Hans Selye, Stress, and Rules for Success

Nine Methods To Implement For A Successful Career And Life

As a business owner, dealing with stress has become part of my daily life. Stressors include taking care of my family, taking care of my employees, taking care of my clients, and taking care of myself. For many people, stress comes in waves, comprised of heavy burdens followed by calm waters. For others, it is a constant rollercoaster comprised of no rhyme or reason. For me, it is a constant factor that I have learned to deal with through the implementation of various “rules.”

Hans Selye, known as the father of “stress,” defines stress as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change.” (1) These non-specific responses are further broken down into three defining categories.

These categories include:

Eustress: Defined as “moderate or normal psychological stress interpreted as being beneficial for the experiencer.” (2)

Neustress: Defined as “any kind of information or sensory stimulus that is perceived as unimportant or inconsequential.” (3)

Distress: Defined as “extreme anxiety, sorrow, or pain.” (4)

Stressors that lead to eustress can include winning the lottery or being accepted into college. Stressors that lead to neustress can include casual conversations or walking from one place to another. Stressors that lead to distress can include falling down and hurting oneself or participation in a violent argument.

In life and in careers, there is no escaping stress. As a result, there are methods that can be employed to assist us in dealing with it. A plethora of ideas exist toward this end. My experience as a business owner has led me to the following conclusions:

  • Honesty is the best policy. No matter how hard it may be, tell the truth. Even telling white lies leads to distress. Additionally, if you always tell the truth, you rarely have to worry about or have to remember what you previously said.
  • Be loyal. Whether at home or work, loyalty is required for any relationship to properly function. A break in loyalty is a break in trust. Once trust is lost, it is virtually impossible to recapture.
  • Follow through on your commitments. If you promise to do something, then, by all means, do it. If you promised to do something, but an event has occurred that makes following through impossible, refer to rule number 1.
  • Always do your best. If you commit to something, commit to it wholeheartedly. It is better to decline doing something at all, if you are going to do it half-heartedly. If you have a problem saying no, refer to rule 1.
  • Be solution oriented rather than problem oriented. When an obstacle appears, train your brain to see positive possibilities. This paradigm shift is required for the enjoyment of a successful career and life.
  • Make your home a safe-haven. Home should be a place where you escape from distress. Set this as a standard and communicate it to your spouse.
  • Set personal boundaries. Set a time when your day is over. Keep regular hours so clients and partners know when to contact you. Keep your personal life out of the office.
  • If you are a business owner or manager, treat your staff with respect. If you take care of your staff, they will take care of your clients. If you mistreat your staff, they will mistreat your clients.
  • Constantly work on bettering yourself. Never stop learning and encourage others to do the same.

Stress, whether good, bad or neutral, is a part of everyday life. Comprised of eustress, neustress, and distress, it has, for me, contributed to various methods or rules, leading to peace of mind for everyone involved. As a result of my efforts, I have a healthy mind, home, and business. May you follow these rules and experience the same benefits in your private and public life.

  1. https://www.google.com/search?q=hans+selye+definition+of+stress&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS790US790&oq=hans+selye+definition+of+stress&aqs=chrome..69i57.5871j1j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
  2. https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS790US790&q=Dictionary#dobs=eustress
  3. https://www.coursehero.com/file/p1urrhh/According-to-Seward-neustress-is-neither-positive-nor-negative-It-refers-to/
  4. https://www.google.com/search?q=distress+definition&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS790US790&oq=distress+def&aqs=chrome.0.0j69i57j0l4.3134j1j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

The Irish Republic, the British Empire and Rebellion

Can Revolution be Reconciled with Love For Queen and Country?

I have often been accused of seeing the world through royal-colored glasses. As a history major in college, I, more often than not, gravitated toward the study of British history and it’s colonialism around the world. As the head of my church, the UK, and the Commonwealth around the world, Queen Elizabeth II has always commanded my deepest respect. Needless to say, the people of the Republic of Ireland feel quite differently.

The Republic of Ireland is a place where royals do not belong. It is a country built on the blood and sacrifice of Irish men and women who wanted to offer future generations their very best chance. No tiaras are for sale, nor t-shirts that say, “Irish Princess.” This is a populist country, born out of revolution, and it’s people hold a great disdain for the English.

As an Episcopalian, raised on fairytales and Princess Diana, I found the tragedies of the Irish Republic hard to reconcile with my internalized beliefs. Raised by Anglophiles, and indoctrinated with love of Queen and country, I found myself smacked in the face with a very opposing point of view. Our host explained to us that the British taxed the amount of sunlight used by the Irish. Additionally, we learned how the British cut down the majority of Ireland’s trees, shipping them abroad. Adding insult to injury, the British forbade the Irish from building their own homes out of wood. When the potato famine occurred, the British systematically starved the Irish by refusing to distribute food sent in aid. Heavily taxed, starving, and with their natural resources pummeled, the Irish radically grew in their contempt toward the British.

To put it simply, when the synthesis, (the British Empire) collided with the antithesis, (the Irish people) revolution occurred in the form of the Easter rebellion. I learned of this rebellion during what is called the GPO (General Post Office) tour. With the British preoccupied during WWI, and the idea of Irish “Home Rule,” tabled at the time, a small group of rebels took over the city of Dublin. The General Post office served as their headquarters, and success appeared within their grasp, until the British came in with reinforcements, ending the rebellion. A brutal execution by firing squad awaited the ringleaders of this event, turning moderate Irish nearly overnight into radicalized ones.

