Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Concept of “Working Poor” Should Be Unacceptable

First what does it mean to be poor?  It turns out that’s not as simple to answer as one might think.

Doing research I found that “poor” means different things to different people.  Some definitions seem to be rooted in the old institution of the poorhouse, which was a home for paupers.  Poorhouses continued to exist well into the 20th century, in Ulster County, NY till 1976.  Thus, defines “poor” as having little or no money or other means of support.  To me that’s the definition of being destitute, not poor.  

Other definitions have a more enlightened, broader, less pejorative, perspective.  The Oxford English Dictionary defines it is as lacking sufficient money to have a decent living standard.  This to me is more in keeping with a modern sensibility.  Being poor is not being able to make ends meet consistently while maintaining a reasonable standard of living.  The indigent thus become a subset of the poor.  

Clearly, it is this second definition that encompasses the working poor; therefore it will be the definition used in this post.  In our current system, one can work and still be poor, and thus often still dependent upon charity or public support in order to make ends meet.  "Working poor" should be an oxymoron, but currently it's not.

Much has been written about the working poor in this country.  Many, mostly Republicans, argue that it’s just a fact of life.  Others, mainly Democrats, argue that in a country as prosperous as the United States, people working full-time should be receiving what’s termed a “living wage.”  

What is a living wage?  It’s defined as having enough money to meet a family’s basic needs at a decent standard of living, but absent what many Americans consider necessities of life.  A “living wage” thus does not include money for eating out, entertainment, any kind of insurance, or saving for a rainy day.  It is a step up from the poverty threshold, in that it takes into account the true cost of the necessities of life … food, child care, medical care, housing, and transportation … yet is still bare bones.  Anyone earning below a living wage as defined would thus be classified as poor.

The Federal poverty threshold, on the other hand, is based on findings from 1960s research that families spent 1/3 of their income on food.  So in setting the threshold, the government calculated the cost of food and multiplied it by 3.  That is still the basis of the calculation.  It’s just adjusted for inflation.

But that method of calculation makes the Federal standard outdated and woefully inadequate.  Food now accounts for only 1/7 of an average family’s expenses, as the cost of housing, child care, transportation, and health care have grown disproportionately.  So people who meet the Federal poverty threshold are still poor.  That is why eligibility for many assistance programs have eligibility levels at several multiples of the Federal poverty threshold.

Why is the government standard so miserly?  There are probably several reasons.  One is the old perspective that many still hold that being poor means being close to destitution.  Another is that as the leading democracy and strongest economy in the world, the government wants the number of people living in poverty to be as small as possible, for P.R. purposes.  Yet another is that given our “safety net,” the more people who are classified as living in poverty, the higher the expenses are to the government and the taxpayer. 

A different reason is that people do not like being called “poor” or being considered poor; in our culture it is still a pejorative word implying a whole panoply of failings.  This can be seen in Webster’s definition of poverty, “lacking a socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions.”  Thus if you are poor you are beyond the social pale.  As a result, there’s little pressure to expand the definition of poverty to include more people.  Finally, people who are not poor just have no idea what being poor in our country means and how many people fall into the category.

Let’s look at actual dollar figures.  The 2018 Federal poverty threshold for a family of four is just over $25,000.  If the sole support for a family earned what many Democrats argue should be the minimum wage of $15 an hour, that would amount to a gross of $30,000 a year or an approximate net take home of $26,500.  Just above the poverty threshold.  

A living wage for a family of four, on the other hand, would be around $60,000, according to MIT’s Living Wage Calculator; more than twice the Federal poverty threshold.  If you are supporting a small family, the minimum wage in most states is a poverty wage.  Even the target of $15 is, as shown above, barely above the poverty threshold if there is only one adult in the family working.  If the family had 2 adults and both were working full-time at $15 an hour, they would then together earn just under a living wage.

Thus, in order to have a living wage for a family of four … and remember what this does not include  either the single worker needs to have a pretty good job bringing in $60,000 a year, or two members of the household need to each earn $15 an hour and work full-time.

How many people make up the working poor, unable to make ends meet on a consistent basis?  In 2012, using a guideline of 200% of the poverty line, which would be close to the living wage as explained above, 12 million full-time workers earned below that amount and constituted, in this particular analysis, the working poor.  

