LOVE.

LOVE. LIFE.

 

Life is pretty difficult, we all know this. Especially these days. The pace of life is relentless, and Capitalism got us all going at it, unconsciously trying to become “productive” workers in the “pursuit of happiness” or, the pursuit “of monetary happiness,, independence, freedom, and showing-offy-ness.”I mean, normally all of these things are quite good (but I’d Argue you can do them whilst being considerate of others, and understanding there’s “”more to life than money””((Cliche number one, are u really suprised by now)).

 

Imperfection. Education. Abrasive. Harsh.

 

Forgiveness..

 

Don’t get lost in the sauce: When you’re making money, for goodness sakee (againn, just my opinion – i’m sure I’m also guilty of it too but, because, afterall i’m socialised just like u) just don’t be too tooo flashhy. 1)) No one wantss to see “”Too Happy”, n for too long 1.5:: that’s unhuman, there’s stages, cyclicality, and phases too life too. 2)) Everyone works hard for their money, so a bit of modesty, and iff u do have a relatively “flashy/attractive” lifestyle try n a)) show others they can have it too B)) use it for motivational/charitable/conscientiouss/’giving back’ ppurposes. And, don’t be snobbish when u talk/speak to others (e.g. no offencee, but many of my “upper middle class” friends will treat waitors/staff/members of another class – like shit. C’mon, fix up. Like, society, the way I see it, is like an ant’s life everyone can do proportionate work

 

– if you’re stronger cool u lift more and u reap what u so – ur wedge.. but 1)) u don’t judge others who r skinnier: remmebering we all start from somewhere. N’, u too were skinny/broke(( in the case of money)) too before, or someone somewhere was not as good/well off now so be humble and rememebr ur roots n’ origins. N when it comess to treating ‘them’ like shitt coz u feel “powerful” “snobbish” or “rich” with ur money well just understand THEY’RE doing u a service, so be grateful for it, tip well and be courteous. Also, Don’t Judge/ Or Hate Coz these “immigrants u hate” N (directed at the people who voted “”out’;”” at the EU referendum in 2016)) U Don;t Compplain when ttThe Lithuainian/Romanian Woman delivers u uryour dominoes so u can eat and and sustain nutrition.  to. go to your swanky job everyday. And, yeah just understand we are all linked, and all human, all bleed the same blood, and ‘ave far more in common than diference. We all have value, somee are just more blatanly useful.– to the PERCEPTIONS of a capitalistic economy, and have an egotistical way of showing; partly ((can u really blame them,, due to the media/social)). it due to the psychological implicationss. of money: feeling superiror, momnetarily/quantifiable reasurrance/re-justification/rewards/ compliment of having a lot of cash, and the ego boost that basically comes with freedom in an unfree consumer market.

Un-free consumer choice: at the very least it’s capped because no-one has unlimitied funds, and there are technically no limits on the amount of goods/companies one can purchase/purchase from. – Money is finite, but goods are seemingly infinite. And, that is for one specturm of society. At a slightly lower price point ur just you’re you’re just tryna get by – cop “some” goods, but the expenses are still, relatively, and significantly – in relation to the ‘frustratingly’more affluent part of the population. U r payuig more/ “”spending”” more of your in come, as a percentagee, on foods/electric and “”essentialls, which have become commodified. Thus , ur trying to compete with luxuries (unneccesstieties) whilst still trying to maintain ur ‘shi[‘ andd cop essentialls: like food. So arguably, focus on affordable commodities, and less luxuries – obviously, but this point is foundational to show that when u do have money u should arguably improve your necesseties first, before improving your luxuries, for instance, it sounds cheesy but, eating at wagamas ((food is a relatively simpkle, rewarding, luxury)) is a treat to me and something me and my family can all enjoy so I can get that first and “everyon’es upped it” as well as the basic 3/4 meals a day plus snacks.And, thenn, aftter saving,. and being able to technically “buy it twice” (the true, proper definition of””affording it”” affording something- u can’t really afford it unless u could comfortably buy it tiwce, with ur current bank balance – dion’t sell urself dreams, n get a controll on ur spending/priorites even when u r rich)). Just, like thegovernment there should, again in my fucking opinion, be periods of saving/austerity, and then splashing/responsibly spendingg. On what matters most. mmMMmmhh, ssStill Following, Cool.

