Author: Bob Adamcik

National pride and unity…

I wonder at times if anyone in the U.S. under 70 even understands what it means to pull together, to forgo even minor luxuries for a greater good…of a group, a country, or  even the planet. I was of military age during the Vietnam era, but never served. And returning vets from that war found quickly what much of America thought of them.  The emerging social revolution from that same era created a “me-first” mentality that, 40 to 50 years later, wreaks havoc with the social order.  Personal choice and freedom and individual identity have displaced the the greater good, the social compact. I watched today a video of WWII era transport planes recreating a supply run over the Bering Sea and Siberia, an action critical to providing Russia (they were an ally then) with food and supplies and materiel during the war.  It brought me to tears and a sense of loss.  As as a country, we have lost sight of the one thing that might save us, a sense of national unity and concern for the societal good.  I wish we could find it again, but I despair....

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What counts as socially-responsible behavior?

I have a personal conflict: I have a strong sense of social responsibility, but I’m a solitary guy.  I’m happiest hanging out at home.  But just donating money seems like a cop-out. Over the years, I’ve built homes with Habitat for Humanity, served on the board of a nonprofit, cleaned up litter, worked in churches, played free gigs for benefits, and on and on.  The list is long, but the length of service, as a rule, was not. I get bored and I’m selfish with my time).  If there were a cause I wanted to throw myself into in unreservedly this might change.  But so far, nothing.  I’ve worked because I feel socially responsible, but I’ve always felt I was cheating my fellow volunteers who seemed fully engaged. I guess the question is, “What counts as socially-responsible behavior?”  Or maybe this is just a guilt trip, and I’m looking for someone to tell me it’s OK to stay home and just send a check....

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Two kinds of trouble…

There are two kinds of trouble in people:  That you see and that you don’t.  Poverty, sickness,  unemployment, divorce…these are evident.  But they may have little to do with what someone is carrying around inside.  Emptiness, confusion, meaninglessness, despair, melancholy…these you may only see if you care enough to look. We too often think, “What does he (or she) have to be unhappy about?  He’s got a job, decent money, a nice home and family, new car…”  Or worse, we think the same of ourselves.  Instead of accepting and questioning our negative emotions, we deny them…or believe we have no right to feel them. But emotions are what they are, and we should own them.  If internal discontent is getting in the way of a fulfilled life, then we have not only a right but a duty to ourselves to question it.  Objective self-examination, however hard, is the first step to self-understanding…and self-understanding is the only avenue to change....

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These notes…

…are about being human, about the indescribable beauty and wonder, the mystery and fear, the joy and gratitude that humanity brings. They are about the ugliness of tragedy and loss. They are about the indefinable and profound sadness that life must end. These are notes about paradox: of love and anger, of kindness and venality, of belonging and rejecting, of needing and being needed. They are about humility before the emotions that make us who and what we are. These notes are about those who “get it:”  the painter, the poet, the songwriter…those whose work cuts cleanly to some secret place. Against all our resistance, they tap our emotional wells of fear and need and insecurity, of love and joy and wonder. We keep no secrets from them. These are notes about those who have reconciled to their humanity. They shine with peace and godliness and tolerance and acceptance and inclusion…because they know we are all in this together, that in the end, we have no control. They are at one with the mystery. And these are notes about those who haven’t a clue, or maybe so incurious as to not think beyond the emotion of the moment. We know them, also. These notes are without purpose other than to observe, to ask, to pique and create discussion, maybe to enlighten and be enlightened.  Perhaps they will reach someone...

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