In another report based on 2013 Census data, 1 out of 3 “working families,” 10.6 million out of  32.6 million, had incomes under 200% of the poverty line.  While the definition of “working families” was not supplied, the numbers suggest that it is similar to the 2012 study noted above.

Even using the Federal government’s poverty guideline and definition of the working poor as people who spend 27 weeks or more a year in the labor force, in 2014, 9.5 million people were working poor.  A much lower income threshold but a broader labor category.

No matter how you cut it, a large number of Americans are in families of the working poor.  Using the living wage threshold, roughly 30-40 million.  As to the total number of Americans under that threshold, I saw a 2012 figure of 100 million and a 2017 figure of 146 million.  Obviously both can’t be right, but either way, it’s a large percentage of Americans.  

Thus, somewhere between 1 in every 2 Americans and 1 in every 3 Americans were either living in poverty, as defined by the government, or were in families whose incomes were below the living wage threshold, what is also sometimes referred to as low-income, which means they were poor as defined in this post.  

That is a terrible statistic for a country as prosperous as the United States.  Poverty has a a terrible impact on most people and thus is a major drag on the health and well-being of our economy and democracy.  It is also a disgrace and a failure of our system.  A country should be judged not by how its wealthiest citizens fair, but by how its poorest do.  

It would thus be in our best interest, in the best interest of all citizens including the top 1%, to do everything we can to see to it that the maximum number of people are employed at a living wage, whether in the open labor market or in government-organized jobs (such as the Depression-era WPA and CCC), and that those who cannot work receive government support sufficient to keep them out of poverty.  Both our economy and democracy would be on a firmer footing.

No one in the U.S. should live in conditions without enough food to eat. a secure roof over their heads, and proper health care.  One can’t pursue one’s right “to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” without those basics.  If business and government working together aren’t providing that foundation then we are not living up to the aspirations of the Declaration of Independence.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Shame of Religion: An Open Letter to All Christian-Islamic-Jewish Religious Leaders

Most of the major conflicts in the world over the last 1500 years have either been a result of religious intolerance or were supported by religious authority.  This makes it the #1 cause or abetter of death and misery at the hands of man.  Religion has also been central to the neurotic suffering of man, his lack of true self-love.

Something just doesn’t seem right here.  I ask you, what should be the essential function of any religion?  In the words of the angels who announced the birth of Christ, “Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men.”  That about says it all. 

And indeed, the mystical traditions of all three Abrahamic faiths - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - have an almost identical approach to their mission of leading man to be at peace with himself and his fellow man.  They all teach that the true nature of man is peace and goodness.  The religious establishments of the three religions, however, have pursued a different mission, with catastrophic (the word is not too strong) results for mankind. 

The common teaching of the mystical traditions is that the God-essence and thus peace is our true self, not our ego. They further teach, however, that our true nature is unknown to us; it has been concealed from us. And so it is for us to rediscover it, to uncover it, and allow it to embrace us and transform us.  (As an aside, this is also the teaching of Buddhism and Hinduism, as well as the classic secular Greek philosophies that speak to how we should live life.)

  • Christian Gnosticism teaches that the human true self is a fragment of the divine essence, the “divine spark.”  But  we are “ignorant of our true origins and our essential nature” because forces cause us to remain attached to earthly things that keep us enslaved. It is this ignorance which brings about sin; man is not inherently sinful. Salvation from that ignorance is stimulated by the teachings of others, such as those of Christ, but man must ultimately find his own truth.
  • According to Jewish Kabbalah, “every soul is pure in essence and the only salvation is to become enlightened (i.e. to remember the truth of who and what we really are). … Salvation is the process of clearing out whatever obstructs our manifestation of the concealed divine image. … Kabbalah leads to the conclusion that ultimately we must rely on ourselves - for we alone have the power to save ourselves.” It is to our heart we must look for guidance, not our ego-mind.
  • Islamic Sufism is again about the journey of self-realization. Sufi means “unfoldment of the spirit towards its original condition.”  That original self is the Divine presence in man’s heart. Our heart is love, faith, trust, compassion, wisdom, and peace. Insecurity is a product of the mind. When one truly knows oneself, one knows God. “He has to find God within himself, but He can only be found in a heart that has been purified by the fire of love [of God].”

