Great Firewall Of China!

Did you know that the Chinese government has set up a completely new internet, somewhat derisively called “The Great Firewall of China” after the famous actual brick and mortar Great Wall of China? I personally did not know of this at all, so maybe it is old news, or maybe you are like me and it is brand new news…News is where you find it, after all…

The whole purpose of this “Great Firewall’ is to censor any Chinese dissidents who dare to stir up any unrest in their country and to block any of the regular internet broadcasts like face book, you tube, twitter, or anything the rigid Chinese autocracy deems dangerous to it’s rigid, autocratic domain….

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china7The Great Wall of China was packed with tourists the day Andre Kajlich visited.

According to my Google sources: “Soon after China tip-toed onto the Internet in the late 1980s, it laid down the foundation of the Great Firewall but critics asserted that an Internet with Chinese characteristics would be no Internet at all.”

Then U.S. President Bill Clinton announced that “liberty will spread by cell phone and cable modem” and that any attempt to control the Internet in China would be “like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall.”Well folks, it’s now 2015 and China has done the impossible.It’s nailed the Jell-O. China has proven it can have its Great Firewall and enjoy great prosperity too.”

These sources go on to say that: “Currently home to the world’s largest Internet market, China is also home to some of the world’s most valuable Internet companies including e-commerce giant Alibaba and Tencent, now estimated to be worth $66.1 billion.The government has fostered the development of the Internet by offering incentives for local entrepreneurs while building walls to keep big Western rivals out.

The ban on Western social media sites like YouTube and Facebook has also given home court advantage to China’s own Internet stars like Youku and WeChat. And respecting the strict rules that govern China’s Internet has not gotten in the way of innovation as Chinese tech developers reinterpret existing business models and build out new mobile apps.

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epa03241615 Commuters use smartphones while riding a subway train in Hong Kong, China, 30 May, 2012. An online poll of 1,532 people showed that nearly 95 percent of the respondents experience severe neck and back problems for spending too much time hunched over their gadgets such as iPads, iPhones and other tablets. The Hong Kong Multisports Association, which conducted the survey from April 23 to May 6, said one out of three use their devices for more than four hours a day while 57percent do the same on their computers. According to the poll, one of the main reasons for the growing incidence of chronic back and neck pains is people using their devices for long periods and maintaining a wrong posture, including keeping their heads down.  EPA/JEROME FAVRE (Newscom TagID: epaphotos422092.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]china14

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“From Beijing’s perspective, there’s this fear that if we open up the Internet then it will be chaos. So if the cost is good-enough or almost-good-enough innovation… It seems like a pretty straight forward equation from the perspective of the policymakers.”And there are signs the Great Firewall is expanding its reach. The Chinese like to keep their internal crackdowns on dissidents, of which there are many, private and in house….From the Tiamen Square Anniversary crackdown to the Free Tibet movements and various other social protests are perceived as deadly serious and incendiary threats to the autocratic government of Chinese President Xi Jinping….

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Last week, the Chinese and English news websites of Reuters news agency became inaccessible in China, joining a number of foreign media destinations that are barred online in China.

And it get worse!”You can filter out keywords, you can filter by URL, you can block or poison DNS (domain name system), and increasingly now they identify VPNs,” says Tsui.

“The problem is that it’s decided on a national level by the government,” he adds.”It’s this attitude that ‘father knows best.'”And that “father” would be Lu Wei, the so-called Internet czar of China who was recently photographed smiling at Mark Zuckerberg’s desk during a visit at Facebook’s headquarters in California.”

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Here is some technical stuff on how they can and have achieved this to me, revolutionary breakthrough in controlling the internet: “You can filter out keywords, you can filter by URL, you can block or poison DNS (domain name system), and increasingly now they identify VPNs,” says Tsui.”The problem is that it’s decided on a national level by the government,” he adds. “It’s this attitude that ‘father knows best.”

“Lu Wei is really pushing this ‘Internet sovereignty’ model, where we can control the information, we can control the Internet within our borders and we will use our model,” says Roseann Rife, the East Asia research director of Amnesty International.”More than that, the Chinese authorities are pushing this as a model for the globe and they are going to get a lot of acceptance or buy-in from a lot of different countries.”

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This is where the real danger lies, in my opinion..It is already too late to do anything about it in China, barring the sudden appearance of a new wave of counter revolutionary hackers, but China’s success in censoring the internet will surely appeal to all the fascist nation states in the world. Given all the political and religious unrest and uncertainty and open warfare around the globe, this is almost a given…If it CAN happen, it WILL happen…Sort of like Murphy’s law…

“Amnesty International fears the Great Firewall could become the next great export from China.”It would be a very attractive model for instance for Russia, for Egypt, or for other states,” Rife says. “It would be obviously in China’s interest for other people and other nation states to agree with them and their interpretation of Internet sovereignty.”

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And instead of backing away, Western onlookers may be nodding their heads in agreement. Last year, the U.S.-based LinkedIn decided to censor some content on its Chinese site. And fear is mounting that Zuckerberg’s recent charm offensive with Lu Wei reflects Facebook’s desire to do whatever it takes to crack the China market.

So would global Internet users rise up against a Facebook that censors its posts and monitors its users to comply with local laws in China? It’s unlikely, says Bishop. “I actually think most users don’t care.” “At the end of the day, they’re not going to give up Facebook because Facebook is operating differently in China.”A Facebook that fits the firewall, and fortune at the expense of freedom. That is precisely China’s vision of how the Internet should be.”

Wow! There you have it…Chinese citizens can utilize social dating sites of their own, listen to their own government censored news, get the weather and travel apps like we use, watch streaming government approved entertainment, in fact all of the features we here in America and the rest of the free world enjoy…But the heavy hand of censorship is now able to block any dissenting viewpoints, and apparently as a sovereign nation there is nothing illegal about what they are doing within their own national borders....

Is there anything wrong in China doing this? Apparently not….We have. all of us, let the internet genie out of the bottle, and there is no putting it back!

What’s Your XQ?/How Employers Try To Pick Your Brain

I found a fascinating article in Time magazine recently that the latest craze to hit the job market is a new set of tests that reveal your XQ, which basically scientifically measures your psyche…It is a sort of high tech personality test, replacing the old IQ, or Intelligence quotient, and the EQ, which measured your Emotional intelligence as a “set of skills”…This XQ is a new tool, a battery of tests, employers are now using to optimize hiring new employees…It is a required part of the screening of job applicants at many companies now, from burger flippers to high finance job seekers…

It is based on algorithms, and the X in XQ is the X factor, supposedly the practice of testing for personality traits that will lead to success in a particular role….To quote from Time: “Convinced by the gurus of Big Data that a perfect workforce can be achieved by analyzing the psyche and running the results through computers, hundreds of employers now insist that job candidates submit to personality tests.”

