Monday, September 28, 2020

Expiation and Revival

It is profoundly quiet in my house today, as I listen to my inner voice.



This past weekend was an unusually bad one. On both Saturday and Sunday, I put (won't say I found) myself in unfortunate situations that revealed I am a deeply flawed individual.

Whereas I'm not at liberty to divulge the intricate details of the weekend's going-ons, let it suffice to say that it was characterized by lapses in judgment that were not only regretful, but which unchecked, would have resulted in irreversible damage both for me and others present.

* * * 

In the movie Crash (2004 film) police officer Sgt John Ryan tells his partner, Officer Tom Hansen:

"If you think you know who you are, you have no idea."


There are times in life when we find ourselves saying or doing things that shock even us. Not to excuse any bad manners, but I have always looked at such moments, no matter how poignant, as moments of clarity that are brought about by an inadvertent glimpse into what we are capable of thinking, saying or doing should we fall over the edge.

It is always an eye-opener that points to what wickedness stands to be awakened should we lose control.

Later on in Crash, Sgt Ryan rescues Christine Thayer when she gets stuck in a crashed car that's about to burn down. That act of compassion where he puts himself in great danger to save her life may not be enough to redeem himself given how he had wronged and humiliated her earlier. But the way I see it is that even the worst among us are not entirely bad or evil. Likewise, the really nice ones in our midst also do have frailties, some of which only get revealed in dire times when circumstances drastically change or other pressures become too much to bear.

But human nature is that once a good person does a really bad thing, we then define that person based entirely on that singularly bad act. This is something Malcolm Gladwell tries to address in Sn02E09 (The Road to Damascus) of the Revisionist History podcast.

The premise of this episode is if we can stop seeing a former terrorist as a terrorist after he has a change of heart.

* * *


We all seek to perfect our lives. When we fall down, we get up. And even when we cannot walk, we can and should still crawl or climb like an Ivy and make progress. And there is an enduring faith that making yet another attempt will hopefully make things better. That even when we lose now, we can make gains tomorrow. Maybe different gains. Maybe better gains. 

All in all, my redeeming Grace is that I continue to be a work in progress. In repair. Not together, but getting there...




Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Time to Pretend ... Not.

I've been away for two months. And during that time, I came to realize the importance of having thick skin and an elastic heart.

On August 31, I did the usual inventory of that particular month. And something came out clearly, in light of some of the online conversations I had either been party to or read across social networks:

How we view ourselves is disproportionately affected by how others see us.

In other words, how a great number of people today think of themselves is governed by either the impressions one hopes to make on others or dictated by what others say about you. And I feel that this need not be the case.


* * *

The One Last Thing documentary on PBS takes a closer look at the life and times of Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs, who died in October 2011. Here is a clip that ties in with the central message in today's Wednesday Walkabout post:


Years later, Steve Jobs gave a commencement address at Harvard, where he said this:

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

* * *

The modern world, where a majority are making impressions with a 'fake it till you make it' attitude has meant that is is almost always a time to pretend. But someone beautiful need not feel unsexy and someone interesting need not feel boring...


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