Thinks

Last Sunday we went to an excellent show,“Seussical”, at Mountain View High school in Loveland. As you can probably guess it was based on Dr. Seuss’s writing.  We couldn’t stop talking in rhymes after we left the show. What stuck with me was  “The thinks you can think”.    I know how powerful my thoughts are, and how they create my world, but this simple saying brought it home to me in a way I  can really understand and use. Lately, my problem is I can’t seem to put 2 “thinks” together to form a meaningful thought. I jump from thought to thought, and these fragments of thoughts don’t provide any clarity for me, or worse leave me anxious and unsettled. The “thinks” I can think..stink.

In my younger days I believed that my thoughts were always true, and my thoughts were lots more negative than they are now. I thought my way into lots of sad feelings and feelings of low self-esteem.  It took many years for me to begin to see that my “thinks” determined how I felt about something and how I made choices. It seems simple to me now, but it is not easy to remember this with my thinking cap on. Perception is what’s it’s all about. For example, when I was a kid I loved snow days, no school and all day to play, but as an adult I think about shoveling, slippery streets and cabin fever.  My childhood “thinks” and my adult “thinks” are ages apart, but I hope I still have some innocence left. I can choose to count my gratitudes or my troubles. What I focus on becomes stronger, so I need to use my “thinks” to help me feel better.

I discovered my Imagination and creativity once I left behind some of my negative thoughts. I could imagine how painting a piece of junk might become a treasure with some paint and restyling. I could imagine how to do a new crochet stitch in my head. This is creativity: the “thinks” that help me imagine what could be. Without imagination there is no creativity.  I have room to imagine positive things when I jettison negative thoughts. People sometimes make career choices by imaging how they would feel, for instance, as a doctor or teacher. If I cant imagine something, how will I allow myself to experience it? So “thinks”can create or negate. How powerful our thoughts are!

“We’re not paying you to think.”  The Management.  We all know what this means!  This is ass- backwards of course, we know problem solving is an invaluable skill. Too much thinking by employees can threaten the status quo and create fear in those who are invested in keeping things the same. For better or worse, changing my thinking changes everything.  I did have good ideas at work, but I was discouraged from sharing them. Now that I am retired, I can spend as much time as I want thinking about whatever I want.  My time and ‘thinks”are mine.

When I talk to myself in my head I watch my language. I realized that I was often telling myself I was “stupid”, which certainly didn’t promote positive self-esteem. Now I say “I did the best I could.’ or “That was silly.” Changing just this one “think” has helped me feel better about myself.   How many more “thinks” can I change to add more joy to my life? The number of possible “thinks” is infinite. Just think about that!

“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you.

Dr. Seuss 

War Games

The best known war board-game is  “Risk”, where players take turns and use strategy to attain “world domination and conquer all enemies.” The objective is to conquer all the territories of the world by eliminating opposing players.  Sounds like fun right? I have 5 tanks and 3 battleships, what do you have?  Of course, there are rules and no civilians  to bomb, murder or rape.

 The latest war game is the Ukrainian/Russian war. There are lots of daily discussions on the news channels about strategy, weapons and military equipment.  Where are the troops moving and what cities are under siege? As we sit in our safe homes we can imagine the moves being made and decide who won the war for the day. We need to warn you that what you are about to see is very disturbing…  we can be so removed from the suffering of our fellow human beings. We can do blue and yellow flags and sunflowers, but we can’t stop the carnage and genocide happening every day in Ukraine. We can’t even pretend we aren’t aware of what is happening.The Russians have made a good move—they have trapped Ukrainian soldiers and civilians sheltering in a steel plant in Mariupol,    Ukraine. They will not allow aid in or evacuation of the civilians. The Alamo in Ukraine.  Likely most of the soldiers and the civilians will die at the hands of the Russian soldiers, and the world will be outraged, but we will never forget and it will never happen again.  We were outraged at Columbine 23 years ago today (4/20), but we need to be reminded of this tragedy now lost in a sea of school shootings since then. We will forget, and it will happen again.

