Politics, Lawns and Deep Space

1 07 2017

MilkyWay_AFP_360x270

There are three things that have been swirling around the brain space today. They all seem pretty innocuous but they all keep dancing around each other as if they belong in some way – like ingredients to a stir-fry or witnesses to a crime that each saw only one part of it.

Or it could be nothing.

  1. I posted a question on Twitter and Facebook: “Just one serious questions for Trump supporters – is there anything he could say or do that would cross a line for you?”
  2. I finished a TED Radio Hour Podcast, “Peering Into Space”.
  3. I mowed my lawn while listening to Spotify.

Let’s start with answering the “why” for each of the above:

  1. I just need to know. I have a good friend (among others) who voted for the guy. I actually get it. I even can accept it though I don’t agree. I just can’t accept the behavior of this person any longer. There has to be a threshold even for supporters, no?
  2. I have been intrigued, fascinated, mesmerized and overwhelmed by space exploration since I started writing NASA letters as a kid to get cool glossy, planetary photos back.
  3. It was time and I had to cut the grass before the rain fell and music makes it go faster.

Now, the deeper insights – what did I learn?

  1. Out of over 1,000 “friends” on Facebook, not one answer relative to the question. Is this such an unsafe topic that we are now a society that can’t stand up against something without fear of compromising how we will look to others? Do we not have enough confidence to separate the man from the party and call it what it is? Are we now at a point where we can’t admit maybe we got part of it wrong without feeling like a failure? I learned that, sadly, we are.
  2. Jill Tarter, astronomer discussed our “common cosmic origins “, the bond among all living things, regardless of birth place (on this Earth or otherwise), that makes us part of a “billion year lineage of wandering stardust…an intimate connection with the cosmos”. Consider that the molecule of hemoglobin in your blood which equates to a significant amount of iron was created in nucleosynthesis inside a massive star that exploded about 8 billion years ago! As she put it, “we have the remains of a stellar explosion in our veins (and)… if we got that concept in our minds….and take a few moments in our day to take a step back…earth is one tiny planet in corner of one small galaxy in one big universe – all of us are the same.”
  3. I can’t listen or explore new playlists when distracted – by loud mower engines or even louder thoughts. This was the goal but I reverted to my own playlist instead of a new one, which I listened to after I was done so I could give it my full attention, like days gone by where people used to actually sit and listen to an entire record while reading the lyrics for the album sleeve, and nothing more.

So what? Is there a connection?

Yes. I can’t stand living in such a myopic world where taking sides is the new “can’t we all get along”? Whether you want to believe it or not, we really are all connected. If, like a good (or not so good) Will Smith movie, Earth was going to be attacked by another alien society, we would not be Democrats and Republicans, or Americans or Syrians, we would just be Earthlings. It sounds silly but it’s true. This is why banding together to protect this place from environmental damage should be a no brainer and yet we divert to what is easy, what is based in fear and what has nothing to do with the connected stardust coursing through our veins.

And we have to start somewhere. We can’t bring our own playlist with us every time there is an uncomfortable situation, discussion or person in our midst. It deserves our full attention and this takes work and time, patience and listening. That’s all this nonsense is really about – different playlists that we hold on to because we feel it defines ourselves and we have to identify with it. I don’t like some of my son’s playlists (though it has introduced me to a new vocabulary) but they are his and it doesn’t mean he doesn’t respect that I have my own. In the end, we both love music.

Can’t we be the same with our individual social, economic, cultural and personal playlists? After all, we are just one tiny planet in one small galaxy in an enormous universe. We better get on the same page soon because we have bigger things coming our way – like asteroids, comets and unruly lawns.

Until next time,

Marc

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What Kind of Seeker are You?

31 10 2015
It's roomier than it appears.

It’s roomier than it appears.

Happy Halloween. This is not going to be even remotely related to Halloween in case you’re wondering…unless you can  make the connection between seeking for new sources of candy and seeking for a home.

As some of you who follow me or my blog may know, I have been in the incredibly relaxing and ever life-affirming process of selling my house. (I just read a Facebook post that Harvard says sarcasm is good for you so hold on lads and lasses.)

It’s a pain in the ass. I’m not a slob but I’m not a “my house is staged and ready for showing on a daily basis” guy either, particularly with two kids who feel compelled to leave a trail of everything they do everywhere.

In today’s over digital day and age, I have the benefit (read: misfortune) of getting almost “real-time” feedback every time some realtor shows my house. It is really interesting. I was under the impression that most people that look at homes look at the layout, the neighborhood, how recent some of the rooms are (kitchen, bathroom), whether they like it and then decide from there. Most people want to put their own imprimatur (fancy for “imprint”) on their home – often redecorating, repainting etc.

Apparently, there is a large contingent, (at least where I live), of people who, if they don’t immediately like every single thing the moment they walk in the house, they are not interested. That is fine by me. It’s your money. However, it made me think about the way in which we seek out those people, things and experiences that ultimately surround and define us.

There are two types and I have witnessed both of these at work, in friendships and as of late, during political debates.

The Visionary –  You look for potential. Does this person I am meeting have some backstory that may be interesting? Is there something there that is at least worth spending more than 30 seconds with before I pre-judge? Does this house seem to fit my basic needs and, given the right price, the right type of personal touch, I can see myself in this home? Do these jeans make my butt really look fat or am I looking in the wrong type of mirror? You get the point – that type of thing.

The Checklister – You look for all the things that are wrong. Does this person just reiterate all the things I have always said about people “like them”? Does this house have too many things that aren’t the way I would do them? Do these jeans come from a store that I wouldn’t get caught dead in even though if you put them in Nordstrom’s rack and jacked up the price three fold, I would buy them? I think you get the point with this one, too.

You can see where I am leaning here. I can’t help but feel that in today’s over “twitterized” environment where opinions are formed in less time than it takes to make a bowel movement (you’re welcome for the analogy) and judgements are made even faster, we fail to see the true potential of places, experiences, and most importantly, people. It’s just not good.

You don’t have to buy my house. You don’t have to like working with me or even be my friend. But, in the future, when you keep complaining that it’s hard to find just the right place to live, work always sucks or it’s always hard to connect with people like you, you may want to think about potential rather than things to be fixed – and that includes ourselves, too. Be a visionary. It’s a lot more fun – for everyone.

So, be honest – what type of seeker are you?

Until next time,

Marc








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