Mom and my aunts had a poor self-image of themselves. Mother became a drug addict, and my aunts Leatress, Reba, and Olivia became hopeless alcoholics, getting married many times, etc. Aunt Reba got married 14 times. Finally, because of Mom's drug addiction, poor self-image, and other problems, Dad and Mom got a divorce. About three years later, my mother committed suicide. That tragedy was the main reason why I took my first wife and children out of Kansas and came here to Southern California. I never regretted having come here.
Dane, what really bothers me about that Political and Current Events board is when somebody tells me I think I'm smart or "holier than thou."
I've felt ignorant all my life. That's why I devoured book after book after book. Seeing that my constant reading and learning weren't making me improve notably, I bought a book by an author who said that one could improve by chanting "Day by day, I am getting better in every way." In the rooming house where I lived in Mexico City, I'd stand before a mirror, chanting that up to two hours a day. Another chant I still use frequently, is "I know nothing yet as I should know."
I really felt inferior to Dad. With just a seventh grade education, he rose from poverty to be a multimillionaire real estate man, home builder, and owner of apartments, approximately sixty or seventy fourplexes in all. He also had other business interests. I left the business, however, because Dad put as a condition for staying there I'd have to give up my intellectual pursuits and devote myself to selling houses from sunup to sundown. I never regretted having done that, also. My stepbrother Russell took my place, and he is easily one of the richest men in Kansas. He lives in a five million dollar home. If anyone thinks I'm just blowing wind, let him check up on Matlock and Johnson Realtors and Builders, Junction City, Kansas, in some internet phonebook.
I never got rich. My wife and I live in a modest manufactured home on its own lot. However, we do live comfortably from my private pension, my social secrity pension, and one small investment. I often wish that I had been more ambitious about making a lot of money because then, I'd see to it that we abandoned this little house and become perennial gypsies.
Years later after Dad "encouraged" me to leave the business, he told me that he was just trying to bluff me at the time. He didn't believe I'd really dare go out on my own. My feelings of inferiority to Dad sparked my decision to get a Masters Degree from one of this nation's toughest and most demanding graduate schools: Tulane University in New Orleans. But not even that helped me to feel superior.
So Dane, with that kind of complex, how could I possibly think I'm smarter and hetter than anyone else? It's because of a feeling of inadequacy that I engage in this sort of behavior. I'd LOVE to be satisfied with myself.
Dane, whatever "belief" is, it isn't anywhere close to truth. The "True Believer" who goes on a "belief" binge is on a dead-end course throughout life. Education and self-improvement in ethics and morals, plus acceptance of the spiritual realm, are the only way to go.
Thanks for your good letter and congratulations on your high regard for education and learning.