The plight of the rebels is emotional and heartbreaking. As an individual, I felt great understanding and pain for them. As a woman, I felt great pride in the females who took part, but as an Anglophile, I understood the need of the British to put down the rebellion. The sacrifices made by the rebels put the idea of “Home Rule” to rest, and made the idea of a republic the only acceptable solution. In the end, the rebels won, and the majority of Ireland today is a republic, free from the far reaching tentacles of the British Empire.

As I learned of the terrible treatment of the British toward the Irish, I could not help but feel like a colonial interloper, traipsing through the halls of revolution. My host even commented that I seemed very colonial, and that perhaps such tendencies literally existed in my family’s blood. As I listened and learned about the Easter Rebellion, I also could not help but compare their treatment to that of franchises by their corporate offices. Many times, the high fees, extreme regulation, and lack of local control, can lead to a revolution of sorts. Many businesses, to whom I provide marketing services, began as franchises that ultimately claimed their independence. I have actually assisted various former franchises, in creating their own unique corporate identity. But is this not the will of man-to be free and in control of one’s own destiny?

As an American of British descent, and as a member of the Anglican communion around the world, I hold great love for Great Britain and it’s royal family. This will not change. However, as a woman and as an individual, I understand and respect the decisions made by the revolutionaries who spearheaded the Easter Rebellion. I feel I can understand and respect what occurred without betraying or sacrificing my own sense of self. I love Ireland; I love it’s people, and I also love Great Britain. However, the plight of the Irish is still very real and ongoing in its northern dominion, and only time will tell it’s final result. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to proclaim, ‘God save the Queen!”

Class Conflict, Elitism, and the Celebrity Cheating Scandal

How Marxism interprets Current Events in Our News

This week, the world rocked with news of what appears to be a diabolical cheating scandal involving some of our most beloved celebrities. From hired aces taking SAT tests to schools waiving normal admission requirements for a hefty fee, celebrities such as Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) and Lori Loughlin (Aunt Becky from Full House) are now facing the likes of felonies, prison time, and the loss of their reputations. As more of the sordid details hit the media, like Loughlin’s daughter vacationing on the yacht of the president of UCLA when the scandal broke, how is the common person to interpret exactly what is going on in the rarified air of privileged elites?

In response to this question, I harken back to my days of old-more specifically, my college days of studying Marxist interpretations of history and the various ramifications of class conflict. According to Marxist theory, our society is comprised of the elite, the middle class, and the proletariat. The goal of the elite is to shrink the middle class, creating a larger proletariat of workers, and of course, a smaller group of elites who control most of the capital in a society. The C’s of elitism are:

  1. Closed
  2. Conspiratorial
  3. Consensus

The wealthy individuals and their children involved in this scandal are all part of an elite society that is closed to most of us. The common person takes the SAT or ACT, applies to colleges, and gets in based on merit. Community colleges are often part of this scenario, as is attending less well-known colleges and universities that lack the prestige of those in the top ten. Nevertheless, the common person plays by “the rules,” and attends the school to which their merits have gotten them. Additionally, the common person often works while in college, attends classes faithfully, studies, and takes tests. College is often a stressful time, but it is also a time of learning and growing as a person. For the elite, this is often not the case. The daughter of Lori Loughlin, for instance, never took the SAT test, skips class, parties often, and has plenty of spare cash. Furthermore, she aces her classes regardless of her attendance or participation. This type of world is closed to most of us, who struggle daily to balance school, work, and paying bills.

The participation of everyone from test takers, proctors, coaches, and admittance counselors, is indicative of the conspiracy in our midst. True elitism is very conspiratorial in nature, with various individuals participating in it, through the taking of illegal bribes in exchange for favors. The bribes create a false reality for the elite, where they appear to be like the rest of us, but better, where in actuality, they are simply cheating. The crux of the conspiracy is capital, (aka money,) which the elite compile through the exploitation of proletariat labor.

Elitism works because of the general consensus of the people living within its false reality. The fantasy of elitism is an illusion to which its’ members must all agree. Exploiting labor for the cheapest price is the name of the game, and capital is merely a means to an end. The primary end, for the elite, at least in regard to this scenario, is the fantasy of smarter, better children, putting out very little labor themselves. Children, such as the daughters of Lori Loughlin, spend the majority of their time on social media, rather than studying, in order to make more capital off their own pseudo-celebrity status. In essence, this is how the wheel of elitism goes ‘round and ‘round.

In every Marxist scenario, there exists the synthesis (aka the elite), and the antithesis (the proletariat and disillusioned middle class.) When the antithesis finally revolts against the synthesis, it is called revolution. One can argue that this revolution is occurring right now, within our criminal justice system coupled with the media, and framed by their reactions to these elitist shenanigans. The media will socially ruin them-the criminal justice system will lock them up and possibly throw away the key, at least for a while. As a society, one can argue that the common person has become disillusioned with this type of behavior, and will no longer put up with it. The revolution is occurring now.

While the world continues to learn more about the current celebrity cheating scandal and all of its machinations, the common person is able to witness history in motion. The three C’s of elitism are spotlighted by the bad behavior of the synthesis, and the revolution of the antithesis is evident in the media and our judicial system. As it currently stands, we all have front seats to the oxygen literally being sucked out of the rarified air so often sustaining cheating elites. The real world is here, and the here is now.

Reactions to “The Space Shuttle, Ted Bundy, and Unplanned Pregnancies.”

This e-column is devoted to the reactions I received to an article I wrote entitled, “The Space Shuttle, Ted Bundy, and Unplanned Pregnancies.” If you have not read this article, it is available at: https://www.katherinefry.net/the-space-shuttle-ted-bundy-and-unplanned-pregnancies/

As the author of an e-column, I am privy to emotions on all side of the political spectrum. As a woman, I advocate reproductive freedom and equal rights between the genders. As a business person, I am an advocate of capitalism and restricting the reach of government into our businesses. As a Christian, I believe in living my life in a Christ-like manner and loving my neighbor as myself. I also strongly feel that all voices have a right to be heard, even if I don’t necessarily agree with them. Following are some of the varied reactions I received to the aforementioned article.