When you look at these teachings of the mystical traditions, it is clear that we are all children of the same God.  Regardless whether the messenger was Moses, Christ, or Muhammad, the message of the religion, the message of God, is the same.  The road to peace within man and to goodwill among men is for man to reconnect with the divine-essence he was born with and free himself from his ego-mind, from which flow the seven deadly sins and all strife. 

Indeed, the very word “religion” is ultimately derived from the latin, meaning “to reconnect.”  (Note: The more common derivation given is the latin, religio, but that word itself is a compound derived from the latin words meaning “to reconnect” or “to rebind.”) 

There is nothing in the mystical traditions that promotes one religion over another.  There is nothing in any that says it is the only way to salvation, to God.

The teaching of the religious establishments of the three faiths, however, has been very different.  Regarding relations among men, for most of their history each espoused that it was the only true way; that the others were false.  That the others were threats to the true religion.  For the powerful forces of Christianity and Islam, the others were to be dealt with as an enemy, at times ghettoized, at times killed in religious wars.  While today the more liberal branches of the three faiths certainly do not espouse such teachings, the more orthodox ones still view the others, and even the more liberal sects of their own religion, as being infidels or traitors.

How did this perversion of religious thought happen?  “Religion is usually started by pure, enlightened beings like Jesus whose aims are to help humanity understand higher spiritual truths and make the world a better place. Then sometime later the followers of those spiritual masters formalize, set forth, the teachings into a set of religious doctrine [the Bible, the Quran] and build institutions with seats of power to propagate the faith and control people.”  A change in mission.  

We know today without question that the writers of each of the holy books were not God or even the prophets.  Even when the words are presented as spoken by the prophet or God, we have no way of knowing what words the prophet actually spoke and what words are the words of the writers, devoted religious men but lesser beings with possibly their own take on the prophet’s words.  

As for the institutions, like many others, their survival (and so the faith’s) often overwhelmed the original purpose … here, the purpose of religion being to reconnect man with his divine essence and promote peace and goodwill among men … and so segregation, hatred, and prejudice were used to further the cause of the now one-true-faith. 

The results of these teachings were religious wars, starting with the Crusades in the 11th and 12th centuries and the Reformation Wars of the 16th and 17th centuries down to the Irish “troubles” and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Granted, most of these conflicts were to a large extent secular fights for power, but the line between religious and secular was often blurred (or nonexistent) and the religious establishments lent a very essential and ready hand to support the secular contests.  There was no religious voice saying, “This is wrong.  We are all children of the same God.  We should not be fighting each other.”

The same is true for wars that were not a result of religious intolerance.  All the major wars of the 20th century were such … WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnamese War.  Yet in each case, the religious establishments in the western countries mostly supported these secular wars of power.  It was only outliers such as Father Berrigan during the Vietnam War who protested.  It is the case, however, that much of the U.S. religious establishment did protest the Iraqi war.  Why the switch?  Probably because it was unavoidably clear to most people that the war in Iraq was not a “just” war.

As a result of these wars and conflicts, millions died fighting; civilian deaths were many times higher.  Add to that those who were seriously wounded physically as well as those wounded mentally and the number would be staggering.  

Then there are the human tragedies of genocide, slavery, and lynching, which are further examples of man’s inhumanity to man.  And here again, the religious establishments were either supportive or silent.  In one instance, the Spanish inquisition, the church was actually both instigator and implementer.  

And let us not forget colonialism and its devastating impact on native populations.  That form of oppression and religious/cultural intolerance was again supported by each country’s religious establishment.  The white man’s “burden” was very much the view of the religious establishments, as they saw their mission as spreading the faith by saving the heathens.

But the even greater tragedy, although more subtle and hidden, has been the impact of the religious establishments’ teaching on man’s relationship with himself and those around him.  Whether in the 16th century or in current times, the teaching of the religious establishment has not empowered man to live life well … which is to be at peace and happy.  

For those religions that preach the doctrine of original sin, what a terrible label to place on man that he is born a sinner.  The Catholic Church tries to have it both ways, saying that each man is born in the image of God, but his nature is inclined toward evil because of original sin; its practical emphasis, however, unfortunately is on man’s evil nature.  

