Last Walks Before Winter

I have a condition called Polymyalgia Rheumatica, just a fancy name for “Holy Shit, my body is attacking itself!”

Mostly, it likes to eat my feet, effectively preventing me from going any further than to the store across the street. It amazes me how a such a small spot on my foot can totally disable me.

But for some reason, I got a reprieve the past week.

Just in time to catch a bit of nature in autumn.

Thank you!

Last walks before winter. Last walks until who knows when.

One Bad Apple

It is ironic that the very things that makes us decent and civilized, are the very things that work against us.

As decent human beings, we extend compassion, empathy and the benefit of the doubt to everyone, even those among us who are incapable of doing so themselves. Those who have no understanding of it and no ability to change. Those who view such traits as weaknesses to be exploited. And exploit it, they do.

One bad apple can, and often does, destroy the rest.

I have read how our systems of democracy and socialism work against themselves in much the same manner. We treat individuals who are not part of the system, (the system comprised of those with the collective understanding and mentality of decency, honour and caring), with decency, and they use that to tear the whole structure down.

We mistakenly believe everyone has the same capacity to be decent, and this is just not true.

So we stand in shock and watch as people bilk our institutions, dictators commit genocide, people abuse us and leaders destroy our sense of normalcy.

Or worse, we become participants, the apples spoiled by one.

The common good is to excuse, justify, ignore and ultimately accept another’s bad behaviour, their disregard for social norms, laws and decency, especially one who has rose to great power or has authority over us. We think at any moment that good, that decency, will appear, that it is in that person somewhere. And this is how we get fooled. They give us that moment of normalcy, kindness or praise and we are hooked. And we seldom, if ever witness it again. This is how they spoil the barrel of apples. They have to have enablers.

We fail to see that they do not respond as a normal person would, so our ways of punishment, or redirecting such people, namely through laws, reasoning, therapy and common understanding do not work. They easily disregard such things because they are on a different level, they live in an entirely different reality. The threat of punishment does not work on a person who has no understanding of decency. Their values and priorities are so removed from ours.

The answer of course, is not retaliation, because then we are no longer part of the common good and are now them. I believe the solution is in education. To recognize such individuals and stop or severely limit their ability to wreck havoc in our society before they do. If you know a persons game before you get involved, you can choose not to participate. Without participants, such people are not enabled and cannot cause harm.

Why are we not taught about humans? Why are we left to struggle through life figuring it out for ourselves, with faulty logic and reasoning? Why are we not taught, in our education system, basic human nature and how to get along with others? Why are we not taught about governments, politics, society, money?

Why are we not taught how to think?

Just a Bit Less?

I am a notorious note taker, that is I keep track of a lot of mundane things, like when I last changed the kitty litter, or did my laundry, and other stuff, like how much product did I actually get for what I paid for, compared to last purchase.

One thing I’ve noticed is that quantities of purchased items sometimes get discreetly smaller. That is, less stuff for the same price.

This is not new by any means. It is an old trick. I started noticing it when I was younger, how chocolate bars were just slightly smaller for the same price. No, it is not my imagination. Mind you, candy bars were a bit more honest about it, they recorded the change in grams, but they kept the same size packaging.

A few weeks ago I noticed that my loaves of bread are almost one slice less. Almost, because the last slice is now a very small, untoastable bit of crust, where as before it was a whole, toastable crust. There used to be 16 complete slices, now 15 and a bit.

It is a consistent anomaly. Every loaf is the same. I eat lots of bread.

The package claims the same amount of grams, and no doubt the difference is so slight as to be excusable, except, I notice.

I know, big deal.

Still, it irritates me a little.

Today I discovered that the lined paper I bought recently is slightly less than 8 1/2 by 11. Not that I measured it at first, I didn’t notice, until I went to put a bunch on my clip board under a stack of paper I bought last year. Then I measured, as I could plainly see the difference. Last years is definitely standard letter size. This stuff is 8 1/4 by 10 3/4.

Interesting no?

