If it hurts, learn from the experience!

Two days ago a scammer called me—I think he said he was from Microsoft, and said that he needed to get into my computer and clean out some corrupt files. It only took a minute’s conversation with him for me to realize that he was new at the game of scamming. In the scamming game, this guy was a “junior”–just learning the trade, the one who casts the bait by making a zillion random phone calls,  and as soon as he gets someone who will talk to him—a “sucker,” he would hand the phone over to the professional scammer to do the damage. I know the routine because I’ve had these guys call before, and I’ve come to understand their techniques. Now, most of the time I just hang up, or don’t even answer the phone,  but this time, decided to talk to him. Here’s roughly the conversation that we had:

Me: “You’re a scammer. Why would I let you into my computer?”

Scammer: “No, sir, you don’t understand. I’m from Microsoft and I need to get into your computer to clean out some bad files that are corrupting your hard drive and—”

Me, bluntly: “You’re a scammer. a parasite on society. Why don’t you get yourself a decent job and contribute to society, rather than scamming people out of their money?”

Scammer: “But, sir, I need to—”

Me, getting impatient: “You’re a scammer,” I repeated. “Get yourself a decent job!”

Scammer: “And how am I going to get a job, sir? Are you going to give me one?” (those were his exact words, and this is why I recognized him as a greenhorn at the scamming business). Professional scammers don’t ask dumb questions like that, so I admit, for the moment, his questions came as an unanticipated surprise.

Me, at this point, I completely lost my cool: “Now, why in hell am I responsible for  getting you a job?” Get your ass down to the employment office and see what’s available, like the rest of us have to do! Go back to school, if you have to! Get a trade . . .”

My  haranguing continued like that for a few more minutes. He listened in silence, then, finally, I hung up on him.

A bit later, after I calmed down to  a more human level of impiousness, I sort of felt sorry for the fellow. Life certainly had not been kind to him in order for him to have to resort to   scamming for a living, so I sent him a silent prayer, asking God to let someone come into his life and give him some proper guidance concerning the responsibilities of being human. Also, I needed him to forgive me for being so rude.

He obviously had some education—at least enough to know basic computer lingo, so,  at least to a point, he must have chosen, or easily been lead into the scammer’s way of life. Maybe, let’s assume he was raised in a good family that taught him right from wrong,  but he lacked moral principles.  Was his brain twisted enough to make him a sociopath, a person with an antisocial personality disorder who didn’t care whether he hurt another being? I’m not sure that he was a sociopath because, you will remember his question to me: “And how am I going to get a job, sir? Are you going to give me one?” A hard core sociopath—scammer, in this case, isn’t interested in your opinion nor how he can ‘improve’ himself.

On the other hand, if we—society are at least partially to blame for our “misfits,” where are we failing them? I’m a great fan of TVs Dr. Phil show. What I’ve observed so far by watching him is that, in many of his cases where people come to him for help, they’ve already been through at least one other professional source that failed them. Is there a factor in our attempted care to help the less fortunate that we’re leaving out of the equation? I think there is, and I’d like to turn our attention to our King James version of the Bible, Genesis 3:22, for a suggested answer: “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.” In other words,  Man can progress to eventual godhood, but, if he wants to continue his upward evolution, he had  best learn to benefit from the opposites in Creation!


The black nefarious agent and the white angel are both equally my teachers.


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The Placebo Effect

I’m fascinated by our opinions and habits that we, as humans display. Many of us carry ‘Lucky Charms’ , or eat lunch with a certain fork, or wear a specific undergarment just before an important event in our life to invoke  a specified luck or result. Why will one Lucky Charm work for one person, while another will vehemently poo-poo that belief?

I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine, and at one point, the topic turned to our health–how we were feeling. I commented that I had finally found relief for my Restless Leg Syndrome. All my life I had suffered from Restless Leg Syndrome, a painful nervous condition that can cause uncontrollable ‘jerking,’ or shaking of the limbs in order to relieve the pain. I mentioned that, outside of painkillers, nothing seemed ease, or cure my situation. In desperation, I tried Acupuncture–and it worked! Although not completely gone, now I could at least live with the pain.

My friend scoffed at the idea of submitting the body to Acupuncture.

“Superstition!” he claimed. “It’s a medically unproven superstition. If conventional medicine doesn’t have a cure for an ailment, then none exists–at least not until medical science can find one!”

