Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

“I’m hoping the AG isn’t just trying to pass this off without taking it seriously,” he said. “If this doesn’t work, I’ll take it down to the federal courthouse and see what the hell they’re going to do. We can’t have any lunatic handing out guns to get votes. I’m not anti-gun, but this is just crazy.”

Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2014/06/17/3024511/clint-didier-campaign-having-gun.html#storylink=cpy


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In the current upheaval about privacy following the revelation that Verizon and Google and a lot of other media

snip of google image search for Susan G Holland  plus  Holland Art Studio  June 10 2013

giants are spying on American citizens at the behest of the NSA, I have wondered what a benign person like me might have “out there” that I was unaware of.

Just for fun, this morning I Googled my name and my art business name and searched “images”.  I was surprised to see three whole rows of my stuff!  The fourth and fifty item in the bottom row of his image are NOT mine…but all the rest is!   My goodness!   I am glad I am not a purveyor of seamy art!

There are “about me” photos and some outtakes from my 3 Americas! exhibit in NYC.  Early Farmer’s Market work, and some recent process documentation of a favorite painted wood bowl. Yes, my current logo!   Even my daughter’s birthday gift puzzle!  And the signature I sometimes put at the bottom of my blogs.

I wonder how many rants of mine have made the cut?  Likely I would not be so much on top of the pile.  There are several high profile people with my name who are really well known in their professions, and somehow Susan Komen comes up in a search for me.  Well, that’s ok.

I do get angry at you government people, in case you are reading this entry.  Very angry.  I think you are manipulating things much as the Mafia has been guilty of doing.  The power of money and might has eclipsed the honor and humility that marked our earlier American way of doing national business.  I am ashamed.  But I still think that freedom and democratic practices are better than the other choices (as if we had a choice…most of us don’t.)

So, if I am to shamed in the public square for my protests and letters to editors and other media people I know the names of, I hope you pick one of the nicer photos to publicize the shaming.

It’s not so far away from the way some nations capture those who speak against a hallowed leader and imprison them like rabid dogs.  Or shoot them.

We all have some traps in the path of our journeys.  I see, with sadness, the traps multiplying…booby traps, even, for the folks who love truth and transparency.

When did we become so corrupt?  It is not the “image” of the nation’s government that is the concern.  It’s the reality of what emerges when that image is scratched off,  like the gold circle on a give-away ticket advertising a prize of ten cents to a hundred dollars.   Not much there.  And the numbers are not the only thing that are temporarily hidden!

Old Swimmer

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Catching drones

I am so fascinated by the uproar about those snoopy drones that are reportedly going to be released to spy on us.  I am a bit nervous that some drone hackers will follow me into the bathroom and watch, but if that’s what gets them satisfaction, well… no photos of me “washing up” will net them much.

What I am seeing is another electronic wonder that can be used by “the bad guys” as well as the good guys.  Not surprising, this eventuality. The gamesters who were nurtured in a digital age are full of games-view, and why shouldn’t they visualize Drone Wars as the next fun place to “play war.”  Except, as we can see, the little games grow into big power wars and then people actually get killed, and sometimes there is the real possibility of mass annihilation!   What would Assad do with a fleet of drones, I ask you?

So the child in me is wondering what to do when little things come zooming around with their cute little propellers fanning the local air in my yard and my house.  First thought:  CATCH ONE to get a better look.   How does one catch a little drone?

I am imagining that they are pretty smart, and assuming they have some remote data going out that will pit my abilities against the operator of this drone, whether the operator is a real human or a robot-type-entity, located at headquarters, or maybe in the cloud. (so appropriate..the cloud.)

What a great new sport, I am thinking, wondering what kind of butterfly net would work best, and how to design a stealth butterfly net to get under the drone’s radar.

What would I do after I tinkered with the little captive?  Would it self destruct in my hand, and maybe actually carry a bomb or something to detonate and make me go poof?
I visualize a little collection of these things in an electronically neutralizing safe, and hash marks on the outside telling me how many of “their guys” I have collected.  Like chess.

I don’t ever expect to set up an arsenal of my own, of course.  I don’t really have time for that.  But I wonder whether there will be “time” for drone poachers?  And a jail sentence?
Just think of the budgetary implications of that!

