Tampering – Blog No. 40

3parent

Is it necessary for scientists to generate a 3-parent child?  Like is it necessary to generate a bunny that glows in the dark?  I wonder.  I can see how tempting it is to tamper with natural processes, how invaluable such enterprise can occasionally be, but perhaps it is best to say that certain things – like procreation – really should be left to itself.

Tampering with Nature has widespread implications.  Genetically modifying anything is a risky business.  What if what you generate a mutant that needs putting down because it turns out to be dangerous?  What are the ethics there?  Natural selection is not a waste of time.  It is not a process that mankind can improve upon.  Keep that in mind. 

Tampering is usually the result of impatience.  Historically, mankind has been impatient to know the ins and outs of absolutely everything.  Curiosity is a huge advantage.  Impatience is not.  There is no need to second-guess Nature, or chase her up.  Everything happens exactly when it should.  If you will stick your fingers in pies that are still cooking, you will burn.  It’s simple. 

 

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Contributing – Blog No. 39

giving

Be a contributor in life.  Not a bystander, a passer-by or a spectator.  Contribute.  That means giving.  Of yourself.  If it is easier for you to imagine that giving means throwing money at every problem that crops up, then you must have a lot of money to throw around and a lack of imagination.  An effective means of making a contribution is giving some of your time to cause that is not yours.  It is wise in this world to make a space where you set yourself and your agenda aside. 

You can contribute your personal expertise humbly, freely, to those that could benefit from your knowledge.  You can contribute your time, your ideas, your initiative.  Your understanding, your optimism, your smile.  As one of the seven billion variations of human being existing on this planet, there is no end of unique contributions you can make to an everyday.  

There is a definite payback for contributing.  You feel worthwhile.  That is a feeling most humans need to feel and when you willingly give, it makes those to whom you are contributing feel worthwhile, too.  Contributing is not an aggressive act, it is not forcing your opinions on another, for example.  It is a willing, open giving.

 

 

 

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Diplomacy – Blog No. 38

Diplomacy
It is not hard to use diplomacy when you still have hope.  When hope begins to dwindle, diplomacy goes out of the window.  I believe, for the most part, in hoping.  I am concerned that those that do not, are short-changing themselves and everybody else.  In the big picture.  This planet is not dead yet.  However, it is not far from being damaged beyond repair by mankind’s greed and that is then really the end.  That reality is very easy to see.  Ironically, that ending only matters to (all) life here on Earth.  You would think that would mean something to the majority of people.  It doesn’t.

But – life springs from the most unlikely sources.  One day, it will spring again.  When the timing is right, and the circumstances perfect, life will spring again and living creatures will appear like magic!  We can but wait.  Perfection takes aeons to perfect itself.  Perhaps when that happens, when life comes again, it will have grown minds that can conceive of – and comprehend – immediately their own immortality.  Perhaps then those minds will use their understanding to help others transcend this experience. It is but one of many.

 

 

 

 

 

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Stereotyping – Blog No. 37

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It is important not to stereotype people, a people.  Stereotyping and assumption are not that far removed from one another.  For instance, you cannot assume that because a man comes from a line of ancestors that believed in the practice of eating humans, he is a ‘savage’ at heart.  You cannot assume any of his ancestors were savages at heart, either.  It is the same to me as calling these communities ‘primitive’ simply because they choose – or chose – to live at one with Nature, pitted against her elements – rather than adapting to the alternative, Christianity, and drowning in the shame that colonisers brought to their shores.  For cannibals, the practice of eating another human being was a very serious business, it was not a wild urge that needed ‘taming’ by the whites.

Stereotyping tends to result in the objectifying of people, a people.  It gives them a label before they have had a chance to show who they are.  If labelled wrongly, a person may become disinclined to show anybody anything.  It does not take long to realise that it is a serious waste of energy trying to convince a prejudiced mind that it is mistaken.  When that prejudiced mindset is eventually exposed – because it will be – there will be no one around who will be bothered to tell that mind the real truth.

Stereotyping is a cop out.  Rather take the time to find out who a person is, and what has shaped them the way they have become.  Judgements are split-second, that is true for most people and it is not easy to refrain from deciding at a glance what a person is about.  You cannot know what a person is about unless you understand what made them the way they are.  The only way to know that, is to ask.  If you do not get an answer, it is likely that you will not understand.

