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Freedom Requires Responsibility

“Don’t engage in behavior that, if everyone else was to do it, would destroy the world”

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When I was growing up, my mother gave me advice about proceeding in this life. She said, “Don’t engage in behavior that, if everyone else was to do it, would destroy the world.” I knew then what it meant on one level; today, the advice seems profound.

Junk Adds Up

If you allow junk cars and other debris to haphazardly accumulate on your front lawn, and everyone else follows, how long will it be before your town, and everyone’s town in the entire world, becomes one big junkyard?

If you smoke while you drive and then throw the butts onto the street, and all other drivers do the same, how long will it be before the streets are dingy and dirty, or so littered that they disgust motorists?

Trending on PolitiCrossing.com: Red Herring Argument: The KKK Agrees With You

My mother’s advice, applied today, tells us that while individual freedoms are worth cherishing and enjoying, they also require our responsibility. We can’t all be free to do exactly what we want all the time, even if the law allows it. We certainly can’t all engage in behavior that damages the environment or diminishes other people’s rights.

Individual vs Societal Benefit

Misguided groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union seemingly were founded on a noble purpose – to preserve the rights of the individual. What happens when granting rights to individual contributes to the erosion of society? It is a tough question for anyone to answer. The ACLU certainly has no answer.

In the name of 1st Amendment free speech and individual rights, the ACLU and leftists defend individuals and groups who care little about the 1st Amendment, the Constitution, or other citizens. Such groups keep pushing the envelope of crassness and vulgarity for publicity and profit.

What if everyone started to sport tattoos on their arms, backs, and shoulders, or wears nose rings, eyebrow rings, and nipple rings? Such behavior doesn’t clog our roadways, and such actions are a matter of individual choice, so what harm does it cause to society?

Does Safety Matter?

Aside from the health aspects of body piercings (and the data indicates a large percentage of participants experience serious infection and hepatitis) they pose safety problems to both the individual indulging in the behavior and to others around them.

As a society, do we accept visitors to hospital emergency rooms on Saturday nights whose body piercings have resulted in serious health conditions? Do body piercers have any idea about the longitudinal effects of such behavior on their health, not to mention longevity?

My mother’s simple admonition – what if everybody did it? – needs to be passed on to far more people so that those who might otherwise engage in questionable behavior become more aware of their impact on those around them and society overall.

Expanding the Notion

The legions of child-like adults who keep burdening and straining our law enforcement system and appearing before judges don’t understand (and apparently don’t care) how they thwart the overall progress of society. They levy a continual tax on our public institutions and impede the rest of society from moving forward.

If you vegetate each evening watching television instead of being out in your community cleaning it up, and everyone does the same, how will your community change?

If you spend hours each week focusing on the lives of people you don’t know and aren’t likely to meet, i.e. celebrities, and end up relegating their lives to a higher status than that of family, relatives, neighbors, and friends, why expect your own life and relationships to be vibrant and rewarding?

Your Choices Impact Everyone

If you eat whatever you want, avoid exercising, and do not manage your own weight,  you’re gambling on genetics. Maybe you will live a long, disease-free life. What are the ramifications, however, if everyone in society decides to emulate you?

What you do in your own life is largely your business and should be. If most people in society copied you though, how would they fare? If the answer is “not well,” maybe assess what you do and why.

Our behavior impacts those around us, particularly children. If we want the world to be a better place, as Theodore Roosevelt said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Business

Culture Jamming, by Kalle Lasn

America has been subverted by corporate agendas and its elected officials bow before corporate power as a condition of their survival in office

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Here are excerpts from the culture-shaking book, Culture Jamming by Kalle Lasn, published by  William Morrow in 1999, which rings truer now than ever!

A Multitrillion-dollar Brand

America is no longer a country. It’s a multitrillion-dollar brand…. essentially no different from McDonald’s, Marlboro or General Motors. It’s an image “sold” not only to the citizens of the U.S., but to consumers worldwide. The American brand is associated with catch-words such as “democracy;’ “opportunity” and “freedom.” But like cigarettes that are sold as symbols of vitality and youthful rebellion, the American reality is very different from its brand image.

America has been subverted by corporate agendas. Its elected officials bow before corporate power as a condition of their survival in office. A collective sense of powerlessness and disillusionment has set in. A deeply felt sense of betrayal is brewing.

Trending on PolitiCrossing.com: Red Herring Argument: The KKK Agrees With You

By The People?

American culture is no longer created by the people. Our stories, once passed from one generation to the next by parents, neighbors and teachers, are now told by corporations with “something to sell as well as to tell.” Brands, products, fashions, celebrities, entertainments, the very spectacles that surround the production of culture, are now our culture.

Our role is mostly to listen and watch-and then, based on what we have heard and seen, to buy.

A free, authentic life is not possible in America today. We are being manipulated in the most insidious way. Our emotions, personalities and core values are under siege from media and cultural forces too complex to decode. A continuous product message has woven itself into the very fabric of our existence.

Most North Americans now live designer lives: sleep, eat, sit in car, work, shop, watch TV, sleep again. I doubt there’s more than a handful of free, spontaneous minutes anywhere in that cycle.

