There is a time for honesty and a time for kind, warm-hearted honest lying. For example, here are questions that absolutely require a “yes” as the answer, no matter what think:
“Do these jeans make me look fat?” If you say anything except NO, you’re too stupid to deserve a relationship.
“Were you cheating on me in … (a date more than 5 years previous) …?” Unless you are still in that relationship and intending to break up your marriage, the answer is NO. All you will do by telling the truth is hurt your partner and maybe (but probably not) relieve yourself of guilt. The odds are very good that you will also relieve yourself of your relationship.
“Do you still find me attractive?” Any answer other than yes can cost your life.
On the other hand, failureto communicate critical information can ruin lives. I always think about Cathy and Heathcliff. He eavesdropped on half of her conversation and stalks off in a rage. He never considers asking her if what he partially heard was what she meant or what the context was. Of course, if he had, it wouldn’t have made a very dramatic story, but that’s a different issue. A ten minute conversation could have salvaged three lives.
In the movie “Fanny,” she never tells him she is pregnant, so he goes off to war (convinced she doesn’t love him) and gets killed. If she had told him, everyone — including the child — might have been happy. Every time I’m forced to watch one of these movies, I just get annoyed.
Brutal honesty is always more brutal than honest. If you are forced to say something you know will hurt, at least be gentle. Brutal honesty is not honesty. It’s a brutal agenda wrapped in fake honesty. Don’t eavesdrop. If it just happens, you are not allowed to use whatever information you think you’ve gained by eavesdropping in an emotional confrontation. No one ever hears anything good while eavesdropping.
Use your judgment. If you care about someone, don’t make them miserable because you feel guilty about something. Your guilt is your problem, not his or hers. Making yourself feel better by traumatizing someone else is not being honest. It’s narcissistic.
To a large degree, I’ve already answered this question in a couple of posts, as has Tom Curley. It’s certainly a question we have all asked each other. Meanwhile, our president is not merely a moron. He is a murderer. Thank the heavens that we have governors who seem to actually care about the people who live in their states.
The question is:
First, yes, we are living in a locked-down state. Massachusetts is just beginning to surge. Here in Worcester County, we have no tests. When Owen asked his doctor if he could get a test, she just laughed.
We have no way to figure out who has it, or who already had it. The only place there is testing is in Boston and we aren’t there. Out here, we have no tests, no grocery delivery, and empty shelves in the grocery because all the deliveries go to Boston and almost nothing comes out this way.
May 1st is just two weeks away. Since we have no tests or a vaccine, essentially if Garry and I were to take Coronahead seriously, we’d likely be dead in a couple of weeks. The reality is that until most of us have been tested and a vaccine has been authorized — and enough people have been vaccinated to limit the potential spread of the disease — we aren’t going anywhere.
Why not? Well, let’s see. Garry is 78 and by age alone is highly vulnerable. I’m a mere 73, but I’ve got asthma and have had major heart surgery, which makes me super vulnerable. Or, to put it another way, our doctor said (and I quote): “You and your husband are not going anywhere. Nowhere. You get this disease and you are both dead. So you aren’t going anywhere!”
We haven’t gone anywhere nor have we plans to go anywhere. For me, until most people have been tested and we know who was sick and who is sick, we can’t even think about it.
How are we going to handle a presidential election? Are they going to send us paper ballots that we can mail? Probably in Massachusetts and New York, but there are a lot of states that might not. In those states, the people who are most likely to vote — senior citizens — won’t go anywhere near a polling place.
Everything the president has said is a lie. A big lie or a gigantic lie. The millions of tests we are supposed to have never arrived, The drive-through test sites? There is one in the entire state and I’m betting most states have none. We don’t know how many sick people there are in many states because they’ve done no testing on anyone.
So when are we going to feel safe going out?
When there are tests and we know who is or was sick and there’s a vaccine. And most people have been vaccinated. That could be months away. Maybe a year away. This could be a very long siege.
Given the realities of who we are and what we need, I think this is a pretty good life. I might wish for gentler weather and a bit more money, but overall? I’m glad to be here. I’m glad to live in a place where most people are on the same side I am on. Where getting around (unless there’s a lot of snow) is pretty easy. No traffic jams. No parking meters.
