original content and images ©j.g. lewis
a daily breath...
A thought du jour, my daily breath includes collected and conceived observations, questions of life, fortune cookie philosophies, reminders, messages of peace and simplicity, unsolicited advice, inspirations, quotes and words that got me thinking. They may get you thinking too . . .
I'm like a pencil;
Still I write.
is a writer/photographer in Toronto.
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logical and chronological
In all the scintillating sentences, salacious sound bites, news and views published, broadcast and available 24/7, there is a lot of nonsense about who belongs where.
Much of the talk, originally (though not original) comes top-down from leaders or potential leaders of nations as they stand tall to proclaim rights and responsibilities that clearly go against the way this planet has been evolving.
In this ever-hungry news cycle the comments make headlines, grab the first seconds of the newscast, and the views proliferate and become coffee-shop talk and idle banter. Those people stuck in the past herald these tired, old bigoted views and the velocity of these harmful ideals accelerate.
Intolerance has become the catchall word towards any of the isms, but the only thing inclusionary about the word is its ability to dress down a huge swath of the population in one swift breath. It is hatred, pure and simple, occasionally wrapped in imprudent puffery or packaged in some sort of theme-based oratory proffering intelligence.
I’m growing intolerant of intolerance. Lately it is all you hear about, whether gender-based, nationality, faith, or sexual orientation. The ‘anti’ talk comes from many sources, but right now there is one particular politician trumping out divisive language devised to prop up beliefs that one race, one religion (one country) is superior to all others.
It’s posturing, yes, but it goes far deeper. It pits people against one another, even those within the same nation.
Now I wholeheartedly believe in free speech; it is what keeps us growing intellectually and allows cultures to flourish. Part of that freedom comes with the responsibility of listening, learning, and even accepting or acknowledging the viewpoints of others. Freedom of speech does involve speaking one’s mind, but the words, phrases and diatribes need to be mindful. Even when hurtful, thoughts spoken should be founded in research and reason and not simply used to perpetuate stereotypes.
Where free speech is concerned, a well-formed argument is acceptable, even applauded. But there is little room for acceptance in any form of intolerance. Free speech comes from open minds. All the hate speech currently being bandied about promotes violence, elitism, and a shameful ideal that denigrates entire nations at a time when borders between countries are being eliminated (at least where trade and commerce is concerned).
Yes, sadly, history contains many, many examples of how opposing beings are, and have been, responsible for epic conflicts. There are currently evil powers at work in this world focused on mass destruction and devastation. But if we are to be hopeful we must look beyond these vengeful and revengeful acts and try to salvage our humanity. The trade between nations must be more than monetary.
If we allow this unruly and uncaring behavior to repeat itself — if we allow this ever-enlarging global community to be ruled by closed minds — we are certain to not only repeat history’s past mistakes, but also deal with consequences we cannot even fathom.
Now I may be a dreamer, yes, but if people put as much effort into understanding as they do into standing their ground we may find ourselves in a position of truly being able to work out age-old conflicts.
Yes I dream big, but life is too short, and the planet too small to categorize and sub-divide the population in an effort to keep out anyone who does not look, sound, or hold the same beliefs we hold.
We live in an era of multiculturalism and mixed race. North America was, and continues to be, built on immigration. As we grow physically in size and spiritually by understanding, and as the population expands, as cultures blend and races and religions cohabitate, we must look favorably on this opportunity to grow as human beings.
We cannot paint everybody with the same brush; we can’t systematically decide who is right, or moral, or worthy, based on the hue of the skin, gender, sexual preference, language spoken, country of origin, or beliefs believed. By blindly discounting a certain population you are overlooking the opportunity to become involved with, influenced and inspired by, and more knowledgeable in the process.
It is unreal, unconscionable, and unacceptable to allow intolerance and this type of deterioration to continue. This is not about race. This is about disgrace.
A proverbial line in the sand, twists and bends
a rubber band, ideals and morals
stretching and straining
until it snaps.
You, there now, wondering
what to accept.
Everything you hope, along with
anything you don’t
No tears, not that you will admit, still
the vision is not clear. Where you are,
what can you see?
It can only be
Within our dead wisdom and cluttered minds
boundaries are defined, so we can know
who to allow
into our lives,
or how far we will let them go
before we say no.
Always within the shadow of the question,
were true before,
Was it not evermore? What we don’t see
cannot hurt us, still the pain resonates.
Have you forsaken those with a powerful presence
for fear you will be crushed? Are you not
You won’t know until you try.
Do you compromise your self
for a quick rush, to see how it feels, Did
did you like where
it touched? A temporary crutch?
Promises may have been illusions,
or may have been true.
you second-guess the honesty,
a reply to which
you won’t believe.
Is darkness looming at the door, or
is it light? It’s been there before,
and the vices chosen
and the thoughts once used to meditate
don’t take away what is there.
You look both ways, crossing
a road travelled many times before.
Will you open up the sturdy door?
Or question how you will, or did,
have the courage to ask. With
more trials than tasks,
what will you accept?
© 2016 j.g. lewis
It is a thought-provoking question, and one often asked of others (and ourselves). What would you do if you won a million dollars? Or more?
It’s a question asked each week as I buy a lottery ticket. Actually I purchase several lottery tickets as part of little group at the office. Every week we pony up and buy a number of tickets for Friday’s big jackpot. We each chip in the equivalent of a half a ticket. It doesn’t seem like a lot of cash, but together it is more. It’s like anything else you do as a group; it has a greater impact (at least we hope).
As everybody puts their money on the table, there is always a wishful smile, and each of us utters one of those hopeful phrases like ‘maybe this time’, ‘cross your fingers’, ‘good luck to us, and of course the big ‘what if?’
We all know the chances are slim. The odds of winning a lottery are stacked against you.
Canadian statistics indicate the odds of winning are about one in 14 million. The odds of winning at least $15 million in the particular lottery we play are one in 28,633,528. And the chances decrease when the number of tickets sold increases. In the United States, where this week’s Powerball jackpot is an estimated $1.5 billion, the odds are one in 292 million. It’s not only astounding; it is somewhat humiliating to even think you, as an individual or small group, have any chance at all.
Technically, or realistically, the odds of us winning this week’s $50-million jackpot are unrealistically high — well past the odds of being killed by lightening or dying of flesh-eating disease — at more than one in 86,000,000.
That’s a lot of zeros, a whole lot of unlikely.
Still we try. It’s only three bucks, the price of a good latte or shot of mediocre whiskey. It’s worth that to us, individually and as a group, because pooling a few of our modest shekels, utilizing our communal power of positive thinking, gives us a chance to dream, albeit remotely, on the personal impact of a life-altering amount of money.
Somebody has to win all that cash, and maybe the stars will align just enough to let it be us. We’ve won a driblet or two along the way, some free tickets, and those $2, $5 or $10 prizes that come with having a few of the lucky numbers, but those winnings are ploughed back into tickets on the next week’s draw. We do it proudly, or with heightened optimism, like the prize money is somehow blessed. It does, incrementally, increase our chances, so even at those odds there is more hope.
Hope seems hard to come by, at times, in this uncertain economy. If a few bucks is going to buy me a little hope for the week, I’ll go without something like a muffin or magazine in favor of gaining something else. Even if it is just a little more hope.
After all, there is no point in hoping if you don’t buy into it. Like the lottery advertising says: You can’t win if you don’t play.