fourth was the age of heroes who went to their graves at Troy.
Finally, Hesiod says, Zeus made an iron generation marked by a balance of pain and joy.
While the earliest generations lived life free of worries, according to Hesiod, life in the current iron generation is shaped by risk, which leads to pain and sorrow.
Throughout the poem, Hesiod develops an idea of risk and its management that was common in ancient Greece: People can and should take steps to prepare for risk, but it is ultimately inescapable.
In other words, people face the consequences of risk – including suffering – because that is the will of Zeus.
Omens and divination
If the outcome of risk was determined by the gods, then one critical part of preparing to face uncertainty was to try to find out the will of Zeus. For this, the Greeks relied on oracles and omens.
While the rich might pay to petition the oracle of Apollo at Delphi, most people turned to simpler techniques to seek guidance from the gods, such as throwing dice made of animal knuckle bones.
A second technique involved inscribing a question on a lead tablet, to which the god would provide an answer such as “yes” or “no.” These tablets record a wide range of concerns from ordinary Greeks. In one, a man named Lysias asks the god whether he should invest in shipping. In another, a man named Epilytos asks whether he should continue in his current career and whether he ought to wed a woman who shows up, or wait. Nothing is known about either man except that they turned to the gods when confronted with uncertainty.
Chresmologoi played so much of a role in bolstering public confidence that the wealthy Athenian politician Alcibiades privately contracted them as spin doctors in order to persuade people to overlook the risks of an expedition to Sicily in 415 B.C.
For the Greeks, putting faith in the gods alone did not fully protect them from risk. As Hesiod explained, risk mitigation required attending to both the gods and human actions.
Generals, for example, made sacrifices to gods like Artemis or Ares in advance of battle, and the best commanders knew how to interpret every omen as a positive sign. At the same time, though, generals also paid attention to strategy and tactics in order to give their armies every advantage.
Neither was every omen heeded. Before the Athenian expedition to Sicily in 415 B.C., statues sacred to Hermes, the god of travel, were found with their faces scratched out.
The Athenians interpreted this as a bad omen, which may have been what the perpetrators intended. The expedition sailed anyway, but it ended in a crushing defeat. Few of the people who left ever returned to Athens.
The evidence was clear to the Athenians: The desecration of the statues had put everyone in the expedition at risk. The only solution was to punish the wrongdoers. Fifteen years later, the orator Andocides had to defend himself in court against accusations that he had been involved.
This history explains that individuals might escape divine punishment, but ignoring omens and failing to take precautions were often communal rather than individual problems. Andocides was acquitted, but his trial shows that when someone’s actions put everyone at risk, it was a community’s responsibility to hold them accountable.
Oracles and knuckle bones are not in vogue today, but the ancient Greeks show us the very real dangers of risky behavior, and why it is important that risk not be left to a simple toss of the dice.
Over a year of dealing with COVID-19 has left a lasting imprint on our daily lives. The pandemic disrupted usual work routines, with the majority of Americans having to work from home for long spells. While working from home has some hidden benefits, such as no daily commute, it also resulted in longer workdays and high levels of stress for many.
A global study of the communication patterns of 1.3 million workers during the global lockdown showed the average workday increased by 8.2% during the pandemic, and the average number of virtual meetings per person expanded by almost 13%. Many in the workforce felt overloaded with never-ending online meetings and unexpected family obligations that added pressure to the lives of working parents and other caregivers.
People’s well-being can be profoundly impacted if work-life balance ignores the need for rest and recuperation. As a scholar who studies the sociology of religion, I know that the themes of rest and contemplation are woven throughout the fabric of most religious traditions, and they remain equally salient in our lives today.
Faith, contemplation and rest
The Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam view a day of rest each week as a sacred right and responsibility of believers. The traditional Jewish Shabbat offers a 24-hour period beginning at sundown on Friday when the busyness of everyday life halts. Participants gather to worship, share a meal, study and pray.