And then we have the “Culture” wars. My sister asks if humans are still evolving or are we now devolving? Devolve: degenerate, or deteriorate. We may be taller, bigger and stronger than our ancestors, but I think our emotional and intellectual reasoning is devolving. What do we experience in the emotional sphere? We can choose what to allow into our awareness, and we can always deny and lie about what we see and feel. I am a liberal who likes Disney characters, and a not insignificant number of ultra-conservative MAGAS  likely believe I am a pedophile who wants to run through kindergarten rooms yelling “Gay, trans, Gay.”, and spends an inordinate amount of time “grooming” myself i.e. brushing my teeth,  washing my face, and combing my hair. Is this even rational? It is the world according to Q!  Just throw out stink bombs and see who says they smell like roses or vice versa.  Are we losing our reasoning abilities and our thinking skills? Have we lost our minds and our humanity? We are delusional, living our lives on multiple battlefields—and we are losing. We can not allow hate to win.

I Win, You Lose

I say to my friend on the treadmill beside me,“Hey Im doing pretty good on the treadmill today, over 2 miles and  212 calories burned.” And then it happens!  Miss perfect young body gets on the treadmill next to me and cranks it up to highest incline, and some ungodly high mph number, and works on some sort of puzzle on her Kindle,  all without audibly panting as she sails along. I now feel deflated and decidedly less impressed with myself. The trap of comparison in action. I can do this,  but someone else can do it better, or their house or car is much nicer than mine; or the reverse, I am so much better than someone else at A,B and C, or my car is a lot nicer. Doesn’t really matter which way the comparison turns out, either way my experience is reduced to better than, or less than.  Comparison is a trap and a thief. Constant judgement steals the now. So why on earth is it so hard for me to let go of comparing myself to others?

We humans like to measure things. We start by asking our child “ How much does Mommy love you?” and we spread our hands wide and say “This much.”  We are taught more is better.  We “Keep up with the Joneses”, trying to prove that we are as good as other people by getting what they have and doing what they do, even when we can’t afford to.We cringe at the saying ‘He who has the most toys wins.”, because we know we believe this on some level. I ask myself “How am I doing?” or “How am I measuring up.” more often than I’d like to admit. The problem is I become an observer of my own life rather than living and experiencing my life. I’m afraid I won’t be successful if I stop comparing myself to others, and my safety and well being depend on knowing how others are doing. Lately I’m beginning to think the opposite may be true, and it is the comparison that keeps me from success, safety and well being. 

As I age I get to compare how much older or younger I am than someone else. If I were only measuring years, and not trying to define myself by my age, that would be one thing, but I slip into “younger is better” in a heartbeat if I don’t pay attention. We tell some people they don’t look their age and that’s seen as a positive, but what about those of us who look our age?  Does it matter? Perhaps it matters only in the world of on-line dating! Am I a winner or a loser? What if I just don’t care?

“Comparison is the thief of joy .” Theodore Roosevelt

“Don’t compare your life to others. There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon. They shine when it is their time.”

Yes

The answer to my question, ”Can you help?”, was always ”Yes” and I feel so blessed. Yes I received all the help I needed from family, friends, neighbors and nurses and doctors too. When I feel down cause healing is so slow, I just tell myself to pay attention and be grateful for all the goodness in my life.

There was soup of course, but nobody makes Chicken Tortilla soup like my neighbor Amanda. I got to ride in the passenger seat while wonderful people drove me to wherever I needed to go. My sister Ann spent the night after surgery with me and I felt safe and cared for. Crosswords were done and laughter shared. Susan came to visit and helped me laugh. Tyler did his best to be the best son in the world and he suceeded. My sisters sent care packages and cards, and lots of love across the miles. Friends checked in and wished me well.

My right hand has a name and it is Missey! She washed my hair, put my watch on, helped me get dressed and took me to all my appointments and asked all the questions I forgot to ask. I can’t list all the things she has done for me because I will forget something and feel bad I left it out. Most important of all she listened to my frustrations and whining. Thank you Missey.

Thank you just seems like not enough, but I am so grateful to all who answered ”Yes.” and helped me. And thanks to Roscoe and Molly who let themselves be walked by volunteers and were always ready to snuggle.

I Need Your Help

Can you help me ..open this, tie this, cut this, open the door, get my shirt on, wash my hair,  drive me, get my pain pills?? The last few weeks have been a big lesson in humility and acceptance as I had  surgery on my right hand and essentially became a left handed and clumsy woman. It hurt a lot more than I thought it would, and despite my vow to not use pain pills I soon realized this was not a good idea.  It was harder to do almost everything except sit and whine. I really thought I was prepared to “deal” with the surgery and the aftermath, but obviously I was not. It’s  4 weeks out from surgery and I am writing again. I’m typing mostly with just one hand, but I did drive myself to my coffee shop office today. I’m muddling thru.

