|Sullygram...March 2017 newsletter
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|Author:||Thomas (Sully) Sullivan [ Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:18 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Sullygram...March 2017 newsletter|
Consider the tree. In winter it stands around naked, and every twist and turn in its life story can be read like an x-ray. Once it starts budding past spring puberty, it goes all fashion crazy with a zillion fig leaves and you see only what it wants you to see. Right now in Mini-snowda, the good, the bad and the ugly of every tree’s history is on full display.
Like that nice straight trunk over there, clearly representing the years when a young elm full of hope innocently reached for the stars. But let your eye follow the branches of its family (yeah, every tree is a family tree) and you’ll see that most of the limbs started out on their own, then quickly bent to the prevailing winds of life. Conformists? Look again to the other side where a couple of branches strove to balance the family equation by growing against the wind (…and the grain). Mavericks! How else to explain their defiance of air and gravity? So many decisions made, twig by twig, good and bad. A twist here to escape the shade and gather light, a turn there to find shelter from habitual storms. Knotty scars proclaim old battles. That blackened bole shaped like a tombstone screams in silence where a bold horizontal that once spread its leaves over the lane was cleaved by lightning. But there’s always something at the crown of a tree still reaching for the light, something green and vital whose spirit never ages. That’s the thing I love best. It doesn’t know how to live without passion – doesn’t know how to die – and in its dare to reach for the magic of every moment, it escapes the fate of the sheltered branches.
Very human – these trees – don’t you think?
We chart our course, make our decisions on which way to turn and what to reach for as we grow, and at some point there’s no turning back. Our roots and habits enforce the status quo. No more change. At least for most of us. We surrender. That’s the onset of middle age. It’s just easier to take our foot off the gas pedal a little, accept some defeats, cut our losses, choose our battles, be grateful for what we have. We grow tired of searching, tired of change. Whatever we’ve found becomes our truth and our anchor.
But there’s a fine line between maturity and resignation. I hope to hell I never cross it. Too easy to declare “I have the answers” and smother further discovery. Too easy to live a life without passion. And if you do, Mother Nature dials down protective hormones and drains your libido. For me, that’s like practicing death. I don’t want to run down like a clock. Keeping the magic alive means more time to grow, learn, discover and chase the mysteries of life.
So many of the people I hear from are sorting their lives out as if arranging their own estate sale. They’ve announced to Nature and the world that they don’t plan on changing anything. Their reflexes are on autopilot and fueled by their emotions instead of new thoughts, new discoveries, epiphanies and revelations. I guess that’s a kind of security, but it’s also a fatal stubbornness. And in the end, even security crumbles. Unless your security derives from reaching for the light. Like a tree.
Finally got around to digging out some blast-from-the-past photos in this month’s selection below, plus a mix of recent stuff. Here’s the list: #1 Linda Tyldesley photo of swan; #2 boudoir shot in Michigan, I think; #3 winter shadows; #4 sunset on snow; #5 pheasant hunting season; #6 Crow-Hassan; #7-10 oldies of my ex and I trampolining at the first governor of Michigan’s mansion in Echo Park; #11 Elm Creek morning; #12 little Tommy Sullivan gets an accordion upgrade on Christmas!
Note: if this is a mirror site and you don't see photos, you can see them here: http://www.thomassullivanauthor.com/new ... 62017.html . And you can find all Sullygrams archived on my author's web page>Sullygrams & Columns.
Gonna steal something I wrote on Facebook to close here. It came about because I wanted to avoid political rants on my timeline. That was largely successful, but it did lead to…well, it’s sort of self-explanatory. You’ll see that it doesn’t perfectly fit my Sullygram audience, but it will answer some of the questions I’ve felt bad about ignoring over the past year. So here’s my Facebook post verbatim:
Let me save you a little time and me some frustration. You don’t need to read this at all unless you’re someone who asked me for an explanation or feel I let them down by not breaking my silence over this past year’s political turmoil. Thanks to those who have tiptoed around me, but the last thing I want to be is my own version of the politically correct intimidation going on. So move over, pimps, drug pushers and sellers of contraband, in the last 24 hours I’ve learned what it feels like to be dealing out of the shadows. That’s because I’ve received a small torrent of private messages/emails endorsing the following posting, which I buried in the comments of another post yesterday. Turns out my self-imposed silence over the last year has not made its point effectively enough. So, let me waltz with the 800-pound gorilla a little more. Here’s what I posted yesterday…
I explained about a year ago that my interest over decades was largely on the media and how its influence ultimately defines a society. If the overall media of a country is dominated by one political ideology apart from the rest of the country, it is easy for the country to mistake who it is. Throw education into that same misrepresentation, and over time the disconnect between perception and the fundamental identity of that nation is more deeply lost. Add judicial imbalance to the mix and you have a trifecta, a country that is truly unaware and out of touch with itself. This is why dictators who seize control of countries take over the means of broadcasting, followed by control of education and the judiciary. It can happen quickly or over a long period of time through non-violent means. And if the dogma is sold slickly enough to the citizenry, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Perhaps I was wrong in not spelling this out when I asked people to avoid politics and religion here. I could’ve been more forthcoming and still not taken sides politically. So with great reluctance – and because some people are politically relentless in their comments on my timeline or in messages – I’ll tightrope the ideological underpinnings as to why I don’t want to weigh in. Did you get that? I’m going to weigh in to tell you why I won’t weigh in.
