Why Your Buttons Get Pushed and How to Stop It

There is a game children play called, “Pick Up Sticks”. The game is a cardboard tube filled with extra long sticks, sort of like ten inch colored tooth picks. I guess the game has something to do with picking up some number of sticks under certain conditions. Knowing so little about this particular children’s game however, makes me an expert on you.

I bet you paused there with some sort of unsaid expletive. How could I possibly an expert on you? After all I do not know your name, where you live, or any other information about you, other than you are reading this post at the moment. I do not even know when that moment will be.

You are absolutely correct. I know nothing about you, except you are on my blog reading this post. Yet I can say I know everything about you because of the Pick Up Sticks children’s game. You, I, and everyone you know are who they are because we all picked sticks dropped by adults around us when we were children.

Here is a sixty second test you can take to see why this is idea is true. Think about a topic that really sets you on edge. Any topic, religion, politics, the Middle East, race, EU, starving children, gay rights and/or gay activists.


Who gave you your beliefs

You hold strong feelings on some subjects because you picked up a stick on this subject as a child. Someone gave you a stick which you picked up and made your own. If you did not pick that particular stick, the topic(s) which rile you would not be important at all.

Are you thinking that is not true? You know you have very good reasons for feeling the way you feel about your hot topics, namely you are right, and others are wrong! Where did those feelings come from? Who told these ideas to you? You were not born with these thoughts, they did not blossom in you from outer space. Somehow you were exposed to your hot topic, and it was reinforced often enough to develop strong feelings about it.

I have strong feelings about the save the children programs. Humanitarians enter underdeveloped countries and feed, cloth, and vaccinate children so they can grow into healthy adults. This topic irritates me on a number of different levels.

All we have done and are doing is entering a region that is supporting a larger human population that it can naturally, and creating a synthetic environment where even more people are living long enough to have even more children than their own generation. This means even more children living in garbage dumps, drinking sewer water, and “struggling to survive for another day in grinding poverty”.

I think my strong feelings about this topic started when I was a kid. I would be guilt-ed into eating all my food with the phrase, “You better eat all your food because of the starving Children in Africa”. Family members often repeated this phrase, either to myself or their own children, giving added weight to the original stick given to me by my own Mother.

Think deeply why you have strong opinions on certain topics. Think about where the stick you picked up came from. We are born pretty much a blank slate. We learn from whatever ever we are told. As children we are a sponge for every attitude and belief of our parents and other adults around us.

As adults we have very strong opinions about many subjects. Some beliefs we hold are so strong we are willing to to lose our life over them. Other beliefs we feel less strongly about. All our opinions and beliefs are not ours at all. All through our childhood we have been picking up other peoples sticks of opinion and belief.

If you uncover your feelings and beliefs trying to find justification for for them, you will wind up empty handed. Sexual orientation of people around you does not mean anything once you throw away the stick you hold that says it does.

Neither does skin color, race, or religious preference matter when you go back and find the first stick you picked up on these subjects that made it important. Your ethics and mores are arrived on a stick you picked up from an adult when you were little. Growing up in a different land, or environment, your ethics and mores may be completely different because the sticks you hold are different than mine.

It is true, I know all about you because I picked up many of the same sticks. You know all about me for the same reason. We both know all about other people too. No matter who we are, and what we believe, it all started when we unknowingly started picking up sticks dropped around us by adults in our life when we were children.

You now know all there is to know about picking up sticks. What happens now? Do you allow yourself to get angry without really knowing why something is important? Do you decide this post is a waste of your time? Do you decide I am not thinking correctly?

Better for all of us, are you going to start examining all the sticks you have collected over your lifetime? Are you going to look at them impartially, maybe for the first time? Which sticks are worth keeping and defending, and which sticks are pure poison? Do you pick up this stick that I have offered, or is it too scary to touch?


Racism Exists Day to Day

A news story from New Mexico is unfortunately indicative of how far we are collectively from being human and treating those around us as the human we pretend to be. A racist remark was made. The practically forced apology that followed apologized only for the remark. No heartfelt attempt to apologize or acknowledge the person who the remark was apparently about was publicly made.

