Showing posts with label Humanity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Humanity. Show all posts

August 11, 2019

The Humanity of Routine

People are creatures of habit. 

They form routines and function with relative comfort and efficiency within that. 

And for the most part, we can recognize our own patterns in life. 

Get up, brush our teeth, dress, daven (pray), go to work and so on. 

After a while, you can do it mostly in your sleep. 

We sort of become like automatons. 

Flip the switch and we go.

When routine and structure become so rigid that we can no longer improvise or innovate then we have a big problem in higher order functioning. 

But also when we break people's structures and habits, we find that they can quickly lose their sh*t. 

People need to control their time and maintain their patterns of life. 

Therein lies a certain safety and comfort in that repetitive doing.

You know what you're doing--you've done it before, so you can do it again.

If you strip a person of their control over their time and the structure of their behavior, they are truly naked and in much more than a physical sense.  (They articulated this in The Punisher, Season One, on Netflix)

All of a sudden they don't know what to do or how to do it. 

Do they go crazy, breakdown, or tell you everything you want to know. 

Torture is not just physical, but also mental and emotional. 

It is not hard to take away something so simple and a person is no longer a full person anymore. 

People need solid coping as well as survival skills to deal with the unknown.

Finally, appreciate when everything is more or less under control, because that's truly a blessing.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 13, 2019

Colleagues That Care

I loved this from a colleague the other day.

When things got a little tough in the office, I came in the next day to 6 smiley faces lined up on my desk. 

This is something that I really appreciate from some people:

Their HUMANITY.

Even though my colleague faced the same tough day, she was thoughtful of others and the impact on them (not herself). 

There are some amazing people out there, and I thank G-d for putting them in my orbit. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 3, 2018

Appreciate The Good

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, called "Seeing the Good in Life."
After synagogue services today, we sat at the Kiddish with a lovely couple, and the lady took the opportunity to go around the table and ask each person: “What good thing happened to you this week?” I really appreciated the idea of focusing on the good and the miracles we live through every day rather than the bad things. It was interesting though that people seemed to have trouble saying something really positive from their week. In truth, they seemed more enveloped in the problems of the times rather than the opportunities that each day brings.
But truly, there are so many good things that we can appreciate each and every day, and that inspires faith and hope for many more good things to come. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 2, 2018

Feeding Frenzy

A colleague told me something really great. 

Once a month she helps others in the office that are less fortunate. 

She told me that the cleaning people have various disabilities, and they are underappreciated for the difficult work they do. 

So once a month she treats them for breakfast!

As I got on the elevator with her, some of the cleaning people were calling to her in a frenzy asking when they were doing the next one. 

She told them the date, and they seemed so happy and valued. 

I thought to myself, WOW!--what an amazing gesture of compassion, kindness, and charity for others.  

It's not necessarily the money itself, but rather making a habit out of doing something good for others. 

I imagined G-d looking down from Heaven at this lady and that she would never be hungry because she makes sure to feed breakfast and gratitude to others. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 22, 2018

Everyone Deserves A Day of Rest and Happiness

So someone I know came over to this country and literally has to work 7 days a week for months at a time!

They don't want or need to work that much, but their employer insists that's the way it is. 

On top of it, they don't even get overtime for all the unbelievable hours they have to put in. 

One day, this person actually just broke down in incredible tears, just asking to get a single day off. 

Finally, finally, finally--the employer gave in--for just a single day!

The person was so happy--one day of freedom; one day to enjoy; one day to regain their inner beauty and humanity. 

I was so happy for them!

Every person deserves at least one day off per week. 

Every single one of the major religions in the world that is anchored in the Bible--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--have a holy Sabbath as a day of rest.

There is a divine and ancient wisdom to this. 

People need a day to rejuvenate.

Everything is nature does.

Even the fields have to lay fallow every 7th year so the earth can revitalize and replenish itself. 

There is a natural cycle to things--peaks and valleys--and we need to have some rest and relaxation--to work for something and not for nothing. 

The joy on this person to just have a day off--it was so incredible and touching. 

It spoke light years to me about treating people right--just--humanly--with compassion--and doing good over evil in this world.

What does the employer need to wring an extra days work out of their employees for the rotten greed of money and profits?  

Better to care for your people, and they will be better off for it and thus to the needs of the business and its customers. 

Care for people--they are people. 

Love people--they are G-d's beautiful children. 

