Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What if Talk Wasn't So Cheap?

It's hard to find much fault in the old saying, considering how second nature lying, manipulating, and exaggerating have become. Now what if... talk wasn't so cheap? Imagine if words carried a price that was literal rather than figurative, and were more expensive based on the nature of the thoughts expressed with them, and their potential effects.

If we had to pay-per-say, how often would we talk? When we did, what would we choose to say? Oh, and by the way, pricing only applies to lies, embellishments, and anything intended as a deliberate distortion of facts or truth. To tell the simple honest truth – even if it just applies to personal feelings – would remain free for all. Imagine the wacky hijinks that might come out of this!

There would be hidden fringe benefits to this condition. For one, an increased observance of silence in the general population would likely lead to deeper listening, reflection, and level of attention. Also, it would be harder for us to hide behind our words. If nothing else, I'd like to think we'd at least be more selective about what we said before speaking.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Question Too Few Ask

There is a social trend that's been in effect for as long as I can recall. It's the sort of thing that's easy to dismiss or overlook, despite the profound and direct impact it has on the course of every life. This trend in question, is concerning a question – a very simple, direct, common-sense question, that we all ought to ask ourselves daily, yet seldom seem to. That question is: “why should I believe that?”

Whether it's the latest news headline, murmurs between coworkers concerning another colleague, “I love you” coming from someone who may have manipulative interests in store for your ears, this blog, the internet in general, or any other source – we all have the privilege to challenge & confirm what we're told. Information matters! Considering the sheer volume of it flooding our brainwaves in these times, there's good reason to pass each piece that's sent our way through a quick screening process, regardless of its origin.
Neglecting to do so reduces both our responsiveness, and responsibility. This hinders our power by relinquishing more and more of it to other, more willing parties. It also leads to an ever-growing phenomenon where we find a multitude of individuals who possess plentiful information on various subjects, with little-to-no working knowledge, wisdom, and understanding pertaining to the same. Life makes for far less of a ride when we don't stop to take in the sights and verify with our mind. Don't be afraid: ask away.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Chicago's Four: the Torture that Torture Produced

I just heard about the Chicago Four story within the hour, and while I haven't watched the video, its clear where this is going. Even disregarding my general distrust of sensational media, I can't help but note the continuation of subtle, disturbing social trends with this news. Without getting too long-winded, let's just say the way articles and commentators report and respond seems to shift a bit based on the complexion and ethnicity of the criminals.

Where's the follow-up story exposing their traumatic upbringing, for example, as a basis for their motivation? We won't be seeing that. What about the young people of the same ethnicity killing other young people within their community? That won't go viral. The following video is brief, but offers some time-tested wisdom as a backdrop to the controversial crime:

My video response:  brother Haatim reminds us to keep things in perspective, and not sail away on the waves of emotional reactions alone. Otherwise, we might miss what's actually taking place, and as per usual, there is much more to be seen here than what surfaces show.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Humanity In Review

For a large segment of the human population, a new year has recently begun to spin its threads. As times continue to unravel with ever increasing speed, I'd like us to look back for a bit, and review mankind as a whole. Now is as appropriate of a moment as any to reflect and reconsider what humanity means to us. So: how would you rate the species?

It is virtually impossible to define any identifiable thing – people included – without taking their relationship and interaction with their environment into consideration. It is through our interactions that we determine our place. With that in mind: what is humanity's place in this world? Stewards? Protectors? Possessors? Partners? Oppressors? Friends? Foes?

Has that role or relationship changed in any way - and if so: for better or worse? We can ask anyone for an answer, but for the most accurate, we need go no further than our immediate environment. No matter where on the planet we might reside, Earth has a way of letting us know, when we're willing to listen. And without getting into too much detail... yeah: we could be doing this thing called living better.

