Too Proud to take Advice

“Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.”
Erica Jong

Most people prefer to give advice rather than receive it. Years ago I had this thought about it being human nature, that we just like to find things on our own rather than have someone give it to us. When I go back and read something that I wrote back in 2004 and I still feel the same way it makes me feel good, but I get a lot more excited when I find that I have changed my mind about something.

The older we get, the more set in our ways we become. I think that its not so much that we cannot take advice anymore, but rather that we think we know all there is to know. I don’t know if it is my Grandpa being very gentle with his advice and always making a little story out of it, but from a young age I learned that it is easier to take advice rather than make the mistakes on your own. It has been surprising to me how many people just want to do it on their own and make the mistakes themselves rather than take the advice.

I can count on my hand the people that I have met that have been very willing not to take advice, but truly listen to it. Those people have been very successful as the years have gone by, that and some of the happiest I have seen. The people that are not so willing to listen to advice seem to have a more cynical disposition and are almost paranoid to hear any advice.

Willingness to hear what others have to say is a basic principle of a community. If we are not willing to participate in that process, then we are doomed to not truly be a part of a community. I have seen people go as far as doing the complete opposite of what someone else has advice because the want to “find their own way.” I don’t get why some people like the “hard” way better than the tried one.

Sure, what works for some does not work for others; but there is always room to at least discuss the advice that others are trying to give you.

My favorite teacher gave me a piece of advice about education that applies to much more in life. “Don’t ever swallow whole; any time you get information try to understand not just what it tells you, but how the information was gathered.” This same principle applies to advice. When you hear someone giving you advice, think about where they are coming from and ask them if they have a situation or example where the advice came from.

Simply discarding what others say because you want to do everything on your own is not just pride, but simply arrogance. The more willing you are to listen to others idea, specially advice; the more we would make all relationships in life that much better.

Its all about control

One of my friends is now divorced, some time has gone by and only a handful of very smart individuals can put the situation together with the person. He is not what I would call a close friend, but I have spent time in his house and knew his wife to be a good, hard working person. That was the image I got from my friend and it is what I remember about her. I never had a true conversation with her. I also had no clue that they were having marital problems… I don’t think many of us from that group of friends did.

Before it all went down I did notice several changes in his attitude, it was not just bad, it was almost mischievous. He was constantly poking some of the people in the group to start drama and seemed to always be looking for an argument. It got to the point that I talked with some of the people in the group about an intervention, but they told me that they had tried over the past couple of year and nothing seemed to work. I kind of let the situation be, and slowly distanced myself. Then BAM!, they were getting a divorce.

“Hindsight is 20/20″… that stupid quote is both true and annoying. I knew that there were money issues, but the now glaring beacon on the whole thing is the pr0n. I don’t dislike pr0n and have had my own collection at times, but in my experience its a cheap replacement for actual fun with your partner. If you partner and you enjoy it together, awesome… if its an escape once in a while, cool… if you spend more time with the digital version and only get analog with yourself, there is a problem.

Those are only signs of the distress behind the scenes, that now I wish I would have been able to identify… not to save a marriage (which can only be saved by the couple’s commitment to stay together) but at least to be there for him as a friend when it was going down the slide. I know he is happy now and building a new life, I don’t know much about her.

The thing that I find interesting is how the lack of control in the situation created so much frustration. The fact that it was handled by just trying to make others miserable seems to be pretty common. It has to be pretty hard not to be able to talk your emotions out loud with someone, or maybe even understand them. Situations where we feel out of control are probably the worst, because we look to regain control in places that probably don’t matter instead of facing the real situation and solving the real problems.

I am a firm believe that people that love to create drama hate their lives. When you are content with your situation, there is no reason for you to be poking others unless you are simply starved for attention. So be careful and try to recognize that when someone seems to just trying to be pissing everyone off, they might just be crying for help… they might just not know how.

No More Dead Bulls

At least in Catalonia. But wait, what about that burger you are about to eat, isn’t that a dead bobine too?

Bullfighting is a violent sport, just like boxing or martial arts the attendants watch and cheer as blood is spilled on the middle of the scenary in a spectacle of pure animalistic emotions. We have explored this subject here in the past and found out that it all comes down to how much you value life… some value human life more when its someone they know, and not so much when they are a world away.

While Catalonia’s motivation for banning bullfighting might be more about politics and separatism it still sends a strong message. Even a province inside of Spain where bullfighting is still popular (even though not as much as before) can chose to do the less barbaric thing and stop the spectacle. I am sure they are not quite banning meat yet, but is that where we should head?

I enjoy mixed martial arts. I am not sure if that feeds some kind of human bloodlust inside me, but it is exciting to watch in a roman gladiators kind of fashion as people beat the crap out of each other. I liked boxing, but think that MMA are more entertaining even when they get as close and almost as fantastic as the wrestling can be.

If the world was free of violence and nobody eat cows I could see how we can draw the conclusion that ending bullfighting is the civilized thing to do. I think modern society is still very rooted into the, hey if I don’t see it, it does not touch me.

