Political Nits

One has to hand it to Donald. One of his personally owned golf courses claimed a charity donation of five million dollars. NPR dug into it and could only find $80 thousand. The golf course and Donald have ignored questions about it. Mariner suspects the five million dollar gift is on Donald’s tax form to cut taxes owed. Pardon the use, Robert, but it will be an awesome day when Donald’s tax history is revealed.

The Gold Star issue laid bare Donald’s inability to feel empathy. Even in defensive comments, he can’t find something to blame it on; as in past presidents, generals and other leaders who have suffered the fallen, compassion comes from one’s own heart – nowhere else.

Mariner marvels at the inadequacy of nations to properly respond to the new age of globalization. In China, Xi Jingpin is moving the nation toward the glorious days of communism in an effort to make China Great Again (familiar?); in China, free press is disappearing, civil rights are disappearing. To maneuver around the leadership of the Communist Party, Xi has made himself chairman of several key committees. Other nations actively engaged in isolationism are Great Britain (Brexit), Spain, the United States (at least Donald says so), and the entire European Union – stressed by the wave of immigration and economic conflicts with Eastern European nations.

Globalism requires a market-based economy, not a nation-based economy. The TPP, which has serious civil rights flaws, nevertheless is a model for globalism. Nine nations were about to sign an agreement that bound them to an economic relationship where each nation shared a global market and agreed to a fair distribution of profit.

One of the shortcomings in the TPP is labor distribution. The reader may have noticed that over the past fifty years, corporations are doing everything they can to shed employees, minimize salary and benefits, and hide profits. While the concept of shared profit sounds good between nations, it does not require that job distribution is employee oriented or that corporations, either through taxation of actual profits or through internalized policies, seek to optimize employee participation (jobs). Nevertheless, we should understand that we will share GDP with other nations. Those nations seeking isolation are going in the wrong direction.

The Democratic Party shows signs of hope and increased energy but what is the message? What is the theory of social equality that binds Americans in a democratic society? What are the examples of civil liberty and equality? In mariner’s county, the focus still seems to be on petty local issues. This may be appropriate under general circumstances but today, with conservative policies running amuck from Libertarianism to Reaganism to white supremacy, voters need a new national message. Where is it? Voters already identify with the Affordable Care Act; what else is in the Democratic Bag?

The press recently called Donald the ‘destruction’ President because all he does is undo Obama’s legacy and destroy principles of democracy. But his Cabinet members also are great ‘destructionists’. Put together, our country rapidly is returning to the 1920’s. Mariner wouldn’t be surprised that new racist statues will be ordered and we shall become an archipelago nation as the oceans rise. We will not be a nation of rich-hued skin but a pale whiteness preserved from an ancient era – like a pod of Beluga whales.

Ancient Mariner

 

Each Brain Talks Differently

We are not aware that we talk the way our brain thinks. For example, if you are a good administrator, it’s because your brain thinks procedurally. If you feel a duty to always complete tasks, it’s because your brain thinks in terms of accomplishment. If you are good at abstract conversation, it’s because your brain thinks in an abstract manner.

This approach is different than the old version of ‘why’ people, ‘how’ people and ‘what’ people that described how people solve problems. The ‘talking’ brain approach is a combination of thought and communication – the vocalization of thought rather than the application of problem-solving.

Before we begin, mariner wants to emphasize, quite adamantly, that none of this relates to intelligence! The subject centers on persona and the manner of communicating within that persona.

To consider the relationship between brain and communication, we must be aware of our standing prejudices toward people. Politics, interpersonal experiences, and psychological comparisons easily affect our interpersonal communication but the goal here is to focus only on the influence of the brain as it attempts to communicate.

Mariner stumbled into this pop-psych approach when contemplating his own speech patterns. The two vocalization patterns that provoked this line of thought are the mariner’s inability to participate in ‘show and tell’ conversations, and secondly, the ability to listen closely to what certain people are saying. To the second pattern, a clear example is Hillary Clinton: Hillary’s accomplishments are lauded, her ethic is humanistic, and her work is thoughtful and substantive. Mariner holds her in appropriate recognition – but he cannot listen to her. After one paragraph he finds his concentration is wanting and often drifts into other thoughts. He has known this about a number of men and women over time but only recently has he noticed it as a major behavioral issue.[1]

The first pattern, conversational skills (show and tell, S&T), is most obvious at social gatherings. Everyone is eager to tell about an experience, share knowledge about things, places, and reminisce about the past. There is nothing wrong with this social sharing. Certainly it is rewarding and fulfilling to the sharing person and further is a form of inclusion and acceptance by everyone. Mariner listens . . . but mariner is not provoked to participate.

