Citations

We as a species have great correlations

It’s what built our great nations

Looking for patterns

When everything was scattered

We took our knowledge in context

Racing as though we were in a great contest

But we left out one detail

That was going to curtail

Our inner understandings of how society works

A big mistake for our cultural clerk

For we never thought about causation

As we had too much of a fixation

On our glamorous creation

That we didn’t notice the horrible mutation

Maybe we should of given better citations..

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The Page

Sifting through the thoughts on the page

A glamorous, spectacular serenade

Freedom, expression, the thoughts are just

It exposes, enlightens, our inner handcuffs

Come to a conclusion if you dare

The fruitful tree is bound to bear

Another rabbit hole, lest be forgot

It only stirs and thickens the plot

For this is our only sword

To slice down the demons that infect the hoard

We are true and rightly so

For we reap, what we sow

So never forget what your mind uncovers

It’s like two miraculous star crossed lovers

Use your knowledge as a gauge

To break free out of your cage

But most of all in this day and age

Never forget what you put on the page

The Iceberg Effect

When we are faced with an ever increasing amount of difficult situations there is something that often goes unnoticed. Something that should be oh so obvious yet it sails away in the distance never to be thought about again. This is known as the Iceberg effect.

As a society there is this strict and unconventional bias to take situations at face value. It could be as simple as your friend telling you they’re having a bad day, as complex as watching someone go through a mental health crisis or anything in between. While society tries to fix the issue at hand through mild questioning or social skimming there is a lot to be desired.

If simple and complex issues are actually going to be solved in any meaningful way this social skimming needs to be put back several notches. While it can be a valuable tool in some situations it should definitely not be the gold standard. When issues are dealt with at face value the current situation may be resolved but it’s a band aid fix at best. For every situation there are deep issues at play and we need to be aware of them.

Personally, I always try to dig deeper when I’m told about situations. This has come with its own unique set of issues but as I’ve realized more and more I am part of the minority. I find this somewhat akin to putting out small fires in a house but refusing to acknowledge or not noticing the faulty wiring that is creating them. While this does solve the immediate issue of not having fires it’s only temporary and eventually one will be missed destroying the house in its entirety.

I came across a situation recently on a social media application that drove this point to its core. It is essentially a message board where posts are made anonymously and broadcast to anyone else on the application within 10km. While I find it hilarious I have also found a darker side such as with the following example.

“Lol found my girlfriend on pof [dating site] in the will respond section, glad I don’t trust shit”

When I saw this I simply could not resist asking the blaring and obvious question of.

“Why were you on there looking for women?”

To which his response was typical in that it was both evasive and defensive

“Can’t you read?! I don’t trust anyone.”

Seeing as how his response didn’t exactly clarify anything I decided to push it a bit further

“If you don’t trust anyone than you have missed what relationships are all about”

At this point other people started chiming in and I decided to give it a rest. Maybe he would calm down and listen to reason? After all he did just find a relationship ending piece of information and most people aren’t thinking rationally at that point. It’s all finger pointing at the other party while admitting no fault what so ever. Ugly stuff and as I’ve eluded to before there’s no point in giving advice when people aren’t processing information due to high emotions

After about 20 minutes the conversation had shifted from; “That sucks” and “You’ll find someone better” to something even more counter-productive.

“Never trust any girl 100%. They will use you in the end, its human nature”

At this point I felt the need to pull out my trump card. If I was going to get anywhere with this guy this was going to be the time.

“A lack of trust in other people speaks volumes about inner insecurities”

After inserting that there was this eerie calm that fell over the discussion for ten straight minutes. The up votes to the comment kept rising before someone new finally chimed in.

“Paw knows” [A yellow paw was my randomly generated icon for that particular conversation, distinguishes anonymous posters between one another]

While encouraging they weren’t my target audience but it was only a couple minutes later before I saw the fruits of my labour.

“Paw you finally made me cry and I’ve been asking for advice all day long!”

This wasn’t the reaction I was expecting but it accomplished what I had hoped for. I uncovered his iceberg and hit at the very core of the issue. While it was not something he wanted to hear and it won’t help him with his current break up it may just be the driver for change in the future.

This point was further cemented after the chauvinists tried to regain ground in a fury of demeaning and degrading posts to which the original poster simply shrugged them off saying it was time for “soul searching and me time”

 

While this is only one example there are countless more in your day to day lives that you’ll encounter. If you choose to take something away from this post let it be this;

We are all Icebergs floating around in society and more often than not all it takes is a little push to find out what’s really going on underneath the surface. We learn about what makes people tick but most of all we have insight to what our surface actions say about our own Icebergs. We are built to be interconnected as a species and that one or two extra questions can make the difference between inner growth and social hindrance.

