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!