Idealism vs Pragmatism

Often times we assume that we can either be idealistic or pragmatic and yes that may get you somewhere but we are human and have the capacity for ambiguity. We can choose to be idealistic and pragmatic. We need idealism to determine our destinations and pragmatism to help us get there……They should not be mutually exclusive, but embraced and symbiotic.

The meaning of life

What is the meaning of life? This is a question I have pondered over for a very long time. As it so often happens, while day dreaming in the shower, it slapped me in the face. I was asking the wrong question!! The question I should be asking is what is the meaning of existence? And the answer is simple, Life. Life is the raison d’etre. Its meaning is itself, it is the reason for existence, it perpetuates itself. Every living thing spends its life replicating itself. It is life longing for itself. We are but one expression of life and our purpose is to live and reproduce. In living and reproducing, we get to experience much along the way to death, where the process starts all over again for a different expression of life.

In memory of those who have the courage to commit suicide

In my lifetime I have lost one close friend and one not so close friend to suicide. I have spent much of my life making sense of their lives and deaths. With the recent death of Robin Williams, may he rest in peace, some news agencies accuse him of cowardice for his rumoured suicide. This got me thinking, is it not harder to take your own life than wait for it to be taken from you!!! I for one would find it incredibly difficult to take my own life no matter what the circumstances, so it is reasonable to think that what Robin had done, took a lot of courage, strength and honesty!

Dictionary.com defines cowardice as “lack of courage to face danger, difficulty, opposition, pain, etc.”. I would reckon that taking your own life is the most dangerous, difficult and painful act one could possibly do. So, if you can do that, hell, you must be brave!!!!

Let say, for arguments sake, that some people find it easy to take their lives and taking their lives is much easy than the difficulties they face in life, then yes, they are cowards! But how do we measure or determine such a characteristic? I would’nt know where to start, so I choose to give them the benefit of my doubt and call them courageous!

Based on the people that I have known and who have taken their own lives, I have never once thought of them as cowards. They were smart, hardworking, kind and courageous people and I cannot comprehend what they have experienced, and so I trust that they acted righteously! May Robin and my friends, who have consciously chosen death over life, rest in peace……

Those who think that this courageous act is sinful, all I can say is don’t do it but also don’t judge others who do and don’t speak ill of the dead.

“…life is a gift bestowed without anyone asking for it; that the thinking person has a philosophical duty to examine both the nature of life and the conditions it comes with; and that if this person decides to renounce the gift no one asks for, it is the moral and human duty to act on the consequences of that decision.”

― Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending

Water belongs to all on this planet: Please Sign This Petition

Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone;
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air;
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go;
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all;
There are none to decline your nectar’d wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a large and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

Shoo 2014 Already!

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I was still trying to figure out my resolutions for 2013, when I heard the firecrackers blasting away for the arrival of 2014. Where did my year go? Time seems to shrink as I grow older! Before I look forward to 2014, I would like to take a moment to look back at 2013. There were 2 significant events for me in 2013, and both have changed my world in negative ways.

The first and most difficult event was the shocking loss of my father, as he did in life, he left without much fanfare or fuss. I miss him dearly!!

Secondly, Edward Snowden, has crushed my optimism in the future of mankind with his leaked information. The cynic in me was not surprised at the actual revelations, but more by the response or should I say non response but most governments around the world. I am appalled and repulsed by the cowardice of these governments and their open acceptance of the Orwellian world we live in. We have become slaves and could care less…….

I had only one resolution for 2013, and that was to write more. Overall 2013 has been the year I have written the most, so I will tick that as accomplished.

As for 2014, I would like to write more consistently and target to publish something once a week….Good luck and may 2014 be your best year yet!!!

 

Noam Chomsky’s Definition of Anarchism

Well, anarchism is, in my view, basically a kind of tendency in human thought which shows up in different forms in different circumstances, and has some leading characteristics.  Primarily it is a tendency that is suspicious and skeptical of domination, authority, and hierarchy.  It seeks structures of hierarchy and domination in human life over the whole range, extending from, say, patriarchal families to, say, imperial systems, and it asks whether those systems are justified.  It assumes that the burden of proof for anyone in a position of power and authority lies on them.  Their authority is not self-justifying.  They have to give a reason for it, a justification.  And if they can’t justify that authority and power and control, which is the usual case, then the authority ought to be dismantled and replaced by something more free and just.  And, as I understand it, anarchy is just that tendency.  It takes different forms at different times.

