The Art of Giving

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.Albert Einstein

Do the highest good you know. ~ Unknown 

How can the act of giving something to another be defined—exactly? Could it be: providing a good or service to another without any expectation of return for the “individual, separated self”? It is my opinion that is exactly what it is, but what does that mean? Let me endeavor to explain:

Would giftings with even subtle expectations, also, constitute a form of quid pro quo?

Obviously, if we give something to someone with the expectation of a quid pro quo we are not giving it. We would then be entering a trade or a business deal. But, what constitutes a quid pro quo? Money? a return gift? a favor in return for a favor? I would claim providing something under these conditions does constitute a quid pro quo scenario. That is, “I give you this and you give me that.” Not only would this type of gift would be an offer of a trade, or a type of business deal it could, even, be seen as simply as a bribe because we would have the expectation of something in return for our supposed gift. I think this much should be easy to understand, but what about expectations of a more subtle nature? Would giftings with even subtle expectations, also, constitute a form of quid pro quo? And if not a quid pro quo exactly then, at least, would it not be setting ourselves up for disappointment? Disappointment of the general nature derived from a quid pro quo that is not resolved to our satisfaction.

Burnout costs social justice movements so many valuable members

I think… and, I stand to be corrected, but I think the disappointment caused by such expectations contributes to what is often called activist burnout. Burnout costs social justice movements so many valuable members of our efforts; therefore, allow me to elaborate.

It is having expectations of rewards that I am critiquing.

Please understand that it is not the return of a reward, or the benefit to or for someone, society or the world that I am critiquing. It is having expectations of rewards that I am critiquing because in this expectation we set ourselves up for disappointment. And, disappointment sets us up for failure.

For instance, if we perform a kindness for someone expecting them to say… to say thank you and for whatever reason they fail to respond with even this simple amenity, if we then feel slighted or disappointed would not this constitute a giving with the expectation of something in return, i.e., a quid pro quo of sorts. Would not this then make it less likely that we would happily and freely provide that or a similar service or good to that person again?

I would encourage everyone to return a thank you as often as proper.

Of course, someone might protest that expecting nothing but a simple thank you is small enough a reward for a kindness. I do certainly agree that a mere thank you is, indeed, a very small reward. I would, also, encourage everyone to return a thank you as often as opportunity presents itself for doing so provides many benefits to the who thus returns the thank you as well as to others; however, it remains that, even, the act of expecting someone to say thank you in return for anything is still expecting a reward. Which expectation sets one’s self up for disappointment.

It is our duty to work for the greater good.

The same might be said of expecting a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, or even the expectation that our actions should provide some benefit to society, or the world. This most definitely is not to say we should not attempt to do good. Indeed, it is my firm convection that it is our duty to work for the greater good… the greater good of the community in which we live, of humanity and/or of the entire planet. But we should do so knowing that however small and insignificant our individual efforts may be those efforts will contribute to the greater good through the process of accumulated effect, and that it is this process of accumulated effort that is important not the individual effort. It will be our efforts combined with the efforts of, not only those standing with us today, but those who will follow in our footsteps which will affect the ultimate benefit to all life.

Roger W Mills, II

Please leave your thoughts and comments.

Wealth and Inequality

“The System” (as some call it) has but one purpose. That is maintaining itself while accumulating the greatest wealth it can for those at the very top of that system’s organizations.

To accomplish this purpose it is necessary to suppress the majority of the population in a society. For a society cannot have massive accumulation of wealth in 1%, 2% or even 10% of its population and have an egalitarian society also. Either we can have massive accumulation of wealth in a few hands or we can have an equitable distribution of wealth where the vast majority share in the “blessings” of that society, but… we cannot have both.

For an instance: If we begin with an economy where there had been a relative economic equity (the 1950s and 1960s in the United States of America, for example) there would then be the need to drive a wedge between the middle and the lower echelons of income earners. The poverty stricken would play only a peripheral role in this process.

