The Puzzle of Our Existence

In the beginning, the world, as we know it, was created. It doesn’t really matter how, it just was.

And, in the beginning, like a puzzle, the first edge was formed. For the sake of argument, let’s say that time moves in a line from left to right, so it was the left edge.

The rest of the puzzle’s pieces didn’t exist yet, only the first row. But like any puzzle, each piece was in search of the next piece to fill its unique void.

The rules were simple. Two factors dictated the creation of the next piece; Humanity and it’s desires/needs and something bigger; God, Mother Nature, whatever. The second just made sure that the first didn’t destroy the world or itself; that it survived.

Now here’s the deal. Each new piece is not random. The piece before it created the space that only that particular new piece would fit. The prior piece is looking for a solution to what it perceives as a problem and in theory, the new piece solves the problem.

A modern example: Polio is ravaging the world. The desire of its citizens is to end the disease. This piece of the puzzle will only allow one other particular piece to fit; the cure.  Enter Dr. Jonas Salk, the matching piece. He was the right person, at the right time and he was a perfect fit.

A Historic example: What happens when humanity becomes too dense in a confined area? Starvation, unsanitary conditions, war. The World has a problem and needs a solution. The matching piece; the solution, if you will, is usually something horrible that quickly “thins the herd” returning the affected area to levels that are sustainable. The European plague of the 1600’s comes to mind.

The point is, what we receive is usually what we asked for. We just didn’t think it would be so painful.

A tragic example: In 1919, Germany “accepted” the Treaty of Versailles. This once proud country was now on its knees. An economic depression ensued, and its citizens were starving, miserable and searching, desperately, for a solution. They remembered, fondly, the heady days of a great and powerful Germany and they wanted it back.

In 1923-1924, the missing piece of their puzzle wrote a book, and in that book, he addressed the problem and then he offered a solution. His name was Adolf Hitler and we know how that turned out. He was the right person, in the right place, at the right time and it ended in disaster.

The moral of the story: Be careful what you wish for as you may just get it.

What I’m suggesting here is that when enough people perceive that something is a problem, they create a space where only a particular and unique solution will fit. Adolf Hitler, in any other time, would have been “laughed off the stage,” but at that particular and unique time, his piece attached perfectly to the piece before it.

Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt, in any other time, may have never succeeded and been just another unknown name. But they were known, they did rise above, and they were the desired piece of the puzzle for the time and place in which they existed.

Each time we add to our linear puzzle, we must accept the results of the outcome. We, the prior pieces, formed the design of the next piece, insisting that it align with our desires and once found, we provided the opportunity for it to thrive.

Fast forward to 2016. Hillary Clinton could not have won the election. Actually, she really never even stood a chance.

The business of Politics had become synonymous with the words: Status quo, Corruption, Gridlock and Dishonesty. The cries for change were at fever pitch and it was inevitable that the next piece of the puzzle would be someone “different.” That is not to say “better,” just “different.”

Enter, Donald Trump: “The everything else but a politician,” piece.

History will judge President Trump as it judges us all. Bickering over whether he should remain in office is a waste of time and energy. The reality is that he is the President, it is his time, it is his place and we, the People, did create this particular and unique void in which his piece fit perfectly.

Humanity really should be much more careful about what it desires. As each day passes, we are actively creating the environment for the next missing piece of our puzzle to thrive; either good or bad.

 

We choose not who will be good and who will be evil; we choose only to open the door and let them in. It is then that they take root and choose the path that they’ll follow. It is also then that we yield to them our fate.

Michael McCown

 

A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.

Mahatma Gandhi

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It’s time to rest, John

John McCain

O dear soul, it is finally time for you to rest

To gladly exhale, one last time

Your corpus ever so weary and worn by tireless battles

Never yielding, ever driven to Persevere, to Survive, to Overcome

 You have returned home

Physically broken, emotionally exhausted, trudging one day to the next with Strength and Dignity

You continued the Valiant fight

Until the end, where, within in the loving arms of family and friends, you bowed and gave yield to the calling voice of heaven, and rested, finally at Peace.

Your Sword, alone now, has found peaceful refuge in the proverbial stone from whence it came,
where it will once again, patiently await the next glorious soul, worthy of it’s possession.

M.S. McCown

Tolerance, a double edged sword

I love the words “to tolerate”

Ever Sardonic to the end

Yet so peevishly human

For our existence demands it presence

Thou Valor refuses its aim

As history shows its futility

We endure those who preach it

For tolerance is thought a virtue

And to be intolerant, considered a sin

yet a Tyrant counts on tolerance

For intolerance can do him in

Irony warns against it

As the tolerant rarely win

 

Now, I’m worried…and you should be too.

