Friday, April 5, 2013

Do you ever wonder "What If..."?

Sometimes I awaken with thought that somewhere just around the corner, or in some brief moment like an epiphany, I will suddenly find, know and really understand "the answers".  Does that happen with you?

After 72 years, I have yet to find any answers, and my Judeo-Christian childhood reminds me of the phrase "the finite mind of man is unable to understand the infinite mind of God". However, this is NOT a post about religion, so please don't go there.

Sometimes I wonder why I have spent 70+ years being taught an impressive number of unconnected skills and ideas (except they exist in real life where I believe everything is somehow connected). WHY was I taught all that? Who is there to inherit and continue to promote all this stuff? Who, in today's generation, even gives a damn? (Yes, I know there are quite a few of you out there... and hopefully the numbers are increasing.)

Sometimes I wonder about what's really in our genetic makeup. We have come very far in researching and understanding genes in the last few years, but I haven't seen posted anywhere if there's actually a gene for war-mongering, or if there's a gene for greed, or one for corruption. Yet those traits seem pervasive world-wide.

If those things are caused by genes, do we all carry a bit of them? If so, do we have the ability to overcome them? If we simply take the concept of "greed" from the corporate level down to the individual, personal level, what do we find? 

Is it greed when we find a very under-priced item being sold at a yard sale (perhaps from an elderly person who no longer has a clue about its current value), and we know we can re-sell it for many times their asking price?

Do we bring home pencils and ball-point pens from the office, or maybe even copy paper and trash-bag liners? Does saying "everyone does it" make something right?

What percentage of people do you think (who might be wealthy or even flat broke) still manage to return extra change accidentally given by a store clerk (who no doubt makes only minimum wage and has to make up the monetary difference in closing out the register at the end of the day)? One in 2 returns the overage? One in 10? One in 100? Or how often does the typical customer keep it as a "windfall" without ever considering ethics??

And as far as buying something... Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware) is a huge principle in commerce: without a warranty, the buyer takes the risk

What ever happened to good old handshakes where a man's word was his bond? Or the days when you could leave your house unlocked, and children could walk to school all the way from home, rather than just from Mommie's car in the school parking lot?

Where do we draw the line on what is right and what isn't? And is corporate greed really any different than filching pencils and pens from the office, except for the scale?

WHEN do we generate a loud enough voice (and clout) to insure a healthy food supply that's not tainted by corporate greed with hands in the pockets of our legislators? The 2011 Average CEO Pay at Standard and Poor's 500 Index Companies was over $12 million dollars EACH, and in my opinion it came at the expense of MY food supply and thus MY health.


  1. Good post. I seldom wonder because it takes me to stressful places and I just can't do the stress any more.

    But I can't fathom a 12 million dollar paycheck. Once I get outside hundred thousands, I lose my frame of reference.

    But being so very broke all the time, I do sometimes wonder at people who will pay 3 million for a toilet, etc.

    Regarding tag sales, that's how we survive. But we buy what we need, never to resell. So every great deal helps us along the way.

  2. Like you I am in my 70s' and really enjoy looking back and trying to answer the questions we all have about life on this earth. You asked so many great questions.
    I like your question about there being a gene for war mongering. I do think there are genes that in a certain situation will prompt an individual to respond in a particular way (ie Hitler)I think in each generation you will see individuals with this makeup. Whether they get into a situation in their environment the unleashes their proclivities is the wild card. I watched a TV program about a scientist who was studying psychopaths and found they had a specific brain makeup on an MRI. As part of the program he had a brain MRI of his own and found he had the psychopathic pattern. He felt his environment had been so nurturing that he had not developed that part of his personality. I think we are a product of the constant interplay between our environment and our genes. So yes, I think there is a gene for war mongering and greed; but it isnt necessarily going to be expressed. As for bring home a pencil you didnt pay for, I think the impact of the act is based on the impact of the act on society (or the individual). The pencil, not so much. Food labeling is a biggie and we need to fight for it. I live in WA state and am watching the iniative closely. So far it is pretty quiet. I hope to see that change come Oct. Thanks for another great post.


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