Enlightened Conflict

juxtaposition

November 24th, 2016

 

juxtaposition-stop-keep-moving-life-advice

 

“It is a union that suggests the essential mystery of the world.

Art for me is not an end in itself, but a means of evoking that mystery. ”

 

René Magritte on putting seemingly unrelated objects together in art

 

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jux·ta·po·si·tion

noun

 

  1. the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect.

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Thanksgiving often represents the ultimate juxtaposition.

 

dream interesting headA time and place in which generations intersect.

 

The ones intermittently stepping with both uncertainty and moments of certain confidence … growing into who they will be.

 

The ones intermittently standing in a space of satisfaction and moments of dissatisfaction … who grapple with who they are <and what they have done and have not done>.

 

The ones intermittently looking at how things have changed, for good and bad, who desperately hold on to who and what everyone was … while every bone in their body wants to see how it will be better for those around them despite how much has changed.

 

 

Thanksgiving is fraught with juxtapositions.

 

And we wonder why there is often conflict?

 

Thanksgiving often forces us to view the past, present and future in one forced viewing. And not only that but instead of the more common sit back and introspectively view your own intersection of past, present & future this one is more often done in a collaboration & consensus event where all participants weigh in and offer some thoughts on. And the participants aren’t typically some random people pulled of the street or employees in some department you only see in the break room … these participants are representative of what truly happened in your past, are most likely semi involved in your present and , whether you like it or not, are places you will visit again in your future.

 

The juxtaposition of what is in your own mind and what is in others minds shifts the intangible to tangible as real as the turkey being served on a plate to everyone.

 

I often do think that Thanksgiving is art coming to Life.

 

We picture the picture.

We choose the palette of colors to use.

We all place a brush on the canvas.

 

And, in the end, we gaze at the end product … each seeing it through our own lens of what Life means to us and what we mean to Life.

 

Juxtapositions can be difficult.

 

Difficult to … well … like … or maybe to embrace easily.bad-good-juxtapose-life-family-ideas

 

Difficult to easily see how the good and bad embody … well … good shit.

 

Difficult to see a reality that matches … well … the reality we had in our head before we were forced to encounter this juxtaposition.

 

Regardless.

 

I have one word for you today, on this thanksgiving, as we ponder this day in which we are faced with juxtaposition  … “neighboring.”

 

In the Modern Guide of Synonyms juxtaposition does not have its own heading.

It can only be found under “neighboring.”

 

Juxtaposing can be found only side by side with adjacent, adjoining, contiguous and neighboring.

 

Far too often we, I included, separate past, present and future … “live in the moment” … “learn from the past” … “the future is now.”

All that shit.

 

Last year on Thanksgiving I suggested it is the functional dysfunctional being served as a good tasting dish on the day. That on Thanksgiving all of that typically comes together and eats together. But I also suggested … “all I know is that my family is my family and my childhood was my childhood and my future is my future.”

And that the functionally dysfunctional in all aspects, and all the aspects, helped craft the man, the person, I am today. I imagine I am not that different in that aspect from anyone else.

 

I was a victim of it all without becoming a victim of the experience. Just as I will be a victim of the future without becoming a victim of the experience.

 

Anyway.

 

Past, present and future are neighbors. We see each other every day and say good morning even when grumpy and not awake and talk about what is happening with our kids and lives over the fence in between chores. And these neighbors paint the canvas of our lives. Yeah. Sometimes we don’t always like what we see but sometimes it all comes together just right.

 

Thanksgiving, while a forced juxtaposition in which we are forced to sit and face next generation of thinkerspast, present & future, is a gathering of neighboring thoughts, adjacent thoughts, adjoining thoughts and contiguous thoughts.

 

And that, my friends, is what art is.

 

A gathering of all those thoughts.

A creation borne of the mystery of the world … and our world.

 

Ponder that this thanksgiving wherever you are and whoever you are with.