And how will the drone-related prisoners get along, all incarcerated together… the makers who sold drones to the bad guys and the drone catchers who were just playing?

Well, it’s good for a new computer game I guess,  but I don’t have time for that either.

So…just a blog.   But it’s not as aery-faerie as all that, is it?

Old Swimmer


Here’s a cute one

cute drone







another cute one
police drone

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I don’t know where I first came  upon a favorite phrase of mine…someone’s parent used it, I think, when asked at a meal if they wanted more of something. They said,
“I’ve had an ample sufficiency;  more would be a superfluous abundance.”

Empty, full, overflowing

Don’t you love it?  I memorized that phrase on the spot and have found it fun and useful so often in my life.  It always gets a smile.

It occurs to me now that the OTHER extreme to “superfluous abundance” is something else again:  a “DIRE LACK” seems strong enough to balance the other end of the spectrum.

I ran into an article today which I found extremely interesting.  It was a talk by an atheist explaining how to ask non-athiests to accept some of the preferences of atheists! In particular was asking people not to pray for them!  It was particularly interesting to me because I am NOT an atheist, and I am sure that I have put atheists into the position of wanting to say how they prefer to be spoken to about such things as prayer, and blessings, and faith.

I was admonished a year or so ago for saying “God Bless You!” to a child’s sneeze!  I was sort of astonished, since it’s such a common sort of response to sneezes,  but the fact that the person who asked me not to say it was the father of the child.  They preferred their child not be exposed to “God Talk”, and so were censoring the kinds of things said in their house.

(So I semi-rebelliously said Gesundheit instead, and that was, somehow, okay, since no one speaks German in that house. But my reaction was knee-jerk, and not all that pure-hearted.  It was not a response of respect, at least, which is what the person may have expected of me.)

What I am puzzled about is how much we can tailor other people’s behavior in regards to their way of expressing themselves?  How okay is it to request, for instance, that someone NOT pray for you?   I say to people, quite honestly, that I will pray for them when I honestly do mean to do just that.  But when I say it, it’s not to convert them, or remind them, but it is simply a statement of how I will be putting my concerns into actionable form.  Of course, if they don’t believe in prayer, it will seem sentimental, old-fashioned, passe, and superfluous, and even obnoxious to people who severely disapprove of prayer and everyone who believes it to be effective.

But do I say to them that they are not to use atheistic terms and concepts in their conversation in my house?  No, really not.  People would pick fights all the time if that were true,  just as if someone were forbidden to speak any language but Urdu in a Palestinian home.  How divisive that would be! Of course they can speak of their belief in my house, even if it’s quite different from mine.  I would like to ask questions of that person and learn all I can about their beliefs.

If a person comes with a good-will gift, and that gift happens to be something repugnant to me, I will accept it with gratitude.  What seems good to some may seem awful to others, but a gift is a gift, and it’s the sincere gesture that counts, and the reception should be sincere as well.

Kindness makes for active tolerance of discomfort. Divisions happen when the “give and take” are refused.

But how much is too much?  And how about the opposite…too much restriction?

We used to be told in church to “witness” to others– actively and consistently.  This was one of the acts that Christians were to do.  Of course other religions have their ways of spreading what they believe.  And if they are earnestly innocent of ulterior motives (fishing for proselytes) they are simply doing what they truly believe is right.

There is a moving barrier in conversations across philosophies.  In this age of “coming out” when you are “different” in a way that is not always accepted, like gay, or Republican, or anti-gun rights,  you have realized by now that saying so will often cause a ripple of dissension and maybe even drive people away from you.   You learn to do it discreetly, and hopefully when others have learned that you are not a stupid person, or a fanatic, or a public enemy, but someone who has other “features” that makes you worth knowing even if you ARE something “odd.”

How about the ones who are coming up against the established accepted practices?

How much do we who have strong opinions about, say,  war, or God, or evolution, or global warming, ask of others to make room for our preferences?  When I go to a talk about athiesm, am I suppoosed to stand up and chant something to express my difference of opinion?  Only if I am on a campaign and am willing to take the issue to court, or to war, or to the press.  If I went  to this talk simply to understand others’ point of view, I have no business making a scene.