Even those religious establishments that do not espouse the doctrine of original sin still do not teach that every man has the divine-essence inside him.  That the ego pulls him away from his true self causing him endless suffering.  And that man’s salvation lies in reconnecting with his true self and releasing all desires and emotions, which are a product of his ego-mind, and embracing all aspects of his being and experience.  They do not teach that the messages/urgings of our culture are the modern equivalent of the serpent in the Garden of Eden.

What a different world it would be if religious establishments saw their mission first and foremost as enabling us to see the God-essence in ourselves and bringing about peace on earth and goodwill toward men.  Rather than preserving the institution and increasing its power through propagation of the faith and its hold on people.  To the extent that religious leaders are more servants of their establishment and our culture than of God, their spiritual bona fides must be questioned.

I pray that religious leaders of all faiths lay down their rhetorical arms, embrace each other as equally valid representatives of God, and embrace all people as not just children of God but as having the divine-essence in them.  I pray that all religious leaders return to the teaching of their mystical traditions and lead the way to saving mankind from himself.

Friday, May 25, 2018

The Next Wave of Feminism

I offer these thoughts, inappropriately from a man, out of the upmost respect for women, the injustices they have suffered for millennia, and the human potential that is their gift and birthright.

The rights of women and their status have seen substantial advancement over the course of the past century, since winning the right to vote.  Yet despite that progress, there is really no light at the end of the  tunnel.  Women still do not have equal rights; they still can’t pursue anything they want on an equal basis with men; they are still subject to discrimination based on gender; they don’t receive equal pay; their testimony is often discounted by men; and they are still subject to the unwanted advances of predatory men.

Why?  Because we live in a male-dominated society and the male ego continues to be mostly dismissive towards women.  There will thus be little opportunity for further advancement towards the goals of the women’s movement without changing this basic nature of our underlying society.

Feminism to-date has been primarily concerned with leveling the playing field.  I respectfully suggest that it is time now to change the playing field itself.  This calls for a new wave of feminism.

There have been three waves of feminism in the U.S. that have sought to rectify the injustices faced by women.  The first wave concentrated on getting the right to vote and other family-related rights.  The second seeks to free women from gender discrimination and enable them to be able to do and be anything they wanted to be, equally with men.  The third is more about increasing women’s respect, her relevance in society as a counter to man, having her testimony heard and believed, and is less rigid about what women “should” do.  A housewife can be a feminist.

Central to the feminist movement has been the belief that women should be able to do and be whatever they want, equally with men.  But this leaves the question begging … how does a woman decide what she wants to do?  What does she want to be?  The reader most likely will respond, “Duh!  It’s whatever she wants.”  But it’s not that simple or straightforward.  Hardly.

As I have noted in many posts, we are creatures of our ego-mind … the mind that has developed from our learned experience and our reactions to that experience.  Most everyone goes through life making day-to-day decisions, both large and small, based on the guidance of his or her ego-mind.  The ego-mind is the source of all our emotions, judgments, cravings, and attachments.  In short, the things that drive us.  The ego-mind is who we identify with.  Most readers will probably respond, “So, what’s wrong with that?”  

Unfortunately, our ego-mind causes us to be agitated, fearful, guilt-ridden, submissive or aggressive, insecure … it is in fact the cause of our suffering.  And these feelings cloud every decision we make, making it impossible to know or do what is really in our best interest.  The resulting decisions we make under the influence of the ego-mind are thus highly questionable.

The first step in this new, fourth, wave of feminism would thus be to truly free women from their past, from her ego-mind, and so allow her to make decisions that are best for her.  The good news is that the ego-mind is not our true self.  We can thus turn instead to our true self for guidance.  We do have a choice.

What is this true self?  As the mystical traditions of all three Abrahamic faiths … Judaism, Christianity, and Islam … teach (as well as Buddhism and Hinduism and even the classic Greek philosophies that speak to how one should live life), the ego-mind is not our true self.  Instead, our true self is our heart, the God/Buddha essence we were born with.  And so our true self is peace and goodness.  As much as our emotions control us, they are not who we truly are; they are just a product of the ego-mind.

