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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Oy, These People!

Answers For Everything

Hey All -

Just add to the topic of tonight's earlier post, we all know people like this.  Conversing with them is frustrating, uncomfortable, and sometimes intolerable because no matter what you say to them, they have an answer for everything.

This trait is the most pronounced when they are doing or saying something that is particularly unpleasant, harmful, or just plain not smart.  No matter how respectfully, courteously, or constructively an explanation or an explanation is given, it is either (a) not acknowledged, as the subject is changed with lightning speed; (b) answered with an infinite number of excuses, based on details, minutiae, and the proverbial ifs, ands, and buts; (c) met with a defensive "don't judge me;" or (d) drowned out with the intellectual equivalent of horse manure.

Now keep in mind, unlike them, we don't know everything.  We can express opinions tactfully, and explain why it might not be a good idea for them to proceed on their present course.  But the chances are, however unlikely, that some of that minutiae they fling at us might actually make sense, at least to them.  More importantly, this flung minutiae has a hidden benefit - the annoyance and irritation that it causes lessens any desire there once was to sympathize, to offer assistance, or be anyone's little helper.  

In other words, do you really want to hear all of that?  Is your life so empty and dull that you have adequate room for all of that?  I should hope your answer is no to both.  The fact that these individuals obviously have enough room for all of that should be a clear indicator that you're not dealing with someone who thinks like you do.

As Beta Males, we pride ourselves on doing good for others.  We are proud of being compassionate, sensitive, chivalrous, and when necessary, selfless.  Because of people like this, these wonderful qualities cannot be provided to everyone.

Try it once, maybe twice.  If they still have "answers for everything," or they just keep bobbing and weaving, then just walk away.  There's no shame in just saying "you win" to someone like this.  As set forth in the earlier post, let them either figure it out for themselves, or simply fall on their own sword, without your involvement.  It's OK to be more selfish than selfless when confronted with all of that.

Just let them do, or say, as they wilt.  You never know, they might still turn around and see the light on their own anyway.

Hope you all had a satisfying 2013 -- but let's all have an even better 2014!

Not Everyone Gets It

Hello All -- Time for the story of the Ten Plagues.

G-D instructs Moses and Aaron to give a more visual pitch to Pharaoh.  Despite His earlier anger at Moses for asking for Aaron's assistance, He decides to "work with" them by asking Moses to play the role of G-D, and Aaron to play the role of His prophet.  Apparently, there is such a thing as flexibility.

They demonstrate how Moses' rod can turn into a snake.  Pharaoh's sorcerers perform the same trick, but Moses' snake devours the others.  Given the snake's prior role in tempting Adam and Eve, it appears that the snake had been an enforcer of The Almighty, rather than an agent of evil.

Despite this clear use of "signs and wonders" to campaign for the slaves' freedom, Pharaoh denies the request once more.  So G-D ups the ante.  Hitting Egypt where it hurts, he turns the all-important Nile River to blood, rendering it undrinkable, and then causes an overpopulation of frogs.  Pharaoh agrees to free the Hebrews if the plagues cease, and they do, and then he retracts his agreement.  And then came the lice, the cattle disease, the boils, and the hail.  Every time Pharaoh promised to free the slaves in order for the plagues to stop, he turned back on his word, because he apparently believed that no further consequences would result.

Everyone knows someone like this.  You can explain something to them until you're blue in the face, they will look for and find an excuse to disregard it.   You can make the best argument you can, with all of the evidence at your disposal, and they can still reject it anyway.  You can actually provide the consequences for their actions personally, and watch them suffer those consequences until they can't stand them anymore, and like this Pharaoh, they simply will not learn.

Moses and Aaron were answering to a Higher Authority that wanted to remind His Chosen People that He existed, and that He would bring them to where they needed to be at a time that they were not able to do so.  Since they were not the ones making the decisions on this campaign, they did not have the option of throwing up their hands in despair before the job was finished.  We, on the other hand, have the good fortune, and the luxury, to do exactly that.

When the Point of Frustration is reached, going further will only harm yourself.  You'll only be banging your head against the wall, watching your words enter one ear and exit the other, and wasting your time, breath, and energy on an unprofitable venture.

The better course of action here is to just give these people enough rope to hang themselves.  If they won't heed warnings, advice, and constructive criticism, then they will either (a) learn things the hard way at the last minute, or they will (b) go down in flames, yet again.  You can then relax on the sidelines, either silently cheering that they finally got it, or shaking your head because they just knew everything better than you did.  At that point, it's no longer your concern, it is only theirs.