What if they come to my home and start telling me that I must stop believing in God and that I am ruining my family by not being an atheist?  Well, they will not be particularly cheered on, I will assure you.  If they persist, I may not invite them again– but it will be because they have delivered a superfluous abundance of their creed in my space, where my own creed is as precious as theirs, and it is offending me.  It’s just not polite.

So, how does one handle, say, a babysitter who is of the “other” persuasion, whatever that is?  Does one tell them what words are not acceptable?   I’m not sure how long the children will believe that everyone is like their parents,  but I can tell you that my kids learned an encyclopedia of words never allowed in our house on their first ride on a public school bus!  What a shattering experience!

I let my children play with the neighborhood group even though their creed was very different from mine.  There were words exchanged casually long before school days that caused them to realize that different families had some rather major differences in “okay-ness.”  It was still a shock to learn all the really “dirty” words on that schoolbus, but they were also aware that the world will be hugely different in a lot of ways from us.

AND, counter to what I wanted, they had a great time adopting all these forbidden words!!

  What one resists, persists…and parents should be aware of that.

Live and let live!  As we bump around and run into people who put their hands together and say “Shalom”, and into other people who sock us in the arm and say “What’s up, buddy?”, that both of those people are giving us respect as they are inclined to do, and all are worthy of our acceptance of their greeting.  It’s just polite!

I think no one ever did damage by allowing another his own creed, unless that other is trying to force his creed on others.  I will not adopt anything that is crammed down my throat.  But  will be thankful for people sharing their personal views honestly with me, and I will continue to pray for them, even if they don’t want me to.  It is not an act of aggression, after all,  and if they don’t believe in it anyway, why should it bother them?

Might as well tell people not to smile at you, as not to pray for you.

My atheist friends just say “I will send good thoughts”, and that’s okay with me!  I can use all the good thoughts I can get!

It’s all a journey.  And it’s good to have language with fellow travelers that crosses divides.

Old Swimmer

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Maybe we needed this dust-up… maybe it’s part of what I call the Greater Blueprint.

We are motor-mouths!  Look at the effect of Twitter, for instance.  (disclaimer..I have not joined Twitter, so I am not an expert…but I have watched Twitter in action, and have seen people hitched by an umbilical to their smart phones as if fed by Twitter and dead without it.)  Our love of self has exploded into the cyber-world, and there is no putting it back.

Like Pandora’s box, everything inside of us is not scattered all over the earth in indelible nuggets of information.  I am hoping my bad habits are not being publicly posted, and that no one is interested in me at all!  (Judging from my “hit” record on this blog, no one is interested.)

However, I am looking at the issue I have been writing about for about three months:  i.e., the GOOGLE ISSUE.  And I am seeing it right now, today, from a much more distant viewpoint.

If God wanted us to watch our mouths (this is a way parents used to admonish their kids about sloppy language), how might he get the message across loud and clear while we are busy yapping our heads off about our personal details?

He would dump the contents of the words issuing out of our mouths (read fingertips, or thumbs), for all to see.  Are we blushing?

Yes.  We are blushing…and we are as angry as outed teens that our secret drawer has been discovered and uprooted by what we see as an intrusive parent.

Google, of course, is not God (see: http://www.iol.co.za/scitech/technology/internet/is-google-now-god-1.1250185)  and so does not have the welfare of humankind at heart; Google only has the welfare of Google at heart, like any other power-seeker in the ego-led world of humanity and corporate lust.

So Google is not out to reform us, but to exploit this great lust we have to be published.  Yes, we are all seeking immortality/stardom/fame even if it’s just to see our words in print.  Me too!

Ego has always been the pothole man steps into…a deep one, very difficult to climb out of before getting summarily knocked off.

So I have been huffing and puffing on these wordpress pages, and elsewhere, trying to get the nosy parent out of my secret drawer, when it is my own self who is responsible for leaking peeks at all the treasures I was wishing to keep secret.  I put them into that drawer, not remembering that the drawer has more than one key.  Lots of keys.  Google has one.  God has one.

Who unlocked my drawer?  Does it matter?  If God decided to open drawers to stop the incessant flapping of lips and wagging of chins, He would be delighted that Google could be put to some good use to accomplish this.

