Emotional Translation

As there exists a language barrier between those who are raised speaking different languages there to is a language barrier between that of different types of emotional people. While we may not realize it initially, each of us are driven by our emotions to a different extent than the other. These varying degrees of emotionality inevitably influence the social dynamics that we encounter on a daily basis, but rarely do we realize and understand why due to the emotional language barrier.

Different people are more emotionally driven than others, the balances between passion and logic. That does  not mean that passionately emotional people are bereft of logic or that logical stoics are unable to feel joy. Either side as a different way of experiencing these sensations, a way of translating them and making them their own. This is probably the biggest language barrier of emotions, as we are each biased to seeing things through the lens of our own experiences, to where we do not realize that because someone else interprets emotions differently does not mean that they are completely bereft of meaning.

The term “lost in translation” normally applies to language barriers where different languages do not possess the same words or does not carry the same weight of meaning. This is also true as it applies to emotions between those who in the same sense, speak a different emotional language. What do we do then when we hit the emotional language barrier?

Some relationships are defined by an emotional difference that brings complementary balance. Others, a shared emotional language that helps amplify a common emotional state. The shared emotional state in such a relationship, whether it be among friends, a couple, coworkers, etc. is an aspect that most do not pay heed to and how it can effect their physical environment. Because most do not pay attention to this emotional state, they eventually either find themselves in an uncomfortable situation or find themselves stuck with a highly negative atmosphere.

These situations can be influenced with time and patience. The only issue is that we find ourselves in these situations after the fact when we are next to being completely drained from them. Each situation is what you influence and make it to be, but in the aspect of emotional translation that is often left ignored… what becomes of it then?

The Flavors of Love

Today’s definition of love generally entails a romance between two individuals. The definition of love is described as a variety of feelings as it pertains to affection or pleasure but more often we find ourselves classifying it as the sole quantifiable bond representing a relationship. There is an unstated bias that love is a hard-forged object which restricts us from experiencing it to its fullest extent.

There are many different kinds of love, each of them unique and malleable to their own specific situation. We only consider the love between two people, specifically a romantic couple, as the sole representation of such an infinitely complicated dimension. Terms such as “I love you” or “… they must be in love” or “I love that!” are too simplistic to grasp the full spectrum of what is really happening.

We regularly define love as a fixed and unchanging sensation once it has been discovered, either not realizing or not wanting it to change over time. Its understandable really, wanting to hold on to such a blissful sensation and feeling, but it is a fleeting feeling like that of the tide. To expect it to remain unchanged and immovable over time would be akin to locking it in a prison.

The idea that the taste of love can change is an alien concept in today’s world. Once we taste it for the first time in whatever relationship that is forged we forever hold it to that first impression. We are impressionable by love. We are biased towards love.

Perhaps the only thing that really changes with love is ourselves. The feelings and affection we experience change as we grow more experienced and apply different perspectives to them. Until we realize this, our innate biases will continue to be passed along the generations.

Stagnant Morality

Morals are a part of the bedrock of our modern society. With them comes cooperation, respect, peace, and homeostasis. Through morals, a haven of prosperity and growth are created insomuch that we foster and nurture its potential. After generations however, these same morals can become old and outdated, failing to keep up with the ever changing dynamism that we call life.

The morals we live by are tied to a communal belief system and that belief system being religion. Do not lust, do not envy, do not glutton… the list goes on. Every faith today possesses similarly shared values. These values backing our moral foundation have remained unchanged for centuries and no one has dared challenge them for just as long.

Morals are necessary to ensure growth and prosperity. Some of these morals, as based on religion, only remain as tradition being passed on through the generations. The question of “what is right?” is limited only by the scope of this inherited morality that is defined by the group instead of that of ourselves. To question morality does not automatically mean anarchy… To question morality means to grow and evolve as a human being.

To be completely without morals and to define them by ourselves would ensue anarchy. To unquestioningly accept morals as defined by the group would mean blind indoctrination. The problem is that there is no middle ground. We either accept or be cast out of the garden…

The issue is that our moral system is stagnant and obsolete. The issues that present society face are a hundred times more complex and intricate than what our ancestors faced generations ago. Instead of blindfully accepting these morals as they have been passed down for generations, it is time to starting exploring where these rules can be bent…

Christianity’s Failing Hegemony

While established as a secular nation, Christianity and its similar doctrines have held an assumed hegemony over that of the U.S. Examples of this can be found on Capitol Hill, with legislation pushed by religious representatives, how the area referred to as the South is synonymous with the Bible Belt, and how all Mormons are from Utah. This has led to some Christians believing that they have unrestricted rights as to the practice and exercise of their religion in order to directly influence those around them.

… they are unwilling to admit or recognize that they are wrong in this assumption.

