Litigation – Oh My

After losing my brother to cancer, I’ve been offline for a while and on my return I’m going a bit off the normal subject to try and get back into the swing.

I read today that a Los Angeles man sued Krispy Kreme Company for falsely advertising the ingredients of blue berries and maple syrup in their doughnuts.  He is asking five million dollars.   It turns out they use those little fake blueberries and artificial maple flavoring, as I suspect, do most other doughnut makers.  I do know for sure that the instant blueberry muffin mixes use those same fake blueberries.  Dumb Question: Could this gentleman possibly have received five million dollars of damage from eating these already unhealthy doughnuts?  The amount of butter and sugar alone should be enough to stop anyone.

That’s not the real point though.  The real point is that I believe all the crazy litigation in the name of making money leads to less and less self-responsibility.  It leads to the goal of making one’s own problems someone else’s.

THE LAWYERS DON’T HELP.  A quick internet search on frivolous law suits will blow any working man’s mind.  In particular, I’m always entertained by the late night attorney’s advertisements asking if someone ever took this drug, or had this or that surgery.  If so call 1-800———.   I’m waiting for an advertisement that says “Have you been to a Doctor’s office this year?  If so call 1-800——— because you may be entitled to a lawsuit.”

WORSE YET, when someone is injured on public property, for example slips on ice, the city gets sued because some clod couldn’t be responsible for his own safety in walking.  Needless to say this leads to people intentionally falling and sustaining irreversible psychological damage to the point that they deserve no less than a few million dollars.

HOW ABOUT THIS?  How about making people responsible for their own choices?  In Japan they have very little crime, and probably not only because they don’t have guns.  What they have is incentive for families to teach self-responsibility.  This one simple example demonstrates the vast difference in Japan and the USA, and in my mind, displays part of the reason that we have so many people that don’t accept responsibility, but try to pass it off onto someone else.

In Japan, if you commit suicide by jumping in front of a Train, Rail Companies charge your family a fee.  Japan Rail in fact routinely charges families of suicide victims more than US $2 million, a financially devastating sum of money for most; although it is unclear whether any families can actually pay such a high bill.

The purpose is to reinforce how the suicide victim should not have created a burden for others and to reinforce the legitimacy of the shared cultural space of the commute.

Taken from:  https://www.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/1khj2n/til_in_japan_if_you_commit_suicide_by_jumping_in/

YES, this is true and can be verified via many sources.

Why is this interesting?  My guess is that in the U.S., the family would be suing the local train or subway company for not creating barriers to stop someone from harming him/herself.  The family and some hungry attorney would see it as an opportunity to extract money from what they perceive to be a source of unlimited funds, rather than feel they should pay for the burden they created on society, and those whose lives were disrupted by their family member.

Imagine if our society encouraged each of us to teach our family members that they must be responsible for their own actions.  Perhaps then we would see less frivolous litigation.  In the end, when a company loses a multi-million dollar lawsuit, costs go up, more regulations are created, and more opportunities for lawsuits exist.  Is this really an efficient way to run a society?

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ON PRIDE

Have you ever had a friend tell you they are proud of you, or tell you that you should be proud of yourself or your accomplishments?  On the few occasions it’s occurred with me it always throws me off.  It seems like something a parent should say to a child, or something you should say to someone that you feel may have low self-esteem.  Tell them you’re proud of them―make them feel good.

This happened to me recently and I really had to think about what they were saying because my first response was something like this.  “What the hell do you mean you’re proud of me?  You think I need a compliment or something?”

Sometimes I have to point my finger at myself and realize it’s me that has the problem.  Why should I be the only one that’s proud of my accomplishments?  It may go much deeper.  I think being proud, or having pride is an odd concept that gets intermingled with self-esteem.  Often those who appear the proudest of themselves are using it as a cover for their own low self-esteem.

So how does one find healthy pride?  Not being an expert on this I have concluded that healthy pride has more to do with self-honesty than anything else.  Few of us are capable of carrying out a self-assessment in an honest manner.  Not because we don’t want to, but because we can only use the tools we have and those include all the self-protective mechanisms we’ve spent years working on.

