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Working Through Anger One Breath At A Time

Emily Dickinson wrote: “Anger as soon as fed is dead – ‘Tis starving makes it fat.” In these days of political polarization and the dissolution of relationships based on singular points of difference, it seems on the face of it that anger is quite glutted. On the opposite side of the self-reflective spectrum, anger is looked upon as being wrong or an indication of personal failure. Statements like “I lost control of my anger” or “I was overwhelmed,” are common. For both the path of gluttony and the path of scarcity, the unhelpful assumption is a lack of separation between the emotion of anger and the actions it is seen to support.

Take A Breath: Anger is Ok

Last time I looked in the mirror, talked with friends and relatives, and people-watched through office windows and passing vehicles, I noticed we’re still all human. Remembering that means recognizing we’re all in this world attempting to live lives of meaning and purpose, while doing so in as consistent a way as any of us know how. The initial step on this journey is identifying what’s important to us in any given moment. The means of doing so is the automatic system of emotional valuation.

connect-the-dots-flowerWhat our emotional system does is remind us both of our shared humanity and our care for how that humanity shows up in action. Certainly there are variations of depth in our caring, with some situations or moments standing out more than others and at different times changing in intensity and focus. This is due to the way our minds frame our experiences, consider it like the lines on a connect-the-dots puzzle. What we’re concerned with here though are the dots, or immediate emotional judgments.

This immediacy and inherent humanity of our emotional valuing is why, looked at alone, there’s nothing wrong with anger or any other emotion. They just are. You or anyone else is not broken or damaged goods because you get upset about an action or experience. This can be difficult to accept because we’re so quick to connect our feelings with particular behavior, but this fusion does not have to limit our self-reflection, it does not have to lead to condemning our capacity to care about our lives and the world around us.

Take A Breath: Anger Is Not All You Are

The immediate danger of looking at anger as bound to particular behavior is how easily it then becomes to define the whole of who you are by a single internal reaction. I’ve lost count the number of times someone has said “I’m just an angry person.” When caught up in the moment, when not pausing to reflect, when not taking a breath and remembering the width and depth of our humanity, this statement makes a certain intuitive sense. Sadly, it sets the stage for seeing only those times we’ve acted in ways outside of the best versions of ourselves. It removes the branches of our individual life-trees and leaves only a long stump of bitterness and regret.

Pausing to take a breath is the first step towards mindfully reflecting on ourselves as whole people, possessed of many thoughts, emotions and a near-infinite potential for behavior. Doing so can be done by following basic instructions:

  1. Identify the feeling and say it out loud or to yourself, using the affirmation: “I’m feeling angry (or any other emotion) and I’m ok.”
  2. If able and safe to do so, close your eyes and take a breath, holding it for a brief moment and then letting it go
  3. Repeat step 1 and 2 while noting all the other thoughts clambering for attention as they speed by your awareness
  4. When caught up in one or more of those thoughts and emotions, calmly bring yourself back to a focus on the breath and the affirmation
  5. With each breath, be aware of how you are observing these thoughts and emotions but are not bound to them, for they pass you by and you remain

Take A Breath: Release

Pausing before further action does not mean you no longer care about what triggered you. Breathing is not a replacement for engaging in an effort to change what is considered unhealthy or a violation. There is the world and there is the way we hope the world, or even just our little part of it, would be. Being angry is a reminder of that hope. What mindful reflection provides us is the space to release our automatic or habitual behaviors and explore ways to engage that reflect the best versions of ourselves.

If you are wanting help in this journey of releasing yourself into a greater appreciation of who you are and what you are capable of doing, please contact me for therapy or coaching.

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Ignoring the Trees for the Forest of Truth

Often it seems that the internet is where good dialogue goes to die.  The human tendency for confirmation bias becomes a glaring practice when faced with a near-infinite amount of information. The desire to feel right is supported, pushed along and given constant reinforcement by the capacity of online groups to be established quickly and easily controlled membership. Want to find like-minded people? Holler long enough and the walls against further inquiry will spring up with every ‘like’ and supportive comment.

While the need to create community is innate, the way we go about it can create the disconnection such a search seeks to avoid. When an interest in ideological purity trumps that of expanding understanding, the result is an isolation of parts of humanity and an avoidance, if not deliberate ignorance, of the fact that no single idea or human action exists in a void of its own making. There is always an interconnected context, always a relational reality in which idea and deed are embedded.

