Enlightened Conflict

an act of solidarity

April 9th, 2015

goth tv ad alone sit

“Even if the entire world is against you, I’m on your side.”

what you hope a parent says




goth tv ad magazine
This is an older tv ad, 2014, and a foreign ad – German.


But I just saw it for the first time as I searched for something else.





Frickin’ fabulous.



Charming with a great message <and it is home improvement for gods sake>.







The execution itself.



In this 2014 TV ad from German DIY store Hornbach, a dad surprises his goth daughter with a home makeover to show his support.



Say it with Your Project:







If it only takes some black paint to make your child smile on a bad day, wouldn’t you do it?
But how many of us would actually think of doing something like this?


A room.


A house?
No frickin’ way.






So maybe none of us guys would actually ‘nut-up’ and paint an entire house … but the underlying message … saying “even if the entire world is against you, I’m on your side” is something we all have the kahones, or backbone, to do – assuming we elect to do it.



This is more than ‘verbal support’ … this is a vivid demonstration of support.
What a powerfully important message for a kid to know.




Let’s face it … the father is so perfect in the commercial because you unequivocally understand just by looking at him that there is no frickin’ way he understands his child and what she is thinking and why she is doing what she is doing.





Doesn’t that actually reflect most of us adults?







No bullying the child to conform. No suggestion she is taking the wrong path. No statement that ‘being yourself needs to be rethought.’ Not even “maybe you should dress differently.”



He only sees his beautiful daughter … one who has elected to rebel against ‘blandly white world.’


By the way … that includes her blandly normal father.



Everyone around her … classmates, teachers, and people on the street look with disapproval, confusion, and scorn.



What happens?



The bland father who doesn’t understand … makes a stand. In a vivid demonstration of support, without words but rather actions, he supports her fully and completely.you matter care



This ad may be about home improvement from a business standpoint but it is about growing up & kids more importantly.



It is about … you matter <a lot>.




I love this ad.



I love this message.

john green and teens

March 6th, 2015

————–teen indestructible

“When adults say, “Teenagers think they are invincible” with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don’t know how right they are.
We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken.

We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die.

Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations.

They forget that when they get old.

They get scared of losing and failing.

But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.”

John Green

Looking for Alaska

“Their lives and contributions are as interesting and as complicated and as meaningful as anyone else’s.”

John Green

infinities bigger than other





Let me be clear … I am not a John Green book fan. I have tried … and I want to like his books … but I just don’t.


But … that said.


I am a John Green fan.



I don’t think of him as a teen girl author … I think of him as a young adult advocate.




He is also a quote machine <books make me cringe … individual lines make me sigh with wonder>.







Back to young adult advocate.



As does any author … or anyone in the spotlight these days … he gets shit. He gets the snarky remark or question or comment. He has gobs of critics passionately arguing with gobs of fans.



And I imagine, as with any of these people, they sit on the sidelines and slightly seethe over some of the remarks.


The best stay on the sidelines and stay out of the fray figuring there will always be those blinded by passion and those oblivious to their silly hate.



And then there are those moments where someone like John Green cannot stay on the sidelines … and they show why you should like them … even if you may not like what they publish.



Here is where I became an unequivocal John Green, as a human … not an author, fan.




“How do you know exactly what teen girls want to read when you write your books that are about one step above truck stop romance novels?”


infinte be a voice not an echo






It’s perfectly okay to dislike my books, but don’t disrespect teen girls. It’s so tired. It’s so easy. And it’s so unfair.

Teen girls are pushing culture toward openness and fairness. Teen girls are making the art and music and fanfiction that has reshaped contemporary media and art. You know who donated most of the $1,400,000 raised by this year’s Project for Awesome? Teen girls. You know who were the first supporters and collaborators for online video projects from Lonelygirl15 to Brotherhood 2.0 to Five Awesome Girls? Teen girls.

This whole teen-girls-are-stupid-and-vapid shit is just so played out. Teen girls are human beings. They are not inferior to other human beings. Their lives and contributions are as interesting and as complicated and as meaningful as anyone else’s.










Take out girls.


Just say teens.



Teen’s lives and contributions are as interesting and as complicated and as meaningful as anyone else’s.



He may not write books I enjoy reading but he thinks thoughts … and shares thoughts … I enjoy reading.


sometimes they change  turning the page


What the heck.


Pick up one of his books … give it a try. I can only guarantee one thing when you read one … at some point you will come across a well-articulated thought, often in his dialogue, that makes you sit back and think.



And maybe … just maybe … he not only makes you think about teens as young adults with meaningful complex lives … but he also teaches you to think about Life a little differently.




“What a slut time is. She screws everybody.”

