Adventures with Ideas: Truth, Beauty, and the Paradoxes of Life.

Archive for July, 2010

Lifting the blinds, and curing PISD

My PISD - my Post-India Stress Disorder - has been cured!!! Well, at least for the most part, for now. This post concludes over a month's worth of writings on re-adjusting to life in Sydney post India's turning my worldview up-side-down experience. I feel more humble - with a clearer understanding just how much I don't know and how much I will probably never know. I realise that while I can make a positive impact on the state of our present and future worlds, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. I Read more [...]

What makes more sense?

What makes more sense? 1. That God selected ONE species to be his “chosen” species, abandoning all His other creations to nothingness. OR 2. That God values ALL of his creations. The idea that humans are the only creations with souls, is a narrative created by humans not God. What makes more sense? 1. That God selected ONE group of people to be His “chosen people, to help them conquer other groups of people (as long as they obeyed Him) and to punish all other people in the world who strive Read more [...]

Microcosms and macrocosms – we are specks of dust in a giant’s eye

"India's chaos was bigger than your ego," said Farhad Azad. "You have to remember we are but drops in the ocean." He was right, India's incomprehensibility had put me back in my place. Somewhere along the line I came across this song, it's pretty funny. By Kimya Dawson: I like it. "I am a speck of dust inside a giant's eye" As you can see, over a few rounds of  longneck Himalaya (Nepali beer) on two brief occasions, I learned a lot from Farhad. It's amazing how when you are open to Read more [...]

Leftist idealist or right-wing conservative?

Have you noticed the reoccurring pattern of almost hypocritical contradictions contained in my most recent entries? There seems to be a battle going on inside my mind:a battle between my leftist idealistic side (a perspective largely shared at  the peace conference) that seems to abruptly clash with my more right-wing conservative side (a result of my experiences in India). I care about people. I care about those who live in unsanitary conditions, those who suffer from war, from hunger, from Read more [...]

Potential: innate or situational?

Does the value of life reside in a life form's innate potential - the potential that their DNA allows one to have, or to the potential that a life's situation provides the opportunity to achieve? There is quite a difference and the implications are quite significant. You see, if innate potential is the dictator of life's value, then I feel bad for cattle we breed to eat, for chickens that lay my eggs, and even for the horses whose sides I kick and neck I pull on to stop and go when I please. Read more [...]

Human rights or a collective future? The problem with definitions.

If the pursuit of peace is an attempt to rid the world of violence, we must ask ourselves - “violence” through the eyes of who? Defining violence from the perception of a collective-humanity, is very different form defining it from the perception of each individual: - If we define violence from the perception of all-humans-together, then are we not opening the doors for evil dictator, idealistic warfare and other devastating forms of violence to be committed on individuals? - But, if we Read more [...]

Population Vs. luxury… QUALITY OR QUANTITY?

"On the technical side there is no limit to population," said a scholar after talking about solving world hunger. "We just need more efficient systems, and for the rich to eat less." This may be true, BUT the greater question (in my opinion) is: Do we want more people living “simply” in a crowded place, or less people living lives of luxury? "The population of the poor isn't the problem," so the idealists (like I used to be) say… "We actually need less white people.” Given the Read more [...]

Greed: the JOY of having more than you need… Taoism and more about that frickin elephant.

I used to think we could all be less greedy - that if we wanted less "stuff" we would be happier, and some of that wealth would be shared with the poor. Apparently this simple shift has the power to end world hunger - the rich do with less, so the poor can have more. More recently I have realised that when I contemplate greed I have been wondering if it is actually a human problem that we have the ability to change? Or is greed simple a part of all life's struggle to survive? In a universe that Read more [...]

Can Buddha help us deal with the elephant?

I am starting to understand what Buddha meant when he said all life is suffering. No matter which financial situation you are born into, we always want more. It is very rare we reach a stage where we happily say “enough”. The more chocolate I have, the more chocolate I want. The more countries I go to, the more countries I want to go to. The more money I have the bigger apartment I can get, the better the car, the more vintage the scooter, the more designer the clothes, the better quality Read more [...]

MOMENTO MORI (remember that you will die) so CARPE DIUM (seize the day)!!!

Whoever we are, and whatever what we have accomplished in our life, we all eventually face the same fears: fears of being old, ill, of being a burden to our families, fears of going insanity, of losing liberty, losing dignity, of being neglected in our old age,  and last but not least, the fear of facing the biggest unknown in our lives, death. (Unless, of course, if scientists find a way to preserve our mind in artificial/cloned bodies... but let's ignore this scenario for now.) With age we Read more [...]

IS LIFE MEANINGLESS?

"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless." What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come Read more [...]

Envisioning the future of humanity-on-earth

While in a recent entry I concluded that I simply need to accept the world as it is, today I wonder, does this mean accepting the projectory of the world's future? If we have the foresight to see that the present path we are on has the potential to destroy humanity-on-earth, do we have a responsibility to pave a new path? I think yes, we do. I think that what Deepak is saying is that the uncovering of a new path begins with an acceptance of the past - an acceptance of the inequalities exist Read more [...]

The eye of the storm and the calm that follows.

I knew my final peaceful week of yoga and relaxation in Pokhara was the calm before the storm, and boy I was right. The eye of the storm hit the day I arrived home with every day and night packed full-to-the-brim with hens parties, farewells, birthdays (including my own big two-eight), shopping, weekend weddings, welcome-home celebrations, and a five-day International Peace Research Association conference where I photographed, attended, networked and presented. A coffee, sugar and chocolate addiction Read more [...]

Capitalistic karma: reinterpreting reincarnation

Walking up in the mountains outside Kathmandu I contemplated the connection between the world’s inequalities today, the actions of one’s ancestors, and the idea of karma and reincarnation that I had been reading about in some books on the Eastern Religions. Be they the ancestors who split from the group to discover new worlds fifty thousand years ago, or be they the innovators of new technologies that won them last century’s battles, the connection is pretty clear... and I wondered, is this Read more [...]