Go In Peace . . . .

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Carjacking at Short Hills Mall

Hey All --

A very sad story developed this week.  At a mall on Short Hills, New Jersey, a young husband was murdered by carjackers when he tried to defend his wife from being hurt, and his vehicle from being stolen.  Without undue delay, all four suspects were arrested, while a young widow was left only with memories of how her beloved shared his life with her, and ultimately gave it for her.

Most law enforcement agents have been warning us for years, that if it looks like a life and death matter, just let the thugs take your car.  The vehicle can either be retraced with LoJack, or possibly replaced, but people can't.  This is obviously the safer choice, but to borrow a Star Trek quote, we will not debate the murder victim's judgment at these proceedings.

But I will address relationships instead.  Last week I spoke about how there are women who would rather be with an alphole instead of a nice guy.  This may or may not be another reason why.

Some will admit it, and some won't, but many women still would prefer a man who could turn into a superhero, beat up the bad guys, slay the dragon, and take any hit that comes his way, as long as it keeps her safe from harm.  The expectation is that those alpholes, so badass and fearless, would turn into Jason Statham and lay those thugs out all by themselves.  In this regard, the women don't really see these men as alpholes at all, but as superheroes and as knights in shining armor, who have earned the right to show a small amount of cockiness, like Han Solo.  I question how many of those alpholes can really live up to all that posturing, but that's another post for another time.

99.9% of the time, there is no need for men in a civilized society to have these skills, as the chance of being so threatened is less likely than it was in the Old West or in the Middle Ages.  However, here we have the 0.1% of the time that the choice must be made.

Gentlemen, a central purpose of this blog is to convince you, the beta males, that you can still be assertive, confident, self-respecting, and even courageous, without behaving like an alphole or compromising your values.  The facts we've learned about this murder victim's tragically short life demonstrates that he was not an alphole in the slightest.  Rather, he was a loyal and loving husband who chose to disregard his own safety in favor of his wife's safety.  The (alleged) alpholes in this story have all been apprehended, and unless they hire a top-flight defense attorney, they will receive their comeuppance.

But make no mistake.  If you want to get married, even if you are living in the safest neighborhood possible, even if you've never been in a bar fight, even if there is no badass quality about you to speak of, be aware that your wife to be expects you to do the same thing that this man did.  In the heat of the moment, she may beg you not to step up to the criminal, but she really wants you to protect her anyway.

I'm not saying that this is right or wrong, but I am saying that this is real.  And life or death situations do not lend themselves to discussions of values or morals.

Hopefully, if you find yourself in this kind of situation, you would survive with a few scars, some PTSD, and an interview on the Today Show.  But the expectation is that you prepare yourself to lay down your life for your beloved.  If you are unsure whether or not you're able to do this, then you shouldn't get married.

And if you are already married, do a gut check.  Can you stand up to someone who has a gun to protect your wife?  Yes, some of you may be permitted to have a weapon on you already, but most of you don't.  Can you still face down an armed criminal while you're unarmed?  If not, get yourself in counseling and figure out why that is, so you can take the appropriate action.

Last but not least, I extend my sincerest condolences to the family of Dustin Friedland.  A good man and a loyal husband did not deserve to have his life cut short by miscreants.  I can only hope that you receive some measure of justice, and that it somehow provides closure for your loss.

Raw Deals

Hey all, about that time.  We're now beginning the Book of Exodus!

Joseph may have been the Man in Egypt, but his time ended.  A few generations passed, and the Hebrews grew fruitful and multiplied, as commanded.  But then new leadership took over, and felt threatened by the fruitfulness and enslaved them.  When that didn't keep them in line, he ruled that all newborn Hebrew males must be drowned in the Nile.

Moses, son of a Levite, was spared this cruel fate by being sent down the Nile in a wicker basket, to be discovered by the Pharaoh's daughter, who raised him as her own.  But instead of reveling in Egyptian power like Joseph did, Moses killed an Egyptian taskmaster he saw beating a slave, and became an urban legend among the other slaves for this actions, meaning he had to flee to Midian.