And so for a woman, or a man, to truly know who they are and who they want to become, in the sense of how they want to express the person they are, they must first free themselves from the influence of the ego-mind.   There are two ways of doing this.  One is the classic spiritual teaching of the mystical traditions as well as Buddhism and Hinduism.  The other is to heal the wounded inner child.  Or better yet, the two work best in tandem.  (See my post, “Human Interaction Is Governed by Wounded Children - And How Women Can Change That Dynamic”)

“OK,” you may say, “but what does this have to do with changing the playing field?  How would this alter the injustice that women continue to suffer at the hands of men?”

First, it would be truly game changing.  Women would be freed by being in touch with their innermost feelings and, rather than being paralyzed or controlled by them, heal the wounded inner child and emerge a stronger person.

As it stands now, a woman’s analysis of who they want to be is a function of her ego-mind and her life experience, and thus more a reflection of her emotions than her true self, her heart.  Only by being free of those emotions and judgments, in touch with her unwounded heart, can she identify what she truly wants to do.

Controlled by those emotions and life experiences, women have become trapped, even as they experience increased freedom, in the same neuroses and obsessions that have driven men and made them suffer, because women have also made their choice based on the faulty analysis of the ego-mind.  They have thus exchanged the suffering of being the trapped housewife they didn’t want to be with the suffering of either not being able to achieve what they want or achieving it and finding their lives empty of real meaning, never satisfied.  By making their choice based on who they truly are, they would be free of that trap, free of their wounded inner child.  

Second, healing the wounded inner child would not just change a woman’s relationship with herself; it would change her relationship with her family and everyone she comes into contact with.  And this is what could result in women changing the playing field.

Women may still have little power in the world of men, but women carry the main burden of raising children … which gives them power to mold the future.  If women were able to pursue that task free of their wounded inner child, it would have a beneficial impact on the interaction between mother and child, giving their children a real chance of getting the nourishment they need and developing into strong adults free of hobbling insecurities.  

This would be huge.  It would break the cycle I described in my book, Raising a Happy Child, of insecure parents raising insecure children who become insecure adults who …. The next generation of men and women would then be on a new playing field, because they would not be formed by insecurity and would know who they truly were.  Human interaction would be on a different plane.

There is a reason why the Earth is referred to as “Mother Earth.”  Earth is not just the source of life, it is the sustaining force; it nourishes mankind.  This has traditionally been the female role, not the male role.  And men have suffered because they have not been raised, not been conditioned, to that role.  Unfortunately, over the past century, women have also not been raised to that role, except in a perfunctory and limiting way.  

Reassuming the role of Mother Earth for themselves and their families would not mean retreating back to the role of housewife.  It would mean instead that regardless what path a woman chooses to take, she will in her relationships always provide the nourishment that is a woman’s gift.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Have We Gone Mad? - The Full Scope of the Mass Shooting Epidemic

In The New York Times, May 19, there was a graphic showing how many mass shootings there have been each month since January 2013.  They defined mass shooting as a single event in which 4 or more people are injured or killed.

I was shocked.  The lowest number of mass shootings in a month was 11; the highest 49.  That’s a total of 1713 mass shootings in 65 months, for an average of 27 per month.  And remember, these are not the number of people injured or killed, but the number of events.

I had no idea there were so many.  I read The New York Times regularly and look at the news online most days.  Yet I was only aware of a small fraction of these mass shootings.  It would appear that unless a mass shooting reaches a threshold of a certain number of people injured or killed the event doesn’t make it into the national media and is just reported locally.

How can we expect a massive public movement to demand more effective gun control measures and the legislatures to respond when the scope of the problem is so underreported?  The ones reported in the national media have been terrible, and there have been enough of them.  But it still felt like these were unusual occurrences.  Not so!

But now that we have that knowledge, how can any parent, how can any gun owner, not say, “This cannot continue.  Congress must pass broadened gun control measures to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have access to guns.”?  All loopholes should be eliminated.  All purchases must be approved.  And the law should be changed so that in cases like the most recent shooting in Texas, where the student got the guns from his father’s collection, the owner of the gun should be held criminally liable as an accessory to the murders unless the gun was locked in a gun safe

The facts revealed in the Times should be the lead story in every newspaper in the country and on every cable news program.  This is more immediately vital to our security and well-being than anything else going on in the world.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Menace of Airbnb and How To Control It

As I’ve traveled this past year, spending time in a variety of places, I’ve discovered that Airbnb is having a very harmful impact on both the availability and affordability of housing stock in both cities and small towns.  

