The Calcified Mind


“Tolerance implies a respect for another person, not because he is wrong or even because he is right, but because he is human.”-John Cogley

Did you know that a barnacle spends its entire life stuck in one place?  Yes, there a barnacle sits, with each year adding layer upon layer of calcification to cement it in place. They don’t exactly sit however, as their forehead glands contain the glue, so they fix themselves upside down to a solid surface and survive by using  feathery limbs to pull in passing plankton for nutrients.

The common barnacle reminds me of our  politicized culture, the way so many people seem permanently stuck to a fixed narrative way of thinking, with their heads planted firmly in the sand to protect against outside views. There they remain, asses up and arms flailing about to catch any and all news/information that confirms their views and hardens their positions.

It’s  not surprising then that our political discourse has reached endemic levels of nastiness, the question is what’s to be done about it?  Probably not much, as each side literally speaks a different language than the other and their differences too great.  Some have hearts so hardened that those others can’t merely be human beings who want what’s best for society but have other ideas on how to get there, they must be morally deficient, evil, stupid, etc….

Beneath all the churn though lies the age old debate over the proper role of government in our society and the values we want it to represent. It’s been brewing for years and is finally coming to a head and thus we are only doing what Americans have always done, which is battle out differences of opinion via democratic means.

Admittedly this can be exhilarating.  It’s exhausting though too because now EVERYTHING is political and thanks to social media, we are always in crisis mode. And Facebook has devolved in to a partisan swampland of half true “news” stories, preachy shaming essays (ha, this one kinda is too!) and snarky political memes.  What happened to all the funny cat videos anyway?

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good spirited political debate and am a big believer in people expressing their views, if for no other reason than it helps shatter the cartoon character stereotype people hold about their “enemies”.  Easy to do with a politician you abhor but don’t know personally, much harder if it’s your sweet uncle Joe or your super smart co-worker Shannon that supports that politician and his views.

So, sharing opinions is good and much needed for a healthy democracy to remain open and free, but there are helpful and unhelpful ways to go about doing this.

For example,  while obsessively posting divisive political  links/memes on Facebook may seem like just the right thing to do, (they will finally see the light!), you’re really only preaching to the choir, while the rest think it’s time for you to get help with your passive aggressive issues. Not helpful.


  • Responding to a politician’s obnoxious, disrespectful and crude behavior, by being obnoxious, disrespectful and crude.
  • Dropping someone as a friend a because of their political positions.
  • Continually posting insulting remarks about a political party/person without concern for the 50% of your friends/family that are supporters of that party/person
  • Making comments on line that you would never say to someone in person.
  • Succumbing to herd mentality outrage over the latest issue de jour instead of taking the time to objectively research things and form your own opinion.
  • Comparisons of today’s political situation to Hitler, Nazism, etc…
  • Demonizing a person’s political views so you can dismiss them instead of having to think critically and form a rational response.
  • Blindly sharing “news” that blatantly serves a political agenda without vetting for accuracy.
  • Only watching, reading and following news outlets that align with your political views and then lecturing others that don’t on how intolerant they are to outside ideas.
  • Assuming negative character traits about someone (or groups of people) because of their political affiliation.


Keeping in mind the humanity of other people you disagree with. That the beliefs they hold and which you find so repulsive does not make them monsters or mindless simpletons, because truthfully you know nothing about them and why they think the way they do. Keep your heart soft and your mind open and you may even learn a thing or two.

And remember, you are not a barnacle, you are free to change your position, to think differently and, gasp, even  be wrong about things!

“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”-Confucius




This entry was posted in fear mongering, Personal growth, Political, Uncategorized, Women's Empowerment and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to The Calcified Mind

  1. Delightful message Tricia!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dennis says:

    I know all about barnacles Tricia. I spent many an hour scraping them from the bottom of my Dad’s wooden hull shrimp boat. They will cut the heck out of you if you come in contact with them also.
    Kind of like a certain political party we all know. The wrong kind of contact and they will cut you to ribbons while they try to use their long appendages to take over everything in sight.
    Looks like someone is scrapping the bottom of DC finally.
    Cleaning the bottom of the shrimp boat made the boat glide smoothly thru the water and saved fuel. A good bottom scrapping is needed now and then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Lol Dennis, yes a good bottom scraping is definitely needed now and then! And I would fully expect a navy man like yourself to know all about barnacles.

      On a more serious note I am worried about the fracturing of our country and the dehumanizing we see people doing to others because of the “wrong” political beliefs. Both the left and right have its share of wackos and it’s just getting uglier out there.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Citizen Tom says:

      Use to live off the Gulf Coast. That’s where you find those shrimp boats. The barnacles would cover over any solid object in the water. So you could walk barefooted on a sandy or silty bottom, but trying to climb out of the water up a ladder attached to a peer would have been foolish. Barnacles would have covered it below the waterline. Hence, I don’t recall seeing such ladders.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Indeed… | makeaneffort

  4. Al says:

    Why do you have to post such calm, rational and open-minded thoughts, Tricia? ‘Cause I really, really want to strangle the next liberal that I meet. Can I ? Huh? Please, Can I? Huh? OK, because of you, I won’t. But I’ll bet the next liberal I meet won’t bother to thank you for saving his/her life. They’re like that.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Wally Fry says:

    “There they remain, asses up and arms flailing about” Okay, first of all, that wins best word image of the week!