Life is simple, peaceful, and sometimes, joyous.
Short of suddenly becoming physically young (that would be quite a trick!), this is “the good life.” For us. Maybe it wouldn’t be for you, but it works for us. We live “the good life,” but slowly.
Personally, we both are on Medicare because we are at an age where we deserve it. Lord knows we paid enough money over the years for the privilege of having doctors when we got old.
Medicare is a pretty good system and it is getting even better. The people who run it are competent, ready and willing to talk to you any time of the day or night. They are incredibly patient, which really helps because a lot of people on Medicare are not entirely “all there” anymore.
Medicare’s way of distributing drugs was deeply flawed and still leaves a lot to be desired, though it is better than it was. Their unwillingness to deal with — until this year — seeing, hearing, chewing, and breathing was cruel.
I don’t know if the changes we are seeing this year are local Massachusetts changes or national, but this year we are actually going to get enough money to buy a pair of eyeglasses, get our teeth cleaned and x-rayed and if Garry still needed them, hearing aids. Too bad they are available now because a few years ago, Garry really needed them.
We just changed from BlueCross to Harvard-Pilgrim. It will save us about $170/month and we can keep all our doctors (I checked). Also, since we’d use the same hospital where they already have all our records, I wouldn’t have to get a new institution “up to speed.” I honestly didn’t think I could cope with swapping all my doctors again and records again.
Do you believe the government of a country has a responsibility to provide universal, affordable (if not “free”) healthcare for its citizens?
If you live in the United States, would you favor Medicare for all/single-payer health plan?
Having lived in Israel where medical care is free if you are poor, but if you aren’t quite that poor, you can buy into any one of a number insurance plans that give you other options, like private doctors rather than clinics, or one of the groups that offer more options for natural care. But all medical care uses the same hospitals and surgeons are not your choice but are based on your problem(s) and who they think can best solve it.
You got incredibly good medical care, probably because there are more doctors per capita in Israel than anywhere else in the world. Well, you know. Jewish doctors are a “thing.” Half the doctors were American or British, too. All the top surgeons were American — but of course, that was the 1980s and things have probably changed.
The thing is, you had a choice of how you wanted the services delivered, but one way or the other, you were entitled to the services. Everyone had medical care, free or paid. Whether you were a citizen or tourist, you could go to the nearest health clinic and they would take care of you. No identification needed.
Medicine was free. For everyone.
It was such a good system that I think that’s what we should have here. You can use the government “free for all” system or spend a bit more money and get extra services. But regardless, everyone gets medication at no cost. No one is left out of the system.
If you live outside of the U.S., does your government provide universal healthcare? If so, how do you feel about it? If not, what kind of healthcare coverage do you have?
See my answer above. Having lived in two countries with two very different medical systems, Israel’s was really great. I think Switzerland has a very similar system too.
It’s hard to talk about this stuff without sounding pious or self-righteous. Personally, I always wonder if I have a price too and it’s merely that no one has offered to pay it that I have managed to stay true to my fundamental beliefs. When you’ve never been tempted or at least not tempted enough, it is hard to know what your own boundaries truly are.
This question was plucked from my post, so to a large degree, I’ve answered it already. Still, it’s a valid question with many possible answers and even more questions that lie along its borders.
The question of whether morality is part of “God’s personal patch” versus being a basic human issue is old. It’s a question that goes to the heart of every religion and dogma — as well every set of personal beliefs. It’s older than our literature and for all I know, they were pondering some version of this in cave dwellings.
For at least most of my life, as a child, adolescent, and adult, I have believed that we are all born with a fundamental knowledge of good and evil, of right and wrong. It isn’t something we need to be taught. We know it. Actually, Genesis essentially says more or less the same thing.
In our bones, in our brains, in that strange space we have that is neither physical or “brain matter,” but rather a special place where we preserve our personal beliefs.
That we all know what is right and wrong from our earliest youth through all of life does not mean that we always adhere to it. We have all done the wrong thing, whether it was big and bad, or little but nonetheless, wrong.
The cynical saying that “Everyone has a price” means no matter what you believe — or why you believe it — if you are offered a good enough deal, you’ll fold and do the wrong thing. It insinuates that greed is ultimately the most powerful emotion of which man is capable.