He wonders why this affect exists. Certainly he enjoys the friendship, he enjoys inclusion within the speaker’s realm, and he respects the speakers as wholesome and valuable people. He just can’t respond in kind. Most obvious in one-to-one S&T conversations, when the speaker pauses with an expectation of a response, mariner is hard pressed to continue the dialogue.

Mariner began to pay attention to his listening, speaking and thinking patterns as a unit. He began to realize that he is glib and filled with active thinking when the subject is about philosophy, sociology, cultural machinations and other broad, thematic issues. Clearly, he is not a procedural thinker. Aha! This is why he cannot listen to Hillary. Hillary is quite intently a procedural thinker. Thoughts, solutions and the attendant speech are bound to procedures rather than to the ideology that validates them. He and Hillary are of mutual intent but on different trains. All of us are bound to speak our mind – making each of us different than others and therefore susceptible to unnecessary prejudice.

These differences are important. The difference between Hillary and Bernie is how they think, ergo, how they speak about goals and objectives. The humanistic content of their speech was similar but their brains considered different perspectives for a solution.

No expert for sure but mariner has a new insight into how prejudices grow. How we receive others and categorize them is heavily dependent on their persona and the projection of that persona into speech. It is a genetically mandated behavior that we classify other individuals in some manner. It is how we treat other individuals that counts. Your brain and its accompanying communication skills have a large role to play in that treatment.

Consider how you accept the personalities on ‘Big Bang Theory’. They’re bound by the way their minds think – an element of persona that the actor must understand. Have you mentally classified them in terms of your opinion rather than accepting without judgment their persona and communication as a normal human being whose brain thinks differently than yours?

Our President, too, has an eccentric way of communicating. That eccentricity is understood only if we can understand how his brain thinks. Doing so makes us realize that his brain is damaged and incomplete.

In every moment of communication, we must acknowledge a person’s persona and communication without prejudice. If we must, we must reserve prejudice based on acts and ethics, not the way their brain talks.

Ancient Mariner

 

[1] We must discount Hillary’s responses to interviews because the content is written by speech writers and often is too familiar to listen to again. Nevertheless, over time and given the focus of her public service, her thoughts are fully contained in each sentence without the need for speculative content.

Moments that Shape Our Lives – Santayana

Every one of us at times has learned something from a person, a book, an event, a family circumstance, that changes who we are, what we believe, how we behave. Often the person is a mentor – someone who exposes a new awareness within us. Often the event is harrowing or of high achievement; an event that opens up new feelings about who we are and how we behave thereafter.

Knowledge is a frequent source that shapes our religion, philosophy, ethic, and introduces sophisticated perceptions about reality.

Mariner had an experience where knowledge from a book established his basic understanding of existence and reality and even today constitutes the foundation of his understanding of reality and the manner of human behavior.

When mariner was a young teen, his father was attending a Methodist seminary. One day his father brought home a textbook: “The Life of Reason, the Phases of Human Progress” by George Santayana. Mariner read the book with unusual interest; being a teenager, one’s mental attention more often is directed at social development and athletics. Amid those activities, mariner stayed with the book for a summer and finished it.

To avoid writing another tome, mariner will paraphrase George and express only the most significant points that have had a lasting influence on the mariner.

George was always about reason. There must be a reason for everything. He was suspicious of idealism. Assuming beliefs and myths as a permanent foundation for reality was an incomplete reality to George. George said that a rational morality has never existed in the world. One draws what morality exists from family life and is not universal in its definition.

George did believe that love was real and the most satisfying human experience. While believing love’s roots and its role in society was established in the family, he maintained love is the foundation beneath all social structures.