Similarly, practicing Muslims celebrate their holy day on Fridays. This is a time when Muslims step away from work to attend a midday jumah, a prayer service at a local mosque, where imams offer sermons on a range of intellectual, spiritual and practical topics and lead congregations in prayer.
Although attendance numbers are declining, many Christians observe the holy Sabbath on Sundays through church attendance, communal worship, music and the sharing of the Eucharist, when Christians consecrate and consume bread and wine representing the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The Christian Sabbath represents a time to rest, pray, worship and spend time with family.
Branches of Islam, Christianity and Judaism additionally call for regular times of prayer and contemplation as part of daily and yearly cycles. In the Islamic tradition, stopping to pray throughout the day represents one of Islam’s five pillars of faith.
Through the practice of meditation, religious traditions quiet the senses in order to achieve a mindset of rest that they believe brings about heightened consciousness. Hindus, Buddhists and Jains teach the concept of dhyana, which generally translates to “contemplation.”
Through yoga, meditation and other contemplative practices, practitioners can achieve a state of meditative consciousness and self-awareness that can lead to better mental, physical and spiritual health.
Quieting the mind
Religions emphasize the need for rest and quiet reflection so our over-cluttered minds can focus on prayer and other contemplative practices. The Apostle Paul discusses how cultivating the “fruit of the spirit” through prayer and contemplation moves us toward patience and away from egocentrism.
Buddhists believe that quieting the mind through meditation can help people recognize that their feelings, perceptions, worldviews and even the self are impermanent features of life that can cause suffering. It can also help people contemplate their connectedness to the world around them.
Rest and contemplation help connect religious people with the deeper sources of meaning they seek to cultivate through scriptural study, meditation and prayer. As the American Trappist monk Thomas Merton explains in his 1948 autobiographical book “The Seven Story Mountain,” contemplation is a time of rest, the suspension of activity and a “withdrawal into the mysterious interior solitude in which the soul is absorbed in the immense and fruitful silence of God.”
Health benefits of rest and meditation
Medical science has become religion’s unexpected partner in confirming the benefits generated by these religious practices.
Researchers have found an association between downtime, learning and creativity. Sleep, nature walks and exercise offer a number of life-enhancing benefits, including improved memory, productivity and physical health. Recent advances in neuroimaging technologies have allowed researchers to observe brain changes during times of intense prayer, yoga and mindfulness meditation. Scientific evidence suggests that engaging in these practices may lead to improved health and well-being.
A broad range of clinical studies on mindfulness, decentering and acceptance therapies note that regular meditation can physically alter the brain and how it responds to the world. For instance, these practices have been found to transform the brain’s neural pathways and create new neurological networks that can lead to improved health and well-being.
Research on the practices of Japanese and Chinese Buddhist monks reveals benefits for physical and mental health. Furthermore, active meditations, such as yoga, qigong and tai-chi, are found to increase a sense of well-being through the regulation of mood and the reduction in anxiety and depression.
Even in the midst of a pandemic – or a stressful work week – taking time to rest, exercise, sleep, meditate or pray can lead to improvements in our everyday physical, mental and spiritual health.
We all at one point or another fell prey to Envy, counting the blessings of our neighbor instead of counting our own. Be it at work, at home or in our social circle there is always someone who has more or better than we do.
To be honest, I think Envy can not be totally removed from human nature, but it can be put in check as soon as it comes out to play. I think it’s instinctive to see what someone else has that brings them the appearance of happiness and to want it for ourselves, that is not so much the issue as when we think we should take it from them to obtain it instead of working to achieve and obtain it on our own.
In the Workplace
Being I’ve been around for over a 1/2 century, I have experienced Envy in the workplace from both ends of its pointy stick. I suffered from it a few times in my earlier years of life. Watching some people just seem to get all the breaks and promotions, get higher wages than me or get to goof off all day while I worked.
At least that was how I perceived it when i experienced it, and I spent too much time worrying over those other people instead of doing my job better. Now that I’ve matured, I have learned to focus on what I am doing and not worry what others are doing.
unless I am in a supervisor position, and even then I only pay attenuation to what i am required to in that role. I guess part of it is that i have learned to be happy with what I have been blessed with now, instead of worrying about what other people are blessed with.
