This is NOT my Manifesto

When I was in the eighth grade, I went through catechism at my local Lutheran church and had to produce my “statement of faith” and read it to the congregation one Sunday.  I was horrified, and honestly, my statement was a list, not a coherently thought-out belief.  I was 13 or 14, gimme a break. 

Now, as I figure out who my inner writer is, I find that I need to do a similar thing, although not faith-based this time around. Most writers call it a manifesto, but that brings up images of Stalin and Lenin with me, so I really don’t want to call it such.  It is an exercise in what I actually believe.  An expression of my full worldview.  It may end up being very similar to my statement of faith, which was nothing more than a detailed list of the things I thanked God for.  These items and issues define who I am and what I believe.  The idea to write this out was inspired by Anne Lamott’s Ted Talk on 12 truths.

  • I believe in marriage, but I also think that it’s extremely tough to hang on to one person for a long time.  It requires two people to be selfless a lot of the time, and let’s face it, we’re not so good at that.  I believe it can and does work, and I also believe that when it doesn’t we should bail out of it as easy and gracefully as we can.
  • I believe you can see someone and “fall in love with them.”  But you’re falling in love with how they look, not the person.  You cannot, however, explain that to the person who is under such a spell.  They won’t listen, and you’ll probably just alienate them.
  • I believe in manners and chivalry, not because woman are the weaker sex (they are not) but because men have had the ability to run the world, and it’s the least we can do to be polite and hold a door open for those we have had power over.  Plus, I was raised by a Georgia Peach.
  • I believe that Americans don’t understand where we came from, and what makes our dominant culture the way it is.  They don’t get that we’re Puritans by nature, although less so than any time in history, we are still dominated by that early, conservative, capitalist overly-moral Puritan view and belief system.
  • I think a life lived without pets is lame.  Having a pet is having something to cry on, love on, that you cannot manipulate except with food.  I consider a pet a microcosm of how we should treat each other, and having pets keeps you grounded to this behavior.  Cats and dogs are great.  Reptiles are bad pets, as are fish. Others may qualify, although I have no experience with them.
  • I generally think people are good, although it’s tough to hold onto that belief these days.  People have become more and angrier and mean, and it’s a direct reflection of our media.  I almost said our politics, but our politics aren’t the issue, it’s how the media makes us see them that is the issue.  Our politics aren’t great, but we are getting what we deserve.  We need to quit trying to break records and get the most qualified person for the jobs they have to do.  I know, I’m naïve.
  • We should do what we can to use sustainable resources, but not to the detriment of existing businesses or progress.  Electric cars with batteries that will eventually fill landfills and cause more issues than they solve are not the solution.  I don’t know what is, but allowing the free market to determine what works is better than legislating the problem.  We didn’t legislate a moon landing.
  • Speaking of, I believe we DID go to the moon, and it was not faked.  The common argument (getting more press than it should) that the moon landing was faked is due to the fact that we don’t do seemingly impossible things like that anymore.  When is the last time we pulled off something so drastic?  That’s what people need to believe in.  I do find it shocking that we were able to pull it off in 1969.  I was 1 year old.  This may be another sign that our culture is moving backward.
  • I believe that great only comes out of hard work and dedication.  I don’t believe we are born with much more “natural talent” than anyone else.  The real genius comes out of focus, hard work, passion and dedication.  Regardless of the discipline, I believe this to be true.  I have to believe this because otherwise, I cannot improve myself.  If this isn’t true all the work trying to get better at this or that is wasted time.  That would really depress me if I dwelled on it too long.
  • I believe we are responsible for ourselves.  While we need help from time to time, and there’s nothing wrong with helping out a neighbor, a fellow human, a friend, we all need to be accountable and own up when the issues are purely caused by our own behavior.  You’ll never see me writing about money, that’s because I like to buy shit and tend to spend all of my money.  Don’t take financial advice from me!  But it’s my problem and 110% my fault that I get into money problems.  I don’t blame anyone.  I don’t blame the economy.  I don’t even blame the media.  This is all me and my lack of control over my Libra nature of wanting to have pretty things all around me.
  • I believe everyone should try to improve themselves a little each day.  I think we’d be happier as a society if we were all trying to move forward.  I know there are people who don’t care about getting better.  I’m not saying read classical literature like I love to.  I’m talking about improving in some way that you enjoy.  If you love video games, then make sure to play every day.  If you love singing, sing every day. Do something you love every day so you will get a little better at it one day at a time.
  • While there are regional differences across the world, generally, in the civilized world at least, we are all the same.  We like those like us, we dislike people different from us.  We think other people are the ones with accents, and we don’t fully understand how they could like living how they are.  I can’t understand how you could live in a crowded city all day every day, and I know they don’t understand how I can live in the country.  There are rednecks everywhere, not just in the South, and generally, people prefer to stay close to where they were born.  It’s the less popular idea to move away and experience the world, although we hear that advice continually growing up.
  • That being said, I believe that travel is essential for us to experience the world and for us to truly figure out what we like. Every time I come home, I feel better about my decision to move to Texas.  That doesn’t change when I travel internationally.  I haven’t been everywhere, clearly, but I’ve never been anywhere that has made me lament my choice to move to Texas. But I also believe I could live anywhere, so you have to take all that in this context.  I’m a chameleon, and still a hopeless romantic, so I tend to romanticize living places that are seemingly more exotic.  But each one I visit breaks the spell, and I long for Texas.
  • Computers have changed our lives for the better, and I think the next 10 years will see even crazier changes like the ability to process “big data” affects our personal lives in ways we can’t fathom.  At some point, we will figure out computer-human interfaces and that will be a quantum leap in humanity, both good and bad.  Since a lot of technological “wins” have come out of the porn industry (VHS vs Beta, lots more examples) the sad part will be this will open up even deeper darker holes in our psyches as we’re able to go into more and more realistic fantasies. At some point, we will have people addicted to virtual reality, which no one will be able to blame them for.  I will have to fight that myself, I figure.
  • The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) pretty much rules my life.  When I travel, it’s the biggest obstacle to my writing.  I can’t seem to go home until the lights are on and it’s past “last call.”  I love to socialize, especially when I’ve had enough alcohol to get rid of my introversion.  I pay for it all the next day, and I hate myself because of it.  I struggle with that part like an addict, but my addiction is to the experiences that I won’t get if I’m not a little tipsy and hanging out with people I like.

I guess that’s a solid start.  I read about writing down your worldview from Dorothea Brande recently, and I have to say that when you do this type of exercise, the words come easy because it’s what you believe, it’s bottled up inside of you just waiting for you to pull the cork. I could probably keep going, but I want to save some for another day after my subconscious has digested this for a little. 

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