The pragmatic need for institutions and government outside the home justified politics but only weakly. George felt that equality among unequals is unachievable; he distrusted democracy as a fantasy of unequals. Government should be run by those who are capable but the population is not restricted in its interaction with the government. George dodges capitalism by stating that all citizens must be guaranteed equal opportunity.[1]

George said the American Dream was a fantasy; since the age of industrialism, materialism sits on the backs of citizens rather than citizens gaining a laissez-faire life.

Finally, George by definition was a metaphysical naturalist. Broadly speaking, everything that happens in reality is part of nature and automatically adjusts to interaction with other natural elements. Human behavior is a constantly adjusting phenomenon with other natural elements (reality). What does this mean in terms of ethics and morality? It means that ethics and morality are subject to the reality of the moment. A friend of the mariner once commented that under severe circumstances, cannibalism is moral.

George was an atheist. The closest he comes to godliness is his definition of reality as the cause of all events and conclusions, circumstances and behaviors. Yahweh was close but not the same.

Ancient Mariner

[1] For mariner, it is this section in the book that slowly has evolved into what he calls ‘sharing’. Another mentor is Will Rogers, who believed in equal sharing of profits. More about sharing will be in another post.

Still Visiting Nova

Mariner begins to understand the virtues of being a grandfather. He and his wife have lived a long life and have become wise in observing the Yin-Yang, the flow of timeless bonding, the energy of living an active life. Indeed, they have lived Joseph Campbell’s Arc of Life – the Hero’s Path. The wife still has many integrated experiences bonding with and caring for Nova. Indeed, she is welcome relief for our son and daughter-in-law.

Clothed in his veneration, the grandfather struggles to stay out of the way; he is welcome, included in conversation and has a seat at the dinner table. But grandfather is useless. The family dog, a large puppy, does not agree. Everyone, including the grandfather, are toys with which the puppy entertains herself. Grandfather made the mistake of sitting by the balcony door. His job is to open the door each time the dog wants to go on the balcony and when the dog wants to come back in. This whole process – in and out – takes about two minutes every ten minutes or so.

The noise level is louder than grandfather is accustomed; he wears hearing aids but the cacophony prevents clarity. Grandfather is useless.

Nova is a pleasant child who, like any three-week old, makes it clear that she is not satisfied with the situation. Grandfather realizes that everyone is born to be a King or Queen. As Nova speaks, the parents, dog, and wife leap into action.

Further, the family has two cats. They are silent stalkers and fight with the puppy. Grandfather feels for his son because he works at home.

The fact of the matter is grandfather has no role except to engage the dog – whether he wants to or not.

Nevertheless, this is a happy home. This is a socially active home. There is love all around. In fact, in a few weeks grandfather willingly will return when his daughter and her husband come to join the fray.

 

Ancient Mariner

 

 

Visiting Nova

Mariner visited his newly born granddaughter for the first time yesterday. Ever since he was four years old he has developed a reputation for speaking of newborns with ignorant, perhaps unwarranted, certainly not accommodating remarks when viewing babies. Just one example will suffice: mariner’s father was a Methodist preacher. A proud set of parents showed off their baby after a Christening; many of the congregation were awing an oooing the baby and the new parents were bursting with pride. Mariner was eleven. With genuine innocence, he said, “He looks like a turtle.” Afterward, his father educated mariner on the rituals of socially required etiquette. As he looks back on that incident, mariner feels doubly bad because he placed the child in the same category as Mitch McConnell.

In this regard, mariner has not matured. His comments always are intended with genuine, gracious intent. So as he walked down the driveway to greet his son and family, mariner sees the proud daughter-in-law waiting to greet the grandparents; she is holding an armful of blankets and other swaddling clothes – no baby to be seen – mariner says with a disarming tone and happy grin, “Is that laundry or is there a baby in there?”

Nova is a marvel to see. She is so tiny. Her color and bombastic nature are in excellent form; all the physical appurtenances are present. Fortunately, or unfortunately, her parents and both families are riddled with an intellectual bent. Mariner feels however, that Nova will be up to the task.