 

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

why women get aggravated by men

October 7th, 2016

 

 

stupid-men-smart-beautiful-women-1

 

I had no real reason for posting this thought today other than:

 

<1> I saw these two gifs posted, and

 

<2> it reminds me how stupid condescending sexist assholes like this make my Life more difficult, and

 

<3> it reminds me how far we still have to go with regard to some fairly stupid masculine attitudes.

stupid-men-beautiful-smart-women-2

 

And just because I do think far too many guys don’t think about gender equality/inequality enough nor do they think about it thru a woman’s eyes <as best they can> if they do think about it … every guy should read the following from For the Men Who Still Don’t Get It <Carol Diehl> and just take a minute to reflect upon it:

 

 

“What if
all women were bigger and stronger than you
And thought they were smarter

 

What if
women were the ones who started wars

 

What if
too many of your friends had been raped by women wielding giant dildos
and no K-Y Jelly

 

What if
the state trooper
who pulled you over on the New Jersey Turnpike
was a woman
and carried a gun

 

What if
the ability to menstruate
was the prerequisite for most high-paying jobs

 

What if
your attractiveness to women depended
on the size of your penis

 

What if
every time women saw you
they’d hoot and make jerking motions with their hands

 

What if
women were always making jokes
about how ugly penises are
and how bad sperm tastes

 

What if
you had to explain what’s wrong with your car
to big sweaty women with greasy hands
who stared at your crotch
In a garage where you are surrounded
by posters of naked men with hard-ons

 

What if
men’s magazines featured cover photos
of 14-year-old boys
with socks
tucked into the front of their jeans
and articles like:
“How to tell if your wife is unfaithful”
or
“What your doctor won’t tell you about your prostate”
or
“The truth about impotence”

 

What if
the doctor who examined your prostate
was a woman
and called you “Honey”

 

What if
You had to inhale your boss’s stale cigar breath
as she insisted that sleeping with her
was part of the job

 

What if
You couldn’t get away because
the company dress code required
you wear shoes
designed to keep you from running

 

thinker thumbtack

…… just think about it ………

And what if
after all that
women still wanted you
to love them.

 

For the Men Who Still Don’t Get It – Carol Diehl

 

 

dependence on women in life

May 5th, 2016

king is a woman feminism power life

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels.

Life’s a bitch.

You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”

 

Maya Angelou

 

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“Being a woman is a terribly difficult trade since it consists principally of dealings with men.”

 

Joseph Conrad

 

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So.

 

Feminism and gender <women> inequality will be inextricably tied to the end of time.

 

history feminism women anonymousI will get to feminism but let me take on inequality first.

 

While we flippantly talk about opportunities for women and young girls and how they can be whatever they want to be reality suggests otherwise.

 

And it does so for a variety of reasons.

 

But you know what? I could talk until I am blue in the face about the barriers women face and … well … men will not care <for the most part>.

 

They may shrug their shoulders, maybe say “gosh, that isn’t fair” and even say “boy, we should do something about that.”

 

Again and again it seems women are forced to … well … convince everyone else <men> that there’s something in it for them if they actually became involved.

 

That seems crazy.

 

That said.

 

A report from the McKinsey Global Institute finds that greater gender parity in the workforce <pay, hours worked, and access to full-time jobs> would also benefit the entire country’s economy. The report makes the case for both the government and businesses to take a more proactive role in bringing about gender equality.

 

I would also point out some sobering statistics to men.

 

It is inevitable that women will actually earn MORE than men in the future <so, men, get your head wrapped around that>.

 

Women outnumber men on college campuses <men earn only about 42% of the degrees>.

 

Teenage boys in wealthy countries are 50% more likely than girls to fail all there basic subjects in school – math, reading & science.

 

Women with no high school education dropped from 32.9% in 1979 to 11.4%, compared to men at 12.4%, in 2013.

 

In 1960 among never married American adults 25-34 there were 139 men with jobs for every 100 women <with or without jobs>.

 

In 2012 there were only 91 employed men for every 100 women. This gets worse for African American men … not even counting employed or not employed … there are only 83 men <not in jail> for every 100 women. In some inner cities it drops to only 50 black men with jobs for every 100 women.

 

Working class labor intensive jobs <which males tend to dominate> are decreasing globally while occupations which women tend to dominate are projected to grow.

 

In America pay for men with only a high school diploma fell 21% in real terms from 1979 to 2013 <women actually increased 3%>.

For those who dropped out of high school it fell by 34% <women dropped 12%>.

feminist cobain

 

<primary source: The Economist>

 

 

What is tamping down the growth of women professionally, and income wise, is that despite the sobering male work numbers the majority of leadership <where jobs, pay & employee services are decided> are made up of old white men <95% of Fortune 500 CEOs are male as well as 93% of government heads>.

