Just A Thought

Regret II

Could have been…

Should have been…

Would have been…

Matter little in the world that “is”

 

Regret I

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Holiday Season Musings

Thinking II

As I sit down to compose another blog, I find that I am beside myself with worry and concern, as I am sure most of you are, with regard to the state of current affairs and the direction that this world is headed.   As we near this commercialised season where we are wished a Merry Christmas; shop until we inevitably drop searching for that special deal for ourselves and others and nonchalantly stress peace and good will, it’s hard to buy into an idealised fantasy of the season with all the pretentiousness, selfishness, hate, violence and death. How can anyone truly be optimistic considering the recent violent events in France, the US, and the Middle East? You can basically pick any location across the globe and look on with fear and horror  at what is transpiring.

It’s quite ironic, or perhaps just sad, that we primarily call for peace on earth, good will towards others and shop for baubles when violence, conflict and war is the order of the day.  The world has become more polarised  by ideological differences and we seem to become more desensitised to the resulting violence as we casually focus more on arguing or debating who’s right and who’s wrong with respect to etiology.  I use the term “etiology” because what we are facing seems like a disease of man-kind.  We face this disease of hatred and violence by foolishly polarising ourselves and then assigning blame to the symptoms instead of Thinking IVintelligently finding the root cause. The resulting choices that we make  are based on misguided assumptions and rooted in fear and personal ambition. This then inevitably leads to the making of more monsters spreading more diseases.

I would like to believe that the glass is half full rather than half empty regarding the destiny of the human species but that is exceptionally difficult to do.  Considering how self-absorbed we are individually and the degree to which our societies and governments have increasingly become more and more self-serving guided by the will of the few instead of the needs of the many, it is quite easy to take a pessimistic view on the fate of humanity.  This pains me deeply to ponder as it should anyone of conscience, compassion and intelligence.

I don’t want to mislead you into thinking that I have the cure for what ails us. I don’t believe that any one person does.  At the cost of repeating myself, I do believe that we need to alter the course that we find ourselves on by altering our perceptions of ourselves and the world around us. We need to see clearly through the smoke and mirrors that we have been bombarded with.  I have never been one of late to revel in the commercial Christmas season. I believe that the best gift you can give to someone comes from within and not from an expensive department store. Without trying to sound maudlin or too pretentious, the greatest gift one can Thinking IIIreceive is your time, understanding, compassion, wisdom, and love.  I know that many around this world have been affected by violence, hatred and despair either directly or indirectly. We need to help as a community or individually and reject the selfish, self-serving mentality that seems to be omnipresent.

Below I have included a video link to one of my favourite songs. To me it’s about utilising sympathy and empathy for another.  I hope that you will enjoy it also and give sincere thought for the well-being of others as well as who you really are as an individual and what type of world you want to live in and pass on.

The Journey Through Life

Life

The road to success is not a straight line

There is a curve called failure

A loop called confusion

Speed bumps called friends

Red lights called enemies

and Caution lights called family

Remain faithful on your journey!

 

A little inspirational message that I came upon that I thought I would share.  I am wishing all of you peace, happiness, courage in times of trouble, solace in times of despair, hope, wisdom and most of all love.  Please share it genuinely, honestly and faithfully with others.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who will be celebrating the American holiday and to everyone else around this world and beyond. I am hoping that we all can find something to be thankful for in our lives every day.

 

Wisdom I

How Do You Face Life’s Challenges?

Here is a story conveyed to me some time ago. I have been reflecting on it a great deal recently and I sincerely hope that it will be of benefit to you as difficulties arise in your life.

Challenges IIIOn a migratory journey down south, a bird decided to leave his flock believing that he could reach their intended destination quicker. While in flight through a cold winter spell his wings became stiff and started to ice over.  He noticed a peaceful patch of land near a farmhouse and decided to land to de-ice his wings.  Shortly after landing in the field, a very large and somewhat unimpressive cow wandered over.  She asked the bird what was he doing to which he sarcastically replied, “I am trying to thaw my feathers so that I can continue on my journey south. Why else would I be here in winter?”  He went on to convey to the curious cow that he should have never left his flock because he has done nothing but waste time especially speaking with her.  The cow, with very little expression, told him that she understood not bothered at all by his sarcasm. She then turned around and proceeded to drop a large amount of “dung” on top of him then walked away very casually.  The bird was both shocked and angry.  The odorous, hot manure dumped Challenge IVon him was an awful thing to do he lamented.  What a worthless, miserable old cow to do such a thing. The emotion consumed him as he now had to clean the smelly dung from his wings.

