Whoever whups it up the best for one minute, we’ll let them continue, or let loose the lions.
As 2018 sputters to a halt and the dawn of 2019 appears on the horizon, I am minded of many hopes and dreams that I have invested in the coming year. This year has been one of awakening and as a result, it’s been a year of wild discontent. What do my hopes and dreams for 2019 include? #1: Financial Security- I need a job ( a career, really) that will allow me to pay my bills and make my own way in this world. My current job as a retail associate is not only unsatisfying, but after four years of hard work and zero opportunities for advancement, it’s been emotionally heartbreaking and psychologically deadening. I need to go out and live on my own again. #2: Social Life- I love my church and my coworkers are generally pleasant to work with, but every time the day ends, I go home to my green room full of books and walls that have icons on the wall. That is all very well, but it increases the loneliness factor. Few coworkers advance in grade to that of friends and that may be expected, but disappointing. I need to get into a situation where I’m with people who want to socialize with me and who are not forced to just so they can get a paycheck. #3: Romantic Involvement- See social life. I’ve been single for far too long and my eyes might alight on inappropriate situations for a man of my age and experience. Loneliness can greatly cloud and obscure one’s better judgment. I’m sick of being alone, but I won’t settle for another toxic relationship that will end in a period between three months and seven years. #4: Travel- I would like to travel to New York or Boston sometime this year. Most of my travels heretofore have been confined to the South and I am a little curious about what the food and culture of the North is like. #5: Weight Loss- I intend to embark on an exercise regimen that will allow me to lose weight and perhaps develop needed confidence to work for all those things I’ve mentioned earlier. #6: Inner Peace- The turmoil that has built up in me since 2014 has got to go. I’m going to continue in therapy and perhaps increase my meditation. I’ll start expecting more from myself and less from others. These are all realistic goals. I will have to work to achieve them, but I’m willing to do the work. When 2020 comes around, I hope to be a bit more evolved in my thinking and assertive in my attitude.
The World Is Changing … These days, I think that we can all agree that the world is changing. Not only are we changing as people in terms of the way we think and how we act, but we are changing our behaviors and what we find valuable and important as well. Several years ago, many people would not have thought twice about smoking a cigarette, it was something that was accepted, and dare I say, even cool. But now, times have changed. People are becoming more and more conscious of what they doing on a day-to-day basis. Many people are trying to stay positive and happy, to work out and not only look good, but feel good as well. Health and wellness has taken a huge upturn in the right direction, and overall, it seems that many people and the entire world as a whole is going through a type of shift, an awakening shift if you want to get technical. Now, what this all boils down to is the world is not like it was 100 years ago, it is not like it was 25 years ago, and it’s not even like it was 10 years ago. Today, on the cusp of 2019, the majority of people are changing and deciding that they want to do better, both for themselves, for their children, and for their children’s children. Veganism – The Beginning Of A New Era While people changing what they say and what they think is one thing, it is not everything. The most influential thing that has changed as of late, more than anything else, is what people are choosing to eat and cook. What once was common practice (eating meat), is now, for many people, disgusting and grotesque. What once was something that not many people thought much about (drinking milk that comes from a cow), is now something that many people think twice about, and others just refuse to do altogether. Yes, what I am talking about is veganism. Veganism is truly the dawn of the new day. It is the next revolution and the start of something big. The reason why veganism is such a big deal is because it is not just about a specific diet, or a choice for someone to eat meat, dairy, etc. or not, it is an entire lifestyle and mindset change. Veganism says a lot, not only about the world we are living in, but about the people in it as well. To be fair, for the greater part of history, especially in this country, people were pleasure-based. They did what felt good at the moment, and what they wanted to do to feel good later and for as long as possible. They did whatever they needed to do in order to quell their burning desires for pleasure. All that anyone wanted to do was to feel good, and that meant at whatever cost necessary. While it worked out well for a while, especially during the pleasure-seeking phase of the 80’s, there were costs to this self-validating behavior. Not only did people find themselves getting too much too soon, but they found themselves with so much excess, they didn’t know what to do with themselves. They started to gain weight, get sick, and become more and more unhappy. The environment was also suffering, animals were dying, pollution was rampant, and crime started to increase. This was until a new ideal started to come along, the ideal that maybe too much excess is not really a good idea. That maybe less is more and better is not always seeking the most pleasure possible. This is when the minimalism movement crept in, smoking cigarettes became something that was not only ‘not cool,’ but actually, pretty bad. Many people started to realize that the secret to happiness was not in pleasure-seeking, but in helping others and even doing without sometimes. While not everyone is on this wavelength currently, there are many people that are. And, this specific vibe has continued on and grown much bigger as time moves along. First, it was all about excess, then it switched to being about simplicity, then mindfulness, and now veganism. While veganism is a certain way of eating, it is actually much more than that, and that is why it is the start of this new world that we are