Proselytizing is the attempt to convince someone of the rightness of one’s position, with zealotry focused on a shift in language towards agreement rather than an engagement in expansive dialogue. These terms are often used in a religious context, but their practice is not contained there. Due to that context, the notion of proselytizing often gets a negative feel, but our lives are often defined within that term, having decided we’re right about a thing, we fervently seek to spread that truth. The extent of our promotional behavior is not based on our feeling of being right, as that exists almost always. Rather, the degree to which we act is limited by the depth of importance we give to the opinion and how supported we feel.

An increase in either importance or support is why we seek community, but because the focus becomes even more restricted to a singular point the result is a loss of seeing the bigger picture. The zealot is never more dangerous than when at the front of a mob, nor ever more fervent in their righteousness than if the opinion is deemed cosmically important. Lost is recognizing the nature of truth being relational, an interactive dynamic between the reality-universal and the reality-subjective, where the latter does not so much create as cordon off aspects of the broader canvas to make a smaller picture. Focusing only on a particular understanding or way of viewing a situation is staring so closely at one tree that the forest of variation ceases to exist.

IMG_0043This is about acknowledging and exploring the broader reality holding the pieces of every limited perspective. All dialogue contains the subjective precisely because it is communion between two or more human beings, each possessing a phenomenological, or what it feels like, experience. The rightness of one’s opinion has little bearing upon the acceptance of it by any other person. In focusing so strongly on the rightness of one’s opinion, the recognition of the other person’s concerns, fears, development and existential progress tends to be forgotten. Any of us who have fought valiantly against an opinion only to at some point in the future find ourselves agreeing with that very point can attest to truth’s acquisition being partly contingent upon one’s place in life. 

There is a time for standing on one’s ground with feet firmly planted, but more often than not dialogue should be less about being right and more on living a life where there is no ‘other,’ no ‘enemy,’ no ‘contrary force’ sitting across from us. Celebrating the process of sharing and expansion that is generative dialogue within our connection to others may result in a greater appreciation for the forest of human existence.

 

© David Teachout

 

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The Lure of Mob Mentality

Nobody holds to a belief that they knowingly acknowledge is wrong or inaccurate. There is an emotional and identity-defining weight attached to each belief. For every incremental increase in resources (time, energy, money, relationships) spent on maintaining a belief, the greater the feeling of attachment and the less likely a person is ever to question the legitimacy of their claim. What area of life the belief connects to is incidental, what matters is the felt feeling of attached weight, the degree of importance a person places on it. This mounting pressure encourages us to bond together in groups, to spread the weight among the like-minded.

A mob is any group of people holding to a particular belief or set of beliefs, with the primary purpose being abject support of said belief with a demand for purity. This support may masquerade at times under the guise of rational inquiry, with questions often in the form of conspiracy building, but it is the purity standard that makes it into a mob-mentality. The belief cannot be questioned and stands as the means to differentiate the ‘true’ from the ‘false’ believers.

While for some the immediate example of a cult comes to mind, this behavior is not found only in religious groups, but is intrinsic to humanity. Political ideologies? Go to a rally and the lessening sense of individuation combined with an increase in emotional fervor will have you feeling larger than yourself. For that matter, many music concerts can encourage a similar feeling with rhythms of sound and body melting the barriers between self and other. In either situation, if you were to dare question what was going on, let there be no doubt you’d be met with varying degrees of anger and violence of one form or another.

mob mentality
Exploration of Mob Mentality in Art

A mob need not be a large group either. If you’ve ever met that couple utterly convinced of the rightness of their job venture or the sanctity of how they treat others despite chaos all around them, you know what abject support and purity looks like. Further, mobs are not constrained by physical proximity, as any social media messaging board or comment section can attest to.

 

“Individually and collectively, our very existence depends on our ability to reach accurate conclusions about the world around us.” (Schulz, 2010, p.4) Unfortunately accuracy is as much a question of individual perception as it is about representing fully the myriad connections of reality. We search for information that supports the beliefs we already hold (confirmation bias) or to add other beliefs that support an overall worldview (internal coherence). Contrary to some who think bias is an act one consciously engages in, it is instead an inevitable and universal behavior. The question is not whether one is engaging in bias, it is the depth of one’s awareness of doing so and desire/intent to mitigate it in some way.

