Monday, March 25, 2013

Oscillation - Learning a lesson

I was having a discussion with a family member recently about raising kids. Of course, since I don't have any human children, any information I attempt to add to the conversation is immediately dismissed as not having any worth. I am use to it but the conversation does get misdirected or completely collapses at this point.

Nevertheless, it did get far enough for me to form an example of how I view the learning process and how it can be applied to a wide variety of situations.

When you begin trying to teach a youngling new ideas and concepts, they often make mistakes. These mistakes can be enough of a lesson in themselves or can require more emphasis by the teacher. Some like to bring the big "SIN" word in and use guilt as their tool to teach. I try to look at most incidents as "cause" and "effect", simply a "mistake" or "mis-step" and a lesson to be learn, in my view, a better way to do something.

If the youngling survives its mistake, then you determine the next course of action according to the maturity and intelligence of the subject. This "youngling" could be a six-month old human or all of humanity, to show how vast this concept can be applied. So what they might comprehend from the mistake or lesson is quite different depending on their maturity.

After a few collapses of society, what is remembered, evaluated, and passed on may change. Some of this is due to how well we communicate (papyrus, stone, transistors, etc.) and our view of our world.

I tend to think spiritually in a global manner when it comes to lessons we are teaching ourselves as a society and think of this Intelligent Totality as my parent(s). What part of a lesson applies to me?

Our world has become very complex, growing quickly in many directions. Profit seems to drive much of what the rich and powerful do without regard to the effects on humans and their environment. Few truly believe we borrow this planet from the future whether or not they have family that will need it, or will return ourselves, finding a garbage can over-flowing where the earth once was.

In that case, will the rise and fall of civilization be remembered? If so, will we continue in our selfish abuse of resources, or perhaps choose a better path for our one tribe? Will the losses we suffer to humanity and the environment be enough or will humanities elders need be more heavy-handed in their guidance?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Alpha Dogs: Nature versus Nurture

I was making a cup of coffee this morning in what I consider a very "New 'Awlins" way, albeit, the bachelor version. I don't have Tete's (the nickname I called the cajun lady, Emily Dinett, that I grew up around which she said meant "little Aunt" in cajun French) old ceramic white percolator so I use two heaping teaspoons of Folger's Instant to get that dark rich flavor I recall.

I also use evaporated milk which gives it an almost "cooked" flavor and plenty of sugar like Mr. Peter (Tete's husband). Of course, since I am diabetic, that means 10 packs of aspartame instead of heaping teaspoons of sugar that Mr. Peter would scoop out at the end of drinking his coffee like a sugar coffee candy!

That's where my mind would lead me in my thinking to my father, the alpha dog. In all things, he tried desperately to control or at least influence most things around him. This included constantly teasing Mr. Peter about the amount of sugar he put in his cup and the sickly sweet syrup left behind that he would then scoop out and eat.

I don't recall if Mr. Peter even bothered to argue with my dad on this issue. He probably did say something but he knew it was a waste of breath. The difference was that Mr. Peter didn't alter his behavior to suit my dad's protestations and I liked that. Perhaps that's why I am the way I am, having both these men as influences in my life.

That's when the topic of Nature versus Nurture arose as it often does. It seems to me that there is something in my genetics that makes me desire to control things but since even my lineage is in question, I'm not sure on this point. I do know that I have a lot of my father's traits and this one is a particularly strong one that I struggle with constantly.

With my sister being 16 years older than me, I pretty much grew up as an only child. Even my sister gave me my way and my parents said from Kindergarten (when I was first asked what I wanted to be when I grew up) that I would make a perfect lawyer, because I liked to argue and always had to be right.

Eventually, it is a behavior that spirals out of control. People that have known me for a while give me both respect and resentment at the same time though most don't even realize it. Even though I have tried to tone down my dominating nature, it's not easy and the results are often that everything becomes a competition. When I become less antagonistic or even complimentary, it is pounced on as a victory instead of appreciated as a compliment.

In that case, I can either react by re-asserting my dominance or struggling against my nature and swallowing the need for chest-beating and the desire to inflate my self-pride. It isn't easy but after a certain point, you realize you really don't have to prove anything. You can share what you know whether it is acknowledged or appreciated, knowing you have helped and that is really all that is necessary. Simply being the change you want to see in the world.