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Well we certainly are NOT in Kansas anymore, Dorothy! How intrusive can these big corporations be? I guess the answer is as usual they can do anything they want to do because most people are desperately seeking work and will submit to any personal intrusion and indignity to get that job to bring home that paycheck…These questions can be quite personal, and there is of course no guarantee of 100% success, but this is definitely a new and I think disturbing trend in invading a person’s personal space…

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Personality tests themselves are not new, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory or MMPI has been around since the 1960’s, I remember taking this particular test myself, but it’s chief purpose then (we were told) was to find out what YOU liked and therefore what type of job you would feel most comfortable in….This was not intrusive or as revealing as the current new set of questions testing your XQ are…

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To quote my Google sources: “ From the 1940s to the 1980s, the original MMPI was the most widely used and most intensely researched psychological assessment instrument in the United States and worldwide. An additional innovation in the original MMPI was the presence of validity scales embedded in the test questions. These sets of items, scattered randomly throughout the MMPI-2, allow the examiner to assess whether the respondent answered questions in an open and honest manner, or tried to exaggerate or conceal information.

One means of checking for distortions in responding to the instrument is asking whether the test taker refused to admit to some less-than-ideal actions that most people probably engage in and will admit to doing. An example of this type of question would be (true or false) “If I could sneak into the county fair or an amusement park without paying, I would.”

Another type of validity check that assesses honesty in responses is whether the client admits to participating in far more unusual behaviors and actions than were admitted to by both the psychiatric comparison group and the general community sample. The validity scales also identify whether the test taker responded inconsistently or randomly.”

The new set of XQ tests are based on algorithms, which are: “Logical or procedural. An algorithm may be viewed as controlled logical deductions. … These new testing methods rub many people the wrong way, as an invasion of their privacy…They are totally logical based assumptions, and are mostly used in computer sciences and in programming computers… That may or may not be of any relevance when factoring in the human component…

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A strong proponent of these tests is Bridgewater Associates in Connecticut, which has nearly $170 billion in investments and about 1,400 employees”….It begins with hiring….. When looking to fill a new role, the XQ tests specifies not only the work involved but also the attributes that will be advantageous to the person doing the job, like meticulous thinking or the ability to hold people accountable…..

The hedge funds founder, one of the infamous 1%, is Ray Dalio “who is one of the richest 100 people in the world according to Forbes magazine.” He is a true believer…. “In Dalio’s vision, personality traits don’t just help you find the right people; they help you understand them, manage those below you, work better with those above you and cooperate better with peers.”

Talk about Big Brother! There are many detractors and nay sayers who scoff at this totally logic based way of trying to predict the job performance capability of inherently illogical people, which as emotional, sentimental, hunch playing, risk taking and intuitive human beings, we all are…

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It is further pseudo science, according to many debunkers of the Time Magazine article….. “There is no one “it” factor against which everyone should measure themselves. Different personalities are needed and will thrive in different roles and positions, and will be successful at different tasks using different strengths.

The thing is, most hiring personnel probably have little clue as to what they, the company, team or project really need in an employee. They most likely haven’t gotten past the regular stuff like college degree, attention to detail, ability to be a client-facing entity, an impressive track record, nepotism etc. It’s like dating. What you think you want, you really don’t need, while you’ve been ignoring what you truly need in order to make a relationship work.”

So in essence, you can do all the testing that you want, but there is still no clear cut perfect way of determining the perfect potential employee..None of these computer based algorithms can truly measure the inner person, the drive, desire or the adaptability and “thinking on your feet” ability of a real human being in a real work decision or performance making situation….

 

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No matter how they try to depersonalize people, how they try to predict with perfect accuracy performance how we will perform with any degree of accuracy, it still seems mostly like  guesswork to me…Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t, but personally I put little faith in these new wave XQ tests, whose guinea pigs are mostly the Millennials, new young people just entering the labor force for the first time…Good luck, you guys!

We are all just human beings, after all, and nobody can truly measure “Heart!”

Evolution Of American Dating Rituals/Part 2

When WWII broke out, a whole new generation of women were faced with the same problems as their WWI predecessors….Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the United States, representing the American women who worked in factories during World War II, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies. These women sometimes took entirely new jobs replacing the male workers who were in the military, and many enjoyed their new found freedom from household drudgery…

After the war, they too were unwilling to go back to the old value system, and were also faced with a shortage of men who had died in the war…. (though not so severely crippled in choices as the Gibson Girls generation was.) They had been exposed to the wonders and excitement of the outside world, and they had no desire to return to their drab, dreary, domestic pre-war lives…

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In more modern day America, the success of early American television shows, like “The Dating Game,” where one woman behind a screen would pose carefully scripted questions to three men behind another screen, so that neither the men or the woman would be affected by the physical appearance of the other, further reflected the growing independence of women….

The woman was in charge, and would ask leading questions, like “Bachelor#2, what would you do if I asked you take me out to someplace special?” and then repeat the question to the other candidates or pose different questions to them, depending on the answers she received… These shows were extremely popular and served as role models for real aspiring couples…..But it is fascinating to see how the evolution and emancipation of women as people rather than property had caused this seismic shift in social attitudes, values, and behavior….Women movie stars were also trend setters…

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By the time the 1960’s rolled around, as Bob Dylan so famously sang “There was music in the cafes at night, and revolution in the air.”….There was social unrest, there were political protests but the biggest single revolution in American courtship rituals was the invention of the birth control pill, and the introduction of birth control devices like IUD’s, sponges etc, all designed to prevent unwanted pregnancies in women….By the time of the famous “Summer of Love” in 1967, these pills and devices had freed women from their traditional fear of pregnancy from the often ineffective, inadequate and sometimes never even used condoms for men…

For the first time in history, women felt that they controlled their own bodies! A catchword of the Summer of Love was “free love,” which simply put meant that just like men, women could now have multiple sexual partners without the risk of unwanted pregnancies…It was the dawning of the modern age, for better or worse, the “Age of Aquarius, a popular musical of the time,” had arrived…

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This new freedom for women radically altered the entire American courtship ritual; it put it on it’s ears, it spun it around backwards, it was a true revolution! Women for the first time in history now felt the same freedom that men had always enjoyed, and the rising feminist movements were quick to embrace and promote these new freedoms, although they later backtracked and, in some cases rightfully so, attacked the safety of some of these new contraceptive devices and pills…But the door had been kicked open, it was a new era for women….