A piece of information ‘makes sense’ or a new belief ‘holds together’ based on the  emotional criteria of whether such aligns with a personal identity or felt sense of self. As stated previously, this weight can be overwhelming, particularly when faced with a broader reality of facts and people that either don’t fit the worldview or are in vocal disagreement. The mob is a rescue from the uncertainty brought up by contrary information, a balm to the anxiety induced by skeptical inquiry.

scientific-skepticism-wordmarkSkepticism has two paths of discovery. The first is universal and exists alongside bias, where instead of focusing attention only on that evidence which is supportive, it draws the mind’s eye to all that doesn’t. The second is an active pursuit, a willful conscious deliberation upon what doesn’t fit in one’s beliefs, joined with a humility based on the long litany of historical protestations of having found truth only to be later chagrined at falling short.

Universal Skepticism is a form of psychological scientific method, parsing out the outliers in experience and shifting one’s worldview to allow for growth and change. Willful Skepticism is far more rare and often, despite boasts to the contrary, little more powerful than the Universal. A significant factor in how far skepticism plows the field of beliefs is the depth of one’s identification with the mob.

Remember that the mob is characterized by abject support and purity. If one looks around and sees in their friends, acquaintances, online communities, etc., little to no questioning of fundamental beliefs, then the mob is likely to be called home. If those who disagree are slandered, name-called, inferred or directly declared as being deficient in reason and intelligence, then it is the mob that one is part of. If one believes that their group is set against by the forces of the world in an US vs Them battle for the future of a family, community or nation, it is the mob that is being held close.

The mob is a haven precisely because it is based on one of the greatest feelings in life: that of believing one is right. Skepticism, both Universal and Willful, is the exact opposite: believing that no single or set of beliefs is ever absent the potential for being inaccurate in whole or in part. The mob is not contrary to humanity any more than skeptical inquiry is, though most certainly they each strengthen different features and encourage different behavior. The kind of person and community grown will be determined by the resources placed in pursuit of one over the other.

 

© David Teachout

References:

Schulz, Kathryn (2010-05-25). Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error. HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

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Our Journeys of Chance

The lucky-save is a classic story, that event awash with emotional weight, in which the person survived by the merest, slightest, of chances. Were a microphone to be present at the time, the likely most common phrase after would be “Whoa! That was lucky!” though often with a great deal more cursing involved. There’s a compilation, not for the faint of heart, on YouTube, of videos showing bare misses. It’s been viewed more than 13 million times.

These stories begin as exclamations of luck, but fast-forward a period of time and when told around drinks at a social gathering, the story shifts ever so slightly into one of personal courage and skill. The focus is no longer on how the vehicle missed, but how “I” was able to get out of the way. If one were to shift the perspective to the flip-side and note just how many people aren’t lucky in similar circumstances, the response will likely not include being invited again. Yet, the reality of chance, or luck as we like to personalize it, is the storm falls where it will. The lucky-save video compilation focus is on the person saved, yet the question of what happened to everyone else involved in the accidents isn’t considered.

This tendency to personalize chance is bound within the way we tell our personal narratives. If we consider that story-telling is essentially memory-reconstruction, then, as Daniel Schacter (2002) puts it:

“…we tend to think of memories as snapshots from family albums that, if stored properly, could be retrieved in precisely the same condition in which they were put away. But we now know that we do not record our experiences the way a camera records them. Our memories work differently. We extract key elements from our experiences and store them. We then recreate or reconstruct our experiences rather than retrieve copies of them. Sometimes, in the process of reconstructing we add on feelings, beliefs, or even knowledge we obtained after the experience. In other words, we bias our memories of the past by attributing to them emotions or knowledge we acquired after the event.”

This attribution of emotions and knowledge post-event, is part of a bias spread across humanity. “…Events that work to our disadvantage are easier to recall than those that affect us positively” (Frank, 2016). This applies to a consideration of luck with a focus on the overcoming of an obstacle. The lucky-save story is not about everything that had to be in just the right order to have survived, instead it’s about one’s own activity in narrowly missing the destructive event.

Frank (2016) takes this mental gamesmanship into the realm of financial success, noting:

“According to the Pew Research Center, people in higher income brackets are much more likely than those with lower incomes to say that individuals get rich primarily because they work hard. Other surveys bear this out: Wealthy people overwhelmingly attribute their own success to hard work rather than to factors like luck or being in the right place at the right time.”