 

Boom, So then There’s FFttThings money Can’t Buy; Manners (self-explanatory), Respect (/RRrespeckk – “”how”s ur day going/emotional wellbeing of others’ u care about, welfare of others not being comprismised at the cost/doing of ur own””), Morals (God, /Faith/Spiritualityy/Doing What’s Right “not just what’s easyy)). ////Making Money In An ethical weay: ((u know, the hippy shitt like “”don’t fuck over the environment/ururYOUR environment whilst chasing money,,)). Don’t forget those who earnt you/learnt you/ supported you/ your support group “”hhwhen you make it””. Like, for a trivial example alchol – for some in the western world – is a good “fun” “reward” so, despite health consequences wwe drink, but what would drink be rrwithout the ones we enjoy it with. Without pepole to enjoy it with.?

 

So take-homes, don’t be too showy, and it’s quite dissapointing that , I Cant’t ‘t CCCCCCCant comprehenmend// thatt my counsins in Bangladesh, even in Bangladesh, when there are so many more pressing” issues going on, are trying to show off to each other and be “seen” to be doing better. Don’t play the sport just for the claps/applause. And Don’t Compete for A Competition, Compete With yourself, of yesterday, the past, A healthy present, and A Fulfilling FFfuture, and jokinglybanterously/not greddily/ jealously ((is that even a word lol – i promise i wasn’t under the influence, when i wrote THis). Just have fun with itt, And, Capitalism IS NOT A ZERO SUM GAME – so get ytour hand in all the pies, and understand that, with hardwork we can all get some – get a slice, give a slice, n make ur slice count, whilst not watching other people’s slicees’ ((too much)). Cappiche, and most importanly don’t just do a job uuyou love, do whone ddthat’s challenging, sewe it through, and make it count – make it a societyally contribution job – so unforutunaley, bias,; due to seeing the fuckup/fuckeries that the economic sector can actually do and just lived experience really has made me bias to bakrres/ accountants/ but i really do think it’s like wasted potential’ for so many uni grads like, sure u make allot of maoney, but if you really scrutinise it and analyse it , could u 1)) do it for a long time and 2)) what will the world be gainging/ will it bee a better place when u leave it/pass away. Anyway, on paper: again((no denying it’s not socialsied/ccsocially constructedd as , touch typing bithcc, importantt. Butt, there;s more t o life thann it.

And, on paper: a piece of paper,

u can’t take it with u.

WHen u die. 

 

 

How’s Thatt FOrr A JJFUCKINNG HAIKUU, BITCHH, (SORRY SOCIALSIED NOT SExISM, I AM NOT REFFERERING TO A FEMALE I AM REFERENING  TO ANYONE OF ANY GENDER, THATT “”MAY OOPPOSE OR BE IN CONTRADICTION TO/OPPOSITION WITH/AGAINST A “REAL PERSON” PURSUING NOBLE OR INTRISTIC VALUES, ANDD VALUABLESS. /PEOPLE.

 

R.C.

 

“”((LISTENING TO FETTY WAP. WHOO, IN THE AFTERRNOON, WENTT BACKK TO HIS “HIGH SCHOOL”” TO BE BACK, NOT A CLONEE, ANDD “”TEACH THE KIDSS” OR SHOW THAT, IF TEHRE’S SOMEONE THAT LOOKS LIKE U WHO’S MADE IT. U CAN MEKE IT TOO.

 

 

I mean, all of these thing little things aren’t little.

 

CULTURE. /. CULTRUAL ZEITGEIST.

 

 

 

 

 

Diving in: Daniel Guinan

So I’ve decided to start doing an interview series for the blog as I felt like it would be a good idea to bring different perspectives on board to answer some deeper questions. Daniel Guinan was the first person to help me out with this. He’s a really great guy who might not be as outspoken as he should be. It’s people like Daniel that show that with the right mindset, you can work to achieve great things and with the way Daniel conducts himself, I know he’ll go on to do just that. The following is the transcript from the interview I conducted with Daniel. Enjoy!