Yearly rents are going up because there are fewer apartments or houses available to rent, as owners discover there is more money to be had in short-term Airbnb rentals.  And housing stock available for sale has diminished, again because owners can make so much money from Airbnb rentals, resulting in higher prices for what is available.   

Airbnb is thus destroying the traditional diversity of communities, their fabric.  Middle class or elderly people find it increasingly difficult to either stay in or move to such areas.  Until recently, the issue of affordable housing was confined to housing for the poor or low-income working class.  Now it includes the middle class and elderly in any place that attracts tourists and thus provides a market for Airbnb rentals.  Additionally, such rentals often cause a nuisance to neighbors.

In most of the communities I’ve visited, local government is concerned about what is happening and is trying to regulate Airbnb.  But they are going at it in an ineffectual way.  They are starting with the presumption that owners have a right to rent out their property in this way. 

But do they?  If an owner, especially a non-resident owner, rents out either his whole house or rooms on a short term basis, how is this different in substance from a bnb or a hotel?  Yet it is being regulated more like the owner who used to live in a house and took in borders to help make ends meet.  Thus they talk about placing a cap on the number of rentals or requiring owners to pay a small annual fee.

I propose instead that zoning ordinances be amended so that Airbnb rentals, where the owner does not continue to reside on the premises during the rental, are regulated similarly to a bnb or a hotel.  Because of the impact on the whole community as well as immediate neighbors, approval of an Airbnb operation should be required by the local government authority before it can begin.  Input from neighbors should be obtained as part of a “special use” application if the area is zoned residential.

This is not a case of regulating the internet or modern technology.  This is a case of government regulating how a property is used, which is the traditional function of zoning. 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Human Interaction Is Governed by Wounded Children - And How Mothers Can Alter That Dynamic

In my earlier post, “Ever Wonder Why the World Is the Way It Is” (9/4/17), I noted that “the ego-mind is not only filled with the fear, anxiety and self-centeredness (and often aggression) caused by insecurity but through continued wounding has acquired the lack of faith, trust, and cynicism of the Devil, which makes the dysfunction we observe all that more intractable.  And it explains the specter of evil that we see in all corners of the world.

“This is why the world is the way it is.  It’s not because people are bad … there is no such thing as a bad person, just people who do bad things … or that humans are flawed.  [We are born with the God-essence inside us; that is our true self.]  It’s because our life experience has made us insecure and our ego-minds have reacted in a way which makes us a threat to our own well-being and the well-being of those around us.  The greater our insecurity, the more of a threat we become.  At some point we become the Devil incarnate.”

Recently, doing research into the inner child, I learned that our wounded inner child is the avatar of our ego-mind. And that the wounded inner child is very much alive in our adult selves.  So when we react with our emotions, when we see things through the filter of our ego-mind, it is not the adult who is expressing itself but our wounded inner child.

Thus, when two people fight or bond or react to each other in whatever way, it is the one’s wounded inner child interacting with the other.  It is not two adults interacting.  This holds true within the family, in the workplace, in politics, and in international relations.

Is there any wonder then why there is so much dysfunction in the world?  Certainly if one looks at the behavior of our current President and many members of Congress, the image of out-of-control children seems applicable.

The common assumption that as we grow older we mature and assess things differently, more rationally, than we did as a child is wrong.  We grow smarter, we have more knowledge that we apply to situations, but in terms of our emotional reactions we have not grown out of our wounded inner child … unless we have healed that child.

Does this provide more hope for change than the realization in my previous post that our ego-mind has become that personification of the Devil?  Few people would want to self-identify with the Devil.  But perhaps even fewer people would choose to see themselves as out-of-control children.

OK.  But how can we use this knowledge to bring about change in how we, individually and collectively, interact; how do we end the dysfunction?  No one will change their habit-energy unless they are motivated to change.  And what motivates people to change is the awareness that there is a problem that's creating a barrier to achieving some goal.

Here, the problem is that we are suffering.  If you’re aware of that suffering, and assuming that you would rather not suffer … because it disturbs you, agitates you … and instead experience some peace and happiness, you will be motivated to undertake the effort needed to change.