The Social Circle
Ok, This is one place I Suffered Envy the most I think, especially in my teenage years. Being I was just an average run of the mill guy, no athletic skills and a unfortunate low self esteem, I was one of those barely noticed or remembered guys from your high school days.
Envy filled my veins when it came to the cool kids, the ladies men and the geniuses around me. Always wanting what was theirs instead of seeing i had plenty i was not aware of or using at that time.
Hind sight is 20/20 as they say, so much i missed out on due to my poor self image and lack of confidence. Only if we could go back and do it again with what we know now eh? lol.
The Family Unit
Another Weak spot for me when I was young, I had a older brother, so i was the younger brother. I always felt like I was less than him since he had 3 years on me. I envied his popularity, his luck with the ladies and his independent spirit. He could be a bit of a smarty pants and a bully at times too (the 2 things I didn’t want to emulate).
Of course as i hit my later teens I didn’t envy him as much as I disliked his attitude towards me, but that’s siblings for you. Mind you now I look back and think how stupid I was for wanting to be more like him instead of being more like me 🙂
Through years of both experiencing and observing Envy in its many flavors it comes in, I have watched it ruin peoples lives when they let it take root for too long. Watched people lose careers, their friends and even.
Best to count your own blessings than to worry about the blessings of others. Focus on making your own life better than desiring the life of someone else. The grass may look greener in your neighbors yard, but sometimes if you look closely it is mainly crabgrass.
Envy and its sister jealousy are both destroyers of happiness and are detrimental to your emotional and mental well being.
Be Good to one another, and be thankful for what you have been blessed with
Like a few i have talked with in the past year, I suspect that I may had had the Corona Virus in late dec 2019 / early Jan 2020. I suffered a Flu like ailment that peaked with the main symptom of Covid, Shortness of breath. I couldnt walk 4 feet without being out of breath.
I was fortunate though, this symptom started to subside with about 4 days but it seemed like it took me many months to feel close to back to normal. To this day I am unsure if I had Covid-19 or a severe Pneumonia like infection, though I had others around me in my family whom also suffered the same problems in the same date range.
During the early months of the pandemic I did not seem to feel much emotional / mental anxiety or panic. But as the months passed I did start getting overwhelmed by both the News media hyping it up and the politicization of the pandemic itself.
I found myself glued to one news channel or another like most people, looking for some hope of it coming to an end and some unity in the congress to get things rolling towards getting the pandemic and its many problems it caused in our economy and society.
Between the Battle over mask wearing, lock downs on public gatherings and the unfortunate problems of our society being amplified during the pandemic, I was finding very hard to find any peace or tranquility within my own mind.
Fear of infection, loss of hope and the political madness that was gripping our nation both in the public and in the government itself was getting to the point I was losing most of my ability to think rationally.
Eventually I chose to turn off the TV, stop watching the news for a while. That gave me time to refocus and think about things rationally and logically. That choice of ending the binge watching of the news lead to me returning to my normal self mentally and emotionally.
This pandemic panic was short lived mind you, not even a month in time but i do believe it could have and probably would have lasted longer if I continued being glued to the tv watching news channels.
Pandemic Magnifying Glass
The pandemic has brought to light and caused a magnification of many social injustices along with amplifying the polarization of a already dysfunctional government.
Civil Rights, Civil Justice and equality has been in need of being addressed not only in the United States, but in most if not all of the world. A person should never be judged by religion, color, nationality , Financial status, sexual preference or even their political party.
Democracy or in our case a Democratic Republic is not a failed experiment like some world government leaders has stated, It is a on going ever changing and growing thing. Change is always hard and usualy is feared by most people, reason why there is always polarization and opposition when change comes.
Right now our congress is playing the partisan games, both sides doing what they need to to gain votes more so than to do what it right. The congress seems dysfunctional and only interested in fighting one another.
