Towards a new morality?

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Wayfarer
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Re: Towards a new morality?

Post by Wayfarer » Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:49 pm

I think one of the unstated factors behind this particular discussion is the fact that much American Buddhism, in particular, originated amongst and within the 60's counterculture. That is well documented in books like Rick Fields 'How the Swans Came to the Lake', and besides many of the participants here understand it in the first person. And one of the characteristics of the counterculture is that it is antinomian - 'Antinomianism is a view which rejects laws or legalism and is against moral, religious, or social norms.' There is an antinomian strain in various forms of Buddhism also - the 'crazy wisdom' teachings in particular, which (not coincidentally) were very influential in modern Western Buddhist movements. So I think there's definitely a tension within Western Buddhism with regard to attitudes towards the idea of a moral code. It comes out on DharmaWheel also - I have learned not to debate some topics there, because of an implicitly libertarian mindset which is prone to react very strongly against what it views as conservative attitudes. I think the only practical attitude is to know your own mind, and to learn when to keep your peace.
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Re: Towards a new morality?

Post by lindama » Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:20 pm

onward, soldiers. there is no talking to that diagnosis.

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Re: Towards a new morality?

Post by Great Sage EofH » Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:46 am

antinomian usually means look the other way while i steal a piece of pie.

it's still stealing, and it's still pie. Any you ask me to look the other way because you can't face the truth of yourself.

Anyway, normally we have a sense of conscience. Even if we're hardened criminals.

This is why i keep referring to the paradigm of "skillful practice" - its not judgemental, but it is.
"We are magical animals that roam" ~~ Roam

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Re: Towards a new morality?

Post by Dan74 » Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:53 pm

I guess in response to Wayfarer and SunWuKong, I kinda feel I am missing some context here..

Broadly speaking, I have sympathy for some conservative views and do wonder why we so readily accept that unbridled access to so much that is potentially harmful is a good thing, especially without proper education (I mean especially stuff that is addictive, like alcohol, videogames, porn, etc etc). I also question the laissez-faire approach to morality, where getting as much sensual/sensory experience as possible is a good thing, and renouncing is for dorks. Most of all, I wonder about the trade off of depth for breadth that I find truly pervasive. But underneath it all, I am after a basis for morality that makes sense today.

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Re: Towards a new morality?

Post by bukowski » Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:36 pm

Hi dan. Really interesting topic. I think i am with ken here, that these things always existed, but we hear, see and read about them more these days. Also their are lots of positive changes that you may not be experiencing. In the u.k. casual racism has predominantly become unacceptable, where as in the 70 and 80's it was normal to hear this stuff, even on t.v. sexism, homophobia and bullying are also going the same way in comparison from when i was a boy, (I'm 50 this year). I work in a children and young persons service and this generation seem to be a kind and empathic generation for the most part. Even if you consider peoples views on ecology, younger people seem to accept that we need to protect the planet as a matter of course. Sure, we have our issues and the divide between those with lots and those with not enough is a disgrace. Still, over all i think this place in time is no worse than any other. As for a new morality. . As a person who follows the reachings of the buddha i think i already have a clear 8 fold path to walk. Just some thoughts. :namaste: bukowski.

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Re: Towards a new morality?

Post by Great Sage EofH » Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:33 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:53 pm
I guess in response to Wayfarer and SunWuKong, I kinda feel I am missing some context here..

Broadly speaking, I have sympathy for some conservative views and do wonder why we so readily accept that unbridled access to so much that is potentially harmful is a good thing, especially without proper education (I mean especially stuff that is addictive, like alcohol, videogames, porn, etc etc). I also question the laissez-faire approach to morality, where getting as much sensual/sensory experience as possible is a good thing, and renouncing is for dorks. Most of all, I wonder about the trade off of depth for breadth that I find truly pervasive. But underneath it all, I am after a basis for morality that makes sense today.
I re-read all the posts from top to bottom and I don’t consider it a voice of conservativism. It’s a well-known fact that one does not overcome alcoholism, for example by proving they can drink as much as they want, as if you can gain power over alcohol by increasing your alcohol consumption. Attachment to worldly things works pretty much the same way, the more of it you get the more attached you’re going to be to it. it’s just the way it is. yet there’s an entire gigantic multibillion dollar industry that basically specializes in nothing but Samsaric engineering. Artificially concentrated sugars, upside down mortgages, objectification and degradation of sexuality, social obligations based on all this. these industries normally operate out of a heavily monopolistic and capitalistic system to get people as addicted and attached to their products and their payment plans and their schedules for upgrades, pills, surgeries, and now you need this and now you need that and so on and so forth, it’s the way the design of it is intended, it works exactly the way it supposed to. so the idea about him morality... you have to remember for example that it was around the year 1900s that the tobacco industry organized itself around the idea of you know advertising and promoting liberating women , supporting women’s right to vote, which I believe in, but you know at the same time they kind of did something good at the same time they did something bad, which was they were promoting women smoking and this is a campaign that was largely successful. and just increase the amount of tobacco consumption consumed by women proportional to how much you know liberation women we’re going to get social and culturally, so scratching beneath the surface of them