If you then come to accept that your wounded inner child is controlling your emotions and thus is central to that suffering, the process of healing the inner child can take place.  And that process is probably somewhat easier than the spiritual path of freeing ourselves from the control of our ego-mind.

Unfortunately, if you asked Donald Trump or members of Congress or indeed most men if they are suffering they would answer, “no.”  If you asked them if they loved themselves, they would either answer, “yes,” not really understanding the meaning of the question, or look at you blankly, confused.

Women are often said to be more in touch with their feelings and so are more likely to be aware of their suffering.  But women unfortunately don’t control the workings of the world; men do.  And those women who have broken into that circle I have the feeling are not the ones who are more in touch with their feelings.

People who are not open to admitting their innermost feelings are lost, in a spiritual sense. They are in denial.  Any attempt to talk about their wounded inner child, let alone that they are controlled by that child, would just be met with laughter and derision.

So if there is to be a break-through in the human condition, it will come from your “average” not-obsessed-with-overachieving woman.  Women carry the main burden of raising children, regardless whether they are working or not.  If they were able to pursue that task free of their wounded inner child, that would give their children a real chance of getting the nourishment they need and developing into strong adults free of hobbling insecurities, free of being wounded.  

This would be huge.  It would break the cycle I described in my book, Raising a Happy Child, of insecure parents raising insecure children who become insecure adults who ….  It would change the future of human interaction.

Perhaps this suggests the need for a new wave of feminism.  (As a man, this is not a subject for me to touch really, but …)   Look for a future post on this subject.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Scientists Were Asleep at the Wheel

During the ongoing debate about the nature of climate change, I had assumed, as I’m sure most others have, that the revelation both regarding the extent of climate change and the cause of that change being greenhouse gases was relatively recent.  I certainly never remember the subject being raised before the 90s.

I was shocked therefore when I recently came upon the following while reading Rachel Carson’s famous and well-respected book, The Sea Around Us.  The book discusses the origins of the oceans and the evolution of oceans, continents, climate, and human settlement over geologic time into the present.  Writing in 1961, she said:

“It is now established beyond question that a definite change in the arctic climate set in about 1900, that it became astonishingly marked about 1930, and that it is now spreading into sub-arctic and temperate regions.  The frigid top of the world is very clearly warming up.”

She goes on to discuss a resulting dramatic lessening of ice in the arctic, the greater ease of navigation, the retreat of glaciers, the impact on the migration patterns of animals, and the lengthening of growing seasons in sub-arctic regions.  She also notes the rising of the seas.

But she puts this in the context of “we are still in the warming-up stage following the last Pleistocene glaciation - that the world’s climate, over the next thousands of years, will grow considerably warmer before beginning a downward swing into another Ice Age.”  

She states that the dramatic change seen since 1900 is “of a shorter duration, decades or centuries,” perhaps because the change is so much greater than would be expected, and goes on to note the several possible explanations that scientists have proposed … an increase in solar activity or the cycle of the ocean’s deep currents.  She ends with  “the long trend is towards a warmer earth; the pendulum is swinging.”

She does not mention the greenhouse gas effect.  Yet in fact, the theory of the impact of greenhouse gases on global warming from burning fossil fuels was formed and studied by the late 1800s.  But scientists being often ego-driven and slow to accept another’s research, this theory was not taken up again until the 1950s and was not broadly accepted until the 1980s.  Apparently when Rachel Carson wrote, there wasn’t a serious question in scientific minds at that time that this warming was caused by the greenhouse gas effect.

So we have been sitting on a climatic time bomb for more than a century.  And for most of that time, scientists and governments have been asleep at the wheel.  We have virtually lost the opportunity to act so as to prevent future climatic disruptions and disaster for the human race.  Even if the will were to be found.

The question I ask myself is: how many other issues are there that are of vital importance to the future wellbeing of the planet and mankind that we aren’t addressing because no one is paying attention or no one has a confirmed answer.  Just like there is a group that is scanning the skies for asteroids that might strike the Earth, creating havoc, there should be a committee which focuses on evidence of other matters that are of great import to our future and sees to it that they receive appropriate public and scientific airing.