Enlightened Conflict

humans can do it so quietly

September 5th, 2017

Finding the white space

 

=================

 

“The worst thing about falling to pieces is that humans can do it so quietly.”

 

inkskinned tumblr

 

===========================

 

“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”

 

——

F. Scott Fitzgerald

==============

 

 

Well.

 

Stark.

 

That is what I felt when I put these two quotes together for the first time.

stark horizon life view

Starkly absent of cynicism, pessimism or optimism.

 

Just stark.

 

Stripped of any hues of Life.

 

That’s what I felt.

 

Shit.

 

I then sat back and said “whew, if I felt that … imagine how someone feels who actually writes these things.”

 

And maybe that is my point.

 

Most of us can only imagine how it feels.

 

Most of us, at our worst, get only a glimpse of this starkness.

 

And even then our stark is most likely not this stark.

 

 

Now … what I do know that humans can fall to pieces incredibly quietly.

 

I do know that starkness is difficult to express to someone who has never seen fill-emptiness-empty-with-various-thingsstarkness.

 

I do know that there are most likely more people who, on the outside, are holding their shit together so well that most of us don’t even think to offer a ‘are you doing okay’ question.

 

I do know these are the people who so quietly are falling apart.

 

So here’s the deal.

 

Falling apart is falling apart. What I mean by that is everything, and I mean everything, that falls apart makes some sound. You just have to listen closely enough to hear it.

 

===============

 

No, now you’ve got me interested, I want to know

 

exactly what seems wrong to you, how something could

 

seem wrong to you. In what way do things get to be wrong?

 

——

John Ashbery

 

=====================

 

 

You have to listen closely for the sound one makes when they fall to pieces noise silencequietly.

 

For there is a sound.

 

It may be just a whisper of a sound. You may even confuse it for the rustle of falling leaves.

 

But.

 

Quietly or not … as the pieces fall apart they make a sound.

 

You just have to listen closely.

 

This gets even trickier. Let me go back to my ‘stark’ opening. If you have never truly experienced stark, it is difficult to see this kind of starkness.

Sure.

You may get a sense of ‘something wrong’ but far too often we skate along the superficial surface of ‘something wrong’ assuming lack of depth or “not any starker than we have ever seen” and … well … we miss the true starkness.

 

My point?

What may sound like the rustle of some dead leaves on the ground may actually be the sound of some starkness we cannot even imagine.

 

By the way … what differentiates humans from other species isn’t opposable thumbs or the size of our brains … but rather compassion and an interest in humans – interest as in doing better, being better and jut … well … a better life <and helping people be better if they are not>.

 

While, of course, we want it to be better for ourselves we don’t want it to suck for others. And we certainly don’t want anyone to have such a stark existence that their Life retains no color or, worse, no hope.

 

The difficulty in fulfilling this inner innate characteristic is the outer irate characteristic of Life. It is always angrily demanding you to focus on it … and not the other humans occupying Life.

 

Look.

 

I am not suggesting running around listening to everyone’s whispers looking to save everyone.

 

I would suggest that the two quotes I used reminded me that saving a human … life whispers listen closelyjust one … can sometimes be enough.

 

Just listen closely.

 

Humans can fall to pieces so quietly. And no human, even someone we really do not like much, deserves to have such a stark existence that … well … they can only stare blankly at a Life falling apart.

 

a different case for better healthcare for all

August 3rd, 2017

life expectancy health statistic

 

 

I have made the case a number of times why healthcare for everyone benefits America from a productivity standpoint. Today I will try to make a case for healthcare for all by pointing out an underlying real issue which creates some disillusionment <which obviously drove some of the Trump support during the election> in middle America.

 

We often discuss inequality in terms of economics & opportunity … but how about something which cuts to the core being of everyone – life expectancy inequality.

 

I came across a map created in May of this year showing life expectancy by county.

 

life expectancy health map colored

 

Well.

 

Yikes.

 

Okay.

 

Double yikes.

 

The average life expectancy … yes … average … in individual counties can vary by up to 20 … yes … 20 … years.

 

Yes.

 

If you live in certain counties the average life expectancy is around 87 years <remember … this is average for an entire county> and in other counties the average life expectancy is around 67 years.

 

Holy shit.

 

Average.

 

20 years difference.

 

And I am not smart enough to do the cross tab <or invest the energy> but if you look at the life expectancy map and you were to overlay the Trump voter support I would bet <and I am not a betting man> that the counties which have the 20 years less life expectancy … shit … the counties with lower standard deviation life expectancies in general … went overwhelmingly for the Trumpster.

 

So for all the intellectuals, faux & real, who suggest many of the Trump voters are ignorant, misguided and stupid … you may want to shut up and think about this for a second.

 

These people have a legitimate gripe.

 

Yeah.

 

Life expectancy is pretty legitimate.

 

I mean if my local community is dying off around me and I look around at other communities who seem not only getting better breaks but are actually living longer … well … I am gonna start thinking I am being overlooked and underappreciated.

 

............ Life expectancy standard deviation ................

………… Life expectancy standard deviation …………….

 

 

Combine that with the fact the gap between longer life expectancy counties and lower life expectancy counties is actually growing and, well, I am gonna start truly believing that the elites & establishment do not really care.

 

 

“There’s no sign of the gap closing. In fact, it appears to be widening. Between 1980 and 2014, the gap between the highest and lowest life spans increased by about two years.

 

“With every passing year, inequality — however you measure it — has been widening over the last 34 years. And so next year, we can reliably expect it’ll be even more than 20.”

 

“That is probably the most alarming part of the analysis.”

 

———–

Christopher Murray:  Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

 

So.

 

Having attended this rodeo before, I know I can count on getting a number of intellectual sounding emails pointing out the inevitable flaws in my thinking and conclusions. My suggestion to those people is please hit ‘unsend’ and get off your intellectual high horse and think about this.

 

Flawed logic or not … if I am in a county dying off at early ages I am more likely to be thinking I live in India and not in America. And if I even perceive that, if I even have a sense of that, I am gonna start wishing for what I thought America was again.

 

Parse out the flawed aspects behind my ‘America was again’ thought if you want but on the surface this is a no brainer thought. Dying can make you wish for a shitload of things that intellectually can seem less than logical but are actually well intended thoughts – because, uhm, this pertains to life & death.

 

All of this permits me to circle back to healthcare.

 

Maybe print out the map of life expectancy and put it beside your computer while you read this part.

 

health is wealth illness expensiveWe talk about putting healthcare in the hands of people.

 

We talk about subsidies for health insurance companies.

 

We talk about inordinate bureaucracy for … well … physicians, hospitals and patients.

 

We talk about high premiums, high deductibles and high falutin’ reasons why healthcare works and doesn’t work.

 

It’s all talk.

 

And it’s all bullshit.

 

Important bullshit in terms of actually getting something done but unimportant bullshit in terms of we are not getting something done.

 

Just because someone lives somewhere doesn’t mean they should have a lower life expectancy than someone who lives somewhere else … at least if they live in America <other countries deal with their own problems>.

 

Is health insurance the only reason for this?

Of course not <so keep your snarky emails to yourself>.

 

But health is certainly a reason for this.angry but open our minds tupac

 

At the core of life expectancy is … well … health. And I don’t really care how much you earn, what kind of education you have had, what kind of job you have, or do not have, but it seems like if you live in county X you should be offered equal health opportunities to those received in county Y.

 

There is more than enough inequality haunting the United States these days without having health services & insurance inequality.

 

There is more than enough inequality haunting the United State these days without having life expectancy inequality.

 

Enlightened Conflict