Two things come to mind for me: This too shall pass. and, Pride comes before the fall. I’ve always hated the expression:  This too shall pass. because I thought it meant sooner or later, mostly later, this shit and pain will pass.  I have no control over this and am at the mercy of the universe.  Now I realize the saying is value neutral, everything good or bad will pass!  With each breath I take the “now” changes as I inhale and exhale . It’s the nature of time,  moving forward and  being spent. Simply, the human condition is temporary. Pain will pass and joy will pass and all humans will pass. I will be able to use my hand soon so it won’t always be this way. Another reminder to me to watch how I use “always” and “never”, and not to use them to awfulize , because this too shall pass.

The other thought that comes to mind for me is  “Pride comes before the fall.”, which suggests if a person is too arrogant, he or she will make a mistake or fail in a big way My arrogance, which says “I shouldn’t  have to experience pain.”and “I will handle my surgery better than any person ever has.” has led to a big fall. Let’s just say I got knocked on my ass, and my surgery and recovery has not been a flawless perfect experience. To me, the worse combination of personality characteristics in all of humanity is stupidity and arrogance. To be stupid or arrogant is bad enough, but to be stupid and arrogant is close to a fatal flaw. To the best of my ability I will admit what I do not know, and remember that being “right” pales in comparison to being kind.

I will feel different tomorrow and it could be good or bad, but it will not be so for eternity. I will have pain and I will have joy, and I am just one member of human kind.

Pride should never stand in the way of facing the truth.

                                         Charles Glassman

It’s A Joint Project

This Thursday I am having surgery on my right hand. It’s almost shorter to list what I am not having done! Three for one surgery: carpal tunnel, rebuilding the joint at the base of my thumb and cutting some cords that are causing contractures. I will then be wearing a bandage /splint like a thick boxing glove for a couple of weeks. Basically I won’t have the use of my right hand for several weeks and, of course I am right handed. Really sucks actually, but will be worth it in the long run to get my right hand working well for the many years I have left. So its one of those things you do that will be a pain in the short term, but you do it for  long term positive results. I prefer instant gratification myself! 

There’s a lot of positive outcomes that require work, being uncomfortable for a time and a determination to do what it takes to reach the positive outcomes. We’ve all heard the idiom ‘No pain, no gain.” The idiom “no pain, no gain” means to make an effort in order to get the desired result. It speaks of the importance of making an effort in general and we can use it when referring to the necessary suffering a person must endure to achieve their ultimate goal. thecontentauthority.com  No offense to the men out there, but “No pain,No gain” was brought into popular usage by Jane Fonda in 1982. Y’all remember her second coming as a fitness guru and the leg warmers. We all had her videos to help us “whip” our bodies into shape, hence no pain no gain. The use of “whip” is another usage where pain is seen as a necessary part of reaching a goal. It certainly seems  there is a strong consensus that good outcomes don’t come without paying our dues. All things we pursue in life have a cost. I don’t think “no pain, no gain,” is nuanced enough, so I like the concept of “costs” and “benefits” because they can be more quantifiable.

This is what worries me: What if we spend 90% of our lives paying the costs to get to the benefits we’ve earned, and only get to enjoy the benefits 10% of our lifetime? I don’t want to be always striving, and as a consequence, squander the precious moments of my life with no guarantee that the costs I am paying will even be enough. We’re also told ”Easy come, easy go.” I always thought this meant that all good things needed to be next to impossible or very difficult to achieve, so they would not be lost easily.  If I’m not suffering then I’m not doing it right. If love comes too easy, does that mean losing that love will be easy too? My son does not have to “work hard” to get my love, I give it to him freely and easily with no expiration date. So there’s some flaws in the “Easy come, easy go.” axiom.