One side wants to spend and put the nation in debt, though spending is needed to fix the the nation up with such things as infrastructure. The other side don’t want to spend anything hardly at all and will do anything to stop the former side from succeeding.
Times of trouble always brings out the best and worst in people and governments. This pandemic is no exception to that rule. Being Glued to News is not a good way to deal with the problems at hand and usualy leads to some kind of emotional problems if not brain washing lol. In the end it is what you do during this time that will make the most impact
How you treat others, Resect their opinions and position on topics at hand and if you are a helper or a watcher will determine how we get through this pandemic and troubling times.
Respect, Compassion and doing your part in being a helper in society and not just a bystander who watches will make a positive and large impact on our world and society.
Religion forms a moral foundation for billions of people throughout the world.
In a 2019 survey, 44% of Americans – along with 45% of people across 34 nations – said that belief in God is necessary “to be moral and have good values.” So what happens to a person’s morality and values when they lose faith?
Religion influences morals and values through multiple pathways. It shapes the way people think about and respond to the world, fosters habits such as church attendance and prayer, and provides a web of social connections.
As researchers who study the psychology and sociology of religion, we expected that these psychological effects can linger even after observant people leave religion, a group we refer to as “religious dones.” So together with our co-authors Daryl R. Van Tongeren and C. Nathan DeWall, we sought to test this “religion residue effect” among Americans. Our research addressed the question: Do religious dones maintain some of the morals and values of religious Americans?
In other words, just because some people leave religion, does religion fully leave them?
Measuring the religious residue effect
Recent research demonstrates that religious dones around the world fall between the never religious and the currently religious in terms of thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Many maintain some of the attributes of religious people, such as volunteering and charitable giving, even after they leave regular faith practices behind. So in our first project, we examined the association between leaving religion and the five moral foundations commonly examined by psychologists: care/harm, fairness/cheating, ingroup loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion and purity/degradation.
We found that religious respondents were the most likely to support each of the five moral foundations. These involve intuitive judgments focusing on feeling the pain of others, and tapping into virtues such as kindness and compassion. For instance, religious Americans are relatively likely to oppose acts they deem “disgusting,” which is a component of the purity/degradation scale. This aligns with previous research on religion and moral foundations.
Most importantly, and in line with the religion residue hypothesis, we have found what we call a “stairstep pattern” of beliefs. The consistently religious are more likely than the dones to endorse each moral foundation, and the religious dones are more likely to endorse them than the consistently nonreligious. The one exception was the moral foundation of fairness/cheating, which the dones and the consistently religious supported at similar rates.
Put another way, after leaving religion, religious dones maintain some emphasis on each of the five moral foundations, though less so than the consistently religious, which is why we refer to this as a stairstep pattern.
For this project, we asked a single group of study participants the same questions as they grew older over a period of 10 to 11 years. The participants were adolescents in the first wave of the survey, and in their mid-to-late 20s in the final wave.
Our findings revealed another stairstep pattern: The consistently religious among these young adults were significantly more likely than religious dones to support the social focus values of security, conformity and tradition; and religious dones were significantly more likely to support them than the consistently nonreligious. While a similar pattern emerged with the benevolence value, the difference between the religious dones and the consistently nonreligious was not statistically significant.
Together, these projects show that the religion residue effect is real. The morals and values of religious dones are more similar to those of religious Americans than they are to the morals and values of other nonreligious Americans.
Our follow-up analyses add some nuance to that key finding. For instance, the enduring impact of religious observance on values appears to be strongest among former evangelical Protestants. Among dones who left mainline Protestantism, Catholicism and other religious traditions, the religion residue effect is smaller and less consistent.
Our research also suggests that the religious residue effect can decay. The more time that passes after people leave religion, the more their morals and values come to resemble those of people who have never been religious. This is an important finding, because a large and growing number of Americans are leaving organized religion, and there is still much to be learned about the psychological and social consequences of this decline in religion.