N.L.: Alright, so Daniel, the first thing I wanted to ask just so I have it all together, you said you are a four year undergraduate student here at St. Andrews?

Daniel: That’s right. I started my second semester of my first year here of four years.

N.L.: Alright, so what is your main area of study?

Daniel: I’m studying physics and I’m taking a module in sustainable development this semester as well.

N.L.: Alright, good deal. Ok, so along the whole train of thought of the blog getting into it, one of the things that I try and hold myself to is kind of some sort of motto or a mantra. For instance I believe it was Jeremy Bentham who believed in finding the best in the situation that you can find. I know that he did a lot with ethics, I believe. As long as one choice has the greater good, something like that, you try and always find that. I’ve kind of developed a different form of that that I have tried to focus on, I don’t know, trying to bring out the best in each situation, kind of like the silver lining, but kind of in terms of with other people. So on that vein, do you have any sort of motto or mantra that you try and hold yourself to or try and live by?

Daniel: So not specifically a motto or mantra, but let me tell you about my New Year’s resolution. This was this past New Year’s, so it’s pretty recent, I decided that whenever I had some kind of problem, that I was going to try to take an approach in terms of higher consciousness. I mean it sounds like a lot of hogwash a lot of times and people think ‘a higher consciousness, what does that mean?’ but it’s actually grounded in scientific terms. So, the lower consciousness is, I describe it best as everything that has to do with things that revolve around the limbic system, what some people call the paleomammalian system, when you’re developing in the womb, it’s the part of the brain that develops first. It’s the part of the brain that has to do with fear, sexual arousal, with fight-or-flight responses, you know, survival. So the thing is that from a day-to-day basis, we kind of tend to use a lot more than we need to. We don’t need to survive, yet all of this is centered around ourselves, around me, how does this pertain to me or how does this affect me? If you try to take a step back and reflect in terms of higher consciousness, you’re sort of detaching yourself, you’re looking at a situations and thinking in more universal terms. I’ll give you a for instance. If someone said something hurtful or mean to me, it’s a natural thing to say ‘oh that person’s mean’ or is an evil kind of person, but if you think more in terms of higher consciousness, you think ‘ok well maybe they aren’t an evil person, maybe it’s more of a symptom of hurt rather than evil. So you take a step away from yourself and you think ‘well maybe that person’s in kind of a lot of pain’, so I’d say that’s kind of my current motto or mantra to some extent.

N.L.: So, let me ask, is there anyone in particular -people often talk about having childhood heroes or what not- at this stage of your life, is there anyone that you would aspire to be like?

Daniel: I do a lot of times listen to big thinkers and there’s a lot of people, like I’m a big fan myself of Steven Pinker, if you’ve ever heard of him. I think right now at this time, he’s a researcher in cognitive science at Harvard. He’s said a lot of interesting things about say how freedom of speech affects scientific progress and how linguistics is a window to the human mind, things like that. Otherwise, I go around and I meet people, sometimes friendly people that have good personalities that are responsible. For instance, just in Andrew Melville Hall, I don’t know if you know Caleb Maisonville, but he’s such a nice and open guy. I feel like I wanna be more like him you know? I know that’s sort of like a lesser sort of role model. As a child, I can’t say I can think of any real role models. Buckminster Fuller is someone I’m a big fan of. Buckminster Fuller is another sort of thinker. He had things to do with being a big physicist. He developed the buckminsterfullerene which is one of the most stable structures in terms of buildings, it’s kind of a strange looking thing. He actually coined a term, which is very interesting called ‘dymaxion’. It’s a portmanteau of dynamic, maximum, and tension. He made diagrams of dymaxion cars, the dymaxion house. It’s all this kind of like ‘50s or ‘60s era because that’s when he lived, and imagine all this very modernistic and efficient for back then. It’s interesting, but he ran into a lot of interesting ideas back then.

N.L.: That is very interesting. So now getting into a bit of deeper things, more long term things, at this point do you have any sort of long term goals, something you want to accomplish?

