Tolerance What is tolerance? What does it mean to be intolerant? Webster’s defines them below. Tolerance: a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one's own. Intolerant: manners, etc., different from one's own, as in political or religious matters; bigoted. Who determines when you are tolerant or intolerant? At what point are you simply upholding your beliefs, versus becoming intolerant? At what point does your tolerance become detrimental to you, physically, emotionally or otherwise. Tolerance and intolerance have been causing me much inner conflict the last few weeks, well actually I suppose for years. I am torn between what I feel is right for me from the simple be kind to others, to the more complicated don’t partake in illegal substances. On the news every day we hear of wars because of intolerance. Lack of tolerance towards another’s skin color, religion, or politics, are the types of intolerances that make it difficult to find a happy medium. But even the afore mentioned I try hard not to judge, I listen to what others believe, I try to understand how they came to their strong beliefs and even if I can not accept the same belief I can accept that is how they feel and tolerate it. Does this mean I have to befriend them, date them, marry them, no it just means I know we are all different and that at times it may be hard to accept those differences, but in my opinion they must be tolerated. Oh don’t get me wrong; there are many times I want to scream at the top of my lungs at something/someone I think is wrong. Key word here “I”, it is my issue it is my belief that I have to take ownership of, not yours. Would I stop dating someone or not date them at all because our beliefs where different, yes I don’t think it would be fair to either party to inflict a constant sense of discomfort. Do I stop befriending someone because their beliefs are different then mine, no my history shows far from it. I find surrounding myself with those who cause me discomfort, with the distance offered of a friendship, versus a life time partner, is good for the soul, it forces me to stretch and grow my beliefs and understanding. Unfortunately, recently I have encountered many who are not like me, they are unwilling to accept our differences large or small and remain friends. Does this say something about them or me? Perhaps it is not a them or me issue, perhaps this is one of those times where there is such a fine line between intolerance and tolerance it is best to just walk away. All of this has made me examine myself, my ability to tolerate those around me from the person who needs two seats on a plane because they think it is fine to hurt themselves physically, to the person who drinks to excess and many other things that cause me great inner turmoil between acceptance and intolerance. I was brought up to accept all religions, skin colors, cultures, etc. I was not taught to tolerate abuse, hatred and violence toward others. Because I was taught not to abuse does this mean I am intolerant of abusers? I have been abused many times physically and emotionally, does this mean I crossed that fine line between intolerant and tolerant – it seems, how else could I tolerate such behavior toward me if my mind was not telling me to be tolerant that it is not for me to be intolerant of another’s behavior. I have come full circle to when is tolerance no longer ok, when is it ok to be intolerant and who decides, my inner turmoil seems to continue. I keep breaking it down over and over in my head, why is it ok for one to believe eating meat is bad for the soul and should not do it, yet will not tolerate another’s belief that taking illegal drugs is not acceptable. Is it simply that we are so different we will never be able to tolerate fully the others beliefs? If this is true then what hope would we ever have of world peace, or even something as simple as living together with those of different backgrounds. Perhaps this brings up the whole issue of laws, are laws shows of intolerance or rules to uphold one person’s/groups belief(s). If it they are one or the other isn’t that still some form of intolerance, but whose? Why are my intolerances unacceptable, but yours are ok? Who decides? I guess I do? I suppose I have to decide that I will tolerate your behaviors if I so chose, and how far I take that tolerance will be up to me to decide, just as I will have to accept your level of tolerance or intolerance. Have I solved my dilemma? No I suppose not. Will I at some point come to peace with my inner turmoil regarding this issue, if I do I will be sure to amend this blog, until then I suppose I will just continue to tolerate, accept, understand as much as my own beliefs, upbringing will allow me, to a level that is not detrimental to my own personal well being and try to respect your boundaries as well, no matter how different from my own. I will still do my best to abide by the laws that govern us, and uphold them as that is my belief, and for those of a different mindset I will either walk away or do what I feel is necessary for my own comfort. Here’s to all those intolerant of my beliefs and behaviors, I applaud you your strength to do what is right for you, I only ask that you applaud me for mine.