However, the core psychological feature of the studies mentioned stretches far beyond financial success. Effectively, the belief of the wealthy that hard-work rather than chance led to their success, is based on the notion of individual rightness, of having personally acted in such a way as to overcome negative events. This feeling of self-right-eousness, or pride, is based on two factors: 1) confrontation with a perceived obstacle, and 2) ignorance of supporting variables.

two pathsPride is not limited to a connection of financial success, it is a supportive feeling in any circumstance of dealing with adversity. With the political season full upon us and the central narrative for both parties being a battle between the “Haves and the Have-Nots,” the two factors of confrontation and ignorance have a lot to work with. Combined with social media’s ability to exponentially expand the reach of ego, it is not merely leaders that have become demagogues, we all are in a mad dash to manifest our individual version with upraised fists.

Thankfully our capacity to expand our perspective doesn’t require more than being actively reminded. Rather than a focus on the rightness of one’s political identity or a belief in having successfully hit upon the right group and ideology to belong to, consider all the factors that went into the journey getting there. This is not a denial of one’s personal agency so much as a broadening recognition that where we end up, whether it be within a social movement or possessing a large bank account, has at least as much to do with factors outside of our immediate control.

We do not select which ideas to believe as if from a mental sample platter, any more than business success occurs purely from personal will and effort. Ideas and their acquisition work upon and within structures as much as any business. For every governmental and legal system in place, there is a cultural and familial background. For every road travelled and delivery system utilized, there are educational opportunities and temperament that support and direct our attention to particular ideas over others.

“Economists like to talk about scarcity, but its logic doesn’t always hold up in the realm of human emotion. Gratitude, in particular, is a currency we can spend freely without fear of bankruptcy” (Frank, 2016).

By reminding ourselves to look beyond our lucky-save stories, we can appreciate all that went into and continues to exist for us to be where we are.

 

© David Teachout

References:

Frank, Robert. (2016). The Atlantic. Why Luck Matters More Than You Might Think

Schacter, Daniel L. (2002-05-07). The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers (p. 9). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

 

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Biases: A Shortcut to Limitation

Shortcuts are not just inevitable, but acceptable as part of everyday living. Our mental short-cuts, or heuristics, make it impossible to fully consider everything we are told and faced with. We communicate and if it were pointed out that some or much of what we hear is not the whole truth most of us would shrug and explain that the whole truth simply takes too much time and energy to understand, that we know enough to get by. We parse out our energy to focus on the things that matter and take on trust much of what we hear.

Trust, here, is essentially a form of authority, we accept that the other person has, in a given context, a greater possession of truth than we currently do. Whether it be a teacher, scientist, minister, politician, or simply the person we’re currently listening to, we trust what is said. This decision to trust is itself based on a shortcut, we accept that person’s authority due to having previously determined them as being aligned with or supportive of our view of the world. In other words, trust in authority is essentially a manifestation of confirmation bias.

The selection process for determining our authority figures is based on unconscious biases, how and where we grew up, what relationships have shaped our attachments, and our educational backgrounds (to name but a few variables). We call this process our “gut” feeling and while it is often wrong, our minds self-servingly remind us of the times we were right and so we go on trusting an intuition that has little greater propensity for fortune telling than simple chance.

All forms of knowledge are an extension of our identity. Reason or testing in a lab is referred to as a “heady” process or something that occurs outside of ourselves. Intuition is referred to as something we “just feel,” therefore having the greatest connection to who we are and resulting in having a greater weight given. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the hubris with which we tell stories of how events happen to us rather than the reverse of we belonging to greater events of which we are not the center.
in imagination there is no limitation

Intuition, gut feelings and the like shouldn’t be completely ignored (likely it’s impossible
to do so anyway). Rather, they are limited and should be worked at, like a muscle, with other forms of knowing being used to supplement and support. A common case for this need to expand is when judging the actions of another. Information doesn’t exist like floating data points in the sky, waiting to be plucked by each person. Just as we select our authority figures from within the maelstrom of our relational lives, so then
information exists within it as well. Every piece of evidence is selected, considered and weighed within the worldview of the individual, shaped as it is within the inter-subjective relational reality with those we are connected. In the rush to reach a conclusion, it is precisely these times when we should both listen to our shortcuts and hold them in deepest wariness.