We frequently say “Take it easy.” to friends and acquaintances as part of saying good-bye. Take it easy means to  “proceed calmly and in a relaxed manner (or) to make little effort; rest.” How the hell are we going to take it easy if it takes immense effort, even pain to get what, who or where we want to be? It’s like telling your dog to “Come, stay.” At this point in my life I’m more inclined to go “easy”, to focus more on what is attainable without pain. Acceptance of who I am, and knowing how little I actually have control over, really clarifies and narrows what costs I am willing to pay. I’m people-pleasing a lot less, so there are fewer voices in my head telling me what I must be working towards.  So I wish that I wasn’t facing some short term pain from hand surgery, but this is one case where I accept “No pain, no gain.”, and I am choosing to go ahead. After surgery I fully intend to “Take it easy.”

The Red-tailed Hawk

I’m hungry, but I don’t have anything in the fridge I want to eat. I have options. I can go to the grocery store and get groceries and make something to eat, I can order out and wait for Door Dash to deliver a meal or I can go out to eat. Of course, I can just stay hungry and not do anything to address my hunger now. After all I’m supposedly the top of the food chain.There are starving people who will die of hunger today, but by the grace of God I am not one of them. 

Why is the title of this post The Red-tailed Hawk? Hawks get hungry too and they need to find food to eat to stay alive. Sometimes that food is fresh road kill and its in the middle of a busy street. Then what?  Door Dash? No. Risk your life to fly to the squirrel’s body in the middle of the street and swoop it up in your talons and fly away? Yes. I first sighted the large hawk in the street sitting near the squirrel’s body. Oh, oh! Cars were coming, and I managed to flag the first car to slow down and shooed the hawk out of the road, but it didn’t go far and perched on a power box a few feet from the street.  As if posing for a photo op, the hawk patiently allowed me and several other bystanders to take  photos. We all knew this was a rare opportunity  to see this hawk up close. Seeking a bit more distance, the hawk flew up to perch on a fence that was still pretty close to the street.

I waited and waited for the hawk to make it’s move to retrieve the squirrel, but stubbornly he just sat and watched the humans staring at him. Reluctantly, I moved on to finish my walk. Of course, I was curious to see the progress of the hawk,  so I circled back at the end of my walk.  Ta Da! The hawk was sitting close to the fence with the squirrel carcass in it’s talons. I watched him fly off with his meal and I wanted to applaud him.  Instead, I sent good vibes and my respect for a job well done. I was grateful that I was able to witness the hawk, and I felt hope and reverence.

I can not send this post without talking about my deep respect for the Ukrainian people and President Zelensky. They are inspiring the world with their courage and zeal to save their democracy. I am in awe of their courage. Do we have the courage to save our democracy? The tanks aren’t rolling in and missiles aren’t hitting their marks, but make no mistake, our democracy is at stake. Voting rights in peril, our history being twisted to support white nationalism, and a former President who would like to stay in power for life, even when the people voted him out of office. The Russian people do not have the right to vote for their leader, their votes don’t count and any dissenters are jailed or murdered. In America, the armed insurrection on January 6, 2020 intended to stop a democratic act of Congress. This is not the path to establishing a “more perfect union”. No one in their right mind, would say that Putin is a “genius”, or attempt to withhold military aid to Ukraine in exchange for “dirt” on a political opponent.  THINK!

I want to believe that “We the people” will rise up as the Ukrainian people have done, and stand up to those who would destroy our democracy. We can be tough and refuse to give up like the red-tailed hawk.  I hope we will make this choice.

The Light Gets In

Ring the bells that can still ring.

Forget your perfect opening.

There is a crack in everything. 

That’s how the light gets in. 

Leonard Cohen

Sometimes life hurts, sometimes life hurts a lot, and sometimes the hurt is unbearable, but we bear it in the moment and the next moment….  A baby is born, perfect only in a parent’s eyes. It’s only purpose to grow and thrive, and to love and  be loved. I think this is our purpose   throughout our life span, no matter how short or how long. Doing this “perfectly” is not possible. We all get broken by life in some way, there are no exceptions. The longer I live, the more scars I get. I have been beat up, but I’ve thrown some good punches too.

So what are my “…bells that can still ring?” I have an old electronic piano keyboard that has a few keys that are not perfectly in tune. I still play and enjoy it and work around the imperfect keys. My brain seems to fill in the note for me, and I still hear it in tune. I’ve adapted to this limitation because there is so much that is good about making music. I don’t always come up with the best word while I am writing, but that’s what a thesaurus is for. I have to say “no” more often, so I can say “yes” to what is most important to me. I have less people that I tell “ Call me day or night or 3 a.m. and I’ll be there if you need me.” I need my sleep. I have seen and felt horrible things and my soul and body will carry them everyday. Bad things happen to good and bad people. Not all wounds heal. My presence, my love, my friendship are bells I can still ring.