I want to believe that this is untrue and some of us cannot be bought. But do I know that? Or have many of us never been offered a high enough price? After all, the payment doesn’t have to be money. It can be power: legal power or religious power. It can make us godlike or rich beyond the ability of our calculator to count.
Greed can be the lust for knowledge, power, drugs, or land, though somehow money seems to squeeze into the equation somehow.
To quote Gordon Gekko, “Greed is good.”
Do you agree that greed is good? Or only that greed is good within limits, to a certain extent, but not beyond? That it’s okay to be greedy as long as you don’t get excessive about it?
What is excessive?
Does it mean only if you aren’t killing or crushing other people to reach your greed level, it’s okay? Or are there other issues?
I don’t believe that greed is good. The concept that greed is good offends me. I understand why greed feels good, though. I understand everyone wants to be safe from hardship and live life in comfort and dignity. I don’t consider that greedy. More like survival with benefits.
I certainly don’t think survival is greedy until you have to murder other people to achieve it. At which point you need to put down the gun and think about it.
It’s the excessiveness of greed that’s the problem. Because once you’ve broken through the comfort barrier and moved into luxury, when is enough, enough? What amount of whatever is sufficient?
When everything the eye can see, a man desires and comfort has long been surpassed, at what point do you stop? Do you ever stop? Can you stop? When you have the greedy bit clamped between your teeth, is there an end to your run?
ALEXANDER LEARNS VIRTUE
When Alexander had flown on the back of an eagle to the gates of Heaven itself, he bangs on the door until finally, a wise man answers. Because he is a great and powerful leader, he demands the right to ask questions of the wise men. These are his questions:
“Who is wise?” asks Alexander.
“He who can foresee the future,” answers the wise man.
“Who is a hero?” asks Alexander.
“He who conquers himself,” replies another wise man.
“Who is rich?” asks Alexander.
“He who rests content with what he has,” the wise men respond.
Following this question, there is a story Talmudic legend about Alexander (who was a Jewish hero — a story too long to explain here), a balance scale, and a human eye.
The eye is placed on one side of the scale. On the other side, are piled mountains of gold, gems, and all other riches. Yet the human eye is heavier, no matter how many riches are put on the other balance. Finally, one of the wise men sprinkles a bit of dust over the eye. From that moment, even a feather is heavier than the eye.
Until a man is dead and covered in earth, he will always desire more. Only death can end his greed.
“By what means does man preserve his life?” asks Alexander.
“When he kills himself.” (Talmudist notes: By this, the wise men meant when a man destroys within himself all passion.)
“By what means does a man bring about his own death?” asks Alexander, referring back to the previous question.
“When he clings to life.” (Talmudist notes: When a man holds onto his passions and belongs to them.)
“What should a man do who wants to win friends?” asks Alexander. This is his final question.
“He should flee from glory and despise dominion and kingship,” the wise men conclude.
At the end of the Judaization process, Alexander is a humbled dictator. Although the lesson does not make him a wise man, the Talmudic dialectics bring Alexander the Great down a notch or two, make him a better person and a more benevolent leader.
If anyone assured me that one can be moral and hold a strong belief system without a formal belief system, my mother did that. She believed in virtue — goodness for its own sake. She believed in dignity, kindness, fairness, and equality. She was not a racist although she was positive that education made you a better person. If there was a break in her “system,” education was it.
She loved beautiful things for their beauty, yet before she died, she gave away or sold all her jewelry and art.
In the end, I do not believe anyone of any faith is incorruptible. We all have a weak spot. Something about which we feel so passionate, we would give or do anything to achieve it.
Incorruptibility is a choice. To find out if you are incorruptible, you’d need to be tempted by whatever it is that means the most to you. You would have to make painful choices and would forever wonder if you were a fool for choosing virtue over greed, especially if you urgently needed what you refused.
If you do not have a God about whom you can say, “His laws made me do it,” you will probably feel even sillier than the religious man who at least believes he is following the route God laid out for him.
A non-believer has only his self by which to gauge the rights and wrongs of life. Standing alone is hard. A good life is a hard life.
Thirty-one is one of my “lucky numbers.” I’ve lived in houses numbered 31 twice, won prizes for number 31 (a TV and a long weekend in New York city including a visit to the (then) brand new Yankee Stadium) and more.
