When Nothing is Definitive and All of History is Up for Grabs ⋆ Politicrossing
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When Nothing is Definitive and All of History is Up for Grabs

Today, nothing is ever settled and that is a cultural shame

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It’s a sad commentary on our current state of affairs: the Left and the Right agree on next to nothing and, in many respects, have 180 degree opposing views. Nothing seems to be settled, every other issue is under contention, and the rift seems to be worsening each day. No consensus, no agreement, no closure…

I’m not sure when all of this started, but 1963 was certainly a pivotal year. This might have been before you were born, so I’ll take you back to November of that year. President John F. Kennedy was shot. The case was solved 30 years later in 1993 and presented in Case Closed, by Gerald Posner.

Case Closed, Hardly Anyone Knows

In the book Case Closed, Gerald Posner walks the reader through every conceivable detail of the case. He shows conclusively why, acting alone, it was Lee Harvey Oswald who fired the gun. He explains how the “magic bullet” took the angles it was supposed to. Noted historian William Manchester, after reading Posner’s book, said that he couldn’t imagine anyone having any further doubt about the fact that Lee Harvey Oswald, on his own, shot and killed John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

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I read Case Closed cover-to-cover and concur. U.S. News & World Report concluded that Posner’s work was so thorough and so convincing that the magazine would never feature another “who shot JFK?” book review again. What’s more, modern day testing, using the latest technology, and presented on the Learning Channel, the History Channel, and PBS, has consistently supported everything that Posner concluded 21 years earlier. Yet, new mythology and conspiracy theories about who killed John F. Kennedy will be concocted and added to the glut of information you can’t use, information which serves no one.

Currently, the “who shot JFK?” industry currently earns multi-millions of dollars a year, constantly fed by more TV news “investigations,” authors, books, and tours.

Misinformation That Won’t Die

Do not regard the deception surrounding JFK’s death lightly. Society changed as nearly an entire generation suspected that a conspiracy, perhaps a government-led conspiracy, might have brought down the leader of the free world in broad daylight. Who knew what cynicism about the press, government, and truth itself ensued?

Finally, 30 years later, when Posner offered irrefutable evidence about the only single assassin responsible, hardly anyone knew, or worse, actually cared. Even now, a majority of the U.S. population still believed that President Kennedy’s assassination was the result of some type of conspiracy. The case has been long solved, but there is no sense of national closure.

The nature of your life been altered as a result of the cultural incompletion, misinformation, and unreality that has glutted society’s receptors. This situation is more than simply a mystery for the uninformed – it signals the start of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers unwittingly entering the era of incompletions, when nothing is ever settled.

How has that impacted our psyches? Aren’t we supposed to get to the root of such events, especially those that shook a generation, a nation, and the world? What unrecognized psychological scars has the incompletion of the JFK assassination stamped into the cerebrums of an otherwise free-thinking, optimistic generation? When major cases are never closed, everyone suffers, even if in small and undistinguishable ways.

Vital Inquiry to Media-Fueled Lies

Fast forward from 1963, to 15 years later in 1978 and to the death of Elvis Presley in Memphis. Unquestionably, he died as a result of a self-induced pharmaceutical drug overdose, which resulted in heart failure. The coroners’ reports reveal this as do reputable follow-up inquiries and analysis. Still, many people from that era, and many thereafter, think Elvis died as a result of a conspiracy.

Some people believe that Elvis didn’t die, that he’s alive and well (he’d be 86 today) and showing up in random locations captured by the ever-present photographers of the Enquirer, Globe, or Star.

Regardless of what you think about Elvis, his death, even amidst the jokes, and everything that’s been made about it since then, the pervasive message is that no case is ever really solved. Everything lingers on and on and on.

The turmoil in the 2000 presidential election, centered on Florida, with its endless motions filed, court appeals, and legal procedures, has spawned debates, arguments, and accusations that exist to this day and no doubt will linger on for years. No conclusions, no consensus, no closure. Just additional coverage. The 2016 election has Democrats still complaining. The 2020 election might never be “settled.” The media wins, the pundits win, one candidate or another wins, but everyone else loses.

History as Turf Wars

The turf wars fought in our age of incompletions, especially in the political arena, now retroactively extend to anything that has ever happened, whether you’re assessing U.S. history, the formation of our nation, world history, the origins of Islam, or the origins of Christianity.

At one time, it was widely held that dropping the atomic bomb on Japan hastened the end of WWII, saved a bare minimum of 60,000 U.S. troops who would have been needed to fight a ground war in Japan, and provided the world with the closure it so sorely needed after six years of global destruction.

Since then, the arguments about the U.S. being the over-aggressor, the only nation to ever drop an atomic bomb on another, and the inhumanity of it all, have risen to the forefront of many people’s consciousness. Some people drum up scraps of ‘evidence’ that the United States had no need to have dropped the bomb, as if the casualty rate of invading mainland Japan would have been minimal.

Some people say that Japan was near gone (yet even after one atom bomb was dropped, it still did not surrender!), U.S. intentions were racially motivated (although the bomb was originally designed to use on the now-surrendered Germans), the hawks had their way, and so forth.

What had been regarded by many people as closure to the most terrible event that the earth had ever encountered in which 44,500,000 perished, is now the subject of endless debate in some circles. Not that debate isn’t healthy, quite the contrary, especially for an action of such magnitude.

Every Inch Contested

When every inch of political terrain is contested everywhere around the clock, and when all public discourse is subject to interpretation, reinterpretation and revision, and essentially nothing is final, it begins to wear on humanity and notably trickles down to the level of the individual. You, an otherwise confident professional, have reached adulthood in an era and in a culture where incompletion more often than not, is the norm. Nothing is ever settled and that is a cultural shame.