While he was hiding out, G-D appeared to Moses as a burning bush at Mount Horeb and chooses him to free the slaves from Egypt.  He will go in G-D's name, explain this to the Hebrew elders, and explain that the Hebrews will be freed from slavery and given the land currently occupied by the Canaanites.  He also assured Moses that he need not fear what the Egyptians might do, because He'll handle them.  Pharaoh, similar to bullies of later generations, did not back off from anything unless it was stronger than him, so G-D would be Moses' muscle.  And He'd get the average Egyptian to start sympathizing with the slaves, too!

And just to prove Who was making it all happened, He showed a few "signs and wonders."  Moses still felt reluctant to take this job, as a "man of few words," but G-D told him to not even sweat it, He would give Moses the words, but if he'd rather use a mouthpiece anyway, He'll tap his long-lost brother Aaron into service.  And don't worry about everyone who wanted to nail you for killing that taskmaster, the statute has run, so nobody's going to hold that against you.

So he and Aaron give the good news to the Hebrews, and put on the signs & wonders show, and they give them credence.  They then ask Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go out for three days into the wilderness to sacrifice to G-D.  Pharaoh not only shuts them down, he directs the slave to make bricks without providing them with the straw needed to do so.

Moses asks G-D why He allowed Pharaoh to hurt the Hebrews, and G-D says, "Just wait."

Sometimes we find ourselves with a goal or mission that makes little sense to others.  Sometimes our reasoning looks crazy or stupid to those who think they know it all, and don't.  But if you know for a fact that something is right, you do yourself a disservice when you hold back.

When Moses complained that he'd rather have someone else actually do the talking in Pharaoh's Court, the text indicates that G-D was angry with him for making that request.  He had no problem talking with his fists when he killed a taskmaster to protect a slave, why is he getting scared to actually speak to Pharaoh?  Possibly because that current Pharaoh grew up with him in the palace, and might be less receptive to his new role?  Maybe because somebody could recognize his voice and say, "Why should we believe that this murderer is carrying a message from a foreign deity?"  Either way, this was a big blunder on Moses' part, because he let guilt and fear from the past immobilize him.  

He may have had a prior station in life that he had to give up for a good reason.  But it was still his calling to free those same people for whom he killed to protect.  Instead of realizing that his sense of justice, which led him to take a life, had come full circle, as he was now about to protect the entire Hebrew nation, instead of just one slave.  But he was too scared to take on this role, so he had to have his own personal spokesman.

Not to get off on a tangent, but this reminds me of those situations where a family is involved in a newsworthy story, and who speaks to the media?  A "family spokesperson."  More often than not, this "family spokesperson" doesn't even have the same name as the family.  And more often than not, this "family spokesperson" is defensive and abrasive, and forever demands that the media just "leave the family alone," knowing full well that this demand does not make the story less newsworthy.  The "family spokesperson" does nothing but prevent the real parties to the story from making an appearance, and serves as a confirmation that the actual "family" are cowards who will not speak for themselves.

Not everyone stays cool and calm when visited by a forgotten diety who makes clear demands and scares you a little bit so you'll know He's real.  Moses gets some credit because of that, but he could have grown enough courage to agree to challenge Pharaoh on his own, without Aaron as a "spokesperson," especially after G-D promised to protect him from anything that Pharaoh would try to do.  This may explain why G-D allowed Pharaoh to tighten his grip on the Hebrews a little bit . . . if you doubt yourself, you'll lose ground, but if you trust yourself, you'll advance.

And so, my Beta Brothers, take this story from the beginning of Exodus to heart.  As cute, adorable, and comfortable as it may be to be a reluctant and unassuming leader, it is far better in the long run to be a confident one.  You can still be a nice guy, but try being nice and assertive simultaneously -- it really can be done!

Go Your Way . . . .

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Negative Feedback

Hey All -- while the winter blows cold around me, a few ideas are percolating . . . .

Adding to my prior post on "the rules," I'd like to address those moments in life when someone else tells you that what you do and say is not something they agree with.  A little emotional maturity is needed, as follows:

Who, exactly, are they?

Chances are, as is often the case with beta males, there might be a woman who just doesn't feel the same for you that you feel for her.  And it's possible that, despite her statements that she would prefer a nice guy, she somehow manages to be with a world-class alphole.  Even showing her what's best about you doesn't persuade her or help her see the light, as the alphole's hoots and hollers drown out your argument.

