Our treatment of animals doesn’t reveal so much about what they are, as who we are.
This is especially true for dogs.
On one hand, dogs purportedly are “mans’ best friend.” Yet, the appellation “dog” is often used as an insult hurled at those deemed to be less than human. “He’s a dog,” or “She’s a dog” — we know exactly what’s meant by these derisive expressions, dont we?
So, which is it? Are dogs our most adored companions, or the typification of filth?
Well, they’re both. And precisely which side of the fence of human perception any particular dog falls into has virtually nothing to do with them. After all, canine DNA is basically the same from animal to animal. Rather, what makes us value one dog more than another are the twisted peculiarities of selective breeding, which is used to accentuate and exaggerate physical characteristics and behavioral traits.
Fact: If you don’t live there anymore, that means — the place you’re from sucks.
Got it New Yorkers? Got it Texans? Got it Californians?
The fact that you aren’t living there anymore means your old place stinks. Otherwise, why would you leave? Why did you leave? What made you pack up everything and leave that place behind like an old beer can for somewhere else? If the place you revere so much with all that self-delusional nostalgia is so great, then answer me this — why aren’t you still living there?
Another senseless death. Another wasted talent.
What’s the appropriate reaction when something like this happens?
Shock? Certainly. Sadness? Absolutely. Outrage? Yeah, probably. Confusion? Yes.
In the coming days, we’ll see the predictable outpouring of sympathy from all those who knew actor Philip Seymour Hoffman best. They’ll say nice things. They’ll say the right things. But they won’t say what really needs to be said. And heard by so many.
And that’s as follows: Philip Seymour Hoffman ended his life as a loser. Not as an Oscar winning actor. Not at the pinnacle of his professional career performing onstage. Not spending a moment of tenderness with his parents, or playing with any of this three children.
He ended his life laying half-naked on the bathroom floor with a needle stuck in his arm and several doses of heroin within reach.
That’s a hell of a way to go out, and sadly, an even worse way to be remembered.
Did you ever stop to think why the United States has more people locked up in prison than any country in the world?
Today, I’d like to discuss an invisible crisis.
Chances are, this crisis affects you in some way. Chances are, about one in 4 people out there may have some form if it. Chances are, a far greater number actually know someone whose life is affected.
It’s responsible for much of our nation’s crime. It’s squandered immeasurable resources, both human and financial. It causes unfathomable heartache and immense suffering for tens of millions of people, not just those who are afflicted, but among family and friends forced to bear most of the heaviest burdens. Moreover, it’s peculiarly inhumane how it’s currently managed as public policy as well as how its perceived by society as a whole.
I’m talking about mental illness.
“People find heroes and madmen a perennial source of fascination, for they have no fear of life or death. Both heroes and madmen are indifferent to danger and will forge ahead regardless of what other people say.”
― Paulo Coelho
Introductory Note: Here are five short essays written recently, which all share a connected theme. Each could have been a separate thought and article. But I decided to leave them short as they were, and offer a “sampler” here.