I am almost indiferent at the ending of bullfighting as a sport, however I do hope that the running of the bulls never stops. I get a lot of enjoyment from reading of the tremple count every years, specially when the ratio of non-spaniards is higher in the injury list. I mean, you have to be a genious to come up with an event that becomes world famous and you eventually become just an expectator when other idiots come and become your bull’s pin cussions.

Money vs Karma

Our culture often misquotes the bible when we talk about “Money is the root of all evil.” The actual quote from the bible which is something attributed to Jesus was that, “The love of money (Greed) is the root of all evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10, KJV). Our culture has also picked up the word karma and made it a concept understood by many that what goes around comes around. Even though the Indian religion concept of karma is at odds with most Westerns religions; “faith, or the will of God vs the cycle of actions and past lives,” I am going to try to talk about this subject from the conceptual point of view rather than doctrines.

Karma is a b!tch” is a phrase often used by people that seem to misunderstand the whole concept, it always makes me chuckle a little inside. I don’t think that many in the western world understand the concept enough to really use a motivator. The golden rule concept has the same flavor and its more in line with our society, but not many people truly live it. I will always be impressed by Christians that really “walk the walk” and love everyone, not just who their congregation sees as righteous people of God.

Bea and I come from Colombia; even though we would love for people to know more about our country, its hard to gloss over its history of violence and corruption. The biggest motivator for a lot of the horrible things that have happened in our country have been motivated by money. From the Banana Massacre to Pablo Escobar, evil was definitely rooted directly in greed. I even question myself for posting about such horrible things, but I don’t want to gloss over the reality that a lot of atrocities have occurred in my homeland because of greed.

Most atheist that I have talked to don’t believe in the afterlife, so karma in the sense of a next life is automatically out the window. However, this does not make them amoral or unethical people. Most of the people that I know that don’t believe in a higher being are highly compassionate and overall good human beings. Their belief system is rooted in the today and many follow the golden rule.

Many believes do believe in the beyond and some even see this existence as punishment or a just the waiting room to heaven. Their actions or their faith will open up that door to either eternal damnation or paradise.

My questions is simple. When it comes to money being the motivator for an action that affects other human beings, (from killing someone, to simply stealing millions from the stock market) do you think anyone goes back to their belief system to weight karma or faith out? Do you think that money is the ultimate motivator and enough of it will just make you put what you believe aside? Or what if as some people see it you are an atheist and you believe in “nothing” does that make it easier for you to be motivated by money?

Native Roots

Since Bea and I are going through Dexter withdrawals when it comes to TV we have been watching all The Office episodes we have available in Netflix. We rarely watch live TV now (except for the Hawks games) since we have so much available via Netflix. I am a documentary junkie and while most people will fall to sleep during some of the ones I watch. This weekend included The Mark of Cain and one of my new guilty pleasures (the marriage of documentaries with “reality tv) 30 days.

30 Days is a great show from the dude that stuffed his face with McDonalds and brought painful memories of my years as a burger flipper. I have seen most of season 1 and I started working on season 3. My favorite show until this weekend was when a Minute Man was sent to live for 30 days with a family of Illegal immigrants. However this weekend I watched as Morgan spent 30 days in an Indian Reservation.

My involvement with Native Americans outside of some extended family and friends that have percentages of native blood but have never been in a reservation; has been limited to a professional relationship with the Pottawatomie tribe while I worked on some of their computer systems. I never made it into the reservation when I was up there, and all of the facilities I visited were “luxurious.” Everyone I worked with up there in northern Wisconsin was extremely nice and it was very interesting to see how their facial features were extremely similar to people down many in Colombia.

My ancestry is hard to track, I know there are roots of many colors in both sides of my parents. One of those sides I did not learn about until I was 12 years old when I met some of my Mom’s distant relative during a summer trip. We spent some time up in a mountain in a small coffee town and I had the chance to learn about not just how coffee grows but also how a cow makes it in to a burger. A lot of the people I met up in Wisconsin looked eerily similar to some of my not so distant relatives. It makes sense, they are also in some ways Native Americans… you know the whole continent was at one point full of them.

My other weird coincidental connection with a tribe is interestingly enough the Navajo. I have extreme astigmatism, without my glasses I have a hard time focusing on detail. One of my ophthalmologist after letting me know that my eye color is actually pretty rare (gold and olive, her words, not mine) told me that she has only seen my level of astigmatism in one population before, the Navajo. A little research (google search) showed me that in fact the Navajo have a high occurrence of astigmatism, and while some of it can be environmental it seems that it is also genetic.

Genetics is a topic for another post, interesting subject for sure that I would like to learn more about beyond what I know from reading a lot about amateur fish breeding at one point. The thing that really stuck with me from the Navajo show though was the fact that the people from the tribe are stuck in two world with two cultures. I can relate to that quite a bit. One of the ladies that taught the language actually cried at the thought that her native language is disappearing. Also interesting was their view of mother earth and how connected they are to things that to the modern world seems to simply ignore.

I don’t know if I will ever get to discover where my roots really come from genetic wise or not, but it makes me somewhat sad that I have embraced civilization and I am almost allergic to the outdoors. Being connected to the earth we live in is not such a bad thing… who knows maybe some day I will actually get into the grove of a morning run to go face the sun before I start the day.

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