I think there’s there’s a whole industry within contemporary Buddhism to sort of reconcile ourselves to somehow getting more having more being more “find your true path” be more successful, and I would say that this kind of secular approach is just simply delusional. it’s not hmm, you know, it’s not what was taught, it’s not what’s written and I think it’s important to be very clear about that. So my remarks on antinomianism; guess what, libertine behavior, no matter what half-cocked Buddhist teaching your channeling in your head, is only going to result in suffering. Maybe if you’re a real piece of work, as they say, most of the suffering will be someone else’s, but it’s still going to only cause suffering. Before we dismiss the Christian values and morality we need to ask ourselves sincerely if perhaps not even more is being asked of us. And that’s my two cents worth.
"We are magical animals that roam" ~~ Roam

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Re: Towards a new morality?

Post by Crystal » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:50 pm

......On a good day, we can love everyone for exactly who they are.... vodka and $$ included. It may bring pain, hearts can open. It's not up to us. There are moments when I trust this completely. As people on the way, the precepts guide and inform what an awakened life can look like. I was never taught that they are commandments and I will be punished for my sins. Seems like the precepts are like parents who kindly let us see where we trip.

I will also add, for me, I have avoided this forum for this kind of thinking... and the idea that stresses talk about deep practice, who can say what that is? ... kick over the water bucket, bow... anything. There is no end of sorting. Practice means nothing to me until it walks on the ground. The insinuations ring loud and clear. I have kind feelings for all of you, we're not strangers but there is no purpose for me being here. There is literally nothing to respond to. For me, this is not a response to anything, just shooting ideas, no arrows who meet.
Thank you for your post, I enjoyed reading it, Linda. :namaste:

Caodemarte wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 3:43 pm
Dan74 wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 3:24 pm
........This convinction of the reality of karma-phala, actions have consequences, is great, but if one doesn't believe in rebirth, then one thinks one can get away with it and drown out the pain with ever more entertainment. Or strive for maximum control.
I doubt that not believing in rebirth or an afterlife leads to immorality.
I agree, Caodemarte!

Some of the kindest and most caring and moral people I've ever known don't have any religious beliefs at all, and they're both young and old - and not unusual to find here in the UK. I guess I'd probably describe them as secular humanists, because I can't think of another convenient "label" for them.

Maybe sometimes we're just living in a Buddhist la-la-land and don't actually see the goodness in the hearts and minds of others around us. Its always easier to criticise the rest of the world instead of looking within, letting go of all the mental chatter and misperceptions... and relaxing in the here and now of a person staring at an internet device... .... ;)



:namaste:
Last edited by Crystal on Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Towards a new morality?

Post by Great Sage EofH » Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:19 pm

SunWuKong wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:33 pm
Dan74 wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:53 pm
I guess in response to Wayfarer and SunWuKong, I kinda feel I am missing some context here..

Broadly speaking, I have sympathy for some conservative views and do wonder why we so readily accept that unbridled access to so much that is potentially harmful is a good thing, especially without proper education (I mean especially stuff that is addictive, like alcohol, videogames, porn, etc etc). I also question the laissez-faire approach to morality, where getting as much sensual/sensory experience as possible is a good thing, and renouncing is for dorks. Most of all, I wonder about the trade off of depth for breadth that I find truly pervasive. But underneath it all, I am after a basis for morality that makes sense today.
I re-read all the posts from top to bottom and I don’t consider it a voice of conservativism. It’s a well-known fact that one does not overcome alcoholism, for example by proving they can drink as much as they want, as if you can gain power over alcohol by increasing your alcohol consumption. Attachment to worldly things works pretty much the same way, the more of it you get the more attached you’re going to be to it. it’s just the way it is. yet there’s an entire gigantic multibillion dollar industry that basically specializes in nothing but Samsaric engineering. Artificially concentrated sugars, upside down mortgages, objectification and degradation of sexuality, social obligations based on all this. these industries normally operate out of a heavily monopolistic and capitalistic system to get people as addicted and attached to their products and their payment plans and their schedules for upgrades, pills, surgeries, and now you need this and now you need that and so on and so forth, it’s the way the design of it is intended, it works exactly the way it supposed to. so the idea about hmmm morality... you have to remember for example that it was around the year, early 1900s that the tobacco industry organized itself around the idea of, you know, advertising and promoting liberating women , supporting women’s right to vote, which I believe in, but you know at the same time they kind of did something good at the same time they did something bad, which was they were promoting women smoking and this is a campaign that was largely successful. and just increase the amount of tobacco consumption consumed by women proportional to how much you know liberation women we’re going to get social and culturally, so scratching beneath the surface of things...