The typical American woman was more well educated and intelligent than ever before, thanks to ever more opportunity for educational advancement, and were easily able to pick and choose their way through all the twists and turns of this new dating minefield, still hazardous and strewn with danger, but at least now they had the chance, the ultimate right to choose…

The days of arranged marriages and parental approval were long gone and far away in their minds….From the late 1960’s on, American women were increasingly confident and in control of their own bodies and now felt, and rightfully so, that they had the last word in picking their mates…

The American conservative wing and church groups decried these new concepts and radical changes in thought, but the fact remains that no matter what the church’s opinion was, in actual practice more and more women began living together with their boy friends without the benefits of marriage or the blessing of the church, and often their families, anyway….They no longer felt the compulsion to get an officially sanctioned marriage license right from the get go just to live with the man they might, or might not, eventually marry….

This new found freedom for women led to what many considered an excess in overt sexuality, as in the custom of the infamous “meat market” bars of the swinging 1970’s where single young people, both men and women, dressed up and went to certain well known pick up bars for the express purpose of picking up somebody for a one night stand, what we call today, NSA or no strings attached…The point was not to find Mr. Right, just to find Mr. Right Now, and the men were only to happy to oblige….

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The onset of the computer age ushered in a whole new dynamic to the American courtship ritual….Online Dating became the new rage! Women had equal rights to pick and choose a potential partner online, for any reason or personal preference…This really blew the lid off of the American courtship rituals as they had existed for centuries….Today there are websites for every taste, gay, lesbian, transgender, you name it, there is already a web site for it…

Through the magic and sheer acceptance and universal availability of computers, the modern day young people, or “Millennial” can now potentially hook up with a compatible partner, no matter what their individual preferences are, and this new online dating has once and forever ineradicably changed the entire concept and established practices of the American courtship ritual… Some people even have cyber romances, and never even meet in person, but keep in touch through the use of Skype and Messenger and texting!

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Where does it all end? Who can say, with any degree of certainty…Are we better off now than in the “good old days?” …Again, who can say….It is an accepted truism that people tend to move forwards rather than backwards, so I sincerely doubt that we will ever go back to the way it was…

For better or worse, the combination of the birth control pill and the invention of the computer and subsequent rise in online dating has revolutionized the American courtship ritual forever….

Evolution Of American Dating Rituals/Then and Now/ Part 1

Every country has it’s own unique mating rituals, the elaborate romantic dance and the well known dating games, the approved protocol that allows people to get together, to hook up, to become a couple…I am an American, so I only know how it is in this country from personal experience, but I have read about other country’s rituals and protocols, and they are just as elaborate and stylized as a synchronized dance…

In this blog, I will concentrate on American courtship rituals, with an obligatory nod to the past…I have so much material to cover, I will be forced to put it into 2 blogs, so please bear with me and read both blogs, in order to get the full impact of the sweeping changes that engulfed and overwhelmed America ….Yesterday I wrote about online dating as the more modern way of people hooking up…This is the ideal, the real, and the back story….This is about how it all got started in America…

Channel 4 Gypsy wedding Josie aged 17 marries Swanley at Iver Church, Buckinghamshire
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In the very olden days, like medieval times, of course, there were mostly arranged marriages, with the future husband and wife “engaged” almost at birth….This was in an era when women were regarded as property, mere “chattel,”and when the marriage was duly performed, there was almost always a dowry involved, a dowry being defined by Merriam Webster dictionary as: “Money or property that a wife or wife’s family gives to her husband when the wife and husband marry in some cultures.”

These arranged marriages also usually involved the transfer or joining of property between the two families….This is how the earliest dynasties were founded, through strategic alliances, with the woman being a pawn in the scheming and pre-arranged match making by her family….

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In colonial times, The Puritans, sober sided, grim, asexual, and prim as we think of them, routinely engaged in a practice called “Bundling” which according to my Google sources is defined as: “Bundling, was the traditional practice of wrapping one person in a bed accompanied by another, usually as a part of courting behavior.

The tradition is thought to have originated either in the Netherlands or in the British Isles and later became common in Colonial America…. When used for courtship, the aim was “to allow intimacy without sexual intercourse”….Hmm-mm…I wonder how that worked out in practice?

“Traditionally, in Colonial America, participants were adolescents, with a boy staying at the residence of the girl. They were given separate blankets by the girl’s parents and expected to talk to one another through the night. The practice was limited to the winter and sometimes the use of a bundling board, placed between the boy and girl, discouraged sexual conduct.The best protection against sin were the parents, who were usually in the same room with them.

It may not have been good enough, however, as records indicate that up to one-third of couples engaged in premarital relations in spite of the public penalties, such as being fined and whipped, that often resulted.There was no dating per se in colonial times. A man would ask the parents for a young woman’s hand in marriage and once they agreed courting could begin.

The young couple had already determined that they were in love, of course. Parents would approve of bundling for their daughter with the man she intended to marry. Although it was not always this strictly controlled, it is clear that the women determined when and with whom bundling occurred. It provided the opportunity for some physical closeness in an otherwise strict, prim and basically asexual society.”

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As the years went by and women became more and more independent, the courtship rituals evolved into a process less formalized and more free flowing….As the Industrial Revolution took place more and more women moved away from their parents homes and, freed from their parents value systems, they now had the opportunity to live in their own places and work in factories to support themselves, and as they became more independent, and freed from their parents more rigid views of morality, their choices and options in dating increased..

From my Google sources: “After WWI women were just as anxious as the men to avoid returning to society’s rules and roles after the war. In the age of the “Gibson Girl,” young women did not date, they waited until a proper young man formally paid her interest with suitable intentions (i.e. marriage).

However, nearly a whole generation of young men had died in the war, leaving nearly a whole generation of young women without possible suitors. Young women decided that they were not willing to waste away their young lives waiting idly for spinsterhood; they were going to enjoy life.”

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Again, from my Google sources:”The “Younger Generation” was breaking away from the old set of values.In the 1920’s, a new woman was born. She smoked, drank, danced, and voted. She cut her hair, wore make-up, and went to petting parties. She was giddy and took risks. She was a flapper….

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The flapper attitude was characterized by stark truthfulness, fast living, and sexual behavior. Flappers seemed to cling to life as if it were to leave them at any moment. They took risks and were reckless.They wanted to be different, to announce their departure from the Gibson Girl’s morals. So they smoked, drank and partied unapolegetically, something only men had done previously. Their parents were shocked.

