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Sixty one years ago, over 150,000 men took Normandy. .43% of them died before the day was done.

My grandfather was the same age I am now. He was stationed in the Pacific at the time.

My grandmother was 21. She was a nurse in Anzio, which saw more death than any other concentrated front in WW2.

How can anything I accomplish in this world stand tall in the shadow of those people, who, so young, had faced so much death and hardship for ideals they truly believed in?

There isin’t a government around I’d lay my life down for, short of the fight coming to my back door. I’d defend my home and country then, but only because the latter was in the former. My personal ideologies fall far afield of anything I’ve heard any politics espouse.

Who knows, perhaps if it were a different time, I would be another person? My cynicism seems fairly straightforward - I wonder if it would be as strong in an age where you didn’t have access to the data to arise suspicions and confirm doubts.

In my view, we have spent the last 200+change years in a downward and outward spiral of the ideals behind the document our government is supported by. At the same time, we have increased in prosperity, quality of life, global power, and corruption. The ratio’s rates are not constant, but the climb of one and the decline of another seem so self-evident.

Ideals are so contextual. Politics are extrapolations of ideals meant to cement a group of disparate people together into one body, to accomplish something greater than the individuals could accomplish themselves. I am a person who feels they cannot accurately judge the nature of the people around them. How can I subscribe to ANY larger political ideology?

I don’t know where all this is going. I spent a good amount of time today thinking about happiness. What makes a person happy? What sustains it? What is it in human nature that gets jealous or frustrated at other peoples’ happiness? I personally don’t begrudge anyone something that makes them happy, no matter how weird it may seem to me. I do, on occasion, throw in my two cents when asked for a direct opinion or advice, but I always spend as much time, if not more, trying to see an issue from all angles. It is hard to begrudge someone happiness for me, even if their angle on it seems inane to me, or, if it irks me in some way.

Why does it most people though? I mean, I personally subscribe to the Dennis Leary School of happiness (I’m actually born again, I gave it up to try something with seemestarfish, and that didn’t work so good). I find it hard to believe that someone could be happy always, in all ways. Yet, my belief does not stop these people from existing. One good observation was that it stems to the competitive aspect of our biological roots. Happiness is having all your needs filled and then some. If someone has that, then, ultimately, you want it too - despite the fact that you might have completely different needs.

We are weird little monkies dammit. We’ll die for ideas, and hate because of happiness. We’ll sacrifice plans for whims, and discount instincts to logic. We build walls around ourselves to hide our emotions from others, when the whole point of emotions in the first place is to allow communal bonds to form,and deeper senses of understanding. We will belittle those who are too aloof in the same way we ridicule those who are too open. Who determines the zeitgeist of “appropriate”?

I’m not sure where the road between strengths and weaknesses in this melange lies, if there even is a road.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 6th, 2005 07:03 pm (UTC)
"so deep its picked up on radios in tunnels."
Jun. 6th, 2005 07:08 pm (UTC)
Re: wu-word
yeah well, it ain't easy when you got all these gears and little of matter that needs to be turned out. mondays are thoughtful days for me, mostly because i have so much padding time in meetings where i can just drift.
Jun. 6th, 2005 07:08 pm (UTC)
this was an excellent post. i agree with you in feeling that its impossible for people to be happy all the time. i don't think its human. i also don't hate those people; i kind of feel bad for them, because you know they're hiding some secret pain that they're not being honest about. i'm not saying its healthy to be eternally pessimistic like me, but too much "glass is half full" bullshit is essentially lying to yourself.

is this related at all to my post about discussion of lactating being "inappropriate" in the workplace? because i stand by my zeitgeist.
Jun. 6th, 2005 07:15 pm (UTC)
i completely agree that is something that is not "work appropriate" - which is funny, because it is something that in another time and place, all women (and probably mroe than a few men) would have known lots about, so it wouldn't be tabboo at all. that is, in my mind, something amusing - how many things over the years have come and gone as things that are o.k. to talk about vs. not o.k. jesus, you can see commercials on regular tv now for enzyte or breast-enlarging bras, but 50 years ago, you could barely mention the reproductive system in a scientific manner... where do these standards come from?!

i think that some people are satisfied in life. they are happy most of the time, and the rest of the time they are just o.k. it is hard to imagine, when you live a life of unsteady peaks. i do agree that there are plenty of DELUSIONALLY happy people out there, many of whom would be subject to your "dark secret" clause. but there are some who just have such simple goals/needs/wants that happiness is not a long shot for them. to them, i wonder if their ignorance is a blessing or a curse? i mean, dumb and happy must have some exclusive benefits...

from the perspective of someone who views their own perspective as a mixed blessing at best, it is hard for me to say.

thanks for your thoughts - my sarcasm stems from my more-than-often pessimistic mindset. i find that the areas where my pessimism are hardest to defend are the ones wherein my HOPES for human nature are far in excess of the potential i have witnessed firsthand.
Jun. 6th, 2005 07:20 pm (UTC)
i never thought about it that way.
when you're stupid, your expectations are pretty low, so its easy to be happy. or at least content. maybe i'll stick a crayon up my nose and then things will be alright. ;)
Jun. 6th, 2005 07:24 pm (UTC)
yeah, the problem with the high road
you can always get smarter, but getting dumber always hurts, unless you also lose the memory of when you were smarter.

see flowers for algernon. if you've never read that book, don't do it unless you want a good boot in the gut. it about damn near killed me when i read it at age 10.
Jun. 6th, 2005 08:25 pm (UTC)
Re: hehheh
but there are some who just have such simple goals/needs/wants that happiness is not a long shot for them. to them, i wonder if their ignorance is a blessing or a curse? i mean, dumb and happy must have some exclusive benefits...

so simple-minded people are like ignorant people then too? so do "we" hate on them because they are simple? or are we envious?

always the conundrum: ignorant and blissful vs. knowledgable and miserable
Jun. 6th, 2005 08:49 pm (UTC)
Re: hehheh
I think it is unfair (and borderline arrogant) to equate the ability to find happiness in simple things with stupidity/ignorance. The dismissal of others' value systems is, I'm sure, one of the features of this world that many of us find disquieting.
Jun. 6th, 2005 08:56 pm (UTC)
perhaps i misrepresented myself. i am not equating it with stupidity/ignorace - indeed, i am almost envious of it. however, i do believe tha tmany of the people who set low thresholds for themselves often do so with no knowlledge of broader horizons. there are CERTAINLY a great many people who have the broader perspective, but embrace the narrower path to self-realization and satisfaction.

i'm the last guy on the block to dismiss out of hand anyone's beleif system. if you don't believe me, you can ask timaeusdiasperge, who didn't talk to me for a couple days about a week after 9/11, because i was playing devils advocate for the terrorists.
Jun. 6th, 2005 07:41 pm (UTC)

Not to take anything away from our boys... but just sayin'. Dude.
Jun. 6th, 2005 07:46 pm (UTC)
them russians and them russians and them russians
oh, totally man - the russian death toll esitmates re bigger than anything you can wrap your head around and still keep your sanity. i am sure ther eis more than one person sitting in germany right now hating themselves for letting those two more gi's past, or not bombing tht one thing, or not laying one more mine. history is all about the victors - my part in it, tangentally related to those who were there and did things is completely useless. it does make me think though.

probably too much.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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