Miscellaneous Stories and Ramblings
Caffeine the Conspiracy Theory
Caffeine the Conspiracy Theory How’s that for an eye catcher title? I started to ponder this theory weeks ago when I was watching one of the few shows on TV I care enough to watch and was assaulted with numerous ads for various beverages that include caffeine. Do you remember not that long ago that cigarettes were the drug of choice for advertisers. Cigarette makers sponsored everything from TV shows to sporting events. I remember only too well running 10k’s in the eighties in t-shirts embossed with cigarette maker’s logos. The last race I ran that included a cigarette maker as a major sponsor was actually a run for the Cure, a breast cancer charity, how’s that for hypocritical. Now I look around and everywhere I see ads for caffeine infused beverages; everything from caffeine enhanced colas and supposed health food drinks to beer! Employers offer free coffee to employees. Las Vegas casinos only offer caffeinated beverages so you are either wide-awake and gambling, or drinking heavily and gambling, or maybe even a little of both. Local schools have vending machines filled with caffeinated beverages. My employers’ vending machines are filled with caffeinated sodas, when I approached the person who cares for them and asked if he could add just one decaffeinated diet drink to just one of the machines he answered no he didn’t carry any! The Seattle area, where I live, adheres to the notion that there is a Starbucks on every corner; even several in the same building complex. A strip mall just down the street from our home is a perfect example as it has a Starbucks on each end. I wickedly enjoy the dismay of individuals sitting awaiting a friend in the wrong Starbucks, and wonder how many men and women assume they were stood up simply because one did not specify which Starbucks. I too must rise with a cup of coffee just as the majority of America does. I am not familiar with the addictive habits of other countries other than my memories of Europe with cafes everywhere (or in Starbucks business model literally on every corner). Based on these childhood memories I sense they too are as addicted as the American populace. Recall however earlier I mentioned caffeine is in many beverages not just coffee. The colas I grew up with did not possess enough caffeine so Mountain Dew was invented, what many did not realize at the time was it contained more caffeine then all the available colas. Our parents unknowingly let us drink Mountain Dew thinking it was caffeine free based solely on the color! Now even the caffeine content of Mountain Dew is not enough so soft drink makers introduced Jolt and enhanced Coke and Pepsi, when these didn’t seem to fulfill the addiction Rock Star and Red Bull were added to the mix. Rock Star and Red Bull were touted as healthy. Healthy for who? Someone in need of a large enough jolt of caffeine to keep you going for days! Then the other day I was perusing the various TV stations when low and behold the food channel was talking to a couple of small time brewers about their coffee beer! So now not only can you get drunk you will be a hyper drunk – wow just what everyone wants at a party the guy who not only won’t go home but doesn’t even fall asleep he can’t! Conspiracy theory or me just thinking too hard and imagining the worst? Imagine the government behind the marketing of caffeine. Imagine everyone becoming so dependent on the drug that the government could now control us simply by making it hard to get. What would you pay for that cup of joe? How much could the government tax you before you complained? Or maybe like oil the government would just say well it is xyz’s fault they are not importing enough so let’s go to war! I know I know it sounds completely absurd but keep in mind I grew up with the movies “Logan’s Run” and “Soylent Green.” Could the population become so dependent on one legal drug that we would be pawns in some grand scheme? I remember “Twilight Zones” that foretold of government controls, at the time we laughed it off as just a TV show but as I sit and watch the advertisements depicting beautiful happy people all high on caffeine I wonder. Could I do without my morning cup of coffee? Could others forego their Diet Coke? What about all the people I know who can’t get started without their Red Bull? Or goodness imagine the horror of millions of women reaching for their dose of Midol only to find it no longer contained the coveted drug of choice. How silly this sounds when you look at it this way, but remember those cigarettes how long did the manufacturers and government know they were bad for you before it was actually made public? If you put just a slight twist on it you could imagine caffeine in the same category it raises your blood pressure, has been shown to cause birth defects and is addictive. Note: The author wishes to remind all this is a satirical fictional piece.