Smoking wasn’t the most outrageous of the flapper’s rebellious actions. Flappers drank alcohol. At a time when the United States had outlawed alcohol (Prohibition), young women were starting the habit early. Some even carried hip-flasks full so as to have it on hand. More than a few adults didn’t like to see tipsy young women.

Flappers had a scandalous image as the “giddy flapper, rouged and clipped, careening in a drunken stupor to the lewd strains of a jazz quartet.”The 1920’s was the Jazz Age and one of the most popular past-times for flappers was dancing. For the Younger Generation, the dances fit their fast-paced life-style.

For the first time since the train and the bicycle, a new form of faster transportation was becoming popular. Henry Ford’s innovations were making the automobile an accessible commodity to the people. Cars were fast and risky – perfect for the flapper attitude.

Flappers not only insisted on riding in them; they drove them….Unfortunately for their parents, flappers didn’t just use cars to ride in. The back seat became a popular location for the new popular sexual activity, petting. Others hosted petting parties. Flappers flaunted their sexuality. It was a radical change from their parents’ and grandparents’ generations”

It was the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning, depending on your point of view….Either way, social change was hurtling forward even faster, and the ever increasing emancipation of women played the key role in the ever changing mating rituals and courtship proceedings and dating games of the American society as a whole….

It was already like a run away train careening through the social and moral values of the country, ripping and tearing away the sheer, thin veneer of the fabric of the American moral landscape……..

Online Dating/Perils and Pitfalls

This blog is about a relatively new phenomenon, online dating….I will attempt a comprehensive, proper explanation of how deeply ingrained in the American courtship and dating rituals in the year 2015 that online dating specifically has become…This is a daring and unique technical and cultural innovation that our parents never had access to use when they were playing their version of the dating game……

I would say that most everybody has at least checked online dating out…According to Google statistics, over 40 million Americans have used an online dating services in their life…Furthermore, it is definitely on the increase, as more detailed statistics from the Pew Research Center indicate that: “Online dating peaks among people in their mid-20’s through mid-40’s. Some 22% of 25-34 year olds and 17% of 35-44 year olds have used an online dating site or mobile dating app. Indeed, 45-54 year olds are just as likely to date online as are 18-24 year olds (8% of 45-54 year olds and 10% of 18-24 year olds are online daters).

Online dating peaks among people in their mid-20’s through mid-40’s. Some 22% of 25-34 year olds and 17% of 35-44 year olds have used an online dating site or mobile dating app. Indeed, 45-54 year olds are just as likely to date online as are 18-24 year olds (8% of 45-54 year olds and 10% of 18-24 year olds are online daters).”

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The statistics don’t lie about the numbers and age groups involved, and perhaps an even more telling statistic is that most Americans no longer attach any stigma to online dating, and that from 2005 through 2013 the percentage of people who think online dating is a good way to meet people has risen, from 44% in 2005 to 59% in 2013! There is a song called  “Looking for love in all the wrong places.” It is a very real possibility that in our ever more growing reliance on cyber tools, online dating is here to stay!

Why this sudden upswing in computer dating? I can think of 3 good reasons right off the top……

1)We all live frantic, hurried busy lives in work world, and our jobs are vital to our economic survival… A lot of Americans, like me, have always followed the old Dear Abbey adage: “Don’t fish off the company dock,” which simply means don’t get involved with anybody you work with…That has always made perfect sense to me, because if a workplace romance goes sour, it poisons the whole work atmosphere; you still have to see the jilted ex lover every day, no matter who is responsible…This is doubly true if a boss is hitting on an underling, a lower ranking employee, who may turn around and sue the boss and the entire company for sexual harassment whether the romance takes off or flounders from the get go……There are several multi million dollar sexual harassment lawsuits going on in Silicon Valley right now, and the bad publicity alone is enough to scare most rational people away from this dating venue…

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2) Another reason is that many Americans, of both sexes, for whatever reasons, have dropped out of the alcohol culture completely, and no longer think it is a good idea or even appropriate to search out potential mates in the boozy, dimly lit bars and night clubs where our parents did most of their social mixing and mingling…

For example, I haven’t had a drink in almost 20 years, and the few times I have had occasion to visit a bar I was frankly horrified at the incredible overall loudness, the sheer volume of the bar, all the drunken jokes, the obvious and pathetic “moves” people were putting on each other, and the impossibly tight, crowded shoulder to shoulder closeness of the bars themselves…Drinking in a bar only makes sense if you are drunk…

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3) The drop off in religious church attendance, and again I quote Google statistics to bolster my point: According to the Hartford Institute of Religion Research: “More than 40 percent of Americans “say” they go to church weekly. As it turns out, however, less than 20 percent are actually IN church. In other words more than 80 percent of Americans are finding more fulfilling things to do on weekends.” This means meeting people at church related functions,  is also getting harder to do as fewer people attend church socials and get togethers anymore….

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If you can’t meet people at work, prefer not to patronize bars to meet likely matches, in times gone by you could always meet nice sober people in church…Now it seems increasingly obvious that church attendance, church socials and prayer meetings are not the answer either.

So what does that leave us? You guessed it, online dating! You can sit in the privacy of your own home without having to get entangled in workplace trysts, or dress up and spend money in a noisy crowded bar, or even have to give up your weekends going to church anymore…You can read hundreds and hundreds of online profiles and scan the pictures and encapsulated history of literally thousands of people, all from the comfort of your own home….

There are so many different dating sites and special interest groups that you are virtually guaranteed to find several potential matches online…The weird thing about internet dating, is that if you start exchanging letters with people you meet online, you inevitably end up reversing the usual dynamics of the dating traditional scene…

Here is the weird part…You end up with what I call “inside out” dating, where you spill your most intimate secrets in an email conversation or chat with the other person, before you ever meet them in person! Traditionally, you would meet and greet a person, size up their looks and attractiveness to you, and then if there was a mutual attraction you would start fishing around to get a realistic picture of their true personalities, by “getting to know one another” through a series of dates, before revealing your most intimate secrets and feelings…

In online dating, this process is reversed...

Due to the competition and the desire to hook up, people spill their guts out in a profile, usually display their best picture, encapsulate both their good and bad points, and specify exactly what they do or don’t want in a relationship… They often tell even their deepest darkest secrets on line to the other person before ever even meeting them in person!