 

1. There are Nine Supreme Court Justices

2. 4 are considered “Conservative”

3. 4 are considered “Liberal”

4. Justice Kennedy is in the middle and he is retiring.

5. That leaves the Court at 4-4

6. President Trump will appoint a Conservative to replace Kennedy. Then the Court will be 5-4

7. Justice Ginsburg is 85, and is known as a champion of the liberal cause.

8. President Trump has two more years left.

9. In 2020, If a Republican is elected, it will most likely be Trump.

10.  Justice Breyer is near 80 years old. He is also considered to be a liberal Justice.

11. In 2020, Justices’ Ginsberg and Breyer will be 87 and 82, respectively. If a Republican wins in 2020, then Ginsburg and Souter will be 91 and 86 before the next election. 

12. The odds are that Justice Ginsburg will  leave before the 2024 election. The odds are that Justice Breyer will leave before the 2024 election.

13. If the first happens, and the Democrats don’t win the Presidency or the Senate, the Court will be at 6-3, Conservative/Liberal.

14. If the second happens and the Democrats don’t win the Presidency or the Senate, the Court will be 7-2 Conservative/Liberal.

15. The results of 5-4 could be unfortunate. The results of 6-3 could be devastating. The results of 7-2…The Spanish Inquisition. 

Checks and balances is what keeps us, well, Balanced. 

I am a Conservative and this terrifies me. This has the potential to be a game-ender and it’s time to get off your ass. 

Where Have I Been? Finishing the 2nd Book! A Year of the Sunflowermuse! It’s available from Amazon in Paperback or eBook.

A Year of The Sunflower Muse: The Thoughts and Musings of a Curious Fool (TheSunflowerMuse.Com Book 1)bookpict1

by Michael McCown

Kindle Edition $9.99 

 

Traveling Zen; finding Peace in the Details: The path to Great Travel isn’t found in a Guidebook, it’s Found in the Lessons of Those who Have gone Before.bookpict2

by Michael McCown

Kindle Edition  9.99

 

 

Traveling Zen; finding Peace in the Details (The Coffee Table Edition)bookpict3

by Michael S McCown

Paperback

$12.99  Prime

 

A Year of the SunFlowerMuse.com: The Thoughts and Musings of a Curious Foolbookpict4

by Michael S McCown

Paperback

$12.99 Prime

 

Think being a Parent is hard, wait until you’re a Grandparent.

What is the hardest job in the world? The answer is, of course, subjective. At the end of the day though, I thought that being a parent ultimately topped the list.  I was wrong. Becoming a parent, requires only that you participate in the act of procreation and nine-ish months later, you’re a parent. Don’t confuse the word “parent” with the word “Mom” or “Dad”. There is a difference and it’s huge. When you’re called Mom or Dad, savor the moment, it conveys love and a bond that means everything. It is the key to your heart.

So what’s the hardest job in the world? Without a doubt, it’s being a Grandparent. Sounds silly doesn’t it? What makes it so hard? Before I answer that, let’s make a few very broad assumptions about just being a parent.

As a parent, you get to call the shots, you make the rules, they live where you live and do what you say. Also, within reason, you’re allowed to download your values, thoughts, beliefs and baggage into their little hard-drives and get a tax deduction for each of them at the same time. You are also, most likely, the most influential person in their life which can either be good or bad.

Being a parent is tough, but the biggest challenge begins when they grow up and start their own family. It’s here that your parental role, which you have spent the last 18-ish years getting used to, changes drastically. You go from “essential” to “as needed”. Your work is now done and it’s time to sit back, relax and watch your children raise their children the same way you raised them; I mean they learned from watching you, right? …Wrong.

Basically, your career as a parent just went under a microscope. You expect them to do “this” and they do “that”. When you bring it up, they politely point out how they are going to do some things “differently”, and with that, you’re completely crushed. Now, you are officially a Grand Parent with a whole new set of rules and rule #1; you are no longer in charge and that’s that.

If that alone didn’t make it hard enough, how about this:

1. Being a Grandparent is totally voluntary: You actually have to want to participate. You get what you give. You have to be there and be involved and if you sit at home waiting to be included, good luck.

2. Your unsolicited opinions about this or that really don’t seem to matter anymore. Go ahead and point out their parenting flaws and tell them what you would have done differently; then duck and find cover. You’ve just crossed the line.

3. It requires travel, wherever. Your children will probably move away. They don’t come to you, you go to them. They’re  busy building their life and raising a family. Never show up unannounced and learn to read between the lines. You didn’t like it when your parents did it to you and they won’t either.

4. Your schedule will “suddenly” begin to look a lot like theirs. Get used to it. You will begin checking with them first before making plans.

5. You will now start second guessing everything. Was I a good parent? If I do “this” will I be in trouble? My God, what do they think of me, the way I parented and why does this feeling hurt so much? I should have done things differently, I should have been…

6. You will stare in amazement as they deal with parenting issues, making incredibly hard decisions and all without your valuable input, yet they still have great results. Never underestimate your children or their capacity to face challenges and prevail.

7. If you’re smart, you’ll check with them on the rules they’ve made for their children. If you’re really smart, you’ll actually follow them. I’m struggling with just being smart.