Reaction #1

Katherine:

By your standards, I had no right to live and society would have statistically been better off if I had never been born because teenage pregnancies are inconvenient and because I might have grown up to be a bad person. Disgusting. My kids rock! Despite the fact that your stats say they should not be here. They are not related to Ted Bundy that I know of unless we are all related and therefore should all deserve to die based on your beliefs.

To equate teenage pregnancy to Ted Bundy’s life is idiotic and offensive. From someone who has never given birth, it is an idiotic position and very offensive to those who have (my wife had two miscarriages before we had our second child). By your standards, I do not have the right to have ever been born. While I’m not perfect, I did not grow up to be a serial killer or menace to society (as your f***** up stats suggest). But I may have been an inconvenience to my family. However I do now provide employment to over 500 employees and they are all are thankful for my contribution to society, as I’m a d*** good person to work for in today’s economy.

Because of my ability to provide for my family, my wife volunteers every week to cuddle, rock, care, and love for newborn babies in the ********* NICU. EVERY ONE of those babies deserve the chance to live and do great things despite their unfortunate circumstances. F*** statistics on their outcomes. It just takes saving one life to justify not murdering thousands.

My wife does that every day. She takes care of beautiful newborn babies regardless of their circumstances. And I support her 100%. (But I guess I don’t count since I should not have been born by current liberal standards).

This is not a debate or discussion. Do not communicate back. My values and views will not be changed. Therefore, do not attempt to do so. So do not attempt any further argument or discussion.

DO NOT RESPOND

Reaction #2

Katherine:

My mother and father were very young parents, going through very rough emotional dramas. When they were pregnant with a third child, they opted for a “home” abortion, which ultimately killed my mother. I feel that if legal abortions had been made available, my brother and I might have been raised by both parents even with their lack of making good choices. Who is to know if things would have turned out better or worse for any of our family. We were raised by my grandmother who was a very strong, independent woman. As I look back, I am also better for being raised by her, though those circumstances created other issues in my life. I firmly believe in a woman’s right to make those decisions and not the government. I am pro-life, while leaving these very personal decisions between a woman and God. Good article Kat.

Reaction #3

Katherine:
Amazing the way you tied those three things together. I tend to agree with you. I believe abortion is an individual’s moral choice-not a legislative one. I knew a woman who used abortion as birth control and had three in one year. To me, that feels wrong. My best friend in ********** had an abortion after birthing two children, and the couple felt they could not financially nor energetically support a third child-he more than she. A year later they split. She felt profound loss, and thirty years later counts how old the child would be.
With much bleeding and placenta previa with my third, it was suggested that I abort, since I lived so far from the hospital and, if I hemorrhaged, I could die in ten minutes. I moved closer to town and had no problems. So it seems to me that everyone’s story is different. My path is not your path. We cannot judge and we certainly cannot legislate.
One woman on Facebook loves Trump, only because of abortion. She is nasty about immigrants, fine about cutting food stamps and putting babies in cages. How is this pro-life? Pence wants to end birth control.
Cancer is a conglomeration of living cells. When smallpox was eradicated, scientists wondered if a small amount of the virus should be kept alive because it was a living thing. Physics shows us, if everything is made of the same molecules than everything is everything, and if everything is light on different density scales, then it is all just energy…so there is no right or wrong.

From Katherine Fry:

I want to thank everyone who took the time to send me a response. In closing, I would like to quote the late Dr. Martin Luther King. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” (1) I now open the floor for further discussion.

  1. https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/martin_luther_king_jr_101472

Are We Saved By Good Works or God’s Grace?

An Episcopalian’s Interpretation of Recent Traumatic Events

Raised an Episcopalian, I have always been encouraged to think for myself and question the scriptures. For me, the Bible has always been a compilation of metaphors, symbolism, and opinions. In my particular brand of Christianity, literal interpretation of the Bible has never been a requirement. As a result, my education has included science, philosophy, mathematics, and more.

In high school, I learned about the term, “God’s grace.” As an Episcopalian, I had never heard of the term, “saved.” My religion simply existed as part of my life and ethnicity – my family has been Episcopalian or Anglican since 1533. The dual concept of being “saved by God’s Grace” also entered my consciousness during this time period. My religion teacher explained to me that Christians make it into heaven, not by works, but by faith, and that Grace is a gift freely given by God to us, as long as we believe. During my high school years, this concept mattered little to me. A rebel without a cause, my time in religion class consisted of arguing needlessly with religion teachers about whether or not Christianity comprised “the one true religion.”

These questions are for the ages, and for many, mean very little, until real tragedy strikes, and we are forced to reexamine the role these concepts actually play in our daily lives. Despite my obstinance, the teachings regarding God’s grace did resonate with me. I remember contemplating whether our eternal lives rested in good works or God’s grace. In many ways, I felt it might be a combination of these two concepts-that perhaps good works resulted from God’s grace. I also felt that these concepts might only matter on a theoretical level, holding little actual value.

Last Friday, my car hydroplaned, did a 360 turn, and then crashed into the guard rail. As the car spun out of control, I closed my eyes and “gave it to God.” After the car came to a stop, I realized that, while the car had suffered profound damage, everyone in the car remained unharmed. A supreme being, the universe, or God’s grace had saved us.

That Sunday, my mother-in-law passed away suddenly. While suffering from cancer for many years, she had actually been doing quite well. But when death came, it came quickly, and without much warning.

“Grace may be defined as the unmerited or undeserving favor of God to those who are under condemnation.” – Enns 2. My life and behavior have not always been perfect, and Lord knows there have been times when I most certainly did not deserve God’s grace. However, these two back to back tragedies resulted in an unmerited gift, that I did not deserve, but nevertheless received. My worries of having to take on a new car payment quickly disappeared, as my late mother-in-law’s SUV suddenly transferred into my possession. At this point, I believed in God and its presence in my life. I recognized that I am not in control and that some sort of a higher power is.

As I recall this story of God’s grace upon me to others, their eyes light up, and they realize it’s impact on this particular situation. As a cradle-born Episcopalian, I question scripture and I think for myself. However, this compilation of events has demonstrated to me that God’s grace is real. I did not deserve it, but received it anyway, because God’s grace is not earned, but instead freely given. As the priest says at the end of every church service,” Go in faith to love and serve the Lord.” And that I shall do, from this day forward.

Is Citizenship a Right?

An Analysis of the Cases of Shamima Begum and Hoda Mathuna

Is citizenship a right? Children born in the United States have a right to US citizenship, as long as they are not born to a foreign diplomat. However, citizenship can be revoked if the person:

  • Lies on their application. Foreign-born residents must complete an application process to become citizens of the United States.
  • Owes allegiance to another country.
  • Commits treason. (1)

A citizen is defined as “a legally recognized subject or national of a state or commonwealth, either native or naturalized.” (2) Being a subject is defined as “a person who lives or who has the right to live in a particular country…” (3) A right is further defined as “a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way.” (4) Therefore, one can surmise that citizenship is not an absolute right, but one that is eligible by being obedient to the government of which one is a citizen, and acting in a way that shows one is subject to it. An absolute right to citizenship does not exist. If one acts with malice toward one’s country, the qualified right to citizenship can be revoked.

Whether citizenship is a right or not has come center stage in the news lately, as two young girls who ran away to the Islamic state several years ago, now wish to return to their countries of origin. One such case is that of Shamima Begum. As a fifteen-year-old schoolgirl, she ran away from her home in the UK and joined the Islamic State or ISIS. Shortly after arriving in Syria, she married an ISIS soldier, effectively giving aid and comfort to one of the UK’s enemies. During her tenure with ISIS, Ms. Begum gave birth to two children, both of whom died. The Syrian military ultimately arrested her husband, and she fled to a Syrian refugee camp. It is there she claimed British citizenship and asked to return “home” to the UK. In the UK, the government can deprive one of citizenship if the act of doing so is conducive to the public good, and if the person being deprived of citizenship is not left stateless. (5) The UK Home Secretary revoked Ms. Begum’s citizenship, almost immediately after her case appeared in the news. He stated that Ms. Begum could easily become a citizen of Bangladesh, the native country of her mother, and thus not be left stateless. Ms. Begum herself indicated, that while disappointed that she could not return to the UK, she could nevertheless seek citizenship in the Netherlands, the native home of her husband. (6)

Hoda Muthana is another individual recently in the news for wanting to leave ISIS territory and return to her country of origin. Born in Alabama to a newly retired Yemeni diplomat, Ms. Muthana fled to Turkey at the age of nineteen. Once in Turkey, ISIS fighters received Ms. Muthana, arranged a marriage for her to an ISIS fighter, and eventually gave birth to a child of ISIS. Following the substantial loss of territory experienced by ISIS, Ms. Muthana publicly indicated her desire to return to the USA. In fact, she indicated that she has a right to return to the USA because she is a US citizen. In response to her claim and stated wishes, the United States Secretary of State declared that “she does not qualify for citizenship and has no legal basis to return to the country.” (7) In an official statement, the Secretary of State indicated that “Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a US citizen and will not be admitted into the United States. She does not have any legal basis, no valid US passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States.” (7) However, one can easily argue that this is not the case. Born in the United States to a former Yemeni Diplomat, Ms. Muthana is almost certainly a native-born US citizen. Following this line of reasoning, Ms. Muthana’s attorney stated that she “is trying to turn herself into federal authorities and face consequences for her actions.” (7) Some believe, as a result of her treasonous activities, if she is a citizen, should have her citizenship revoked, thus blocking her from re-entering the country. However, citizen or not, it is reasonable to state that Ms. Muthana will not be returning to the USA anytime soon.

If joining ISIS constitutes treason, then both Shamima Begum and Hoda Muthana can legally be deprived of citizenship to their countries of origin. But what constitutes treason? In the UK, treason is defined as, “the crime of disloyalty to the Crown.” (8) By joining ISIS, and swearing loyalty to the Islamic State, Ms. Begum most definitely committed treason. Similarly, in the United States, a traitor is one who, “owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, …(and is thus) guilty of treason…” (9) By marrying an ISIS fighter, and adhering to the will of ISIS-a known enemy of the United States-Ms. Muthana committed treason against the US. As previously stated, the US government failed to even recognize her citizenship in the first place and is subsequently refusing to allow her entry into the US period. They could of just as easily recognized her citizenship, and then deprived her of it. In either case, she is unable to return to the United States.

In conclusion, citizenship is not an absolute right. Instead, it is a qualified right that can be revoked if a person commits a crime that fits the punishment. Shamima Begum and Hoda Muthana both constitute cases of individuals, born to western countries, pledging allegiance to ISIS, and committing treason by giving comfort and aid to the enemy. As a result, they are officially traitors, and will not be permitted to return to their countries of origin.

