Stuck in a Puddle of Confusion

 

This Feels Like Desolation

I don’t mean to be negative but in all my years I have never seen the people of our country so lost. What passes for dedication and enthusiasm strikes me as rather pointless. Do we want to become something or stop being something. 

Often in the past I’ve seen competing ideologies and demands that go along with them. Maybe each of us didn’t agree strongly with a given position but we did have a guiding light. We are in a political fight but it doesn’t feel uplifting or focused. 

Party Differences

No one, even Trump, didn’t expect him to be president. Now the Republicans are devoted to his continuance. Seriously? This is the Republican Party?

Meanwhile the Democrats are raising flags of positions. But it feels like a milling small crowd. There are so many seeking the nomination for president. But I can’t focus the reason for most of them to be running. 

But to me the issue isn’t political. It does not feel focused at  all. Is there a lofty goal we should seek?

What Problems Need Solutions

Our economy doesn’t seem to be doing too badly. Except midwestern farmers are facing catastrophe, jobs are a problem in the “Rust Belt” just to name a couple of issues. Oh yes, and income inequality is escalating. So where do we focus? Is this an identity crisis or is there not a focus abroad to engage us? Or are there too many problems?

Again and Again

As I sit here writing this I keep having the same problem. I could probably construct a monumentally long list of issues with no cohesion. We just feel lost and without a strong leader. Oh no, I’m not saying we need an autocrat. We already have a would be autocrat at the head of our government and that self oriented dedication will not lead us productively forward.

Our Needs

Maybe the key issue is that there are too many unconnected problems. Each area of the country seems to have its own set of problems. What I’m not seeing is planning or even exploration of data to underlie planning. The thought of the word vision makes me want to laugh. The world seems to be struggling and I don’t know what it would take to bring us together.

Let me know if you have some magnificent vision. For now I’m going to simply  move ahead piece by piece. I mentioned the death of community mental health and we could solve or at least improve things if we did evaluation and planning. But we’re not doing enough of that. Too many reasons and not enough devotion to focus. It just may be that what I’m feeling is the lack of commitment and focus issue by issue. We had strong commitments in the sixties. Let me try to focus my thoughts. 

 Coming Soon

Gaia’s Majesty-Transformation: Life Forces Revealed

(Book 3 of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy)

The child of prophesy is coming of age.

Earth has descended into almost biblical chaos.

        Then comes an opening to a future never anticipated.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1   (Click to See)

Avery’s life of dedication is enhanced when she meets the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was ordained.

      Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2   (Click to See)

The Tethyan people of the sea have been joined by the Andromeda warrior women. They fight for the future of humankind. Then will come the Child of Prophesy.

Available now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon.

Risk From An Unfamiliar Culture

 

Risk From an Unfamiliar Culture

Lessons in Life

Usually I stay away from the political arena but it’s often hard because the line between the political arena and the rest of our lives gets frayed. The roots of this commentary come from the book Red Notice by Bill Browder. I made mention of it previously and the deeper I got into it, the more I found what he wrote has broad implications.

Once again I have to say I am stunned by this book. In one sense it feels like it is a compellingly interesting novel, but it is really his story. There are times when I simply gulp at the import. I also find it is stirring memories and his experiences and conclusions mesh with so many components of our world.

The Focus

But let me focus on the central point of this post which relates to the reality of Russia. Our world is growing smaller and our interfaces more complex. Here in North America we have our differences but were functioning reasonably well at least until recently. But in other parts of the world there is much more drama and issues that lead into deep conflict.

A Reprise of a Story

In two previous posts I wrote about a man by the name of Nicolai Kokhlov. I met Nicolai while I was working on my doctorate at Duke many years ago and the experience was unforgettable. He brought a bridge to another reality I have never forgotten.

Nicolai was the head of Russian intelligence in Eastern Europe and, to put it mildly, it was not a nice job. He didn’t just gather intelligence. He also had to have people killed. The fact of what he had done was startling because he was a mild mannered man of substantial grace. He seemed so gentle and humble. One evening we fed him vodka and heard the depth of his story.

