Snippets of Happiness

I am Psychopacetic: "a little unhinged, but okay with it."

A resident in a healthcare facility:
"My maiden name started with an M. My married name an S. I went from BM to BS."

"There is an oily crustiness on the underside of everything."

At a bus stop:
"It's colder today than I thought it would be. Most days I complain about the hot flashes. Today I welcome them."

I believe, in some way, each one of us is a little unhinged. I believe psychopacetic is a good place to go with it.

On a city bus:
"I'm there and I'm not there... ...That's what drives you crazy."

"Does this hair-net make my butt look big?"

A brief exchange with a homeless man, downtown:
"How are you?"
"Good. I haven't hurt anybody today."

Some weeks I overthink.
This week I have a cold.
The End.

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Stupider Happiness

When a goon is in a Pure-White House
And stupider maligns and mars
Caprice divides the planet
And love will fear the wars
This is the spawning of the age of Precarious
Age of Precarious

Potpourri of poor withstanding
Symphony of wealth confounding
No more truth just scorned divisions
Emboldened living screams/collisions
Sadistic pistol-whipped elation
Unrefined coarse exclamation

When a goon is in a Pure-White House
And stupider maligns and mars
Caprice divides the planet
And love will fear the wars
This is the spawning of the age of Precarious
Age of Precarious

Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in
The sun, shine in...

I believe the truth to be that Life has always been and will always be precarious. This is not a new age. But of late, it feels like we are moving toward more so and away from less so. And (I have to keep reminding myself that) this "of late" I speak of is a mere hiccup in the entirety of humankind. We sometimes need a step backward to point the way forward.

Nonetheless, it is annoying; and precarious.

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Disheartened Happiness

In the jurisdictional world at large, there is a difference between legal and ethical. In the business / employer / employee / customer world at large, there is a difference between justifiable and just.

In many places it is not legal for a drinking establishment to water down alcoholic beverages. In all places, it is not ethical. But what about changing recipes? Is it legal if a restaurant / bar had used a standard pour of 2 ounces for all drinks in their first two years of operation, and then changed all recipes to a 1.5 ounce pour? In many places, changing recipes is legal. It is also potentially (easily) justifiable on the basis of greater profits, competition (especially if other nearby establishments use a 1.5 ounce pour), or safety and liability. Ethical? An obtuse perspective might defend the ethicality based on the safety and well-being of patrons and (upon the drinker leaving the establishment) other drivers and passengers. But unless the business makes every customer aware of their change, I believe most would agree that the new process is deceitful and thus, unjust.

This week I am examining these opposing positions as they relate to some perceived injustice in my workplace. Specifically, (yet still figuratively), because of an increase in customers, and because management has refused to commit the resources necessary for a matching increase in beverage inventory, I am being forced to water down the drinks. In this case, my workplace is an institution of higher learning. The customers are candidates applying to a Master of Physician Assistant Studies program. The necessary resource is (approximately) $25,000 to $40,000 per year to allow for a full time (instead of the current part time) position. The beverage is an in-depth analysis of each individual application, focusing on quality. And the water is a superficial, cursory look at each application that is focused on quantity. We are still looking at each application, and there are still some quality in the form of a new consistency within our process, but (continuing the analogy) I believe our previous pour was closer to 3 ounces, now reduced to the 1.5 ounce industry standard.

This change in recipes is justifiable because we are (for the moment) keeping that hugely significant $25,000 on the bottom line, and also because (we believe) our competitors are utilizing very similar recipes to our new recipe. (For the moment) it is also legal because a court of law has not told us otherwise. I cannot see any argument that makes this change ethical or just. We are not making our customers aware of the change, and I am confident we do not intend to communicate this change to the Higher Learning Commission which is due in the Spring for an accreditation visit. 

For the record, (from where I sit), this decision to change process mid-cycle did not come from within the PA program, but from the Ivory Tower across the street.

