Sunday, July 1, 2012

Generalization, Discrimination and Discernment

There is always just me and the other.  I can call the other 'God' or I can call the other "it'.  When I'm afraid I tend to think of the other as "it' whereas when I'm filled with love I think of the other as God.
To discriminate against certain people I must consider them in a group rather than as an individual.  So I might think "Jews are bad".  Hitler thought that.  It would be convenient if the world was just black and white.  Jay Lifton described the black and white world of war politics.  Us and them.  But reality isn't like that.  I know really great Jews and only a couple of really bad Jews. One of my favourite and closest mentors was Dr. Jack Hildes.  He sits right next to Dr. Carl Ridd in my heirarchy of most influential humans on my life.
The Klu Klux Klan said blacks are bad.  My childhood doctor was a black man. He was good.  My Chicago friends are black and they're good. I know one incredible asshole who is black but he's probably the 'exception that proves the world".
I've Indians in my family and we grew up together summers hunting,fishing, hiking and doing stupid boy things.  Like competing pissing off docks and seeing who could fart loudest. They're great guys.   But I've heard people say Indians are bad.They're wrong.
They are as wrong as the people who say whites are bad.I'm white and on my worst day I've only been half bad though others say I exaggerate.  Mostly like most people I'm doing my best to be good.
Psychopaths aren't inherrently 'bad'. They just lack compassion, are so afraid they don't know the depth of their cowardice and can think of no one else but themselves because of their poverty and isolation of spirit.  Because of this they do bad things.
Sociopaths are groups that are at variance with the larger group and generally don't feel that the laws apply to them but are happy to be 'takers' and break the rules.  They're not bad.  They're more often sad.  Like racoons in the chicken coup. If you're raising chickens and have taken it upon yourself to provide and protect chickens and their chicks then you simply have to keep out the racoons or kill the ones that get in.  It's not so much 'good or bad' but just business.  Darwin had something to say about this but one does all they can to avoid killing because its wasteful unless of course you like eating racoon.  Personally I prefer chicken.
Alot of people are fooled into believing that individuals in groups are bad because they perceive the group to be bad. Hence we have the term 'banksters' which I use to refer to bad 'bankers'.  But my banker, Lloyd, was a great man.  He helped me immensely when I needed help.  Nigel Ferguson wrote about money and banks and did a fine job of dispelling the ignorance that so quickly falls prey to paranoia.  There's a lot of paranoia being parlayed about as reasonable these days.
I like to lump beaurocrats into a group and blame the problems of Canada for instance on too much dead weight in administration. I like to knock administrators too.  I do this and should be more ashamed of myself for it.  I'm actually an administrator in my own company and frankly I'm not very good at it. So here I am questioning those well above my pay grade when I haven't got my own affairs well in order.  My brother is an administrator and I highly admire his organization and ability to 'account' for his finances in a way I never had. He was the kid with the piggy bank growing up.  Later he'd have a filing cabinet in his bed room.  He counted his pennies and the dollars took care of themselves.  I'm still struggling to balance my cheque book.  I know too that those who are most critical of the money managers and administrators and bankers probably themselves are least competent with managing their own affairs.  I know alot of great 'spenders' who think everyone else should 'give' to them.
We tend to blame others.  We tend to externalize problems.
I like to blame lawyers alot too.  The trouble is I've got a whole collection of lawyers as friends. I went to school with some really great girls who became lawyers. These girls were the best thing next to home made pie. Really good people and they worked their lives as lawyers. So how can lawyers be bad.  Obviously some can but not all.
I know a judge today that couldn't find his ass with both hands. He's as stupid as the stupidist person I have ever met. He has no respect for money and was either intentionally or unintentionally acting utterly naive about corruption. He was so stupid I was left with the impression he just had to be utterly corrupt because I couldn't imagine a judge as stupid as he was.  He was an exception to prove the rule too. I've lunched with judges and known judges personally I would have trusted my dog with.  I don't trust my dog with just anyone and these men and women were the finest sort of people I could hope to meet snywhere.    And one bad judge doesn't spoil the barrel.
I've met three prime ministers, have a friend who is a congressman, know a few senators and several more politicians personally. They are all individually extraordinary and wonderful people.  No doubt they have their moments. As kids they probably competed in fart contests too.
I even know a good feminist and I think all feminists lack a sense of humor, take themselves too seriously, externalize all their problems , do more harm than good, are very angry and self centered.  The trouble is my feminist friend is a relative saint and her work for international women is as admirable as my other friend who works with a spy agency trying to keep terrorists from blowing up innocent people taking a bus to work.
I don't like communists either except that my communist friend is one of the funniest brightest most loving persons in the world. They are as troubling to me as my radical right wing friend who goes off the deep end when they get in the same room with the commie, the two of them almost at each others throats unable to speak or act civilly if the topic of politcs comes up.  Leave that out of the equation and the two are the best neighbours I know.
Generalizations are a way the mind tries to reduce the complexity of the world down to sound bites and bits that the little human mind can handle. The littler the mind the littler the bite sizes.  Discrimination depends on ignorance.  It depends on generalization.  It's driven by fear.
Discernment is the operation of love which says that I don't want a 3 year old driving the car but I can have Johnny who is 14 driving the tractor because Johnny is mature for his age and the rule about what age a person should drive is a generalization.  In a public space I will agree to such generalizations but in a private space I will use discernment to arrive at the judgements I need to make mostly about individuals, not groups.
I like to think Discernment is God centred too.  And by the way people who don't love dogs should be lined up and shot with toy water guns and beat with wet noodles till they see the truth.

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