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Monday, July 23, 2012

The High Cost of Losing Your Way...

Seppuku - from Wikipedia
It seems hard to imagine the things that we see on the news today: the debacle at Penn State, the killings in Colorado, the US debt catastrophe, the violence in Syria. Yet at the same time these things go on there are still good things in the world: people helping each other, all the rest.

What's most troubling is that much of this I think are all symptoms of a much deeper, more troubling problem:

A lost moral compass.

Our compass has been faltering for some time; decades probably: 

- We love money more than anything in our culture today.

- We like to win at all costs.

- We don't want to upset anyone for any reason.

This last one is new - probably only in the last five to ten years.

As a child I recall learning the harsh realities of the adult world - older cousins and adults "telling you like it was" - making sure you learned the hard lessons required to be a responsible adult: greed was bad, don't think only about yourself, help others.

Those lessons were difficult and upsetting for a kid.

When you're a kid you think you know it all - you can do no wrong  - etc., etc.

Nothing like an older cousin to take you down a notch or two in order to get you thinking right.

But today, with our highly stressed-out American way of life that's no longer considered a good thing because it involves unpleasantness, bad feelings, having to deal with things you don't want to deal with.

So we no longer upset anyone.

Instead we let the stress build up until everyone is on some kind of anti-depressant.  The real feelings held inside.

We've set about eliminating the idea of "unpleasantness" from our culture.

But of course its still there - eating away at everyone.

I liken all this to being a parent.  When you first start out you think "this will be easy."

You imagine the child cooperating with you, being your pal, and everything going "hunky dory."

But it doesn't.  The kid always has a mind of his own - and rarely does it follow along with the parents model.

Unpleasantness results.

Parents have to become stern and resolute.  Otherwise how will little Jr. learn?

But today that's all bad - little Jr. rules the roost and mom and dad are failures if they think little Jr. is not happy.

In the old days you had to learn to read and learn discipline in school.  Today you don't have to learn anything to a pass.

So everyone goes on anti-depressants to feel better about a bad situation.

Everyone focuses on what they can do for themselves because what's left?


So we build cheap products that don't last so we have a job next week.  Too bad that people buy products based on the return policy and not the quality of the product.

We lose ourselves in sports because our lives suck.

We get the culture we have today.

I know a guy who's from Syria.  He still has family there.  He came here legally to get away from what's happening today because he saw the writing on the wall fifteen years ago.

Yet no one is helping Syria.

It might become another Vietnam.  Somebody might complain if we did something.

So we do nothing.

So people die.

But we feel good here because no one's kid is being sent "over there."

Being an adult and a "grown up" is about making hard choices.  Choices no one likes but that are, none the less, the morally right choice to make. 

These kind of choices are not popular but they have to be made and sadly they are no longer made.

Penn State is learning this lesson - the sky won't be blue and white for many years to come.

We'll probably let a thousands of Syrian's die so we don't have to feel bad or uncomfortable.

Without integrity and morality what are we?


Even our science and educational system reflect our lost way.

People wonder why there are "dooms day preppers" on TV.

If, as a nation, we want to succeed, we need to change course.  Morality needs to again become the standard.

You're published science turns out to be something no one else can reproduce - resign in shame.

You're defensive coach turns out to be a child molester - resign in shame.

You're country runs up a debt equal to annual GDP - resign in shame.

(Oh yes, and don't take your pension or "health benefits" or a comfy job elsewhere either...)

But we no longer expect this from our leaders.

So they continue to fail.

The Japanese Samurai understood this was bad.  It was better to die than bring shame onto yourself or others. 

That's why they invented ritual suicide: seppuku.

People thought twice about what they did.

Better to die than bring shame to yourself, your family, your boss.

Today resignation (from you post as football coach or your seat in Congress) if you fail should be enough (no pension or benefits).

Your city runs up a debt it can never repay - resign in shame.

People need to start expecting more.

More from their leaders and less "comfy living" as a result.

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