On that evening he talked about some of his work in detail and there was an utter disconnect from his demeanor and what he had done. In the end he could not endure the life and he made arrangements with American intelligence to defect. He was to go on Radio Free Europe and announce his defection. At the same time our people were to take his wife and children and spirit them out of the country. He made his announcement, but we did not go for his family. They were taken by Russian intelligence. In the end they were not murdered but he never saw them again. At the time of our meeting he had remarried and had children with his second wife.

The Russians poisoned him with a radioactive substance and our German military hospital saved him. It was clear he had a morality very different from much of Russia.

The Point

On that evening we heard in detail about a very different culture and how we too often betray our promises. Now comes Bill Browder’s book. He is a brave and determined man who opened investing in Russia as the communist empire collapsed. But at one point his investment business was attacked. But it was attacked in a way that the attackers were going to take huge personal loses to their own investments. To us it seems curious but Browder quoted an old Russian proverb and summarized the import this way: “The moral is simple: when it comes to money, Russians will gladly—gleefully, even— sacrifice their own success to screw their neighbor.”

Now the Conclusion

We have a curious story unfolding about Trump and his family and their enmeshment with Russian oligarchs. What Browder spells out in Red Notice is the risk which there is not just to the Trump family but to our nation as well. We do not understand this component of the Russian culture but it comes down to the fact that they may seek serious damage to us even while damaging themselves. To that we need to give serious attention.

Did this issue even occur to you?

####

 Coming Soon

Gaia’s Majesty-Transformation: Life Forces Revealed

(Book 3 of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy)

The child of prophesy is coming of age.

Earth has descended into almost biblical chaos.

        Then comes an opening to a future never anticipated.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1   (Click to See)

Avery’s life of dedication is enhanced when she meets the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was ordained.

      Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2   (Click to See)

The Tethyan people of the sea have been joined by the Andromeda warrior women. They fight for the future of humankind. Then will come the Child of Prophesy.

Available now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon.

Community Mental Health

 

(More about the geezer above shortly!)

My doctorate was finished and then it was time to decide on a future direction. Again my intuitive personality took charge. I’d had enough of academia and wanted to go exploring. Of course I could do it in a university but I wanted to get out into the world.

And just at that moment the community mental health movement was opening. There was a deep division between state mental hospital systems and private or local helping systems. It sounded interesting to focus on the community.

Coming to Baltimore

The door that opened first was to a program in the inner city of Baltimore. I was met at the airport by Carl, a community organizer who knew his city well and I got a grand tour. It was endlessly fascinating and suggested challenge. My interview with the asian man who was the director of the program went well. We meshed viewpoints. I was also interviewed by the head of psychology who fell asleep almost at once. I sat quietly until he woke up and thanked him for a truly interesting interview.

Carl and the director had me and I signed up.

Truth Is Revealed

On the day I arrived to begin work I was taken to my office in what seemed like an empty suite. I was told I could begin to see patients. How that was to happen escaped me entirely. So I wandered around and found a black woman social worker by the name of Roz. We hit it off and she took me out to the streets to begin my work by visiting reality.

The Bottom line

This was the impoverished inner city of Baltimore and the education was immediate.

Shortly we had a young multiracial staff working to focus our efforts. While there was a general overview, it was apparent that local matters required a focus. Each community was different and there was one challenge after another. 

Reality

We learned quickly that the biggest challenge to mental health was poverty. In retrospect the operational word was DUH! Our efforts became often focused on job issues and fortunately there had been foresight in that each center had a vocational rehabilitation counselor. As a psychologist I was often involved in doing assessments.

It is obvious now but what we found was that having no job or a poorly paying one caused depression and anxiety. Not that there weren’t personal issues as outlined in a previous post but getting someone trained or educated with a decent job had huge “mental health” benefits.

Other Challenges

Nothing was simple. We didn’t simply counsel people. We had to face multitudes of issues personal and organizational. It was often necessary to be careful about referral to services  because we had to know what the services really were. What the brochure  said often didn’t reflect reality. And if the person was truly “mentally ill” we had to consider what the state hospital system really offered.

