Walking lines and standing for truth

I’ve recently had a realization about this blog. I was shackling myself. I was setting myself up for failure, but no more.

As usual (in my world at least) it’s not a one factor model. Over the last year or so I’ve gotten a small body of likes and followers. A small body, but not a large one. I hate to admit it, but a bit of a starvation  mentality set in. I was afraid to speak up because I was afraid if I did I would loose the followers I had.

That’s a bad idea… Actually both sides are bad ideas… Loosing follows would be bad; less people would be reading what I have to say. At the same time being afraid to speak weakened what I did say. Weakening my words also results in less people reading what I have to say.

I was falling pray to the fear of offending anyone. You’re never going to make a strong statement if you’re afraid of offending people. And, if you want to make strong statements, but don’t because it might offend someone that undermines you as a writer/speaker and as a person. Reader/hearers can detect that and don’t respond well.

Then, I allowed myself to loose focus. I would give lip service to doing and writing good things here, but I never allowed myself the time to do that. The reality is that not taking the time to do things right is another loosing position.

The reality is that there must be opposition in all things. Often that opposition does not want me (or you to) talk about the things that we believe and stand for.

So, I will be making changes here at WMS. I am making a new commitment not to be afraid to talk about things that matter to me. And if you’d like to weigh in I’m happy to make it a conversation.

If you are interested in or concerned about things I choose to talk about here dear reader, please respond and comment. If not publicly send me an email…

I’m not going to waste my time on trolls, or people that just want to push their angle with no discussions (that’s not what this blog is for). I’m not going to deliberately offend anyone. But, I am going to say something when I have something to say.

And, I welcome comments, discussion, questions, and requests from people who want to discuss things in a civil manner. That is what this place is for dear reader, to talk about ideas and what the words mean.

Words do mean stuff dear reader. Now lets get talking…

Another lesson while ‘riding through the desert’

While I was on my last trip to California my wife and I went to her parents ward (congregation) for church.

One of the young men who was at the table to bless the bread and water was interesting. He was short. He had Downs Syndrome facial features. He wore glasses and a hearing aid. I thought,  “How nice, they’re letting him help.” It’s not uncommon for some wards to have a third young man help break the bread.

Then something happened that surprised  me (and it shouldn’t have). He wasn’t there just to help break the bread, he was there to bless the Sacrament. This young man, even with all his problems, was worthy and capable of performing the work of The Lord.

I thought about the people in our own ward back home. We have a man who (by statistics) should never have survived childhood. He faithfully mans the doors to the chapel every week, or helps pass the bread and water, or otherwise helps to serve The Lord and his church family in any way he can. And he’s happy to do it. He also take attendance for my group in one of our other Sunday meetings. When it is time to do our quarterly reports he is the one person that I never have to worry about having his information in on time!

None of us are in any way perfect. None of us is without bump, dent, bruise, defect, or stain.

All of us are capable of doing real good in the world. And, none of us are more powerful, capable, or blessed than when we do what The Lord would ask us to do.

That’s it for today dear reader. Until next time…

God bless!

Media, Star Wars and Human Behavior

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent a good deal of the last month dealing with a family reunion and some other business. That experience has helped heighten my understanding of parts of human behavior…

The trip, among other things, has really highlighted the fact that different people pick up on, and form their opinions based on, different features of an event. This leads to interesting confrontations and issues; like the family member who will argue that a person’s faith in god can be determined by whether or not he/she will willingly walk into a casino…

The Media…

This also factors into certain media behavior. There are psychological principles about how and when to present data that effect which features of a story will be picked up on. Persons in the media may choose to report on the race or profession of a crime victim while downplaying other details. This happens in both fiction media, and the ‘non-fiction’ media that we call news media (Note I’m not taking sides on which news media…).

Certain aspects of things will be picked up and noted. This depends on both what the people creating a program or story choose to emphasize and the interests and biases of the people watching/listening

The Star Wars…

A great example of all this happened on the trip when my stepfather, my wife, and I watched Star Wars Episode VII.

My  step father, who is a movie buff, described the movie as “OK”.

My wife, who’s been talking to me about writing way too much, immediately locked onto the character development. Maybe I should say she locked onto the lack of character development…

Myself, I never really got as far as character development. I was stuck on the level of counting references and beats borrowed from other movies.

Three reasonably intelligent people with experience in the genre came up with three different opinions based on three different sets of ‘facts’ from one data pool (the movie).

The situation deepened after we got home… For those who haven’t seen the movie yet there is a new ‘big bad’ in the film known as Snoke. There is also a whole legion of internet theories about who ‘Snoke’ actually is. Candidates include Darth Plagueis, Darth Sidious, Darth Vader, one of the younglings from the Jedi Academy, Luke Skywalker. Leia, Bobafett, and Jar Jar Binks (both as himself and as a reincarnation of one of the ‘Darths’).

All of the conclusions are drown from information in the movie (pictures and bits of sound) to which are added bits of background knowledge and the personal opinons of the individual.

My theory of ‘Snoke’…

Now… lets make this clear at the start; I am doing this as an example of behavior. This is not a genuine theory of who ‘Snoke’ is!

There is really one obvious ‘true’ answer to who Snoke is…

Snoke is Abraham Lincoln.

It’s all pretty obvious.

Snoke is tall (at least the projected image of him is). Lincoln was also tall.

Snoke is some kind of of dark side master (Sith or otherwise). Any time we talk about masters of The Force sooner or later somebody brings up temples. the Lincoln Memorial is somewhere people go when they have a crisis of faith. That is also a definition of a temple.

Snoke is shown sitting in a big, throne like, chair. The statue of Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial shows him sitting in a similar chair.

There it is: Tall, Temple, Chair… The answer is obvious: Snoke is Lincoln!

Actual Conclusions…

In reality I have no idea who ‘Snoke’ is (that’s another writers problem!). My point is that it is pretty easy to jump to conclusions based on a few details without really thinking and learning. We need to do better than that.

We need to avoid building an opinion based on a few details and then rejecting any contrary information. That’s called confirmation bias and it manages to get people into a lot of trouble.

It gets us in trouble when we have the actual experience and facts to go on. It really gets us into trouble if we rely on other people to ‘pre filter’ the facts for us.

Getting the wrong conclusion on who ‘Snoke’ is probably won’t cause any major harm. But doing the same thing with real people and real life can (especially in an election year).

That’s it for this one dear reader. Until next time…

Learn for yourself…

then decide!