John Green

The Fault in Our Stars

life, chess and choices

January 17th, 2015

choice sometimes one


“Man’s exile is ignorance; his home is knowledge.”



Honorious of Autun


“This is one of the hardest lessons for humans to learn.

We cannot admit that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous …

 indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose.”


Richard Dawkins






Let’s talk about Life … choices, ignorance, knowledge … and that some things happen because Life is an indifferent purposeless, neither good nor evil, player in your Life. And let’s be clear … it is a game and Life not only plays an active role but it is clearly an opponent.



Which leads me to Life as a chess game.





Maybe better said … the voyage of the soul is often like a game of chess in which you …




Move … counter move.


Rarely move in a straight line.
You dictate some moves.


You react to some moves.



Throughout we gain knowledge forward, backward, diagonally and even by moving chess life choices potter 1sideways.


I note that thought because so often people discuss ‘moving forward.’

chess life potter 2


“Keep going” <with an implication that is always ‘ahead’>.



And yet Life, like chess, is about facing the entire board and obstacles & opportunities which lie all around you … not just in front of you.






In chess … “ahead” come in a variety of directions and moves.





The chess metaphor suggests Life is lived by unlocking different paths in which you make counter moves and moves against Life.




The metaphor also suggests our fate is inevitably made of the sum total of all choices already made <which means fate is neither fickle nor some amorphous concept but … uh oh … rather derived by our choices>.


I thought about this thought after reading the following words in a book:



“In exile men are captured and enslaved while in their homeland they can be free men and beneath their own roofs may reign supreme.

Yet in what does human freedom consist?

The voyage of the soul is like a game of chess.

The object of the game is to entrap the opponent’s king by limiting progressively the opponent’s freedom to move his pieces about the board.

At the beginning of the game each player enjoyed an infinite number of choices.

But with each freely chosen move each player decreased by one an option of his own and perhaps as many as several options for his opponent.

There is a rapid diminishing of free choice for both sides so that as the end of the game nears the players realize their fates has been made by the sum total of those choices already made.

So it is for all men.

key to lifeOnly by foreseeing the ultimate consequence of all decisions and by foretelling the decisions of Life <your opponent in this case> can a man choose wisely and freely.

Yet freedom adheres only to the individual act itself and not to one’s life as a whole.

That being said … this suggests that each person is a lawgiver unto himself, his own magistrate and … ultimately … his own executioner.











This means we are lawyer, magistrate … and executioner … of our own Life?



<insert “yikes” here>




And while the chess pieces are black & white … how about the thought that Life is neither black nor white?



Maybe it is simply indifferent to anything but the move or counter move you make.


And if ignorance is exile … and knowledge is your home … your home is simply the square your piece currently resides on.

At the moment.



Only to move on again and again.






That is some deep shit.



Here is what I like.


Life is neither preordained nor is it assured that Life is a better chess player than you <albeit it has significantly more practice>.


Life is about moves and counter moves.


And all the moves occur with multiple pieces on the board.


And you can move in any direction … even pausing on occasion.



I say that last thought because I believe we far too often see ourselves moving in some line … straight, diagonal, jagged or smooth.


Maybe instead we are a number of pieces each of which are being moved against Life.




You can purposefully sacrifice one piece to attain your objective.

chess life tumble



You can lose a piece <even one you really didn’t want to lose> through a wrong move.



You can win a piece because Life wasn’t paying as close attention as it should.



But what I like most is that choices become more finite over time. I like that dose of reality. A dose in a world where so many positive psychology gurus espouse ‘ infinite choices‘ and ‘you can do whatever you want’ trite crap.



This is a fairly simple concept <with a shit load of complex repercussions>.


Life is a game of chess. As time goes by you win pieces and lose pieces and progress across and around the board.


But you will inevitably have less pieces and a diminishing number of free choices.






That sounds a little … well … forbidding? Maybe a little ‘tough lovish’?





That’s Life.



It takes some hard choices … and some smart choices … to play the game of Life.



Here is what I do know for sure about every move you make:



“Nothing that we do, is done in vain.

I believe, with all my soul, that we shall see triumph.”


Charles Dickens




Life is the voyage of the soul.



Each move and counter move you make is one you choose seeking for a triumph … of the soul.


corners of mixed up soul


We may lose sight of that on occasion but as the once infinite choices become diminished and they become more clearly finite … you could be the village idiot … but you will recognize that the remaining choices become more and more about the soul.




Finiteness … or an inevitable ‘end’ … has an amazing tendency to provide some clarity on what is important.



I think the earlier you recognize this the better you play the Life game of choices.

Enlightened Conflict