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After all, they are still in the comfort of their own homes, and the fear of rejection is greatly lessened when either party can terminate the dating process with the flick of a finger on the keyboard, deleting entire conversations, and it is hard to get hurt that way…No scenes, no messy breakups…

Online dating has its advantages and it’s pitfalls, but one thing seems clear…It has become not only a staple but perhaps the future of dating, of how we meet, mix and mingle, and interact with other people, and I predict that it will become an even more permanent and ever growing fixture on the American social landscape and a staple in the new and ever evolving courtship rituals of Americans…

The Lion Killer

The media has been filled with news accounts of the recent killing for “sporting” purposes of an African lion by Minnesota dentist Robert Palmer, who has been called the “most hated man in the media” for going to Africa, and along with his hunting guides luring a local beloved lion named Cecil out of his game reserve, then shooting him with a crossbow…

The wounded lion endured 40 hours of pain before he was finally hunted down and dispatched by a rifle shot by Palmer….As it turns out, Cecil was a local celebrity, one of Africa’s most popular and well known lions and the star attraction at the Hwange national park in Zimbabwe, Africa.

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lion15BLOOMINGTON, MN - JULY 29:  Protesters call attention to the alleged poaching of Cecil the lion, in the parking lot of Dr. Walter Palmer's River Bluff Dental Clinic on July 29, 2015 in Bloomington, Minnesota. According to reports, the 13-year-old lion was lured out of a national park in Zimbabwe and killed by Dr. Palmer, who had paid at least $50,000 for the hunt. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

What compels people in this day and age to get their sick, twisted kicks out of killing a basically domesticated lion, or what drives them in general to act out this way?…This was a “thrill kill” by any measure of morality …This “great white hunter” was never in any physical danger at all, he was not defending his life, and he was not hunting for meat to feed his family…

The 13-year-old lion was wearing a GPS collar as part of an Oxford University research project that had been running since 1999, making it possible to trace his last movements. The lion was skinned and beheaded…The hunters tried to destroy the collar, but failed.

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Protestors gather outside Dr. Walter James Palmer's dental office in Bloomington, Minn., Wednesday, July 29, 2015. Palmer reportedly paid $50,000 to track and kill Cecil, a black-maned lion, just outside Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)lion25

According to my Google sources, it can be thought of as a demonstration of power and prestige, according to Amy Fitzgerald, a sociologist at the University of Windsor. In 2003, Fitzgerald and Linda Kalof of Michigan State published research in the sociology journal Visual Studies in which they analyzed 792 “hero shots” — the post-kill photo of hunter and prey — published in 14 popular hunting magazines.

Most of the shots, Fitzgerald recalls, seemed to be arranged to show the hunter’s dominance over the animal. “The hunter tended to be pictured above standing or sitting above the animals, which clearly demonstrated the power dynamic that was going on there,” Fitzgerald said.

In the vast majority of photos she and Kalof examined, the animal had been cleaned up, blood scrubbed away and wounds carefully hidden from view, making the animal look almost alive — as if the hunter had somehow tamed this giant, wild creature into submission. “It seems like, with the large animals, they were positioning them as though they were alive as a way to confirm the contest that had gone on — that this was a large virile animal that had to be taken down,” Fitzgerald said.

I can only concludes that this is some sick, twisted attempt at validating the courage of the hunter, of demonstrating that with the aid of modern weapons he can indeed track down and kill wild animals…The advantage of course, is all on the hunter’s side, and there is little if any actual risk to him…No, it is all about the thrill, the rush of adrenaline, the feeling of power surging through the hunter’s brain when he murders an animal….

It is a primitive, ego driven show of force and power over mostly defenseless animals raised mostly on game preserves…Palmer paid $50,000 for the privilege, so it is obvious that this is a sad, almost psychopathic demonstration of a rich white man, proof that he is a “great white hunter” and his demonstration of dominance over animals that is hate fueled, antiquated and meaningless in this day and age…..

Palmers love of hunting is well-documented online. In 2009, he was interviewed by the New York Times about his slaying of an elk that was touted as a kill for the archery record books. In 2008, Palmer pleaded guilty in federal court in Wisconsin to misleading a federal agent in connection with the hunting of a black bear. Two years earlier, Palmer killed a bear near Phillips, in Price County. That location was 40 miles outside where he held a permit to hunt bear….Palmer is, after all, a member of Safari Club International, a nonprofit “hunters rights”organization; the Safari Club website has a list of Palmers 43 kills, which include, among other things, a polar bear.

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But the legal problem isn’t that Palmer paid a lot of money to hunt a lion, it’s that he didn’t pay enough money, he paid it to the wrong people, and he killed the wrong lion. As far as can be determined, Palmer screwed up by using dodgy guides who in turn used illegal practices to lure an animal that should have been off-limits for many reasons, including that it lived on protected land and that was part of an Oxford research project.

In a public statement Palmer has said, “He believed his guides were on the up-and-up and that all his permits were in order,” but he should have been more meticulous about checking out the legitimacy of the operation, especially since he already had a felony record for botching a bear hunt. It’s unclear how much he was involved in the coverup when it became clear that the lion was not a legitimate target.

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But it still comes down to the basic fact that Palmer is a “thrill killer”…Poaching is an extremely severe problem in Africa, but at least there is an economic reason; poachers are doing it to make money for their often impoverished families…If there were no market, there would be no poachers…

But Palmer PAID $50,000 for the privilege, he did it simply because he could, because he feels superior to animals, because he truly feels that he is entitled as a rich white man to kill any animal he pleases…Because it makes him feel like a “real man”….A Pennsylvania doctor named Jan Seski has also become well known for his “manly” kills, and there are many more just like these  animal thrill killers…

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We can only hope that the Robert Palmers and Jan Seskis of the world are themselves an endangered species, that other people, no matter how rich, that decorate their homes with dead animal “trophies” be exposed for the twisted sickos they are, and that legislation stopping anything but camera safaris in Africa and around the world should be passed and strictly enforced…We are all animals after all, and carnivores like lions or tigers must kill to eat, for food for their families, to sustain their own lives…

But the sad fact is that in all the animal kingdom, only humans kill for sport….

California Drought, Forest Fires And Greenhouse Gas Effects

As most of you probably know, California is in the 4th year of a massive drought…Rainfall has been negligible, even in the usual wet winter months and huge areas of California, especially in the Northern wooded areas and down South by LA have been severely affected….In today’s SF Chronicle for Monday, August 3 the front page headlines were “Lake County Fire Doubles.” Some 12,000 people had to be evacuated and 24 homes were burned to the ground….My family in Lake County just recently moved out, thank goodness and are out of harm’s way, at least for this particular disaster!

