Trust me I’m lying

Don’t you find it amazing that all the time in US society we tell people to trust me and also say at the same time admit we are lying? Take for example advertisements. It is almost the rule that ridiculous things happen on advertisements while at the bottom of the screen saying “Do not attempt”. So you are basically trying to sell the car or whatever by doing things that you are telling people to never attempt. Does this seem like a useful strategy?

We know as individuals that nice appearance are normally a lie and unrealistic. Yet we as a society value and venerate celebrities, models, porn stars and others. These people who add questionable value to the world are treated better than people who work and dedicate themselves to improving things like teachers, scientists or doctors.

Why do we allow people to lie to us and act like it is ok? I don’t understand how people accept being lied to. When we don’t hold people accountable to the truth, what are we saying is the value to truth? We talk a good game about being an example to the world of democracy. What value is democracy when the rich and corporations rule it? What value is democracy when we allow those who are supposed to serve us lie to us? What value is democracy when we not only lie to our partners, but we lie to our own citizens (NSA). How can we be an example when we lack integrity. What kind of example are we?

It is embarrassing to be an US citizen when we act so irresponsibility with everyone. I consider myself a citizen of the world, and a human. I do not think that nationalism is helpful and can only lead to over-identification with a particular group. I don’t like people’s tendency to identify with their ethic or other groups in which they belong. Perhaps it is because I am adopted, but it seems that we are all human and that treating each as an individual is the only rational choice. What do you think?

Stories from my Past: Good intentions aren’t enough

Since I work in customer service in technology I often enjoy reading and hearing about other people’s customer service experiences. I asked one Subway worker if she ever had a customer she found difficult to deal with and she related this story.

While I was making his sub he was judging me and saying things like “What did you do to end up here? Is your mother ashamed of you?” and telling me what to do with my life. I couldn’t take it and threw his sub away and told my other worker not to help him. As I was listening to her we had spoken on many occasions and she had shared with me that she was in school and working to improve her life. She was a minority and short, so it would be easy to understand why someone might feel this job wasn’t a good fit for her. She had shared with me in the past that this job was a stepping stone to greater things she was working on, and her life was on a positive slope.

The reason I am sharing this is that too often we might do something we think is helping, (like this guy clearly thought he was doing), but it has the opposite effect. I have said before that good intentions aren’t enough. I have learned in my own mistakes that if you listen and ask someone how you can help them, it makes all the difference than just deciding for them and trying to fit them into your values. Here is another example.

I had a relative once who was older and smoked and didn’t take care of his health. I would go over to his house and clean and offer to help him thinking I was being helpful. It did not help him. It just enabled him to sit at his table chain-smoking and not doing things he needed to do. It was amazing that he could be happy in doing such a simple and boring action. He ultimately died of cancer and I often wondered if I was enabling his behavior by “helping” him. It may seem altruistic or saintly to help others but you have to critically think of things and ask yourself if doing things they should be doing for themselves is really helping them. I have realized that for me, I can only share my experiences but I cannot do the tasks in others lives they should be doing themselves. Certainty you can give someone a ride or do an occasional task, but ultimately everyone has to work to create the life that best suits them.

Don’t assume you understand the situation and what someone else needs. People would rather be asked how they could be helped than just to help. A side rule I’ve learned is that when someone is complaining about something, rather than jump in with suggestions I ask “Are you venting or asking for my help?” Then I don’t have to offend them and make them feel they can’t handle it, or I can just listen and let them vent. This works especially well in office situations.