This is from an interview with NOAM CHOMSKY — ‘Everyday Anarchist’: The Modern Success Interview

Death and it’s Lesson…..

On the morning of 15 June 2013, while rushing to see my father in hospital, I received the news of his passing. I heaved with emotion and felt a part of me ripped out leaving a lingering hollowness.

He left in the way he lived, silently with no goodbyes. He was never one to make a show of emotions, but always had a smile on his face. Of the little he had he gave a lot and I miss him. I miss him more than I ever imagined. There were so many unsaid words between us and conversation I planned to have in the future that now lay waste in my heart.

I often wondered what do you say to one who has lost a loved one? Now I know there is nothing anyone can say, no words can ease the pain of the loss. But being surrounded by people I love was like a soothing massage, in which I found much solace. Simple little things like an embrace, a phone call, a shared memory even a joke reminded me that I had many loved one’s still with me here and now.

I guess my father’s final lesson, is that life is fragile and short, appreciate those that you love today and let the busyness of life distract you tomorrow.

To all my friends and family who paused their lives to share their warm embraces with me, I thank you, it is worth more to me than words could ever say………

 

 

March Against Monsanto

Today the whole world protests against Monsanto and all it represents. I am all for progress and development but it should not be at the expense of sustainability and ethics. Monsanto to me, represents everything that is wrong with the relationship between governments, corporations and living organisms.

All food begins with seed, it has existed long before man, and all living organisms depend on it in one way or another. Any system which allows a person, institution or corporation to own seed is fundamentally flawed and wrong. Seeds belong only to this earth and all that live in it to be shared and used by all.

If a company decides to modify nature, patent its modifications and collect royalties on such modifications, then it follows on, that such a company should then be required to pay royalties on the original seed. An international trust could be setup to collect such royalties and said monies could be used productively to grow and sustain the original seed to be provided freely to those who need it.

Due to natural way in which seeds grow, contamination is a huge risk. Presently a farmer using genetically modified seed can easily and unintentionally contaminate his neighbors crops and crazily the neighbor can be sued for patent infringement, how crazy is that! In fact, Monsanto should be held liable for such contamination and be completely responsible for decontamination. I may have to sue my neighbor for the bees carrying my pollen to his garden……

If we want to eradicate world hunger we need to empower people to grow their own food not enslave them to corporations who are trying to monopolise and control natural resources with the aid of governments. The  human race presently produces more than enough food to feed all, yet people go hungry and die from hunger. The simple reason people die from hunger is profit and greed, corporations. The right to food is a fundamental right of all living organisms, and we need to ensure and safeguard that right before it is too late. Say YES to natural seed being freely available and NO to private ownership of food resources.

For more info on the march against Monsanto

Remember, We reap what we sow……….

 

Plan B – May Be My Stumbling Block

I have always prided myself on having a plan B. Whether I would be driving from place A to place Z or starting a business, I always had a plan B. All my life I considered this characteristic to be a positive one and a good success strategy. Having a Plan B sounds like a sensible, intelligent and logical thing to do or at least I thought so.

After reading Kent Thune’s blog: Entrepreneurs: use your delusion sell Illusion, I realised that there is a very dark side to having a plan B. Why do I say this? Well, success at anything requires total commitment, focus and some luck. The funny thing about luck is that you usually get it when you have total commitment and focus but that’s another matter altogether. Plan B’s if done correctly also require commitment and focus, not as much as plan A, but some. If we only have a finite amount of commitment and focus to give, that means we have to share it between plan A and plan B. In so doing we are in fact diluting plan A. It is hard enough to succeed at anything and in order to give ourselves the best chance possible we need to be completely committed and focused on Plan A.

I have also realised that a Plan B provides me with comfort, less stress and renders me emotionally subdued. But to make a plan succeed, you need to be completely invested in it, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually, there should be no leftovers. To only have a Plan A requires that you put your all into whatever it is you are trying to accomplish. To be completely committed is a very difficult thing to do but also your best chance at success…