Monday, November 26, 2012

Perspectives On Homelessness Often Clash

That is something I have witnessed over the years.   People working in the homelessness industry often hold conflicting ideas and beliefs about homelessness, its causes and solutions.   I recall attending a presentation by the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) here in Nashville.   One would assume that every homeless service provider would attend such a meeting, but not all of them in the Nashville area were represented.  But even more striking is that some people left in the middle of the presentation because they personally did not agree with some of the statements made by the NCH.   It seems odd to me as well, that they choose to just leave instead of discussing their differences.

As I've said before, nearly all homeless service providers, either individuals, or organizations, approach homelessness with preconceived ideas about homelessness, and homeless people.   So, when they interact with the homeless, they tend to gravitate towards those homeless people who seem to validate those preconceived ideas, and either reject, or ignore, those homeless who do not.   Additionally, their preconceived ideas often act as filters, preventing the homeless service providers from seeing the homeless people people for who they truly are, and because of this, they fail to recognize the real needs of the homeless, leaving the homeless without access to the very things that could cure them of their homelessness.   Though this is most obviously true of religion based homeless services, all homeless services organizations are guilty of this.

After some time of working with the homeless, it is often the case that a homeless service provider will believe themselves an expert in the field.  Certainly they have had many experiences with the homeless, some of these experiences may have even been what people would consider successful, as a portion of the homeless people they have interacted with have indeed overcome their homelessness.  The idea that they have become experts in the field will often be reinforced by  people outside of the homelessness industry who applaud the work of the service providers, though they don't really know what or why they are applauding.  Mostly they want to provide encouragement for people doing something that they would never attempt to do themselves.

The one thing I wish for all homeless service providers to understand is that regardless of how many homeless people they encounter in their daily work, there are still many more homeless people whom they will never encounter, whom will never cross the threshold of their organizations front door, and because off this they will never truly obtain a full understanding, or have a complete perspective, of homelessness.   And because of this, the ideas that they hold to, they believe in, and guild them in their work with the homeless, will always be incomplete.   They will always have more to learn.  I just hope that they will keep themselves open to learning more.

Friday, November 9, 2012


It seems that everything that people do is determined by how they feel about this one concept, "compassion."   If you value compassion, or not, you actions will reflect as much.   Value compassion and you'll be doing a lot of things for others, if you don't, then you'll be more selfish.

Just know that compassion is the thing that makes humans social, and sociable.   Know also that the big corporations and other power entities believe that compassion hinders their ability to make profits.   It is because of this idea that they attempt (rather successfully) to influence our society, our culture, so to reduce as much compassion from our actions as possible.   Compassion reduces stress, relieves depression, balances our economy, brings peace to troubled lands and and generally makes people happy.   And isn't that worth supporting?   Isn't it worth making compassion a priority?

Can I End It All?

Still, there are other things I want and need to be doing with my life, but I am spending the majority of my time on the internet.   Thing is, the internet is no longer a real necessity for me.   I could, with the right amount of will power, live my life without ever getting back on line again.   Now, I could see that if I was drawing a real income from the internet, I would need to be online.   But that just isn't happening.  Sure I get occasional donations on my paypal account, but life requires much more.    If I was spending my internet time out selling the homeless paper instead, i would be doing much better.    In the beginning, I had nothing better to do than be online,  then when I started blogging I had a real purpose for spending my entire day on the computer.    But I've said just about everything I have wanted to say, on the blog.  And the vast majority of visits to the blog are to posts I made years ago.   The blog doesn't need me anymore.  It runs at about 250 visits a day, whether I post anything new on it or not.  And none of those readers are sending donations, so to make my time online worth it.  And there are other distractions on the internet besides the blog.   I had really hoped that somehow or another I'd be able to find a way  to make a living on the internet, but nothing has really panned out.  Sure, I have gained a lot from my activities on the internet - I'm certainly a much better person today, in many ways, all for my efforts online.   But I've come to the end of all that the internet can do for me.    It really is time to move on, and to do things with my life outside of this keyboard and screen.    Here's the biggest problem, though.   I once read that anything a person does for 21 straight days can become a habit.   Well, I've been doing the internet for 21 straight years.   I am very addicted to the internet.   Already, I have attempted (several times) and failed miserably, to end my facebook account.   It would certainly help if I didn't have this laptop - it is too convenient.  I doubt if I'd be able to get anything for it, if I tried to sell it.   Should I just throw it in the trash?   it would help some if I did.  More than likely, though, I'd just spend more time going to the library to use their public assess computers.   I don't know what I'm going to do.  I need to do something.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The War On Lazy

I know that many people will scoff at what I say next, but there's a good chance the same people believe bigfoot is real, the moon walk was faked, or that President Obama is a socialist.

