Tag Archives: resignation

The Four Horsemen

By Jim Selman | Bio

I was playing a trivia game and had to answer what the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are. I got three out of four, but had to go to go to Wikipedia to get them all: War, Famine, Conquest and Death. These traditional Biblical symbols mark the ‘end of time’, when all things are put right and presumably all karma is erased and this journey will be complete. In researching each of them, I learned that ‘conquest’ is best translated in today’s language as ‘corruption’

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Why Don’t We Ever Learn?

By Jim Selman | Bio

As we watch the devastation in Haiti on television, the world recoils at the horror and the suffering, mobilizes its resources and tries to clean up the mess and help the survivors. The media forages, looking for who to blame (usually corrupt or incompetent politicians). We’ve witnessed this scene following earthquakes countless times: in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake 2008 when 69,000 died in China; in the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake when 230,000 died in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand; in the 2005 Kashmir earthquake where 86,000 died in Pakistan; in the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake when 142,800 died in Japan; and even in 1908’s Messina earthquake when 100,000 died in Italy. If we think about the hurricanes, volcanoes, fires, tsunamis and famine, it seems the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” are doing a fabulous business these days. The fact is that natural (and some unnatural) disasters happen all the time.  But if you look at the impact of these events in developed countries and compare them to the impact in underdeveloped countries, the contrast is shocking.

The reason for this has been clear for a long time. The extent of damage in any earthquake depends on many variables, including the magnitude of the quake and the aftershocks, what type of soil buildings are on and the distance of population centers from the epicenter. Underdeveloped or developing nations face particular challenges—especially when dealing with high population density areas—because they lack the necessary infrastructure to respond. In addition to this factor

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Moods

By Jim Selman | Bio

Perhaps the most pervasive and omnipresent aspect of being alive is our moods. We are always in one mood or another. Moods are either positive or negative and they ‘color’ our experience of living, affect how we relate to others and our circumstances, and have extraordinary power to open or close possibilities. If we examine this phenomenon, we can see that our moods are portable—we take them with us wherever we go. I can be angry at home and find that mood affecting me at work or even on the golf course.

Moods are also contagious. Have you ever been in a meeting where everyone is in a good mood and then the boss or someone enters the room in a different, perhaps negative, mood and it isn’t long before everyone has ‘caught’ the new mood?

Moods constitute the contexts in which we normally live and experience our lives. But most importantly, they are almost always involuntary—they happen to us. We rarely choose what mood we will be in, especially when we get our ‘buttons

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What To Choose After This Bad Week

By Jim Selman | Bio

Last week was not a good week for the planet and I’ve been taking it personally. Aside from the Iran Crisis and North Korea, we had the usual games being played in Europe, South America and Southeast Asia. At some moment, I realized that I had once again drifted into a spectator role. I was trying to sort out the good insurgents from the bad insurgents, the real terrorists from the "revolutionaries", and I was finding that the conservative/liberal divide seems to be a universal constant everywhere we look.

As President Obama is declaring the possibility of mutual respect and tolerance between religions and all people, we see Iran’s "Supreme Leader" declaring ‘death’ to all who oppose the current regime and the North Korean guy promising to drop the big one if anyone screws around with his boatload of nuclear armaments going to the Middle East.

I am of two minds here. On one side, I am tired of playing good guys and bad guys and want to just scream…"STOP

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Spectator

By Jim Selman | Bio

What is it about us that generates such endless fascination with conflict and suffering around the world? As I am watching Israel’s war with Hamas and the occupation of Gaza, I become resigned that the situation there will never be resolved and I fall into a kind of ‘funk’ about the Middle East mess in general. Now I don’t know all that much—just what I get from television, magazines and conversations with friends who don’t know much more than I do. I have become

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Resignation

By Jim Selman | Bio

I have said many times that I view one of the biggest threats to our way of life (and at least the medium-term future) is widespread and institutionalized =&0=&. Resignation is a mood that most of us have experienced and many are experiencing today. It is a worldview devoid of possibility. It is the perspective that ‘nothing can be done’ and ‘nothing will really make a difference’. It is giving up, but in a way that justifies and rationalizes that giving up is the rational and reasonable thing to do. The benefit of resignation is that we can stop thinking or struggling.

There is a difference between true ‘acceptance of those things I cannot change’ and resignation. Resignation is not a choice; it is a succumbing to the circumstances and buying into a ‘no possibility’ scenario. I was sitting next to a man last week from Mexico discussing the Mexican government’s campaign against drug cartels. He assured me that all the effort and all the lives that have been lost are meaningless and that corruption and organized crime are a permanent

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Resignation

I have written about resignation on several occasions. I think we need to remember this is a condition in which we give up, but do so in a way that hides the fact that is what we are doing. Resignation is a big part of what we think of as the ‘human condition’ and, in my opinion, it can become more pervasive as we age. I frequently speculate on what will happen if enough of us become resigned about something at the same time. My view is that the resignation becomes the reality when this happens

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Anxiety

One of the nice things about traveling about as I have been for the past couple of years is that you get an opportunity to listen to people in other countries speak about the state of the world. As a fair generalization, I would suggest that we in the USA and Canada are among the most vocal ‘worriers’ I encounter. I would say that a high percentage of North American conversations—at least among those I converse with and based on my take on ‘the news’ on TV—are worried about something

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My Father in His House of Logs

I was in a conversation the other day with some friends. It wasn’t long before we were bemoaning the ‘state of the world’. We moved from politics in Washington DC to global warming and the Middle East, then took on the environment, the media and the latest arrest of suspected terrorists in Spain. In a few minutes, we were feeling a bit of despair at the seemingly endless list of intractable problems, most of which are threatening our quality of life—if not the future of our entire species

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The Four Horsemen

I was playing a trivia game and had to answer what the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are. I got three out of four, but had to go to go to Wikipedia to get them all — War, Famine, Conquest and Death. These traditional Biblical symbols mark the ‘end of time’, when all things are put right and presumably all karma is erased and this journey will be complete. In researching each of them, I learned that ‘conquest’ is best translated in today’s language as ‘corruption’. The ancient

read more