Sunday, January 20, 2019

Misfits and Tribes

By Tom Saubert
Sorry for not updating everyone for awhile. Lately, I've been reading a lot and training a lot in boxing and running a lot. I probably should be writing to you about my only case on the docket - a California Supreme Court filing against the Mayor and Council Members that was reported on by the LA Times and San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Washington Post. And it's important case, but really two books I've been reading and several conversations I've been having have made me question whether I'm spending my time well and what I should be doing with it. It's definitely making me wonder if suing people in power is the best way to reform a society.

I'm reading a book on misfits, probably because even though I don't look like one on the surface, I have to admit I am just that: a misfit. How many people do you know go on 15-month sabbaticals, spend time reading on fermenting food, or run 10 miles a day back to back on Friday and Saturday? But because I know what it's like to not feel like on the "in" is probably the reason I work so hard on changing environments and places. It's so other people don't have to feel outcasted or vulnerable or unsafe. These are the people I believe in that need to have a fighting chance too.

I can't agree with everything the book says, because the author rejects the notion of suffering and grace. I get what she's saying though, that the religious trite sayings used to comfort you through suffering are fake, painful, and hypocritical.

But I find it ironic that the author's own suffering was transformed into beauty with her art. That's a kind of grace, no? And that's the irony of her rejecting the correlation of grace and suffering.

Anyways, the most important thing (so far) I've read in the book is this message: People need our love and acceptance. And for the misfit, we can all do our part to make him or her feel safe. I liked those ideas so much; I noted to myself to practice it more.

The second book I'm reading is on tribes. I just started it. But I was intrigued by the first chapter, which points out that during the 1600's to the 1700's, a number of American colonists chose to defect to live with Native Indian tribes. There's been no documented cases where the Indians wanted to live with the Americans. The author argues that the Native Indians were a lot better at community than the English were, and hence, they met the intrinsic needs of a lot of the early English-American settlers. The author goes on to talk about how the most wealthy countries in the world have the highest rates of depression, suicide, and mental illness; while, the poorest countries in the world generally don't have such problems.

Then he talks about how we've become screwed up in society, because we have kleptocracy (that's CEOs and politicians) committing unprecedented levels of theft. Essentially, modern Western societies have valued materialism above all else. As I've figured out and reported on this blog, CEOs and politicians are defrauding taxpayers or stockholders of alarming amounts.

Essentially they're claiming a disproportionate amount of resources through entitlement, when their worth doesn't justify it. In a tribe, we would execute or banish people like this. But in modern society, people like Baldwin Park's Council Members and Mayors can do whatever they want undetected. Are we better off for living in this kind of society?

Perhaps, not. But I have a lot more to read before I reach further conclusions.

Today, someone drove me around in his new car. It was worth over $100,000, and it even knew how to parallel park itself. The machine was a testament to the incredible technological achievement of our society.

But the whole experience made me reflect on my little beater car. I asked myself: "What is wealth really?" Is it the property you possess? Is it what you know? Is it having time for others? (All these new ideas are making me wonder what's the best way to spend my time.)

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