I don’t have a follow-up to this comment. That’s the whole story.
Recently we’ve been watching that 15-year-old tennis whiz kid. I got to thinking: “What if you are the biggest and best at whatever you do when you are 14 or 15? When you are the best tennis player ever especially if you are merely 15, or you are the best baton twirler on earth at 14? Where do you go after that? Is it all downhill?”
This question first occurred to me when I watched the baton twirler on television maybe ten years ago and I was thinking “This is her peak moment and it’s all downhill from here.”
I suspect this may be part of the problem with child stars. They grow up. Their best years are behind them and a lot of them don’t work much after they complete their teen years.
I don’t think I’ve had a peak year yet. Maybe I never will. I’ve had great moments. I’ve had joyful moments, little thrilling times. I’ve had a couple of really great years, breathtaking visual and emotional moments … but nothing I would call “the peak.”
I’m not sure there will be a peak. Good years, bad years, terrific years, historic years … but peak? Life is a series of peaks and valleys, dips and mountains.
The question this week is exactly the kind of question I do not ever want to answer. It might be a question nobody wants to answer unless they are a medical researcher with skin in the game, so to speak.
“If you could choose one — and only one — particular malady, condition, or disease for which a safe and effective treatment was available, what one condition would you choose to treat and why is that your choice?”
As someone with more maladies than I care to list, some likely to kill me, others just likely to be a serious pain in my back, exactly how would I pick?
I have absolutely no idea what I should pick. Cancer? It has managed to kill about three-quarters of my closest family. Heart disease took the rest — and I’ve already had both, big time. Or maybe I should vote for arthritis? Unlikely to kill me, but very likely to make living increasingly unpleasant.
I’m pretty sure they are doing significant research on all of these diseases. Cure them? Who knows? But they have come a very long way in treating both cancer and heart disease. Arthritis lags behind, likely for a couple of obvious reasons the first being that almost everyone gets it.
It probably is not preventable unless old age is preventable. Also, it isn’t lethal, which means it doesn’t generate the money for “cures” that more fatal diseases garner.
I’ve got it! Let’s cure aging!
I don’t mind going gray or wrinkly. But let’s dump arthritis, exhaustion, bad hips, worn-out knees, loss of memory, and insomnia. While we are at it, cure dementia and Alzheimer’s. Add a little zip to our steps so we can be old, wise, and energetic. So we can still be who we have always been — right up until that last breath.
And please, while you are at this curing business, make sure everyone has full access to medical care, no matter what is wrong with them.
It’s existential question time for some of us, not so existential for the rest of us. Because the question is:
So today’s provocative question is all about the before and after:
“Where do you believe you were you before you were born and what do you believe will happen to you after you die?”
For me, it’s pretty simple. Before I existed, before I was born, I wasn’t anything. After I die, I’ll be gone. Dust to dust.
What will happen? Damned if I know. Maybe something, probably nothing. Will “my soul” become a new soul in a new body? Karma? Oh please, be kind. This life has been rough enough and I have no urge to do anything like this again.
So the answer is “maybe, or maybe not.” I don’t know. Because there are a million theories around. Some of them are charming, some not so charming — but none of them can be proved. If there is a God, he hasn’t dropped by to discuss the matter with any of his billions of adherents and definitely not with me.
Regardless of dogma, if he or one of the many adherents have conversed with any of us, none of them have dropped by to reopen the conversation. It’s the same mystery it always was.
If there is some kind of heaven, I’d like to assume that all good people will be there, regardless of what (or nothing) that they believed before their passing. If there’s nothing afterward? Then we will all go into that great nothingness. Finally, at long last, there will be full equality for everyone.
I personally would love to believe in a beautiful afterlife, so I leave open the option that there may be one, even if I don’t know anything about it. For the hedge-bettors amongst us, you can always be religious now and if it works out to be true, you’re a winner. If it doesn’t, you’re no worse off than you’d have been anyway. Some would consider that a win-win.
As for me, I will just live as I have lived, deal with life as it comes, hope that whatever happens after we die is at least peaceful — and finally, there won’t be any more bills to pay.
Do you believe that terminally ill people should be allowed or encouraged to end their lives via physician-assisted suicide? If so, under any circumstances or should there be restrictions? If not, why not?