The remark spurring this post was uttered in Sante Fe, New Mexico, in the state capitol building during a committee meeting. The remark was unleashed in the middle of a ‘heated exchange’. The remark was racist and demeaning. It took two days for an apology to be arrive, and then in the form of a letter. The letter may be considered a veiled attempt to not apologize. Part of the apology reads, “I respect all elected officials and again I would say I am sorry…”  The apology per my reading of it is for the verbiage used, not for the attitude and feelings behind it, nor for the unidentified person it was directed at.

In my opinion this person has held this belief for some time. If they never join in interaction with another with respect to race, the offending comment would never have been thought, let alone verbalized. Remarks of this type are normally kept under lock and key by people holding this belief. These types comments are not meant for general public consumption by the person holding them.

People holding beliefs of this kind allow them to simmer under the surface. This belief is a tainted lens of the ego which defines ones world by race. They view interaction not through the eyes of one human being looking at another, but through a value set which should hold no importance.

These beliefs are uttered by their holders only at ‘appropriate times’. Appropriate times being when demeaning racist comments will only be heard by others who are accepting and agreeable to this errant thinking and belief. In this instance, one’s true belief was unintentionally unleashed in a moment of anger.

I would hope any public official and educator would conquer this churlish and petty belief before embarking on a public life path. There is no good outcome ( as has been made obvious) for an individual to hold this type of belief, and resulting behavior to fester, and become the primary measure of another.

A Representative represents. The People being represented, the majority of them, never imagined these beliefs were present in their representative. They never imagined they would hear of a disparaging, racist, demeaning remark uttered by their Representative.

An Educator educates. An Educator also imparts in addition to the curriculum, their private attitudes and beliefs which are transmitted via micro signals to students in their charge. Personal beliefs can not be masked or hidden over a period of time. What was passed on to hundreds of students daily along with the official lesson plan? Does a belief that some people are less than others belong in public office or education?

It is too much to believe in the moment, the uttering party is ashamed of their action, and they would own up to it. It is a slap across the face of all New Mexicans, especially those being represented, should be offended this rhetoric ever took place.

Martin Luther King,  who lost his life attempting to halt these acts of hate and hurt was forgotten in this debacle. Caesar Chavez in a different arena, fought daily for basic human dignity and respect for all peoples, and he too has been ignored.

Whether we agree or disagree with someone, whether they are a member of our race, a minority race, or mixed race, we must set race aside. One’s race has no place in a difference of opinion or other form of interaction between people.  If you read any of my posts about growing EcoHeart, you may understand why this is an important issue. Our world needs us focused on our future, yet too often we behave on like petulant, self centered children acting in the moment.

An argument or disagreement is a difference of opinion. A disagreement should remain focused on the area or item of dispute, and not be allowed to drift into umbrage or lashing out. If there is fact involved then an argument is no longer an argument, but ones refusal to accept fact.

No reasonable argument or disagreement has anything to do with the color of a persons skin, ethnicity, culture, or world view. We each have right to hold our own beliefs. We do not have the right to belittle others. It is imperative for the well being of all of us our beliefs are not tainted by hate. It is time for this hating minority to become Human, and treat other Humans with the respect and dignity they deserve.


Occupy Floundering via Misdirection

I want the Occupy Movement to make a difference. Whether they are the 99% or Occupy Wall Street, they have earned a tenuous positive momentum. Now they need to keep it going. At present it does not look like anything of note is taking place. This cause is starting to look like a collection of diverse people with nothing better to do than waste time and resources to accomplish nothing of note on a daily basis.

When this economic slide began, I believe it was covered up, or ignored. We went on as if nothing was happening because it was not us who were effected. A few people were losing their jobs, a few others were losing their homes. Bad financial choices were banner-ed as the cause, nothing more. Happened every day, and like any other news story, after a while stories like these take on a numbing effect.