One wonders how humans have overpopulated the planet given the odd and risk laden process of giving birth. When observing other species, one is aware that birth is quick and the newly born can walk immediately. Birds are willing to leap off a towering nest into adulthood in only a week or two. Any young one hatching from an egg must engineer its own birth and survive on its own merits immediately. Then there are the species with pockets, or sometimes mouths that serve as nurseries. Typically, Homo sapiens has the hubris to say, “We’re doing it differently.”

Nova was born a year before her physical abilities are prepared for such an alarming transition. Humans decided to require a head too big to pass through the mother’s pelvis so the baby must be born when only half the preparation for facing the outer world has been accomplished.

The baby’s tools for survival are a horrendous screeching that cannot be ignored. The child makes it clear this new environment is not to its liking. Further, it insists on being attended to the point of diaper management, which all fathers must endure.

Referencing a recent post about the term ‘grandfather,’ it is quite obvious as mariner and his wife visit Nova, that all that is required of a grandfather is a nice picture to hang on the wall and stay out of the way. It doesn’t bother mariner at all – he knows he is a member of the hall of fame.

Ancient Mariner

 

Mariner became a Grandfather today

Her name is Nova. It is a celebration by the family, definitely a high point of the year. Many acts of recognition and admiration will occur this year and many years to come.

Mariner has mixed feelings about the term ‘grandfather.’ In Japan there is a practice wherein old, wise men – elderly judges, politicians, heroes and the like – are recognized, indeed revered for their wisdom and leadership. With great ceremony they are elevated to special stature where their wisdom can be available to the society when needed. Trouble is, no one ever asks them anything. In reality, they are removed from participation in daily life. Perhaps too much wisdom spoils the pot…

The US has a term ‘grandfathered in’ originally used to exempt poor voters from new restrictions on voting during Reconstruction (still occurring). The term is used when something is out of date but because it is difficult to ignore or dismiss, it is included with a newer topic that really is about something else. So it is that mariner has been grandfathered in.

Readers are familiar with the sport equivalent called the Hall of Fame. Very much like the Japanese version, outstanding athletes are given a high court send-off to revered photograph galleries – implying if not actually saying, “You can’t play well anymore but we remember when you could.” No one ever drafts these sport heroes for a current game.

One conjures that in earlier civilizations where an extended family of several generations constituted a tribe or band, the older wiser men were revered and central to the function of the organization. Alas, this is not the case. Note this quote from the Behavioral Sciences Department, Palomar College:

“… Band leaders generally have temporary political power at best, and they do not have any significant authority relative to other adults. They can give advice and propose action, but they do not have the formal authority to require others to accept their decisions.”

So mariner is a grandfather. He needs to find an acceptable photograph for the family Hall of Fame.

That is as it should be. The most important item is Nova – the new generation, the new hope, the new future participant in human society – Nova, mariner’s new granddaughter.

Mariner advises his son – one day he will be a grandfather.

Ancient Mariner

The Times They are a-changin

The mariner’s wife was listening to an old CD today. The CD had a number of old favorites including Bob Dylan’s The Times They are a-changin’ published in 1964 in the midst of the civil rights rebellion and the era of folk music. The lyrics are eerily prophetic for our ‘times’ today:

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’

For a video-recorded rendition by Bob Dylan, see:

http://www.metrolyrics.com/times-they-are-a-changing-lyrics-bob-dylan.html

Ancient Mariner

Some Thoughts

Mariner is a potential customer for switching from standard electrical hookup to solar. He believes it is one of the major constraints to the use of fossil fuels in the next decade and will be a cost saving strategy for typical home owners. Even Goldman Sachs thinks so:

Falling wind and solar costs are set to spur even greater investment in renewable technologies. Goldman Sachs Research’s Alberto Gandolfi forecasts that by 2023, renewables will be able to operate without government subsidies. From there, Gandolfi expects wind and solar deployment to accelerate, reaching $3 trillion over the next 20 years.

Picked up this apropos quote in the Atlantic Magazine:

“You are entitled to your own opinion,

but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

— Daniel Patrick Moynihan

And this one:

“We risk being the first people in history to have been

able to make their illusions so vivid, so persuasive,

so ‘realistic’ that they can live in them.”