Satanic Temple Offers to Hold Invocation at Same School as Football Coach Who Can’t Stop Praying

I have seen this situation play out before within the Florida public schools. A Christian group, sponsored by a misguided principal and superintendent, distributed their materials within the public schools while other religions were barred from doing the same. It took an act of legal precedent in order to overturn this community hegemon, thereby allowing materials from other religions to be distributed within the Florida school system, primarily that of the Satanism/Satanic Temple. Regardless if you are religious or not, the connotation of going from having bibles being distributed to bibles AND “satanic” texts is one of the most artful counters I have witnessed.

Situations like these however are becoming a plague however. First the situation in Florida, and now Bremerton High School. What threatens to compromise my composure is the fact that the individual instigating the situation at Bremerton has the gall to pursue legal action over his misguided perceptions. Admittedly, I have no sway over the actions of individuals, so the most I can hope for is another successful counter here, as we saw in Florida.

The observation here is that situations like these are going to become more widespread. Perhaps that is because of the open media, internet, and increased willingness to provocatively counter Christianity out in the open that these situations are beginning to receive light. My professional estimate however, is that these situations are going to escalate before they start getting better.

Misplaced Urgencies

Far too often I find others, and occasionally myself, having a misplaced sense of urgency. There is always some big project that needs to be worked on, an urgent assignment that needs to be done in a hurry, or just a regular weekly task. Today’s society places such urgency into getting these labors completed as soon as possible yet the urgency is dictated only by ourselves.

Several weeks ago, after a considerable amount of workplace stress, I realized the effects of misplacing urgency first hand. My realization was that the only one assigning urgency to tasks or situations was myself and that everything that I was working on would be no different than if it were completed a week early or a week late. Trade out a week for a month, same effect… I was so focused on the important matters that I lost track of the smaller things that are essential to daily life.

We all are habitually drawn to the big, important issues because of the fact that they are big and important. News flash: the major issues will always take care of themselves because of the extra attention that gravitates towards them. The smaller things in life are not as lucky. This is where we consciously (or even unconsciously) assign urgency. We can either assign our urgency to the big issues that are already getting the extra attention or we can choose to assign it to the elements that aid in accomplishing it (i.e. taking breaks, eating, not putting off daily exercise, etc.).

My challenge to everyone is to evaluate your priorities throughout a regular workday. Urgency should still be assigned in order to make progress throughout one’s day but not in excess and not to matters that are urgent in themselves. It is only ourselves that ultimately decide whether something is urgent or not…

Coming Out of the Religious Closet…

More sparingly now that what it has been in the past, many people pause to ask: “How can you cope with being an atheist???” My question in turn for most of them is how can they cope with being religious? Let me share my back story to this…

Around my freshman year in high school I came to terms with the fact that I am an atheist. I became completely inactive in the church, an action which my family and then friends noticed immediately. Their reactions were all pretty similar, it was either I was simply going through a rough patch/phase or that they could no longer socialize with me anymore as they couldn’t allow that same kind of “temptation” into their lives. When it became apparent that it wasn’t a phase, no one respected my choice or opinion. They viewed my situation in their terms that I was a lamb that strayed from the flock and needed to be brought back into the fold.

It was because of these reactions that I adopted a very militaristic atheist stance. People dismissed my beliefs for no other reasons than it went against what they were taught their entire lives and they kept coming back and back and back, trying to get me to see the error in my ways. Not once was it considered that someone could have a differing opinion than what was the cultural norm at the time. I attacked their beliefs as they attacked mine because I was the one that went “against the norm.” Let me tell you, it was really hard coming out as an atheist in Eastern Idaho, the only thing that I can imagine as being likely worse is that if I had came out as gay instead.

In retrospect, I am glad to finally have the maturity to realize that I likely oppressed others’ beliefs as they oppressed mine. At the time, I justified my actions by convincing myself that my ultimate goal was to either strengthen a person’s beliefs that have gone unchallenged or to make them see that they were actually just another part of the Matrix. In retrospect, I probably ended up spamming a lot of people with my atheist literature and oppressed their beliefs. Why? Because I was a minority religious view in an area dominated by Mormonism. Admittedly though, I was not just anti-Mormon, just anti-religion.

Ten years later, I have outgrown all of the militaristic atheism stance, at least in the conventional sense as what most people have the unfortunate please of coming across today. The only reason why I did what I did was simply out of retaliation and revenge when I was just stooping to the same level as my opponents. It is a lot easier to redirect the entire situation from the subject of religion than it is to change the entire way someone thinks.

So my challenge to everyone who reads this: think about all of those who are not of the same religious majority as your hometown. Granted, there may be lot more there now than there was ten years ago, but no doubt the culture is still pretty similar after all this time. Whoever stranger that you may run into, don’t automatically assume that they share the same beliefs, just because you have had yours for the majority of your life. Just assuming that everyone you may run into is Mormon simply because of where you live, is oppression in itself.