This application cycle began April 27, 2017 and applications were accepted through December 1, 2017. I began a verbal dialogue in June advocating for more resources, based on the projected increase in applications, (i.e. Customers). I supplemented this verbal campaign with a cost-benefit analysis, a self-evaluation substantiating value, and a number of emails including one (in particular) heartfelt communication literally begging for reconsideration. I believe that the Department Chair, (my immediate supervisor), presented the arguments and supporting documentation to the ultimate decision-makers; (I know the aforementioned email was copied to a vice-president). Yet no one from outside the PA Department felt this process relevant enough to visit and ask questions for a better understanding. It appears, (again, from where I sit), that this decision was based solely on the bottom line; which I believe is excessively short-sighted.

On November 22nd I received an offer for a different part time position. On November 27th I informed my supervisor of my intentions. He asked for a couple of days to explore (once again) the question of full time. On November 30th my supervisor informed me that full time would not be an option at this time. He also asked that I send a letter of resignation, to include a definitive final day of employment, to him, copying the dean and the vice-president; (I am uncertain who initiated this request).

As previously stated, in this moment, (and in my ignorance of such matters), I know of nothing illegal that has transpired, and I understand (though I ABSOLUTELY do not agree with) the justification. Yet I most definitely feel wronged. And the worst part is that as a $10 per hour, part time employee, I can see what my (theoretical) superiors either cannot see, or refuse to see. I can see that though I am disappointed and disheartened, my personal feelings are secondary to the injustice served upon those 374 unknowing applicants who trusted us to do the right thing.

I want to believe that I do not write this vindictively, and I can say with confidence that I mean no harm to those who care as I do. But I am a human impacting other humans, and like it or not, some feelings may be hurt and some animosity may result. Regardless, I am compelled to write this as a part of my reasoned struggle to move forward; in this instance by holding heedless power accountable. Sadly though, I believe, (as is more often the case), power will likely continue to act heedlessly, thoughtlessly, and with apparent disdain for those perceived as less than equal.

I once read that one measure of an ethical decision is if you will proudly own your decision when it becomes a headline and a public news story.

I am disheartened, but I stand by my claim of injustice. I have acted thoughtfully, and now I am moving on.

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Happiness, unfinished

Two weeks ago I quoted the following passage from "The Silk Roads: A New History of the World" written by Peter Frankopan:

"Although Europeans might have thought they were discovering primitive civilisations and that this was why they could dominate them, the truth was that it was the relentless advances in weapons, warfare and tactics that laid the basis for the success of the west... ...The great irony, then, was that although Europe experienced a glorious Golden Age, producing flourishing art and literature and leaps of scientific endeavour, it was forged by violence."

This week I read the following passage in a different book, continuing the thought above:

" is wrong to claim our present circumstance---no matter how improved---as the redemption for the lives of people who never asked for the posthumous, untouchable glory of dying for their children. Our triumphs can never compensate for this. Perhaps our triumphs are not even the point. Perhaps struggle is all we have because the god of history is an atheist, and nothing about this world is meant to be. So you must wake up every morning knowing that no promise is unbreakable, least of all the promise of waking up at all. This is not despair. These are the preferences of the universe itself: verbs over nouns, actions over states, struggle over hope."

I will identify the book and the author further along in my thought. First I want to focus on Why "This is not despair."

I believe that Hope, though not always an unnecessary delusion, is the stationary, mental construct one builds around each thought, whether or not that thought leads to action.

I believe that actions must be thoughtful.

I believe that Struggle refers to an individual thought breaking free from hope and moving forward as action.

Conversely, I believe that those thoughts that remain trapped in hope will ultimately curdle and manifest as despair or shrivel and remain merely as a brittle shell.

And if Despair is (by definition) the loss of Hope before a thought shrivels, I believe this implies that Despair is also the passive realization of the necessity of action.

So it follows that when this knowing (of the necessity of action) becomes the impetus for Struggle and the consequent breaking free, this evolution (from thought to action) cannot be Despair; (again, because by definition, Despair is passive, unmoving, paralyzing and helpless).

In previous written thought I have alluded to an "active hope." I believe what I have previously meant by "active hope" is this reasoned struggle to combat despair.

