Category Archives: Ethics

It’s So Easy To Imagine That We’re Superior


If we can’t learn to work together on the things about which we are able to reach some agreement, we are fucked. That does seem more and more to be the case.

Despite that, I believe in compassion and doing what can be done to alleviate suffering, right here, right now. That’s why negative, non-constructive bullshit annoys me so much. It’s exactly the frame of mind that is going to destroy the human race. Don’t try, whine. It’s hopeless, don’t bother. That’s useless, don’t spend the money on it. They don’t deserve it, I do. I got mine, to hell with you. Roll over and play dead.

Oh, but look at those idiots! Look how fucked up they are! Boy, I’m glad I’m not like that. Let’s make fun of them (and maybe we’ll feel OK for a few minutes).

Apart from its inherent unattractiveness, the problem with that way of thinking is that it carries over to the issues we’re discussing. It breeds intolerance, and inability to see the good in people with whom we disagree. The habit of feeling superior can’t be turned on and off. It has to be unlearned. It can’t be unlearned without avoiding the kind of thinking that naturally leads to more of it.

That’s why I don’t look at sites like Walmart People, or tell or pass on ethnic jokes. Not because I worry that anyone will think I intend to be small-minded and mean, but because it is small-minded and mean, whether we want to think so or not. I spent roughly half a century thinking that way, then I realized that I didn’t like that person, so I’m trying to change. I try not to judge or make fun of individuals, I have too many issues of my own. As a society, however, we need a serious mental and emotional makeover.

It’s disheartening, and profoundly disappointing. But it’s no reason to stop trying.

Deteriorata


DETERIORATA

 GO AVIDLY amid the smog and waste, and rejoice in the comfort of owning a piece thereof. As far as possible, neither surrender nor otherwise kiss ass, except for profit. Avoid quiet, boring people, unless you are badly in need of sleep. Their stories are pointless. Practice consumerism. Speak glowingly of those who perceive themselves to be greater than you: it puts them at ease, and if you then play your cards right they will soon be sucking up to you. Avoid loud, aggressive and poor people, lest they harm your image. IF YOU compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter. This will provide incentive to achieve more. Remember that two wrongs never make a right, but that a third may well work to your advantage. Rotate your tires. Spread the news of your achievements, but hold close your ambitions until you have sufficient leverage. Whenever possible, put people on hold. CONCENTRATE on your career. It will not always be humble — nor will you. Along with your home, the Beemer and your family, your job scores you points in the game of life. Remember that he who dies with the most toys wins. IF YOU have not yet learned that the world is full of trickery, wake up already! But let this not blind you to what virtue there is: many people strive for high ideals, and they are ripe for the plucking. BE YOURSELF, but let no one know who that is. Do not feign affection, nor be cynical about love; buy people, so that you know where you stand at all times. Remember that in the face of aridity and disenchantment, avarice is as perennial as the grass, and that catering to someone’s greed will always give you the edge. TAKE KINDLY the counsel of the years, but take care not to surrender the things of youth. Distress yourself not with imaginings: many fears are born of fatigue or loneliness. A new trophy spouse will keep you company and help you sleep, and a good surgeon can help you keep from looking like a middle-aged fool when the two of you are in public. DESPITE TIME’S changing fortunes, continue to buy low and sell high. Beyond a wholesome discipline in the market, be lavish with yourself. So far you can’t take it with you, although in a manner of speaking you may end up doing so yet. YOU ARE a fluke of the universe. By destroying the trees and dimming the stars you have forfeited your right to be here. And whether or not you can hear it, the universe is plotting behind your back. Be careful. Paybacks are hell.

Christmas Story


As some few of you are aware, I’m operations manager for a small company that provides uniformed security for condominiums. I want to tell you a brief story about something that happened to one of our employees. (we’ll call him Hank, since we have no employees by that name.)

Hank is a hard worker. He’s had major medical problems, and is still one of the most reliable workers we have. Money is short in his world, as it is in the world of most security guards.  A couple of weeks ago, Hank was driving home in his old van when he was stopped by a deputy sheriff. The deputy, Sgt. Michael Kennedy (his real name), informed Hank that he had a headlight out. Hank told him that he knew it was out, but that he simply hadn’t had the money or time to get it fixed, that he worked a lot of overtime, and so forth.

A conversation ensued, and what with Hank being an open sort of guy and the cop’s interest in information, Sgt. Kennedy soon had a picture of our man’s financial position, health issues, and the step-grandchildren for whom he was providing a home. He told Hank that he wasn’t going to give him a citation for the headlight, but that he’d have to give him a written warning. Then he took Hank’s driver’s license and walked back to his patrol car.

In a couple of minutes Sgt. Kennedy returned to the van, handed Hank his license with the warning folded around it, wished him a good evening, and returned to his car. Then Hank unwrapped the ticket from around his license and found a $100 dollar bill enclosed.

Think about that the next time you see a cop hassling a citizen.

…And to all, a good night!