  1. https://legalbeagle.com/8068185-ways-lose-citizenship.html
  2. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/citizen
  3. https://www.google.com/amp/s/dictionary.cambridge.org/us/amp/english/subject
  4. https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2016/nov/14/primer-prisoners-constitutional-rights/
  5. https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/politics/2019/feb/20/shamima-begum-could-the-plan-to-revoke-her-citizenship-be-stopped
  6. https://www.wired.co.uk/article/shamima-begum-citizenship-revoked
  7. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2019/02/20/world/middleeast/isis-bride-hoda-muthana.amp.html
  8. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_treason_in_the_United_Kingdom
  9. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treason#Federal

Cain, Abel, Christ, and Free Will

How The Crucification of Christ Changed our Society, Families, and Businesses

For millions of faithful followers around the world, the Holy Bible represents the inspired word of God. Some choose to take the Bible literally, while others view it as a compilation of history, symbols, and metaphors. For instance, in the Old Testament, Cain killed Abel, creating a possible metaphor for followers of Christianity to unravel. In the opinion of some, Cain, a farmer, represented the beginning of farming and agriculture. Abel, on the other hand, a shepherd, represented the, soon to be extinct, hunter and gatherer culture. In this story, Abel is the favorite of God the Father, and brings to him the gift of a slaughtered sheep. Cain brings fruit he has raised through agriculture. By rejecting the fruit, and accepting the lamb, one can infer that God prefers not only Abel himself but also the culture Abel represents-that is, hunting and gatherers, rather than farming and agriculture. When Cain killed Abel, it represented, against God’s wishes, the rise of not only agriculture, but also learning, questioning, and the end of the blind, or child-like faith. This arguably personified the dawn of man and the end of our innocence. While God the Father preferred us to be simple-minded and unquestioning, we had “outgrown the playpen,” and any belief in God at that point would be by choice, and not because of ignorance.

The killing of Abel, represents not only the end of the blind following of God the Father, but also the end of wives blindly following their husbands. Before the killing of Abel, both sons blindly followed God the Father. On the same token, within the confines of the home and society at large, women blindly followed their husbands. Essentially, women stayed home and cared for the family, gathering wild fruit and nuts, while the men traveled in bands away from their homes, hunting animals and slaughtering them. When they returned, women would clean the meat and prepare it. Just as the hunter gave the best meat to God as a sacrifice and to give thanks, the gatherer prepared for her husband the best cut, giving thanks to him. After the death of Abel at the hands of Cain, everything changed.

The rise of farming signaled the beginning of civilization, as well as the rise of women in our society. Free from gathering, and now able to exercise their minds, women’s lives expanded far outside the realm of the home. At this point, in the Old Testament Christian tradition, one can put forth that God represents an angry and spiteful figure. To say the least, he is not happy with his rebellious children, who have abandoned their simple lives of hunting and gathering, for the more complicated life of civilization and agriculture.

It can be asserted that the death of Abel foreshadows the killing of Christ. The crucifixion symbolized the death of God as an angry father, and the rebirth of God as something that resides in all of us in essence, an egalitarian figure that assists men and women in making choices of their own free will. In the home, the husband no longer represented the Godhead-instead, God resided now equally in both husband and wife. This is further displayed in the Christian sacrament of Holy Communion, where men and women equally ingest the body and blood of Christ, making it a part of them, rather than something that is separate and authoritarian.

Can the crucifixion of Christ represent God the Father approving a new egalitarian social order? One can assert that it most certainly does. With the sacred Host ingested by both men and women alike, the death of Christ initiated a new dawn of civilization, encompassing philosophy, mathematics, and enlightenment. Through history, our free will has led to advancements by both sexes, ultimately culminating in the feminist movement of the 1960’s.

The business world today also reflects the egalitarian changes in society, later affirmed by the crucifixion of Christ. Many new business owners, unfamiliar with management techniques, initially behave as the God of the Old Testament-angry, bitter, and jealous. They fire people who do not do as they say, or who disagree with their opinions. In time, the business owners who succeed are the ones who quickly adjust their method of thinking. This change recognizes that employees are intelligent beings with free will. If employees do as one asks, it is because they choose to do so not because they are threatened if they do not. The need for a strict separation between the shepherd and the sheep is no longer relevant in essence, everyone in a company is part of the metaphorical farm. Some employees plant the seeds, while others water and others harvest. Some employees go on to invent better farming methods. It is essential that everyone is important in the process. The idea of an all-knowing, all-seeing Godhead is gone. Just as surely as we crucified Christ, a new dawn has risen.

The death of Christ, foreshadowed by the death of Abel, symbolizes the end of a primitive society, and the dawn of a new one. Civilized societies, made possible by the rise of agriculture, encompass civilized families and companies, where egalitarianism, as well as free, will dominate. Successful leaders recognize that they are not Godheads. Rather, they guide and influence, recognizing the free will of others as important parts of their family or business model. The recognition of this free will, and the method of guidance as well as the influence it requires, leads to healthy societies, families, and companies.

Clan Loyalty, Tribalism, and Racism

Does Genetic Memory Play A Role in Modern Day Prejudices?

When Lisa Halaby married King Hussein of Jordan, she envisioned turning Jordan into a cradle of democracy. A bright-eyed idealist, she used pillow-talk to encourage her husband to launch democratic elections in the kingdom where he held absolute power. She fought hard to embolden women to run for parliament and put behind them her full support. In fact, she indicated, anyone with the desire to better their country could run for office. She encouraged minorities, the poor, anyone with an interest, to step up and make their case for bettering the Hashemite Kingdom. On election day, Lisa Halaby, now known as Queen Noor, waited anxiously for the results of the elections for which she had so dearly campaigned. When the results arrived, she could hardly believe her ears as the courtiers informed her that only approximately 1.5% of the population exercised their right to vote. The polling places remained largely empty throughout the day, with the Jordanian populous almost entirely disinterested in the historic elections occurring. Over the years, this Jordanian statistic has changed very little, to the great disappointment of leaders in Parliament.