 

Suffice it to say.

 

Men are getting stupider. Men are less qualified for the work force. And, yet, men maintain the reins on this horse & buggy situation.

Boy oh boy.

 

Does anyone doubt this situation will change once women assume more leadership roles? <and we wonder why old white men scoff at feminism and women inequality in the workplace? … said sarcastically>

 

Ok.

 

Feminism may be one of the most mis-discussed and misunderstood words & topics of my generation.

 

Feminism has lots of company in the tricky business because causes, in general, are tricky things.

 

Tricky in that bringing them up publicly tend to bring out the worst in … well … everyone.

 

Some people balk as they protect their own interest.

Some people balk feeling like the cause implies some sense of entitlement.

Some people balk over an implied ‘victim mentality’ aspect.

Some people become obstinate in their approval.

Some people become obstinate in their disapproval.

 

And mostly tricky because everyone would benefit from a little more education on any topic and, yet, causes almost seem to shut down our inherent listening & learning muscles.

speak listen ear

Causes are discussions. Discussions about important issues. I imagine I could point out it is tricky to discuss something if you are either shouting or not listening.

 

Regardless.

 

Feminism, while about equality, is about women and status and roles.

 

And maybe because I sometimes shake my head at how women sometimes speak of equality for women and feminism in general I begin my own thoughts where I believe the discussion in general should begin:

 

 

  • Do we doubt our dependence on women?

 

 

  • Do we doubt a woman’s value?

 

 

  • Do we doubt a woman’s importance <beyond reproduction>?

 

 

Simplistically the answer most people would give is ‘no, we do not doubt’ to all of the above. So, surprisingly, you would tend to believe feminism is off to a roaring start.

 

Next.

 

This one may be the hard part. I tend to believe many of the discussions are grounded in the wrong place … they begin with inequality.

Inequality, to me, is never where I would begin.

 

 

Why?

 

Seems like I would want to start any male/female discussion with simply assuming everyone is equal upfront <and then move from there>.

 

This permits us to discuss maximizing what should be rather than figuring out how to ‘fix something.’

 

I admit.

 

The discussion of feminism seems mired down in emotional haranguing where rational simplicity seems to be a more fruitful path.

respect women feminism

I admit.

 

I love the fact that Canada’s new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has named a cabinet that is equally balanced between men and women.

The ministers – 15 women and 15 men – are mostly aged under 50, in a team marking both a generational change and a commitment to reflecting Canada’s diversity.

 

Asked to explain his gender parity promise, he answered: “Because it’s 2015.”

 

I love the actions but there is still an attitudinal issue.

 

===

 

“I’m all for empowerment and equal wages and the such.

Just don’t expect me to understand or care about feminism as a movement.

I’ll be honest, I don’t care. It’s got nothing to do with me.”

Corey Milne of WhatCulture.com

 

===

“It’s got nothing to do with me.” <what a fucking idiot>

 

That sums up the biggest issue female equality faces.

 

Men and their attitudes. Its not me. I am all for equality. I do not disempower women. It is never “me” it is always someone else … and therefore it is always up to someone else to change things.

 

This is crazy.

Frickin’ crazy.

 

Of course someone is going to point out one of the few jobs that are not mainstream typical for a woman … but in general … any women can do anything that  a man can do in the work world.

 

Reflect upon that as you ponder equal pay for women.

 

Ok.

Ok.

 

Let’s set aside can women ‘do as good a job as men’ <which, frankly is not the issue> and go to the root issue of men’s attitude … “their work is not of the same value as mine”.

 

Really?

Really???

 

Rather than theoretical pontificating or made up analysis of data … how about a real case study?

 

Iceland, 24 October 1975

 

Sparked by the activism of the Red Stockings radical women’s group, 90% of Iceland’s women went on strike on this day to protest against men’s exploitation of women’s free labour within the home and women’s underpaid, underacknowledged and underpromoted labour beyond it. For one day, they didn’t go to work and refused to do the childcare, cooking, cleaning and family admin. Iceland ground to a halt, as it would if women in any country did the same. It demonstrated just how much of society ran on women’s uncredited free work. More than 30 years on Iceland is famed as one of the most egalitarian countries in the world. Perhaps we should all take a tip from the Red Stockings.