Another Bottom Line

But let me get to the deepest disappointment. Our young staff was committed and fighting for our people on the streets. Shortly we learned that the other big challenge was that the leadership in the university and the state systems had a whole different set of values. Winning a community mental health program and the funding was a feather in their cap. And they wanted to apply the funding to existing programs. Conflict was inevitable and some staff was not sent to work with us but were diverted to existing positions. 

It was clear that there was not a total commitment like the young staff had. What I learned in my twenties was the problem with older white men. Decades later I find the problem to be systemic and I have no more sympathy for their positions now than I did in my twenties. 

I find much of what they do self centered, representing entrenched interests and a narrow focus. And now we have a fight to wage to bring women to power, and to address ethnic and racial interests. Now that I am an older white man my commitment has not changed from very many years ago. In time we saw entrenched power bring an end to the vision of community mental health. Such a loss of a movement with terrific potential.

###

 Coming Soon

Gaia’s Majesty-Transformation: Life Forces Revealed

(Book 3 of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy)

The child of prophesy is coming of age.

Earth has descended into almost biblical chaos.

        Then comes an opening to a future never anticipated.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1   (Click to See)

Avery’s life of dedication is enhanced when she meets the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was ordained.

      Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2   (Click to See)

The Tethyan people of the sea have been joined by the Andromeda warrior women. They fight for the future of humankind. Then will come the Child of Prophesy.

Available now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon.

A Focus on Patriarchy

 

Shifting the Focus Regarding Women

It’s time to turn the focus to the issue of patriarchy and men. But first I believe there is a definitional problem regarding feminism.

I’m intrigued by a term I keep hearing. Radical feminism. Perceptions that suppression of women needs to end and be replaced by empowerment seems to me to be anything but radical. So, I did some research and came up with the following definitions of radical feminism.

Definitions of Radical Feminism

The definition from Robert Jensen’s book The End of Patriarchy is “Radical feminism is a radical, structural politicized response” to “patriarchy’s rigid, repressive, and reactionary gender norms.”

Wikipedia – “Radical feminism is a perspective within feminism that calls for a radical reordering of society in which male supremacy is eliminated in all social and economic contexts.

Another is – “Radical feminism is a philosophy emphasizing the patriarchal roots of inequality between men and women, or, more specifically, social dominance of women by men. Radical feminism views patriarchy as dividing rights, privileges and power primarily by gender, and as a result oppressing women and privileging men.” (The site from which I drew this definition shall remain nameless because when I type the name my fonts go crazy. Creepy!)

New Question

I think I need to turn the whole thing on its head by asking the question, “What is the justification for subjugating women?” The fact that subjugation exists is not justification. A woman’s place is in the home is not justification. Men do all things better (that’s laughable) is hardly appropriate. I won’t bother with more space to note absurd justifications.

I prefer to simply deal with the movement of feminism of which there may be various forms with varying degrees of proposals and demands. To my mind, fulfillment of the potential of women and their participation in world society is anything but radical. As far as I’m concerned we can ditch the term radical.

The Bottom Line

I have to wonder what the perceived benefits for society as a whole are by subjugating half the population of earth. And then I get to the point where I wonder why we are even having a debate. Does it simply come down to a male stating “because I said so” ?

Sometimes I think we get so caught up in debates that we make it one form of an academic discussion in which we pick over words. In this instance I’m fascinated by why we are even having this debate. Once we note that women have been the focus of discrimination and subjugation it seems reasonable to focus and make changes. Granted we haven’t done so well with racism which we have declared to be inappropriate and damaging. Now we know some people declare against racism but behave in a racist fashion anyway. The same thing is happening with women and there is a certain absurdity attached to this debate. With the subjugation of women, though, there seem to be a cadre of insistent defenders of subjugation who must be dealt with.

###

 Coming Soon

Gaia’s Majesty-Transformation: Life Forces Revealed

(Book 3 of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy)

The child of prophesy is coming of age.

Earth has descended into almost biblical chaos.

        Then comes an opening to a future never anticipated.

###

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1   (Click to See)

Avery’s life of dedication is enhanced when she meets the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was ordained.

      Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2   (Click to See)

The Tethyan people of the sea have been joined by the Andromeda warrior women. They fight for the future of humankind. Then will come the Child of Prophesy.

Available now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon.