The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, August 31, 2009

Dry Drowning

Dry Drowning?

Jason had a little accident at a friend's swimming pool--hit his elbow on the diving board, panicked, and sank to the bottom for a few seconds before surfacing. He swallowed some water, and Tananarive had heard about a kid who swallowed water and died hours after leaving the pool. Lethargic and irritable when he went to bed, his mother found him hours later with "white spongy stuff" all over his face...and he wasn't breathing. It's called "Dry Drowning", a rare condition where water in the lungs goes undiagnosed, presumably in children. Does anyone know about this condition? What in the heck is the "spongy stuff"? Lung tissue? Mucous? Oh...Jason was fine, running around like a banshee, and in a great mood last night. We still checked on him closely, though.


"The Final Destination" is just a terrible movie, with no characterization, shoddy logic, and CGI bloodshed. I'm ALMOST ashamed I went to see it, but hey, we already know I'm sick. An "F" unless you are a fan of fine horror, in which case it's an "F-"


On the other hand, I saw "Ponyo", Miyazaki's latest animated film. Borrow a child and go see it NOW. It is simply magical, wonderful, the best traditional animated film I've seen in years. While not "Howl's Moving Castle" it is probably on par with "Castle Cagliostro" (I love Lupin), maybe better. The story of a magical fish-child of a magician and the spirit of the ocean, "Ponyo" is a testament to the power of imagination and simple child-like faith in the human heart. I was delighted, absolutely delighted, and so was Jason, and so was Nicki (who had seen it a week or so ago.) An "A", unless you are a fan of animation, in which case it is an "A+", another gift from a master.

One question, though--what is it with Japanese animation that clearly presents Japanese characters as Caucasian? That is just the wierdest thing. In "Ponyo" this is really noticeable, because there is a baby, and several old ladies, who very obviously are Japanese. What the heck? My theory: this is part of the same "Stockholm Syndrome" that leads black people to straighten their hair, or Asians to have plastic surgery to Caucasian-ize themselves. An attempt to blend in with the dominating culture, in other words. I'd bet anything that if we'd LOST WW2, their animation wouldn't look that way at all. Strange.


ᅠᅠI love diddling around with my exercise program, and I've come up with a variation on Ryan Hurst's 6DOF program (which is a modification of Scott Sonnon's incredible FlowFit) that is interesting. Only done it twice so far, so it's too soon to comment. But remember I was commenting about the lack of pulling movement? Well, I got a portable Jungle Gym, one of those things you hook to a hotel door, or throw over a branch or pole. Then I added some specific abdominal engagement without violating the "6 exercise, 6 degrees of freedom" protocol. The preliminary results were very impressive, but I'll wait until I've done it at least five times to lay it out.


Does anyone think we can "win" in Afghanistan? I suppose we can come up with a definition of "winning" that makes it possible, but I thought it was received wisdom that Afghanistan is where empires go to die. Whatever we're trying to do there, we'd better do it and get the hell out, and not let our egos get our asses in trouble.


Bought a collection of the first Black and White season of "The Saint" television series, and have had great fun watching it: it holds up great on re-watching. Loved this show, and that character, when I was a kid, and in fact corresponded with Leslie Charteris, the creator, back in the day. Roger Moore, who was only passable as James Bond, was stellar as Simon Templar. What a shame that no one, anywhere, has ever really put the REAL Saint on the screen--murdering, thieving, seducing, and charming as hell. That would be remarkable. One episode was a lovely, warm translation of the "Pearls of Peace" story where Templar steals worthless pearls to save a blind man's marriage. You gotta read it, it really is fine work (similar to Charteris' "The Spanish Cow"). Anyway, even watered down for television, I loved it. I hear Roger Moore is in poor health, and that saddens me. But it's great to see him here--young, beautiful, and with that wonderful arched eyebrow when someone accuses him of being "the notorious Simon Templar" just before that glowing halo appears over his head.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

McCain is a good man

In the supermarket check out recently, I noted again the five or six women's magazines, all with specific articles about how to turn a man out sexually. You know? I'd just about bet that the average woman is better in bed than the average man. Women seem to be ahead of the game on that one...I don't really know of any source of information for men on the same subject, as available. Penthouse or Playboy? Maybe, but they aren't sold as widely...or in any common venue I know of where women's magazines aren't also available. I remember a friend whose doctor father advised his daughter on her wedding day to keep her husband's stomach full, and his prostate empty. Wise words.


Jason's first day of kindergarten today. It's only a few blocks away, so we walked him there with some of his local friends. Looks like a great school, with a park for a playground. I'm jealous. Sure hope he likes it...this is the beginning of an entirely new phase of his life.


The lust for revenge is purely animal and basic. I love the rule of law, and the Nuremberg trials. I don't think they were hypocritical (due to things like slavery), but would have if, for instance, Germans were being prosecuted for slavery AT THE SAME TIME that America embraced the institution. Humans work very hard to raise themselves up, and the trials seem to me an example of people trying to live at a higher standard.

The highest example of this in my lifetime was the Truth and Reconciliation panels in South Africa. I was stunned by the wisdom and humanity of these proceedings, even as I was nauseated by some of the facts that emerged (white South Africans were absolutely trying to develop a germ or toxin that would kill only blacks. Brrr.)


Why hasn't a movie been done about John Brown or Nat Turner? We know the answer to that, of course. When was the last movie made about any aspect of slavery? "Beloved"? How'd it do? The audience isn't there, friends. Endless movies about the Civil War (or depictions of it--most recently "Wolverine") but virtually nothing about the single most important trigger. If slavery had happened in some other country, we would have jumped all over the endless tales of courage. Blacks would have the heroic figures that all other groups have to help them through the night. Oh, well. We'll get through this.


John McCain was drowned out by boos when he defended President Obama. When attendees basically claimed the Prez was pissing on the Constitution, he replied: "Wait a minute. Wait a minute," he told the crowd in Sun City, Airzona. "He is sincere in his beliefs, we just happen to disagree. And he is the president. And let's be respectful. I just believe, my friends, that there is a fundamental difference in philosophy and about the role of government. That is why we have competition for public office and competition amongst parties, and competition about different ideas and vision for the future of America. I'm convinced the president is absolutely sincere in his beliefs."

ᅠWow. McCain is a good and decent man, that much is clear. We could definitely have done worse in a President.


There's a brush fire couple miles north of here, and the air is borderline opaque. Jason's doctor says he has a mild form of asthma, and even if I've heard no wheezing and see no evidence, I guess I'd better pay attention.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Probably Tarantino's most accessible film, maybe his third best, after Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill (1&2), this is part War movie, part revenge fantasy, part Howling Commandos comic book, and part...well, Tarantino, a genuine stylist who sees his own violent, oddly honorable world, a world in which cinema is king. It is not a war movie. It is a movie about war movies, shot in five different styles, and acted in at least three different styles. In fact, it is jaw-droppingly fascinating when one character steps into a foreign film style, and we watch his characterization change right before our eyes. Never seen anything quite like THAT before. Tarantino has just a little touch of magic about him. We might argue with the use to which he puts his genius, but the man is impossible to ignore. An "A+" for us fans. But probably a "B+" for general audiences., I'm not Jewish, so I can't say, for certain, what it would feel like to watch IB if I were. However, I've read the comments of several Jews concerning it, and they seem to mirror how I'd feel if someone did something similar showing slaves slaughtering slave owners. Anyone who is Jewish AND SAW THE MOVIE...I'd love to hear your thoughts.


I wanted to clarify a position: I don't think the Government should provide products. But I do think that it is appropriate for it to provide certain services, and UHC strikes me as one of those. Because we are just about the last country left in the world without it, and countries with it are often doing much better than us in terms of debt, it strikes me as...unthoughtful not to posit a connection. And that makes me wonder about the "how can we pay for it?" "government will do a terrible job" arguments highly suspect, especially since they primarily seem to come from those who, on other subjects, believe America is the best country in the world. Let's see...we're best, but will be less competent than any other country in administering a health system. Something doesn't click for me there.

I do NOT trust government "more" than private industry. But nor do I believe that private industry is superior. They have the same human beings employed, and I see no reason to believe that they become better in one context than another. Those who think Government would do a terrible job simultaneously seem to think that so many people would want this "terrible job" that Insurance companies would suffer. That is so bizarre to me, and I honestly think that a primary problem here is billionaires and their allies muddying the water, cherry-picking statistics, and anchoring health care reform to fear and terror. Primary tool: "if we have UHC you and your family will DIE." Remember what I said about fear of death being the biggest motivation? I find it sickening, and while I don't feel as much antipathy for health company executives (who must be 1000-10,000 times as effective as government bureaucrats, judging by their salaries) as I do for tobacco company executives, please note that tobacco companies were perfectly willing to lie, conceal critical data, market to children, and stall stall stall. No, at the core, I don' t think they were "worse" people. They were people who moved, one boiling-frog step at a time, into positions where their obligations were primarily to the stockholders, not the consumers. And that further, money as a direct reward is simply too intoxicating, seems to have overwhelmed their humanity.

I think the same exact thing can happen to any employee: fealty to the company, and the stockholders, with money as a direct and massive reward. Equally corruptive to any form of government power I know of, even if corporations don't QUITE have the power to wage wars. Yet. Just wait. And those of you who think they somehow, for some odd reason, would behave at a higher level of ethics are in for a nasty surprise. People are just people.

All American citizens should be able to buy into Medicare for Cost Plus 10%. The profit gets rolled into a fund to provide sliding-scale payments for the poor.


Drove up to Paso Robles wine country over the weekend to research the third Tennyson novel, "From Capetown With Love." Won't say what exactly we were doing, but I will say that the movie quote we start the book with is: "You may know the right wines, but you're the one on his knees..."



Working with Jason this morning. He still has anger issues, but at least we can stop him from screaming by getting him to concentrate on his exhalations. Not his breathing. Just the exhalation part of the respiration cycle. And if we combine it with Coach Sonnon's "Be Breathed" situp-style movements, it rips him out of his crying jag in seconds. It's fascinating to watch, but reminds me that Scott's Flow State Performance Spiral provided me with my first glimpse of the entire sphere of consciousness. I don't know if I can give Jason the kind of head-start I think he will need...but I'm going to try.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Mazel Tov!

Watching the "Tyson" documentary last night, and was struck by how precisely his life fits into Lonnie Athens' theory of the creation of a violent criminal:

1) Brutalization or violent horrification. Tyson was beaten by thugs when he was young, and had no support at home.

2) Rebellion ("I'm mad as hell"). Watch his eyes when he talks about reaching the point where he decided not to take it any more: someone killed one of his pidgeons.

3) Acting out. He beat the hell out of the guy who killed his pidgeon, getting respect in the neighborhood.

4) Finds a group of like-minded individuals to cheer him on. Joins a gang of thugs ripping off crack houses.

5) Internalize their voices. Now this is where it gets interesting. By the age of 12 or 13 he fell into the hands of boxing trainers who saw his potential, and Cus D'Amato, who treated him like a son, and began the process of programming him psychologically/emotionally to be a champion. The filmmaker represents the confusion of the conflicting "programming" with a cascade of overlapping voices. It is easy to imagine the confusion and virtual "shorting out" of old programs.

D'Amato died when Tyson was 19, I believe, just before he won the title at 20. If Cus had lived to help Tyson sort through the offers, money, women, "friends" and so forth, the negative voices would slowly have diminished. As it is, we had an abused child in the body of a god. A recipe for disaster.

I like Athens' theory because it makes perfect sense of military, martial arts, and other forms of intense training, and also how an individual who might, with proper support, become a useful citizen can turn into a monster. It justifies both the need for SERIOUS prisons (once you've reached the 5th stage there is no known way to rehabilitate) and also for a broader social safety net. It resolves the apparent conflict between the Conservative and Liberal attitudes about miscreants. And it's based on actual research, not spiritual or political beliefs.



There is controversy in the Jewish community about Quentin Tarantino's WW2 revenge fantasy, in which a "Dirty Dozen" burly Jews drop behind enemy lines in occupied France, killing and scalping Nazis. I'll see it this afternoon, but even then I'm not Jewish, so I can't claim to be a part of that particular cultural matrix, with very special sensitivities that come from living memories of a damned efficient attempt to exterminate them. Does this trivialize the Holocaust? Put Jews on the same moral level as Nazis? Well, as a non-Jew, all I can say is that the killing of uniformed soldiers has NOTHING to do with herding children into ovens. That I would flat love a good movie where slaves rose up and slaughtered their masters, or blacks in the segregated south ripped Klansmen a new asshole. Whether it is "historically accurate" or not is beside the point: this is fantasy. Mel Brooks could mock Hitler thirty years ago...I think it's possible to be a little flexible in the 21st Century. I also suspect that Jews over 60 will react to this very differently than those under 30. From what I've seen of young Israelis, their attitude is: "Hell, no!" They imagine that if a Hitler came for them, they would go down fighting to a man. That "Basterds" is the kind of wet dream that I would just LOVE if I was Jewish.

I do think it raises uncomfortable questions and emotions, however. Similar to those about why blacks "allowed" themselves to be enslaved, or "tolerated" segregation. I have nothing but sympathy for those caught in the "did we? Why? What does it mean? Never again" loop. It can make you question yourself in some seriously uncomfortable ways. The best answer for the Holocaust is the same one for the 9/11 passengers: no one had any idea how #$%% bad this was going to be, until it was too late to act. The boiling frog routine. I remember watching the Israeli Special Forces working out, practicing their martial disciplines, and felt like I was watching guys I went to High School with, with the single added difference that the "My back is to the wall" switch has been thrown.

I empathize, and can only comment from the position of an outsider who believes, with no shred of equivocation, that Israel has the right to exist. Period. But memories of the Holocaust are great for manipulating public opinion, and if I were Jewish I'd want to control the way that imagery is used as well. But I seriously believe that if I were Jewish, I'd love the image of Jews bashing Nazis with baseball bats. I know many older blacks who would cringe at the idea of similar imagery involving blacks and racists. In my mind, they were beaten down to the point that the mere idea of direct conflict feels like suicide. To a younger generation, the Civil Rights movement can feel like servile, feminized men going with hat in hand begging Massa to play fair. The Jewish Defense League in New York back in the 60's and 70's (karate fans: remember Alex "Plus One" Steinberg?) made it clear that Jews were no longer going to rely on the protection of non-Jews. That they were active, not passive. And that God helps those who help themselves.

Today, I'm gonna be Jewish. Mazel Tov.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I fight with the weapons I have

Wanted to congratulate Erich--I thought that he expressed his views with great clarity and precision. Thank you.

I am looking for statistics on a few different things:

1) comparable survival rates on the top ten killer diseases in Industrialized countries.

2) Statistics on murder, suicide, and accidents in Industrialized countries before and after adopting UHC.

3) Stats on the amount of research funded by governments as opposed to private industry in Industrialized countries, including the U.S. Cross-referenced with the number of, say, medical oriented Nobel prizes for different countries, adjusted for GNP.


I find it interesting that so many think that the murder, obesity, hypertension and other stats that are said to make up the difference in life stats between countries have nothing to do with the health care systems and social safety net. It is understandable that I would find this noxious considering that these factors so powerfully impact the black community. When people suggest that these factors are because people don't care, or don't want to be healthy, or are intrinsically inclined toward negative behaviors, it is impossible for me not to think that they are privately thinking that about the racial groups most affected by them. And while (most) people won't say that publicly, it sure seems to be driving their positions. I have, over the years, heard entirely too many Conservatives actually say "who cares, that's their choice" or imply that there is simply something...sub-standard. Countless times. And while I know that doesn't reflect the attitudes of all Conservatives (by any means) it is precisely these comments that drove me out of the fold.


It is impossible for me (or anyone else) to completely separate my feelings from my thoughts, so I want to label today's rants clearly: I know I'm emotionalized, and while I won't apologize for it, I do want you to know I'm aware, and that I'm repeating some things I've already said. I just don't feel like editing myself this morning.


A couple of days ago in Arizona, a dozen people brought weapons, including automatic weapons, outside a convention center where the President was making a pro-health care speech. Conservatives have been careful to point out that the guy carrying an automatic rifle was black. When asked why they showed up with weapons, one guy answered "because we can."

This is so transparent. Note: while one need not be racist to oppose ObamaCare (I actually don't completely mind that term), we can be pretty certain that the 10% of white racists would tend to come down against it. Or anything he has to say or do, based on a vague if not powerful sense that "this isn't my country any more." And of course if you start with that feeling, you are going to find plenty of evidence.

Barnes' Law: any group of people large enough that the people cannot recognize each other by sight will begin to act like a living thing, with its own drives and needs. These drives and needs will not necessarily be in alignment with the values of any particular person in that group...or their conscious thoughts.

In this case, the legitimate political opponents are, in typical political "Big Tent" fashion, aligning themselves with anyone who will vote their way...including racists and Wingnuts. And it has seemed to me for a while that what is happening with the Birthers and so forth is that the unconscious drive on the Whacko element of the Right is to troll for an assassin. Or for a fall guy, someone who could plausibly be believed to be a "Lone Gunman." And of course, the perfect "Lone Gunman" in this instance would be black.

As you can see by the interview quoted at:

The black guy, "Chris", was invited to the rally. And that was what I said to Tananarive yesterday: that I would bet that he was specifically asked to show up with his automatic rifle, with my interpretation being that they wanted his skin tone to provide cover for the ugly element within the opposition (note that I'm being careful not to suggest that the entire opposition is racist. I don't believe that. But the idea of a black man in the White House is driving racists crazy, and which side of the spectrum you YOU think they're settling on?)

We're watching the collective unconscious of the ugliest elements in our culture crawling out from under their flat rock. It's going to get worse. When you say you bring weapons "because you can" you aren't answering the question. The question is: why now, and not at a Bush rally? Or a McCain rally? You had the right then, too. My conclusion: pure intimidation. Oh...and setting up a plausible pattern for a "Lone Assassin" scenario: overwhelming the Secret Service, providing distraction ("multipliers") to stress out the protective services and increase chances of a mistake.


I'm aware that a consistent talking point now is that murder, obesity, smoking, suicide and other "lifestyle factors" are being pointed to as making up the difference in statistics between America and countries with UHC.

And this, precisely, exactly, is an example of my position that a core difference between Left and Right is "where do you come down on the Nature/Nurture debate?" Because they very well may be right: but teasing out causality from correlation may turn out to be more difficult than one might think. This is why I want to see bunches of people examining the trend lines for these (and other lifestyle) factors in the pertinent countries BEFORE and AFTER UHC.

My position, clearly stated: I believe that within a generation after such UHC programs were put into place, these factors decreased. I mean, once upon a time, we were near the top in terms of health care. And now we seem (if we include these factors) to be near the bottom. What happened? My sense is that those on the side of the just believe that something intrinsic within many Americans just suddenly began to command them to die young. Or that they wanted to die young. Or are just innately murderous and self-destructive. That these things have nothing to do with social context.

All right--because these positions are ultimately based on arguments about the soul going back thousands of years, it is very unlikely to be resolved in this generation. Here's where it sticks in my craw: if you take that position, you would seem to be standing on the same side of the room as those who think that an entire group ( people) WANT to have more crime, be poor, and presumably be sick and die early. Black men die an average of five years earlier than whites. Many of these reasons are lifestyle factors. One can either (basically) conclude that this is due to a grotesquely unequal social environment stretching back 400 years (and FINALLY beginning to change perhaps 30-50 years ago) or one can conclude that there is something innately different about the group. Guess which side I come down on.

So here's my belief: that America used to be among the best. Then these other countries put in place a stronger social safety net, lifting their citizens up while ours remained in a "dog eat dog" situation, with some of the dogs muzzled by law and centuries of programming. They got better, while we remained the same or got worse, creating a relative negative result: America WAY down there in terms of life expectancy, infant mortality and so forth.

And those who think it is primarily "Nature" conclude that these statistics "prove" that America has the best health care--because if you just remove those pesky blacks and other groups who are disadvantaged, or remove the problems that are symptomatic of being crushed in the gears of a soulless machine (stress-triggered disease and obesity, isolation-induced suicide, sleep-deprivation accidents, rage-induced murder, etc.), why, middle-class whites are doing just fine! Why the hell should anything change? Why should the least capable in our society "drag down" the most capable? It's a scandal, I say!

THAT is what I hear.

Politics makes strange bedfellows indeed.


A reader recently said that, basically, women were intimidated by him. That's the first time I've heard a guy say that, but I've heard it from women for years: can't find a guy because all the men are intimidated. I especially used to hear this from women who, in the real world, would be thought average, but were Goddesses in science fiction fandom. And my reply is the same: you must be fishing in a very small pond indeed. The "Big Fish In A Small Pond" syndrome is common among the insecure. It just means that they wouldn't really be attracted to themselves. They don't really like or love themselves. Do you really think that the women married to Nobel Laureates, pro athletes, professional entertainers, multi-billionaires and so forth would be intimidated by you? What a joke. Grow up. Heal yourself and start producing the type of life results that will allow you to attract the truly brilliant and spectacular women available--to men of high accomplishment and proven worth. When I can Google you and be impressed, we'll have something to talk about.


Of all the arguments against UHC I've heard, perhaps the most interesting is the assertion that if we had it, medical research would suffer because of loss of profit motive, and ultimately death rates would rise.

That's really interesting, and I have to admit that I just don't have the data to refute it...and that under the right set of circumstances I could see how it could be true. While I search for information, though, it seems to me that for it to be true a number of different things would have to first be established:

1) That profit motive is stronger than fear of death, altruism, or intellectual curiosity in terms of producing valuable results (or at least that, in a situation with a reduced profit motive, these other factors would not compensate sufficiently)

2) That America produces more medical advances than countries with UHC, adjusted for GNP, population, etc.