This personal brush with disaster has really increased my concerns about global warming as a whole, it is perhaps THE most significant issues of our day…I have spent time visiting Lake County many times over the last 5 years, so this recent fire really brought the issue home to me, converting it from an abstract concept to a visceral, emotional reaction of fear and concern…I live in San Francisco, and it is a city of stone and concrete and obviously safe from forest fires, but the ramifications of climate change will eventually impact us all…

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In Lake County, California alone, which is a small county, some 54,000 acres were scorched near Clear Lake, a popular fishing, boating, and camping recreational area….The power of the fire is awesome….According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection; “The fire….burned all night long at an explosive rate. Within a 5 hour period, this fire consumed 20, 000 acres…That’s a historic, unprecedented amount of acreage burned by a fire in such a short amount of time.”

“This fire is the biggest but only one of four forest fires burning in Northern California right now…Almost 2,000 firefighters set out with help from 19 helicopters, 56 bulldozers and four air tankers that drop water on the fire to get a handle on the blaze while other resources, including air support from the California National Guard, poured in from around the state….Spokesmen from the Forestry Department stated that “The grass, the brush, the trees-they are tinder dry….You add a little wind to it, and that’s allowing this fire to be explosive in size.”

“About 6300 more structures continued to be threatened while 12,00 people were impacted by mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders…Many nervous, frightened residents had to take shelter at nearby local high schools as they feared for their lives and worried about their property, their beloved pets and helpless livestock…

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Statewide, almost 9,000 firefighters are battling about two dozen major wildfires, mostly in Northern California…Jerry Brown, the Governor of California, declared a state of emergency Friday to free up additional fire fighting funds to help battle the blazes feeding on the state’s landscape that has been devastated by four years of drought”….At least one firefighter has died already….

We all know that forest fire are natures way of controlling it’s habitat, but this particular batch of forest fires are especially virulent and these deadly forest fores we are undergoing now are directly related to the emission of green house gasses, polluting the atmosphere….According to my Google sources, “On average, more than 100,000 wildfires, also called wild land fires or forest fires, clear 4 million to 5 million acres (1.6 million to 2 million hectares) of land in the U.S. every year.”

However, “In recent years, wildfires have burned up to 9 million acres (3.6 million hectares) of land. A wildfire moves at speeds of up to 14 miles an hour (23 kilometers an hour), consuming everything—trees, brush, homes, even humans—in its path. “Enormous fires pump a large amount of carbon dioxide quickly into the atmosphere,” “This can complicate efforts to understand our carbon budget and ultimately fight global warming.

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Carbon dioxide emissions from fires pose a significant challenge as policymakers focus on limiting greenhouse gases because of concerns over climate change. Fires are likely to become more frequent and widespread as temperatures warm around much of the globe, which means that more carbon dioxide may be released into the atmosphere. The fires could complicate efforts to rely on forests to help absorb carbon dioxide.”

A recent study shows that: “It found that over time, the planet is running a surplus of energy at the surface, causing global air and ocean temperatures to increase with a wide variety of mostly negative impacts…Before this study, scientists already knew that the energy balance was tilted in the direction of a growing surplus, but they lacked precise measurements at the surface. The researchers were also able to trace this energy surplus mainly to man made emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases through the burning of fossil fuels.

The global average carbon dioxide concentration is close to 400 parts per million, up from 280 parts per million at the start of the industrial revolution. Carbon dioxide concentrations are now higher than they have been throughout all of human history, and they are increasing at a rate of about 2.1 parts per million per year, according to the study. Each spring, plants pulled more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, temporarily lowering amounts detected at each station, only to release more of the gas back into the air in the fall.

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Death Toll Passes 100 As Bushfires Sweep Through Victoria...CHRISTMAS HILLS, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 09:   Burnt out carsare seen following the bushfires that swept through the region on February 9, 2009 in Christmas Hills, Australia. Victoria Police have revised the bushfire disaster death toll to 131, the worst in Australia's history. (Photo by Lucas Dawson/Getty Images)fires29

So what happens when there are no more trees or plants left, such as these massive forest fires in California which are destroying acres upon acres of greenery, to convert the carbon dioxide back into oxygen? It is a simple, natural fact...Trees and plants, through photosynthesis, absorb carbon dioxide and convert it into oxygen for us to breathe… Without our trees and plants, we will all suffocate, humans, animals, even the greedy 1%…Nobody  is immune from nature’s wrath!

Unfortunately as the green house gas emissions continue to pollute the atmosphere and make the weather whack all over the world, (even the Pope agrees with this scientific fact!) the uber greedy 1% and their Republican shills and spin doctors in Congress continue to make excuses and shift the blame for these extremely aberrant world wide weather patterns to natural causes….This is of course a blatant lie, and the majority of governments across the world are trying to band together and limit, control and eventually ban green house gases permanently…

This is not theory, this is not even an issue open to debate or discussion anymore, greenhouse gas emissions MUST be severely curbed or stopped immediately or we will all of us, the human race, perish…And to think, we will have done it to ourselves through inaction, indifference, and ignoring the insane greed of the 1% to squeeze out a few more millions of dollars for themselves! Even the dinosaurs were not that stupid!

Living The Inner Life

I have always lived the inner life, for better or worse…That means to me that I spend an inordinate amount of time inside my own head, compared to most people…I am a dreamer, a writer, a musician, an avid book reader, a philosopher of sorts, and do not concern myself or interact with the outside world as much as most people do…I guess you could classify me as a loner, because I do not tend to congregate with large groups of people at all if I can help it…I find it mentally and emotionally draining….

As a matter fact, although I do have a small circle of very good friends,  I am truly blessed to have such good neighbors as friends in my small  apartment complex, as well as some friends from my previous incarnations as a participant in work world, and some just people I see in the stores or shops whenever I venture outside…If I go to the Safeway, the local food supermarket, or the nearby Taco Bell for my weekly treat, I always seek out the same checker or worker every time, and over the years I have become friends with them as well…

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innerdirected700-01345695 © Noel Hendrickson Model Release: Yes Property Release: Yes Model & Property Release Portrait of Supermarket Cashier

I do not feel lonely, or isolated, although the recent death of my cat was a severe blow to this mental equanimity, and I am still adjusting to that, but it is like I just do not have the time to socialize with other people just to socialize…I have always been this way, but now that I have been retired for 3 years it is more marked and noticeable….

