Bad Habits

Bad Habits Rarely Change

As a given, it is reasonable that raising children requires a constant guiding process of exemplifying, reminding, and sometimes enforcing (of and for) the desired behavior. Our constant effort to instill beneficial habits is a major task of parenting. As our wards reach young chronological adulthood , we often question our past efforts as we observe their unacceptable, and to us foreign, behavior. Like our children, some tenants with families have established an apparent need for repeated reminders:

Bernd, I read a column by Rabbi Daniel Lapin earlier this week on this very topic, I’ll post below:

Slip Sliding Away

Elegant laws of faith and physics link the mysteries of the universe to the banality of human behavior. For instance, they explain why I find it so hard to keep my desk neat, my body thin, and my business profitable.

If I shake a jar containing green and red marbles arranged in alternating layers, they start moving around the jar until all signs of the original layered pattern have vanished. No matter how long I continue shaking the jar, the marbles will not return to their original layers.

Returning to a Buick that was left in a field for a century or two, all I

Great article Shawn, thanks for posting.

Realizing that everything in this world naturally heads for a state of decay and disorder, doesn’t make me feel so bad when things head south for a bit, or when experiencing a bad tenant situation, etc. It can only be explained by my failure to maintain the necessary effort to keep order in my life.

In my own mind, this is a great thing. It’s not the tenant’s fault, or the government, or any other outside force. It’s all within my control to expend the energy necessary to prevent entropy. Taking responsibility for this, instead of blaming outside forces, is very empowering, and inspires problem solving and creativity, instead of blame and anger. This is a good thing.

I believe Rabbi Lapin’s view is too narrow and anthropocentric in thinking that what is natural is chaotic and what is ordered is man-made. If it were not for universal intelligence (God, source, universal energy, Allah, etc.) there would be no improvement. Every bit of intelligence prefers improvement. Even the swamps and forests themselves prefer improvement and not necessarily man-made improvement. Streams and rivers cut through rock to make their passage easier. One has to KNOW of the evolution of all things toward improvement. THIS is natural!

There are endless examples of what is not wanted for any particular being. Some of us do not want religion, teachers, central government, art, murder, smokestacks, bears, computers, lawns, pickles, bread, bicycles, cities, clothes, etc., etc., etc. Selfishness, destructiveness, and gangs of marauders, philanthropists, teachers, artists, thieves, etc. are not “natural” or “unnatural”. They are result of focus OR lack of focus on what is wanted. Losing focus or belief in the desired improvement does not lead to chaos but it does allow the unwanted. Recent science has even shown “chaos” has a form of order.

Dwelling on the past is not improvement. Contrasting the past, or even, the present with what we would prefer is how we improve the future.

As Jeff says, it is within our control. But each must KNOW and BELIEVE it is, or we will not be able to effect improvement.

Many of those around us, especially MHP dwellers do not believe improvement is in their control. They look for outside sources e.g. government, MHP management, beer, drugs, strangers, etc. to improve their lot. Their behavior is not a “natural” return to chaos. It is a natural consequence of losing their belief that they can control their own improvement.

I am reminded of the multitude of Negro slaves in the U.S. in the 1800s. There are numerous stories of those who found happiness despite their circumstance yet looked forward to improvement. As more individuals believed slavery would end, circumstances arose to eventually effect the improvement.


Post Edited (09-06-10 16:57)