Jordan is occupied by clans, encompassed by tribes, who have inhabited the area for millennia. Each clan has a leader, and within those clans are tribes with individual leaders. These leadership positions are largely inherited. There are no elections, as these traditions are intimately intertwined within their culture. The reality is, Jordan is a country created by Great Britain in 1921. For most of the people in Jordan, and for that matter, the entire Middle East, clan and tribal leaders have the largest impact on people’s day to day lives-not a parliamentary leader in a distant city, from a family no one has heard of, and with causes not reflective of their own. The fact of the matter is, the country of Jordan represents a creation for its citizens, but their clan and tribe are very real. The inhabitants of Jordan rely on their tribes for safety, food, and other goods. Real decision making is largely made on the clan and tribal levels, such as business deals, marriages, and alliances. Clan and tribal loyalties comprise the bedrock of one’s existence, and betraying one’s tribe is the most egregious of sins, often resulting in death. Clan leaders arrange marriages within the tribes, allowing for some genetic diversity, but still retaining the familiar culture, religion, and customs. These generational patterns have resulted in different tribes having certain physical characteristics, that indicate their membership without having to say a word. Tribal members have come to expect and to rely on these characteristics when encountering tribal members outside of their safety zones. Members expect safety within their tribes, but on the outside, they expect violence and/or death.

In the Western World, it can be argued that we follow similar patterns of clan and tribal behavior. We all have surnames that denote our clans. Furthermore, many of us belong to churches, that denote our tribes. For those of us who do not attend church, we often ally ourselves with others who share a similar disbelief in God or organized religion, coming together at sci-fi conventions, pot-lucks, and other similar events. New forms of tribalism are coming into play in the form of online meetup groups, focused around similar interests, such as the love of the outdoors.

This way of thinking leads me to ask, has clan loyalty, and its long-term effect on our DNA, contributed to the racism we know of today? Is racism ingrained in our DNA? One can argue, that to a certain extent, it is. We exist today because of the impact clans had on us in the past, including the protections they offered, as well as marital and trade alliances they made. While we may live in a somewhat different world today, elements of this way of life still exist and raise their ugly head in what we now call racism. Put more simply, birds of a feather flock together. We seem inherently more comfortable around people who look like us, talk like us, and believe like us. Nothing is more telling than during the filming of “The Planet of the Apes,” the actors, all dressed in animal costumes, segregated one another according to the breed of animal they portrayed. The film’s producers noted this irony, and it has since been referenced in various anthropological studies. Behind closed doors, people with similar beliefs mock those with other beliefs, as do people with one skin color, sometimes mock those of other skin colors.

“Clan loyalty,” affects social, economic, and marital patterns, similar to those of days past. For example, interracial and interfaith marriages are often considered controversial. A few years ago a family member asked me, in a threatening manner, if I had ever dated a black guy. When I answered, no, he responded with, “Well good, because if I ever caught you with one, I would kill you both.” Similarly, when a member of the Episcopal Church I attended married a person of the Jewish faith, a member of my family stated, “The fact that she did that is symptomatic of the weakness of our church. We just never did enough for our youth.”

What are the solutions for creating a more diverse society? And what are the solutions for overcoming prejudices that are, very possibly, ingrained in our DNA? As a society, we have worked hard to desegregate the schools, eliminate red-lining when offering home-loans, and to rid our language of racist verbiage. Yet still, when we are walking down a city street, encountering people who do not look like us, our reaction is often fear, anger, and distrust. How do we change something that, at times, perhaps contributes to keeping us alive, but then, at other times, hurts people around us for really no reason other than the fact that we have pre-judged them?

One solution for creating a more diverse society is “exposure.” In therapy, “exposure” is known as “therapy to treat anxiety disorders. Exposure therapy involves exposing the target patient to the anxiety source or its context without the intention to cause any danger. Doing so is thought to help them overcome their anxiety or distress.“ (1) Quite simply, by exposing people of different skin colors, religions, and cultures to one another, their distress and/or prejudices they feel toward one another may ultimately lessen and perhaps even disappear. Exposure occurs mostly in the workplace, where employers base their hiring strategies on skill sets and talents, rather than religion, family name, or race. As a result, the American workplace has become, in many cases, a hub for genetic and cultural diversity. Employees eat together, socialize together, and have been known to marry one another. All of this flies in the face of a traditional clan and tribe loyalty, leading to what many are calling a “new America.”

When Queen Noor married King Hussein in 1978, she embraced the history of Jordan, but sought to change its future. What she learned, however, is that the clans and tribes are what rule Jordan, and her husband comprised their tribal head. Jordanians are truly ruled by their clan and their tribe. In many ways, America is the same, but one can argue that the conflicts occurring within our society display that we are trying to change. It can be asserted that the best way to overcome one’s own prejudices is exposure to different types of people and cultures. This exposure is actually occurring in the American workplace. Despite the strides made in overcoming racism in America, we remain a deeply conflicted society. While looking toward the future with idealism, we often are plagued by the genetic memory of our past. While espousing equality and freedom, we often still associate with and marry individuals who look, talk, and believe the same things we do. While many of us continue to evolve into better people, we are often plagued by incidences of the past, which perhaps do not portray the people we are today. For example, the Governor of Virginia is being asked to resign because of a yearbook picture, taken of him in “blackface” in 1984. Is this picture, taken nearly 35 years ago, indicative of who he is today? We are a society on the helm of leaving our clan and tribal past behind, yet still fighting to embrace it. Where will the future lead us? Only time will tell.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exposure_therapy

Sex, Gender, and the Feminist Movement

Does the Non-Binary Gender Movement Threaten the Recognition of Female Special Considerations?

Raised by a feminist woman of the 60’s, my mother always taught me that, under the law, men and women should be equal. However, she also indicated that inequalities still exist within our society, because of differences biologically between the sexes. The most significant inequality, she told me, exists in the form of economic servitude-that is, women who do not exercise their ability to earn an income and remain economically dependent upon their husbands. This dependency began, she explained, because of the extended length of time it takes to raise a child. Feminism acknowledges differences between the sexes and makes special considerations for them. As a result, our society has taken steps to remedy the social inequalities created by the fact that women give birth and remain the primary caretakers for our society’s children. Examples include insurance that covers childbirth, maternity leave and working hours that allow women to retrieve their children from school. Stay at home positions have also been created, allowing for further flexibility required for childcare. Feminism also acknowledges that, biologically, women have less physical strength than men. Women are more likely to be raped or taken a prisoner of war. Furthermore, a rape occurring during wartime can lead to women giving birth while captive, creating a plethora of additional problems. As a result, placing women on the front-line during a war arguably creates an uneven playing field, thus constituting an unwise situation. Obviously, women have vulnerabilities during wartime that men do not, because of biological differences between the sexes.

The biological sex of men and women is a different concept than the gender roles adopted by them. Gender roles are defined as “a social role encompassing a range of behaviors and attitudes that are generally considered acceptable, appropriate, or desirable for people based on their actual or perceived sex.” (1) Challenges arise when individuals perceive their gender roles as different than their biological sex. Some of the American states have requirements that transgendered individuals use their biological sex on legal and formal documents. The problems caused by this have resulted in some parents choosing to identify their children at birth as “non-binary,” or having no declared gender. That way, later in life, the child can select the gender role with which they most identify.

As a woman, I understand the plight of socially disenfranchised individuals-our struggles are similar and the discrimination real. Transgendered individuals are especially vulnerable. I also understand the perceived need not to identify a child’s biological sex on their birth certificate. However, not identifying a child’s biological sex does not negate that their biological sex exists, nor does it negate the special social considerations their biological sex demands. In essence, feminism acknowledges, accepts and embraces these biological differences, allowing for the meaningful consideration they require from our society as a whole so that the female sex can participate as fully functioning members.

The possibility exists that failing to acknowledge one’s biological sex can create an illusion of gender progressivism, while actually contributing to the further economic disenfranchisement of the female sex. For example, couples might simultaneously identify with the gender role opposite to their biology but still fall back into the traditional gender roles concurrent with their biology. In one arguably extreme scenario, the female sex, identifying publicly with the male gender role, gives birth and stays home with the baby, while the male sex, identifying publicly with the female gender role, economically provides for the female sex, and works outside the home. It seems progressive, with a person at home identifying with the male gender role, while the person at work identifies with the female gender role. In reality, however, the fact remains that the female sex is still economically powerless, and indentured to the male sex. Nothing has actually changed, save for the couple’s perceptions of themselves. While the perception of change exists, no meaningful social change has actually occurred. More dramatically, the lack of social change is actually hidden behind a social mirage of progressivism.

Regardless of sex or chosen gender role, one can argue that the elimination of acknowledging and/or providing special treatment for biological differences between the sexes creates further economic disenfranchisement for individuals on the margins. Identifying a child at birth as non-binary does not allow for the recognition and subsequent protections that are required for true social equality. In reality, our sexes are binary even if our perceived gender roles, or lack thereof, are not.

In conclusion, while some elements in our society wish to eliminate formal recognition of societal gender roles, doing so arguably negates the recognition of special societal considerations for which the feminist movement has wholeheartedly fought. Regardless of how individuals may or may not perceive themselves, the biological differences between the sexes remain very real. As a result, one can subsequently assert that any movement failing to acknowledge these differences and to make special provisions toward them is harmful to feminism and the female sex. Any ideology that wishes to eliminate such recognition of biological differences between the sexes will merely delay social change and result in false mirages of it.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_role

The Space Shuttle, Ted Bundy, and Unplanned Pregnancies

Should Women Have an Absolute Right to An Abortion?

The explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger followed three previously aborted flight attempts. As a young elementary school student in 1986, we lined up our chairs for the fourth time to watch the Challenger launch. Our teachers, the news, and the entire country had us excited to observe a lesson taught from outer space. NASA, under pressure for the launch to occur, overlooked icicles on the landing pad. This led to the “major malfunction” that caused the Space Shuttle Challenger to explode after takeoff, killing all seven crew members. The explosion left school children bewildered and the nation shocked. A subsequent investigation led to the conclusion that the mission should have, once again, been aborted.

The word “abortion,” while appropriate in relation to the space shuttle, nevertheless has negative connotations in our society. In high school, I had a teacher who refused to use the word abort or abortion for anything, except in reference to a woman choosing to end her pregnancy. She found it offensive and inappropriate. Repeatedly, she stated, “Abortion is wrong because the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.” Conversely, during my graduate degree, I had a tutor who worked as an attorney. Day after day, he would tell me about visiting his clients in jail, and how badly the place smelled. He also told me about consistent observations he made amongst the prisoners. The most astounding observation included the fact that the majority of the prisoners had been born out of wedlock. As a result, he found illegitimacy to be a serious threat to our society. If one has a child born illegitimately, he would say, one’s major goal in life is to then keep that child out of prison. Abortion, he argued, is for the good of society.