    This was just packed with good stuff, Tricia, but one really stuck

    “Making comments on line that you would never say to someone in person.”

    Seriously, what is wrong with people. All of these wannabe warriors, hiding behind Avatars and keyboard make me want to hurl. I promise there is not one thing I say here that I would not gladly share with any person, live, at any time. A while back, a detractor asked me what my preacher would think about the way I talked to him. I offered his phone number LOL.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tricia says:

      Lol Wally, I love that you offered your preacher’s phone #! I’ve been divisive myself in the past, but I’m really trying hard not to be now. I don’t think I’ve ever said anything on line though that I wouldn’t say in person. Plus seeing as how we both use real pictures of ourselves I don’t think we’d get away with much obnoxiousness. 😉


  6. what an excellent analogy Tricia—and love the thought..”asses up and arms flailing about to catch any and all news/information that confirms their views and hardens their positions.”
    That certainly seems to sum everything up nicely in an upside down nutshell!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. LOL! Thank you for this. You have nailed it so well. Barnacles are an awesome analogy. I was starting to wonder if perhaps we have all contracted some yet unknown brain parasite or something.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. madblog says:

    So well said, in your calm and even-handed, gracious way, as usual.
    I alternately laugh and cry now, as on the one hand, my newly-engaged and full of rage friends have finally discovered “1984”, and my relatives have chosen to caricature me via identity politics rather than remember that they actually know me.
    It’s good to know that there are sane voices out here like you, Tricia.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tricia says:

      Thanks madblog. And, oh I laugh and cry all the time now too! It sure is interesting how two weeks in to a Republican presidency democrats are all of a sudden concerned about executive abuse of power and states rights. Welcome to the club, right?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hopefully readers catch a moment of sanity prior to exposing themselves to your article. The skill and art of critical thinking has been compromised, sacrificed and(all too often) replaced with emotional rhetoric expressed in a tantrum format rather than a cogent constructive one. The accusatory tone and nature of today’s language makes the sharing of new ideas almost impossible. People (in general) are not interested in learning and understanding different perspectives. They don’t realize that positive change requires increased awareness to ALL thinking in order to form new ideas and plans of action to address an ever evolving world.

    I share information with the world about health and health care that frequently deals with “sensitive” issues. I have personally faced unfounded accusations by a segment that chooses to dismiss the science and logic I use in favor of maintaining status quo. It is human nature to FEAR change. Those, however, who remain open minded and listen have a better chance to grow and develop in an ever changing world. You can LISTEN and still disagree, but without listening you can never LEARN.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Tricia says:

      You’ve nailed it there Jonathan with your observation on a lack of critical thinking and desire to learn among people “debating” these issues. It’s not really debate though, just one group hollering at the other and I see this on both sides of the coin.

      The main problem in my view is a prevalence among many to judge their moral goodness based on political positions, so a person that disagrees with them becomes evil instead of merely having other ideas about policy. Not to say that good/bad judgements should not be made, but people are too quick to claim the moral high ground without truly examining and understanding the other side.

      Keep up the excellent work on your blog!

      I can only imagine the pushback you’ve received in discussing sensitive and controversial health issues. It’s emotional to be sure but sure can be ugly.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Salvageable says:

    This badly needs to be said, but–as usual–the people who need to hear it won’t listen. My best friend has sworn off Facebook because of the hateful things that are being thoughtlessly shared there. Ignoring Facebook is better than ending friendships. J.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Oh you said it Salvageable! I posted on Inauguration Day my one nation post about staying respectful to one another regardless of how you feel about the President and needless to say I got a few very non respectful responses.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Wally Fry says:

    Just checking to see if my comments work now..if it does you can delete this one!


  12. 2thdocbob says:

    You have encapsulated my feelings about the whole mess. Thanks for a great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. ColorStorm says:

    Stuck in one place………..
    Ha, reminds me of that wonderful word reCALCItrant….

    You probably know a person or two who has been dropped from the family friend list because of the last US election. Brings great meaning to that ‘a friend loveth at all times.’

    ‘Stubby’ or ‘Stubs’ is not a very affectionate nickname, for the immovable and stubborn. 😉 On the other hand, regarding the things of God, I suppose it is a good thing to be immovable, not easy shaken or stirred from absolute truth. A fine line eh T.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      That is a great word ColorStorm and I am sure I’ve been dropped from many such lists but, eh, that means there was nothing much there to begin with.

      And yes, with the things of God it’s important to not be shaken or stirred. Martinis however are a different story…;)

      Liked by 1 person

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  15. Canuck Carl says:

    The words “Thanks to social media we are always in a crises mode” ring so profound and true. A post that is very well articulated addressing patterns of behaviour that is also happening in Canada!

    Liked by 2 people

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