Shortly there after, a cat wandered over to him. He stated to the bird that he had observed everything that had transpired.  He also stated that it was an incredibly mean-spirited thing for the cow to do. The bird agreed and expressed how much difficult the cow had made life for him.  The cat then offered his assistance in cleaning the dung off of him. He stated that he could lick that off of him in no time at all and he would be free to be on his way.  The bird accepted the cat’s assistance with very little thought at all. He felt that he had wasted enough time in that field and could not stop thinking about the choice he had made with respect to leaving the flock.  The cat promptly kept to his word and cleaned every bit of the manure from Challenges Ihis wings. The bird was elated, and could not thank him enough.  He then prepared to take flight again to get back on his journey. It was in that moment the cat displayed all of his teeth dripping with saliva. He grabbed hold of the bird and swallowed him whole.

You may have heard of this fable before or some variation there of.   I am sure that the meaning of it is quite clear to you.

  1. Everyone who dumps on you is not necessarily your enemy or are hurting you
  2. Everyone who helps you is not necessarily your friend

For me, it was quite profound as it helped me to see life in a different light.  The problems that I had in my life were not necessarily a bad thing. Like the ice on the bird’s wings they provided the means for me to learn from and grow wiser.  Also everyone who has made my life difficult or I believed made my life difficult, whether intentionally or not, had actually provided me with an opportunity to learn, grow stronger and mature.  Much like the bird, we don’t recognise the benefits of something done to us (or for us) because of the stench or pain associated with it.  Conversely, everyone (or everything) that seemed great and beautiful that wanted to make my life easier wasn’t necessarily helping me. “All that glitters is not gold” as they say.  Wisdom and knowledge are derived from our struggles and our ability to accept “what is” and move on from it.  Looking back and regretting the choices we have made can be an exercise in futility and a waste of much needed energy.

We may lose faith, stumble and fall from the overwhelming weight of our situations at times but we must continue on. Success and happy endings are never guaranteed but the journey itself is what’s important and how we conduct ourselves along the way.  As for the problems we face?  There will always be problems but in difficult times I try to reflect on the words of Shakespeare’s Hamlet – “There is nothing neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so”.   How you view an event is what determines the reality of it to you. I realise that these are merely words and can seem useless to someone who is “walking through fire” so to speak. But in them one may find hope and faith.  For without either of these we truly are doomed and we condemn the world around us as well.

I wish everyone good health, strength to overcome difficult challenges and the wisdom to grow and learn from them.

Same Old Song Different Musician

Election 2016 III

In the United States we are gearing up for another election.  Once again it is time for the two-party system to place their candidates on show to fight it out amongst one another before engaging in a competition for what they perceive as the ultimate prize – the presidency of the United States.  Don’t be concerned if you’re not familiar with the process or various candidates on display because no matter who or which party wins, you can expect the same old song to be played by a different musician or should that be the same old show by a different magician.

Election 2016 IVWe begin the election process with a certain optimism and enthusiasm believing in someone who will do things differently or bring about social cohesion and an integrity to their office and the country only to find ourselves disappointed again and again.  And if by some miracle there was such an individual of conscience, courage, conviction and integrity to bring back a sense of justice and cohesion to the nation as president or other elected official, you can believe that they wouldn’t last long in that job. You can’t understand why there is so much pessimism on my part?  Well, with history as a teacher; the lack of engagement by individuals in the country; prevalent corruption at nearly every level of government; and the ever strengthening evolution of special interest groups and institutions, believe me that it’s not that difficult to understand.

Election 2016 VIIIt has been some time since the citizens of the United States have been made to feel that they truly matter or have felt collectively and socially engaged about what is taking place both at home and abroad.  Please understand that this is not another rant about the government or politicians because it isn’t. We as citizens must assume our fair share of responsibility with regard to what has been taking place over the past several decades.  We buy into the “dog and pony show” hook line and sinker instead of educating ourselves on the significant issues that affects us and what’s in our best interests not just as individuals but as a society or nation.  That in-turn allows the best entertainer to come along and promise much but deliver very little where it really matters which in-turn results in disappointment, apathy, flawed officials, government and policies that seem to be self serving or highly ineffectual.