Perhaps, pride is a humble acceptance of those talents that others have identified in us, and that we personally know come from our true selves and not some manufactured identity or mask we create so that others will believe something about us that is not true.

Unfortunately, that narrows the field of those with true pride.  We live in a world of people who strive to emulate identities they have found on the internet, or in movies, or perhaps their favorite rock band―A world where many people define their own happiness on whether a team of professional athletes on a sports team wins or loses―a world where few have identified who they personally are, but strive to be something they are not.  Are these people being honest with themselves—about who they are?  Or are they hiding their true selves by pretending to be something they are not?

I realize this is an uncomfortable thought but the reason I’m bringing it up is because I believe in order to create literature, art, or music, beyond simply crafting it, 100% self-honesty is required.  True art will be the result of self-honesty, and pride will be a non-evasive by-product of knowing that one has produced that art, regardless of whether anyone recognizes it or not.  The ultimate compliment comes when someone is proud of being associated with what your self-honesty has produced.  You too will know when that compliment is an honest one, or simply someone blowing smoke because they feel they have something to gain from you.

I suggest looking deep into your upbringing, all the good, the bad, the dysfunction, the pain, and the happiness and find that true self.  I know this is not easy for me, but it is something I’ve committed to strive for.  Forget about someone else’s successes, failures, and experiences and find your own. Then you will produce your best work and be proud of it.  So will those around you.

Empathy Beyond the Ego

­­Looking within to find empathy offers a different perspective so I’m going to throw it out.  While many over-achievers want to be empathetic, and some feel they are, it may be a false empathy in many cases.  They are focused on themselves, and the need for personal satisfaction is wh­­­at drives their achievements.  Achievements tend to be self-indulgent in nature.  Achievers often have difficulty finding empathy until they reach a point of satisfaction with their own accomplishments.  Unfortunately, this may be an ego driven empathy, self-satisfying empathy―one more accomplishment to add to the list.  Granted, doing good works help the receivers regardless of the motivation.

Is it possible that empathy can be another method of self-satisfaction for some?  i.e., I am helping others therefore I feel good about myself to the point that empathy becomes a narcissistic endeavor?­­  

Our consciousness is what gives us a sense of self―really the ONLY thing that gives us a sense of self.   For each one of us, the universe, the empathetic subjects, and everything else we perceive live only in one place.  That place is our consciousness…. Without consciousness, they do not exist for us.  What does this mean?  It means, that everything we sense as the outer world is really within us―within our perception.  Once we realize that our achievements are not something that we personally accomplished, but, also required consciousness, other lives, and the universe, we can no longer separate ourselves.  Thus, they are an accomplishment of the universe.  Our consciousness manifests this reality for us.  We are not separate from the universe; our perceptions are the universe as we know it. 

Once one understands this, it becomes clear that the true feeling of empathy is an integral part of self-love and it comes without effort to those who have this characteristic.  Empathy becomes intuitive rather than learned, and is no longer an object we seek; it’s a part of us.  True empathy is not born out of guilt, or feeling sorry for someone in need, nor is it found in feeling guilty about having more than others.  True love is not attainable without empathy, both for oneself and those one perceives as others.  Likewise, true empathy is not attainable to those lacking self-love, and I submit that lack of self-love is a motivator for many over-achievers.  Many are seeking self-love through their achievements and carrying out good works for them is based on false empathy as they seek self-love.

This took me many years to understand.  Early in my life I thought I would find it (self-love) through education so I­ collected degrees.  Not surprisingly, the degrees brought me no closer to understanding any of this.  I loved nature and climbed mountains and worked as a Physical Therapist.  I thought I was empathetic because I was helping people, but just like climbing mountains, it was motivated by my own need to achieve and had little to do with empathy.  Sadly for me, a substantial amount of over-achieving was necessary before I realized it would not bring wisdom, empathy, self-love, or anything of importance. 

Perhaps accepting that the only true asset we have is our consciousness and that our ego is an obstacle is all we need to understand to offer more to the world we perceive as outside of us.