I think there’s there’s a whole industry within contemporary Buddhism to sort of reconcile ourselves to somehow getting more having more being more “find your true path” be more successful, and I would say that this kind of secular approach is just simply delusional. it’s not hmm, you know, it’s not what was taught, it’s not what’s written and I think it’s important to be very clear about that. So my remarks on antinomianism; guess what, libertine behavior, no matter what half-cocked Buddhist teaching your channeling in your head, is only going to result in suffering. Maybe if you’re a real piece of work, as they say, most of the suffering will be someone else’s, but it’s still going to only cause suffering. Before we dismiss the Christian values and morality we need to ask ourselves sincerely if perhaps not even more is being asked of us. And that’s my two cents worth.
"We are magical animals that roam" ~~ Roam

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Re: Towards a new morality?

Post by Dan74 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:27 pm

Interesting responses, both in terms of the views and the reactions. Thank you, folks, for pitching in.

This is a tricky topic and I think I haven't quite managed to put across what I am interested in here.

I am NOT saying young people today are worse than the generations before.

And I am NOT really arguing for a more conservative morality (not to say it's a worse option).

However, there are clear differences in the attitudes today to say compared 15, 20, 50 years ago. Young people in all surveys* in the West that I've seen, test lower on solidarity and higher in individuality and self-preoccupation. I see this as a consequence of the collapse of a major part of our culture - a shared moral code that one conformed to or at least appeared to conform to. This opens up more of a possibility to develop an intrinsic moral code, but let's ask how successful is this enterprise in general and more importantly what are the principles it is based upon.

This thread is in the lounge, so I am not asking about Buddhist ethics which are fairly clear. My children will probably not grow up Buddhist and my students are not Buddhist. I ask about their moral development, how it proceeds, how our cultural assumptions feed into it, and most importantly, what is the right way forward - a new morality for this Age of the Individual that feel relevant to this generation and point the right way to them. Because the stories of yesteryear and their moral code no longer are, it seems.

Hope this makes more sense now.

_/|\_

The data is quite hard to come by, but there are some good sources: British Social Attitudes survey www.bsa.natcen.ac.uk , one of which is described in The Guardian articles here: https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... care-about and another in the article by Twenge and Campbell that compared young people's psychological traits from 1930's to today: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~prestos/ ... ll2008.pdf and others by these authors.

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Re: Towards a new morality?

Post by Crystal » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:50 pm

Dan74 wrote:The data is quite hard to come by, but there are some good sources: British Social Attitudes survey www.bsa.natcen.ac.uk , one of which is described in The Guardian articles here: https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... care-about and another in the article by Twenge and Campbell that compared young people's psychological traits from 1930's to today: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~prestos/ ... ll2008.pdf and others by these authors.
Hi Dan,

Are these surveys a reliable source of information ? I never take part in surveys myself and I don't know anyone else that does. Plus the first one is from 5 years ago in March 2013 and the last one from 10 years ago in 2008. Changes can occur in social attitudes after that length of time, depending on what's been happening in the world around us, including influences from goverments & politics, unemployment, availability of food and essential services etc.

Additionally, your first link is about the issues of people on low incomes in the UK, the second appears to be about young people in the UK rather than a cross section of society - and the last one ."Generational differences in psychological traits and their impact on the workplace" seems to be connected to the USA.

As you !ive in Switzerland yourself, I'm wondering how these are relevant to your own situation ?


:namaste:

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Re: Towards a new morality?