At last, a question into which I can sink my fangs!
On a personal level, I say yes, yes, and yes again. If I will put one of my dogs out of his or her misery, why should a human suffer the agony of a terminal illness when we wouldn’t do it to our pets? Other countries — I believe Holland is one — allows humans the right to end their lives in peace and dignity, but in this country, we are not. Nor in England, from whom much of our law comes.
Do I think anyone under any conditions should be allowed to end their life? Maybe not. But this is something that the medical community should seriously look at and come to some kind of resolution. Many doctors — privately — will help a dying person, especially one in a vegetative state, to die by simply not treating an illness. But it depends on the individual physician and his or her relationship to religion, faith, or whatever. And some simply won’t do something which might endanger their license.
My son promised to take me behind the shed and blow my head off if I got that bad. But really, I’d rather be prepared — just in case. I don’t know how many times I’ve signed a paper saying “Please, just let me die!” — but each time I’m in the hospital, they ask me to sign again. For some reason, they can’t seem to remember what I said last time.
You know, before medicine made it possible for the terminally ill to linger on for sometimes years rather than dying quickly, people didn’t linger indefinitely with machines to make them breathe and tubes to provide nourishment. When an illness became that bad, we died. Like we were supposed to.
I’m in favor of that. At least allow us to die when we are ready to die. If nothing else, please — turn off the machinery.
“As a blogger, do you enjoy ‘virtual relationships’? Do you consider them to be real?”
If you don’t like virtual relationships, you probably shouldn’t be blogging. Blogging is about writing, photography, art … what you are into. But as much as it’s about art — whatever your version of art is — it’s also about the people with whom you develop relationships. Online.
Are they real? Many of my online relationships feel more real than my “real” relationships. I spend more time with online friends than with real live friends. If it weren’t for the distances involved — in some cases literally the other side of the world — I’d be there for coffee or whatever in the morning.
When one of my “online friends” goes missing, I worry. Many of us are pretty senior, so when we go missing, everyone worries about injury or even death. Then we need to track that person down, which is why anonymous bloggers are terrifying for those of us who actually care about the people. If they go missing, we have no way to get any information.
Anonymous is also a hard person to get close to. Just saying.
As for the other question:
“What are you struggling with the most right now?”
In equal measure, money, health, and what is left of the ecology of the world. Which is all wrapped up in current politics. In our hateful politics where hatred, arrogance, and cruelty is our biggest and best weapon.
Money and health are personal issues. They concern most retired people of a certain age, but the politic horrors we are going through? They are stupid, unnecessary … and they make everyone’s life just a little — or a lot — worse.
I don’t know how I wandered into this nightmare country that is supposedly mine. I don’t recognize this world. I don’t recognize this government. I don’t understand how Americans can allow such horrors to be supported by their government. Whatever this is, it’s not freedom. It’s wrong on every level.
It’s entirely possible I don’t want to understand.
I’m also stressed for time, but all things considered, it’s a minor issue.
Interesting question, especially interesting because of the connections made by the questioner. There are some leaps made in the questions that suggest from whence cometh the questions.
I do not need a source for a belief in objective morality. Any form of belief is faith. That is the nature of belief versus a provable fact.
And why would I need to choose whose morality is correct? Is there a standard? If you believe morality is subjective, does that inherently mean that you are subject to someone else’s rules or dogma?
The nature of a belief is faith. If you don’t believe in God, your belief cannot be proven as true or false. Your lack of faith is as faith-driven as any religious devotion. Unless you have provable evidence and facts, all belief is faith. Bummer.
I believe fundamental morality, knowing right from wrong, is part of our DNA. Failure to know right from wrong is a signal that something has gone wrong with your mental wiring.
Good and evil are not research areas. Moreover, I don’t believe in anyone’s “concept” of morality. I don’t subscribe to rules or dogma.
I have never followed rules and I hate coloring books. Too many lines. That’s probably why I’m poor. It’s also why Garry is poor. We didn’t follow the rules.
Making My Home A Haven is important to me. Sharing homemaking skills. Recipes and food. Bible Studies. This is a treasure chest of goodies. So take a seat. Have a glass of tea and enjoy. You will learn all about who I am.