Regardless of where you find yourself on the political spectrum, allowing yourself to be dazzled by empty or superficial promises and sweet words to your ears will always result in disappointment or worse!  Why does this perpetual and destructive cycle continue?  I believe that we allow our emotions to be tapped at the expense of our logical reasoning capabilities.  So the important factor then becomes whether or not the candidate embodies certain identifiable characteristics that we can relate to (race, gender, religion, etc.) or how our buttons are pushed on certain hot topic issues such as immigration, abortion, gun control, and so on.  Regardless of which party you identify with, you just need to hear those right words spoken with just the right tone at the right time to be sold. And the politicians, sensing the blood in the water like a great white shark, will take full advantage.

The election process is one that hinges on individual self-absorption instead of one contingent on what is best for the nation collectively whether that benefits  our personal desires and circumstances or not.  When was the last time you observed an elected official acting contrary to his/her own personal interests or that of their constituents to do what is right and just for all concerned?  I believe you would have a difficult time answering that one because typically we act in a way that will consistently benefit our own ideal interests.  This is true no matter what the issue is, who you are or what country you live in. So then how can we not expect to experience the same old disappoint as well as the same old conflicts over and over again? I believe we can accomplish this by setting aside our selfish desires and taking a more altruistic stance.

Election 2016 VIIICurrently in the US one of the hot button issues is gun control. After several mass shootings the interest is in controlling the ease in which one can purchase a weapon. At least that is the stance taken on the liberal left while the conservative right resists further controls perhaps spurred on by the National Riffle Association (NRA).  Instead of taking an objective look at the incidents, the knee jerk reaction is to enact legislation that will quickly satisfy emotional needs for a solution and perhaps gain some political capital as well in the process.  Very few that I have observed, in my opinion, have cared about investigating the actual root cause – “why are there so many emotionally and mentally disturbed individuals in this country?”  For those that are saddled with deep emotional and mental issues and want to kill a large number of people, I believe that they will find a way regardless of whether or not they can obtain a legal fire arm. To be fair guns are a significantly easy way to carry out mass destruction. Enacting legislation to make it more difficult to obtain them may reduce the violence that has occurred but where Election 2016 IXthere is a will there is a way regardless of whether you have legal access to a gun or not.  I am of the opinion that our current society is producing these types of individuals be it due to the environment, social/government actions (or inaction) or some other factors. I am not advocating for one side or the other in this debate but merely pointing out that we tend to take the emotionally easy way out in finding a solution instead of diligently searching for a root cause. This in turn results in a superficial quick-fix to satisfy the masses and which then perpetuates the same old reactions to the problems that we face.

Election 2016 XAnother challenging issue is of course illegal immigration. No matter where you stand on this issue you can bet that there is a politician or official waiting to pounce to garner attention and votes by suggesting a course of action that will satisfy their core-base of supporters or to acquire new followers even it is the wrong action to take.  Obviously this is a very complex and emotional issue but again the knee-jerk reaction is to do what will serve selfish personal interests instead of what will be legally and morally in the best interests of the nation as a whole balancing that with the individual needs of those affected.  There are other issues that ignite very emotional responses such as funding Planned Parenthood Clinics; abuse of power by local and government agencies; same-sex marriage; personal civil liberties; mounting personal debt and the shrinking middle class not to mention the international issues concerning ISIS, Syria, Iran, Russia, ad nauseam. Once again you can rely on the fact that the course of action taken (or inaction) will be based on what’s in the best political/personal interests of those making the decisions spurred on by the desires or wishes of their constituency rather than what is the right and just course of action to take with the best interests of “all” in mind.

Now the intention of this post is not to take sides on an issue one way or another but to point out that the apathy, corruption, and unethical practices will continue in government and our society as a whole because we allow it to.  We either influence  OUR representatives, political party, candidates etc. by our emotional reactions, attachments and relationships into initiating some ill-action or allow the aforementioned to do that which will be personally and politically beneficial for them by our lack of attention or engagement.  Indeed we either want personal satisfaction regardless of best interests or we simply don’t care because it has no bearing on our personal lives.