Our shortcuts can be right, they can point us in a direction of truth, but they are a limiting force upon imagination and reason. However right they may be initially does not mean they should guide us indefinitely. A shortcut feels right precisely because of its lack of nuance, its reduction of the variables considered in any given situation. Judgment within this reduced vision limits the person making the judgment and the one being judged. It allows for no imagination, no newness of progress or room for change. The vastness of the world in which each person lives, the potential each has available to them, is looked over with a blind-eye.

The opposite of shortcut-judgment is compassionate understanding. This is not about excuses, but possibilities, not verbal warfare but generative dialogue. The goal is not so much the reaching of a conclusion but an expansion of perspective.

 

© David Teachout

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Meaning and Purpose Through Engaged Living

Apathy is mostly believed to reside solely in individual people, considered as some kind of disease to be dealt with. The prescription given takes the form of some immediate action. Get the person involved in an activity and the apathy will go away. The insidiousness of apathy is how easy it is to mistake mere movement with engagement. Movement is a linear process from one point to another; engagement is the imagined projection of self into an evolving and interconnected life. Mistaking the former with the latter can blind a person to life’s pregnant possibility by believing a shallow vision is truly deep.

The myth here is any activity equals conscious, intentional, engagement. However, quantity of movement, no matter how frenzied, does not in itself signify a conscious intentional connection between the individual and the community. This ease of mimicry leads to the uncomfortable acknowledgment that all the family vacations, all the phone calls one makes for a political party, the protests of varying degrees of shrill pronouncement, the house parties one throws for church groups and even the fervor with which an idea is defended, is all for naught if the action is done without an active intentional engagement with those involved. To be next to someone and yet feel alone is an inevitable consequence.

One popular advertising tagline declares: “just do it.” No declaration is made as to just what “it” is, but assurance is pronounced that engaging in “it” will alleviate the banality of a life lacking in active felt experience. There is a form of salvation message here, a way to feel immediately connected without any concern for understanding. Action for the sake of action covers a barrenness of relationship and a paucity of ideological understanding. Yet with every rally, every weekend retreat, we feel a growing sense of our own powerlessness and a disconnection with our fellow human beings. Without deliberation, without consciously placing the self into the stream of life’s events, seeing the inter-relation that one has with every experience, action is simply a haphazard attempt to fill a biological need, a gut reaction without meaning.

Thomas Moore, in Care of the Soul, notes:

“Life lived soulfully is not without its moments of darkness and periods of foolishness. Dropping the salvational fantasy frees us up to the possibility of self-knowledge and self-acceptance, which are the very foundation of soul.”

Mere action leads to apathy because we are so busy attempting to be free from our natural reality, we run away from it rather than engage and embrace. Consider “imagination as a connect-the-dots image-maker expanding the reality we’re aware of. The available dots and their connections stem from the disparate parts of our past and present experiences.” Imagination is the means by which we bridge the content of our lives with the substance of our hopes and dreams. When engaged, imagination looks at our inability to fly and creates airplanes, looks upon relational separation birthed by religious fundamentalism and declares instead we belong to an interconnected natural universe, ponders disease and comes up with research to cure it and looks upon a world continuing towards destruction and offers new forms of energy, conservation and the idea of living in balance.

None of these engagements require running away from reality, none of them hope for a salvation that is always just beyond our grasp. Each and every one of them, big and small, from the airplane to helping a stranger with getting food, never once lack acknowledgment with our physical limitations. Seeing limit, each of these engagements creates a new path to address, casting aside the shallow vision of a separated self for the depth of potential residing in the continually manifesting universe.

This is why apathy is not an individual sickness, it is a felt relational absence. Mere action would have us believe we exist in our own worlds, lonely billiard balls careening through existence. Intentional engagement seeks to widen the vision to the interconnected whole. We embrace our relational experience not with mere action, but with every conscious acknowledgement of the lives we live and the nature within which we live it.

 

© David Teachout

 

Artwork by elreviae

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Free Thought, Free Society

During this period of political theatre and argumentation derived from the most basic of emotional responses rather than from the heights of intellectual discourse, I’m reminded of just how scary free thinking is to those in power. Let us have debates, let us ponder the peculiarities of the human condition and delve into the hitherto mysteries of existence and the cosmos in which we are a part of and apart from. However, we should do so from a position of humble acceptance of our own rational faculties and the constant reassessment that follows from a scientific/humanist point of view. This means understanding not just our own position, our own frame of reference, but also that of our opponent’s.