8. You’re still their Mom and Dad. Show your love by supporting their decisions and respecting the goals they’ve set for the children. You can love and spoil the Grandkids, just know where the line is. As a Grandparent, it’s your job to “tap-dance” right up to the edge.

9. Learn to be a good source for solicited advice and ideas, be non-judgmental and your home, a place of peace for the family. Love your Grandchildren more than life itself. They represent the best of your children, who represent the best of you.

10. The bond between a Grandparent and a Grandchild is a truly wonderful thing. To see such joy spring forth from your beloved child is what makes life worth living. But, if something goes horribly wrong and you are blessed to continue raising these precious grandchildren, raise them as your children would have wanted. Show them the passion, desires and beliefs of their parents. Instill in them a sense of “family” and belonging; When they look into your eyes, make sure they always see the reflections of their Mom and Dad and show them that they are never alone, that they belong to a large loving Family with a sense of continuity, shared history and memories of the loved and lost.

Being a Grandparent warms my soul as in the eyes of my Grandchildren, I see the reflection of my children, who I absolutely adore. We are thrilled to welcome each new addition to our family and have never been happier. August can’t get here soon enough, as we will be welcoming our fourth Grandchild. He will be surrounded by his wonderful parents and a large supportive family, who will be bursting at the seams with love and affection. Our bags are already packed and I can’t wait.

 

 

 

Dear Humanity, It’s the Pedal on the Right…

Sometimes, I’m absolutely amazed that we’re not extinct. We really should be. We certainly didn’t get this far in human evolution because of our superior intellect. Most likely, it was just pure dumb luck; think, Forrest Gump.

Whether you believe in the theory of Creationism or Evolution, really isn’t important for this argument. What does matter, is that we agree that we’ve been living here for a long, long time. I’d like to think that after this long, we would’ve learned SOMETHING about getting along with each other. Getting along should be ingrained in us. It should be easy. It’s a “core” thing.

What’s a core behavior? So, you’re walking down a trail and you come face to face with a bear. No one has to tell you that this is a problem. You won’t find yourself thinking, “I wonder if this bear would mind if I scratched its tummy” or “let’s poke at it with this stick”; you just knew you were in danger and “fight or flight” kicked in. You also knew that the odds were bad and that most likely, you were going to be the largest part of the next crap the bear was going to take. Either way, you just knew. We also know not to blindly stick our arm into a deep dark hole or eat 3 day old roadkill. Again, somehow, you just know that this is not a good idea. It’s critical knowledge that’s been passed down thru life experience and recorded deep within our genes.

Throughout our very long history, inevitably, some idiot would do something like I mentioned above, then we would all start to cringe, but refuse to look away, and it would usually end very badly for the person; proving that the odd “gut-feeling” we had, was probably worth paying attention to. It also proves that we like drama. Don’t think I’m right? OK, next car crash, don’t watch as you drive on by.

For the sake of argument, let’s just say that humanity, in some form, has been wandering the earth for 15,000 years. In that time span does anyone really think that someone today could make a mistake that hasn’t been made at least a thousand times already? I’m speaking in a general way; a core mistake. Obviously, playing “chicken” with a hand grenade wasn’t possible 2000 years ago, but tempting the Fates was, and stupid is stupid no matter what year it is.

Pain and Death are great Teachers and we’ve been in their class for eons. You would think that there wouldn’t be any mistakes left to make, that prior generations would have warned us, that our “gut” would have warned us. We’ll they did, it does and we still don’t appear to have learned a thing; nothing. It’s hard to believe that we are capable of the horrible things we do to ourselves and to each other. Maybe we just don’t “get it” or we are simply unable or unwilling to “learn”.

To be fair, lets define the word: Learn:
“To gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in (something) by study, experience, or being taught”

Let’s check the boxes; It appears that we’ve acquired knowledge, we’ve studied, we’ve had experience AND that the prior generations HAVE “passed it on”.

Clearly, I’m missing something here. With all of the wars, cruelty, self-destruction and hate around us today, how exactly, have we evolved since the biblical times of Genesis or the days of the Cro-Magnon Man? Maybe if someone would have just written it all down so that we would have a guidebook, or maybe a list of suggestions, say 10 or so, on things we should or shouldn’t do, to get along with each other and then passed it down…

Bottom line. Our ancestors have shown us what has worked and what hasn’t. We live in the shadow of so much history, yet we ignore it’s lessons. Our language is full of clichés and idioms that try to warn us; Once bitten, twice shy, Those that do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it (Santayana), War is Hell, Cruelty is contagious in uncivilized communities (Jacobs) and We as Human beings, have the capacity for extreme cruelty (Nyong’o).

I’m beginning to think that we just exist day-to-day. We are not growing, learning or evolving as a species. Humanity is like a bunch of monkeys trying to drive a car: Their all in turning the wheel and honking the horn, fighting over how to make it go, but none can agree on anything, so they just fight amongst themselves and go absolutely nowhere.

So, please, remind me again, how have we survived this long? Oh, that’s right; pure dumb luck.