People graduating college were finding it hard to find work equaling the cost of their education. They obviously picked the wrong fields to earn a degree in, it happened. We have seen this happen before of course, everything would work itself out as it always did. As if we asleep in Dream Land, the true state of our economy did not show itself for what it really was.

It was not a few people being laid off. It was not a few families losing their homes due to bad financial decisions. More than a few college graduates were not able to find any reasonable employment. People were being effected on scale almost none of us have ever seen before. Not in the seventies, not in the eighties, and not in the nineties.

We became so accustomed to problems working themselves out, we were numb to reality. Our idea of the good life was rapidly crumbling around us and we were ambivalent. Life was crumbling for everyone except the upper 1%. The One-Percent were making money faster than any proverbial money tree could grow it.

Those who voiced the idea there was something wrong were shouted down. Fear of losing the American way of life was subtly introduced to silence people who were cognizant enough to see what was really happening. The American way of life was disappearing. The stance was it is the fault of the unemployed and the college graduates who were not willing to do work for a living. That was the crux of what I heard being peddled on the street.

Then came Occupy Wall Street, and the 99%! They had a voice, they were the focal point of for problems in our economy. They were the people who went from have to have not. They started talking and demonstrating, and they were being heard. They were people who were not able to find their slice of the pie.

Rallies and sit-ins gained the worlds attention. Occupy movements were receiving positive air time on the evening news. These groups were being heard. America and the world stopped long enough to notice, and actually understand the real social and economic problems we created for our neighbors and ourselves.

Occupy groups were not outsiders trying to cause trouble. Nor were they tainted college radicals from within. They were Parents and Children of Parents who like all Parents wanted a life for their children as good or better than they have achieved. Occupy Groups were the brunt of what life had been until recently, when suddenly life was no longer being lived in wonderland.

Truthfully, it feels as if these sit-ins and camp-outs are becoming more of a nuisance than focal point for any real cause. The Occupy Groups are mobile, they can a force to be reckoned with. They are in the face of America, and the World. What they do not appear to have is sound Leadership and Vision.

Jumping from cause to cause lacking cohesion between causes is indicative of children who easily lose their focus for the newest bauble across the plaza. Making a stand for this today, and that tomorrow is wasting valuable air time. Acting out silly illegal gestures against private property is not the correct way of keeping focus on the cause and sympathy of the public.

Where is the Occupy Movement going? Are they to become nothing more than mobile Shanty Towns in City Plaza’s and Squares? Hawking the cry of the day for the newest cause? Are the Occupy Movements allowing themselves to be reduced to a mix of people perceived as having nothing better to do? People out for some excitement and a warm meal? People perceived as holding no real interest in making a difference? Are the Occupy Movements and the 99% going to allow themselves to be caught in the net of Public Nuisance?

Any Army no matter how strong, can only fight effectively on so many fronts. Castles are built for defense, not for aggression. The Occupy Movement needs to take steps to keep itself focused, lean, and mobile. Sticking with a few major issues, instead of trying to umbrella every problem that bubbles to the surface daily.

Reasonable People should want the Occupy Movements to succeed and make a difference. We are all the 99% like it or not. We all feel the unhealthy state of our economy. It is more important than ever for the Occupy Movement to stick to a few solvable issues and not disintegrate into promoting the cause of the day.


Lucid Dreaming 2 of 2

Then I have the dream that provoked this post. I woke knowing my body was Next I was in a small apartment talking with someone I never met before (in my waking hours) about something I have never thought about before. There was a hanging question (or perhaps assumption) in the air, about if I would help.

This is the part of Lucid Dreaming that fascinates me. I appeared in this apartment somewhere, and I was the only one who was surprised I was there. The other person expected me and knew I should be there talking with them. We both knew why I was there before I was aware I was in conversation.

I had to make several decisions as the dream progressed. I had to decide how best to help, and the other person needed to decide how much personal information to share with me about their situation for me to be more effective.  We also had individual roles as in real life. they had their own personality, and they made decisions and took action as the dream progressed.

