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Turning Things Upside Down

By Remy Benoit

  Live the questions now.
     Rainer Maria Rilke

Each day the headlines rattle with angst, with  fear, with anger, threats, counter threats, with negatives. A daily dose can leave you wondering, Has anything good, positive happened anywhere today? But if we stop to ask that question, we already know the answer is an affirmative. Yet how often do we hear of, or acknowledge the positive? the giving, the service rendered unconditionally?
But do we stop to ask or just constantly ingest the negatives, feeding our shadow sides, our fears?

We are brought closer each day by the net, by almost instant reporting, and yet in many ways that instant reporting drives us further apart.

We have seen the planet from space; we know there are no boundaries seen from space and yet we constantly build more psychological ones,  more physical ones, more violent ones.

As in medicine, often we "treat symptoms" rather than causes. Like antibiotics, weapons grow stronger.

We say our schools are in distress; often they are crippled by antiquated systems while often overflowing with modern technology.

Once I taught a Consumer Ec class. Simple life skills like how to write a check, how to read your electric meter. Simple skills usually overlooked in school.

But have we considered planet skills? Is history taught as a series of battles, or as a progression of the spread of human rights with all its ups and downs - its ethnocentrisms, it subjugations? its shining moments?

Did you, or is your child or grandchild being taught, the ways of different cultures around the world?  of different cultures within your own country? the reasons for discontent, for upheaval, for angst, for violence? for apathy? Are problems, hardships in your own country taught?

Were you taught as a child that your life would  be a struggle to "stay on top?" or were you asked what you wanted for a life? Were you
taught to conform to win, or were your creative abilities fostered?  Did you wonder where your next meal was coming from? Did you grow up under a MAD policy of nuclear annihilation?

Have you asked how these things shaped your life, your views, your negative, and often very frustrated side?  

If you had the chance to choose your life again, would you choose the same thing?

What is your service to the planet?

Did you expect life to be roses and found thorns too?

If you are willing to ask the questions, if you are willing to turn things upside down, I  recommend Laurence G. Boldt's, Zen and the Art of Making a Living. It just may change your career, and it just may help you change the planet.      


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This item is part of historian, author, editor, and educator Remy Benoit's ongoing weblog for Veterans, writers, students, and others who believe in learning from and making history; including thousands of articles and posts and the free writing seminar, Using History for Healing and Writing.

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