3) That those advances are largely due to private sector profit-based investments as opposed to government or non-profit investments.

4) That for-profit companies are not primarily investing in medications that have a high profit margin or potential, thus affecting mortality statistics primarily among the rich, but not overall population mortality.

5) That the majority of changes leading to more favorable mortality statistics are not simple low-cost changes: prostate exams cost a hell of a lot less (how much is a rubber glove?) than late-stage emergency cancer treatments.

6) That Universal Health Care doesn't impact lifestyle problems (obesity, smoking, suicide, stress illness, fatigue-related accidents etc.) or social problems caused by alienation (murder, etc.). My guess is that some of these factors are NOT directly impacted by UHC, but ARE impacted by the kind of humane society that says that every member has intrinsic worth. Correlation, but not causality.

7) That billion-dollar compensation for Insurance executives somehow benefits the insured. That, in other words, such men and women provide services THOUSANDS of times superior to bureaucrats earning, say 250,000 dollars a year. Because otherwise, that's just flushed down the drain.


I have a vested interest here. My belief is that 400 years of abuse has done fantastic damage to the black community, from which it is just now beginning to emerge. That in our population are a minimum of 10% of white people who believe that the inequality is due to innate differences, and for that reason (as well as basic tribalism) fight against anything that would even the social playing field. That few of them will be honest about this, and hide in the ranks of those who talk about "reverse racism", embracing anecdotal stories of oppressed whites above statistical evidence of gigantic, lethal effects on blacks. Because of them, it is almost impossible to pass any legislation that might directly benefit blacks. I've said for years that I'll know when things have changed when a few things like infant mortality rate, life expectancy, incarceration rates and inherited wealth are equal.

If nothing can be done that is specifically targeted at blacks, then the only option is to raise the social safety net for all. To allow those who have benefitted most from the system (yes, I'm aware that Libertarians would probably say that the wealthiest have GIVEN most to the system) to pay more taxes, which I believe to be a stabilizing influence (to a point: as I've said, I suspect that there is an ideal range of wealth disparity. I don't know what it is, but I'm sure that a statistical analysis would show what multiples of income between poorest and wealthiest are safe for a society. In my opinion Communism doesn't work -- we're just not wired that way. But limited Socialization of "the commons" does. The only valid argument is: what should be included in the Commons? We have many examples of Industrialized Countries who are healthier than we are and provide health services to their people without bankrupting themselves. Hell--we're the greatest debtor Nation in history right now. And the countries above us seem to all have UHC. To me, unless beneath it all you believe the Soul enters the world already formed, the conclusion is obvious.


Rant ended. I've made it clear that I have a raw nerve here: the countless times I've heard Conservatives either directly or indirectly accuse the poor and sick of being that because on some level they want it, or have no capacity to do better.

Whether dealing with people on an individual or group level, I reject this clearly, stating my position in Mile-High letters. Most people who are getting brutal results in the arena of finance, relationships, or their bodies are running seriously screwed-up programs. Few of those programs were self-inflicted. People who are NOT balanced in all three arenas often lie to themselves about why they are not, and project those lies out into the culture they see.

Most (but certainly not all) of the people who ARE balanced in all three areas have, to my experience, huge empathy for the work it takes to get there. They tend to be compassionate toward the human condition because they have done the work, faced their demons, fought past their fears, or been the recipient of high-level teaching without which they might have foundered. They look at those who are less successful with a deep sense of connection.

If the poor, and the sick, and the lonely are these things primarily due to confusion (and yes, even in the best world, we would stil have unequal results. But there is little innate reason for as much sickness, despair, loneliness, and grinding poverty as we have). So I fight for YOUR health in the belief that in facing the reality of how your body was shaped by fears, beliefs and emotional anchors you never put in place, you will start grasping what shaped others as well. I fight for YOUR success because embracing it means leaving behind the preconceived notions of hierarchy that kept racist beliefs in place for so long. I fight for YOUR right to love and intimacy because love and fear compete for the same place in your heart, and when you reduce fear, you begin to feel the connection to all other living things, and all other human beings, and the mythologies that have kept us isolated in separate tribes begins to fall away.

I fight for YOU because it is the only way to create a better world for my own children. I fight with the weapons I have.