Treat others as you would like to be treated. 

Let everyone have a day of rest and something to look forward to--to enjoy, to have some happiness, to get time with their family and friends, to get back to themselves, to attain a deserved and proper peace of mind, body, and soul. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)  
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June 14, 2018

Missed The Shot But Someone Else Got It

So check out this sleek garbage for bottles and cans. 

Like many of these, it has a small opening hole at the top to convey that only bottles and cans (like it says on the side) should be put in for recycling--no garbage. 

When I was walking by quickly, I took the shot, attempting to throw in my bottle.

But it bounced off the rim and landed on the floor. 

Before I could even turn around to pick it up, I saw another gentleman behind me swoop in and pick up the garbage and put it in the can for me. 

I tell you that I was really quite amazed. 

He could have easily said, I missed the can and so I should just pick up my own trash off the floor and throw it out--that's only right!

Instead, it was in his mind nothing to do this random act of kindness and he picked up my trash. 

I know it sounds like a nothing burger, but to me, it represented just a real decency from another human being. 

Not standing on ceremony.

Not being too hoity-toity to pick up the garbage.

Rather just saw something that needed to get done and doing it. 

I tell you that as much as some people disappoint me with their arrogance and evilness, others are genuinely good people. 

This is what it's all about--the good people showing the bad people what kindness, generosity, and humanity is all about. 

To the evil f*ckers out there--who are arrogant, materialistic takers, haters, bullies, aggressors, and abusers--to h*ll with you!

To the good people--keep doing good and let the good win over the evil every single time. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 6, 2018

Jack Of All Trades

I saw this quote hanging on the wall. 

It's by science fiction writer, Robert Anson Heinlein.
"A human being should be able to:
  • Change a diaper
  • Plan an invasion
  • Butcher a hog
  • Conn [control] a ship
  • Design a building
  • Write a sonnet
  • Balance account
  • Build a wall
  • Set a bone
  • Comfort the dying
  • Take orders
  • Give orders
  • Cooperate
  • Act alone
  • Solve equations
  • Analyze a new problem
  • Pitch manure
  • Program a computer
  • Cook a tasty meal
  • Fight efficiently
  • Die Gallantly
Specialization is for insects."

It's sort of fascinating all the things that are expected of people to be able to do. 

And this is a short list--I'm sure you can think of many, many more things that people have to be able to do to survive, to live, to thrive. 

What complex and magnificent creations of G-d we are! 

Not only in terms of our physiology, but also in terms of our cognitive, emotional, social, and spiritual capacities and desires. 

We are flesh and blood, but with a breath of life from the living G-d, and we are capable and can do so much. 

At the same time, we are imperfect, limited, fallible, and mortal. 

- Jack of all trades, and master of none. 

Expect the best, but plan for plenty of mistakes and disasters along the way. 

Live well, and return to the creator a better person. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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March 25, 2018

Sadistic SOBs

So the scariest people in the world are the sadistic ones. 

They are the ones without empathy.

They get pleasure from hurting others. 

Yes, we all hurt other people sometimes.

But it's different when we do it by accident or when we feel bad about our wrongful actions.

Sadistic people don't just not feel bad or regret...

Instead, they actually savor watching others suffer and squirm. 

Other people's pain and misfortune are what gives them their energy and happiness. 

Rather than working on themselves, they rather put down others. 
"I'm better, because your worse or because I kick your a*s!"

What types of people are these? 

They are not really human. 

They are lacking genes for empathy. 

They are lacking a holy soul. 

They are cold, calculated, and hateful. 

While it wonderful to see some people seek love and peace. 

It is disturbing to see those that run after hate and harm. 

Your loss is their gain. 

Your pain is their pleasure. 

Your tears are their springs.

Your cries are their laughter. 

Why did G-d put these sub-humans in this world?

Perhaps to test us humans

Can we maintain dignity, integrity, and humanity among the beasts of hell? 

We can, but like others that have gone before us, we bear the mark of fighting with the devil. 

The devils live among us, but we must still strive to be angels before man and G-d. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 25, 2017

Poverty Stinks

A lady dropped these placards around on the Metro yesterday with a little pack of tissues. 

It says:
"Hi, I have 2 kids and I'm a single mother and I have no job. If you can please help me for food and for rent. G-d bless you. Thank you."

It is heart-wrenching, the poverty!

People without food or shelter. 