— Daniel J. Boorstin, The Image: A Guide to

Pseudo-Events in America (1961)

And this:

The Colbert Report went on the air. In the first few minutes of the first episode, Stephen Colbert, playing his right-wing-populist commentator character, performed a feature called “The Word.” His first selection: truthiness. “Now, I’m sure some of the ‘word police,’ the ‘wordinistas’ over at Webster’s, are gonna say, ‘Hey, that’s not a word!’ Well, anybody who knows me knows that I’m no fan of dictionaries or reference books. They’re elitist. Constantly telling us what is or isn’t true. Or what did or didn’t happen. Who’s Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was finished in 1914? If I wanna say it happened in 1941, that’s my right. I don’t trust books—they’re all fact, no heart … Face it, folks, we are a divided nation … divided between those who think with their head and those who know with their heart … Because that’s where the truth comes from, ladies and gentlemen—the gut.”

Kurt Andersen, the author of How America Lost its Mind, says it much better than mariner could:

…And if the ’60s amounted to a national nervous breakdown, we are probably mistaken to consider ourselves over it.

Each of us is on a spectrum somewhere between the poles of rational and irrational. We all have hunches we can’t prove and superstitions that make no sense. Some of my best friends are very religious, and others believe in dubious conspiracy theories. What’s problematic is going overboard—letting the subjective entirely override the objective; thinking and acting as if opinions and feelings are just as true as facts. The American experiment, the original embodiment of the great Enlightenment idea of intellectual freedom, whereby every individual is welcome to believe anything she wishes, has metastasized out of control.

From the start, our ultra-individualism was attached to epic dreams, sometimes epic fantasies—every American one of God’s chosen people building a custom-made utopia, all of us free to reinvent ourselves by imagination and will. In America nowadays, those more exciting parts of the Enlightenment idea have swamped the sober, rational, empirical parts. Little by little for centuries, then more and more and faster and faster during the past half century, we Americans have given ourselves over to all kinds of magical thinking, anything-goes relativism, and belief in fanciful explanation—small and large fantasies that console or thrill or terrify us. And most of us haven’t realized how far-reaching our strange new normal has become.

And this was all true before we became familiar with the terms post-factual and post-truth, before we elected a president with an astoundingly open mind about conspiracy theories, what’s true and what’s false, the nature of reality.

We have passed through the looking glass and down the rabbit hole. America has mutated into Fantasyland.

Back to ‘reality’, On Monday, the President took time away from the lush fairways and greens at Trump National Golf Club, in Bedminster, New Jersey, to tweet insults at Senator Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut Democrat who had the temerity to suggest that Robert Mueller, the special counsel, should be allowed to continue and complete his investigation. On Tuesday afternoon, Trump again interrupted his break, this time to attend a briefing in the Bedminster clubhouse about the nation’s opioid crisis. He took the opportunity to threaten a devastating nuclear strike on North Korea.

Is this our future?

Ancient Mariner

A Better Reality

It is important to keep the mind flexible – especially as one grows older. The best way to keep the mind flexible is to have an interest that provides continuous learning and insights. It has been said all along that being fluent in more than one language freshens one’s perspective about life and keeps the brain working with a bit more empathy than would otherwise be the case. One has a different opinion of folks like Bush 43 and other public figures when they can converse comfortably in another language. “What experiences have they had that aren’t part of everyday American?” one may ponder.

Mariner spent some time in Taiwan. The language was Mandarin with a heavy draw – similar to the Deep South, New England, and the ‘Valley’ in California. While he was there, he learned to order a meal awkwardly and perform simple protocols. A year afterward the words had disappeared. For this reason, that is, the difficulty of learning a language and sustaining a lexicon and grammar, mariner suggests immersing oneself in a different culture. Our brains aren’t the same brains that learned language as a two and three year old.

There are as many cultures as there are nations (195). Many have similar cultures influenced by larger nations and surrounding geography. Here are two or three that definitely have preeminent cultures that will never run out of insights, surprises, and intriguing behaviors:

China – a totally different cultural history. One will learn tidbits (China had the first movable type printing press in 1040 during the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127) and cultural differences (public urinals next to sidewalks in remote regions; China and India are competing with one another over who has the most flush toilets – a sign of modernity).