Its hard to be objective, because to do so requires honesty – a quality not always encouraged or supported by societies. If I'm going to be completely candid here, mankind has a tremendous way to go still to live up to the immense potential that dwells therein. Currently, we're still too blinded by greed, personal bias and material fixations to make the most of our shared experience of this beautiful globe. The good news? Change is well underway... but don't take my word for it! Regardless of all the false authorities and aimless animosity, there is no shortage of benevolent forces hard at work - in plain view, and behind the scenes.

The only thing more powerful than a devoted person acting with integrity of conviction, is a group of people possessing the same. Whether such devotion leads to fortuitous, or disastrous results, is another matter entirely; let's aim for the former! Personally, I know I too have only realized the smallest sliver of possibilities. This is my fuel: as long as I hold the capacity to grow and transform, I'll never be able to deny our shared ability to do the same. So what if we've flunked a few; that's why make-ups were created...

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

...What's Your Lesson For Mankind?

If you were given the opportunity to teach every person on planet Earth one thing... what would it be? As much as I would have liked to have offered understanding, I don't know how one would teach it to others directly, and to the extent that it would actually benefit the majority by causing everyone to see other perspectives in a way that would negate the desires that lead to the perpetuation of harmful activities including - but not limited to - brutality, oppression, and warfare. Instead, I'd focus my world lesson on the next best thing: patience.

Patience is a virtue”, is one saying I heard during childhood that struck a chord. As far as I can tell, it is. I've been sitting here thinking, and I cannot come up with one example of a mistake or misstep I made that could have been avoided altogether, if I had simply exercised more patience prior. More wondrous than any drug, and more potent than any weapon mankind can devise, the list of doors patience can open up to us are more than a few. The catch? We actually do have to “exercise” it, by practicing it throughout the course of our daily living.

With it, we can toss ropes and cross gaps of communication. With it, we can make waves and achieve new peaks in our chosen craft or field of study. It can enable those willing to see what to eyes remained unseen; to do what to those swept up in a rush might seem undoable. Like a vitamin or enzyme, patience also carries subtle, hidden benefits with it – and the more we show it, the greater they will directly, and indirectly, bestow good fortune upon our lives, and others as well. It's also one of the few things we can safely claim one can't have too much of.

That would be my lesson, were I given the podium. How about you?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

If You Could Teach the World...

...what would your “lesson” be? Of all the things swimming in our shared pool of information and experience, what lone fact, knowledge, skill or trait do you feel would most benefit mankind as a whole? I've already given this some thought, and have my own answer that I will share next week. (I don't want to affect your conclusion in any way.)

In the meantime, I sincerely invite and encourage you to think on it as well. If you're moved to, please share what you think and why. You never know who your message might be helping unawares...

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Do We Desire Danger?

Do we, in general, harbor a deep-seated desire to be in danger? Along the course of any given day, your mind might lead you down various streams of thought, and this is where I was a few days ago. Consider all the violence in our media – the ongoing obsession with monsters and horror especially. Thrill rides; bungee jumping; hunting; diving. (Driving I'd imagine, if you live where I do!) What all these seemingly unique activities share in common, is being completely optional, and carrying an element of danger.

I wondered to myself: why do we enjoy feeling our lives – or somebody's - are at risk? Isn't flirting with death counter-intuitive? Perhaps being reminded of our mortality is the unspoken appeal. There's so much in our “sophisticated” contemporary existence that can leave one feeling a little less than alive at times; these moments might be our subconscious wake-up calls. They may even be a throwback to earlier times when life was a little more raw, and not quite so “refined”.

Personally, I experience such thrills each time I choose to commute to work on my bike - alongside larger, louder vehicles, whose pilots act as if I don't belong, and often convey this sentiment in so many ways. Perhaps such activities serve to jolt us into maintaining a sense of alertness, awakeness, and awareness. Maybe confronting the possibility of losing life causes some of us to appreciate it all the more. Or: it could just be mindless entertainment. Whatever the case may be, it's a very real phenomenon, and crosses many cultures.