As alluded to in past posts, what is needed is thoughtful, unbiased engagement on our part.  We have to want and desire that which will benefit us all and not what will personally satisfy our own needs and interests.  Sometimes our interests and needs will not conflict with what we desire or with what must be done. When there is a conflict, we have to implore wisdom and realise that selfishness and a lack of understanding on our part will continue to result in a degradation of our society and our lives to a point of no return. That is if we haven’t gotten to that point already. Effective change begins with each one of us reflecting honestly upon ourselves.  We need to place our desires and expectations in proper perspective and ensure that they are just and compatible with the needs of the society in which we live.  We then need to charge those elective officials with carrying out that which is in the best interests of the nation as a whole and vigilantly hold them accountable. Only then can we expect a new type of politician to emerge. One that is actually focused on the significant issues at hand without prejudice and that knows he/she is serving a wise and informed constituency that respects honesty, integrity and expects results from their civil servants and not the same old song.

Duality Of Life Not Realised

Duality II

I dream dreams and numerous possibilities emerge of realities yet to manifest

I awake to a world of concrete shape and form rooted in pain, fear and despair

I think thoughts of alternative probabilities which have not materialised

and I ask myself……”Why?”

 

Wisdom I

Alert!!! New Zombie Fever Gripping The World’s Population!

zombie IIThere is a plague consuming the world’s population and it is devastating nearly every corner of the globe. The disease may vary in intensity depending on the individual and location where contracted.  The primary symptoms are:

  • High fever
  • Intense envy or jealousy
  • extreme selfishness
  • Certain aspects of Dementia such as personality changes and impaired reasoning
  • a slowing of the metabolism resulting in weight gain
  • Conditioned behaviour and instinctive behavioural mechanisms are damaged
  • Cognitive abilities are severely weakened and erratic and
  • a mindless desire to consume

These are but a few of the known symptoms that may be experienced individually or collectively prior to consuming the individual human host.  Strangely enough, there is an onset of acute depression when desires are not met and aggressive behaviour may follow.  The exact origin remains unknown but is understood to be man-made or developed.

Now if you haven’t figured it out by now the disease to which I am referring is not the stuff of Hollywood science fiction films and television programmes such as World War Z, Zombie Nation, I Zombie, The Walking Dead etc.  No in fact, the affliction that I am referring to is quite real and affects billions around the world.  It is a conditioning that the human population has undergone for centuries now but one that has been intensifying within the last decades are so.  Since mankind first began assigning value to commodities and conducting transactions for goods and services within markets, there has been a feverish attempt to accumulate wealth and power to control the people and markets through which it flows.

zombie VIII - Maslow-HierarchyReflect upon the symptoms of this disease that I have mentioned earlier.  Now think about the current state of your life wherever you may live in the world.  Can you identify with some of those symptoms to some degree or have knowledge of others around you who do? Generally, we find ourselves focused on finding that which satisfies our basic needs alluded to by Maslow – physiological, safety, love and esteem.  However, these core needs have been severely corrupted. Often desires exceed that which is enough to simply “satisfy”.  We are manipulated, if not outright conditioned, into mindlessly pursuing excess in whatever form that may take – the acquisition of money and other material possessions; the pursuit of fame and positional power; eating to the point of gluttony and so on and so forth.  Like the zombies in fiction we are voracious and can never seem to get enough. Conditioned towards excess and fuelled by competition and envy, we will do just about anything and everything to possess what we desire often times abandoning common sense and reason to obtain them.zombie V - shopping

I am reminded of a lecture given by one of my university professors concerning the way in which our attention and interests are redirected toward the trivial.  He asked us to recall a time when various sports games were purely seasonal in the United States. Now professional and collegiate sports is played virtually all year-long and overlap with one another.  If there is a lengthy delay in professional sports due to a strike, the government gets involved to mediate a solution. He alluded to this being done in order to keep the attention of the masses away from government activity that we have no business or need focusing on.

Of course sports is not our only distraction.  There are no shortage of diversions to occupy our minds, dull our senses and deflect our attention away from the spiritual and significant aspects and challenges of our lives and our societies. Some of the forms of entertainment, gadgets of every type imaginable, drugs and alcohol combine with many others zombie IIIcreating societies of mindless, starving zombies.