Little-known secret about these women -- they are just as flawed as you and me.  They are not goddesses, they are not royalty, and they are not the only females in existence.  You know how we get blinded by attractive women just by their physical appearance?  How we believe that they are the only women worth being with?  How, try as we might, we're always drawn to them?  That's exactly the same thing these women feel when the alpholes roll into town.  They are hard-wired to be attracted to these jabronies the same way we're hard-wired to be drawn to them.  It doesn't mean that they are mean or stupid, or that they deserve to suffer consequences.  It just means that they're human just like us.

That being said, their rejection of you is not the end-all and be-all, either.  If that's the type of man that makes them feel complete, then deep down, you owe them a small amount of gratitude.  If they chose to be with you instead, it would not be genuine.  Their heart would not be in it, and once they realized that they still expected you to have some of those badass alphole qualities, they'd just get annoyed with you for not being that way.  A woman who really wants somebody that you're not has the potential to make your life significantly less pleasant than it would be without her.  She wants a "real man" instead of you?  Good!  Do yourself a favor and let her go have him!  Why pretend to be something you're not, or better yet, something you hate, just to impress someone who'd be happier with someone else?  That's a waste of time.

But that doesn't mean that you can't find someone else that you'll still be attracted to anyway.  There are tons of women out there who are not attracted to these alpholes, and would be more than happy to welcome someone like you into their lives.  How you meet them, and how you succeed with them will be dealt with another time, but for now, it's enough to say that this type of rejection should have minimal to no impact on your self-esteem.

Lately, this blog has encountered some negative feedback as well.  A few gentlemen who consider themselves proud alpha males are not in agreement with some of my recent posts and tweets.  Since their perspective and experiences are entirely different from mine, I expect and welcome their opinions.  I think that criticism would be better served in written format here on Blogger or on Facebook, but they don't prefer that method for some reason.

First and foremost, they seem unhappy with the term "alphole."  For all intents and purposes, this is a slightly hipper term to describe a bully, by indicating that he is an @$$#ole who embodies the worse qualities of an alpha male.  It is clear and obvious that not every alpha male is an alphole, so I don't feel it's necessary to state it.  The reason I do not parse my words, or become extra specific,or put up disclaimers to avoid generalizations, is that I simply don't feel the need to soft-pedal this message.  I cannot afford to homogenize and decaffeinate a central theme of this blog to tip-toe around someone else's offense-o-meter.  I cannot change this blog just because someone else doesn't like it.  All I can say for a response is, if you're a friend of mine, you are certainly not an alphole.  If you are not a friend of mine, and honestly have to ask whether you are or aren't one, you need a little bit of self-reflection.

Secondly, they minimize this blog's purpose.  Yes, there are people who suffer from life-threatening illnesses, missing limbs, or have had to rebuild their lives out of complete and utter disasters.  And yes, the subject matter of this blog is about something less than that.  But that doesn't make the following problems irrelevant:

There are still men who lack confidence and self-esteem.

There are still men who need additional development.

There are still men who incorrectly learned to be ruled by their emotions, and not by common sense.

There are still men who have been abused, physically, emotionally, or both.

There are still men who cannot simply "get over it," because they have no idea how.

There are still men who understand how to be good, but receive no recognition for it.

There are still men who are giving and selfless, and are hopelessly taken advantage of because of it.

There are still men who sacrifice their own hopes and dreams to play a part in someone else's show.

There are still men who have screwed up big time.

There are still men who need help, even if they don't want to admit it.

There are still men who want to be happy, and aren't.

There are still men who want to live the life they deserve.

No, none of them are facing impending death.  But some may be dying a slow, painful death.  Self-actualization could easily avert that.

Once again, I invite those who feel this way to voice their opinions here where I can see them.  Otherwise, if you're not in agreement with this blog's purpose, you don't have to read it.


Reconciliation For The Next Generation

Hey All -- sorry I missed you last week, but here's the straight dope from the Good Book:

Just as Jacob and Esau reconciled, so did Joseph and his brothers.  He had him right where he could make their lives absolutely miserable, given the power he'd earned, but somehow he saw fit to reveal his true identity and to forgive them for leaving him for dead in that ditch.

Many times in this blog, I have decried the evil of bullies, targeted the alpholes of this world, and sought to eliminate those who enabled them.  But forgiving them?  Letting it go?  Maybe giving them a friendly reminder that you have the means and the desire to flatten them, but you choose not to because it's better to be nice?!?!?!?!

Let's explore this in further detail . . . .