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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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Life

Opportune Times for Self-Renewal

Certain circumstances present themselves as chances to renew your life

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With the last ten weeks of the year often comes reflections on the year that has passed as well as new insights and perspectives. On the professional front, you might encounter career milestones, such as a big pay increase, appointment to a special/high office, or election as an officer in your professional association or group.

You might be interviewed by a national publication, have your biographical information published in a “Who’s Who” type listing. At such times, you might find yourself naturally inclined to entertain self-renewal: a rethinking of who you are, where you are, and where you want to be.

Milestones for the Taking

Non-career-related milestones that encourage self-renewal include an invitation to be on a special committee supporting your town council, a request for your written opinion from your local newspaper about a community issue, or a decision by a literary magazine to publish your poem. Whenever any of these kinds of events occur, given the new situation, you might find it fitting and appropriate to re-examine your life.

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Also evaluate personal milestones in your life. For example, a four-year scholarship could mean that, instead of your son or daughter working the summer before entering college, the whole family can go on an extended vacation.

Before and After a Mate Change

If you’re in a relationship, particularly a long-term one, and it ends, whether your heart is slightly broken or seemingly crushed beyond repair, life moves on. Having your significant other leave you is a difficult change to endure. Even if you initiated the breakup, the loss of a significant other can profoundly impact you.

Many psychologists believe that we need to learn certain lessons, so we attract partners that will help us learn such lessons. Some people believe we are attracted to others who seemingly have what we lack, so in our quest to be complete, we want relationships with these people to complete us.

Whether or not you’ve recently found someone new or you’re in a long-term relationship, you have the opportunity to view your mate in a new light. Perhaps it’s time to talk about how your relationship will be in the coming month, year, or five years.

If you’re in that in-between time, looking for somebody and not sure when and where he or she will appear, then think about what you’re seeking in your next relationship.

Age Milestones

Another useful factor in terms of self-renewal is age. The mere fact that you turn 30 or 40 might be enough of an incentive for you to buckle down and try something new. A birthday ending in zero is a huge event. When you turn 30, 40, 50, or 60, you’ve passed a stage in life you’ll never pass again. It is a great time to clear out the old and bring in the new things in your life.

Age 40 has traditionally been a milestone, as in the expression “life begins at 40.” Age 65 is a traditional retirement age. Age 80, becoming an octogenarian, is, in recent decades, held as a rite of passage. Age 90 is even more exclusive.

Wedding anniversaries are also milestones in your life. Each anniversary represents the opportunity for self-renewal. A 25th anniversary is certainly notable, and every five-year interval after that is admirable. Fiftieth anniversaries are rare, but you may be among the lucky few.

Opportunities Abound

Take the opportunity to renew yourself during passages through your own life cycle. Consider the opportunities for self-renewal before and after moving, when changing a job, or when changing a mate. Also, identify and acknowledge career and personal milestones that you can use to establish new ideas for your life.

Circumstances consistently present themselves as chances to renew your life. It is up to you to take advantage of them.

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Business

The People Who Size You up Instantly

Beware of people who conveniently assess what you need, while missing the boat about their own needs

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I went to a social gathering and, arriving early, few others had arrived. So I took out my notepad and pen, and leisurely started making notes. A lady who saw me, asked what I was writing, which, of course, could be either a friendly way to start a conversation, or intrusive, depending on your point of view. I took it as the former, and shared with her my predisposition to take notes outside of my office where I generate ideas that don’t readily emerge at my desk.

Apparently my explanation was not satisfactory for her. In rapid succession she told me, ‘You need to get a drink. (Actually, I don’t drink.) You should to stop making notes. You ought to relax. (Making notes is relaxing to me.) You need to get a life.’

Paradoxically, I am the author of the books, Breathing Space and Simpler Living, and the audiobook, Get a Life. I also own the registered trademarks for the programs, Relaxing at High Speed and Managing the Pace With Grace. I have delivered 1,060 lectures on these topics for three decades.

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Quick and Wrong

It’s beyond strange when someone at a social gathering, in such short order, will assess what I need to do, with one pronouncement after another. When told that I needed to relax, I said, “If I was any more relaxed, I’d fall asleep.”

I came away from that experience recognizing that people who will readily tell you what you need are the ones who need what they’re telling you. You might have noticed a somewhat similar phenomenon in the workplace.

Suppose you work in a company that is crowded, noisy, and busy almost all the time. However, in your own office or cubicle, whichever the case might be, you’re able to maintain order.

Perhaps you have installed some sound barriers, if that is appropriate, and have crafted a workspace where you can get things done. People who walk by notice that your office equipment, resources, and possessions are organized. Guess what? Some office mates won’t tell you this, but they are uncomfortable with your organizing skills.

If they could find a simple way to articulate it, they would tell you, “Loosen up.” You don’t need to be so neat and orderly.” Why are they itching to tell you this? Because your level of organization makes them feel inadequate.

Be Like Me, I’ll Feel Better

Much like the lady at the social gathering, who told me ‘what I needed,’ some people in your immediate environment, in observing your capacity for taking charge of your space, and perhaps noting your higher-than-average level of productivity, would rather that you acted and proceeded in a different way. You might not hear that from them, but that is some might be thinking.

Beware of those people who so conveniently assess what you need, while completely missing the boat about their own needs. They fail to realize that what they’re telling you, is probably what they need to address for themselves.

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