Category Archives: Philosophy

The Waterfall and The Rain

The waterfall is heard before you see it.  The thunderous torrent crashing on the rocks resounds about the valley.

niagra03As you approach, the mist becomes visible, as vapour bubbles up from the torrent.  The spray blows far and wide so that when you come close you are soon soaked.  From close up you can barely see the path of the waterfall as the clouds of mist and spray obscure its fall.  Yet you can feel the reverberation through the ground.

The waterfall is mighty! People come from far and wide to see the waterfall. It is celebrity.  People want to be like the waterfall, strong, impressive, powerful.

But strangely the waterfall does little more than make noise and spit before the water passes on calmly through the valley. Continue reading The Waterfall and The Rain

Honesty or knowledge first?

Ethics do not seem to be integral to society or our civilisation.  We have laws and religions and people are good.  However, the nature of education does not promote the values that ought to underlie the sentiment expressed by laws, religion and society.  They say it is bad or wrong to kill, but it happens in all spheres of civilisation from state sponsored war, to individuals rich and poor killing others for anger or greed as well as fear.

Without going to that extreme, if a person has knowledge or power or both they are in a position to influence our world to a greater extent than those without.  Take, for example, the Prime Minister of the UK, a particular individual who is wealthy, educated, and powerful but what of his moral compass.  Simply is he honest?  Does he do what he says he will?

But perhaps that is unfair.  Because we are all good.

Never the less, what kind of person do you want to have power?  Especially if they influence your life and you have little influence on theirs.  That would include the political leaders of your local community, country and the world.  It would include the leaders of businesses which served you, sold you goods and services, like your food and clothes, and also holidays and entertainment.  And what about religion or law or public services or safety?  If they had power, you’d prefer that they were honest above all else because then at least you’d know what was going on   If they’re are straight, but ignorant or incompetent at least you’d know and could do something about it.  But if they weren’t honest, and maybe even had vested interests like friends in the business or opportunities for personal gain, then it wouldn’t be so good for you. Maybe they would be smart and competent and that would be even worse for you.

So which would you rather? Honesty first or knowledge?

If we want honesty first we had better start educating for honesty first.  Stop making cogs for a machine.  Nurture humans for a human world.

See: Education for Today

Everyone is good, but our world is unethical. How come?

Everyone is good, yet somehow the product of our civilisation is often pain and suffering.

More people are becoming aware that something needs to change and are even doing something about it.  Simply talking about the challenges is a start, while others initiate changes in behaviour such as what they eat or wear.  But engaging a big picture perspective is difficult and can seem futile because the system seems dysfunctional.

The text below is from a blog about morals (personal) and ethics (system) which is a short read offering insight in to the nature of the problem.  Perhaps having read it you might contrive ways in which you can contribute to system enlightenment in your work and life, before this civilisation implodes like all those before it.  Enjoy …

Extract from Ethics 101: The difference between ethics and morals by Ian Welsh

 Our current ethical system requires politicians to act unethically, to do great harm to people they don’t know, while protecting those they do.  This can hardly be denied, and was on display in the 2007/8 financial collapse and the bailout after.  The millions of homeowners and employees politicians and central bankers did not know were not helped, and the people the politicians and central bankers and treasury officials did know, were bailed out.  Austerity, likewise, has hurt people politicians don’t know, while enriching the corporate officers and rich they do know.

Continue reading Everyone is good, but our world is unethical. How come?

Yes Pope Frank, we can mock faiths

This is straight from David Webb.  No need for editing. I think Pope Frank is awesome and has ignited a sense of hope for the church, but, sadly, on this point he must reevaluate his position.  There might be an appropriate and an inappropriate channel or audience, but without other cause, mockery is no reason for violence.  Who was it that said “turn the other cheek”?

David is right.  There will never be peace if opinions become illegal and cause for murder.

Pope Francis says its OK to punch someone who insults his mother, and we cannot make fun of faith. No, it’s not. No insult justifies an assault, whether it’s an insult against you, your mother or Muhammad, and whether it is a punch, a massacre or a state-sponsored flogging. Laws against blasphemy, insult and mockery have no place in an open society and incentivise intolerance of free speech. (17-Jan-2015)

Webb-site Reports

Yes Pope Frank, we can mock faiths

If you are offended by criticism of religion, or of your religion, then either close your browser now or be duly warned, because we are going to exercise more freedom of speech than you might like.

Pope Francis (the professional name of Jorge Mario Bergoglio) has been buzzing around Asia this week on a promotional tour for his organisation, the Catholic Church. In between visiting franchises in Indonesia and the Philippines, Pope Frank chatted with reporters on the plane. In the context of the recent massacre of the staff of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and of the police who were protecting them, a reporter asked his Chiefiness:

“yesterday at mass you spoke about religious freedom as a fundamental human right. But in the respect for the different religions, up to what point can one go in freedom of expression? That too is a fundamental human right.”

To which he pontificated in part:

Continue reading Yes Pope Frank, we can mock faiths

Life lessons, … well, some things to think about.

Paul Howard’s 44 life lessons (shared by Pat Macmahon – thanks Pat!):

1 Life is like a toilet roll. The closer you get to the end, the faster it seems to disappear.

2 “I don’t know” is the most underrated sentence in the English language.