 

 

=======

 

 

‘Well-behaved women seldom make history.’

 

———

 

Nope, Marilyn Monroe didn’t say it. The historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich said it.

 

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Someone has to do the care work in an economy, otherwise nothing else works, but because care is not valued, it is either badly paid or not paid at all. On some level, we still believe that professional nurses, caretakers and child minders are simply extending their natural family role as nurturers. It’s not a real job, “anyone can do it”.

At least … any woman.

 

But let’s take the women out of the home and into the economy.

feminism unfinished rights hillary

Calculations about how much growth would go up if women and girls had the same opportunities as men are important. They show us that gender equality is not just a question of fairness but something that everyone could benefit from.

But they are also problematic in that they don’t acknowledge the economic contributions that girls and women are already making.

 

When married women in the west entered the workforce, they started to devote more time to the kind of work that is counted and less time to the kind of work that isn’t. This dramatically increased the GDP in the western world.

But was this increase accurate?

 

Because no one had bothered to quantify housework, we might have overvalued the actual increase in wealth. The calculations we make today about how much wealth would increase if more women in developing economies took up paid work might be wrong for the same reason.

 

We need a new economic story. One that stresses the need for change, without ignoring the economic contributions women and girls make today.

 

Girls and women are not an untapped economic resource in the world; their work is the invisible structure that keeps societies and economies together. But they haven’t freely chosen this role. And they are not being paid, compensated or acknowledged for it.

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

 

 

Well.

 

That would suggest that we are not only dependent upon women for keeping the behind the scenes world running but we are also dependent upon them for the future economic success of the world.

 

<how many men ran to the liquor cabinet after reading that?>

 

I shared the economic stuff because, well, going back to the beginning … I felt like while gender equality kind of seems like a no-brainer I had to point out ‘what is in it for us.”

 

I hate having to do so.

But the end justifies the means.

 

And, that said, let me mention where I believe feminism seems to go awry <at least with men>.

 

It seems to far too often the discussion devolves into some bra-burning diatribe or strident loudly asserted  statements that women are better than men … or some other ludicrous ‘women are unique’ diatribe.

 

This all gets in the way of the simple fact that men seem to struggle with the fairly simple concept that feminism attempts to address unfair discrimination against women and attempts to create gender equality.

equal we are all

It is not a ‘better than’ discussion <although I do understand the intent is to ‘build value perceptions beyond current belief> but rather an equality discussion.

 

Yes.

 

Sometimes the discussion can get a little ludicrous. But even I will admit that in some way … even in its absurdity there is value. It only <most often> becomes absurd because without the absurdity it may be ignored.

 

Absurdity or not … issues of equality and civility concern everyone.

 

I’m not sure how anyone can be part of a society that treats women, even if it is only occasional, like ‘lesser thans’ in some way and say “it isn’t me.”

 

It is me.

 

It is you.

 

It is us.

 

And me, you & us should care.

 

And we should recognize it is a real issue and , consequentially, a real problem.

 

This certainly doesn’t mean every man should devote their life to fighting gender inequality. Nor does this mean that every time you encounter one of the more absurd aspects of the feminism debate you should stand and applaud.

 

It just means that you are more aware.

 

More aware that we are more dependent upon women than maybe we perceive.

 

More aware that gender inequality more often than not arises in more subtle nuanced ways than in some loud obvious behaviors.future past present

 

More aware that remaining silent in the face of gender inequality permits misguided behavior to thrive.

 

More aware that we should be concerned with the society we live in because … well … we live in this society <as do our girlfriends, wives, daughters, nieces, etc.>.

 

More aware that even though it doesn’t appear to affect you … it surely does affect you <whether you like it or not>.

 

The future of the world is dependent upon a number of things … women being one. An important one … but one. I say that to insure I am not an extremist and at the same time I will suggest that addressing gender inequality benefits us, all of us <including men> economically, socially, psychologically and societally.

 

That last sentence alone should be the rallying call for feminism and gender equality.

celebration of vanity and frivolousness

March 18th, 2016

 immortality waste of time

———

 

‘What is “fashion” anyways, but a celebration of vanity and frivolousness?

