What Benefits Do You Create For Others?
I’m not asking: What is your job or what is your position? I’m not interested in titles like “plumber,” “doctor,” “teacher,” or “Mother.”
When you’re feeling down about yourself, or when you’re feeling a lack of creative motivation, consider not focusing so much on the questions of: What is my job? or What is my duty?
Instead, ask yourself: What positive benefits do I create for others through my actions? Don’t be indirect. Be direct.
When you better understand the benefits and pleasantries you create for others, then you may be able to better measure the qualities of your actions and prioritize them.
The artwork atop this post is by *1102.
© All rights reserved by *1102.
Hoping To Be Loved Just The Way You Are
There’s a word to describe people who think “being in love” means finding a rare someone who loves you “just the way you are” – where you don’t have to change major parts of your life, personality, drives, or appetites to please or accommodate middle ground solutions with your loved ones. The word is: ”Single.”
I don’t mean just “single” in terms of “not married.” I mean single in the broader definition of: Not partnered.
I know many socially talented friends who’ve been in pleasant relationships a long time. All of these people, without exception, are flexible, adaptable, reasonable, and attentive. ”True love” may require becoming something other than who you would be if you were single. If you were single, then no one would care or be effected if you did everything “your way,” following only your “true self.” But being a part of a couple or other significant social group (to the degrees I’ve observed) requires becoming some things that are not innately you – things you would not be or do otherwise. There are many changes people in long-term loving relationships make only because they’ve agreed to adapt some of their actions for the common good of the partnership.
I’m not suggesting being partnered is better than being single. I’m not saying people who look to be loved “just the way they are” are flawed or inferior.
But I am saying: If your cognitive perception of “ideal love” is finding a special person who chooses you as a partner and is capable of loving you “just the way you are,” you may be setting up a mental framework that may be either: a) nowhere to be found, or b) too rigid, and therefore not ssstainable within healthy behavior patterns.
There can be dangers on both ends of this issue. A person can lose themself and their identity, changing too much to accommodate someone else. And a person can be too demanding by refusing to change and requiring their significant other to dramatically adapt to their ways. Both extremes can be bad for an individual or a partnership. But every long-term partnership I’ve personally observed has involved each partner making many changes they would not have made if they’d remained single.
The artwork atop this post is by Lina Scheynius.
© All rights reserved by Lina Scheynius.
Rep. House Speaker John Boehner this week said the US has “the best health care delivery system in the world.” – July 1, 2012, on Face The Nation.
Rep. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said on Fox News Sunday the US has “the finest health care system in the world.”
Any healthcare system where ultra rich people participate in all its benefits while the poor and disabled are refused health insurance and medical assistance is not remotely close to the best health care system in the world. Any system that places a bankruptcy-causing financial burden on those who are unluckily sick or ill, is not the best health care system in the world. Any health system where rising costs are unregulated and rising at percentage rates faster than the general public’s ability to pay is not the best health care system in the world. I’m not a big politico, but these two Republican leaders would have us believe little change is needed in the current US healthcare system.
American political party leaders from both major parties have become caricatures on the opposite ends. Their rhetoric is overstated and overly broad, easily disabled by the opposition. It’s numbing to people of common sense.
The above artwork is by Paula Aparicio.
© All rights reserved by Paula Aparicio.
A long time reader emailed me this question today:
A: Thank you for the kind question. The answers are complex and many. I’ll begin with some anecdotes.
You know how sometimes: Haters gotta hate? Well, on the opposing end of the spectrum: Creators gotta create. What I mean is: For some people, like me, life gains context, memories, and meaning through the regular creation of interactive artworks. For some artists, the process of creating things for public consideration is an act of love. Like “kindness” is “love with its work boots on,” sometimes making the regular, repeated conscious choice “to artistically create” is the opposite of hate.
Some people sing or act to a live audience. Some people are the life of a party. I write about topics in areas of emotional and cognitive inflammation. I write about things that trouble my mind, things I innately care about
I wrote the following post about some of the reasons I left: Just A Song Before I Go, To Whom It May Concern . . . In that post, you can hear some of the reasons I left.
Several people gave kind, supportive encouragement to this post when I returned: What, If Anything, Would You Like?