Many without medicine and proper clothing. 

Basic things that most of us take for granted.

It takes so little for everything to go to sh*t. 

Both individually and also societally. 

The world can be a cruel, cruel place. 

But people can open their hearts and wallets to help others. 

Also, advocate for people that are less fortunate. 

Imagine G-d looking down and what does he see from us. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 21, 2017

Time Travel Is Real

Sure, we can travel space...from continent to continent, into the depths of the oceans, and to the far reaches of outer space.

But can we also travel time?

Yes, and we regularly do!

Whether individually, in our minds eye, we go back and forth in time--remembering poignantly the memories of the past with regret or with joy and thinking forward in time whether worrying what could happen or eagerly look forward and hope for a brighter future. 

Similarly, as a human collective, we can travel back and forth in time well past our individual recollections and remember, celebrate, memorialize, or eulogize what came before us through generations and millennia and even plan great innovations, feats, and civilizations well into the future. 

Time is but a shadow that is cast off us from the our great Heavenly Father who shines his grace upon us by his creation and is himself timeless. 

In the shadow of time, we can glimpse the externalism of what supersedes our mortality and the significance of us as a speck in time amidst the greatness that lies across the reaches of space and time--that is the soul of the matter. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 9, 2016

Reconstituting The Water Of Antarctica

So Antarctica is the 5th largest continent of 7 in the world. 

It is 5.4 million square miles, and it is larger than both Europe and Australia. 

But it has only a temporary population of 5,000 people, mainly researchers. 

About 70% of the world's fresh water is held in the Antarctic ice sheet, which is 90% of all the world's ice. 

And the ice there extends 7,000 feet thick.

If all the ice would melt, the global sea levels would rise 2,000 feet!

Despite 95% of models over the last 30 years predicting the ice sheet melting due to global warming, it actually continues to expand.

It's a paradox for the science community, but one of the explanations is that as ice shelves break off, they actually forms a protective barrier for the new ice being formed along the main ice landmass. 

Even with global warming, the average temperature in Antarctica is still -35 degrees Fahrenheit, and most parts never get above freezing. 

So here's an idea--rather than fear global warming, is there an opportunity to use it and advance it, if only we can channel the effects of it for the good of humanity. 

The Antarctic Treaty System prevents nuclear weapons explosion there, but wouldn't that be a cool way to melt some ice and get some fresh drinking water for this thirsty planet or even to somehow move to MARS for colonization there?

Also, we could place solar mirrors in space to redirect sunlight to melt the ice--that's either some probably some pretty big mirrors or the dispersion ray of a space laser(s). 

The key now is to get the water to where you want it to go and not to destroy by massive flood our worldwide seaboard cities--and that's where a mass molecular transporter comes along. 

There is still much to discover and invent, but when it's done, I think we will definitely be heading to Mars and beyond.

Really, we have to, there is no other long-term survival choice for humankind. 

And perhaps, G-d placed the survival pod for us right under our feet at literally, the southern most point of the world, Antarctica! ;-)

(Source Photo: here via Wikipedia)
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June 29, 2016

Compassion Instead Of Anger

So I was speaking to someone recently about how angry they were with some stressful things and people in their life. 

I listened carefully and tried to empathize--also in full transparency, it got to be a lot and I at some point was begging them to stop!

At one point, I just said, instead of being angry maybe try to be compassionate. 

And I could see in other person's reaction that they thought perhaps that I had hit on something a little eye-opening here. 

We can get angry about all the stresses and injustices that we perceive in our lives. 

People blame us, attack us, don't appreciate us, talk down to us, disrespect us, even bully us or try to hurt us.

Also life throws some pretty stinging to earth-shattering circumstances upon us.

And maybe we have every right to feel angry.

But usually the anger, unless we need the adrenaline-rush in fighting for our survival and for our core beliefs and values, doesn't help us achieve what we really want. 

What we want most of the time is to resolve things!

But getting angry and lashing out often only makes things worse. 

We act rashly, we overreact, we say and do things we may regret afterwards, and the consequences of our reaction can be severe to us afterwards in terms of alienating and harming others, escalating the situation and making it worse, creating hurt and destruction in our own wake, and even losing jobs or getting yourself in trouble and sent to the pokey.

If instead of getting angry and flinging arrows, we look at things from eyes of compassion, we can listen to others more carefully, understand the situation better, and try to rectify bad relationships or cope with stressful life events by employing emotional intelligence and a soft hand/skills. 