The truth is, there is no such thing as "lazy."

"Lazy" has become the label for a certain behavior, a behavior that has potentially negative consequences, and so, in an exercise of peer pressure, people have given that behavior a negative moniker - albeit an attempt to discourage people from being "lazy."    It is said in much the same way as labeling people who commit suicide as cowards.  With hopes that people within ear shot will not want to be negatively labeled "coward" upon their death, they believe they can discourage others from committing suicide.    (It is a fact that suicide can be socially contagious.)

Here is the point I want to really get across: healthy people are naturally energetic people.  They possess a genuine desire to be active, to do things, to be social and interact with others.   When people are not behaving in this manner it is either because they are physically exhausted, or they are suffering from some type of mental health depression.

For most people, physical exhaustion and depression are short lived events, leading people to believe that the action they've taken to overcome their laziness actually cured them.   For the physically exhausted it only takes a bit of rest and a good meal to overcome their feelings of laziness.  For those suffering from depression, time is the only true cure, but during that time they go through certain mental exercises where they believe they are working to choose happiness over depression.   In a couple days, the depression naturally subsides, although they give all the credit to their choosing to feel better.

For those whose depression or lethargy lingers, instead of looking for a more exact cause, people will often tell them that they are just not trying hard enough.   Thus on top of the negative label of lazy comes the additional guilt labels,  possessing a lack of proper character, or worse, possessing the sin of slothfulness.

It really is time to change how we view things and approach cures to what ails us humans.   Put the mythology and superstitions on the shelf and embrace science.   It is time to delve deeper into the cause and effect of human behavior, and stop judging others from a distance.

For many homeless people the misunderstanding of others weighs heavily upon them,  it is yet another anchor holding them down, holding them back from living a better life.

There are books written on the subject. Try The Myth of Laziness, by Dr Mel Levine.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I Am Concerned

Fox News, for more  than a decade, has engaged in a very overt program of lies and manipulation of the truth, all for the sake of the advancement of the Republican Party.   They even admit as much themselves, when they argued, sucessfully, in court that they have the right to lie.   A search of the internet will bring up countless documentation to prove the willful deceit practiced by Fox News.   Still, a great many people watch the Fox News shows, and agree with and believe the things Fox News tells them.

The Republican party, seeing how successful Fox News has been with implementing this program of lies upon lies, that they too, now engage in the same practice.    The Republican candidate for president has made willful lying the cornerstone of his campaign strategy.   When caught in one lie, he answers with yet another lie.  The amount of deception, and manipulation of the truth, coming from his campaign, and his own lips, requires a full time staff to debunk every thing they say, and to set the record straight.

Certainly, lying and deception have been a part of politics, but never before has it been this overt, this grotesque, this extreme.   Usually, though, when a politician engages in such deceit, he pays a dear price for it.   his/her followers will abandon them in droves.   But that's not happening this time.   Something has changed with the American people, and I am concerned.    Hell, I'm more than concerned, I'm frightened.

Nearly half the entire country is supporting Romney, and with their support are condoning his practice of deceit.   The truth no longer matters to them, so long as their side wins the election.   This sacrifice of their ethical and moral standing is going to have ramifications.   The soul of our country is being polluted, and will be damaged beyond repair if it continues it's current course.

Given the current state of the union,  and given how long it will take to repair what damage has already been done, I will not live long enough to see the US return to the more healthy respectable condition it was in during my youth.   No, the country was never perfect, but it has never before been this far gone.

As the old saying goes, 'the love of money is the root of all evil'.   Those with money are so infected with greed that they can no longer see, or perhaps they just no longer care, about the damage their 'love of money', is doing to our country.    The problem being so wide spread that there is no longer anyone in a position to do something about it, who is willing to step forward and being a halt to it.

It has been said many times before, and I will say it here, now - Despite the many enemies that the US has faced, the destruction of our country is not coming from without, but from within.  We will destroy ourselves before anyone else can.

It didn't have to be this way.   But it's happening non-the-less.