 

We should pursue higher truths: let us shed the falseness of apparel, together, and writhe naked on this carpet.’

 

=

 

Sarah Jeong

 

———————————-

 

“You have scattered your awareness in all directions,
and your vanities are not worth a bit of cabbage.
The root of every thorn draws
the water of your attention toward itself.
How will the water of your attention reach the fruit?
Cut through the evil roots, cut them away.
Direct the Bounty of God to spirit and insight,
not to the knotted and broken world outside.”

 

=

 

Rumi

 

—————————-

 

 

 

Well.

 

This is about fashion … and … uhm … journalism.

 

completely useless meJournalism & fashion?

 

Yup.

 

Both seem to teeter on the edge of frivolousness.

 

Both pander to the ego.

 

Both push the envelope in what they showcase all the while showcasing that which is not really helpful for the general public on an everyday basis.

 

Both seem to have a wandering moral compass.

 

And both seem to have an uncomfortably disproportionate effect on us <society>.

 

By the way.

 

Yeah.

An industry can have a moral compass. I say that because most industries do play by some ‘rules.’ And a portion of those rules are dictated by the industry moral compass. And by rules I don’t mean lying versus not lying and having some sense of overall responsibility to how they sell what it is they are selling <not selling a crappy product/service> but rather an overall sense of higher ethics.

 

This is tricky.

Maybe trickier than it looks on the surface.

 

Ethics could very very easily reside in ‘truth.’ But instead I would argue that if you are an industry in which you know you have a larger impact than just selling what it is you have to sell that you have a responsibility to a higher order of ethics.

 

I worked in advertising for a long time in my career. So I understand the responsibility to something more than ‘selling shit’ <which was my compass early in my career>.

 

The responsibility resides more in understanding that what you say and what you show and what you ‘sell’ makes an impact with regard to attitudes. How people think and creating some societal impact. I imagine many <many> people in fashion and journalism think about this an assess their actions on the moment … as in “I have a responsibility to the moment.”

 

That is the easy path.

The lazy path.

And that is the path that detours you around that beautiful little park which seems to have fewer and fewer visitors to what I will call “moral responsibility park.”

 

Each moment in fashion and journalism creates a ripple. Yes. EACH moment.

And, yes, if you look at it that way it can become a little overwhelming and possibly it creates some issues with regard to what you may actually do, or not do, in that moment. And it may even mean you take a moment and decide ‘damn, but this would have sold some shit <or created some awesome viewership>.”

 

I will be honest.

 

I am not sure if I am discussing fashion & journalism’s inordinate desire to celebrate moments of vanity <which is actually a frivolous approach to their business and overall responsibility> or if this is an overall ignorance of lack of responsibility <or possibly lack of understanding> of a higher responsibility that what they do and say each moment has an impact.

 

I can almost assuredly say that these days both industries seem to be fighting not only for some rational valued place in society <as both appear to be relegated to frivolous irrational/emotional status> and, therefore, while no one is noting it … internally both are fighting to find their inner compass and are clearly standing in the moral relativism space.

 

This should be important not only to them but to us.

 

Their vertigo, i.e., without being grounded in some way with morality each step, doesn’t just make them dizzy but also creates a spinning in overall societal attitudes with regard to what is important and what is truly happening around us <outside our own sphere of activity an experiences>.

frivolous vanity

==

 

Vertigo is when a person feels as if they or the objects around them are moving when they are not.

Often it feels like a spinning or swaying movement. This may be associated with nausea, vomiting, sweating, or difficulties walking. It is typically worsened when the head is moved. Vertigo is the most common type of dizziness.

 

==

 

Now.

 

I think sometimes both of these industries confuse the dizziness with ‘the light headedness associated with the celebration of vanity.’

 

They become so fixated on the dual glittering spectacle of that which they seek to sell and that who is … well … themselves.

 

Ok.

 

While I could editorialize about the misguided ego of that which is fashion and journalism I believe I will talk about some specifics. Because it is lazy to simply heap disdainful opinion upon the empty carcasses of fashion and journalism.

 

I want to discuss some specifics because when journalism and fashion get t it wrong … when they lose their moral compass and stray gleefully with vanity & frivolousness across our lives … they can fuck us, people, up.

 

How does fashion fuck us up?