This is not to say that we should excuse really bad behavior or truly unforgivable misdeeds, but rather that we should look at things in a larger context, the role we play, and as part of our our life challenges to make things better and overcome.

Anger and the associated response is appropriate when the little devil is doing their misdeeds (lashing out severely and/or repeatedly with harm and intent), but compassion can help to see everything else for what it is or isn't and gives us an opportunity to react with a level head, a stable hand, and humanity as a first resort. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 15, 2016

What's Old And New

Just want to share a quote that a colleague said they saw recently displayed at the Kennedy Center:

"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones." 

- John Cage

Perhaps, it's not what's old or what's new that is scary, but simply what is unconstrained evil in men's hearts at any time or place. 

It's the age old fight of good over evil, and when evil gets the upper hand, even if just for a short time, it can be the most unbelievable and frightening to face off with. 

Let's give new ideas plenty of opportunity as long as they are based in kindness, compassion, and humanity. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 24, 2016

This House Is For The Birds

Beautiful simple birdhouses in Downtown DC.

We all need to live somewhere.

Too many people in shelters and on the streets. 

Started giving money to some of the homeless on the way to the Metro. 

My friend's father used to say, "If they ask then they need it."

Perhaps what's needed is a little more kindness, TLC, and compassion for all G-d's loving creatures. 

While it's nice to look up to aspire and climb the next rung of life, it's as important to look down and remember from where you came and where you can still go again. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 28, 2016

Suicide Office To-Dos

So at times, organizations send out notices to their staff with self help suggestions or organizational resources that are available.

One such case is for suicide prevention. 

For example, if you are thinking about suicide, perhaps you should contract the employee assistance program.

It's a good idea to reach out to employees when the messaging is done in a way that makes employees feel they are genuinely cared about and needed, and substantial help is available to them.

People contemplating suicide are in a desperate state of mind and proper handling is nothing less than a life or death situation.

Going to the extreme to make a point for a moment, office reminders about suicide prevention should never be selfish or cavalier, such as:

- Remember to turn the lights out.

- Set your out of office message on.

- Have you done a knowledge transfer to ensure a smooth transition?

If employees are coming away feeling like the organization is just sending out a form message or treating their feelings and situation lightly or in their own interests (such as to remove/reduce liability) that is apt to make things worse and not better.

Please treat employees with genuine dignity, respect, caring, and humanity, and offer them substantive help when they need it.

There are families depending on them and they love and need them. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Jason Kuffer)
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June 9, 2015

See The World Through The Eyes Of Others

It's not only important what we think, but also what and how others see things. 

One the things, the folks that work with me frequently hear from me is "Let me put myself in the other person's shoes for a moment, and give you feedback on that."

We are what we are and not as our customers are, and while we may strive for excellence in customer service, our customers may have completely different notions of what that means.

For example, I may think a 24-hour turnaround on something is pretty good given everything on our plate, but when I imagine myself in the customer's shoes for a moment, I may change that expectation to "We need to get this done by noon today (or sooner)!"

People are different, our experiences, our cultures, our context and the way we interpret things. 

So when it comes to work or family or even social issues, being compassionate often means seeing the world through someone else's eyes. 

There was an interesting article in the New York Times called "Imaging The Lives Of Others" by psychologist, Paul Bloom. 

While he notes the importance to "behold the universe through the eyes of another," he also says how difficult this really is. 

If you haven't done something, how can you really imagine what it was like, let alone know what it was like for someone else to experience it?

Without the access to the particular significant life experience, the duration, the controls (so you can't just say stop like in an experiment), perhaps a person can never fully know what it's like. 

For example, if you haven't been through a devastating war, can you truly know what it's like to be in a foxhole and have the bullets whooshing by your head and the tanks rumbling over it?

Yes, we can imagine, but that is probably a far cry!

Yet, to really empathize with others, do right by them, and to make good leadership decisions, we most certainly need to at least try to see and experience the world the way others do. 

Thinking about the over 805 million hungry people in the world today, it is much more impactful to imagine myself hungry and starving, then just to say the mere fact that these poor people exist.

We can probably never know someone's else pain and suffering the way they do, but through our own experiences, extrapolation from them, and our imagination, we can at least try to elevate ourselves for a purely self-centric universe of one that is of billions (under one G-d), and who need our understanding, compassion, support, and help. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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March 10, 2015

Teats or Not

So I heard a new phrase from one of my colleagues recently...

