Friday, April 10, 2009

Just Sayin' "Hey"

Not writing much. Finally have time to take a breath, actual days off (two of them!!) and need to fulfill some obligations- reading manuscripts from friends for critiques and possible endorsements (four of those, three done at this point).

One of them is making me think about 'higher ideals'.  Sometimes people present things as struggles, especially internal things, that are just natural. There should be no struggle in them.  Doing the right thing, keeping faith, being true to yourself... none of these are hard.  If they are hard, especially being true to yourself,  you are probably confusing who you are with who you think you are. Everything you do is true to yourself, it can't be otherwise. If your own actions bother you, you have to change who you are, which probably means you have chosen not to see it.

It seems to me to take more work to be out of touch with your nature than in touch.  Same with, "Doing the right thing is seldom easy."  It's just as easy as doing the wrong thing. It's just doing stuff.  It's the weight of the imaginary consequences that make an action not yet taken seem hard.  Everything has consequences.  You can't imagine all the ripples in the pond, good or bad, from your actions. Your brain isn't that big.  Why do only some freeze you into inactions and not others? Why is it fear of action as opposed to fear of inaction? Rhetorical question, of course- social repercussions are harder to pin on inaction than on action, good or bad.  Monkeys like to be invisible when they are unsure.

And keeping faith- I won't lie to my friends, why would I lie to my best friend?  I work hard not to hurt violent criminals. How, out of pure selfishness could I hurt the best person in the world?  I truly don't understand why this is hard.  Is it really hard, or is that just a story people tell themselves to give themselves permission to fail when they feel like it?

Sorry for the ramble.  There is one thing that I am desperate to write about, an encounter the other day, but I can't.  It was a very good thing, but it would shake foundations that some people believe in and I am afraid it would draw attention.  I may never be able to write about this one but I may be talking about it until I am old and gray.  Someday ask me, "Rory, did you ever feel like a rock star in Iraq?"


Molly said...

When the girl child was about 8, she gave me the "good vs. bad" breakdown. Everything is habit - if you do good, it is easy to do good, the more bad things you do (or think, or look away from) the easier it is to do bad. If you do more good than bad - you are "good." The more one is a habit, the harder it is to do the other. And, she told me, that anybody can be good, they just have to practice. of course, I'm paraphrasing, but wow - out of the mouth of babes.

And - you are always a rock star to me!

James said...

Gaaaahhhh! You' Hurts brain.
Treasure those "rock star" moments, man. They can get you through when life (and possibly your Lt.) has decided that crap does, indeed, roll downhill and you are nowhere near the top.

EC said...

The "Doing the right thing is seldom easy" shtick is propagated through our culture through books, games and especially tv because it makes good drama. We can then go into a whole diatribe of how culture and environment shapes our thoughts and perceptions. So it's constantly re-enforced.

As a kid I always wondered if the over the top bad guy saw themselves as bad guys.

Steve Perry said...

Sometimes doing the right thing is easy, sometimes not -- it depends on how you define it. If your wife asks you if those jeans make her butt look big, the right answer is probably not, "It's not the jeans ..."

The Buddhists are big on Right Speech, Right Thought, and Right Action. In Right Speech, there are three criteria: Is it true? It's it necessary? Is it kind? If it hits all three, you're gold. If not, not.

True is the easiest. Necessary? Sometimes tricky. Kind? Depends on whether the truth will be in that situation, kind or not. Hard truths sometimes cause hurt feelings, and you have to consider this.

James said...

EC - it's been my experience that most bad guys don't think of themselves as bad at all. Not even a little bit. Even child molesters view themselves a good people. It's one of the things you learn to use in interviews.

Steve - My zone partner was forced to wear his ballistic vest one day ( and he was fitted for it many pounds ago). He looked at me and asked "Tell me the truth, man, does this vest make me look fat?". I said "Why no, Karl, your big, fat ass makes you look fat". I'm probably not Buddhist.

Jay Gischer said...

Don't ignore the effect of situational power in doing good vs doing bad. If everyone around you is cheating, it will be much, much harder for you to not cheat. And when you do start cheating, you will stop thinking of it as "bad".

Natalie said...

Wow. Old post, new reader, but must comment. I think something is being overlooked here, in how hard it can be to be true to yourself. Such as, a lot of violence done to you from a very young age for just "being yourself". And I'm not even talking mostly physical... But send a very strong, life-threatening message to a young child every time they do something out of their hearts... Have a huge scary reaction... Belittle every original thought... Yah, self-preservation keeps you trying to think one step ahead of what the OTHER person wants. And so you never get to even know yourself at all to be true to... And it is extremely hard and takes half a lifetime to sift through and examine every freaking thought and action and trace them back to see if there is fear at their root. And you know what, it is "true" to everyone to do what keeps them safe from violence when they are in a solitary captive situation. Fight back, yes, every way you can, but sometimes your best hope is in the small victories only you can see.
Sorry this touched a sore spot... I don't use those crap lines to justify being lazy about myself or hold off on taking action... But figuring out who you truly are, and what the right thing even is, can be incredibly difficult in a way that those who have never been severely punished for it can never really understand.