Friday, 27 April 2012

Worth Some Thought


There is no doubt that the world is changing. The need for change is obvious and in many fields; education, politics, economy, social integration and development, the list could go on and on. New right human relations need to be thought about and established. There are many ways to achieve these changes. Experiments, trial and error, are just some of the methods to make progress in these areas. In any given country more than one idea may be developing now, often, in opposition to other ideas of change or on how to achieve it, or to effort to maintain a status qua that no longer holds true.

Among other ideas or social movement we have the Occupy Movement in the United States. It is an interesting social movement that is hard to define and that seems not to have a fully coherent structure and unfolding. Yet, this may be one of its advantages. Recently Noam, Chomsky has been talking about this movement. Here are some of his reflections, as published by Truthout, that I wanted to share with you.

Noam Chomsky has seen a lot of social movements. He cut his teeth on the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s and 1970s. He participated in the anti-intervention struggles of the 1980s as well as in the World Social Forums that began in the 1990s. Now in his 80s, Chomsky has hardly slowed down with his schedule of writing and speaking and agitating. And he is certainly not one to watch the new Occupy movement from the sidelines.
The latest publication from the new Occupied Media Pamphlet Series brings together several of Chomsky’s intersections with the Occupy movement. There’s a lecture he gave at Occupy Boston in October 2011, an interview in January 2012 with a student about the meaning of Occupy, a conference call with hundreds of Occupiers later that same month, a subsequent speech on “occupying foreign policy” at the University of Maryland, and a brief tribute to his friend and co-agitator Howard Zinn.
Having spent so much time thinking about and engaging with social movements, Chomsky is both optimistic about the energy of Occupy and realistic about the challenges it faces. He appreciates the “just do it” ethos and embraces its radical approach to participatory democracy. But he reminds his audiences that all social movements reach further than they can grasp. The influence of money on U.S. politics, the huge weight of the military-industrial complex, the rapaciousness of financial speculation: these are forces not easily dislodged by people gathering together in public spaces and voicing their opinions. And yet, as Chomsky points out, the mostly non-violent, non-funded, and non-partisan set of actions radiating out from Zuccotti Park in Manhattan managed to change the national discussion about economic inequality.
This inequality, he argues, is the result of a 30-year-long class war that has hollowed out the middle class and put great pressure on the poor in the United States. The neoliberal push for privatization and lower trade barriers has carried that war to every corner of the globe. The Occupy movement is pushing back against the actors, the actions, and most importantly the consequences of this class warfare. Not surprisingly, given the vested interests being challenged, the pushback of the 99 percent has generated pushback in turn from the 1 percent.
What makes Chomsky’s perspective so interesting, aside from the wealth of his political experience, is the range of his interests. He draws from examples around the world to demonstrate his points. When talking about community-based media, for instance, he describes a scene from a Brazilian slum where media professionals set up a truck in a public square – to show skits and plays written by people in the community – and then walked around to interview people for their reactions. Why can’t we do something similar in the United States, Chomsky wonders.
It’s a big agenda that Occupy has identified, nothing less than a complete renewal of U.S. society and the U.S. role in the world. Chomsky sees not only the radical agenda but also the radical practice of the Occupiers. “Part of what functioning, free communities like the Occupy communities can be working for and spreading to others is just a different way of living, which is not based on maximizing consumer goods, but on maximizing values that are important for life,” he concludes in this valuable set of remarks and interviews."

Chomsky certainly can make a better analysis of the Occupy movement than myself. I specially like the conclusion: “Occupy communities can be working for and spreading to others is just a different way of living, which is not based on maximizing consumer goods, but on maximizing values that are important for life,” It is worth while to think about this, regardless if we sympathise or not with the Occupy movement.

For more information please visit:
Truthout: http://truth-out.org/news/item/8747-review-noam-chomskys-occupy

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Dragon is going on a journey

Dragons often change their dwellings. They may travel with the seasons to places that better suits the seasonal energies for their own growth, rest and in short getting on with life.

The One Magic Dragon is beginning a journey that will keep him away for about ten to fifteen days. Who knows, dragons travel as they please and according to what they discover and need in their voyage. 

I, as the dragon keeper will travel with him. I am going wherever it takes me. We will be fine, we trust the Universe and rest in its arms. When the journey comes to an end, posting will resume. 

Meanwhile, may you days be blessed with light and your nights with dreams.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Humility and Strength II

The subject has continued to be present in mi mind: Humility and Strength.
For lack of a better name I shall consider them as virtues. As such, they can be developed and they can have an influence in our practical life. Virtues that don't have a practical influence do not deserve the name of virtues.

I don't believe that humility or strength come from a single source, they are formed and develop by the collaboration of many of our internal capabilities. The mind with its capacity for thought that shines a light. The will that gives energy, power to that that is willed. Love, defined by many as another manifestation of the will, but to me it can often grow to be much more than a will manifestation, becoming an expression of our whole being.

Clear thinking, directed will, and growing love are needed to grow in humility and strength. It is the coordinated work of our best faculties that yield the fertile ground for the development of these two virtues, (as is often the case with many others). They, are needed to better come to terms with what life is about.

As said, humility and strength should have practical consequences. That is one of their purposes. For example, we can be passing through a difficult period in life. How can we assess the causes of the difficulties we are experiencing?
-Is it a lesson, a transit and that we can come out of the experience? We need to ponder and do some amount of soul searching to gain understanding and then be capable of giving meaning to the experience.
-Is the situation or problem I am cruising through something that I have caused? Is it due to someone else that is close to us experiencing a difficult situation that we find ourselves involved in it? 
- Or does the experience actually comes from tapping into the collective?

To be able to answer and be clear about these possibilities can only be achieved if we are humble, that is, if we know what we are and what the experience has to do with us. We are not always the centre of all of what happens, while at other times, we do bring these kind of situations upon us. Which is it? Only the clarity of a humble look at ourselves and the situation will point us in the right direction, will give us light about the causes of the situation, and will give us the wisdom to deal with it in the best possible way.
Humility is then a way of knowing our place in the cosmic dance of events. Events that can be holders of truth or shams that confuse us. Humility will allow us to view and take "our place” and if this is achieved, we will be more likely to act better.

Strength can provide the assurance that things will work out.
Maybe we can not foresee the outcome, but we can be certain that whatever it might be, it will be for the better and that we will come out of it a step higher in the spiral of our development. Regardless if the outcome is clear or not at any given moment. Strength that produces conviction, assurance, and in some way; peace in the middle of the storm.

Strength can connect us with our deeper self that can be overshadow by what may seem a very difficult time. Our deeper self that remains untouched, undisturbed by changing situations and the gloom that can be perceived all around us and/or around others.
Our true self is a source of strength that provides a rudder to steer our ship out of the dire straight produced by stormy difficult times.

Experience, trial and error, effort and disposition, practise and patience (always patience) are qualities or skills that need and must be practise if we want our humility and inner strength to grow and be there when needed. As always in life, they are the product of a conscious look at ourselves and the situations we might face. Regardless if they are our own or that of others.

Humility to know they self. Strength to have a clear vision and confidence in our deeper self. Our true, divine self. This will lead to the wisdom we may need to overcome or outgrow whatever comes our way and make the most of it for ourselves and the collective.
Easier said than done. Much to work upon. Life is a fantastic experience!

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