So then if we can identify the illness and some of the symptoms, what should our course of action be to treat this pandemic disease? I personally believe that a subscription of self-awareness, introspection and personal development is required followed by a healthy dose of sincere, intelligent, public cohesion and cooperation is in order.  It is necessary for each one of us to look within ourselves and first appreciate ourselves and our uniqueness. All too frequently we allow others in society to dictate to us what our self-worth is or should be. We then act accordingly to gain their approval.  “You are nothing if you don’t possess the proper clothes, mobile phone, car or home”; “You have to have more money or power to be considered significant”; “You have to drink, smoke, use drugs, etc. in order to fit in with us”.  Does any of those statements sound familiar? Have you heard any of those in reference to you or about you personally?  Chances are you have whether you are in grade school, high school or college. Whether you are with friends or around those you hardly know and whether you are working your 9 to 5 job are out of work and searching for one.  Whether you are healthy, ill or incapacitated, whether you are white, black, yellow, brown or red.  Regardless of your race, religion, gender, or other circumstances which one finds him or herself in the sentiment remains the same – “YOU NEED TO BE BETTER, MORE BEAUTIFUL, HAVE MORE”. And sadly enough, we buy into the perception and hurt ourselves and others trying to garner that approval. So once again, we need to look inside of ourselves and understand our own unique self-worth and what we can contribute.

The second part of my prescription is to appreciate and work with others communally to bring about a better world for all of us to live in. I know how optimistically naïve that sounds but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. It may mean working socially and overtly to do this and sometimes covertly.  By covertly I mean in groups with a clear agenda and actionable steps to bring about peace, cooperation and prosperity to all the inhabitants of this world. I mean groups form for the opposite of this and purely selfish purposes so why not for the good? This will take the cooperation of all no matter who you are, where you come from, or any other discernible traits and characteristics that normally divides the world’s population. There is need for creative thinkers and philosophers; athletes, artists, poets and engineers; those within government and those on the fringe.  Those with every political allegiance and those without political aspirations. You are needed, no required, no matter what your status, who you are, how you look or what you do.

If you feel as I do, that this world and life as we know it is spinning dangerously out of control, then your services are required each in his/her own way whatever part of the globe that you call home. Like the Howard Beale character in the film “Network”, If you are “mad as hell and don’t want to take it anymore” don’t just live with it.  Resist the “zombie” conditioning imposed on us all and take steps to make this world a better, brighter, healthier, more peaceful and prosperous place for all of its inhabitants and not just a selected few. Endeavour to improve your personal perspectives on life and be tolerant of those with other viewpoints.  Arguments, disagreements and conflicts are a natural part of living in a society but if managed correctly, we will grow from them. Emerge with different viewpoints and perspectives. We can acquire ground-breaking new ideas and philosophies that will put us on a healthier and more enduring path. We can give this world a new illumination that could shine through the ages.

“Tune in” to the more significant aspects of our lives, environment and society; “Turn on” your unique ability to be wise, understanding and compassionate; and “Drop out” of the zombie conditioning and herd mentality

 

IMG_0249[1]

Adiuva me verterem figuram mundi  Thoth II

 

 

 

How Many Languages Do You Speak?

languages IIHow many languages do you speak? A lot more than you realise I am willing to wager. Language, according to one  definition is a method of communication between individuals, groups and societies which can be verbal, nonverbal or written. It can consist of structured words and sentences, expressions, sounds, numbers or even pictographs to name but a few. Whatever the form language takes, to be effective it must be understood mutually by both sender and receiver.  Therein lies the problem that most of us experience when trying to relate our thoughts, ideas and feelings to one another.

Language has evolved much over the span of human existence from the cave paintings and drawings of early man to the cuneiform characters of Mesopotamia and Persia; from the ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs to the evolution of Greek and Roman forms of communication and on to our modern languages in all of its many forms and dialects.  Lets not fail to mention the evolution of computer language. Yes that’s right, even machines have their own way of communicating with each other as well as with us.