Daniel: Above anything else, I want to feel like I’m making a positive impact on the world, and I know that sounds a bit cheesy, but I would rather not have a lifestyle or a career where I’m not doing anything to help people, you know what I mean? I wouldn’t say I have any more specific aspirations than that. I guess overall to do more help than harm. There’s a lot of people I feel that get sucked into certain kinds of jobs or corporations where they’re just being paid, they don’t worry too much about what their job is or what the consequences of doing their job is. I guess I hate to be sort of cynical about this but if I was offered say $20,000 or $30,000 a year for doing something like researching alternative fuels, I’d rather do that than say making millions of dollars putting more carbon into the air if you see what I mean?

N.L.: Very good, very noble of you I suppose.

Daniel: Thanks, and I hope I still think like that 20 years from now.

N.L.: Alright, so kind of along the same vein but a little different. Obviously that is something that you strive to do, is there anything that you sort of expect from life, or to get out of life? You’ve kind of got this good aspiration of what you want to contribute but is there anything at the end of the day you want to see, what benefits you want to reap?

Daniel: I guess what I want is to find myself in a life that is happy and full of meaning. The problem is that people look for happiness or meaning as if it’s something you find behind a rock or a tree, they keep searching for it. Really it’s something that comes from inside yourself. Really I’d want to return from my life is for myself to be able to look back at myself and say ‘Ok, I’m satisfied’, that’s all I especially want overall. Of course there’s material aspirations that will come along and go, and some things like family or jobs, but when it really comes down to brass tax, that’s what I want.

N.L.: So based on your current point and thinking about all of this, is there any piece of advice that you would want to give your 35-year-old self to make sure that you didn’t lose touch with yourself? You’ve sort of got these aspirations today and you’ve got this idea, is there anything that you want to make sure that you don’t lose touch of?

Daniel: Just don’t forget to never separate cause from consequence. I feel like a lot of people don’t think actions through and I’m sure that by the time I’m 30-years-old that I’ll be mature enough to realize that, but sometimes people don’t make enough of a connection, they do stupid things that way. That’d be the piece of advice that I’d give myself.

N.L.: So another big thing with the blog is this sort of connectedness, this trying to bring people together. One of the reasons that we decided upon that is that we believe in today’s time it’s becoming more and more of a global community although some people in some areas have kind of a backlash against it slightly. If you look across history, especially with the U.S., kind of this isolationism, I believe in some people’s minds, not everyone’s, I think that’s kind of still there in a sense. With that -more specifically for you- for Dallas, do you kind of see from your perspective do you see [the people of Dallas] branching out and really kind of connecting to that global community?

Daniel: Dallas itself, yeah I’d say that there is definitely a branching out to a global community. One interesting thing about it is that you’ll find food from almost anywhere in the world, and that’s not too much of an overstatement. I guess that’s a symptom of a larger thing. It’s showing that people who bring their food to Dallas, as a sort of mark of their culture, and it shows first of all that they’re not afraid to show their culture, that’s a big thing, and coming to a foreign country and wondering if you’re going to be judged, wondering if people are going to like the food or that kind of thing. Otherwise, I think that it’s also globally connected in terms of it has a really really large airport, DFW. I don’t know in terms of world airports, but I know that in terms of airports in the United States, it’s one of the largest, you have a lot of connecting flights that go through there. I wouldn’t know if that’s technically something that connects people because they’re just passing through, so I’m not sure if that connects the city so much.

N.L.: Well I would think that based on the experience of where I live, not that far away from Greenville, South Carolina, with the advent of GSP, Greenville-Spartanburg International, the airport that’s there, it’s not very big, especially in terms of airports like Charlotte, North Carolina which has a fairly big international airport. GSP has done a whole lot as far as bringing in a lot of people from around the world, especially a lot of people from Europe because recently BMW set up a big plant right in that area, I think near Greer, South Carolina, and so that’s aided in a lot of people kind of coming over from Germany and what not, so it’s kind of this business is what’s ended up connecting this little place that probably wouldn’t have fallen on a lot of Germans’ radars, but now there’s all of this stuff with the plant, it’s a decent sized plant, they’ve got a showroom and a museum and stuff, so it’s definitely done us a favor, but in terms of Dallas–