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This has really hit home.  I cannot write, today, anything more open and honest than this letter is.  It is beautiful and sad, but there is no hate.  War has its price psychologically.  On every level, with every participant.  We are all participants.  Wars are still happening across the globe.  It is not hard to understand that some wars are necessary, and some are not.  But whatever else they do – they do a great deal of damage to all involved.  And they cost an extraordinary amount of money.  If the world disappears in 50 years – who gives a shit about how rich you ultimately became?  It is hilarious how this place works.

 

 

tomasyoung

To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
From: Tomas Young

I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.

I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.

I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.

I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love. I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.

I have, like many other disabled veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration. I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of being a Christian. But isn’t lying a sin? Isn’t murder a sin? Aren’t theft and selfish ambition sins? I am not a Christian. But I believe in the Christian ideal. I believe that what you do to the least of your brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul.

My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.

— Tomas Young

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Youth – Blog No. 36

youth

It is not easy being young.  Ever.  It is harder today, however, than ever before.  The primary reason for this is an innate awareness that the planet we are on is in a critical state.  There is a pervading sense of doom hovering over the long-term future of the humans on Earth, i.e. the youth understand that because of the way this world currently chooses to work, there won’t be any humans in the future.  It is challenging finding the motivation to repair a damaged world when you have the knowledge that you are speeding towards your own extinction, because people prioritise living their lives – having their ‘moment’ – and that takes time and focus away from fixing the problems they can fix.  It is important to live life and fix it as you go.

Perhaps the biggest challenge facing today’s youth is the choice of what to do with their lives.  There is the ever-pressing concern about earning enough to be able to live the life you are promised in every advert, every magazine.  Without money, we are taught, what are we?  This fact of reality discourages people from daring to follow their hearts and occupy their lives with what they love to do.  Because a person in this society needs to earn to live a reasonable life, a ‘safe’ life, people are choosing careers that will make them rich and safe, rather than fulfilled and pushing at their highest potential.  One is fulfilled when one does work with its own intrinsic value and gets paid to do so.  One pushes at one’s highest potential when one is challenged in one’s field of expertise.  I am sure more of the youth need to be shown that the careers that currently exist are not the only careers there can ever be.  The youth must create their own career options.  They can do that by each developing their unique strengths and dreaming of a healed world.

I would hazard a guess that the youth of 2014 are not impressed with the state of the planet.  Whatever they are not told by the media, whatever propaganda is shoved in their faces, whichever lies they grow up with, they know the truth of the matter.  They feel the planet’s plight.  Their childhoods are short and from day one, they are generally bent to conforming to a deformed social ideal.  Therein lies the problem that if resolved effectively, will change the entire outlook for this planet’s future.

 

 

 

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Equals – Blog No. 35

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What does it mean to be ‘equal’? Equal how? Equal to what?  When the statement was made that all men are created equal, which equality was being referenced? Was it the more ethereal ‘energy’ we share as human beings, that equality, or was it the notion that each embryo is created with as much future potential as any other? Or was the statement itself a demonstration of inequality because it references men, only? Perhaps all men are created equal.  All women are not.  That is clear at the outset.  Equality is a tricky word.  It holds too much promise for too many people who will never get to be ‘equal’ in today’s world.  Sadly there are those people.

Equality is about fairness.  Balance.  Wherever there is an imbalance, there will be discord.  The system does not handle discord well.  Nor does it create equals.  The very system discourages equality, equals.  The system is about working your way to the top, surpassing others.  It would seem that in the greedy world of capitalists, being equal is never enough.  There is the compulsion to be better, to earn more, to have more.  To outshine your peers.  It becomes an obsession for many people.  Perhaps those at the top of the capitalist ladder do have ‘equals’.  Perhaps they consider themselves ‘equal’ to people who earn the same as they do.  That is perhaps their measure in life.

It is worth fostering equality as an ideal.  I think it is an ideal.  It is something to strive towards, like peace.  Equality is a work in progress.  Should it become the norm rather than the exception in the long run, that can be considered an ideal outcome.  The child who cannot read or write is not equal, in 2014, to the child who can.  The child with access to technology is not equal to the child that does not.  This is how it is in our world.  Despite the ever-present inequalities, though, and the concerns that these inequalities raise, it is not to say that the ‘unequal’ cannot reach the heights that the ‘equal’ tend to reach.  They must just apply themselves to working with what they have and trust that it is enough.

 

 

 

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