There's a friend of mine who casts a large and imposing figure.  The chance of anyone pushing him around or starting a bar fight with him is slim and none.  Still, when he was younger and smaller, he was bullied.  There was a classic high school loud mouth, undisciplined, spoiled moron who pelted him with spitballs and called him a lot of names bordering on racism.  Years later, after he'd grown to his full size of 6'5, he ran into this jabroni and invited him to throw a spitball "now."  After giving him the scare of his life, he revealed his true identity, and the two ended up becoming friends.

The way he tells this story, there is too much alphaganda and "might makes right" narrative for my taste.  That's not what this blog is all about, because those rules don't apply to us.  So I will extract the central idea and use it to highlight the theme of this biblical scene:  Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

His reasoning is not made clear, but he knew he was right to reveal himself to the 11 brothers who tried to kill him as a younger man.  He understood that, right or wrong, they all had the same father, and they would all have the same responsibility for making sure the nation of Israel would grow fruitful and multiply.  Even though he had achieved a status close to that of the Pharaohs, he never forgot his roots, or his duty to his heritage.  And it appears to me that those higher purposes required him to forgive his brothers, regardless of how hateful they previously were to him.  And, oh yeah, he did instigate some portion of it himself, as he was not just an innocent little lamb.

Israel/Jacob seemed to acknowledge the wrongs of the past by investing in the future.  He blessed Joseph's two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, echoing the blessing that Isaac administered to him and to Esau.  He placed his right hand on the younger son's head, when tradition would have stated otherwise.  Joseph tried to set him straight, believing him to be mistaken, but Israel explains that no, he's actually doing this on purpose, because he knows that the younger son's lineage will be stronger.  This appears to be his penance for tricking Isaac two generations ago.  Or maybe he's trying to set things straight from the beginning.  After all, G-D told Israel's mother that the younger son will be stronger, so she tried to finagle things to make it happen.  But now that Israel has received revelation directly from G-D, he already knows what lies ahead, so there's no need for trickery to prevent a mistake.

Whatever the reason, he's obviously learned from the mistakes of the past, and wants to make things right before he leaves this earth.  That's to be commended.  It looks like Jacob may have been the most self-aware of the three patriarchs, and his most-favored son apparently followed suit.

So it goes with us.  We are just as flawed as this ancient family, if not more, and it's just as easy for us to make mistakes.  But correcting those mistakes, rectifying the consequences, and taking preventive measures to avoid their recurrence is a sign of maturity.  In my opinion, that is one of the most respect-worthy things that someone can do.  Let's make it happen a little more often, huh?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Says Who?

Hey All -- just got back from Florida today, but I thought I'd end my brief vacation with some thoughts.

Many of my friends on Facebook are intelligent and aware of world events, though they often disagree on whether they are right or wrong.  It appears to me that many of the controversies that we face are based on whether we are willing to either (a) continue living under rules that were enacted in another time and another life, or (b) change those rules to those that make more sense.

For example, there is a still-growing minority of states that recognize gay marriage, and a a still-growing number of religions that have amended their tenets to allow gay weddings to be performed.  There may have once been a definition of marriage to include only one man and one woman, but society as a whole has evolved while this tradition remains.  If there truly are enough homosexuals that want to have the same monogamous and exclusive relationship with a partner that many heterosexuals also choose, so much so that they are willing to have that commitment legally recognized, then it is only fair to change "the rules" to allow for it.

To go even deeper, let's look at the institution of marriage itself.  It appears that more than half of all marriages now end in divorce.  Yes, there are many people who are ready, willing, and able to make a lifetime commitment to this kind of relationship, but there are huge numbers of people who enter into this arrangement for the wrong reasons, or who simply make a mistake.  "The rules" used to say, too bad so sad.  But when enough people demonstrated how unjust this truly was, most states began granting divorces on the grounds of "irreconcilable differences," because sometimes it just doesn't work.  Yes, it may be expensive to make this kind of mistake, and even more expensive to correct it, but nobody deserves a lifetime of punishment just because of "the rules."

There are also laws on the books that make no sense, criminalizing activities that are as innocuous as sneaking an extra cookie from the jar.  They are almost never prosecuted, but they are kept on the books for at least a century.

We are rational, thinking beings.  It is in our nature to question authority, and not to live according to a set of instructions, especially those that are incongruous with reality.  The fact that someone in a position of high authority felt like running their mouth, and got a rule enacted, doesn't make that rule right or just.  And the fact that someone has the loudest or most obnoxious voice does not make them the Master and Commander.  Most likely, they're overcompensating for their own issues more than they are seeking what's best for everyone else.