India – again a different culture – perhaps even more intriguing than China. Did you know that the North Eastern Region (NER 101,248 square miles), did not have a government until it was incorporated into India’s central government in sections from 1947 through 1972? What was daily life like without a government? We can only dream… India has six distinct religions (Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism). Imagine the daily conflicts between protocol and belief and the hierarchy of animals some of whom may be your relatives! The US can’t handle one of the six.

Most have heard of Mayans, Aztecs and Incas. All are early civilizations in Central and South America. But what about Caral-Supe? Caral-Supe is the earliest civilization in the region existing from 3000-2500BC. There are many more before the Maya and the Inca. The Aztecs, at their peak when the Spaniards came, weren’t around until 1430-1521AD.

The wonder of the Internet is that it is an endless encyclopedia. Using search engines like Google and Bing among many, name a subject, it’s on the Internet – especially in Wikipedia. Even richer resources are on web sites supported by nations, universities, governments and retailers of books, artifacts, furniture, clothes, jewelry, video and anything else that may expand one’s awareness of a different culture. The peak experience is taking a vacation trip to the culture of choice.

Studying a different culture will open the mind to the fact that not everything has to do with Donald or his id, the Mooche. Not everything has to do with the United States – in its own right a distinct culture.

The trick is to immerse one’s awareness completely into the chosen culture. Mariner is intrigued by a simple reality that doors are too short for modern folks when historic homes are visited in England. What other idiosyncrasies will broaden our reality?

Ancient Mariner

The Art of Giving

Giving is indeed an art. Few of us cover the art form in its entirety. Each art form, however, provides a different gift to those who give and to those who receive. More often than not, our greatest gift goes unnoticed over a lifetime.

One form of giving is associated with our culture. In the United States, we pay taxes, which is a form of giving – more at sharing – to support millions of people in need; we share roads and infrastructure in general; we help assure that civility and unity prevail. Too often, giving to our cultural norms is the subject of derision and dissatisfaction. Those who dislike taxes do not experience the gratification that comes from sharing. The art of giving is absent and their lives seem diminished – certainly no personal gift is experienced. Hence the word ‘tax’ instead of ‘gift’. Is our culture missing an aspect of humanity?

Another art form is giving without sacrifice. Bill Gates and others in similar financial circumstances give substantial amounts to quality of life programs around the world. There is no question that recipients immensely enjoy the gift. Giving full credit to Bill for his largesse, his own experience likely has little feeling of sacrifice and more a sense of moral responsibility fulfilled. This is very common in gift giving, that is, giving without sacrifice. Knock off a dozen zeroes or so from Bill’s income and assets and the gift is common to most of us – no sacrifice required. True, in form one has given a gift but the experience is light on a feeling of sharing.

There are two circumstances each of which almost qualifies as an oxymoron:

Military basic training inculcates a feeling of intense bonding between recruits. The experience of sharing (bonded commitment) is tantamount to self-preservation.

The second is the offering taken in religious services. One feels little sacrifice and at best that a moral responsibility has been fulfilled. Many congregations will not even commit to a pledge – how dare God impose sharing on a follower. What is this, a tax?

An important art form that, in the midst of great sacrifice and sharing, often is overlooked; the giver doesn’t perceive that they have given a gift over a lifetime. There are many circumstances where lifetime gifting is involved; two are selected:

Parenthood. It is the nature of all mammals and many other species to protect the next generation. In humans, this nature is most complex and requires many years of commitment. Parents, if they are in the range of normal, will sacrifice a great deal to sustain their children in life. This sharing experience is so strong that it continues throughout life even after the children have established their independence. Parents never deny sacrifice. Empathy and compassion are the art form.

Marriage. Perhaps marriage is even more complex than parenthood. A partnership begun in self-satisfaction over the years experiences times of tribulation. Often unspoken, both partners suffer the needs of their spouse. Both have shortcomings to be tolerated. In time, tolerance and mutual support becomes compassion and sharing. Each partner has gifted the other with a bond that goes unspoken, suffered silently and takes a lifetime.

The key words in the art of giving are sacrifice, sharing and compassion. The words together create a sense of sincere commitment and a unique feeling of deep joy – the quiet kind and the most healing for all parties concerned.

Ancient Mariner