The New Normal

This is the Flatstick, a “theme bar” located across the street from my apartment building. I’ve never been inside. The humorous (?) sign to the left is what caught my eye today and what this post is mostly about.

If it hadn’t been for an event just down the street at Solomon’s Deli, I might have saved this post for a later date. But with three visuals and this much intellectual “meat” to try to digest, I figured I would try writing something this afternoon.

The “new normal” is full of cognitive confusions

Most of us want a better life and a better world. Some of us think everyone on this planet wants this. A few of us are very sure that assumption is incorrect.

Many then ask, well, why don’t we have a better world? Most have no real idea, so they are willing to go along with one of the many theories in current fashion about why this planet is still so messed up. A few of us are quite sure that all these theories are incorrect or incomplete.

Learn better behaviors

The theory being put forward, apparently, by “modern” psychology, is that we all need to learn to behave “better.” If a person can’t learn to behave better, they deserve to be shamed, hated or … killed? … in the hope that this will cause them to learn their lesson. Of course, if it seems that a mental illness is causing the problem, then the person belongs in therapy. Maybe our ideas about “right behavior” also need to change, so we can be kind to more different types of people.

The whole theory expressed – however imperfectly – above is full of assumptions that many not be (or aren’t) true:

  1. All our major earthly problems stem from not being nice (kind, considerate) to each other. (Really?)
  2. The way to make more people act kind is to train them to act that way. (Okay…)
  3. If a person can’t be so trained, he must have a mental illness of some similar condition requiring therapy. (Who makes this decision?)
  4. Mental illnesses respond to drugs because the mind is in the brain. (This is categorically incorrect.)
  5. Maybe the behaviors we used to think are bad (lying, cheating, stealing…) really aren’t that bad, because we’ve never been able to get anyone to stop doing them. Maybe we just have to accept these behaviors and learn to be kind to those people, too. Then the world would be a much better place. (This, of course, is totally insane.)

Faith, freedom and honesty

This encapsulates the approach of most who today call themselves “conservative.”

If a man of faith is given freedom, then he will do good, because he will be motivated by God, and God always does good.

You can tell a man of faith by his honesty level. Those who lie to gain advantage are not persons of faith.

God’s law is above civil law and guides the conscience. Civil law guides the day-to-day dealings of men and women. Abide by the first and enforce the second, and that should be all that is needed.

This approach has been somewhat useful over a long period of time, but is hard on real criminals, who are incapable of being honest. Thus, this approach is constantly being fought by criminals, who constantly seek to give religion and related subjects a bad name. This has led to the secular behavioral approach, given first.

Conflicts

Secular behaviorism is currently considered more “liberal” and enlightened than faith-based approaches such as classic conservatism.

The problem is that in faith, or in any religious belief, there lies a grain of truth which will never be forsaken by the faithful. And so the faithful will never, never, never be persuaded to embrace secular behaviorism in any of its forms, particularly in its current form, which seems to show “mercy” for criminals.

The grain of truth cherished by the faithful is that there is a power higher and more lofty than the powers of the physical universe; that this power, in fact, created the physical universe.

While it is technically incorrect to attribute this power to just a few beings, or gods, this mistake does not cancel the truth of the more basic assertion. And so a belief in Spirit lives on, and it will always be opposed to the denial of Spirit.

The traditionally faithful tend to gravitate to certain moral teachings for the reasons that they are part of their sacred texts and also seem sensible. In a more traditional moral system, sexual relations between same-sex individuals seems ridiculous, or wrong, because it does not forward God’s work of perpetuating the race. Similar arguments can be made against killing an unborn fetus or trying to change one’s body to match one’s fancied gender orientation.

But because the current “liberal” approach is so anti-Spirit, conservatives have had to make a place for people who are “socially liberal” but can’t stand the thought of handing power over to lunatics. This has given the Left the poetic license to brand conservatives as totalitarians. Currently, the Left is much more intolerant than most conservatives.

Is the “old normal” really that bad?

A bar run by a reasonably sensible conservative would not treat any of the “sicknesses” mentioned on that sign as good enough reason to kick you out of his (or her) bar.

COVID-19 is a treatable and fairly mild disease that most of us should now be immune to.

Racism is an archaic mindset that seems out of place in the modern world. But there’s no reason to assume it would prevent someone from being a perfectly civil bar patron.

Same with homophobia.

What we had with the “old normal” was a general agreement that truth was valuable and worth pursuing, and in a like wise, honesty was worth practicing.

We were discovering that politicians, news casters, scientists, even doctors, could play the role of criminal and lie to us. We discovered that we needed to trust our own sense of rightness more and question “authority” more. That freedom was workable in the context of human rights, but not in the context of absolute freedom for anyone to do anything they wanted. We were beginning to discover that a certain type of personality was trying to take over this planet and destroy all our progress towards real truth and understanding and replace it with a new updated sort of superstition and slavery.

So they decided to accelerate their efforts, and made great progress in that direction over the last year and a half.

Do we really want that to be our world? Will it really result in more kindness and generosity, less suffering and fear? Will it end war, sickness, pollution or global warming? If not, why should anyone support it?

These are my questions to you.

Birthday celebrations at Solomon’s

Hey, to me this was strange. But I could tolerate, I guess, a guy dressed in a rainbow skirt wearing a colored wig and way too much makeup hosting an event at my local Deli…

To be hugged by such a dude might be a bit much for me. But look, ma, no masks! Could we maybe inch our way back to the old normal?

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2 Responses to “The New Normal”

  1. Elizabeth Whitaker Says:

    Larry, I’m very disappointed in your characterization of COVID-19 as “a treatable and fairly mild disease.” While it is true that for many people, COVID-19 is a fairly mild disease, I feel that your description minimizes the death and disability it has caused for so many. I was personally acquainted with two people from my small county who died of COVID-19. I know many people personally who, though they have recovered, were very sick, including my husband. I know others who are still suffering from long-term after-effects. It was the third leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2020. Hospitals and mortuaries in cities were overwhelmed. My daughter-in-law had to re-use an N-95 mask and worry that she might bring COVID home to her mother, who took care of my grandson. Now that we have effective vaccines, rates of illness and death are finally going down in the U.S., but other parts of the world are still suffering greatly. I have a hard time understanding how you believe it is a “fairly mild disease.”

  2. Concepcion Perez Says:

    My own thoughts on covid-19: from what I understand, I would be inclined to call this a vascular disease (that happens to have respiratory spread). The most insidious and long-term effects could be anywhere in the body – not just the lungs. As a vascular disease, I was very worried for any covid effects that could impact pregnancy – such as observed damage to the placenta. I would not characterize covid-19 as a “fairly mild disease”. I am concerned – that we may not even have a full understanding for the long-term impacts for at least 2 generations. (I would think it could likely take ~ 100 – 200 years, to get a big-picture idea of how much covid-19 has changed our world?) This virus has been recovered in felines + mustelids (ferrets + weasels + otters etc) + apes + bats etc. Even pet hamsters are known covid-carriers. Assorted rodent species can hold this virus. Every new host for this virus = a new opportunity for this virus to mutate. We will never get rid of this virus (now), but we don’t truly even know – yet – what we are dealing with…

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