Daniel: Well the thing is that, I mean this might be kind of a smaller example but I did go to an international school there, I took the French baccalaureate there, I guess because there’s enough French ex-patriots that tend to be there, but it’s not just a French school. There’s lots of different kinds of people and I guess to have a school like that takes a lot of global connectedness. In terms of the state [of Texas], I think Houston is one of the most racially diverse cities in the United States. I mean I realize that it’s not the same thing as Dallas, but Dallas and Houston have a lot of similarities, the way that they are made and the way that the atmosphere of the city feels, the size of the city, that kind of thing.

N.L.: Ok, so if we go down this a bit. Just getting a gauge onto your feelings, we were mentioning about the airport and factors that kind of feed into [global connectedness], and I mean I’m no social anthropologist–

Daniel: Actually, let me add something real quick. I think one of the other factors is people’s openness to connecting. I feel like Dallas is a place where that does happen, but also, my family owns a ranch about a six hour drive from Dallas and I feel like it’s almost a different universe when you go there because there’s clearly, there’s a poorer Mexican community there, and a more wealthy, Anglo part of town. I feel like there’s a strong racial divide there in general, not that there’s any kind of animosity or hatred, but it’s a lot more divided and not really integrated. That’s a place where people are more closed off or not as open to global ideas and global connection.

N.L.: So I guess kind of following along with this though, you mentioned a lot of people not being afraid to kind of share their culture being a major player, for instance in having all of this food from around the world, do you kind of think it’s better that you hold onto your culture, for instance New York City is supposed to be this great melting pot where people come from all over the world and [everyone’s] supposed to blend together and you’ve got this multifaceted variety of cultures coming together, so do you think it’s more important to hold onto your culture when you move somewhere or is it better in terms of your overall well-being to adapt to your surroundings? I know it’s not simple, you could probably go both ways as they’re both just as important, but it seems like if you hold onto your culture too much, do you sort of feel like an outsider? Or if you adapt too much to your new surroundings, do you lose touch with your culture?

Daniel: Actually, the first thing this makes me think of is my girlfriend. She’s Indian and her family’s Indian. They moved to the United States about 8 years ago. If you had met her you’d think that she’d been in the United States for many generations, she’s up to date on American culture, she would be familiar with things you’d expect normal Americans to know, but then she goes back home and she speaks her native language, and in fact depending on who she associates with, like if she’s talking to say me, she’d have a normal American accent, if she talks to her mom or something, she goes right off into an Indian accent. So I think that more than anything else, cultural identity is a strong and important thing, it’s part of what makes who you are who you are and I think that in some ways we’re all an ambassador of where we come from. Ultimately the essence of a stereotype is by watching ‘bad ambassadors’ if that’s what you want to call it that, people who don’t portray their own culture, don’t behave the way they ought to and people– now I’m going to say that stereotyping isn’t something people should be doing in the first place, but when you don’t have a lot of cultural exposure and you see one person, you make generalizations. I guess in essence to answer your question, I would say that it’s important not to forget, but you need to experience other things. You need to immerse yourself in new scenarios, cultures, places, to open up and to figure out your own place in the world, I’ll put it that way. There’s a quote by T.S. Eliot and he said something along the lines of, “I’ve traveled a long, long way to only come back and realize I don’t even recognize my own home”. It’s opens up your horizons, it opens up your ways of thinking, so I think that definitely it’s important to embrace new cultures. Then on a side note, it’s actually really interesting and something pretty applicable today is that there’s a lot of issues that people talk about cultural appropriation, that kind of thing. I really think that transculturation is a normal part of an evolving society, and what I mean by transculturation is that you have one culture and another culture and they meet and they sort of melt to a new culture. Then there’s different forms of acculturation, which is actually more common, where there’s this other culture that comes in and totally wipes out the old culture. So I think that more than anything we can’t forget the past, we can’t forget culture, we can’t strip people of their identities, we have to recognize their identities, but we can also integrate things into different cultures. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

N.L.: So this one’s a bit of a two part question. As it currently stands, what do you believe is one of the largest problems plaguing humanity as a whole and do you believe you can aid in fixing it?