So what is really going on in Lucid Dreams? Is my logical brain listening in and filling in voids in the dream that make no sense? Are other people in the dream to fill in the blanks helping me resolve a situation? Or, did the experience really take place in someplace other than normal dreamland, where we all can go or maybe do go, but most of us do not realize we do?

At any rate IMHO, Lucid Dreams are over rated because they are in not provable as being a dream or not. Lucid Dreams follow a line from an old song, “…is that all there is?” They happen, and we go back into a normal sleep, or wake up wondering if what seemed so real, really is.

I wish in Lucid Dreaming there existed tangible, repeatable proofs, or total lack of proof. Not what there is now, a compilation of what various people think as proof, or put forth as fact. Sometimes people corroborate a dream from a previous time with shared knowledge of what took place and where. I have had this experience only once.

I have read, if one were to take the learning’s from Lucid Dreams, and apply them in the waking side of life, they are a powerful valuable tool. What makes Lucid Dreams valuable is applying what was done in the Lucid Dream to our waking life. If one resolves problems or circumstance in a dream, one can be an expert in waking life too using the same process.

Perhaps as some think, Lucid Dreaming is our mind trying to work something out, and in the process has invoked extra help from parts of our brain which rarely involves itself in our dream state. Or maybe Lucid Dreams are real, and we are fortunate to be able to experience them because they take place somewhere not bounded by our physical world and its restrictions.

If you search on lucid dreams, there are websites, forums, and the ever present sites that sell you there dream for a price. My Lucid Dreams have always been varied, and for the most part enjoyable. Since I was a small child until lately, they have never followed a theme.



Lucid Dreaming 1 of 2

Before I knew what Lucid Dreams were, I was having them. As a child I would fly through the air over miles and miles of trees. I could soar for what seemed like hours and hours. Take off and landing was not much different than Superman, or other super heroes who just jump into the air and fly off.

The term Lucid Dream when I first heard it sounded really neat! I did not know what Lucid Dreams were when I first saw the words. They seemed to happen to only a few people who must of know things I did not.

It was some time later when I came across Lucid Dreaming again and realized I had done this since I was a kid. For me Lucid Dreams have been a part of my sleep time as long as I can remember. Maybe that is part of the reason my sister say’s in people like me, our brains do not work right.

Lucid Dreams are different from normal dreams. In a normal dream, one sort of follows a script which may or may not make sense. In the start of a dream you may be walking through the woods carrying balloons. Without any continuity in the dream you are part of a conversation while seated in a lobby of a building. You also do not realize how unconnected the sequence of the dream is.

Lucid Dreams

Lucid Dreams on the other hand follow a rational pattern. They may take place in situations that are odd, but they maintain a sense of flow. You do not generally jump from scene to unconnected scene in a Lucid Dream. You may make decisions that change the course of your dream. You can control the dream rather than being a passive character int he dream. You are usually aware this is not a normal dream while it is happening. Lucid Dreams are very interactive dreams.

When having a Lucid Dream, you think, act, and make decisions based on the situation and can to some extent control the dream. A common thread to both types of dreams is whatever is taking place may not be something you have ever done, or are aware you have experience with. However in Lucid Dreams you can change the flow of the dream.

In what seems to be about half the Lucid Dreams I have, I find myself around someone with a problem. Whether or not I have any [awareness] experience with their problem is irrelevant. I find myself participating, going from becoming aware I am in a Lucid Dream state to participating in the dream itself.

These are where the unknowable parts of dreams take place. Are these dreams as some have suggested body parts making us aware of something? Are they another person’s dream, someone or something is trying to work out a conflict and we are pulled into their dream? Do they take place in other worlds, as physical as this one where we exist, at least for as long as the dream lasts?

Almost always my Lucid Dreams of late have strangers with problems that need solving. Occasionally these dreams are about me. I am usually with someone else or a small group. The dream situation is mine alone, though it may be odd. The other person(s) with me are usually stranger(s) except in the dream itself.