In 1986, the space shuttle took off, because NASA felt pressure to deliver to the children of America the “first teacher in space.” As a result, they killed every astronaut on board. Is it appropriate to compare aborting a space shuttle mission to a woman aborting her pregnancy? Perhaps not, but I am going to do it anyway. Pregnancy occurs because a woman has sex with a man. Sometimes this sex is consensual, and sometimes it is not. Pregnancy often includes the conduction of various genetic tests, determining if the fetus is viable, or suffering from genetic problems. At this time, if either of these problems arise, abortion is the most likely resulting scenario. Continuing with pregnancies that have severe problems can result in catastrophic hospital bills, overwhelming caretaking bills, and even the death of the mother, and/or child. Like the space shuttle that resulted in such cataclysmic devastation, sometimes, one can argue, abortion is the wisest solution to the problem or potential problems that are most likely to occur.

Society often puts pressure on young, unmarried women to continue with their pregnancies. For example, my father has a dear friend who asserts he is pro-choice-before conception. Once one is pregnant, he argues, abortion is not an option. But what about birth defects, I responded? Or if the mother’s life is at risk? No deal, he answered. As a Roman Catholic, he believes, the child’s life is paramount. As a young woman being raised by a feminist woman of the 60’s, this belief system did not sit well with me.

Can abortion, in cases of rape and/or incest, represent a sensible decision? Ted Bundy, the world’s most notorious serial killer, entered this world likely as the product of just such a scenario. Initially raised as his mother’s brother, he only discovered his true parentage later in life. Shocked by this betrayal, coupled with a devastating breakup, he embarked on a devastating trail of rape and murder. After wreaking havoc on young women across the country, Ted Bundy finally met his end in the electric chair. However, it can be asserted that, had abortion been legal at the time of his conception, many women and their families would have been spared a great deal of torment and pain. What is more moral-society ending a life before it’s birth, or far after, when the person is an adult? Does Ted Bundy represent an example of abortion representing a sensible decision?

Religion often takes exception to abortion, regardless of the circumstances resulting in the pregnancy. Like my father’s friend, many Christians believe that life begins at conception and that as a result, the fetus, representing the most vulnerable members of society, is entitled to protection by the strongest members of our society. As a result of this belief, I observed many girls in my Christian high school become pregnant and drop out of school. Some of them married the father of the child, and the majority of them divorced. Few, if any, of these women attended college, but all of them underwent the overwhelming struggle of young motherhood. Financially, emotionally, spiritually, these women gave everything they had so that these children could be born and raised. While speaking with them later in life, many of them indicated to me that they felt pressured into having sex, pressured into having the baby, never even contemplated birth control, and routinely encountered boys refusing to wear protection. After the birth, more often than not in a charity ward, the father disappeared, or showed little concern. The woman, in the end, almost always became the primary caretaker to the child.

Does a woman have the right to terminate a pregnancy if she does not feel ready to raise a child? Did the operators of the space shuttle have the right to abort the mission? Today, knowing the result of the space shuttle not being aborted, the result is an astounding yes-the space shuttle launch should have been aborted. The children of Christa Mcauliffe and the rest of the astronauts would have had a parent. Their husbands and wives would have continued to have spouses. Instead, because of pressure and expectations placed upon the operators of the space shuttle, they made bad decisions, and destruction occurred. On the same token, if a woman’s life is at risk by giving birth, and she does not find out until the twenty-eighth week, does she too have the right to abort her pregnancy? Is it worth risking her life so that, potentially, another can be born? What about the risk that her current children will lose their mother, or that her husband will lose his wife? Even more profoundly, should this question be left to our slow-moving judicial system, or to a woman and her doctor?

Our legal system is attempting to clarify this difficult situation. New York recently passed “the Reproductive Health Act, (in which) non-doctors are now allowed to conduct abortions and the procedure could be done until the mother’s due date if the woman’s health is endangered or if the fetus is not viable. The previous law only allowed abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy if a woman’s life was at risk.” (1) Responses to this ruling have been comprised of shock and dismay. Children can now be aborted even if they are viable. How could such a ruling have occurred? Is this not murder? How can women have an absolute right to an abortion?

The Reproductive Health Act is likely a response to people in our government wanting to overturn Roe v. Wade. Many of these individuals want to make abortion illegal in all instances, including rape, incest, and birth defects. This arguably extreme view has now been met with another-the Reproductive Health Act, allowing just the opposite- that is, abortion up until the time the fetus or child takes its first breath. The war is on. Who does society value more-the mother or the child? Who has an absolute right to life-the mother or the child?

As a feminist, I firmly believe that the life of the mother is always paramount. I am consistently and profoundly bothered by cases in which mothers, forgoing cancer treatments so their children could live, often resulting in their deaths, are hailed as heroes. In such cases, a family is left without a daughter, a husband is left without a wife, and a child is left without a parent. I find myself afraid of being in such a situation, where my society states I must stop treatment and die, so my unborn child can live. I often feel that our society does not value women and finds us expendable. This both frightens and saddens me.

There are no easy answers to the abortion question. As a writer and researcher, it is often easier for me to take an external point of view. The reality is, society may fight extraordinarily hard to have unplanned children live, only to ultimately execute them later in the electric chair. We are born to this life, and we learn along the way. Good sense must prevail in all things, and in this matter also. So what are we as a society to do? For now, the judicial system of New York has spoken, but the struggle between what is more important to our society-the absolute right to life for mothers, or the absolute right to life for unborn children is very real and ongoing. Only time will tell, and we may never have a firm and definite answer.

  1. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/new-york-celebrates-legalizing-abortion-until-birth-as-catholic-bishops-question-cuomos-faith