This article is actually a letter (sent by email) to a very good and valued friend of mine of 50 years. I sent this letter to Greg earlier today. I realized as I was concluding the letter that it is really a Manifesto.
There is an old cliché that says there are three kinds of people in society.
#1 People who make things happen.
#2 People who watch things happen.
#3 People who wonder what happened.
That relates to what goes on in politics, religion and other forms of social interaction. I want to be part of group #1. I, unfortunately, often find myself as part of group #2. But, I strive my hardest to avoid at nearly all costs being part of group #3.
Lately, I've found myself losing sight of who I really am by being sucked in and reacting (knee-jerk reaction) to issues, events and ideological discussions I really can't do anything about and that really are not my problems. I find myself spending far too much of my priceless time writing to inform, educate or influence people who really don't want to be informed, educated or influenced. They simplyhave their minds made up and are actually looking to involve people in interactions that are pointless and have no logical outcome since no one will change their mind or ideological position.
My friend, Greg, wrote an interesting email this morning and sent it out to his email list that I'm on. I immediately saw things I wanted to react to. It doesn't matter how I wanted to react. I simply was having another knee-jerk reaction. Last night I realized just how unproductive this was and what a waste of my priceless time since my reaction wasn't going to change anyone's thinking. So, I composed the following letter to Greg and thought I would share it with you. As a short manifesto, it's not intended to change your thinking or belief systems. It's simply intended to, hopefully, inspire you to think. You choose whatever you want to think about. Just think! It's a key element in living free.
Morning, Greg --
There is so much I want to comment on in your email - but, I won't. I've realized I've poured hours and hours of my priceless time into non-productive writing here in emails, personal messaging and Facebook posts. The light went on last night - that it was all knee-jerk reaction. Here's the reality. No one is going to change my mind. I believe I have a pretty rational, level-headed and moral compass on life as I CHOOSE to live it.
I neither identify myself as an extreme, staunch, left-leaning liberal nor am I an extreme, staunch, right-leaning conservative. I am an independent, critical thinking, free individual. And, no, that also doesn't make me a Libertarian, Green Party or any of the other parties. I do not buy into party politics.
I also realize that all the time I blew - yep - just wasted - did not change the thinking of a single person, liberal or conservative. All it did was let me look at myself in a mirror. And, since I already know what I look like and who I am and my ego does not need inflating - that, too, is a waste of my priceless time.
I stand for and my mantra is to "live free and be happy" by whatever each individual defines that to mean for themselves. I don't have that formula for anyone except myself . . . and I am an ongoing work in progress and evolutionary process. Not meaning to insult you or any of my other conservative or liberal friends - the reality is anyone steeped in either conservative or liberal or any other ideology is not free.
There is definitive mind control going on every minute of every day. The average person in the U.S. (and probably all developed and definitely underdeveloped nations) at last research, are bombarded by an average of 5,000 advertising, marketing and mind changing (control) messages every single day. Our lives and routines are so completely controlled by outside sources doing their best to get us to conform to their way of thinking, that most of us really don't know who we actually are.
I do not condemn anyone for their belief systems. Each person is and should be free to make whatever choices about what they believe or don't believe. And, by the way, I'm as susceptible and find myself falling into lockstep with all this crap as the next person.
Frankly, I'm sorry for the people in Puerto Rico, but they are not my problem. I'm terribly sorry for the people who lost their lives, their families and the injured in Las Vegas and I, of course, don't condone the actions of the perpetrator. But, again, I'm not directly involved.
In our very dangerous world, any soft target has become a potential ground zero. We all make choices. The people in Las Vegas made a conscious, freewill choice to be part of that crowd of 22,000. I don't have any opinion on whether they were right or wrong or their decision was flawed. There are consequences of one kind or another for every choice. We all hope to make the best choices.
Now, we're going to be inundated for weeks and months with the news about Puerto Rico and Las Vegas, etc. I do notice though, we seem to have forgotten about the hundreds of thousands (or maybe millions) in southeast Texas, Florida, parts of Georgia and South Carolina recovering from catastrophic hurricane damage and parts of numerous states in the west ravaged by wildfires. Puerto Rico and Las Vegas will be in the rearview mirror as soon as the next spectacular story comes along.
Again, none of this can I personally do anything about. Even if I were extremely wealthy, my financial contribution would be a pittance of the resources needed for all of these situations. I do my best to help people in ways I'm able, as long as it doesn't result in making me one of the "needy" myself. My first and primary responsibility is to take care of myself. After that, if I have surplus resources and am moved to, I'll contribute to others.
So, I'm going to do my darnedest to refrain from reacting. I may or may not read emails, personal messages (PMs), texts and Facebook posts of, what I consider, an inflammatory, biased or partisan nature, by my definition. I don't plan to block or unfriend or cut off any friends. I'm not spurning or condemning anyone. I'm just going to be pragmatic and keep my focus on my target to live as free as I can (of outside influences and conformity) and be as happy as I can.
Living free and being happy, to my simplified, rational, pragmatic, existential way of thinking are the ONLY things that matter for a fulfilling and satisfying life experience. I don't plan to be anyone's guru. I an not interested in creating a group of mindless or mindful followers. But, I will encourage and, hopefully, inspire as many people who choose to, to find their own paths to personal freedom and being happy.
This is my short manifesto. It's going to be a real trial for me to not be reactionary to so much of what I see in the various social media, email, etc. My new quest is to use my time for a positive outcome in my life and hopefully set an example for others.
Live free and be happy,