Why Lucid Dreams are different, and if are they anything special fall into the area of belief and opinion. Some people think they are nothing more than another type of dream. Other people think they are every bit as real as you are reading this post. For me, I hop back and forth over the fence.

Some of my Lucid Dreams are so real and logical. After these experiences I am sure they take place in a different world than the one we live our waking life in. If it were real, and could be felt or touched, I would agree Lucid Dreams are is as real as our awake time. Then due to the lack of aware physical sensation, I hop back over the fence and think Lucid Dreams are dreams with a little more specialized brain involvement.


Linux Mint LMDE, Gstreamer, and Drive /Data

This post is about Linux Mint LMDE, an upgrade problem (solved) with Gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad, and the addition of /Data drive during install to store music and other large files for easy access.

Not to many posts ago I am bragging up Open Suse 11. OpenSuse released an upgrade which means it was time for me to upgrade. I downloaded the new OpenSuse, did and install.  I understand Gnome and some distributions wish to make the desktop more Windows user friendly.  I appreciate the idea but not when it makes for more mousing and clicking. The new desktop is not to my taste. I found the newest Gnome desktop had me mousing all over the screen to run the programs I wanted to run. Ymmv of course.

I downloaded the newest Ubuntu, installed and did not care much for the Ubuntu desktop either,  I really did enjoy my OpenSuse experience. Other than the qwerky (for me anyway) install OpenSuse is a great distro.

It was time to distro hop again. I used to run Debian Linux, but Debian Stable while being rock solid runs a little behind the rest of the world in the software area. This is not a fault of Debian. It is just the way it is. I like Debian. Debian is fast, small, and agile. Unfortunately, as the Debian Version 6.0 review over at Distrowatch states: ” I’m of the opinion Debian isn’t one of the better Debian-based distributions.”

I had tried the Mint Linux  Debian Edition a while back, but it did not like my wireless card, or perhaps it was operator error, but I  was not able to get my wireless working. I thought I would give Linux Mint LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) another try and downloaded the iso.

This time around, I used a simple partitioning scheme with one new addition. I made a swap, root, and home drives. I had read about using /Data for storing files and folders, so I also created a very large /Data drive.

The Linux Mint LMDE install was flawless. After reboot it was time to upgrade. I needed to update about 400 packages. After they downloaded and started to install, I received an error about Gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad.

http://linuxmint.com/I went to the Mint forum, and it seems a few Mint LMDE users have this same problem. I read the plugin is not critical, so I unmarked it for install and restarted the Upgrade Manager. After the upgrade and a reboot, I marked Gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad for upgrade in the Upgrade Manager and it installed without issue. I think I remember reading Gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad needed the kernel upgrade that had not occurred when it wanted to install.

The last bit of information to share is the addition of /Data drive. I read in passing that /Data can be used to store files and folders on. It is always a pain in a single user system to have a xxx gigabyte home and the install allows you xx gigs.

Creating a large /Data drive and a reasonable /Home directory solves this problem. All that is needed to be done after install is make user a member of  www-data group in Users and Groups. At first I was confused because even though I was part of www-data I could not write to the drive.

Turns out it was this users ignorance in progress. The drive /Data belongs to Root (/). What was not obvious to me was what changed when I assigned myself as part of group www-data. When I assigned myself to www-data, drive /Data was added onto /Home like magic, giving me the biggest /home directory possible. In my case I added over 400 gigabytes of storage space! Of course creating your own /Data drive will be dependant on how much space you can allot to your own /Data drive depending on how large your drive is and how much  hard drive space is needed for other uses.

One last thought. Debian does not require a reinstall as new releases arrive. Debian is always up to date whenever you update your system. There is never a need to reinstall Debian under normal circumstances. Also the software lag is not as large using Linux Mint LMDE as it uses Debian Testing repositories instead of stable.

That being said,  there is a possibility of borking your install, but with the Mint Upgrade Manager log, you can uninstall, and wait a week or so for the bug to get worked out. The Linux Mint Forums are also a great source for upgrading information, and of course other questions or problems you may encounter.