It may be an interesting question to ask any artist why they create. There are other ways to receive either financial return or positive feedback than through creating or selling artworks. I sometimes wonder: Why does Brandi Carlile sing? And even if the answer to that question now is partly “because she’s financially compensated for it,” it still likely takes other strong motivations to write music and express the same ideas publicly over and over in high repetition.
What? You’re not familiar with Brandi Carlile? Then watch an NPR in-studio concert here:
By comparison, I’m an artist who has a great deal of trouble expressing the same ideas over and over again. I’m always trying to write about newer areas just outside regions previously explored – or at least I try to examine, disect, re-form, or “Triz” older concepts against current perspectives, with new wording that may define them differently or more clearly.
I left this creative process, in part, for the same reason other considerate people leave creative processes: I would tend to think many singers get tired of hearing their own voice, even if they are regularly trying to sing new songs.
I came back, in part, because I don’t find many other writers, philosophers, artists, or critics who have my chemistry, who are as educated, experienced, practically knowledgeable, and consistently willing to speak to complex, controversial social issues. There still is a short supply of that combination of skills in writers. A person might think: Don’t LGBT artists tend to be more honest and candid about those kinds of things? I always assumed LGBT individuals, because of their lifelong increased exposure to discrimination, mistreatment, and persecution, should be more artistic and honest than most. But for the same reasons we cannot discriminate and say: “a black person will tend to be a better athlete than an average person,” my experience suggests it also cannot be said “a LGBT individual will tend to be more considerate, kind, artistic, and honest than an average person.” My personal experiences suggest LGBT individuals are sometimes as prejudiced, uneducated, and inconsiderate as anyone – apparently not learning much from being on the “mistreated” end of things.
There are people who know more than me who don’t write much or don’t write well. There are people who write much better than me, but are cowards when it comes to writing about real issues and consequences. They spend most of their time writing about things that are “sugar”: widely popular, appealing, and easy to consume – but largely pointless – i.e. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series – fake conflicts that are ultimately “heroically” resolved through nonsensical magic forces of will – stories that are either misleading or completely devoid of speaking to real problems or real solutions for social politics (I am interested to see if her new fiction, aimed at adult readers, will be equally without substantive and realistic connections to social considerations).
Reading what I write is difficult. So, I’m repeatedly surprised when someone new subscribes – choosing to read more. Most people prefer sugar. And I don’t write “sugar.” My writing has been described (by people with better vocabularies than me) as “eviscerating” or “indefatigable.” My writing is not poetic. It’s not illusory. It has lots of “nots.” It doesn’t consistently lie to readers or promise something very good in exchange for little on the reader’s part. My writing is more like whole grain. It may be good for you in the long run. It may make you healthier or happier for years to come. But probably few can directly get drunk off of it.
George Orwell famously wrote “”there are four great motives for writing“: 1) Sheer egoism, 2) Aesthetic enthusiasm, 3) Historical impulse, and 4) Political purpose.
I don’t write primarily for any of those reasons, but I do write for those reasons from time to time. I write primarily for two other reasons: 1) To be of assistance, and 2) To be pleasing or entertaining. I don’t write because I think I’m a good writer. I write because I have uncommonly good concepts others may benefit from knowing. Often, my challenge in writing is finding clear ways to express complexities.
I stopped writing, in part, because even the best of us have trouble continuing after experiencing some failures. And while the blog received more interest and positive feedback than I expected, I experienced losses in my personal life that effected me negatively far more than any feedback about my creative endeavors. And by stopping, if only for an indefinite, possibly unending, amount of time, I showed myself the personal relationships were more important to me than my artistic expressions.
I don’t wish to be famous, wealthy, or known as much as I wish to attempt to have a positive effect on the people I interact with - and the people who interact with my articulated creations.
I returned because I had more important suggestions I wanted to share with others. And I thought the world would be better off with one more suggestion – from time to time. Returning to the first part of this post: I understand many of the benefits and pleasantries my creations may facilitate for others. Therefore, I choose to keep creating.
For regular readers and writers: Thank you for compliments and criticisms. If you read this far, I’m guessing you also eat whole grains from time to time.