On Stoicism

Every day we are subject to the challenges or favors that our environment poses us with. We rate our daily experiences based on how well they treated us or how badly they have wronged us. We allow ourselves to be subject to the whims of what happens around us, a matter that we cannot control…

Some time ago, I stumbled across stoic philosophy. When most hear the term “stoic” they usually associate it to an emotionless person which is a misrepresentation of its true intentions. Chiefly, to be truly “stoic”, one must be able to endure pain or hardship without the display of feeling and without complaint. Ultimately the point of stoicism is to develop your own self-control to where you are free from negative emotions that will ultimately impact our overall happiness.

We are all subject to the events that effect us and there is little that we can do to actually control them. What we can control however, is our reactions to these events which is what actually impacts our overall well-being. In the end its we who chose how to shape our reactions to that of the world around us.

“… sick and yet happy, in peril and yet happy, dying and yet happy, in exile and happy, in disgrace and happy…” -Epictetus 

Having vs Being

Last weekend I went with my wife to go see the movie Lucy in which an unsuspecting woman becomes a pawn in a drug trading ring and she comes into contact with a drug that enables her greater access to parts of her mind. The entire theme of the movie focuses on evolution and Eastern Philosophies it seems as the general underlying tone is that materialism has stunted both our mental and evolutionary growth. To quote one of the characters in the movie (played by Morgan Freeman):

“The dolphin did not invent the sonar — it developed it, naturally. And this is the crucial part of our philosophical reflection we have today: can we therefore conclude that humans are more concerned with “having” than “being”?” – Professor Norman

Do I think that we, as human beings, have become more obsessed with having things instead of being ourselves? Yes. Do I think that this mentality has stunted our growth whether it be mentally, physically, or psychologically? Yes (though it probably would not hurt for some studies to be done on this). By focusing on “being” and not “having” this week, I have found that my stress levels are lowered, I am more content with my work and feel more accomplished in my efforts, and have been physically more relaxed and satisfied on a daily basis.

Do my statements have any scientific basis? Probably not, but I would like to find out. Regardless, the philosophical implications are something interesting to ponder nonetheless…

Smothering Attachments

As human beings we possess a natural tendency to grow attached to things that we encounter regularly. I would correlate this to how we have evolved to form societies in order to ensure our mutual survival. Growing attached to something remains a conscious choice which in today’s world can either benefit or detract from our daily lives. Cell phones, computers, electronics, dogs, cats, cars, motorcycles, etc. are all things that we are likely already attached to. Depending on the individual in question, attachment can be easily overdone thus becoming akin to addiction.

Everyone that I have met has an attachment to one thing or another. Some people have more attachments than others, some less. I will even admit that I am particularly attached to my electronics and craft beer. Do I let my personal attachments dictate my own life as well my interactions with others? No. At least not to the point of straining my relationship with others as well as dictating events that I participate in. Regardless of what the attachment may be, when it starts to interfere with the lives and relationship with others, that attachment becomes a malignant addiction which must be interceded by some sort of means.

Several things are infuriating to me, dealing with others who have addictive attachments being one of them. Even though these attachments (through the eye of the beholder) generally possess good intentions, it is admittedly hard to see when they become malignant. These attachments can be to anything from smoking to one’s pets and although they may be completely different, they are both still able to dictate a group’s life or interactions. Although we are capable of being attached to things through our emotions and empathy, every so often we must interdict ourselves from our attachments in order to better observe and interact with the world around us.



“There is No Spoon…”


Every day it seems that I have some sort of eye-opening experience in regards to what all happens in the world. Before I was only concerned with just the things that would only effect me but we live in a complicated world now. Today our lives are constantly influenced and dictated by that of corporations attempting to swindle us for our hard earned dollar that they barely allow us to have in the first place. We wake up each day to the sound of an alarm to travel hours in traffic to work hours at a job that only accomplishes the goals of those we distaste. It almost seems like we are faced with a wrought-iron spoon…

I use the Matrix reference because that is exactly what it is. We live in a society where the people we elect establish ever more constricting means of control on behalf of those with money and power. The same companies that fund both political parties are the same ones that own practically every major corporate chain with the media and the news. I will admit that there is a lot more to it than just that, but even the mere concept of it all is sickening in itself.

My challenge to everyone is to question everything you see and hear. What really happened at 9/11? Did Iraq really have weapons of mass destruction? What is really going on in the former Soviet countries, Russia, and Eastern Europe between the citizens and their governments? How come we do not hear of these things on mainstream news feeds? Why are we constantly bombarded with the next new TV reality show?

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