Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The limits of loyalty

In my opinion, there is a point where loyalty ends. There has to be. When evil enters the picture we may have to make a decision. We may have to forsake loyalty in order to forsake evil.

For my parents generation the living example of the extreme case of people having to make that decision on a national scale was Nazi Germany. In my own time the first example that I was exposed to, on a national scale, was the Mai Lai Massacre.

Of course there have been many, many, many more cases of people having to make those kinds of decisions. Looking at the former example the Nuremberg Principles codified the concept, at least on a national scale, that greater moral principles are more important than national laws and loyalties when evil enters the picture. The principle of my country right or wrong was shown at Nuremberg to be wrong.

If we can look at these extreme cases and agree there is a line where loyalty ends, at least on a grand national scale, do we apply that principle in our personal lives, do we apply it on a personal scale? I cannot answer that question for others; but speaking for myself, I believe we do. I believe we must.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

What is wrong with just being?

I do not understand why so many people are so competitive? I do not see joy in it, in fact I see the antithesis of joy; I see stress. I especially don't understand it in recreation; work maybe, we all want more money.

In just about anything I do I see it. Cyclists want to do a metric century, then a full century, then doubles, then harder rides the anguish of which I would see as torture. Yogis (those who practice Yoga) want to do harder positions, then stand on their shoulders, then stand on their head, then God knows what?

It is not just athletic events where this competitive behavior rules. In tech; bloggers worry about how many people visit their blogs and soon they are writing stuff to drive their stats up. Model railroaders anguish over details on their model trains you need a magnifying glass to see. Wine snobs outbid each other and spend fortunes in wine auctions for wine bottles that have to be cellared until long after the buyers are dead. Photographers argue about what is best film or digital and sacrifice their lives, their family for the sake of getting the better picture. I just do not get it.

We even compete with others and we compete with ourselves. I see people pushing themselves to beat personal bests climbing up mountains, timing their bike rides, pushing to go faster, longer and work harder and not stop and enjoy the scenery. I don't get it.

There was a bike ride I used to do called the Sierra to the Sea that I stopped doing because the organizers decided it needed to be harder. (No worries, plenty of others took my place.)

I have never timed myself riding my bike up a hill. I am afraid if I do I won't stop to enjoy the scenery. I do not care that I am not the best photographer I can possibly be; my pictures make me happy. I have no desire to stand on my head. I am getting what I want out of yoga at the level I am at. I don't care that my model trains are not perfect. I relax when I am running my trains. I don't ever check my blog stats. I am afraid it will change what I write.

In the end we all die. Nothing's going to change that. My goal is to be in the moment, love my friends and family and just be. What is wrong with just being?