Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Who gets to determine our "value"?

Originally posted at My Left Wing

I haven't been able to keep on top of all the essays written here. Being on a bit of a break from work, I have a little more time than I did, but I still have to balance my blogging with working on things that can generate income. 'Cause my time off is *never* "paid vacation" time. I say this in order to explain why I miss many essays that I might really appreciate reading, and also to explain why I was so concerned by what I read when I finally did take a look at Why We Don't Write/The Two MLWs. People here actually don't write out of concern that their work will be regarded as "not good enough"? Aw crap! Why would we *do* this to ourselves and others?

And while I'm on the topic, WTF is it with the disparaging of all things "meta"? That tends to be the bulk of what I write, when I actually *do* write. Some of you may be aware that I do transcripts sometimes--for example, I actually transcribed the whole tv appearance MSOC did a while back. I've done plenty of others as well, and sometimes people express amazement that I am willing to go to that kind of trouble. The reason I transcribe is pretty simple. First, I think it's important to make sure people's words *in context* are available. Secondly, it makes me feel like a "useful engine". That's important to me. And a lot of the time it's much much easier for me to mindlessly transcribe something than to actually put together words of my own.

Which brings me back to "meta". (I already said here that I'm going to press forward with this and post it even if it might suck. And the scattered nature of this post is a pure reflection of my state of mind--it's rainy and dreary outside, so I lack focus. It's not a bug--it's a feature!) "Meta" in one form or another is what I *do*. It's how my mind works--I see connections between things. I've had *plenty* of opportunities for "f---ing learning experiences", I reflect on them, and I share my insights. I do this, not because I have some belief that *my* words on an issue are better written, or more valid, or more important than anyone else's. But sometimes someone will read them and find them helpful in some way--maybe it will provide them with one more "piece of the puzzle" that they need. And in my mind, that's the most important work we can be doing here on earth. Reaching out and making connections. Touching other lives in a positive way.

I want to share two more things before I close this rambling essay (for now). The first is a comment I made to one of skippy's diaries at Booman Tribune last month. Yes, it had to do with that damn "Blogroll Amnesty Day" nonsense. And no, I don't normally drop "f-bombs" when I write. But this is an issue I get pretty worked up about...

I have no fucking patience for elitism. Especially considering how hard I work all day and still find the fucking time to try to do some social justice activism, which I don't profit from monetarily, simply because I fucking care about making the world a better place.

It's been a long week. One thing I meant to mention in the context of all of this is that it brings back a memory from years ago, of a fellow receptionist describing an interaction she had with one of the attorneys at the firm where she was employed. He wanted her to do the dirty work of booting some "lesser" attorney out of a conference room or something, and she balked at being put in that position. He boomed back at her, "I'm a $300 an hour man"

I cannot stand that kind of crap. You make more money, you wield more power, whatever, does not make you inherently more worthy. Sometimes it just means you got lucky. Sometimes it even means you stabbed somebody in the back to get where you are.

The second thing I want to share is a piece of scripture from 1 Corinthians. It's one that has been on my mind a lot lately.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body-whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free-and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Occasionally people will react negatively to any mention of religion--sometimes to the point of belligerently insisting that I "leave the God stuff out of it". I haven't experienced that here, that I can recall, but it's happened often enough in my years of blogging that I *do* hesitate before I "go there".

So anyway, I'm cognizant that some people, because of negative past experiences, are uncomfortable with seeing scripture quoted. And I try to be sensitive to that because, well, because I'm just "like that". Anyway, if you're one of those people, maybe you can try mentally deleting the religion words from the passage above. Because I really think, even as just a piece of literature (an "essay" by Paul, if you will) it is pretty relevant to what I've been trying to say in this post.