Crazy, Isn’t It? March 21st, 2011
I remember flying out to Ohio once for some business meetings. This was when I worked for health insurance giant WellPoint, aka Anthem. We were meeting about data migrations or reorganizations or something else typical for really large companies. In a private moment, one woman I worked with – she was heading up the project and superior to me but not my boss – shook her head and muttered, “Crazy, isn’t it?” And I thought to myself, “well, but you’re the one directly responsible for making it crazy. Do you not see this?”
When I find myself thinking how absurd something is I try to ask (1) well, what was it really that caused me to get here, and (2) what is the most appropriate solution to pull myself out?
As the opening paragraph suggests, oftentimes when we’re struck by something that we think is someone else’s fault, it can be illuminating to take a look at our predicament from another’s perspective. We might discover that it is in fact caused more from our own making than our rose-tinted glasses were telling us.
If that doesn’t lead to enlightenment, what gets you out it? Sometimes it’s an arduous process of unraveling what got you there in the first place. Or maybe you can see the most prudent and efficient thing to do is to simply let it run its course and accept the minor inconveniences that will litter the way. Still other times, when you’re faced with one craziness, the best solution may be to combat it with another. Call it audacity if you like, but in an insane world, sometimes it’s the sanest choice.
Things for me often come in 3’s, so I’ll offer up a third consideration to ponder:
Aren’t crazy things what make life interesting, for they add spice to our everyday droll existence? Wasn’t it almost ‘nice’ to have Charlie Sheen’s perceived breakdown as backdrop to the horrors of the tri-saster in Japan and the problems in Libya? On a more personal plain, we might complain about “chaos, drama queens, head games, attention seekers, trouble makers, liars and 2-faced people”, but then why do we spend so much time talking about them? What would we talk about otherwise? I suppose we’d spend more time discussing political process or the steps to financial security. People would likely laugh less. We would probably live longer though.
Circling back to how I started this post – I wonder if this woman was clued in at all to her role in manufacturing mayhem. I actually had a lot of respect for her, both before and after the comment. Part of me likes to think she was in fact quite aware and just being sarcastic, or maybe it was even a statement of satisfaction rather than an expression of frustration. But it’s interesting how some trivial little moment with someone you didn’t spend a lot of time with can really stick with you. Crazy, isn’t it?
P.S. I’m still at over 70 unfinished blog posts and apparently practicing the LIFO method.
Japan’s Devastation March 14th, 2011
Some headlines, facts, estimates and other phrases found online 4 days after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Sad times. Help if you can. Be grateful for what you have.
- An 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami have crippled Japan
- USGS upgraded to 9.0-magnitude, occurred on Friday, March 11, 2011 at 2:46 PM at epicenter, 130 km (80 miles) E of Sendai, Honshu, Japan
- In pictures: Mounting shock
- The landscape of parts of Japan looks like the aftermath of World War Two
- at least 10,000 people are believed to have died
- “There was 30 minutes’ warning”
- the wave sheared house after house off at the foundation, leaving only concrete bases and wood floors scoured eerily spotless by the rushing water
- Japan Begins To Dig For Dead Amid Nuclear Crisis
- 2,000 Bodies Found On Miyagi Coast
- No one to rescue in Natori
- Japanese finding more tsunami victims; survivors face deprivation
- In Sendai, long lines of quiet desperation
- “I don’t know if it’s good that I survived”
- Body bags run short in ‘overwhelmed’ nation
- 300,000 homeless bed down without electricity
- Millions face a fourth night of fear following Friday’s quake, tsunami and resulting nuclear emergency
- Freezing temperatures are expected to exacerbate the hardships for Japan’s quake survivors
- The fuel rods in all three of the most troubled Japanese nuclear reactors appear to be melting
- A third explosion in four days rocked the earthquake-damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant
- Engineer: Nuclear Plant Not Designed To Withstand Quakes/Tsunamis
- 17 U.S. Military Personnel Test Positive For Radiation
- German Airline Screening Japanese Flights For Radiation
- Germany, Switzerland Suspend Nuclear Plant Approvals
- Japan accident dims odds of U.S. nuclear revival
- Ultimate impact of damage to Japan nuclear reactors still unknown
- Chernobyl Outcome Unlikely
- Risk of radiation reaching U.S. said to be remote
- According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), there are no signs of fuel melting at Japan’s nuclear plant
- Fearmongers go into their own meltdown: ..the Western media’s obsession with what is happening there is seriously overblown and reveals more about us and our fears than it does about the reality on the ground in Japan.
- the most powerful measured seismic event in Japan’s history
- the fifth most powerful to hit the world in the past century
- more than 160 aftershocks in the first 24 hours — 141 measuring 5.0-magnitude or more
- preceded by a series of large foreshocks over the previous two days, 4 earthquakes greater than magnitude 6
- the quake caused a rift 19 miles below the sea floor that stretched about 250 miles long and 100 miles wide
tectonic plates slipped 59 feet (18 meters)
- coastlines moved up to 8 feet
- the quake also shifted the earth’s axis by 4 inches, shortened the day by 1.6 microseconds, and sank Japan downward (by about two feet?)
- some waves reached six miles (10 kilometers) inland
- 30-foot walls of water
- the tsunami’s waves necessitated life-saving evacuations as far away as Chile
Fate and Free Will March 4th, 2011
A few times in the last few months I’ve resorted to telling myself: “you have no free will”, in order to get through a difficult situation. Mostly this helps me to relax a bit in the beginning, and then things just seem to take care of themselves from there.
I was somewhat comforted to find recently that it works the other way around too, when I caught myself thinking, “You’ll remember you don’t believe in any of this fate crap. You’re in control of your own life.”
I used to think people who said and/or believed in the idea that “everything happens for a reason” were just deluding themselves. And while I’m not saying by any means that I’ve now become a convert, I can’t ignore that I’ve been having experiences that are making me wonder. And these things are coming at me from all sorts of different directions.
I’ve also said a number of things which make a moderate degree of sense when I say them, but then not long thereafter something happens and they fit in even better with the future situation. I’ve been wondering if other people have done this also. It’s making me question our concept of time… “It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.”
Quite a while back I put “tempting fate to convince me” on my Facebook profile as my religious view. I didn’t really know what I meant by it, I mostly just thought it sounded neat and quirky. Sometimes now I will do this with a bit more intention, i.e. say something that I feel like saying but don’t entirely know why, expecting it will become more clear to me later why I said it. And frequently it does.
I don’t know where this fits in in this post but frankly, if I look back on these words in a few months and think that I was completely off my rocker, I’ll probably be happy about that. Maybe it’s all “chicken wings and beer”.
Practically speaking – and all kidding about winning lotto numbers aside – if we really had the ability to foretell the future, I think we would find ourselves wishing we weren’t so gifted. It is rather unnerving and also a bit sad to think that things are set, that we have no free will.
Most of us would agree that we don’t truly know if we have free will or not. I think it’s better that way, because it means the doors are open to so many possibilities. It means that, in a way, we can have both fate and free will, choose whichever, whenever we need it.