Most of us are fortunate if we can effectively use our native tongue correctly to properly communicate with one another in our own society wherever that may be. To understand and speak a second language places you in a unique category among the worlds population. Beyond that, well you are in an upper echelon of communicating with others and probably just showing off.  But I would like to submit to you more food for thought.  For those of us that are in the one language category take heart. I am going to propose to you that your language skills are increased seven fold without you realising it and they are constantly evolving. You may thank me later if you wish.

Beyond the traditional languages out there such as English, French, German, Spanish etc. are the non-traditional ones that we usually don’t consider. They are based in factors such as our gender, race, religion, age and environment to name but a few. That’s right, each one of the aforementioned serves as a specific language that we all uniquely speak and everyone of those factors combine with others forming the basis of our communication ability. So for instance, a 19 year old, Hispanic, Catholic male from the Southern California region of the United States will speak a different language and have different frames of references than a 40 year old Caucasian Protestant female from New York even though both may understand and speak the English language perfectly.  The same is applicable to any group or subgroup from any country or society.  If you factor in other peculiar aspects such as our political affiliations, educational background, personal experiences, whether you are liberal or conservative and so on an so forth, you can clearly appreciate the unique language that every human being speaks.  Conversely, all of those unique factors contributing to our language skills are also what makes our ability to communicate effectively with one another that much more difficult regardless of what formal language or languages we speak.

language - Babel IRecall the Christian biblical story of Babel and the confusion experienced when all of the workers began speaking different languages foiling their attempt to erect a tower to heaven? Well think of how that confusion is magnified exponentially based on the specific characteristics mentioned earlier.  Yes we speak many languages but, in my opinion, find it difficult to comprehend or appreciate the unique language of others when attempting to communicate our thoughts and ideas. So the next time you engage someone in a conversation appreciate the fact that both of you are multilingual with very different perspectives and endeavour to understand and respect each others distinctive point of view.

The Price of Conflict

worldinconflict II Upon listening to news reports of the various conflicts that are ongoing around the world such as in the Ukraine, Syria, ISIS in Iraq and others, I came to the conclusion that no matter how hideous, unjust or irrational as these wars and others may seem they are serving a means by which others can profit monetarily.  I know that the aforementioned statement may horrify some but please bear with me for a moment.  This is not some chastising lecture on war profiteering but on profiteering in general regardless of the conflict.

Consider this, you can’t sell guns, tanks or any other weapons of destruction to those who have perpetual peace with one another  just as you can’t sell your services as a lawyer in civil litigation cases to those who are willing to resolve their issues peacefully and amicably.  The simple truth is, conflict sells.  Regardless of whether you are referring to global, national and local conflicts or civil disputes involving businesses, groups or individuals. The entertainment industry is another fine example of exploiting conflict for profit. Just think about the television programmes you watch especially those reality shows.  Would they really peak your interest if there weren’t some disagreement to be resolved or even two or more individuals involved in a heated verbal or physical altercation? It is not my intention to insult your television habits so forgive me if I have.  I only want to  give you some food for thought.

Reflect also on the billions amount in arms sales made across the world.  Threats and potential threats whether real or imagined fuel billions if not more in arms sales for various businesses and governments alone. I am also sure that we would be just as astonished with regard to the total cost that goes into resolving civil conflicts that is if solicitors weren’t so secretive about the amount of billable charges that are made to clients owing their secrecy to attorney client privilege.  I am quite sure that everyone gets there piece of the conflict pie to include courts/clerks etc.

In my opinion there will always be conflict because of the simple fact that there is money to be made in it and because we as individuals, allow ourselves to be manipulated into fueling the very conflict that ravage our societies and our lives which in-turn places the burden of cost directly on us to resolve them. In other words we initiate or fuel the conflict and become victimize by it directly or indirectly and then pay the cost of resolving them thereby allowing others to profit. Utilising a regional conflict or war as one example:

  • conflict erupts within a region or across several countries due to some dispute
  • as the conflict rages, damage is done both in terms of lives lost and infrastructures destroyed
  • weapons are purchased and sent to the region for the combatants to wage or escalate their war
  • When the conflict is finally resolved, (if it is resolved) money must be borrowed in order to rebuild what was lost

This may be an over-simplification of conflict profiteering but it is worth your consideration.