 

Until next time,

JSTRD

 

 

Why I Write

This isn’t an easy question to answer nor should it be. Writing, especially when expressing one’s opinion, is inherently something very personal that opens the door to criticism both thrilling and disappointing.

While it’s a journey I enjoy very much I struggle with the perception of others and how they would see my inner expression. As I explained in my previous post about opinions not defining you it’s still not an easy task to separate your expression of those opinions vs the opinions themselves.

Expression is something I excel at but when it’s on a personal level I tend to avoid it. While this has made for some interesting situations in life it is one I am fully trying to break through my writing. Even still I find it difficult and even counter intuitive to mix emotions with hard hitting discussions. Emotions are quite often the culprit in the strange reactions I see in my peers so removing it from at least one side of the debate seems to lessen their invoked response. After all there’s little point in trying to get a point across when the other side isn’t even processing the information.

I write to express myself, to capture opinions in others I may not have noticed and I also write simply for therapy.

Being able to sit back and let your expression go through the words you paint across the blank slate is a feeling I care deeply about. Peering at the blank page and understanding that it could be anything that your heart desires. It could be a piece of poetry, a discussion on recent events, a life experience or just the mindless ramblings of the day. The possibilities are endless and it’s what true inner expression is made of.

Watching profound opinions rise out of topics where you thought you covered everything is also another sight to behold. It’s in moments like these that you begin to grasp the concept that everyone will form opinions and express them in different ways. When these begin to happen though responses to your writing you learn about the respondent but more importantly you learn about how your words can dazzle or disgust the masses. For better or worse it has the strength to grow you as a human being

Perhaps the most important of all is writing for therapy despite it always being in the background. This was never the true intention I had when I started this blog but it has always played a critical role. Even now as I write this I’m sitting in my college with the sound of the HVAC unit humming, the student population wandering by chattering about topics that won’t matter in the days and weeks to come, with the faint sound of a ping pong game in the background. It is strangely peaceful, relaxing and a perfect setting from which to slowly type away at the keys of my laptop. While this is the first time I’ve chosen to write in such a setting I feel as though I’ll come back to this place.

Writing for therapy concerning myself also includes how I choose to promote my blog. Only a select few in real life have ever been told about this place and it gives me a sense of security. When there are no social or personal hindrances in writing it allows you to fully engage in what your expressions may become.

 

Writing can be whatever you want it to be. It can be a driver for social change or destruction, it can be a getaway from what bothers you or it can be a place to simply express gratitude. However you view writing there is one thing that it always is; it’s a form of personal expression that has the power to do whatever your heart desires.

Until next time,

JSTRD

Opinions Don’t Define You

As debates rage across the world in fantastic and spectacular ways I always find myself in the position of heated conversations. While there is nothing better than discussing the important issues of the day there always seems to be an elephant in the room.

Everyone has their opinions and expressing them seems fundamental in our human nature. I find it exhilarating when I find someone’s opinion so vastly different from mine. Did we come to different conclusions due to the same set of facts and if so why are they so different?

More times than not this is not the case and either myself or the other party has been misinformed about a critical fact. To the vast majority of the population when these obvious issues in the fundamental of the conversation are pointed out a torrent of anger and rage explodes the otherwise fruitful discussion.

It left myself wondering why this is a while ago and I came to a rather disheartening conclusion. People think that their opinions define who they are. This something that can be overcome but it requires a large conscious effect on the part of the individual. Once that it achieved though, it will change your life forever.

Opinions are like choosing what you want to have for breakfast. If you always eat cereal but someone offers you steak and you think that’s a better option then take it. You’re not changing who you are as a person because you picked something more appealing. This is fundamentally the same on an intellectual level concerning everything from world views to what clothes you think look good.

If you’re in a debate with someone and they give an opinion that you think has some merit then by all means use it. I’m not saying that you have to completely disregard your old set of opinions and beliefs in favor of the new one. You are free to pick and choose what you like about it and mold it into a new set of opinions. This is how you’ll grow as a person and evolve as nature intended.

Usually when this is put across in conversations I’m hit with the inevitable question of;

“If my opinions don’t define me and my beliefs are based on my opinions then what does define me?”

The answer is that your ability to make those choices is what defines you. It is not what you may choose as an opinion today but the fact that you can make those opinions in the first place. Sifting through the abundance of knowledge and coming to a conclusion is what defines you.