 

Their advertising is misguided and sucks.

 

Worse?

Their advertising may actually dictate some social norms and beliefs.

 

Yeah.

 

Advertising can do that.

 

And if they kept that style and vapid effort to themselves it would be okay … but then they convince someone else to do something “artsy” to create “buzz” and be “cool” and … well … my quotation mark key is getting worn out.

 

Look.

 

I am not disregarding personal responsibility with regard to electing what is important to us and what is not. But if you are continuously being pounded with images and words depicting what is not only socially acceptable but what is socially desirable … you will inevitably begin thinking it is truth <or maybe even just thinking that it is possibly truth>. It is a seductive path to walk. And none of us … yes … NONE of us are immune to this seduction.

We eye it equally with trepidation and thoughts of possibilities. And in doing so it creates seductive images of … well … false glory.character dignity glory worth

 

===

 

“False glory is the rock of vanity; it seduces men to affect esteem by things which they indeed possess, but which are frivolous, and which for a man to value himself on would be a scandalous error.”

 

——-

 

Jean de la Bruyere

 

====

 

By the way … this is human. This is not some sign of weakness or of lack of self identity … his is real world ‘me & you’ attitude stuff. Don’t laugh. Don’t think you are immune to it. it I how we think. That doesn’t mean you can’t fight it off but, trust me, their frivolousness is insipid and wily and is constantly trying to sneak into our thoughts and attitudes.

 

By the way … I note that last thought because that is where I believe fashion’s lack of responsibility is … well … almost unforgivable. Unforgivable because my guess is that in the back room discussion this never even comes up in the conversation.

 

 

Shame on them.  

 

How does journalism fuck us up?

 

While advertising can shape social norms and beliefs … journalism can do so exponentially so.

For while we see fashion as ‘trends to jump on’ journalism is seen more as ‘issues to jump on.’

 

Therefore if both teeter on the edge of frivolous … journalism bears the burden of irresponsibility even more so.

 

It seems like “objective” news has disappeared and now news outlets reside almost all in a partisan driven, niche opinion/attitude space … but do so under the guise of intellectual discourse.

 

They get away with this intellectual highway robbery because they are legally classified as commentary or opinion under the larger ‘infotainment’.

 

They sit comfortably in their plush moral relativity seats selling people what they wish to hear justifying the irrational hate/anger of a mob mentality against other opinions/commentary creating some sense of belonging among their viewership/readership.

 

They have lost any remote relationship to a higher moral compass and responsibility for a higher responsibility to the moment.

 

 

Shame on them.

lies we tell oursleves fingers

I can wag my finger and shake my head at fashion and journalism because their moral relativism <or lack of moral responsibility> actually falls into the same trap they are driving society into … their vanity and self esteem.

 

I am constantly amazed each industry is simultaneously preoccupied with the appearance of its own body and at the same time completely out of touch with it as well.

 

==

 

“It’s amazing to me that we can be simultaneously completely preoccupied with the appearance of our own body and at the same time completely out of touch with it as well.“

 

 

Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

==

 

 

They celebrate their own vanity and frivolousness because … well … they have lost sight of their moral compass. Or at least they have lost sight of the higher moral responsibility.

 

Let me be clear.

 

What I am discussing today matters.

 

It matters because while we would like to flippantly relegate fashion and journalism to some irrelevant chatter occurring on the edges of Life … neither are irrelevant and neither are just chatter.

 

They impact society way beyond informing our opinions … they inform and impact our attitudes. And, yes, attitudes impact our behavior.

 

Our behavior with regard to not only ourselves <how we look, eat, dress, think and do things> but also with regard to those around us <how we view how they look, what they eat, how they dress, what they think and what they do>.

 

Both fashion and journalism absolve themselves of the higher order responsibility with words like “we want to inform people so they are better aware.’

 

What bullshit.

 

That is simply their excuse to do whatever they want in the moment.

 

They are both current in the managing/maximizing the moment’ business which is knowledge higher planesimply moral relativism.

 

 

Shame on them.

 

To circle back to the beginning … my advice to fashion & journalism is … cut through the evil roots, cut them away …  and  pursue higher truths: let us shed the falseness.

 

Running business by ‘moments’ is seductive but  only leads to moral relativism. Pursue the higher path.

Enlightened Conflict