Will it do any good explaining it? I don’t know. But in the wake of so much mindless uproar in our country, and the leaking of same into this timeline, I’m going to try. Why won’t I argue politics? Especially since that’s one of the two things I’m most interested in and informed on through daily resourcing across the spectrum of perspectives? Here’s why. The polarization in our society is so great that it cannot be resolved in an argument or a civil exchange of views. Our core beliefs have diverged so much over so many issues over so many years that we are unable to objectively grasp what has made us the way we are. Education and the media – if they aren’t the same thing – have profoundly shaped us and formed our emotional premises. And unless you can go right to the heart of your own premises, you will not change yourself or anyone else.
My interest for two-thirds of my life has been media decline and it began when I saw how the Norman Lear generation in the 60s began transforming social dynamics through political correctness. It was largely a good thing then, I believe. But I published two articles in The Detroit News at that time warning of what media could become. Because as with any potent instrument of change, the more it succeeds and feeds its own power, the more likely it is to become its own worst enemy. What do you do with a machine for change as change is accomplished? It has to feed on something. So its focus spreads deeper and more broadly into controlling our “education” through schools and media. What starts off as a sacred trust of objectivity that takes on compassionate reforms begins to slip down the slope into naked indoctrination. It shapes our reflexes at the earliest age – those core premises of our emotions – and spreads into every area of expression.
All well and good. Peace and love and tolerance are good things, aren’t they? You betcha. But the machine itself knows only change and will take any means to an ends. “The ends justify the means.” That’s right out of Sol Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” which itself is pretty much right out of Karl Marx’s 1848 Communist Manifesto. Promoting equality of opportunity becomes equality of outcomes, in the eyes of the machine, and that can be fatal to democracy. You know this is happening when celebrating the “good” means demonizing individual success, eliminating competition and stifling motivation for excellence. Fairness and social justice should not become synonyms for limiting freedom and individuality. On the other hand, freedom and individuality can and have too often become an excuse for suppressing disadvantaged people and for promoting a lack of tolerance and charity. Include sexual discrimination of every sort. A person is a person. That’s just common sense, and in a modern society that recognition should be cardinal. But gender roles that evolved for survival should not be extinguished in a world where brute force and ruthless ambition still rule in one form or another. As with most things, the happy medium is a balance, not an ever more entrenched conflict of extremes and indoctrination where – as an example of only one type of sexual discrimination and the decades long fight against it – young people have come to believe 40% of the population is gay, according to the average of recent surveys.
So here we are a half-century later. The 60s revolutionaries from the Halls of Ivy graduated and have increasingly entered the Halls of Congress in the last few election cycles. Good or bad? That depends on a lot of things including whether and where you were educated/indoctrinated along the way. Those core premises evolved with the emotions that sparked them, history was revised, and we tended toward two camps. Very simplistically put: a politics of guilt vs. a politics of fear. Liberal vs. conservative. A huge generality of course, because it isn’t just a consequence of education/indoctrination. It’s shaped by our natures according to gender, hard-wiring, fight-or-flight instincts, good intentions vs. results, compassion vs. survival, and a whole host of other variables in the human animal that combine in different proportions inside each of us.
Though there was a time in my life when I tried to address those complexities in personal conversations, I felt that by the 2008 election the irreconcilable estrangements in our society were a fait accompli. Pointless to argue. Too many generations educated/indoctrinated in different directions, and by then the worst kind of bullying was arguably becoming political correctness itself. As I said, a potent machine for change can become its own worst enemy. That made 2016 inevitable. Where do we go from here? That, too, depends on our willingness to change.
[end of FB post]
Wishing all my fans and friends a glorious March…into spring!
Thomas "Sully" Sullivan
You can see all my books in any format here on my webpage or follow me on Facebook:
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