Daniel: Ok, so I actually have a couple of answers for this. So first of all, I think there’s some really serious issues with mainstream culture. Have you ever noticed when you walk into, say a movie, maybe it’s got some violent scenes in it or something, even Iron Man or something. You walk into an Iron Man movie and it’s nothing wrong with watching it but you notice that there’s a 9-year-old sitting there in the front row. I feel like just that is proof of something really wrong with society because you’ve got these parents that are fine with showing their little kids violent scenes, suffering, death, destruction, but then you’ve got things like pornography that’s totally shielded –I’m not saying pornography’s ok to show– but then like a sex scene in a movie, sex in some sense is a celebration of life. It is a place where pleasure happens and yet that’s the first thing to be shielded. You’ve got people dying and being shot up, and they’re like ‘oh well that’s fine to show my kid’. I think there’s something very backwards about that. You know I’m sure there are people that disagree with that, but you know. What can I do to help it? I think a lot of people haven’t even considered the idea, it’s just kind of like a gut reaction almost.

N.L.: Yeah, I know that’s kind of a loaded question, ‘can you aid in fixing it’ but I guess I was just seeing if you felt like there was any way you could kind of–

Daniel: Yeah, I’m not even talking about something that big, but something, the idea of two people being intimate is something that is beyond a lot of parents.

N.L.: I guess with that example, awareness is probably the most important factor just to make sure people realize it’s even there.

Daniel: Exactly, I do really believe it’s a gut feeling. You don’t even think twice before saying ‘oh, let’s turn it off’ or something like that. That’s another thing that goes with that. I was talking with Raj [Rajiv Choudhury or R.C.] actually about sex education, like in the UK and back home. I think it’s more of a global problem. You know if you have anything at all it might be something like ‘ok kids, be sure and wear condoms, this is what an STD looks like,’ and they don’t go into too much detail. I think what’s a huge problem is there’s a lot of grey area when it comes to sex, like consensual sex and that kind of thing and they don’t go over that at all because rape is a problem they don’t teach. There’s even movements on how not to be raped, and things like that, but I think that that’s not what they should be teaching, they should be teaching how not to rape. If people are suddenly aware of what they’re doing is wrong, that “no” means “no” and things like that, all of a sudden you can curb things like this happening. There’s entire statistics that you can break down by a whole lot just because people realize what the problem is. I’m not saying if you tell someone to not commit a crime that they’re not going to go out and do it. That’s not true, but if they’re considering doing something or if they’re thinking something and all of a sudden they’re educated about it, an educated person is less likely to go out and do it because they know what to expect. I think that education is one of the most important things there is in terms of priorities of a human being. I think that health comes first because if you’re not healthy, in other words, you’re pretty much screwed. Health is above anything else, and after that is education. An educated person is a powerful person because with knowledge you have the power to make an informed decision so you’re all of a sudden a more powerful person when tackling the world. If you have a powerful individual, then all of a sudden you have a powerful society and I feel like not everywhere in the world there’s not even education that reaches everybody. There’s a reason why I think the preservation of knowledge is sacred. It saves lives, it allows progress to occur and it changes entire statistics like I was saying. I think for education, the way to fix that would be to– I’m being rather optimistic here, but I don’t believe this would ever actually happen but I think that if you can increase the global equity, and what I mean by equity is it’s different from equality in that equality is giving everyone the same thing, equity would be saying ‘ok, here’s the little guy, we’re gonna give him more than the big guy so that they’re both at the same level at the end’. If you could increase global equity in terms of education and say that there’s nothing more important than education then I’d think that’s what ultimately the solution will be. It’s like awareness is the first step of it and I think that there’s no corner of the Earth that’s bereft of genius. People have a hard time realizing that. Even in the U.S., you’ve got things like Harvard is $50,000 a year. You’re gonna deter a lot of poor people from going to Harvard, but there’s plenty of poor people that are intelligent –I’m not saying every poor person is– but you’ve got poor people that are intelligent, you’ve got people that have the brains of geniuses that are working on farms. It happens. I feel like if you throw a bunch of seeds into the dark, every now and then you’ll have a few sprouts, you’ll have a genius somewhere. I guess you’ve got people with “normal” professions, you become doctors, lawyers, teachers, important things, but then you’ve also got an Einstein somewhere in the woodpile and I think that every person who’s not educated is a wasted opportunity. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, he once said, “Genius without education is like gold that’s still in the mine,” and I very much believe that when it comes to education.