Unfortunately, merely disliking someone else's stupid rule doesn't change it.  And there may be circumstances where openly challenging that rule could result in a loss of livelihood.  And if you live in a country that is not a democracy, challenging that rule could be a loss of freedom, or even your life.  If you're in a situation where a frontal assault cannot succeed, smarter methods are needed.

Bide your time and encase your heart in armor.  Anytime you feel the need to curse or lament your circumstances, perform something that will instead benefit you, or work towards your escape, transfer, conversion, or departure.  But only make your move when you know that you've got somewhere definite to go, even if it's a place of your own design.

Point being, none of these rules you live under can define you.  The fact that they exist doesn't mean they're right, or that they'll be around forever.  Those being bullied because you don't measure up to someone else's standards, this is for you:  Start asking who "they" are.  Who says they know everything?  Who says they're perfect?  Why should you recognize them as the only authority?  Chances are, they're not so infallible, and they probably don't even live up to their own rules to begin with!

Yes, we know, "life isn't fair."  This is the essence of maturity, and information needed to prevent us from a life of permanent frustrated.  But that does not mean that should you lay down like you're already dead and live under injustice that actually can be changed.  Make something happen!

Thanks to everyone who has now been viewing the blog, looks like the traffic got a bit heavier -- a real Chanukah miracle!

Night all!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

For Your Protection

Hey All -- still on vacation in sunny Florida, but I wanted to post something else . . . .

For the past several years, I have spoken out against all forms of bullying and intimidation.  There's not much more I can add to that, but I'd like to address the flip side -- coping mechanisms for those who are the unfortunate recipients.

If you're new to this blog, having read my new and more accurate title, you're a beta male.  You are good-natured, giving, and moral.  Unfortunately, far too many people take advantage of this.  So use this visualization technique:

(1)  Imagine your heart.  It keeps you alive.  It holds your passions, your desires, your fears, your vulnerability, and your very soul.  It is your very essence.

(2) Before you interact with other people, encase it in armor.  Solid, impenetrable armor, with jutting blades and spikes.  Able to withstand any strike or blow, and to repel any attempt to breach it.  It can't even be dented by the deadliest attack against it.

(if you're in law enforcement, don't make this a substitute for your Kevlar.  Moving on . . . .)

(3) The interior of this armor, however, is soft.  Comfortable.  Soothing.  It matches the material that your heart itself could be made of.  While the exterior protects your heart from anything that could harm it, the interior keeps it comfortable and at peace.

(4)  An added feature of this armor is a cleansing mechanism.  In the unlikely event that something does get through the armor, it acts to dispose of the foreign agent that disrupts your heart's peace.  It corrodes the unwelcome element and removes it before it can enter the bloodstream.

(5)  When you are with people who are good to you, who have earned your trust, and seek to do nothing but good, you are safe to remove this armor.  You may then be honest with your passions, desires, fears, and vulnerability.  But only do this when you have confirmed that there is no danger to your heart.  Yes, you will be able to use the cleansing mechanism should an attack happen, but be sure that it won't anyway.

(6) When you are with anyone else, keep that armor on no matter what.  Don't unlock it.  Don't let your guard down.  Protect yourself.  Don't let them infect your very being with sadness, anger, hurt, or hatred.  Don't let them break through.  Don't let them think they own you.  They don't.
That doesn't mean go all badass on them unless it's warranted, though.  Remember that we don't live in a comic book.  Just keep yourself fully protected.

That also does NOT let the miscreants, bullies, gangstas, and undesirables of this world off the hook.  Not by a long shot, it doesn't.  They still deserve consequences for their behavior of one form or another.  But they don't deserve the satisfaction of watching you crumble because your heart was not protected.

And, just in case Paragraph 5 wasn't clear enough, it does not mean that you make yourself an island.  There are times you can feel safe enough to disarm.  Just know the difference.

Yes, I am a little more focused with the blog lately.  I hope this doesn't send my long-time readers running for the hills, but I also hope I'll reach my target audience a bit better.

Beta Males, it's OK to feel.  It's OK to be afraid.  It's OK to have morals.  It's OK to be vulnerable.  But it's only OK when you use these traits as strengths, and not when they are exploited as weaknesses by the alphaganda.  Protect yourself as much as possible, not just so you can prove to others that "it doesn't bother me," but just so they don't hurt you.  Your heart is the most precious thing you have, more than wealth, more than companionship, and more than your reputation.  Guard it with your life!