Now there are no ready-made solutions as every conflict has its own unique origin but I believe that, like with so many other things, it is within our control to limit the escalation of conflicts on all levels both individually and collectively. As I have mentioned in past posts, it will require us to look within ourselves and take control over our emotions and our actions.  We must stop feeding oxygen to the fires of conflict in all of its various forms and endeavour to circulate the winds of peace. Only then can we stop the endless cycle of violence and bankrupt the mechanisms of our own destruction.

The Choices We Make

Choice III had a discussion recently regarding ethics and the choices that we make with one of my nieces who is currently attending college.  The subject came up in relation to a recent political issue we were discussing – the perfect segue if you ask me. She is one of those incredibly hardworking (2 to 3 jobs) and focused individuals especially with respect to making money.  I mentioned something along the lines of “If people would only care about others, the environment in which we live and do the right things, there would be fewer social problems to deal with in this world”.  That was a bit of an idealistic statement I know but none-the-less true. She responded, “But there is no money in that way of thinking. Most people these days care about themselves, personal wealth and the things that they can have.”  She went on to allude that I am somewhat archaic in my beliefs. Now I am one that generally dislikes getting upset but I found myself coming undone a bit by her statements.  I then took a step back and started reflecting on what she said and society in general. Regardless of how I felt personally I understood that she was, to a large degree, correct.

I mean one would only have to watch your local and national newscasts to see that this is indeed a very self-centered and materialistic society in which we live.  Think back to how many reports involving unethical behaviour by individuals, businesses and governments that have resulted in some major scandal.  I am sure you don’t even have to sit in front of the idiot box to do that. Everyone of us have some issue or event in which we reference regarding the aforementioned.

An important point to consider then is “Why if given a choice to do something that would satisfy our own self-centered desires or support a common social good that we would choose the former the majority amount of the time?”  Just think about that question for a moment and perhaps possible situations that you have found yourself in.  I mean if you had come across a wallet or purse with a large amount of money in it and no form of identification, would you turn it in to the authorities or keep the money for yourself?  Now add to that scenario that you are having difficulties of your own financially and could really use the money you found. Be honest in your assessment of your actions because that is the only way to clearly understand yourself and perhaps the nature of others.  Would you immediately think to turn it in or would you pause and ponder exactly whether or not you should keep it? Would you try to use your own personal belief system, regardless of what that might be, and try to rationalise that you should keep it? For instance, I found this money in a time of need because a divine being planned for me to have it.

The question wasn’t one to put you on the spot to make you feel uncomfortable or guilty but to make you reflect honestly on yourself and the world we live in.  There are many examples of unethical choices that have been made throughout the history of humankind and the disturbing way in which we tried to rationalise them.  Just about every government scandal that comes to mind; the reasons for the wars we wage; the manner in which we harness our environmental resources and especially the way in which we interact with one another on micro and macro levels all provide poignant examples of our inability to make honest, unselfish choices. Is it any wonder that pessimism generally prevails regardless of where you live, what you do, the deity you believe in, your race, culture, gender, political affiliation and so on and so forth ad nauseam?  We try to convince ourselves that things will magically get better or that a divine being will come and save us from the evil and disillusionment that seems to permeate every aspect of our lives. Or perhaps beings from another world, dimension, etc. will relate divine guidance and wisdom to us and alter the course of this downward spiral we seem to find ourselves on. Sidebar, isn’t that the reason hero films are so popular now? Because we need someone or something to save us from ourselves.

Choice II believe that the truth to altering our current dark path is a bit more simplistic than that.  It involves each and everyone one us reflecting upon ourselves and taking stock of the choices that we make. Yes, that’s right completing a stock-take.  It requires us to be considerate, not just of our own needs and requirements but that of others – our family, friends, neighbors,  and communities.  We must challenge ourselves to understand that sacrificing certain aspects of our selfish desires strengthens the world around us thereby enabling us to form more cohesive communities and societies. We also must resist the negative influences and emotions both internal and external that may corrupt our thought processes and decision-making abilities. Blaming others, our communities, the organisations we find ourselves apart of; our government institutions and everything else is a very easy and passive thing to do. However, when all is said and done, the individual choices we make are the basis for our lives and the societies in which we reside. The personal responsibility we choose to accept or deny for the actions we have chosen to take becomes the foundation for what we will become.

 

Wisdom I

 

Adiuva me verterem figuram mundi  Thoth II