At times, I’ve actually believed that if I was perfect, or tried hard enough, I could make things happen. This makes me laugh now! There is no “perfect”, and if there were I suspect we would all be a bit bored. I now realize my desire to be perfect before I could act was a “perfect” excuse! What I see now is that going for this unattainable state before I acted meant I could avoid my fear, stay safe and avoid failure. There is nothing noble in avoiding life out of fear of failure no matter the reason. “Fake it till you make it.”sounds much more real and possible. It says to me “Just keep moving!” and “Now!”

We all know what a “broken” heart is. It’s not visible on an x-ray, but we’ve all felt it if we are human. The image is of a heart fractured, like a crack in a vase, a heart no longer whole. I am heartbroken. The losses I have experienced have cleaved my heart. My heart is still beating and although I am heartbroken by life I am not in despair. Most days I am happy and hopeful.  I call this courage and perseverance . Leather is softest when it is worn and cracked. My favorite shoes don’t look the same as when I took them out of the box, I’ve broken them in and they fit my foot very well. I am worn and broken in, soft, pliable and teachable.

A closed mind or a closed heart may block pain, but the light is also blocked. A closed heart blocks love, and a closed mind blocks the truth. So the light gets in when there is an opening or crack. It is impossible to navigate in complete darkness, or to see the beauty in my or my loved one’s soul. The light gets in to make me more compassionate towards myself and others. The words of Leonard Cohen and others others teach me and light my path:

Light is the symbol of truth.– James Russell Lowell. 

If light is in your heart, you will find your way home.  Rumi 

There’s a sorrow and pain in everyone’s life, but every now and then there’s a ray of light that melts the loneliness in your heart and brings comfort….  – Hubert Selby, Jr.

So light a candle and pray for the people of Ukraine.

Been There, Done That

When we’ve had an experience we don’t want to repeat, we might say, “Been There, Done That”. The reasons we may not want to repeat an experience range from “It was boring, I don’t want to do it again”, to “I tried that before and it didn’t work out or it was painful.” It’s shorthand for my personal story, my history: a chronological record of significant events often including an explanation of their causes. Do I sometimes feel “uncomfortable” when I think about some of the things I have done? Absolutely!  For fun, or at least for my edification I’d like to pick apart this definition because “history” seems to be quite the controversial topic lately. 

Chronological: arranged in the order that things happened or came to be . We often think of history as looking backwards, but history is actually created by going forward in time from one event forward to the next. As I lick the spoon, I think this chocolate sundae is really good, but what’s the history behind this sundae? If I made this sundae, the very first event in the sundaes’ history is my thought, “A sundae sounds good, I think I’ll make one.”  And then I got the ice cream out of the freezer and the chocolate sauce …. One action led to another and Bam! a chocolate sundae! I wanted a caramel sundae, but I settled for a chocolate sundae, because I was out of caramel sauce. This explains why the sundae was chocolate, but who would know this other than myself. Much of the controversy  around historical  events often centers on the question of causation. Of course, my example is simplistic, but worth considering when we look at the causes of significant historical events like the Civil War.  What came first? Just remember the last time you tried to explain the plot of a movie to a friend, and you had to backtrack many times to keep things in order and making sense.

Record : to write (something) down so that it can be used or seen again in the future; : to produce a record of (something). First, remember not all history is recorded in writing. People record what they perceive and experience, and of course, people differ on what they perceive due to physical, cultural, and social factors. Obviously a slave would write a different history of slavery than a wealthy plantation owner. Neither record alone tells the whole history, but each record is an equally important point of view. Are the lashes on the slaves back any less relevant than the slave owners “papers” of slave ownership?  Are you uncomfortable yet? I can spin my personal stories so I come out smelling like a rose, and may get away with it unless someone from my past speaks out and questions the truth of my story. On a larger cultural basis the powerful can spin history as well. Who do we believe?  Whose record is most valid? To pretend that all voices are treated as equal is folly. We tend to believe the stories we hear from people most like us. We also disagree on what is “significant”. Women feel differently than men about the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. In fact, often women have been left out of the history of  significant  events  because much of history was written by men with blinders on. What matters to an individual determines what significance to give an event.