And what of a general despair over circumstance beyond one's control? If one is paying attention, this is an ever-present possibility. I believe I can combat this potential in the same way the author of the passage above suggests: I "must wake up each morning knowing that no promise is unbreakable." By doing so, I am forced to break free and struggle so I am not trapped in the hope of promise or the promise of hope. And by struggling each day, I am rejecting widespread despair by working my way from circumstantial despair to reasoned action. And through this struggle, I am perpetuating struggle. If I do not struggle daily, I will forget how.

This week I have struggled. This week I have experienced a small triumph. This week I have teetered on the edge of despair. This week I have struggled.

All learning comes too late
...for some circumstance.

Yet all learning is applicable to all moments
...past, present and future.

So though I may feel I have come too late to Ta-Nehisi Coates---(the author of "Between the World and Me" from which the quoted passage above was taken)---I am actively grateful for this new learning.

I am not finished.

I believe that some accomplished architects of Hope are able to project their mental constructs in such a way that they do not appear to be the brittle shell they actually are.

I believe that to truly break free from Hope and struggle forward, firstly one's mental construct must be one's own, and secondly one must not forget to destroy that construct on their way forward.

I believe there are far too many individuals trusting the deceptive stability of far too many brittle shells.

I believe the evolution from Hope to Struggle must be fluid, without hesitation, and practiced daily.

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Acumenical Happiness

There is a segment of our population made up of individuals who are not only intimidated by greater intelligence and by science, but who would also go to great lengths to avoid such matters. This week, our president cancelled a traditional White House visit with Nobel Laureates; and he cancelled the traditional White House Science Fair. I believe this widespread disdainful rejection has come about, (at least in part), because today we are all experts. Armed with our Google, Wikipedia, news slant of one's choosing, and our Twusty Twitter, we can Twist Twuth to fit any occasion.

It seems of late that we have lost our ability to truly listen, partially because we don't have to; (moreso than any time in history, each one of us can choose who to listen to according to who agrees with "me"). However, I do not believe that this fear (of rational analysis and argument followed by an unfolding of thought), is here to stay. I have faith that we (as a Whole) will free ourselves from these quiescent constraints, and I believe even now, as the vines of vituperation spread and entangle, we continue to learn and grow. The more vines we clear away, the more rapidly we will progress. It is sad though that we must first expend the effort hacking vines.

Previously , I submitted written thought arguing for rational analysis and argument processed as follows:

  1. Uncertainty
  2. Skeptical Questioning
  3. Mutual Validation
  4. Rational Argument
  5. Periodic Agreement

I went on to differentiate periodic vs. consistent agreement, saying

The agreement must be periodic because this will also (periodically) create some degree of uncertainty, insecurity, and (possibly) self-consciousness, thus curtailing anger and avoiding damaging or dangerous. self-confidence. [Conversely], consistent agreement, (for example by using one's power to surround oneself with "YesMen"), results in a surplus of self-confidence, thus eliminating all steps except agreement.

And, I also defined Validation:

Equitably serious, voluntary acknowledgement and consideration followed by a mutually volitional desire for rational argument and debate. (Validation is NOT flattery, praise, compliments, acclaim, or having one's ego stroked. Validation is not agreement.)

Those who avoid such *acumenical matters as greater intelligence and science are, in truth, avoiding uncertainty. Periodic agreement as opposed to consistent agreement, perpetuates uncertainty. Validation, (as defined above), hones listening skills and demands a continuation of the cyclical process above. I am rehashing and enhancing these thoughts because it is specifically applicable to this week, and more relevant now than when they were first written in September 2016.

*According to, "acumenical has been looked up 1124 times, is no one's favorite word yet, is on no lists yet, has no comments yet, and is not a valid Scrabble word." My definition of Acumenical: a diversity of perspective and opinion resulting in an interdependent insight uniting and focusing thought in order to advance our universal search for Truth and Wisdom.

I believe an acumenical mindset and outlook is necessary for our Happiness.

I believe an acumenical mindset and outlook is necessary for our survival.

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