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There are twice as many people alive today as there were in 1960.

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The Facts of Life: 5 Things to do Right Now

Facts-of-Life

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have… The Facts of Life.  These didn’t come from Mrs. Garrett per se, but she would probably agree:

1)  Don’t be racist.  It illustrates immaturity, ignorance and a lack of progression.  We are all human beings.  Period.  We all have our own stories, our own fears, our own need to be loved.  It’s that simple.  You are no better or worse than any other human being born in any other country or from any other nationality.  We are all struggling (internally, externally or both) to survive in this world and it’s hard enough without hating each other because we all weren’t born on the same continent or don’t share the same skin shade.  The universe is a big place.  You don’t own it and cannot dictate who is allowed to live in it.  Racism is a learned tragic flaw.  Get over it quickly and see your life improve. (http://www.racismreview.com/blog/2009/04/16/racism-harmful-to-healt/)

2)  Stop blaming everyone else.  You and you alone are responsible for every single choice you make in your life.  You will always run into obstacles, events, and people who may shape your decisions but it is up to you to take each and every step.  How you were raised certainly plays a part in your disposition but you ultimately make the calls.  Life will throw curve balls out the ying-yang but it’s up to you to take them in stride and knock them out of the park.  Or at least a bunt.  Always worry about how you feel and what you can do to rectify or improve the current situation.  Even if someone else is to blame for something specific, it is you who can get yourself back on track.  You can’t depend on anyone else in this life when it all comes down to it.  We all feel like someone is out to get us once in a while.  But if you look hard enough you will find out that the person is almost always you.  (http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/the-power-of-making-decisions/)

3)  Put the cell phone down.  Even if you’re reading this on it.  OK, after you read this.  Chances are if you are like most people around you, you certainly aren’t speaking on it very much.  The more your communication revolves around your fingers on an electronic device instead of your voice with a living being, the more removed you are becoming from society and the real world that’s spinning around you.  Almost everyone we know would rather text than hear our voices- and don’t even think about actually meeting all of those friends to spend quality time together.  The constant textual relationships have silently alleviated our past need for live personal interaction.  Soon, our children won’t know how to hold real conversations and important things like job interviews and dating will be next to impossible.  We have reached a social epidemic.  It’s not conjecture.  It’s frightening.  These days, social interaction is a commodity, even in public places like restaurants and bars.  People make and break plans; start and end relationships; and plan their entire social calendar with two thumbs.  Want proof you might have lost touch with humanity?  When’s the last time you called all of your close friends and family to wish them a happy birthday?  Not to mention that the extensive use of “smartphones” with constant WiFi turned on leads to excessive radiation exposure and can cause tumors in the brain, head, neck, and wherever you store the phone on your body.  No game of candy crush or text war with your ex’s next victim is worth several rounds of chemotherapy.  70% of us also have digital eye strain from overuse which leads to blurry vision, headaches, and neck, back and shoulder pain.  If continued, this could lead to loss of vision much earlier in life than anticipated with old age as well as permanent posture damage.  Put.  The.  Phone.  Down.  (http://www.medicaldaily.com/5-reasons-why-cellphones-are-bad-your-health-247624)

4)  Curb Your Facebook Addiction.  Studies show that people who spend more time on Facebook have less regard for their own lives and, whether they know/believe it or not, end up depressed and socially awkward.  What we started enjoying as just a cool way to stay in touch with long lost friends or specific groups  has become the main source of communication for millions of people- including close friends who have no business completely supplanting phone calls and hanging out for pointless back and forth Lucida Grande banter.  Limit your Facebook obsession to one hour a day.  Or, if you’re really daring, don’t sign on for two entire days in a row.  Trust us, the world will not end.  The statuses will all be there for you to look at and catch up on.  As a matter of fact, you will have lots of exciting stuff to see by that point.  Want proof you might be addicted?  When’s the last time you called all of your close friends and family to wish them a happy birthday?  (http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21583593-using-social-network-seems-make-people-more-miserable-get-life)

And if you are scrolling through your Facebook page (or texting) WHILE YOU’RE DRIVING, then you should commit yourself.  You are clearly insane if you think the dangerous steel, glass, and rubber death machine you are operating will keep you safe while you look down long enough to comprehend full status sentences.  People just like you die or kill people doing both of those things on a regular basis. Of course, you aren’t really insane. But what you are is desensitized to a solid fact you have known since your teenage years: driving distracted is beyond hazardous.

5)  Unlock your love.  No matter who you are or where you came from the most important thing you will ever feel, need and want is love.  We all want it.  We all fiend for it.  We all feel less without it.  Some will deny it.  But that doesn’t change it.  Whether it’s from a dog or their mothers, even the most sadistic murderer is capable of wanting and needing love.  In fact, many say that love is the meaning of life.  Universal love for yourself and your neighbor.  Imagine, for a second, if we did all feel it- as preposterous as it sounds.  No war, no crime, no hatred, no abuse, no segregation.  There would still be pain and sadness and hardships in the world.  But what a Utopia it would be if we no longer had to worry about being hurt by our fellow man.  Life is too damn short for petty drama.  This ideology only sounds farfetched because we are so far removed from it- certainly not because it’s not humanly possible.  “Well, if everyone won’t do it, why should I?”  Because it always starts with one person:  you.  You can’t worry about everyone else.  But you can pass this along and maybe someone else will join you.