Monday, December 2, 2013

A Promotion, and Maintaining Identity.

OK, a couple of unrelated Bible stories for ya this week.

Joseph got to show his dream-intepretation savvy to Pharaoh, and got a huuuuuge position in his Court.  I mean, going straight from being in jail to ruling most of the land, because he was able to predict that a famine would come, and warn the Egyptians to be prepared for it.  Good job!

So this is his chance to take a small amount of vengeance on his brothers, who threw him into the pit.  They had no clue that he was Joseph, and he was able to play the Egyptians vs. Hebrews angle for a while.

The lesson does go both ways -- one key to success is to possess knowledge that nobody else has, and demonstrate how well you utilize it.  Only Joseph was able to interpret dreams so well, and it landed him the ultimate government job.  However, once he got there, and had more power, he was in a position to completely take advantage of those who wronged him . . . that certainly can be done, but wouldn't it be a more constructive use of that power to help, and not hurt them?  That power is not a license to "get even" or "get back" at someone.  That's a page ripped from the alphaganda playbook, but it's not one that you need.

The fact that you can use it to throttle or intimidate those who put you down doesn't always mean you should use it that way.  Sometimes just having that power is enough.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, you may still need to take some action against the miscreants if it's a matter of mere survival, but in 99 out of 100 situations, merely living well and demonstrating your newfound strength is sufficient.

OK, got that one down, and now the holiday edition:

Chanukah is the celebration of the re-dedication of the Temple.  For those not aware of the story, the Maccabees fought a war, against the odds, against the Greeks, who wanted to Hellenize the Jews.  In the process, they descrated the Temple, knocked over the lamps, and put up statues of Zeus to be worshipped.  But after the Maccabees overthrew them, the Temple was re-dedicated.  And miraculously, despite the fact that there was only enough oil to light the lamp for one day, it stayed lit for a week.

(Biblical anomaly -- Judaism celebrates the events depicted in 1 Maccabees, but neither Maccabees book is is in the Tanakh -- discuss?)

The theme of this holiday is resistance to conformity.  At the time it was introduced, Hellenism was hip, cool, and funky, but the expectation was that the Jews were to completely abandon and discard everything that they once were to accept this new way of being.  The fact that the old traditions were maintained, albeit by a minority of Jews at the time, and through the need for an armed response, continues to be celebrated.  But is this always a good thing?

America was always celebrated as a Great Melting Pot.  A nation of immigrants that cultivated its own identity by a mixture of other cultures to form something greater.  This usually means a fair compromise between preserving a recognizable remnant of your family's culture of origin, and the acceptance and interaction with the modern culture in which we live.

For many of us, our culture of origin is obvious in our name, or from our physical characteristics.  It can be a source of pride, or something to be rejected, depending on your personal opinion.  However, it's an inescapable part of who you are, and if you try to deny or ignore it, it still remains.

As Americans, we have a culture that thrives on the combined sharing of several cultures.  Not only does this result in the formation of a unique American culture, but also exposure to the diversity of other people's cultures.

The idea is to have them both.

There are certain ethnic groups who feel it necessary to only maintain their separate culture of origin, reject what we know as mainstream American culture, and demand that America make allowances for that culture in spite of that rejection.  This is ridiculous.  And there are also groups who have deeply felt romantic ties to their own cultures of origin, but mock and condemn other groups for celebrating theirs.  This is ignorant.

Rather, a compromise is needed.  There's nothing wrong with acknowledging your forebears and the traditions they imparted -- but it cannot be at the expense and exclusion of everything else around you, because you then do your country a disservice.  There is also nothing wrong with celebrating everything that makes America great -- but if you completely reject, neglect, and ignore the fact that your forebears came to America for a good reason, you are doing yourself a disservice, because you're obviously trying to be something that you're not.

Only each individual can decide the percentages and proportions of each tradition to respect -- but you need both, plain and simple.  This is how you stay complete, this is how you interact with society, and this is how you remain true to yourself.

Those are my two cents -- and for a real Thanksgiving treat, I refer you to my November 2011 post regarding the sham known as Black Friday.  One of these years, people will wake up and reject this most disgusting perversion of the concept of gift giving.

Happy Monday!