N.L.: Alright, I suppose I’ll kind of wrap up with this last question. Let’s say over the next 5-10 years, what do you hope to really see come about as far as change, what do you hope to happen really overall, what do you want to start seeing as a pattern?

Daniel: Well one thing that I’d like to see is that –again, I’m not thoroughly optimistic about it, but– I feel like –in fact, is it ok if I extend 5-10 years and say like a generational thing, per se?

N.L.: Sure.

Daniel: Ok then, I’d hope to see future generations embracing culture, that they’re more likely to be curious about questions, more likely to be curious about things. I feel like a lot of people today are sort of indoctrinated by small talk, which is ok. I think it’s an important thing to just enjoy the small things in life, but I think that if all you do is you gossip and you small talk, there’s nothing deeper, more important in your life. I’m talking about your personal life. You can sit in a class and you can learn about big and important issues, but if you don’t bring that out of the classroom and see how that applies to your life, you’re living a shallow kind of life. I think that I would hope for a global culture that embraces the acquisition of knowledge and challenges ideas more openly. There’s a lot of people who have ways of believing in things blindly. The moment you question something, questioning something is a part of believing something. I think that you can’t deeply be convinced of something until you question it at some point, even if it’s a very sort of subtle question.

N.L.: Well alright, with that it sounds like you should almost have my job because it sounds a lot like what we’re getting into on the blog. *chuckles* The sort of bigger questions, but yeah, I definitely agree with that. I definitely see that.

 

-N.L.

What This Means to Me

I’d like to take a few minutes to talk about what this blog means to me. Before the creation of this blog, the co-author and I discussed a lack of interest in the active participation in discussion of pressing issues by our peers. We saw the need to try and increase the participation of young people in meaningful discussion involving problems that we all face. Consider this blog the preliminary step in an outreach campaign to bring more people into the discussion process.

The title “Progressive Man’s Burden” as it stands is a working title. Although for our female readers this title might seem to convey a patriarchal message, allow me to show that the title is simply meant to be a play on ‘The White Man’s Burden’. For those of you who are familiar with the history of this phrase, you’d know that it doesn’t hold much of a positive connotation. As European powers were playing land grab down in Africa, several of these European nations felt that it was their duty to ‘civilize’ the native people and indoctrinate them with European culture. As such, it was the burden of the European white male of the time to carry out this job. To say that this burden was a noble effort is a bit like saying the Spanish Inquisition was just a little chat between the leaders of the Spanish Monarchy and people living in Spain. Sure there might have been some beneficial results of Europeans passing on their ideology to native Africans, but largely it can be shown whenever a group of people is forced into complying with an ideology or adjust in culture, it doesn’t end well. That’s why I’d like to get into what “Progressive Man’s Burden” really means.

I don’t think any of us can argue that society as a whole hasn’t come a long way in advancements that we have made. The hardest part of being a member of this society though is trying to take an objective stance to show what advancements have been harmful and what advancements have been beneficial. I suppose all in all, one of the main purposes of this blog is to be a platform for an objective perspective on such advancements within fields of politics, economics, philosophy and psychology. Nonetheless, I believe it is our job as people of modern society to continue to advance with purpose in a beneficial direction and to correct what still hinders us.

So far this blog has not been very political, but one of the things that we set out to do was to create a place where we could publish our own personal views in order to use that to expedite further political discussion. With this in mind, I’m sure over the next few posts, the blog will begin to be a bit more political in nature. Thanks again for reading and I hope this allows a bit of insight into what this blog is really all about (to me at least).

