Category Archives: Religion


HHDL

Happy Birthday Your Holiness!

Binary Thinking


As many readers know, I've been in recovery from alcohol and other addictions for a few years. I have another blog here where I post more-or-less daily on matters to do with that and other issues. Occasionally I may link to posts that I think might interest folks outside of the recovery community. If they please or offend you feel free to comment, but please keep it clean.

It seems that addicts, especially in early recovery, are exceptionally inclined to find fault with other entities, whether people or organizations. This is especially true early on when we’re in denial about most everything and our fellowships are beginning to strip some of it away as we kick and scream. But it’s also true about the world at large, and not only those of us who admit to addictions are guilty. Psychologists believe this is partially because it enables people to feel better about themselves, but also due to the human tendency toward binary thinking: wrong v. right, good v. bad, black v. white, our tribe v. them, our warriors v. theirs, and so forth.

Binary/black and white kinds of thinking may come from upbringing by caregivers who thought that way, religious influences, our desire–perhaps need–to believe we are superior to others and counteract our own doubts, or other reasons. Actually, regardless of the reasons, we’re stifling our ability to understand others and broaden our own horizons. Continue reading

A Good Lesson To Learn


There was this town where they had a monster that was causing the people a lot of worry. It’s not that the monster was doing very much, but the people worried about it a lot. The people of the village had the average IQ of a zucchini, so they put an ad in the paper that they needed a hero to come slay the terrible monster.

After the ad runs for a couple of Sundays this hero shows up, brass cojones and all. He heads off to slay the monster, cojones going clackity-clack. The hero rounds the corner and sees a watermelon patch. He looks all over, but he can’t see any monster, so he clackity-clacks back to the village square and says something like, “Uhhh, where’s da monster?”

MonsterThe villagers take him back to the watermelon patch and show him a truly huge, vicious-looking watermelon. “There’s the monster,” they say.

The hero looks at the people and says, “You yo-yos! That’s not a monster, it’s just a big watermelon!” Whereupon the people pick up rocks and sticks and beat the hell out of the hero.

The ad runs again, and lo and behold, another hero shows up. This one’s smarter than the first, so when he sees what the people are talking about, he backs up and says, “Wow! That’s a mean one, but I’ve dealt with these things before.” So he rounds the people up and distributes nets and knives and clubs, and off they go. At the end of the fight, the score is villagers one, watermelon nothing. They pay off the hero with a sack of gold and many slaps on the back and he wanders off to find a bar in some other village.

Take away whatever you want from this story, but remember the bottom line: if people don’t want to know about something, be careful how you tell them. If all they do is grab the closest rock, your message won’t accomplish much.

[After an old Hindu teaching]