The Moral Chorale

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The other day, Ali Ersen Erol, posted a comment to my earlier post, “Thoughts on Truth and Justice” which lead me to recall a bit of an old quote about legislating morality. At the time, I could not recall the full quotation and so tonight I got around to looking it up. Turns out it was from a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. in which he stated:

“Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’m wondering: If playing too many violent video games can desensitize kids to violence, if viewing fast food commercials late at night can make you hungry, if regularly going to porn sites can blur the lines between passion and debasement, and if frequent exposure to shopping malls and e-bay can lure even the most frugal to be more willing to spend, then why are we human beings not as easily swayed by positive messages and role models?

Why is it so much harder to convince people to strive to be kind, loving, forgiving, and honest than it is to entice them to be greedy, gluttonous, shallow, callow, vengeful and selfish? It seems that either you’re born with an understanding of honor and morality or you’re not. Not to say it’s not important to teach our children right from wrong but I do wonder whether such education and role-modeling has any positive effect at all unless an individual has the ability in the brain to receive those messages, which are apparently far more subtle and esoteric than their negative counterparts. Am I wrong about this? Or are we forever doomed only to be able to preach to the choir?

A few more words on the subject of morality from men and women far wiser than I…

“It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do, but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do.” Edmund Burke (Irish statesman and orator, 1729-1797)

“There is no readier way for a man to bring his own worth into question than by endeavoring to detract from the worth of other men.” – John Tillotson (English prelate, 1630-1694)

“You can’t escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” – Abraham Lincoln (16th U.S. president, 1809-1865)

“Tell the truth, and so puzzle and confound your adversaries.” – Henry Wotton, Sr. (English author and diplomat, 1568-1639)

“The man who fears no truth has nothing to fear from lies.” – Thomas Jefferson (3rd U.S. president, 1762-1826)

“Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.” – Dwight David Eisenhower (34th U.S. president, 1890-1969)

“In a controversy, the instant we feel anger, we have already ceased striving for truth and have begun striving for ourselves.” – Abraham J. Heschel (Jewish theologian and philosopher, 1907-1972)

Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day

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Lawyers, Guns & Money

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Another day, Another brief, Another month, Another year and on and on it goes in the great mandala of a life caught between a cranky bear who’s hobby it is to play with the law as if it were a handful of Silly Putty® to be molded at will. But this, too, shall one day pass. Despite the few instances I’ve experienced of either judicial naïvety, short-sightedness, laziness, or mistake, and the paranoid nay-sayers who see the world through stereotyped lenses, I refuse to believe that “justice” is always and only a fairy tale controlled by wicked and wealthy. I understand the necessity of being overtly cautious to protect against the possibility of an innocent defendant. While at times I may wonder whether there’s as much open-mindedness and concern for the possibility of an honest and innocent plaintiff, I know that I just need to be patient and keep myself above the fray by not allowing myself to be ruffled by the seemingly never-ending barrage of attacks on my character that have no basis in truth nor allowing myself to become bitter or to lose my self-respect by behaving in kind. I honestly am hopeful that at least this time the truth will prevail so that my little family can move forward and I can live out the rest of my days in peace.

Forgive me, my world-wide friends, for being somewhat cryptic in these melancholy postings about my present legal woes. I would spill all if I could but do not wish to jeopardize the integrity of my case and, while it may sound strange to many, despite all the harm I’ve suffered at the hands of someone I had expected better from I really have no desire to add-on to his/her woes by broadcasting their humiliation. Even the mean and the guilty deserve compassion and the room to pull themselves out of the mud with the dignity of one who is truly repentant.

I know that my attitude as felt in my heart and expressed by my words is not as entertaining as those with a more flippant point of view who may advocate the sentiment of Warren Zevon’s anthem, “Gimme Lawyers, Guns and Money”, but I’m not a total dullard or goody-goody as my hands seem to get the better of me at times and create all this snickering, sarcastic artwork behind my back at nights and slip it in at the bottom of my posts… 😉

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The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered in the “Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day” section are free for your personal use, subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for Terms of Use) For commercial or any other use, please contact me for directly.

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Who’s yer Avatar see in the mirror?

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When you go to an online forum, chatroom, or read comments on blogs, you’ve probably noticed that some people use what appears to be their real name or perhaps the nickname they’re called by friends and family while many more use a screen name they reserve just for use online. Screen Names allow a person to have some level of anonymity which can offer a sense of emotional security, if not real security, and it’s that subtle sense of separateness from one’s “real world” self that often allows people to explore new sides of their personality, to speak their minds, to share their emotions without fear of retaliation, rejection, being laughed at, or ignored. The ways in which people go about selecting a screen name I’m sure varies a great deal and I’ve often found myself wondering where some of the names come from and why they were selected – did the user simply just like the sound of the syllables? Had they selected the name of a favorite character from a book, movie, or game? Were they trying to project a specific image of themselves that they believe will be attractive to certain people they’d like more attention from? Does the name reflect how they think of themselves – or how they’d like to think of themselves? Certainly, some people just randomly select a screen name because they are required to but I have a hunch that most people actually put some thought into it.

If I were a sociologist, I think it’d make a very interesting study, the choice of screen names, and of course along with that would be the Avatar that people select for themselves, as well. And does it say anything about the person who doesn’t have a personalized avatar? Does it mean they’re just not technically savvy enough to know how to go about it (whether in creating their own or finding one they like online and either registering it to a website like Gravatar so it gets automatically associated with their name when responding to blog posts or uploading it to their account at a specific forum) – or does it mean they’re anti-social or snobs – or just have no personality to begin with? Could be any or all of those reasons or some other reason entirely. Maybe I’m just nosy or have too much time on my hands, but I’m curious and think about things like this. It kinda goes along with my idea about creating as a new scientific field, forensic desktop reading. 😉

If you’d like to have your own custom avatar but just haven’t found one you like yet, perhaps one of these will tickle your fancy.

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The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered in the “Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day” section are free for your personal use, subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for Terms of Use) For commercial or any other use, please contact me for directly.

Assistant 7….Ms. Assistant

Josephine

Donnell….Julioa

Sparky Picasso

pix….Sky Pilot

Face-in-Hand

Bouncer….Dudley

Lydia