–N.L.

A Cleanse of the Palate: The Human Element

So much of modern life revolves around juggling this chaotic monstrosity that has developed through societal progression. Over the last century, the global environment has drastically shifted in terms of complexity. In using an established observation in Moore’s Law, the capability of technology (specifically in terms of transistors in an integrated circuit) doubles roughly every two years. With such an accelerated level of technological advancement, it’s fairly easy to lose the element of humanity in relation to the modern world. Most of life in the past was devoted to better oneself in relation to the environment around them in order to be better prepared for challenges in life. As a shift in thinking, production has focused on adapting the environment to fit the person, not as much the person to fit the environment. Why shouldn’t this be the case? If the purpose of technology is to serve those that create it, why shouldn’t technology drastically improve the environment that we live in? With these questions, I’d like to look back at the 1980 film, The Gods Must Be Crazy. Although most of the movie tells the story of a man named Xi and his quest to return a mysterious object (a coke bottle) back to the gods after it fell from the sky, the first part of the movie acts as a social commentary comparing the societies of the Kalahari bushmen and developed society in Johannesburg. The narrator shows that due to the incredible simplicity of bushmen society, there is no sense of ownership, conflict between other bushmen does not exist, and the bushmen have adapted to the harsh lifestyle of the Kalahari in respect to such difficulties as lack of available water. On the other hand, those living in Johannesburg have adapted the environment to fit them and as such have caused their children to have to go to school for 10-15 years just to get their heads around how to live in their own society. As well, since society has continued to advance, people within the society must continuously adapt to their surroundings. Although they attempted to make life easier for themselves, they inadvertently made life much more complicated. Obviously it would be illogical to state that the society of the bushman is superior to the society of modern man based on that they avoid many of the problems that come with the territory of advanced society because advancements that modern man has made has clear purposes. One such major area of advancement would be in medical care especially in that the lifespan of a bushman might not be as long as a person living in developed society simply on the grounds that they do not have advanced medical care to handle injuries, disease, and the lot. Vaccines alone have become such a crucial defense for modern people in combatting diseases that can easily be avoided with proper prevention (just like polio) where a bushman would not have vaccines against such diseases.

I’d also like to take a quote from the Dalai Lama on modern life. In a response to what surprises him the most about humanity, he stated, “Man… Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present, the result being that he does not live in the present or the future. He lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies never having really lived.” It’s true that so much of the progress that humans have made so far has been to the advantage of mankind, but sometimes it might be just as beneficial to ask how much is too much? In all of this, it seems like the human element is starting to creep out of society and the focus is being placed on making sure that society as a whole works like clockwork. Sure it is unfair to say that the individual is the most important thing for consideration, but the individual should not be devalued to the point that humanity is a secondary quality to the individual’s performance/contribution to modern society.

This is where I’d like to take a step back and talk about intraspective therapy (in a way). It is always important to have a sense of introspection as it allows you to see the world around you for what it is and to give needed clarity to what’s going on, but I believe it is equally important to have a good sense of intraspection as it will allow you to look inside yourself to see where you truly stand in relation to what’s happening around you. To illustrate how highly I value a sense of intraspection, (I know this is a bit personal, but nonetheless) one of my greatest fears in life is having something wrong with me internally, not in a physiological sense such as a disease, but more of a mental sense and not knowing what it is that’s wrong. Intraspection is crucial in order for one to come to terms with their life. How can one possibly overcome an adversity if they don’t have the ability to look inside themselves to see how they truly feel about something? I know this seems like blowing smoke over intraspection and one might say ‘how could someone not know how they feel on an issue’, but contrary to such a belief, people often suppress their true feelings, confuse themselves, or lie to themselves about what they believe. Sure they might have their own complex reasons as to why a person would not be honest with themselves, but being honest with yourself is of the highest importance. If you can develop a good sense of intraspection, you will be better able to rationalize your position in life and come to terms with the hand you’re playing with. Try and get the most of what you have in front of you and make the most of every opportunity. Remember to keep in mind the importance of who you are, not just what you have done or are able to do. Thanks for reading.

–N.L.