Joe & Linda SkinnerBEHAVIORISMSGrand Junction Free Press Columnists

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December 20, 2012
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SKINNERS: Choosing light over darkness

HE SAID: Well, here we are at the "end of time," Dec. 21. Just imagine what we will recall several years from now when we look back at all the doomsday prophesies. This reminds me of all the former "end of the world" scares.I can still see the images of the Jim Jones Kool-Aid drinkers dead in a South American jungle 30 years ago, and I can remember reading about those who recently sold all their possessions for some preacher in California who was going to save them from the end even when he kept changing the dates. Is there any hope for a group of people who continue to "worship" the doomsayers and their myths?SHE SAID: Deep down, all of us wonder to some extent how and if the world might end or how we will die. The Y2K scare turned out to be nothing. There has been a significant amount of chaos and carnage this year. The last two weeks remind us of how tragically and swiftly things can change. The events in Connecticut should also remind us of what it might be like in Darfur where scores of women and children are regularly obliterated by an attack by the Janjaweed gangs. We are impacted more than ever because the internet brings us the world.One interpretation of the solstice is that we are entering an age of enlightenment. I choose to embrace this interpretation, especially coupled with the ideals enmeshed in this time of year. We should return to simpler lives, wisdom of the past, and natural cycles. We should display new respect for the earth and its bounty. We should work to live peacefully together with hope that things will be better.Cynically, I wonder how we are going to convince the warmongers, the power hungry, the greedy, the gun nuts, the intolerant extremists and others, of the beauty of this plan. I realize I cannot let that stop me from learning to live an "enlightened" life. Poetically, if enough of us try, the light will gather and shine in all the dark places so we can ferret out and deal with the chaos makers in the world...whew.HE SAID: Well, at least I got you going. Hope, as you demonstrate, is what keeps us moving forward, even in the darkest days. However, many chose to believe hope comes only from believing something they want to hear. Life is certainly so mysterious that we cannot understand all the forces that affect us. Many people, though, abandon things like proven science, or know facts, to support a belief they don't want to change. For example, some people, despite all evidence, believe the Holocaust never occurred.The question is how to choose between the false prophets and self-centered talking heads in these times? But, maybe, this time you are right. We have to show compassion instead of hate, and inclusiveness instead of exclusiveness. Then the golden rule and the sense of oneness with all humans will be the salvation from the abyss.SHE SAID: The difficulty lies in implementing the intent to act more enlightened. Should I shut down the computer of a child who is killing people on video games? Or should I try and understand the appeal of such games to a child by engaging them in conversation? Somehow, we need to find ways to disrupt the patterns that have developed and, to echo President Obama from his speech to the people of Newtown, Conn., "we have to change." If it means taking on the gun lobby to ban automatic and assault weapons or energy companies to develop and use environmentally friendly products or politicians who want to gut the educational system of this country or confront the media which demeans their audiences, so be it.I prefer to work for hope, justice, freedom and change, hoping that I will not have to be in a position to choose whether to not to put myself in front of a murderer to protect innocents in a classroom, movie theater or camp. At least I will die knowing I am not one of the sheep. Now, if I can only shut off the television and computer long enough to make plans.HE SAID: The best plan may be to enjoy this holiday season with compassion, hope, and charity for all.The Skinners hope the spirit of the holy days and the new year ahead invade your life to bring joy, comfort and peace. They can be reached at

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The Post Independent Updated Dec 20, 2012 01:01PM Published Dec 20, 2012 12:59PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.