Post by Dan74 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:36 am

From a November article in The Conversation:
According to a new analysis, the number of US teens who felt "useless" and "joyless" grew 33 percent between 2010 and 2015, and there was a 23 percent increase in suicide attempts.

https://theconversation.com/with-teen-m ... prit-86996

This is more recent and with more detail:

More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/ar ... on/534198/

Both are from Jean Twenge, an author of the paper I quoted above. I find the stats absolutely staggering.

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Re: Towards a new morality?

Post by bokki » Fri Feb 02, 2018 1:06 pm

ok, the stats r staggering...
but, say, from how how long r the stats???a few decades?
how bout a few
thousand
years..?
any stats?
lol
we seem to think we will control what the world is...
LOL
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burst into flames.
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Re: Towards a new morality?

Post by Dan74 » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:02 am

Control is not the word, but everything we do has consequences. Being aware that these things are happening is important to me. Maybe not to you.

Power/powerlessness

Need to do somethings/not my business

Need to change everything/focus on yourself

This is so important and vital /our time is just a blink of eye of eternity; a bubble on a stream

etc etc

Does it have to be these polarities? The Huayen school teachers interpenetration of the relative and absolute, emptiness and form, big view and the details. We need not fall into one extreme, nor even embrace all of them. The Middle Way of according to the conditions. Like reaching for the pillow at night. No?

Or maybe until then, we meander and stumble around these polarities the best way we know how. I've found it useful not to pitch my tent anywhere too long.

_/|\_

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Re: Towards a new morality?

Post by Wayfarer » Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:19 am

The problem is that views on such questions are, nowadays, intensely polarised - much more so than several generations ago. Why, would take a book-length argument. But one factor is, the incredibly rapid pace of social and cultural change in today's world. Another is the abandonment of traditional moral codes and authorities and their replacement with an overall individualistic attitude. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with individualism, in fact it's far preferable to the alternatives, but it's also now attached to the politics of identity, which has many consequences.

But without wanting to sound moralist, I think the really deep issue is, the lack of relatedness. Not 'relationship', although that's a part of it - but a sense of being related to the world around you - at home in the Cosmos, having a real reason for being.

On the Philosophy Forum I post to, there are regular posts from newbies, usually young, which often express a sense of meaningless and ennui. I think Western, or modern, globalised culture, is a major factor. Many traditional occupations and role-models have been abandoned, and we're expected to create ourselves, largely by ourselves, in a world which is constantly changing. There was a book title I noticed on Amazon, 'All that is Solid Melts into Air', I think about post-modernism and social change. And that is how life occurs to many people.

Actually I do think materialism, in both the scientific and cultural sense, has a lot to answer for. It is de-humanising. One of the chief spokesmen for materialism wrote a book in which he proudly proclaimed that all traditional ideas of values and philosophy are being dissolved in the 'acid of Darwin's dangerous idea' - as if this is progressive. There is vast confusion in modern Western culture.

Hey, there are also many that ISN'T true for, I'm sure. I mean, I am now a grandparent, and my son's peers are all highly anchored, functional, and largely pretty well-balanced individuals. But still I can sense the feeling that humanity is cut loose from its moorings. A lot of people say - Bhikkhu Bodhi comments on this - that they believe life, generally, and themselves, in particular, are purely the products of chance, and that life has no meaning other than what you give it through your achievements.
The most important thing is not at all important.

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Re: Towards a new morality?

Post by Crystal » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:14 am

.

Worth consideration when one is looking outward instead of inward ....

“Upon arousing this mind, you should reflect on the impermanence of the world. Impermanence is not something you merely visualize, or something you create and think about. Impermanence is the truth that is right in front of you. You need not study other people’s words or textual evidence on this matter. "

~ Dogen


https://www.dailyzen.com/journal/informal-talks


_/|\_



.
Last edited by Crystal on Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Towards a new morality?

Post by lobster » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:02 am

People these days are obsessed with doing/being/expressing the latest rite thing. No change there. Each culture and time tries to impose its bible/facelessbook/trumpette morality on us ... :114:

However within and without, to a limited or infinite degree we can be Moral :111:

I choose sila as others have mentioned. I choose kindness, love, empathy and minding my own business.

New morality? The buck starts here. No change there ... :113:

:namaste: :109:

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Re: Towards a new morality?

Post by Dan74 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:39 pm

Came across this lady just now, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Jacobs_Brumberg

A review of her book The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls:
A hundred years ago, women were lacing themselves into corsets and teaching their daughters to do the same. The ideal of the day, however, was inner beauty: a focus on good deeds and a pure heart. Today American women have more social choices and personal freedom than ever before. But fifty-three percent of our girls are dissatisfied with their bodies by the age of thirteen, and many begin a pattern of weight obsession and dieting as early as eight or nine. Why?