Smile Button Culture

The human spirit of prideful contrariness and fierce independence has been oddly tamed. We have evolved into a smile-button culture. We wear the trendiest fashions, drive the best cars industry can produce and project an image of incredible aff1uence-cool people living life to the hilt.

Behind that happy mask is a face so ugly it invariably shocks the hell out of my friends from developing countries who come to visit, expecting the giddy Americana depicted on TV and finding instead a horror show of disconnection and anomie.

Our mass media dispense a kind of Huxleyan “soma.” The most powerful narcotic in the world is the promise of belonging. And belonging is best achieved by conforming to the prescriptions of America™. In this way a perverted sense of cool takes hold of the imaginations of our children. And thus a heavily manipulative corporate ethos drives our culture.

The Facade of Cool

Cool is indispensable, and readily, endlessly dispensed. You can get it on every corner (for the right price), though it’s highly addictive and its effects are short-lived. If you’re here for cool today, you’ll almost certainly be back for more tomorrow.

American cool is a global pandemic. Communities, traditions, cultural heritages, sovereignty, whole histories are being replaced by a barren American monoculture.

Living in Japan during its period of sharpest transition to a western way of life, I was astonished by the speed and force with which the American brand took hold. I saw a culture with thousands of years of tradition behind it vanquished in two generations. Suddenly, high school girls were selling themselves after class for $150 a trick so they’d have cash to buy American jeans and handbags.

The Earth cannot support the lifestyle of the cool hunting American-style consumer. We have sought, bought, spewed and devoured too much, too fast, too brazenly, and now we’re about to pay.

Killing the Planet

Economic “progress” is killing the planet. This did not fully hit home for me until nightmarish environmental stories suddenly appeared on the news: acid rain, dying seals in the North Sea, medical waste washing up on New York beaches, garbage barges turned away from port after port, and the discovery that the milk in American mothers’ breasts had four times the amount of DDT permitted in cow’s milk.

To people like me, for whom time had always seemed like a constant, eternally moving train which people got on and, seventy years later, got off, it was the end of innocence. The premonition of ecocide — planetary death — became real and it terrified me. It still does.

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Life

Less Stress, Starting Now

As technological wonders increasingly dominate our lives, it becomes harder to concentrate

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The news each day is bad enough. As the Internet, mobile devices, and many other technological wonders increasingly dominate our lives, it becomes harder to concentrate on any single idea, item, or issue.

Understandably, people everywhere find themselves being besieged by competing demands for their time and attention, practically commanding them to practice multitasking. “Answer the phone.” “Click here.” “Push here.” “Open me.” “Complete our survey.” “Switch me on.” “Do it all at once!”

Equally unfortunate, multitasking is often promoted as a way for us to meet the complex demands of modern society — and accomplish more in the same amount of time. Have you ever attempted to work on two things at once? You don’t accomplish much, and time mysteriously disappears.

Trending on PolitiCrossing.com: Red Herring Argument: The KKK Agrees With You

Juggling Tasks is not Pretty

If your like most people, you often find yourself perpetually attempting to do many things at once: continue reviewing a client’s records, handle email, be ready for an important phone call, etc. Yet, attempting to do many things simultaneously can actually have the opposite effect; it makes you less efficient and contributes to stress.

No matter what analogies or metaphors you might have heard, a human being is not a computer. Computers can multitask with ease; the Windows operating system, for example, is capable of running any number of programs without sacrificing accuracy or peace of mind.

While there are some low level tasks here and there in which you can multitask, such as eating and watching television, for you and me, multitasking is an idea whose time should never have come.

Potentially Dangerous

The primary cost of multitasking is, ironically, exactly what you are often desperate to save: time. Multitasking is not only ineffective, it’s also potentially dangerous. On the highway, concentrating on a phone call inevitably detracts from a driver’s ability to focus on the road, putting them at dire risk of injury.

Several studies have found that cell phone use while driving leads to an increased risk of automobile accidents.

Back in the office, how can handle your daily tasks without becoming so stressed or frustrated that you cannot finish any of them? The short answer: less is more. Science has shown that your brain works best when it gives sharp attention in one direction. There is no greater efficiency than focusing on the task at hand and giving it your full concentration.

When an airline flight is canceled and people rush to the reservation desk and scramble to catch the next plane or some other connection, does the gate agent attempt to take on five or 10 people at a time? No.

He or she looks at the computer and handles a particular customer’s rerouting, looking up only sparingly. The attendant is not fazed by a 20-person line because it is practical to proceed through it one customer at a time.

Seek Completions

Suppose you are continually interrupted by the phone whenever you try to work at your PC. You cannot do your best work because when the phone rings you lose your concentration and focus. How can you handle that situation so that both jobs get the best of your attention? The key is a process called “mental completion.”

When the phone rings while you are working on your computer, silently recognize yourself by thinking, “I acknowledge myself for coming this far on this project.” Then save the work on your screen and turn to the phone.

Give the caller your complete and undivided attention; take notes, even smile into the phone. Do whatever you need to do in order to be successful on that phone call. At the end of the call, put the phone down, acknowledge yourself for handling it, and turn back to your earlier task.

The process of giving yourself a mental completion on all tasks, or even thoughts, sets up a mental partition. You gain more energy, more focus, and more direction for your next task. Both your productivity and your peace of mind will improve. And that is worth experiencing.

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