I have not a lot to hide, except perhaps some personal disclosures about angers at perceived injuries, and personal memories that are sweet only to my family, and of no interest to other people.  But what if I were responsible for keeping secrets of a more sensitive nature?  What if I were a priest, or a therapist?  What if I were a key person in an international sting that would save the world?  I had better watch my mouth.

There is a lot to be gained by looking at it like this.  Have we forgotten how to mete out our words with wisdom?  Have we any wisdom left at all?

I am not saying we are purposely gossiping (although some certainly are engaged in this.)  I am saying we are careless and sloppy in what we say.  We are like rude little kindergarteners who have no sense of what is appropriate to say.  We are still at a stage where we just say an uninhibited “Ha ha ha…Joe peed his pants”, rather than passing over that fact and letting life go on.  We are being all too often like those little uncivilized truth-tellers who just blab out truth in an unedited way that does a lot of harm, whether intentional or not.

The power of speaking truth that makes a stir and gets attention becomes addictive.  It takes on a life of its own and becomes an attention-getting device.  Then our ego is addicted to the strokes and cannot stop.  And then we are hooked to the device that enables us to continue…it forbids us to stop!

Nothing like an intervention to bring massive unpleasant attention to the ravages of addiction!  Is Google the instrument of intervention?

Might be.

I’m certainly responding:  I have started the complicated business needed to stop my interactions with Google…I am not telling everything to everyone by internet any more.  I’ve deserted programs that are called “social networks” because they turn out to be also subject to social diseases, as promiscuity does in other kinds of social intercourse.

We have mistaken liberty for undisciplined license!  Really, we have.  We demand the right to do the most private acts in public, and we sue if someone tries to stop us! (did you read about the guy suing Google for taking Google Earth pix of him urinating in his garden?)  We have forgotten that there are others in the world who have the right to decency, even if it’s not something we value. And what we choose to do will matter, evil or good or careless. (why didn’t he just go behind a tree? A skydiver or neighbor might see him as well.)

Social media?  It’s socially-sensitive media!  Used “nicely” it’s beautiful (like sex), but corrupted, it’s evil (like sex.)

That’s where my thinking is today.

Google is eventually going to die; it is not immortal.  But our words live on, even if Google dies.  We need to watch our mouths or suffer a social disease. There is a greater system than Google or cyber-space that takes in what we emit. Eventually the trail of responsibility all gets back to our own free will, and our own struggles with ego-addictions.

Old Swimmer

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One Christmas Day, a Sunday,  in the late 70’s, it was very snowy in Issaquah WA and all family parties were cancelled.  But we had a driver in our house who grew up in Minnesota and we had a good car for snow driving.  We decided that, now that the gifts were all open, we would go OUT to dinner (gift to me, the Mom) and then out to a movie (gift for the Kids.)   The movie we chose was really special, and I feel sure it had been scheduled to attract the Jewish folks who were not doing Christmas, but wanted to do something special on a Sunday.

The film was a Canadian release just now in 2011 restored onto DVD, and it was called Lies My Father Told Me.

Check it out!


We do tell our children lies.  They are called by many names,  including stories, tales, fairytales, traditions, mysteries, fables, wishful thinking, and other euphemisms.  But we do tell them to our kids even while sternly requiring them to always tell the truth.

The first big lie my parents asked me to tell was the memorable moment my father told me to keep my little brother in the dark about Santa.  I had asked the definitive question about Santa and got a straight answer from my Dad (I was about five).  He then inducted me into the world of Lies Because We Love Them.   I was to perpetuate the lie about Santa to be nice to my little brother!

Today, while I was showering, I was thinking of my six year old grandson who is boasting his first ever missing tooth, and is still trying to figure out how the tooth fairy found it under his pillow and replaced it with two quarters without him knowing when or how.  He had been staying awake waiting for her, but she seemed not to have come.  In the middle of the night he visited his dad about some other matter, and his dad took him back to bed, and casually asked whether the tooth fairy had come yet.  Nope, my grandson assured him.  Better check, said his Dad.  The eyes nearly popped out of his head when he found the tooth gone and two quarters in its place.

I was showering and smiling and then I thought…I know…I’ll send a letter from the Retired Tooth Fairy saying that she had heard skuttlebutt about the going rate for detatched children’s teeth having doubled in the space of about thirty years, and she was wanting to know if he REALLY got TWO quarters instead of one.     Then I thought about the lie that would eventually get outed and decided I had better not aid and abet or I would also be in bad graces when all was exposed and the young man was disabused of his delightful belief.  Just one of the disappointments that we run into as we grow into adults.