The variation in journeys is precisely what gets lost in current debates, both political and religious. We declare our ideas sacrosanct or correct, dismiss anyone else as primitive or wrong, and ignore the vast differences in life experience and the consequences such will have on what ideas develop, how they are considered and whether they’re thought of as acceptable to pursue. We forget or ignore our journeys from the wrong to the slightly less wrong. There is no set of experiences that does not limit perspective, no set of ideas that is incapable of being challenged and/or changed. Free thinking is not a trip into relativism, it is a deliberate journey into the humility brought by recognizing we’re all human.

In Principles of Social Reconstruction (1916), he (Bertrand Russell) wrote: Men fear thought more than they fear anything else on earth—more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible; thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. It sees man, a feeble speck, surrounded by unfathomable depths of silence; yet bears itself proudly, as unmoved as if it were lord of the universe. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man. But if thought is to become the possession of many, not the privilege of the few, we must have done with fear. It is fear that holds men back—fear lest their cherished beliefs should prove delusions, fear lest the institutions by which they live should prove harmful, fear lest they themselves should prove less worthy of respect than they have supposed themselves to be. (Fromm, Erich)

no struggle no progressWe rest on the shoulders of those who have come before us. They are the engineers, the scientists, the blue-collar workers, the everyday masses of civilization. They made our roads so that wagons and then automobiles could open up vistas of land for human exploration. They laid down rail tracks for travel, commerce and in so doing made the world that much closer together. They created our planes, designed our phones and created the network that makes it all work together, flattening the world so that mountains were no longer impassable and a person on one side of an entire planet could see and hear someone on the opposite, giving us the power of the gods of antiquity. None of this was built by any one person, founded upon any one idea. We come into this world screaming our existence to those around us, boldly crying out “see me!” and by that act declare a truth lost in a world of individualism hell-bent on insularity, that we are none of us an island.

“Should the working man think freely about property? Then what will become of us, the rich? Should young men and young women think freely about sex? Then what will become of morality? Should soldiers think freely about war? Then what will become of military discipline? Away with thought! Back into the shades of prejudice, lest property, morals, and war should be endangered! Better men should be stupid, slothful, and oppressive than that their thoughts should be free. For if their thoughts were free they might not think as we do. And at all costs this disaster must be averted.” So the opponents of thought argue in the unconscious depths of their souls. And so they act in their churches, their schools, and their universities.” Fromm, Erich

In the union of our shared humanity we will come across ideas and experiences that shake us, even knock us back, make us question deeply held notions of ourselves and the world in which we live. The march of rational inquiry provides no safe harbor to the familiar, or the structures of authority both terrestrial and spiritual, that we seek to reside in. But we need not despair or quiver in uncertainty, for we do indeed stand on the shoulders of all who have come before and can reach out at all times to find commonality even amongst those we find objectionable.

There is no greater or more terrible power than thoughtful, skeptical inquiry, nor any greater threat to civilization than its denial. It humbles the self-righteous, raises the common to the extraordinary and at all times reminds us that our relation to the universe and our fellow human beings is a product of our powerful and varied imagination.

 

© David Teachout

 

Quotations from:

Fromm, Erich (2010-08-03). On Disobedience: ‘Why Freedom Means Saying “No” to Power (Harperperennial Modern Thought) (pp. 26-27). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

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Why I am pro-Abortion, not Just Pro-Choice

Very much this: “How and when, we choose to carry forward a new life can stack the odds in favor of our children or against them, and to me that is a sacred trust.”

ValerieTarico.com

Abortion - happy family2

I believe that abortion care is a positive social good — and I think it’s time people said so.

Not long ago, the Daily Kos published an article titled, I Am Pro-Choice, Not Pro-Abortion. “Has anyone ever truly been pro-abortion?” one commenter asked.

Uh. Yes. Me. That would be me.

I am pro-abortion like I’m pro-knee-replacement and pro-chemotherapy and pro-cataract surgery. As the last protection against ill-conceived childbearing when all else fails, abortion is part of a set of tools that help women and men to form the families of their choosing. I believe that abortion care is a positive social good. And I suspect that a lot of other people secretly believe the same thing. And I think it’s time we said so.

Note: As an aside, I’m also pro-choice. Choice is about who gets to make the decision. The question of whether and when we bring a…

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