Humans will always have prejudices and biases against others who are not like themselves. It’s in our nature from infancy. We can try to eliminate it for adults, and the situation is getting better, but it doesn’t look like it will ever go away completely. Many recent events in the world continue to bring our differences to the forefront. We have had unjustified shootings of blacks by police, the Rebel flag coming down at government buildings as a result of shootings at a black church, ISIS and anti-Muslim sentiment, anti-immigration feelings against Hispanics. The internet is full of hatred and vitriol from all sides and it’s getting out of hand. We all have opinions and the internet and social media give each of us a worldwide soapbox. What gets me is how people are offended for themselves, offended for others and how others think the people being talked about have no right to be offended. I’m writing this blog post to say that taking offense is the right of the object of the conversation, not anybody else and definitely not the originator of the potentially offensive thought.
Happy New Year plus one week after the long hiatus here at Things I’ve Noticed. Sorry to make you miss by blog posts. With Christmas being over and people coming to grips with the presents they’ve received, I just want to say don’t feel like you have to return any of your presents by falling for “receiver’s remorse” (or buyer’s remorse if you bought yourself a present.) Supposed happiness experts are tell us, “Buy experiences, not things.” That’s an oversimplification, not good advice. I would say buy experiences and buy fewer things, ones that make you happy and lead to experiences you enjoy.
Most things we buy create immersions in the moment that we enjoy. I bought specific speakers for my stereo because they sound great (to me) and they repeatedly create a wonderful musical listening experience. Objects continually create experiences until they break or age beyond their functional life. That’s value! I am particular about the cars I drive because to me, driving is about the experience and the feel of the vehicle that I encounter nearly every day. A vacation or a zip-lining experience is a one-and-done affair. Objects can make part of each day a mini-vacation whereas you can only go on a real vacation every so often. We have limited time and budgets. It’s not about the ownership of the item, but to get repeated experiences from an object requires ownership. For instance, I can’t rent the same bicycle 30 times a year. Ironically, memorable experiences can lead to the purchase of souvenirs or the creation of photographs, even if only stored on a hard drive.
First of all, sorry that it has
been months since the last blog post.
I’m sure two or three of you are going through withdrawal. I started a new job, moved, and life got
busy. It won’t happen again.. at least
not for a couple of months.
may not realize it but right now, I am with you in a way… thanks to the
internet. I can communicate with you
without being in the same room. Books do
the same thing but the interweb takes it to a whole other level. I’ve said before that I love the internet,
think it’s making us all smarter.
But I’m realizing that it’s making us lazier and less alive in some
ways. It’s replacing many aspects of our
lives. The internet helps us find
information in a second. It entertains
us, allows us to socialize, helps us do things like pay bills, shop and find
recipes, news, and weather. We even
experience events or places through the internet. We can now interact with our homes and cars
through the internet thousands of miles away.
Basically, the internet is allowing us to do more and more of the things
that make us modern-day humans, and it’s kind of sad. Smart phones and tablet computers only
exacerbate the problem. We’re becoming “interbeings.” We live much of our lives through the internet. One day when they develop technology to hook
up our brains to it, we won’t need our bodies.
just as guilty and perhaps more guilty than the next person of living part of
my life through my computer screen and keyboard. I have become adept at getting things done
on-line. It makes my life more efficient. Why write a check, address and stamp an
envelope, put it in the mailbox when I can set up automatic on-line payments
straight from my checking account? Why
go to the mall to buy something if within a few keystrokes and clicks, I can
have it delivered straight to my door?
It doesn’t make sense to go manual when we are all so busy and when the
busyness of so many jobs and family lives gives us barely a second to spare.
Phyllis Diller, Tony Scott, Gore Vidal, Sherman Hemsley,
Sally Ride, Whitney Houston and many other people who are household names died
this year and it’s not even September. I
fell into the trap of being surprised when I hear of such deaths and then I
realized I shouldn’t.
It’s the Holidays everybody. The staff at “Things I’ve Noticed” would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas. ‘Tis the season for joy, peace, happiness and for buying stuff. Deciding what to buy is hard enough, but d eciding whose products to buy or where to buy them is getting harder. There are a lot of admirable movements to boycott certain companies for various reasons. Many of us want to speak our mind and make a statement with our wallets. But I’m finding that the reasons for doing so sometimes conflict and frequently leave one with no choice but to just buy without thinking or to not buy at all.
A great example of a boycott movement was when people stopped buying BP gas because of the Gulf oil spill. It makes sense, but the gas station owners get hurt the most and they make little on gasoline anyway. Then I found out that Royal Dutch Shell has had many environmental violations and we all know about the Exxon Mobil oil spill in Alaska. Oil in general is a dirty business but most of us need it to make a living.
One might choose to only buy products that are not made in China so as not to support a nuclear weapons capable Communist government with a questionable human rights record. Good luck with that. I recently did find a pack of New Balance socks that were made in the USA. I was shocked. Along the same lines, activists boycott companies that use child labor in undeveloped countries, but what about companies that have frequent mass lay-offs and work their white collar employees to the bone? I’ve heard this is the case with Progressive Insurance which I support because they are from Cleveland. But I’ve been a loyal customer for 11 years due to good service and prices. I am probably getting lower prices at the expense of their professionals’ personal lives, physical and mental well-being.
Another obvious reason to boycott a company is due to offensive advertising. Some religious groups try such movements. I would ideally like to support companies that hire a diverse workforce but what if their Board of Directors is all rich older white men? I used to boycott products from companies that interviewed me and didn’t hire me but then I realized that they at least gave me an interview unlike others who never called.
There are no easy answers and it’s not practical to buy everything local from people that aren’t supporting huge corporations. What if the local farmer is just a jerk? Do you want to buy from that guy? I guess the only way not to have to make boycott decisions is to go live in the woods and live off of nature. But nature can be mean and nasty too.