What is Truth?

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Sigh.  This should be easy, shouldn’t it?  The word has a definition.  An absolute one, as a matter of fact.  Dictionary.com states it is an actual state of matter; conformity with fact or reality;  a verified or indisputable fact.  We assume that to mean that when we or someone else speak the truth, there simply is no further explanation necessary.  It is the final answer.  But how often do we hear it?  How often do we say it?

In the Internet age that we are drowning in, the truth is a commodity.  The more information available to us, the more we cannot trust what is before our eyes.  Don’t think the irony is lost on us.  Many things written here will have dissenters simply because their truth doesn’t accept what they have read.  And therein lies the problem.  Perception.  Perception kills personal truth.  But it cannot change reality.  Reality is truth, as in what actually happened.  But when someone says that they are telling you the truth- and they truly believe that they are- then if what they are saying didn’t actually occur, they are not telling you the truth.  They are telling you their truth.  It’s a misuse of the word based on that person’s perception.  Are they lying?  Well, technically yes.  But only because their recounting of the issue at hand is inaccurate.  If they believe that it is accurate, though, then they only believe it to be the truth.  They cannot make it so.  So therefore their belief indicates that they aren’t lying to you at all.  They just simply don’t know the truth.  Ouch.

Why is this so important?  Because we are raised to believe things that we are told from birth as our parents and the people around us teach us the elements of life.  We legitimately think that everything we hear is true… pretty much until we find out that Santa, the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny were all big fat lies.  Then our worlds come crumbling down.  Much like the film “The Invention of Lying,” once we are taught to fib (that it’s OK since Mom and Dad do it) suddenly that ball never stops rolling.  In fact, for some, it’s a snowball going downhill.  It just keeps expanding.  Too many times people say they are telling you the truth but know that they are not.  They find it easy to lie in this situation and so they do it with fervor.  And then, when you know that they are lying because you can see it on their faces, they actually have the nerve to get mad at your for not believing their lies.  Suddenly, the script is flipped and you are the bad guy- always a sign that Pinocchio’s nose is a growin.’ When someone is truly being honest, with you and themselves, then the truth should build proper confidence.  Sometimes, the person lies so hard and so deeply that they even begin to believe it themselves.  That’s when the fun really begins.

Despite this rampant lying we have all been immersed in, once the pain of the Guardians of the Galaxy hoax wears off, we go right on believing everything again.  If children are raised to believe certain things about religion, politics or prejudice then they cherish it as absolute and will argue it to the death.  Since our psyche and the mental maps for our future persona is fully formed by 10 years old, then that could be why it is so difficult to change someone’s mind the older they get.  Life experience, research (hopefully but not usually) and the opinions of others will definitely have an effect on our beliefs and may even change them.  But no matter how much we go back and forth on any ol’ issue, nothing can change the truth.  It is up to us to discover what that actually is.

History is His Story

History

We hate to say it.  But that stuff you learned in school… you know, “history”…  turns out it’s not all as historical as one might imagine.  The problem with recounting something that we weren’t there to see and experience is that humans have an innate habit to put a spin on it to fit our needs.  Much like the game of telephone, details change the more ear canals it passes through and the more years that go by.  People need heroes, not truth- or so history writers would assume.

Paul Revere’s midnight ride was greatly distorted for a simple poem- and then became solid “fact” in history books throughout our nation.  Rosa Parks was not the first black woman to stand up for her rights and refuse to give up her 11th row seat (not front) to sit in the back of the bus.  Claudette Colvin was.  But because Claudette was 15 and pregnant out of wedlock, the NAACP thought she was a bad example.  They wanted someone more honorable- someone like their secretary- one Mrs. Rosa Parks.  Thanksgiving has been “recreated” in elementary schools for decades honoring the Pilgrims and their settlement in the New World.  But the horrific truth about that time in our history is so savage and devastating, that there truly is nothing to celebrate or feast over.  It is quite preferable that the holiday has become more about family, food, and fun than remembrance.  That goes for Christmas, too.  December 25 was never meant to celebrate Jesus’ birthday.  Unless Jesus is the only person to celebrate his birthday around the six month mark.  Jesus was born in the Summer.  December 25 was originally a Pagan holiday and the Catholics of the time just couldn’t allow it so they created a holiday on the same day so their religious agenda could supersede that of the Pagans.  It is also quite preferable that now Christmas marks a time to treasure your loved ones, gather with friends and family and celebrate life after a crazy year.

From how we got here to who is really responsible for most of the things we believe, man has been retooling the truth since pen could hit paper.  If you don’t believe it, try googling (or bing-ing) any subject you can think of.  If you can’t find opposing opinions on something you consider fact, then you aren’t looking very hard.  One glance at your Facebook page will illustrate how quickly someone’s panicked post of knowledge will be “snoped” (www.snopes.com) right out of the water.  The saying used to be “believe half of what you read and none of what you hear.”  We would say that that 50% is more like 12% now.  This list goes on and on.  Feel free to spend some time researching our past.  You might be shocked what you find.