It is not that I do not like people, in fact I like them very much, but rather that I have so little time in my day to fritter away on the social ramble…..I thoroughly enjoy the time I do spend with my friends, those that I let into my inner circle, those that I have empathy with and can be myself around, without fear of criticism or judgment…

I am inner directed, as opposed to outer, or other directed …. According to the dictionary, inner directed means specifically that I am “Guided by internalized values rather than external pressures; that I am guided by my own conscience and values rather than external pressures to conform.” To me, this is not only a good thing but also the only way to be, because I see things from the inside out, rather than from the outside in…

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The majority of people in our society are other directed, or as it says in the dictionary, they are “Guided by a set of values that is derived from current trends or outward influences rather than from within oneself, or guided by values derived from external influences.” To me, this just means that they cannot or willfully choose not to think for themselves and are just following whatever trend, fashion, or opinion that is popular at the time….Apparently there was once a third group, called “ a tradition-directed culture.”

As per my Google sources: “In his book, The Lonely Crowd, David Riesman writes: They trace the evolution of society from a tradition-directed culture, one that moved in a direction defined by preceding generations. Tradition-directed social types obeyed rules established a long time in the past and rarely succeeded in modern society, with its dynamic changes.

This earliest social type was succeeded by people who were inner-directed. They discovered the potential within themselves to live and act not according to established norms but based on what they discovered using their own inner gyroscope. Inner-directed people live as adults what they learned in childhood, and tend to be confident, sometimes rigid.”

“After the Industrial Revolution in America had succeeded in developing a middle-class state, institutions that had flourished within the tradition-directed and the inner-directed social framework became secondary to daily life. How to define one’s self became a function of the way others lived.

Gradually an other-direction took hold, that is, the social forces of how others were living -what they consumed, what they did with their time, what their views were toward politics, work, play, and so on. Riesman and his researchers found that other-directed people were flexible and willing to accommodate others to gain approval.

Because large organizations preferred this type of personality, it became indispensable to the institutions that thrived with the growth of industry in America.The other-directed person wants to be loved rather than esteemed, not necessarily to control others but to relate to them. Those who are other-directed need assurance that they are emotionally in tune with others.”

Riesman’s book argues that although other-directed individuals are crucial for the smooth functioning of the modern organization, the value of autonomy is compromised. The Lonely Crowd also argues that society dominated by the other-directed faces profound deficiencies in leadership, individual self-knowledge, and human potential”

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Well there it is, and I thought that I was the only one! I do not need the assurance that I am emotionally in tune with others, I do not need the stamp of approval from others to function…I lead a rich, full life inside my head, and I would much prefer to socialize with a small crowd of a few intimate friends, generally one at a time in my personal lives…I do like to check out what other people are doing , but I do not feel bound by others opinions or viewpoints…

Instead I treasure my “alone” time, when i can charge up my emotional and mental batteries, and like I said, there is always so much to do that I am never bored or have time to feel lonely…I am very close to my family and a few close friends, and for me, that love and affection is all that I need…It is enough….

I live inside my own head, and I am comfortable in my own skin, and I hope that you too are comfortable no matter what group of people you identify with, be it tradition directed, other directed, or inner directed…

To each his own…. As a wise philosopher named Aratak once said: “Leave onto others their otherness.”

Empathy, Intuition and Vibes: What Do They Mean?

Empathy and intuition are powerful components of the human brain….. We all have them in some degree but are often confused and conflicted by seemingly contradictory feelings….Empathy is the ability to really feel the other persons emotional energy, or vibes….Intuition is that certain recognition of what to do with this knowledge….I can tell within 5 minutes of meeting a person if I am going to like them or not…I have always had this ability, and it has always proven true in my life…

Some scientists estimate that we use only 10% of our minds most of the time, although there are other debunkers and scientific trash talkers who dispute this fact…But science has never been able to accurately measure emotions…How could they? The truth is that most people DO only use a small part of their brain for everyday functions, such as driving, cooking, eating, going to work or school etc….The other part of their brains lay dormant, unused and often overlooked or when these feelings come up they are just dismissed outright as crazy thoughts or silly notions…

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Grandmother comforting granddaughter --- Image by © Tomas Rodriguez/Corbisempathy5

Empathy can be a double edged sword, because if you are truly blessed with the gift of empathy, and not everybody is, you can feel the other person’s emotional vibrations to the point of feeling their pain and anguish, their sorrows and misgivings, as well as their joy and happiness, their euphoria and ecstasy…

You are as one with them, not in a telepathic literal ability to “read your mind” sense but in an emotional sensitivity that transcends most ordinary human interactions….In other words, “you get them” and hopefully they “get” you too….

It is an ideal situation if you are empathetic with your loved ones and your life partner, because then you are truly blessed, and you can live a life of harmonious balance…

It may be just a glance, a touch of a hand, a sigh, a whisper, but you are instantly attuned to your loved one, you feel what they feel, you know what they know, what they are thinking, you can anticipate their wants and fulfill their needs without them actually saying a word….If your partner and loved one share your gift of empathy, you are guaranteed a happy, successful life….

On the other hand, it can also be a curse and a burden to walk into a room, or a crowded elevator, or a packed subway, or a crowded street and be almost overwhelmed by the outpouring of grief, anger and hatred that most people manage to keep bottled up inside of themselves most of their lives…

The vibrations, or “vibes” you feel in such situations can literally take your breath away, they are energy suckers, often without even knowing it…. Of course these people are doomed to live miserable lives, but since they are not truly in touch with their feelings, or have just given up and don’t care,they never realize it until it is too late to do anything about it…

--- Executives crowded into elevator --- Image by © Chuck Savage/Corbisempathy16

In this Aug. 7, 2013 photo, passengers ride a crowded subway train in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Chests squashed flat against backs, hours a day, every day. That's the daily commute for the 8 million citizens who ride the subway and bus lines each day in Sao Paulo, South America's largest city. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)empathy17

According to my Google sources, “Empathy is the ability to see the world as another person, to share and understand another person’s feelings, needs, concerns and/or emotional state:” Find more information at: http://www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/empathy.html#ixzz3hPOoHVuB….Empathy is a selfless act that enables us to learn more about people and relationships with people – it is a desirable skill beneficial to ourselves, others and society.   Phrases such as ‘being in your shoes’ and ‘soul mates’ imply empathy. Empathy has even been likened to a spiritual or religious state of connection with another person or group of people. If this interests you, find more at: http://www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/empathy.html#ixzz3hPPv33SF…..

According to these Google sources, Intuition can be defined in the dictionary as: “The need to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.” And also, “Intuition is a process that gives us the ability to know something directly without analytic reasoning, bridging the gap between the conscious and non conscious parts of our mind, and also between instinct and reason.”