3 If you can’t dance by the age of 18, you’re probably never going to be able to dance.

4 You can’t make people be who you want them to be. If you don’t like the way they are, then you’re probably with the wrong people.

5 In January 1962, Decca Records turned down the Beatles in favour of Brian Poole and the Tremeloes. That is all anyone needs to know about rejection.

6 The social contract between humans and dogs might be the best bit of business we have ever done.

7 Securitisation means the exact opposite of how it sounds.

8 Most of us find the middle of the road in the end. Mike Tyson is a vegan. Mick Jagger is doing pilates. What makes you think you’re going to be different?

Continue reading Life lessons, … well, some things to think about.

Ignorance, bigotry, Islam, Christianity – a wasteful formula of terror, pain and suffering that we don’t need.

CNN pushed an interview with Reza Aslan which helped show how ignorant the media treatment of culture is.   His commendably calm response to the interview’s thoughtlessness elucidated many of the issues that raise political tensions needlessly.

Here’s an extract:

Female Genital Mutilation is NOT a “Muslim” problem – its a central African problem. Eritrea has a 90% FGM rate – and is a CHRISTIAN country, Ethipia has a 70% FGM rate and is also a Christian country.

The Saudis, our allies, won’t let their women dri
ve.

Yet, Muslim countries have elected SEVEN women as Heads of their States – and we have yet to have a Female President.

Our vision of Islam here is wrong. Saudi Arabia (and perhaps Iran now) are restrictive, but they are the minority among Muslims around the world. Saudis ARE the extremists. THEY HAVE BEHEADED 19 PEOPLE SINCE ISIS DID THE ONE. No one talks about that because they are in cahoots with our oil men.

This comment by Jeanette Kramer gives further perspective:

Equating genital mutilation problems to Islam is like equating gun problems to Christianity. If the media spoke about the gun problems in the USA like they did so many other topics, they would be reporting 24/7 on the Christian violence in the US.

Some guy once said:

Take the plank out of your own eye so that you can see clearly to take the speck out of another’s eye.

Only the strongest can kill themselves for peace.

In a Japan, a man set himself on fire to protest a change in policy allowing Japan to fight overseas, which goes against the constitution which bars the country from using force in conflicts except for self-defence.  It follows another self-immolation in June, in an apparently similar protest.

Suicide is not an easy option.  It demands the greatest courage because you do not want to die, but you want to kill even less and you want to show the world that violence is wrong.

Many people have self-immolated in Tibet over the past few years to protest the authoritarian regime which steals property and livelihoods, incarcerates innocents and encourages rape and violence.  Few people hear of this and no nation cares to influence its cessation.  They are more likely to pursue violence and belligerence themselves.

BBC: Japan man self-immolates ‘in protest over military shift’

DTRTTRW in yoga pants: FouseyTube

More than 15 million people have watched Yousef Saleh Erakat’s most popular video – the Yoga Pants Prank.  It’s funny and it works.

Erakat highlights embarrassing aspects of modern culture, like men gawking at women (when they shouldn’t) and women flaunting their booty in public, which encourages men to be misogynistic and other women to flaunt theirs.  He covers alot of culturally sensitive issues, especially ones faced in bicultural communities like arab/american.

Have a look at this BBC report to get an insight in to Erakat Doing The Right Thing The Right Way.

He has two million subscribers to his YouTube channel FouseyTUBE.

OK, and here’s the Yoga pants video.

Euthanasia’s time is coming.

Death is an unknown and that makes it easy to fear it.  Although it is a natural part of the cycle of life, western culture tends to ignore it and treat it as an unfamiliar phenomenon requiring dark rituals.  That approach contrasts starkly with the advanced technology we play with every day and the deep and broad understanding we have of how the universe works.  Keeping people alive is a noble aspiration, but nowadays space age technology pushes the bounds of natural behaviour keeping bodies alive when the brain is dead, or the brain alive when the body is dead.  And enough people find themselves in such pain living, whether physical or emotional pain, that they seek death.  While that choice might be morally and naturally defensible, the law in most countries makes suicide illegal.  But in some countries a choice is there and that choice is slowly becoming more available and better informed.  It is certainly wrong to kill people or allow them to die against their will, but there are occasions when the choice should be available.  That is the loudest and strongest message from those who wish to choose – that their right to choose is immorally withheld.

It is wrong to criminalise people seeking euthanasia for the right reason and criminalising those that assist.  I cry with respect at the sight of a Tibetan student or monk self-immolating because to live as a slave under repression is worse than death.  The problem is the oppression not the suicide.

The problem is the restriction on choice and opportunity, not with the person who chooses death over painful or unhappy life.

Belgium is in the throes of discussing legalisation of euthanasia for infants and children – a particularly difficult subject since an argument can be made that they are not in a position to choose.  But even that is not clearly evident.

That is why laws are changing.

I hope that if I ever want to choose,  I can.

Here are some resources on euthanasia:

Wikipedia on euthanasia.

BBC on euthanasia.

Wikipedia summary of Peter Singer on euthanasia.

Taking Life: Humans by Peter Singer.

Euthanasia.com