This shift in religious practice may fundamentally change Americans’ perceptions of themselves, as well as their views of others. One thing that seems clear, though, is that those who leave religion are not the same as those who have never been religious. Given the rapid and continued growth in the number of nonreligious Americans, we expect that this distinction will become increasingly important to understanding the morals and values of the American people.
What we see in the news, online and sometimes in print is nothing more than opinions , truths shrouded with distortions to keep people sidetracked, entertained and in some cases divided. Feeding fear, radicalization of ideals and politicization of what normally would not be political. What once was the Watchdogs of the Government now serve one political agenda or another. This is especially true when it comes to Cable news networks and so called Internet news media as well. The traditional local channel news is not quite as political and agenda motivated as the rest. News now is a money maker, a way to sway the people to believe or follow a political direction as well as a way to keep people divided and unable to think for themselves.
In small doses I don’t think watching any news channel is bad, but if you stay focused watching it all day you get hooked on the hype and underlying messages being pushed. During the early months of the pandemic I found myself glued to one of the Cable network News channels, It only caused me to be full of fear and heavily swayed my view on politics during that time, I chose to walk away from watching any news for a period and once i took my break and went back to watching the same new network i could see how it was politically motivated and divisionary. I also watched the news networks with opposing views and see they were doing the same thing. We need Factual news , not opinion based and politically motivated / biased commentaries. News with integrity and proven sources with little to no opinion attached.
In this trying times we are living in, we need more unity and less separation and polarization of the people, including the government. Time to put aside our differences, pull together and do what is right for the people in general and the nation in whole. Time to turn off the tv, get out and help our brothers and sisters in this world as well. In the end does not matter if one is conservative or liberal, poor or rich. We all are humans, we all are important. Every cog and sprocket of the machine of life is needed to make it work.
The world is going through some changes, not only climate changes but social changes and its facing a pandemic. Tensions are high and protests are world wide. Social injustice and inequality has had a grip on our world for far too long. Those in power either turn a deaf ear to the pleas for justice and equality or they tow the party line and show how little they care about those they are supposed to be representing. It is completely shameful and sad that when one does stand to support those they represent they get labeled a traitor.
What we really need now is politicians that actually care about us all, not just the lobbyist and big business or just the party they are affiliated with. Both parties are in need of change, be it of their behavior or the members all together. I am so sick of Party politics and their rhetoric, come together and do the right thing and stop trying to be polar opposites all the time. Meet in the middle and do whats good for all people. Stop waiting and doing nothing, taking recesses instead of fixing the problems at hand.
Remember to vote this year and make sure you look into the candidates on your own and do not take what news and internet media tells you directly. Look deeper and make the best choice you can, who you vote for is who will chart the the future of the united states and our lives as well. Voting is one of our rights and one of our best ways to voice our positions as well.
Thinking about the past is one way of coming to terms with where you are now and how the choices you made and also the choices you tried to avoid to make helped you get where you are today. Besides the random unfortunate circumstances we sometimes encounter, it is pretty much our choices in life that put us in the place we are today.
Holding on to regret, sadness, anger or any negitive emotion from past choices only hinders one from making better choices in the present. So feel those emotions, own them and learn to forgive yourself and others so you can move forward. Every morning you awake is a clean slate if you let it be and a new chance to make your life better and also another chance to be appositive influence on the world you live in.
For me the hardest thing to do is forgive myself of my poor choices and mistakes I had made in the past. I learned that by hanging on to such negitive thoughts and emotions I only created a negitive self image and a somewhat defeatist mentality. So now I just try to own my mistakes, face I made them and accept what is done is in the past. I also have to remind myself that I am not perfect and that I should never expect myself to be such. I Remeber the mistake, learn from it and try to forgive myself since I am just human.
Though we can not undo what we have done wrong in the past, we can how ever try to make up for those mistakes in many ways. You can try being of service to those in need and by being compassionate and caring to all. If you are able to you should also make amends to those you have done wrong in what ever way that is possible. In the end you will have to forgive yourself and also forgive others in order to free yourself up to live your life to the fullest.