Do these lies hurt our sense of truth?  Do they help us to use magical thinking when the chips are down and we are really not wanting to know something…like that if we don’t study our vocabulary list we will not pass the quiz?  This could escalate into a habit that affects other more important matters.(“If I sneak off and have a clandestine affair my spouse will never find out about it and so it will be okay.”)

It was quite a long time ago that I found out that lying takes an enormous toll. What a good aha that was!!  The self-blackmail we use to cover a lie is possibly the largest part of the price we pay– how many lies pile up to cover the other lie before it all falls down like a pack of cards and we are then ashamed and must possibly pay lots of retribution to family , friends, or the government.  Not only that, but we have had to keep a close watch on whether other people are suspicious.  All the time.  And the trust that used to be between us and “them” is corrupted… we know they shouldn’t have trusted us,  and we are afraid of any who will eventually learn that we are not trustworthy.  So we act guilty.  And it’s because we ARE.

Getting a clean slate is the most empowering thing.  Keeping it clean is fairly rigorous, too, in today’s ethically sloppy  society which values image over fact, and which allows lies to prevail “for the good of all concerned.”

It’s a full-time job trying to be a Truthteller.  I am flawed by human nature (it’s not a perfect world) and lying to myself is the beginning of lies to others. (“ I’m not going to suffer if I eat this second half of the pie. And no one will notice, and if they do they won’t mind if it’s gone.”)

Even that self-justifying “Serves him right,” when saying a hurtful thing or slamming the door is the beginning of a lie.  The closer that sort of mundane self-justification is followed by an admission of wrong the more quickly it is off the slate.  Things like latent memories of slamming doors can actually fester into lifelong barriers!!  Really!

I am not Miss Goody Two Shoes.  I still say bad words when I drop something into a muddy driveway, or spill coffee grounds all over the counter.  And it’s very tempting to forget certain things I have said I would do.   I am pretty good at forgiving myself, once I have owned up to myself that I am remiss and that I need to clean up my desk in certain areas.

In truth, I am REALLY MESSY about a lot of things,  but at least I am trying hard not to lie to myself or others about it. I just say so, and people are amazingly accepting of that truth and forgiving of my sins.  They are sort of glad to know that I am just a fellow human.  It brings fellowship!

I like Santa Claus.  And the Tooth Fairy.  They make me smile.  Maybe it’s because they fall into the realm of diapers, potty chairs, booster seats, rope swings and tricycles.  These are temporary fixes that work well for little children in wonderland.  It goes with the acceptability of baby talk, and allowing the little ones to believe that we understand “goo goo gaa gaa” perfectly.  (Well, we do, if we’re watching closely and know our child well. Besides, we expect them to believe that the mashed peas are really  “a choo choo train that is coming .. toot toot..and wants to go down the little red lane.“)  Fantasy is wonderful, and long live those things that make life move along more pleasantly!  But not at the expense of Truthtelling.

I wonder what it will be like when my grandson gets to that portal where he crosses over the delicate partition between his belief in the lie, his questioning of the truth of the lie,  and his participation in perpetrating the lie; when his father tells him to let his little sister believe in the Tooth Fairy.

I never considered my father a liar .. at least not a seriously mired-in-the-mud one.  He lied to himself about things we all knew, and he tried not to know…he did more smoking, for instance, than anyone else I knew.  It contributed to his death, which came much too early.  But he mostly told truth as he saw it,  and even ruefully admitted when he had missed the mark and had to own up! He even admitted regrets like this to his children!   This is good parenting, to my way of thinking;  excellent modeling for a child to grow up with.

It helps me to remember a time a month or so ago when I saw a prank afoot in the kitchen of my son and my grandson.  My son had a mischievous look in his 40+ year old blue eyes when he shrugged and indicated he didn’t know what had happened to the six-year old’s plate of ice cream that had suddenly and mysteriously disappeared from the table.    My grandson planted two feet on the floor and crossed his arms and said, “Daddy….TELL THE TRUTH!”     This is good stuff.

Old Swimmer

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