all living in, the end of pleasure-seeking, and the beginning of introspection. Veganism As A Mindset So, here we are today. After the long history that we have had in this country pertaining to excess and gimme more, more, more, many people have taken it upon themselves to do less, less, less. They want to look good, they want to feel even better, and they care not only about what they obtain, but who they help; and this is the vegan way. Even if the majority of people are not vegan now, they are still mindful of their place in the world and the effect that they are having on the environment and the animals and people in it. A vegan mindset is that the world is not only about me, but about you and I, and us as one. In it’s true definition, veganism is defined as consuming or using no animal products. That means, no meat, chicken, fish, dairy products, eggs, or even honey. So, anything that comes from an animal or is an animal is off-limits to a vegan. And, the reasonings for this are varied and widespread, but the choice is clear. When someone refuses to eat or use any animal product, they are making a statement. Even if they are doing it for purely health reasons, they are making a statement that they are not going to participate in the killing or needless torture of any living being. With veganism, there is no reason to eat or use any animal products when we humans can survive on other foods. Really, what’s the point? And, if someone says because it tastes good, well, then they just aren’t getting the point of the new world that we live in, and the idea that we are no longer a pleasure-based narcissistic society, but one that is rooted in caring for others and helping each other whenever possible. So, take it upon yourself to educate yourself on what you mean to the world and the living beings in it. What do you want to be defined by? That is truly one of the most important questions you could ask yourself. Fruits and vegetables, the cornerstone of a vegan diet
Principle 4: A free society cannot be maintained without religion. How can that be? Just some laws will do. Not quite. It seems we have a huge presence of Atheists coming out to proclaim their status. Some of them even have channels on YouTube. To be fair, not a lot of their material seems to be about religion. I’d even say that they seem to be principled, which is good but, you’re not about to espouse the immorality of a heathen unless you want to scare away an audience. It would appear that a lot of people today who talk of the Constitution, don’t really know the original writers placed a very important emphasis on religion. It goes back to the 2nd Congress close to the birth of the nation, 1787, when the Constitution was written and approved. They saw how important religion was in their day and how important it would be in our own. In another famous document, ‘The Northwest Ordinance,’ they gave a clear indication of that in Article 3. Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education, shall forever be encouraged. Another solid article of the Ordinance was the prohibition of slavery and servitude in any new lands established under the government. Of course, the Founders were also slaveholders, but knew they were wrong, as putting together a document that put forth arguments for all peoples’ freedom taught them. However, no one of them wanted to impose their, or any, religion over others and other denominations, but instead realized that they all hold some universal fundamentals. Ben Franklin’s proclamation as put to Yale’s president, Ezra Stiles sounds as though it could applicable as such; I believe in one God, the Creator of the universe. That he governs it by his providence. That he ought to be worshiped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is in doing good for his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. It does not seem to be too far out for even the most atheistic, and religious critics. Let’s take a look up. See all the blackness out there in that night sky? Show me the life. There’s nothing out there. You believe in aliens?? Well, I’ve heard a few astronomers and scientists say that it took hundreds of billions of things to all happen at once in perfect sync for this planet to come about and start to produce life. That is the single most important fact to drill into these industrialists’ and elitists’ heads. When it’s gone, it’s gone. When it can no longer heal itself, it’s gone. Most of the wealth in this country, and indeed the world, came from oil. They are not well. If they can’t bath in the finest spring waters coming out of a one-hundred percent pure gold statue so it’s fit enough to wash their teeny tiny penile, at all their mansions all over the world, they might die. (Sorry, got tired of being nice.) As good citizens, we need to help them live like the rest of us, or they will, ever more quickly, kill us all. Or, you can let them kill you, what should I care? Well, if I take Ben Franklin’s creed seriously, I should care very much. Nothing wrong with religion now, is there? Working at more places in my life than I care to mention, I have witnessed even much, much more acts of the lowly than I care to recall. For years, I wondered how can these people be so devious against other people whom they hardly know? How can they do nasty things to people who have never done anything to them? All the nasty stuff, the spreading of rumors and lies, the misguidance, the setups, the scapegoating, on and on. But, everyone grows up different. What I see today is a sea of narcissism, an endless cadre of the self-righteous. I see those who much more readily recognize the sins of others than their own. I thought it was just me but, perhaps I’m not so wrong. I saw an interview with a few scholars who believe that narcissism is, in fact, an alarming problem today. A professor from the University of Georgia wrote a book on it. Most likely, neither gained traction. A lot of what may pass our eyes on the great spindle of life, we would care not to acknowledge, just hope that we get away with our misgivings and others do not. But, somehow I know the piper will be paid-one way or the other. The Founders believed if we had religion and morality as a course of education and life knowledge that we, could instead, be all happy. I think I have come full circle in this. I believe they were right.