I didn’t feel like arguing the point, so just changed subject. However, I could not help but wonder, is Acupuncture really only a superstition? I knew that my friend was quite a religious person: a Christian. Being a Christian myself, I also know that religion expects a fair amount of belief from its followers, for it to be effective in one’s life–but, hold on. Isn’t belief just another way of saying “Placebo effect”? If I believe such-and-such, and it works for me, while you believe that another something-or-another works for you, the common factor here is “Belief.” It is the power of belief that manifests results in our lives. I’ll give an example in this fictional conversation between Jack and me. Jack came to pay me a visit, as he does every Thursday afternoon. He came just as I had scooped some ice cream into a small dish and was about eat it while watching TV.

Me: “Hi, Jack, come on in. I just bought myself a pint of Baskin-Robbins ice cream. Peppermint flavour. Would you like some?”

Jack: Takes off his jacket and moves closer to the kitchen counter where I was dishing out the ice cream. “Baskin-Robbins! Peppermint, my favorite brand and flavor. You bet I’ll have some!”

I absently pick up an empty dish that happened to be nearby on the counter and without examining the dish closer, dig out two large scoops of the delicious ice cream and hand the dish to Jack.  We amble towards the living room and I turn on the TV.

A few minutes pass.

Jack: “You know, I think Baskin -Robbins makes the best ice cream in the world!” He’s already gobbled down half of his bowl’s content. “It’s sure good!”

Suddenly, with horror, I take a closer look at Jack’s ice cream dish. “Jack!” I exclaim. “I’m so sorry, but I mistakenly put your ice cream into my cat’s dinner dish.”

Jack’s hand, holding his next spoonful of ice cream, freezes in mid-air. He stares with horror at his dish, a sickly, greyish looks envelopes his face.

“Yes, it’s the cat dish–but it’s clean,” I quickly assure him, “I just had it washed this morning in the dishwasher–”

Suddenly, Jack vomits all over my carpet and chesterfield. “I’m sick!” he moans, dropping the dish. “Take me to the hospital!” .  .  .  .  .

My point here is, was it the ice cream, the clean cat dish, or Jack’s fixed belief that made him sick?

Yes, we are what we believe!

 

My Business

I have retired after over 35 years of being self employed. There are lessons that I’ve learned that I wish to share with you.

The sole purpose of a business is to provide a safe, healthy, happy and secure living for its employees. In return, employees will give their all to the company, making it a sustainable and thriving business.

It’s a win-win situation.

Old Age

When an artist picks a tree as his subject to paint, he most likely will choose a gnarled and twisted one that has etched into its bark, trunk and branches, its years of weathering–patterns and memories of its winter, spring, summer fun and fall experiences.

An old tree.

The artist wants to capture  the ancient tree’s soul: its ruggedness, its determination to live in spite of adversity. There is a beauty in such a tree that younger trees do not yet possess.

The next time that you have a conversation with an old person–a senior, apply the same respect, thoughtfulness and reverence to him as an artist would in his appreciation of an old, weathered tree. See beauty and a hidden strength not common to the more flighty moments. Learn from it.

Ayahuasca

I just finished watching a video on Gaia TV titled “Ayahuasca: Vine of the Soul.” Ayahuasca is a South American vine whose Shaman use the bark and stems to brew a potent psychedelic brew. It has also become popular way of entertainment in many North American  social groups whose participants use it to get a feel-good high. But that’s not the goal of the Shaman. To them, the drinking of the brew of the Ayahuasca plant is a sacred–indeed, even a religious rite, that allows the participant to learn the wonderment of his own creation.

I must admit that I found the video appealing and sort of, secretly, wished that I could join the Shaman’s group as they sipped the nectar, chanted, and whispered to each other of  sacred experiences they were having somewhere deep within the noisy, chattering South American jungle … but something made me hesitate. It wasn’t fear, nor lack of desire to know more about myself. I’ve always, as far back in my life as I can remember, been a student of spirituality and metaphysics. Not only did I want to know myself and everything around me, but, like Einstein, I even went boldly as far as to desire to know the mind of God! So why didn’t I hop aboard the plane to South America and join my friend–let’s call him Jake?

I believe the answer lies in the fact that there many roads that lead to life’s destination, and Jake decided to take the highway: the quick way to spiritual maturity, while I preferred the slower, grow-spiritually-as-you-experience road. To demonstrate what I mean, let’s throw Jake and me into an adventure!

“Jake,” I said. “If you take the highway, the fast route, you’ll be in the Jungle Camp months before I’ll be there.”

Jake shook his head. “M-mh! Remember what the Shaman said? Even if one of us arrives before the other, he will not give us our box–the key and instructions to our next goal–unless we are both together.”