This wedge driving would have to be accomplished, in part, by driving down the wages of the working class through union busting and offshoring of jobs among other means. This would be done so the lower income earners fall below what is necessary to maintain an independent lifestyle. Some of whom would then need “public assistance.” This “public assistance” would then be presented as a “government handout.” A handout which would increasingly be paid for by the middle class and those few workers still capable of maintaining an independent lifestyle.

This increase in the burden on the middle class would be accomplished in two ways: first by decreasing the contributions made by the working class whose ranks would be diminishing, and much more importantly, by decreasing the tax previously levied on the upper class and their corporations.

This would continually be done in order to justify an apparent need to cut taxes on that middle class. However, such a decrease of taxes would necessarily have be applied to the upper class (out of “fairness”) who would get the lion’s share of the benefit. This, in turn, lessens the sources of income for the government thus forcing it to cut “social safety net” programs. The more the safety net is cut, the more those at the margins would fall ever deeper into poverty. This would serve to increase the burden on the middle class. Thus, an ever increasing vicious cycle of impoverization in a race to the bottom of the economic latter is created.

All the while the productivity of the working class would have been increasing in their efforts to maintain their jobs. This increase in productivity would create ever greater national wealth. Wealth which would not be shared in an equitable fashion with those creating it. Instead this wealth would be accumulating in the hands of those at the very top of the economic strata who control the means of production and distribution. Once concentrated this wealth could not “trickle down” fast enough to equalize the disparity created by this process. The ultra-rich would “be forced” to store their newly acquired wealth in “secret offshore banks accounts” which would serve to hide that wealth from taxes.

Those who are forced to rely on “public assistance” are then presented by the mass media (which is owned by the wealthy) as “too lazy to work,” “shiftless bums” and/or as unworthy in some other way. Thus justifying further cuts in “public assistance” which would then create more funds with which to cut taxes that benefit those at the very top of the economic strata. That is, on those who control the corridors of power which make the requisite policies necessary for this process of wealth accumulation to occur.

In this way those at the highest levels make out “like a bandit” all the while blaming the economic woes of the middle class and the upper level of the working class upon those who are suffering the most.

Roger W Mills II

Gender Confusion and Common Sense

In the Sun Herald, MAY 12, 2016 7:06 PM the following was published online. (I can’t say if it was in the print edition.) By Dr. Jule P. Miller III, Biloxi child psychiatrist. I find his analysis particularly disturbing since he is practicing psychiatry on children and I present it to you for your consideration. After his opinion piece I have framed a potential response.

The recent controversial laws in North Carolina and Mississippi have brought an issue into public debate I never thought would be discussed in my lifetime — whether men dressed as women, who obviously have issues with sexuality, should be able to use women’s bathrooms where there might be unaccompanied little girls.

I continue to be amazed at some of the decisions being made. It is clear there is a misunderstanding around the idea of transgender people. Somehow, people are forgetting that gender identity disorder — the cause of transgender behavior — is an illness.

There is no such thing as a woman being born in a man’s body. We are born male or female. Some people, however, become confused early in childhood and choose to identify with the opposite sex parent. This, if untreated, can lead to gender identity disorder and transgender behavior as an adolescent and adult.

To understand how this happens, it is useful to remember that all children are initially taken care of by women. Consequently, the first person the child identifies with is their mother, whether the child is a boy or girl. Boys have to take the additional step of switching their gender identification to their fathers, which explains why gender identity disorder is more prevalent in boys than girls, and why sexual reassignment surgery is more prevalent in men then women.

As the child’s brain becomes more complex, he or she becomes aware of the differences between men and women and becomes fascinated with their father’s greater size and particular version of power. This helps boys pull away from their mothers and identify with their fathers. It also causes some girls to envy and want to possess what men have.

Every one of us leaves childhood with both male and female identifications. The relative mix determines psychological gender identity. By the age of 5 or 6, the child has formed a set of fantasies that contain gender identification, sexual attraction and their own particular map to finding love as an adult. At the same age, the brain reorganizes, and the events that led up to the particular fantasies the child formed, as well as the fantasies themselves, are lost under a veil of repression and forgetfulness. What remains is a conviction of having “always felt this way.”

