Compassionate Theory of Everything, Uncategorized

Here is the Cure For Racism

A question was kicked into my head by people chanting racial slurs: “What makes people divide into groups and believe one is superior?”

The question followed me throughout life. Although my question came from pain, the answers I found in ghettos and waterfronts hold beautiful possibilities for a world where all forms of diversity are welcomed.

After talking with tens of thousands of people, I have the answer to “why” people often hate others. I know “how” humans cut themselves off from other races and groups. I know how we can reverse the process.

The cure for racism is a bitter pill to swallow.

Its bitterness would explain why this disease has historically run rampant in segregation and apartheid, back to times it sickened us with tribal warfare against “those devils across the river.” There are evolutionary patterns in our development as a species that explain why this disease infected the ideas of our forefathers, and continues to plague societies today.

The cure for racism must be taken internally. It requires an individual to learn a bitter fact about humanity.

The bitter fact is this: racist beliefs are only the fruit of racism, not its seed.

When people show prejudice by chanting hate in the streets, their ideologies are only the festering, rotten fruit of racism. The seeds of this fruit lie much deeper within humanity itself.

After studying pre-verbal infants, Yale psychologist Paul Bloom concludes:

“A bias to favor the self, where the self could be people who look like me, people who act like me, people who have the same taste as me, is a very strong human bias. It’s what one would expect from a creature like us who evolved from natural selection, but it has terrible consequences.”

For racism to be cured, this bias must be recognized as part of each and every human being on earth, including ourselves.

No matter our egalitarian thoughts, our own status or gender or color, we all share the possibility for the altruistic best and divisive worst in humanity to grow from this seed of bias.

The cure for racism is the recognition that self-bias is not only within “them,” those laden with divisive and hateful ideological fruit, but this seed is carried within “us” as well.

This recognition is a bitter pill to swallow, yet once cured we find ourselves free of many forms of judgment. We’re able to welcome people who are different in many ways.

When we take this cure, the “self” does not disappear. It expands. It broadens as we recognize our kinship with the whole of humanity, and find that beneath appearances and beliefs so much is shared. 3,500 generations ago in Africa, a Mitochondrial Eve gave birth to us all. This expanded self, our related family, is found everywhere on the planet within each human being.

The cure for racism is awareness of a bitter seed of self-bias within us all, yet one that bears the sweetest of fruit when “self” is allowed to grow beyond boundaries.

Finding this seed within all people allows us to cure the disease of racism and cultivate compassion that nurtures the world.

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Uncategorized

Fletch – Ego Vs the Collective Unconscious

“I’m Chevy Chase, and you’re not.”

Hearing that on Saturday Night Live’s news segment as a kid, it never occurred to me that it might be a sort of boast.

I always thought it was a sort of dry reflection on the “signoff” tradition itself – just as banal and obvious as “Good night and good travels” or “Stay classy, San Diego.”

My assumption was that it was an existential half-joke, a commentary on the nature of being and the nature of being a news announcer. I thought it was a signoff made not for self-aggrandizement, but for the Zen amusement of millions of Americans watching Saturday Night Live.

Most people thought he was just being a dick.

Having found and watched The Chevy Chase Show (which ran from September of 1993 to October of 1993,) “most people” may have been right about that one.

Chase’s humor-fuel may have been the sort of arrogance that comes from being at the top of your game and being loved for it. He was a gas-guzzler in the 80s, but the world loved him. He was low on gas by the time he got that latenight talk show.

Chevy Chase may have been cringey to watch on the Chevy Chase Show because he was doubting whether people wanted to watch him. Egoism at half-mast.

But he was burning down the highway in 1985. He was feeling the love, and he was fun to watch. Most people may have thought he was a douche, and they liked him all the same.

Fletch is the distilled essence of Chevy Chase. His smartass-schtick works, because the cleverness is clever and Chase owns it totally. The whole movie bobs along, lifted by wit and moved forward by the iconic synthesizer melodies of Harold Faltermeyer. Faltermeyer was able to somehow capture “Likable Smartass Who Is Actually Smart” using a Moog synthesizer. And that was after he gave Eddie Murphy his “Theme For A Likable Showoff Who Actually Puts On A Good Show” in Beverly Hills Cop.

It is possible that Chase was funny when he was feeling the love from America, and he lost his likability when he lost that feeling. It is also possible that some last breath of enthusiasm, a naive lack of self-awareness, passed from America’s lips in December of 1989.

Flash Gordon ushered in the decade. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation signaled “The End of the 80’s.”

In this post-post-postmodernism era, culture’s drooling henchman of advertising cannot say “Buy Buick Because It’s a Good Car” like it did in the 60’s.

Advertising cannot even say “Buy Buick Because Cool People Like It” like in the 90’s. Instead it must sneak sideways into your attention with protagonists that just happen to be driving Buicks.

Is there any hope for Chevy Chase? For the Chevy Chase-ness of America?

If you watch the first 7 episodes of the show Community in a row, you may see a glimmer of it.

Perhaps we are all a bit Chevy Chase, struggling with the paradox of likable-only-when-feeling-loved by the rest of the world.

Not so likable when egoic at half-mast.

There may be meta-hope for us all.

https://www.facebook.com/ChrisShelbyPage


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My Experiences, Uncategorized

How to be Bitten by Pitbulls

pitbull 2

Apparently part of living in the ghetto is being bitten by pitbulls. Sometimes you are walking past the hoagie shop with the bulletproof bank-teller window, and two pitbulls come after you before you can get to the check cashing place.

If you are walking on the sidewalk past the Stop-N-Go and you see two adult pitbulls running full-speed directly at you, do not try to run. Dogs are faster than you are. By the time you’ve turned around and begun to pick up speed, their momentum will allow them to clear the distance to your back.

You do not want pitbulls on your back. Do not turn away from them.

Some people say not to make eye contact.

You may find it hard not to look directly at dogs as they leap through the air toward you.

If at all possible, do not allow yourself a negative emotional reaction. You cannot be certain of their animal intent, but their behavior can be affected one way or the other by your emotional state. By expecting something bad you may create it. Try this:

Speak to yourself in a jubilant tone. “Hey look, dogs!”

Attempt to vocalize, first to yourself, just how excited these playful dogs must be. They are running so fast!

And now, they are jumping so high!

If your hands are in your pockets, this would be a good time to take them out.

Do not, however, extend your hands or fingers in a “warding off” gesture. The bones of your elbows are much stronger than the small bones of your hands.

Many dogs who are trained to attack people, are trained to bite the steel-wrapped forearm of the trainer.

If your forearm is not wrapped in steel, allow the dog access to your elbow by holding your least-favorite arm out, but hold your hand up and out of the way.

Assume that the dogs would like to play. Vocalize this.

What playful dogs bit the elbows of my coat as they leapt so high in the air!

After a few nips from one and the other hanging jawlocked from the fabric of the coat for a moment, they both took off running again.

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