628: Rules and Mercy

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Today’s people believe themselves unique from all others, and entitled to special consideration in honor of that fact. Yes, it is a fact that you are a totally unique person – JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE. This uniqueness is both unremarkable and ubiquitous – that means it is universal, and something that is universal certainly doesn’t make you unusual, or deserving of special considerations for being exactly like everybody else.

Rules (and laws, for that matter) come about because somebody caused a problem, a serious problem, and the rule or law was established to prevent someone else from causing the same issue – in other words, somebody screwed up and now everybody else has a rule/law, including those who didn’t need it because they’d never do it, anyway. Like murder, for example. It’s against the law to kill another person. DUH. Despite it being against the law, with specified serious consequences up to and including we (as a society) will KILL YOU BACK – apparently, that potential consequence doesn’t stop a whole lot of people from doing it anyway.

Aaron Dickson, President of the Board of Directors of the Texas Prison Museum stands on November 19,..

And this, for something so serious that it could very likely end up terminating your unique existence on this planet – they do it anyway.

Now, imagine this mindset, the murderer’s mindset, applied to all the many smaller rules and laws that exist to keep order in a society: I’m going to do it anyway because this broken rule/law won’t (usually) kill me. This is the recipe for chaos in society, and friend – we are THERE.

The evidence is there to show we have arrived. A quick Google search supplies the frightening fact that people KNOW that texting while driving, which BTW, is illegal nearly everywhere, can kill (and does kill, on average, about 11 people a day) and yet  35-45% of people DO IT ANYWAY. More than 15 of every hundred adults (37.8 million) in the USA is a smoker, KNOWING it can and does kill. The list of irresponsible, life-threatening risk-taking continues in like vein for many, many behaviors, for many, many thousands of people.

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This doesn’t include the little stuff that is designed to make a workplace, a home, a school an orderly place to function. If people are so contemptuous of the stuff that can and does KILL people, I suppose it is entirely within character for them to frequently, usually and completely ignore all the others, too. I can only assume this is because, as a totally unique individual, I am therefore cosmically exempt from all strictures and consequences. hahahahahahahahaaha, yeah, right.

There is such a thing as mercy. God offers it in the act of salvation, and occasionally, He suspends His usual laws of the universe and miraculously bails out someone from the natural consequences of their own actions – or circumstances beyond their control. It happens too often to be just chance. Occasionally, and more and more frequently in this modern age, judges and other administrators dispense mercy to individuals who also don’t deserve it.  That WOULD BE the definition of mercy: salvation, or grace extended to the undeserving.

COUNTING on mercy to absolve you when you deliberately flout rules and laws is stretching it. Very few escape justice (man’s or the cosmic variety) forever in this life, and no one escapes it in the next.

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226: Run of Bad Luck

I always think that things go fairly well for people who are trying very hard to do the right things and live lives that do not harm others. I think that when things don’t go well, it means you have not been doing the right things. You need to search and see where you need to improve. Now, I know that is not true in every case – of course it isn’t. However, for me, usually when things don’t go well it actually is something I’ve done or contributed to – not every time, true, but usually…..

I think there is the big guy sitting up there in Heaven, looking down on us creatures who are mostly making mistakes with our lives, decisions and actions, and I think usually he lets the natural consequences of our foolish actions just….happen. Sometimes, for reasons I don’t understand, he does intervene – on both the good and the not-so-good side of things. Sometimes he lets things happen because we need to learn that it is not smart to fool with Mother Nature: don’t poke sticks at grizzly bears. Dumb ways to die.

Sometimes he steps in and saves us because there are still things we are supposed to do with our lives. I woke up on the beach getting mouth-to-mouth resuscitation from a total stranger when I was about eight years old, after I had been sucked under by an undertow at the Bahia Honda bridge on the Florida Keys. I still don’t know who the man was who saved me, but I owe him a lifetime of gratitude that I did not die that day. I don’t think I even said ‘thank you’ when I came to!

At any rate, my recent run of poor luck leaves me some reflective opportunity about my recent motivations – whether I have been working for the good or for other nefarious purposes. Have I fallen short somewhere?

217: Curiosity Kills…..

Caruso canNOT resist

Caruso canNOT resist

Everyone has probably heard the old axiom about curiosity killing the cat, meaning that your urge to discover gets you into trouble you can’t get out of. Cats are not the only ones who have trouble with that: I found a Web site that listed inventors who were killed by their own inventions. Google it – there are several Web sites that list them.

I am not sure that anecdotal evidence means that we should not be curious and/or inventive, however….think of all the advances we would not have had somebody not been driven by the urge to know, discover and create. It’s only problematic when it causes consequences that were both unintended and unexpected. I read somebody’s research paper once that said there are four outcomes to every situation: expected and unexpected, and intended and unintended. Most of the things that we humans do have the usually desired outcome: expected and intended. When I turn on the light switch, I expect the light to come on, and that is the outcome I intended to occur when I flipped the switch. Unexpected things include such effects as getting shocked by the electricity, or setting the house on fire because there is an electrical short that sparks inside the wall. Those outcomes are unexpected and unintended.

The same thing happens when people enact laws. Their expected and intended outcome may not occur because of various interpretations others put on their words. It did not occur to the original lawmakers that anyone in their right mind would interpret their words in any way other than what they had expected and intended, so they did not include language that prohibits outcomes that they did not expect, and did not intend. For example, the original founders of federal aid to poor people did not intend that aid to become generational, and prompt those poor to procreate proliferously in order to earn a few more free dollars per month, because at the time the program was adopted, people were actually ASHAMED to get charity, and worked diligently to support themselves instead. That is no longer the case, and there are a lot of modern people who literally work the system to bilk as much free money as they can.

I teach school, and I know for a fact that this is human nature. For over twenty years, I have watched SOME students (not all) work like dogs trying to avoid doing the right thing. Instead of exercising their curiosity and inventiveness in positive ways, they look for any possible way to cheat and take shortcuts. They will work slavishly cheating, when to do it properly in the first place would have required considerably less effort, trouble and expense (time and money). I am sure you have seen that, too. There will always be people like that – they are satisfied with being less than they could be. Giving them help is a waste of resources, until they discover for themselves some motivation to do and be better. As long as there is a minimal free ride, they are content. They might be VERY vocal in their complaints, but they make no move to be better in spite of running their mouths. This is a very sad fact, compounded by very poor choices in life – whatever the reasons behind those poor choices.

Frankly, I am not interested in their problems – I have enough of my own. I live with seven cats, whose curiosity keeps me pretty busy rescuing THEM.