Goat Center World View

This portion of the blog is where you would find commentary and opinion. The Old Goat is not too political so this may not be too active a department, but he may, from time to time, post some left wing drivel here.

If he does he will invite some right wing and middle of the road zany folks to provide drivel of their ilk to balance out the center’s blog.

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FAIRNESS

What parent has not rolled eyes when faced by a child reciting the mantra of children, “It’s not fair!” How many parents have not quite yelled when they answered, “Life’s not fair!”

How many while stopped at a light or a signal have seen a man holding a cardboard sign? They may have muttered, “Get a job.” But they may have also thought, “Me, 30,000 dollar car, iPhone, 100 dollar sneakers, fancy 10 speaker stereo in aforementioned car; Him, ratty clothes and poorly designed cardboard sign.”

You or I could list examples from now until forever that would illustrate that unfairness is the true norm. But what is equally true is that in many cultures there is a fervent desire for fairness. A recent experiment illustrated that this concern is not confined to humans.

A recognized American primate expert and his staff at a midwestern university conducted an experiment concerning fairness with two of our closest animal relatives. Two chimps were easily trained to do some simple tasks. This was their “work.” The animals were trained using positive reinforcement as you and I may have done with our dogs. In this setting, correct behavior was rewarded with a treat. The treat was a small piece of cucumber.

Not long after this was all in place, the system changed. Both chimps continued to do the same tasks, but the reward system was now not the same for both. One animal continued to get the cucumber and the other received a grape.

When both were getting cucumber rewards, the treat was welcomed by both, but that changed almost instantly. The subject receiving the grape continued to act as before. The chimp getting cucumber bits soon exhibited vocal and physical displeasure at the new condition. Soon, the cucumber chimp stopped doing his task.

Comparisons to human society are obvious and will not be enumerated her except to say that in the United States where the middle class is shrinking and one percent of the population controls thirty-nine percent of the wealth, this experiment is especially instructive.

Increasingly we are becoming a two tiered culture. Most of us are existing in the cucumber world while Wall Street Bankers and other non producing drones live in the happier grape world.

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MY INTRODUCTION TO SOCIAL NETWORKING

As an old goat who spends a good deal of time at home, social sites are attractive in that you might get to meet some new nice folks.

The first one I tried was nice. Many members had music on there sites. In fact there was music everywhere. It was easy to be friends with niche bands you have just learned of. Made some friends to write forth and back to as well.

But that first site soon began to morph. There were home pages six feet long. Giant winged angels appeared everywhere. I felt I should put on some lingerie before posting.

Then a second try with a social site that let you accumulate points for commenting on the posts and photos of others. This created a community of lemmings rushing around, leaving insipid posts in hope of copping a point. I had hoped this one would be fertile ground for civil conversations about matters of the day. It was not. Instead, a pit of name calling and stupidity. At the end I did not even want to hear from those who agreed with me.

Then enter FACEBOOK. I liked it. Still do. Have reconnected with childhood pals and former students. They have a good way to share photos too. Not much arguing … at least the way I do it.

Some friends and family think that FB is too nosy and they avoid the site and putting any info there. I don’t have anything on FB that you could not find out about me with minimal search skills. But if you are not comfortable with being on FB, by no means be there.

My only complaint at present is that I wish part of FB could be a forum for civil discussion of interesting topics. By this I mean talk shared by people with common interest or experience. For example, I think that single moms might have things to share and write about. They would not agree about everything. Nobody does. But they would have a place to start.

I find conversations painful that just rehash what your favorite talking head said on the tube last night to someone who favors another head. I quit watching heads.

Another widespread format on FB is the premature erudition thread. This form may be the backbone of FB. I take a quick look at FB two or three times a day for 5 – 10 miutes. I see the PE thread often. But don’t think I protest this presentation too much. It is not a threat to our nation or the children among us. It is just something that could be much better. Here is how the premature erudition thread works. It starts out slow and uninteresting and then rapidly grinds to a halt.

An example:

Chad – woooooaaaaa, just got up and scratched my butt… got to get me some coffee

Buffy – i heard that

Chad – i love me some coffee

Sid – me too – wish I had some RAT now

Buffy – lol

Chad – tripped over cat!

Sid – did you get coffee on the cat

Buffy – lmao

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About this time, thread will stop

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RIGHT or REAL

I am a little disappointed that at my advanced age I don’t “know” more. In fact I suppose that I think recognizing how little you “know” is a sign of wisdom. So most of what I will say here on the Center Blog is a real representation of my current thinking. I hope it is right thinking, but I cannot claim a vice grip on all truth.

One truth I have observed though over several decades is that I cannot remember even once instance when a person has said to me, “Goat (when I was younger they may have called me Mo or Elmo), thank you SO much. I was way wrong. I was off the track, in the intellectual ditch. I was ALL wet. But you have got me turned around. You have me straightened out.”

No, that conversation never took place.

In that same vein, I do not think that the Goat Center will be a vehicle for advancing Goat weltanschauung. No, I hope it will just be a place where we can all be real, kind, and interesting.

 

In this next short part I will share a little of my thinking about something I am pretty sure is true. And I did not arrive at this opinion without giving the matter a great deal of consideration. I also know that many people think much differently than I do.

Briefly, I do not think anyone “decides” to be homosexual. I do not think they decide this anymore than they might decide to be Caucasian. A recent news item reinforced my thinking.

It was widely reported that Bishop Jim Swilley of his Church of the Now in Conyers, Georgia told his congregation that he was gay. He did this not because he was caught dancing with a choir boy or because an impending scandal was coming down I-75. He said he did it because of the influence of several recent suicides of young men. He said he thought that his unprovoked honesty might help or save one person.

It should be noted that the Bishop is not a Unitarian or a liberal Episcopalian. His Georgia church is part of a conservative wing of Christianity. He must have known that his news would have been as popular as pork loin at a Bat Mitzvah. His superiors were not supportive either. Earthy goat center members suggest that Bishop Swilley is in for a world of hurt and a probable shit storm.

However, the Bishop, 52,  stated,  “There are two things in my life that are an absolute: I did not ask for either one of them. One was the call of God in my life. The other … was my sexual orientation.”

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One response to “Goat Center World View

  1. Nancy

    I agree. One does not decide to be a homosexual or lesbian. It happens to him or her. We can’t help what we are biologically or ethnically. I have often wondered…”Why was I born the way I am?” “Why am I Who I am and Where I am?”

    I can only praise Bishop Swilley for being so honest with his congregation and doing so in an unselfish effort to prevent more suicides. He is a true Christian. What is written in the Bible…Judge not so……

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