It doesn’t make a whole lot of difference to anything actually, just to me. I find it sneaky and a bit unsettling.

System is Broken

Prime Minister Trudeau said it, “The system is broken and the world is in crisis. Things are about to get much worse unless we change.”


The corona virus has brought all that is wrong with our world right out front and center.

But let me just talk about work.

The way we work, is not working.

If the governments and corporations and every place in between say workers will get lazy and not work if we give them a basic income, something is horribly wrong. If they also say, if workers get paid sick leave they will take more leave, then something is wrong with our thinking. The problem is not people, the workers, the problem is deeply hidden in our way of doing things, in our perception of how things ought to be. There is something wrong with our employment if we don’t want to work, because people like to be productive and have value. We like to buy things and contribute to society. We like to have a good quality of life. The problem is with the system, of how we are made to work, and of the values there.

We are forcing humans to behave in non-human ways. Think about it. If we were working in a way that meshed with who we are, we would not be miserable. If we worked where our needs are being met, we would not be miserable. There are people who have accomplished this, and the ones who have, guess what, are the ones who are helping one another, who are cleaning up the environment, who are finding ways to improve our lives without cost to our planet or to their and our well being. People who are creative, who bring beauty to our world. People who are finding solutions. People who care about one another, where we live and the future.

People who do what they love are happy. They tend not to exploit others or our home.

Think about this. The people who sell us stuff often cannot afford to buy that stuff themselves. Nor can they afford the services they provide us with.

There are grocery clerks who can’t buy the very food they sell.

I worked for an optometrist and I could not easily afford the services we provided. It would cost me over two weeks salary to have an exam, tests and get glasses.

I once worked for a high end department store where I had to have one of their credit cards and buy a certain amount of items, and type of items in order to continue my employment. Items I could neither afford nor want, while being paid minimum wage and having to work whenever they determined. One of my fellow employees was already $70,000 in debt! And the worst part was, the company fully admitted that this is how they made their profits, from interest on credit card debt. So much so, they didn’t even worry about the tens of thousands of dollars they lost in theft each year! Theft not from employees, because we were instructed to watch each other and report on each other and there were cameras over every cash register, and not elsewhere in the store. Ask yourself some questions about this set up.

Doesn’t this spell misery?

Employees are monitored in ways that are not unlike a communist regime, or at the very least treated like irresponsible children. If employers think employees are just waiting to rip them off, ask yourself WHY would they be thinking that way? Is it perhaps because employers are ripping them off, or mistreating them? It is not a normal way for people to think or be. We do not normally wish other people misfortune unless we are made to stoop that low, because we are being taken advantage of or mistreated. If we are abused long enough we end up hurting others. This is not who we are. We are social animals who care about things. God said we are stewards and we are. Something has gone amiss.

We have a system called slavery.

This is how people are enslaved. Not paid enough to live on and kept forever in debt.

Something is wrong with this, don’t you think? The system is not in synch with who we are. It is forcing us to behave in ways against our nature. To work beyond our mental and physical capabilities. To be unable to help others because we can’t even help ourselves. To have to choose between eating, our life saving medications or having a roof over our heads. To have someone else control our life completely, whether we live or die.

If you read about how populations are forced to make a state (James C. Scott) you will see that these are extremely unstable entities that cause enormous amounts of suffering to benefit the few. And it is not, in my opinion, a natural way for people to be. I don’t think that most of us condone slavery, pollution, corruption. I think we embrace altruism, and we are being taught this is wrong. We are being educated to think socialism is wrong. Why? People don’t even know what it is but condemn it.

Just asking you to think about this.

If you look at situations where people are allowed to be themselves, you will see them do heroic acts of kindness and self sacrifice. Sure, there are exceptions, but in most cases I think you will see people embrace their true nature of kindness and caring when called upon to do so. We are always looking for ways to help others. We like to give more than receive.

We need to overhaul our work life to properly reflect the values that people are born with.

Along with virtually everything else in this world that man has touched.