What a mess we make when we attempt to record history, but the biggest morass is created when we attempt to explain the causes of historical events. It is so much easier to assert that the War of 1812 happened in 1812, than to explain what caused the war itself. It turns out cold hard facts aren’t so cold and hard . For myself, it is so important I know who is writing a piece of history so I can factor in bias. It is just as important that I know my own bias. Am I hearing from all the parties involved? Whose voices are the loudest? History is very, very complicated and nuanced. The story is never as simple as we wish it were. I have to remain open to adding new understanding of historical events. Perhaps if more adults understood how to face the facts and truths of history, our children could too. Denial of historical facts and the depths of causation means accountability and culpability are not addressed. If we and our children can no longer learn from our history, aren’t we “doomed “ to repeat it. Going forward, what history will we write?

Read a Banned Book

Do you remember English Composition in high school? It was basically a class on how to write. Here is my brief summary. I remember we had to write descriptive pieces; i.e., “The big yellow, fuzzy, slow-moving caterpillar crawled onto the tall, bright, blue flower.” Think adjectives! Then we learned about persuasive writing, i.e. “You should do this because it will help save the planet, the air will be easier to breathe, the water will be cleaner and if you don’t we will all die!’  Soon, we heard about plots and protagonists and antagonists. Protagonists being the good guys and antagonists being the bad guys. We were taught that stories needed plots which have beginnings, middles and ends. To our dismay, we also had to write some poetry which has iambic pentameter! Who the hell remembers what that is?  My summary is complete, as we were taught all summaries needed to be.

The written word. Your writing is your property. It is your creation, whether a grocery list, a 500 page novel, an article in the New York Times or notably, a page in your diary. I come from a family of writers. There would be a very tall pile of books, journals and diaries if we stacked them all together. This began with my Mother, who has written in many diaries and journals, and a lot of us have continued this tradition for ourselves. Recently there has been a rush to ban books, being proposed by “authorities” like parent groups and school boards. These books are controversial because they deal with racial issues, violence, and those who are perceived as “others”, primarily LGBTQ people. I saw a woman on a news show actually declaring, “We don’t want our children sexualized.” Yikes! Unless, of course, they are straight, white and conforming. It is laughable to think that our young people aren’t already quite knowledgeable about sex and race. Social media takes care of that! Certainly parents have a responsibility to care for and protect their children from harm, but is teaching children to be hateful and Intolerant responsible parenting?

Full disclosure, I worked for over 15 years in a book store. I was surrounded by a world of books. It was not my job to tell people that a book sucked, had tons of swear words or hot sex scenes, or was full of misinformation or lies.  If they wanted “Huckleberry Finn” or “To Kill a Mockingbird”, both of which have been banned at one time or another, I found it for them. I shelved “The Joy of Sex” and “The Joy of Gay Sex”. The teenagers that were furtively looking at either of  these books were not bad kids, they were curious kids. The book that I had a few qualms about ordering was  “The Anarchist Cookbook”, a book giving “recipes” for bomb making and explosives, but I ordered it without commentary. We did not stock it but ordered it if someone wanted it. Mark Twain said he wrote “Huckleberry Finn” as a statement against slavery and he used the “n” word because it was the vernacular of the time, but his American classic was often banned. His quote is one of the best I have ever read on censorship: “Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.”

Little Red Riding Hood was banned at one point because there was wine in her basket! “The Catcher in the Rye” has been banned more than any other single book, but it is considered the best book on the adolescence experience ever written. Read it if you haven’t read it, your palms won’t grow hair…. Remember that Isaac Asimov believed “Any book worth banning is a book worth reading.”

In summary, (English Comp. 100 -this is how you end essays), today, it seems  the push to ban books is an overt attempt to “whitewash” our society and demonize those whose sexuality does not “fit “ into a heterosexual box. I believe  Alex Ponomarenko said it best: Despite insensitive and downright explicit themes that these banned books hold, they are mirrors to bitter and uncomfortable realities which we cannot simply censor or hide away. In fact, doing so will only cause more harm than good. A mind manipulated to think of only good things or see the world as simply black and white seriously threatens humanity’s survival.