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15 May 2014 @ 10:14 pm
Chatter Post: Thursday, May 14, 2014  
Well, this is new.  A little design love on the ElJay front.  I like it so far -- but will reserve my total judgment until I see a bit more.  Anyone reading this have any thoughts on the new look?

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Writing chatter posts is so healthy for me.  Sometimes it's the only time in a week where I stop and reflect on myself.  I mean, not just events in my life, or things I have to do, but who I am, what makes me that way, and why.  There was this poem I read once -- don't know who wrote it and neither does Google, but I think it goes "Try to learn, before you die, from where you run, and to, and why."  This community has always been part of that journey for me.

I'm talking to an old friend in another window about a disagreement we had quite a while back.  Without getting into privacy-violating details, I'm beginning to realize that a core piece of this disagreement was that I was being completely irrational and hypocritical.

Looking back, I now understand that a lot of my anger and resentment towards this person was due to the feeling that person was interfering with someone else I loved very much -- as a friend: not romantically, and not Jessi.  But feeling threatened in this way translated into anger for me, and that turned into the hostility that was a major factor of that disagreement.

I think of two internal forces that can really break out the beauty of a person --- love, and a sense of morality. And while people see love as a fundamental part of being a good person, they're forces that don't necessarily have a lot to do with each other.  A person can love, no matter how terrible a person they are, and do beautiful things because of that love.  An otherwise moral person can completely abandon their morality when love is on the line.  I'd never kill, and I despise war.  But threaten my wife, and I believe I would kill every ill-intentioned bastard who came near her.  I thing most mothers generally share the sentiment.

Some people, in my observation, could give a hoot about morality, and basically live for those they love.  My Aunt is one of those people.  They don't dwell on right and wrong, but work to protect and care for those they choose, and others be damned.  Is that OK?  I don't know. But I avoid her, because I'm not on that list, and I'd rather not get in one of those "Move heaven and earth for them" conflicts.  But as far as she's concerned?  Mission accomplished.

Either way, it's not something I realized until maybe 3-4 years ago. Love and morality are oft-opposing forces.  Some live by love, others by morality, and those who try to live with both often make a hypocrite out of themself.  Like I do.

How do you balance your life between the forces of love and morality?
Current Mood: productive
Current Music: Some Michael Jackson song
AardvarkArt: Dr. Whourb_banal on May 16th, 2014 11:50 am (UTC)
That is a really good question. I think I'll go write War and Peace!

As for killing to protect those I love, I think it is the same as killing to protect myself. I believe, as much as I possibly can, that one should never ever take another persons life. There are grey areas, some Buddhist's believe that if you stop someone from killing you, you are saving them from the karma of that action, even if you kill them... and then you can really confuse yourself over whether your cat is a person (I had my cat put to sleep when she was very sick, so sad ) but just for the sake of simplicity I say that I will not kill another person to protect myself or my loved ones. I might run! I might hide, or even push back a bit but not intentionally kill. I might put myself in harms way to allow them to escape (I would like to think I would be that brave at least) but I have decided that I would have to err on the side of NOT taking a life if it came to it.

Other moral questions are even more confusing. For instance I spoke harshly to a family member who I felt was injuring another with a behavior that I learned of from the "injured" person. It caused ripples that I still feel, however I don't know that I would have done it differently if it were to happen again. I think some positive results came about for both of them, but not for myself. I am not generally a "likeable person" anyway so perhaps I was the best to butt in. I guess you could say my morals cause me to suffer the loss of love from those I love.

For instance, I told my children that however much it would break my heart, if any of them joined any military organization I would have to stop speaking to them. I told each of them this around the age of 13. Fair warning right? It didn't make them love me more but at least they knew how I felt. Honestly though, I think I would have relented if any of them had. I am glad to say they didn't. I figure if you don't sign up it is less likely to be an issue.

It is not an easy question. It really isn't is it?

I think it helps to think about it often though.

Edited at 2014-05-16 01:26 pm (UTC)
Jacqueslacombe on August 2nd, 2014 03:32 am (UTC)
I might not kill to save myself, but I sure as hell would kill to save my wife.

I agree on the military thing. I'm not sure if I'd take it as far as you, but I am _far_ as hell from celebrating soldiers arbitrarily. If anything, I become wary of them and wait to hear their story. I've heard about too many soldiers, and seen too much arrogance and entitlement. It's not a popular opinion, so I generally keep it to myself, but being a soldier sets up a red flag for me.

Love and morality are kind of the pinnacle battle between mind and heart, with soul in the middle.
AardvarkArt: doc martinurb_banal on May 16th, 2014 12:03 pm (UTC)
I think there is another aspect though, that of being overwhelmed by an emotion and acting in a way that one would prefer one had not...well whatever your motivations you are ultimately responsible for your actions. At least that's how I see it.