In The Body Project, historian Joan Jacobs Brumberg answers this question, drawing on diary excerpts and media images from 1830 to the present. Tracing girls' attitudes toward topics ranging from breast size and menstruation to hair, clothing, and cosmetics, she exposes the shift from the Victorian concern with inner beauty to our modern focus on outward appearance--in particular, the desire to be model-thin and sexy. Compassionate, insightful, and gracefully written, The Body Project explores the gains and losses adolescent girls have inherited since they shed the corset and the ideal of virginity for a new world of sexual freedom and consumerism--a world in which the body is their primary project.
I think the evidence is incontrovertible that we are seeing a seismic cultural shift with enormous consequences and TBH I am dismayed by the attitude of 'cmon, you're imagining/projecting it' or 'just focus on your practice and stop worrying about stuff like this'. Kinda lazy/defeatist, no?

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Re: Towards a new morality?

Post by fuki » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:48 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:39 pm
or 'just focus on your practice and stop worrying about stuff like this'. Kinda lazy/defeatist, no?
No one can tell you this (they can but it's their projection then eh?)
Obsession with the neurotics of one's physical appearance is a ever growing poison, leading to self-destructive thoughts and actions.
Whatever you can do to raise awareness or be a positive change to this sickness (how little or local it may seem) and may serve as a transforming experience for people then I'd rejoice in one's efforts. But ppl often don't want to hear about various symptoms of suffering so easy to say "stop worrying"

On the other hand those who "worry" or are "activists" can't force others to care or "be worried" about it ofcourse, some people oppose to others planting trees and cleaning the oceans. :shock:
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Re: Towards a new morality?

Post by Great Sage EofH » Thu Jun 28, 2018 5:34 am

Dan74 wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:39 pm
Came across this lady just now, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Jacobs_Brumberg

A review of her book The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls:
A hundred years ago, women were lacing themselves into corsets and teaching their daughters to do the same. The ideal of the day, however, was inner beauty: a focus on good deeds and a pure heart. Today American women have more social choices and personal freedom than ever before. But fifty-three percent of our girls are dissatisfied with their bodies by the age of thirteen, and many begin a pattern of weight obsession and dieting as early as eight or nine. Why?

In The Body Project, historian Joan Jacobs Brumberg answers this question, drawing on diary excerpts and media images from 1830 to the present. Tracing girls' attitudes toward topics ranging from breast size and menstruation to hair, clothing, and cosmetics, she exposes the shift from the Victorian concern with inner beauty to our modern focus on outward appearance--in particular, the desire to be model-thin and sexy. Compassionate, insightful, and gracefully written, The Body Project explores the gains and losses adolescent girls have inherited since they shed the corset and the ideal of virginity for a new world of sexual freedom and consumerism--a world in which the body is their primary project.
I think the evidence is incontrovertible that we are seeing a seismic cultural shift with enormous consequences and TBH I am dismayed by the attitude of 'cmon, you're imagining/projecting it' or 'just focus on your practice and stop worrying about stuff like this'. Kinda lazy/defeatist, no?
The social order of the world in based on race, sex, class, and hmm, sex. It's an analysis I'm constantly subjecting all communication through, for example Post-Colonialism, or advertising. The primary message hammered into women is that they aren't good enough, they need improvement, they always will, because ultimately they aren't equal, because of course, they are unclean. But with enough work, they can be made good enough to be kept in their place.Schools, government, churches, employers, jails (all the factory modeled institutions) are the primary conduit, and press, media is the mouth piece of all these. The social order of differences doesn't make a whole lot of sense until you realize the purpose is to oppress, and thats somewhat indiscriminant. We blame the losers for losing. Discrimination thinking is the opposite of liberation
"We are magical animals that roam" ~~ Roam

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Re: Towards a new morality?

Post by egon » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:55 am

Larry wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:14 am
So why not split the thread? Is it because you're losing the debate? :D

egon has an excellent point about which Golden Age we're supposedly looking back to. I doubt your example of China would wish to return to Mao, the Second World War or the Emperors.

Even from the obviously privileged participants in this forum, who among us would really prefer to be living the lives of our grandparents? One of my grandfathers had his mind mangled in the First World War & the other died of TB in his 40's.

Of course I'm not saying don't try to make things even better. Just do it from a base of optimism. And Appreciate everything. Even the shit that helps us grow.
:560:

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