Or, to define it further, intuition is a sub conscious, non logical part of our brain: “The conscious is an expert at logic and will use it relentlessly. Conversely, the unconscious mind searches through the past, present, and future and connects with hunches and feelings in a nonlinear way. Its process is cryptic to the logical mind, as it defies the conventional laws of time and space.”

There you have it! Utilizing those parts of our brain that most people are either unaware of or deny or suppress is the key to being empathetic, the ability to be intuitive, the recognition of “picking up the vibes” that other people are transmitting daily every minute of every hour of every day…Most people are not even aware that they are broadcasting their thoughts, but I have always found it very uncomfortable, s noted above, to be in a packed elevator in a high rise, a crowded subway or sidewalk just and be bombarded, almost overwhelmed by all these vibes in such a small, confined area…

But it is this basic knowledge, this certainty that in itself defies scientific analysis, because by definition empathy and intuition are not objective, not measured on a result based system for scientists to observe and record, but rather an unconscious summary of all that we know, feel and observe on almost a psychic level, all the knowledge about the person we are talking or interacting with at the time…

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So to summarize, if we have the gift of empathy and intuition, we are blessed and cursed at the same time….We can really feel and share another persons emotions, their griefs and sorrow, their joy and elation, and often we can help them find their way through a path of seemingly contradictory (to them) emotions…We can help them traverse the emotional minefields and self destructive behavior they would otherwise blunder into, and enrich both them and ourselves at the same time…

If you have the gift of empathy, if you trust your intuition, if you are skilful enough and aware enough to pick up other people’s vibes, you can count yourself as blessed, because you have both the inner knowledge to help them and the responsibility that comes with it…

Use your knowledge wisely….You were given these gifts for a reason…

Grief: How To Deal With It

As human beings, we are an emotional species, running the gamut from ecstasy to despair and grief…Today I was thinking about the nature of grief, a very strong and powerful emotion in humans, and was surprised to find out that other animal species experience grief as well…

Actually this should come as no surprise, since we are only animals ourselves, and the emotional mind set we have evolved from would explain this phenomenon…Grief in humans can be a cathartic experience, we must go through the stages of grief to cleanse our minds of the tragedy or loss that produced the grief in the first place...

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I personally have been feeling grief stricken at the death of my cat, whom I loved and cherished for over 16 years….I have already written an account of my feelings, a eulogy of sorts here about a week ago, but every day produces a fresh reminder of my loss…I realize that this does not compare in many people’s minds with the death of another human being, but in many ways my cat and me were closer than a lot of human beings, and that there are all kinds of grief…But I find that I am not alone in my grief…

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According to my Google sources: “Every person on this earth experiences tragedy and loss. Nobody is excluded from the painful feeling of grief. It is a disorienting experience. It takes away our identity and our own understanding of self.” I learned that there are 3 phases to healthy recovery after a loss….

1) “First, we exit our old life. Our loss forces us to leave behind the life we’ve been living. The normal routines of everyday life are disrupted. Some people believe that where we end up after that push-out of the old life is the next phase of life. But unfortunately, that’s not true. In this confused and lonely state, we only end up in the space between two lives.”

2) “Second, we begin living in a gap between lives — the life we left behind and the life we have yet to enter. I like to call this space the Waiting Room. When we’re in the Waiting Room, we’re still attached to the past — which is already gone forever – even as we’re trying to figure out what the future looks like. In this place, we struggle with our new reality, thinking that it is our new life. We are unable to see ourselves clearly and make
decisions as we used to. The brain’s ability to plan and reason is temporarily gone.

3) “Third, we begin to experiment with our new life. This is perhaps the scariest aspect of life after loss, because so much is unknown and has been taken on faith. Little by little, we begin stepping out of the Waiting Room and entering a new reality. We start to do this early on, even though we haven’t fully landed in the new life yet.

While these three phases address life after loss, the important things to look at for recovery are what happens to the mind… The trauma of any event that slams the door shut on an aspect of the past — a divorce or a death — leaves its mark on the brain. We are left with uncertainty. We don’t yet know what life will be like. We are afraid to take action and start over. Ultimately it is not the grief that stops us from starting life over, but fear of losing that life all over again.”

So those are the 3 main stages of grief in humans, and how as human being we compensate for our loss and move through the stages of grief…We must learn to accept what happened, we must deal with a certain period of waiting time and we must then overcome our uncertainty, our fears and doubts, and begin reliving our lives….I am trying to deal with that now, and I am probably still in the first stages of grief; I am in the space between my old life and my new one…They say time heals all wounds, and I know for a fact that this is true, but obviously, time takes time, so there really is no quick fix to grief…

Some people drown themselves in alcohol and drugs, throw themselves into a frenzied round of work, outside activities and events to muffle their grief, to try and deny it’s very existence, but this is a band aid, a stop gap temporary fix to our problems and not a real solution to the deep seated feelings of grief, which is a deeply emotional process we must all work through…

What my grief research turned up was somewhat of a surprise, in that so many animal species feel grief too…For example, again according to my Google sources:” Sea lion mothers, watching their babies being eaten by killer whales, wail pitifully, anguishing their loss. Dolphins have been seen struggling to save a dead infant and mourn afterward. Among the best examples are grieving rituals of elephants in the wild….

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Zoo M¸nster - Gorilla-Mutter Gana mit ihrem toten Sohn Claudio, der im Alter von drei Monaten gestorben ist 17.08.2008 muenster gorilla baby claudio ( 3 monate ) ist verstorben . mutter gana ( 11 ) trauert um ihr kind und traegt es immer hinter sich her bzw auf dem ruecken .   E.T. 18.08.2008 Bild Bund / © grief20

To quote Joyce Poole: “As I watched Tonie´s vigil over her dead newborn, I got my first very strong feeling that elephants grieve. I will never forget the expression on her face, her eyes, her mouth, the way she carried her ears, her head, and her body. Every part of her spelled grief.  “Young elephants who saw their mothers being killed often wake up screaming.”

And finally, “Gorillas are known to hold wakes for dead friends…As reported by local news, gorilla family members “one by one … filed into” the room where “Babs’s (the deceased gorilla) body lay,” approaching their “beloved leader” and “gently sniffing the body.”

So it seems that we as humans are not alone in our feelings of grief, of loss, of anguish, of despair at the loss of a loved one…In fact it seems to be a universal constant amongst all sentient creatures, and is yet another reason why we as humans should stop being so arrogant as to assume animals are just dumb brutes, incapable of emotion…

The fact remains, we are all animals, after all….