People prefer to think that they are not responsible and even like to amp up the elements that take away their ability to think: as with drugs, alcohol or obsessive and extreme behaviour. This is a pendulum in popular opinion that can swing both ways however, how much to blame the context or the perpetrator. I think, alone in our rooms we know when we f*** up.

I don't think "romantic love" often leads us to the greatest actions, outside of movies and such, maybe, but even then it doesn't always go well. It can turn into real love however. Call me crazy but I believe in love as a path to selflessness and enlightenment, or something in that neighbourhood!

Edited at 2014-05-16 12:07 pm (UTC)
Jacqueslacombe on August 2nd, 2014 03:36 am (UTC)
We do love our escapism and delusions. Think: Being "disillusioned" holds a bad connotation. When did we start loving our illusions so much?

Romantic love has led me to try to become a better person. So far, that's probably one of the best things I've ever done.
jilly_coppercorn: JC2jlly_coppercorn on May 16th, 2014 12:51 pm (UTC)
The new lj look is clean and crisp...and the font is rounder. It's easy on the eyes.

As a mother, that line between love and morality is definitely a hard one to follow.

Perhaps from the context of your question moral and law abiding are not the same, but it was my experience to have to choose between love and the law.

When my son was a teen he used to run away a lot. I would dutifully report him as a runaway each time, hoping the police might help me look for him but they don't really do that. On one such occasion he got arrested for a minor offense. In the court room, where all the kids in orange jumpers learn their fate for the next 28 days or so, the judge asked me - if remanded into my custody could I keep my son out of trouble until his hearing. I thought about this for as long as she would allow before I answered honestly. No. The 30 or so boys in the courtroom all groaned and murmured things like "That's cold". My son wouldn't even look at me. But he had run away more than a dozen times in the preceding 12 months and had no respect for rules or authority, especially not mine.

That was not the only time he put me in the position to choose between love and the law, just the most tame. I tried to convince myself that my choice was also because I loved him and wanted him to learn what being a good person meant, but he never saw it that way and there is the reality that if I had chose to enable him I would have ended up in just as much trouble, or worse because I was the adult.

I remember that around that time I had a dream in which my son kept taking me to isolated places within an urban landscape to show me the dead bodies of his friends. He wanted my help collecting the bodies. Initially my dream self thought he was trying to save them or take them to their families, but then he started asking about methods of hiding evidence and disposing of the bodies. In the dream I was torn apart inside to discover that my son was capable of such terrible things and so angry with him for compromising my values by bringing me into it. No part of my dream self wanted to help him, but she did want her child back - the little one who couldn't do these things. I woke up still holding on to all of those emotions. I was angry about it for hours. Of course in real life he never did anything so heinous, I think it was just an extreme projection of how disappointed I was that he had changed so much. How much of a stranger he'd become no matter how much he looked like my son.

When someone you love is involved and not seeking any kind of balance, it's hard to find a balance of your own.

Edited at 2014-05-16 12:56 pm (UTC)
AardvarkArt: Starbuckurb_banal on May 16th, 2014 01:34 pm (UTC)
As a mom who had to raise three kids plus another not my own, on my own, all I can say is it's way scarier than being a race car driver.

It is amazing to me now that my oldest is 31 how he has turned back into the person I knew before he was a teenager. (A really sweet person.) The teen years are a kind of storm. You have to just do what you can to get through it with them and hope that the damage is minimal and not permanent. At one point my son and I realized we were on a precipice. We came so close to disaster it would have ruined us both. He went to live with his dad for a while, which was an education in itself. But honestly, we came so close, I thank ALL THE GODS and the stars and my karma and whatever that we were saved from it.


Edited at 2014-05-16 01:35 pm (UTC)
jilly_coppercorn: JC2jlly_coppercorn on May 16th, 2014 02:10 pm (UTC)
We haven't come full circle yet, but I think we are in the final approach. At age 24 he was still making terrible choices, but he's 25 now and keeps sending me notes about how well he is doing. I try to be positive and say things like "Well done!" and "Good job!" but I'm not getting involved yet and I still don't trust him not say whatever to keep up the illusion that he is in control of himself.

That hope that the damage is minimal and not permanent is something that I've been living on for 10 years. As well as the hope I'll get back something of the child I raised.
Jacqueslacombe on August 2nd, 2014 03:41 am (UTC)
In the case of the court date, I DO think you made the right, and most loving, choice. The law is not purely punishment, it is also an engine of order. Your son probably learned a valuable lesson that day, with only 30 days to lose. If his fate was in a stranger's hands, or a less savory person, the consequences may have been far more severe. The kids in the courtroom that day be damned - they don't understand the value of tough love, and about consequences today that will save them from bigger ones later.

That dream is terrible. I've had a tremendous number of horrible dreams in my life -- maybe three in the past week. My mind is very creative, and sometimes cruel to me as I sleep.