Gender identity disorder is very treatable by psychological therapies if the child is 5 or less. It becomes more difficult to treat the older the child is. However, sexuality is more fluid than most people realize, and help is possible all through the lifespan without having to resort to castration and other forms of bodily mutilation. Pretending it is just a normal variation means people who could have been helped will not be and that valuable research will be not attempted.

Could it actually be Dr. Jule P. Miller III is confused himself? The transgendered people I know have no confusion about what gender they are. As to his concern about persons that identify as female in relation to using women’s restrooms with “little girls”: The transgendered persons I know have absolutely no interest in “little girls.” Could this be a bit of projection on the part of the good doctor? Of course I have no way of knowing as I don’t personally know the doctor, but I do know a number of transgendered people (none of whom would do anything to harm any child.)

In relation to “gender identity disorder” being labeled as an illness by a psychiatrist: it was not very many years ago that that profession came to terms with “homosexuality” thus determining it is not an illness.  How many people were tortured by psychiatrists, like the good doctor, before his profession recognized their mistake? How many more will have to suffer because of the narrow mindedness of still other doctors?

In relation to whether humans are born “male or female” period. No exceptions. The following quote by Margaret M. McCarthy, chair of the Department of Pharmacology and a member of the Program in Neuroscience at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, might be of interest.

“[T]he popular and scientific presses make reference to “male” and “female” brains, the brain is in reality not a unitary organ like the liver or the kidney. It is a compilation of multiple independent yet interacting groups of cells that are subject to both external and internal factors. This is abundantly true for hormonal modulation, with many and varied signal transduction pathways invoked. As a result, it is quite literally impossible for the brain to take on a uniform “maleness” or “femaleness.” Instead, the brain is a mix of relative degrees of masculinization in some areas and feminization in others. On average, there are likely to be some areas that are more strongly feminized in a female and others that are more strongly masculinized in a male, but averages are never predictive of an individual’s profile.” The Scientist,, Sex Differences in the Brain, Margaret M. McCarthy-October 1, 2015

Despite the good doctor’s assertion not all children are initially taken care of by women.

There are numerous studies by reputable institutions like Boston University that show such anatomical brain structures like: the interstitial nuclei of the anterior hypothalamus 2 and 3 and the anterior commisure which have sizes relative to sexuality which strongly correlate to whether a person is straight or gay. Perhaps the good doctor is merely unfamiliar with such studies? But I would hope not since he seems to be treating children for “sexual identity disorders.”

Once again, I can’t offer this as a reply to the good doctor because I have already been published this month and I have an article prepared for submission ready for next month already. Thus if anyone would like to use this as a template or wholly copy it and submit it to the editorial department of the Sun Herald of the Mississippi Gulf Coast you have my full blessings and encouragement.

Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

Don’t forget the history of Mississippi’s flag

Reply to: “Don’t forget the history of Mississippi’s flag” published Sunday May 1, 2016 Sun Herald, Gulfport, Mississippi.

While I am in full agreement with Mr. Valentino that the History of Mississippi’s Flag nor any historical event, symbol, etc. should never be forgotten, I would like to offer a few corrections to his comments. For “Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are destined to repeat those lessons.”

His sentence structure implies the Magnolia Flag was a Confederate emblem. It was the Mississippi State Flag before the formation and after the dissolution of the Confederacy.

He states there were but 7 Confederate States implying the 13 stars couldn’t represent the Confederacy. However, there were 13 Confederate States. Eleven seceded without descent; two (Kentucky and Missouri) formed “provisional governments.”

While I am not prepared to address the claim that the Confederate emblem was used  by various troops during WW 2, I will quote the flag’s designer, William Thompson:

“[W]e are fighting to maintain the heavenly ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race,” and that “it would soon take rank among the proudest ensigns of the nations, and be hailed by the civilized world as THE WHITE MAN’S FLAG.” (emphasis his)

As to giving “a piece of our history to the KKK, motorcycle gangs, etc,” they appropriated that history long decades ago, thus we cannot prevent that misappropriation of “our” history. The only way to regain our history and our heritage is to deny “them” the pleasure of seeing their “chosen” emblem used as the official representation of our great state.

Roger W Mills II

Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

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