We are constantly changing and our opinions should too

 

Until next time,

JSTRD

Wanted: Humanity

I remember as young child watching the events of 9/11 unfolding on TV. My step father was watching it as though his heart had been ripped out of his chest. As I sat down in shock at what was happening he turned to me and said “The world you’re going to grow up in has just been changed forever”

14 years later I look back and am disgusted at what has transpired since then. It’s not so much that our world has changed as dramatically as he predicted but it’s the people who inhabit it. Our culture of fear and revenge has tainted the sense of humanity of our race. Unfortunately this is not a new habit of ours.

As a Canadian most of my fellow countrymen seem to think we have this sense of helping one another and always trying to play the “good guy” on the world stage. Defending freedoms, helping the vulnerable, giving out aid and trying to sort out world problems. All these feel good policies that make us blind to what is actually happening within our geopolitical sphere of influence.

Canada, not unlike our American counterparts, has a shaky at best track record of these feel good policies but our ignorance and pride has clouded our preconceived notions. While we tend to lift ourselves leagues above our American neighbors on human rights and multiculturalism when we are in fact on a lower level because we can’t admit our own wrong doings. We viciously attacked Japanese Canadians during WW2 and interred them in camps, we sent the indigenous population to residential schools to beat and rape the culture out of them and we stood ideally by while countless people were murdered in Rwanda leaving heroes like Romeo Dallaire to do what was morally right. A competent person looking at these atrocities would learn from history and not make similar mistakes; unfortunately our society isn’t a competent person.

Canadians without a second thought followed our American counterpart in what would turn out to be a bloody and needless war in Afghanistan that only fueled the rise of racism in a country of “multiculturalism”. Fathers, mothers, sons and daughters gave their lives in a cause that while they may have thought of the time as right and just, only deepened the root cause of the problem in our society.

As our media and politicians were touting the end of the war in Afghanistan this was very much not the case as it was the beginning of a festering hatred that would engulf the world we know today. This hatred has crossed lines seemingly unfathomable years ago and threw it into the mainstream where we swallow it without a second thought.

I look to my fellow peers and wonder how people could be so indoctrinated with fear that they would gladly send thousands of people to their death in the name of a false sense of security. The passions in them soar to dazzling heights and any rational, factual conversation leads to a whirlwind of rants that always ends up with “Bomb the whole Middle East and be done with it”.

While I in absolutely no way agree with the attacks on Paris and Beirut or have any sympathy for the ones who carried out these vicious attacks there are things underneath the surface that desperately need to be addressed.

Firstly we as a society need address the monumental humanitarian crisis in Syria as the influx of refugees grows each passing day. These are people who have been given one of three options and they are:

1) Join the Syrian government who has slaughtered everyone not with them

2) Join ISIS who has slaughtered everyone not with them

3) Leave the country and head somewhere else

With these three options at hand I find it absolutely mind boggling that we are punishing these people for arriving in another country while toting that both options one and two are horrible. The vast majority of these people are NOT terrorists and the branding of them as such by a huge majority is sickening. It’s a kin to saying every Canadian is a serial killer or that every American competitively eats hot dogs. We are punishing the majority for the actions of minority and that needs to stop.

Secondly we need to address that even though someone is a terrorist now that doesn’t mean they were born with an AK47 in hand and a bomb strapped to their chest. People choose their paths in life partly due to the circumstances they are in and partly due to outside influences. While we can’t control all these factors in a country so far away we can stop adding fuel to the fire. ISIS’s biggest recruiting tool is propagations of allied aggressions such as bombings that “missed their target” and torture. If you had to watch everyone you know and loved be blown away because of an “opps” I’m positive that would alter your mental state in a dramatic and insane way.

Thirdly we need to stop with this ridiculously racist demeanor that has been oh so slowly engrained into our society. There is something VERY seriously wrong when a Canadian Sikh man can’t even post a bathroom selfie on the internet without it being altered to show him holding a Quran with a suicide vest. Despite the obvious flaws with the editing (Quarn’s don’t take pictures) it was published on numerous print magazines with titles such as “one of the terrorists” of the Paris bombings. When we can’t even express ourselves by taking a picture in the bathroom without horrible brandings of murderous rage we have problems so large you could fit the world’s ignorance into it.

 

If you take anything away from this let it be the following;

Our society is controlled by the will of the people and our collective voice makes us who we are. I personally don’t want to be judged by the future generations who will look at us in disgust and ask “How could you let that happen?! Why didn’t you do something?!”. Our racist fear mongering culture needs to come to an end or I truly fear our humanity will go the way of the dinosaurs. We’re already half way there, let’s not go any further

 

 

JSTRD