He goes on about somebody (or something) being like "2 teats on a bull!"

I've always wanted to spend some serious time on a farm...but never really have had the opportunity to learn about that whole rural world, and I'm like what????

But I got it, and didn't really like it. 

Sort of a harsh way to call someone out as a useless piece of [you know what]!

I've heard kids joke about "man boobs" and I sure you can guess what those unflattering things are on a male.

Too often, we write people off without giving them a real chance!

While perhaps, there can be useless appendages through genetics or illness, there are no fundamentally useless people (although maybe some can be troubled, dejected, in a bad fit, etc.).

More often, there are unflattering comments from others who don't appreciate differences or see clearly what each person can "bring to the table."

Let's just say, if G-d created someone, there is reason and purpose to their lives, and we need to understand and appreciate them for their value. 

It may take (some) exploration, but everyone has strengths (as well as weaknesses--we're all human) and we can find what each person is good at, cultivate it, and leverage it for the good. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Carol Von Canon)
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November 30, 2014

Colors Of Race

With the race riots in Ferguson again this week, the divide between black and white is once again evident in America.

Coming from big city life in America, like New York City and Washington D.C., I've grown up in divided neighborhoods and united organizations.

For example, just this morning, my daughter and I walking down Las Olas had to duck into an Illy's coffee shop when an impoverished (black) man in dirty clothes and talking loudly to himself turned around on the street and was coming up steadily behind us in a threatening way. Similarly, the day before, there was a (white) lady at the bus stop talking out loud, hallucinating, and thrashing...also scary in this otherwise posh neighborhood.  In other words, these issues are race-agnostic!

Simultaneously, I go to synagogue where blacks and whites (as well as "black hatters" and the modern religious) sit and pray and socialize together, and go to work where many of my esteemed coworkers are African-Americans, and watch as one of my daughter's best friend in school and who she blabs with on the phone is a nice young man who happens to be black

Also, I remember last year I think it was having to move a heavy piece of furniture and one of my black neighbors went out of his way to help me get it upstairs--he was incredibly generous and he and many others where I live are friendly, neighborly, and we live side-by-side together.

We need to move from racial inequality to racial harmony!

We don't have to wait for an alien invasion to realize we are all human beings here on Earth and that we share more than not.

In Fort Lauderdale, by Florida Atlantic University, Nova Southeastern University, and Broward College, the actual intersections of the street are pained in multi-color. 

I love it..not black and white, but the colors of the rainbow...mixed, flowing, getting along, and happy.

Let it be--black and white, yellow, brown, and red--a melting pot, together throughout the world in peace and prosperity. 

No more rioting in Ferguson or elsewhere, but celebration of humanity--nothing more, nothing less. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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April 28, 2014

Holocaust Remembrance Day 2014

I was so humbled to hear the story of survival of Dr. Alfred Munzer today at the Holocaust Memorial Observance.

Dr. Munzer was hidden for the first four years of his life from the Nazis by a righteous Indonesian family in the Netherlands.

Earlier this month, Dr. Munzer visited Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, to share his awesome story of humanity and compassion in the face of Nazi brutality and genocide. 

Dr. Munzer told his story today through photos of his Jewish and Indonesian family's life during the Holocaust, and related how his father and sisters were murdered by the Nazis; from his immediate family, only he and his mother survived to come to America in 1958.

I was so inspired by Dr. Munzer's story and encourage everyone to hear it at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum where Dr. Munzer volunteers. 

When people help other people, even at their own peril, that represents true globalization of the human race and the unity of all mankind. ;-)
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December 23, 2013

People Of All Colors

Not sure why I like this, but I do. 

What comes to mind, is "the crazier, the better!"

And this is pretty nuts:

- The people have no clothes (but in a modest type of way). 

- The men are covering their privates (with handbags), but why not the women? 

- They people are sort of gray, yet have different colored ink blots over their feet, hands, eyes, mouth, and hair--almost like they are stymied or perhaps, the opposite, free to be whatever they want. 

- They are similar, but yet all different, like us. 

- Why these different colors--we don't know; it is muted, but it is ALIVE. 

It's crazy and it's people--you never know who or what exactly you are dealing with--but we are all G-d's creations. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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