History

“If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.”
-George Bernard Shaw

Yesterday marked the 68th anniversary of the NanJing massacre. If you never heard about it I am not surprised, since like so many other atrocities in human history this one has been attempted to be erased from history. There are people that believe that the Holocaust never happened, there are people that never heard of Pol Pot or The Killing Fields in Cambodia partly because it was people killing their own people. I am even guilty of not knowing what has happened even in our lifetime and Hotel Rwanda had to open my eyes to what had happened in that country.

Colombia also has its history and current state of violence. There was a period of time know as “La Violencia” when for 10 years the conservative and the liberal parties killed each other during the 40′s. After that the guerrilla’s started, which then spawned the paramilitaries and it just gets more complicated and entangled from there because the drug trade gets mixed in. The bottom line is that people are still killing each other for religious or political reasons, right now in a world that should by now become civilized.

I recently watched the movie Kingdom of Heaven. It was a good movie, but it was also very sad for me, the fight between the groups of people is still happening today for that piece of land that so many consider holy. Why can’t we take an idea from the fictional movie Highlander and never fight in “Holy Ground.”

I chose the quote today because it says a lot more than “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat It.” – by George Santayana. We hear this quote from a lot of our teachers and while they both have a very similar message I think Shaw says it a little better. Why do we refuse to see ourselves as part of the human race? Why don’t we understand that there is a big blanket that unites us, instead of finding so many things that separate us? Why must our quest for individuality be tainted by rejection of what we deem different? Lets hope we can start to learn from history and making the comparisons we need to with our world today, even though we have traded swords for guns we are still acting like barbarians.

Imagine – Imagínese

“Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.”
-John Lennon

R.I.P John. (Version en Español)

The news this morning said a fan killed John Lennon. I don’t understand his death, John did not believe in killing. While his ideas were at times radical and unpopular, he had some great ideas. A man that believes that Peace and Love are eternal is ok in my book.

Peace is a concept at times misunderstood. Peace is not just the opposite of war, but also a state of being. Being in peace with myself is one of my goals, not an easy one but a goal nonetheless. My Mom always tells me to pray for peace, inner peace…

I have been called a dreamer a lot of times, some with a negative connotation attached to it. I love to dream, I love to hope, I love positive thinking and knowing that tomorrow will be another opportunity to make life better than today. Will I live to see world peace? I hope so.

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Oppression

“Human beings are so made that the ones who do the crushing feel nothing; it is the person crushed who feels what is happening. Unless one has placed oneself on the side of the oppressed, to feel with them, one cannot understand.”
-Simone Weil

The riots going on in France, and April’s post both started my mind turning. How would I explain the oppression that I have felt? Yes I have been discriminated against just based on my skin color, several times. Some of those times were pretty clear racism, some I try to think as just people being ignorant and just not knowing any better. The damage in all situations is the same and the feeling is not a good one, but how to describe it to someone that has not experienced it can be a tough thing to do.

I came up with a simple explanation. We can all remember at one time or another when we were kids playing in the playground. Kids can be very cruel because they are not equipped with the sensibility to accounts someone else’s feelings when they say things. When we are adults we try to incorporate that sensibility into our personalities. At least I hope must of us do. Remember when other kids were being cruel and that hurt our feelings in some way, something about your Mother, or the way you looked, your clothes, etc. That was a horrible feeling, insecurity, fear and eventually anger. That is what oppression feels like, some people grow up and never have to experience those feelings again. People that are oppressed feel that way every single day of their lives.

I found a great resource about anger. It states “Anger is an emotion that centers on getting control.” When people feel oppressed, they feel mostly like they have lost control. Eventually after years of oppression someone can become so full of anger that it turns into hate and then despair. It is hard to relate to some of those situations because there are so many levels of it. I try to empathize with people in oppressed situations and while I have experienced racism I am lucky enough not to have to experience it every day. I cannot comprehend what someone that feels oppressed every single day must feel like, but I do know that they will eventually explode of pure anger. I am not sure if after reading this you feel like you understand oppression any better… Do you feel like you understand the word?

Mind Stretching

“Man’s mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimension.”
- Oliver Wendell Holmes

This quote is up there with my top five favorite ones. I would go as far as saying that I try to live by this quote. I had given up on a lot of ideas during my life, almost feeling like my childhood dreams of changing the world were just futile. The Internet changed all that and I believe that the occasional banter we have here and there helps us move further.

I think this is the new way of stretching minds, blogs and websites where you find information that sparks new thoughts. I have seen points of views on subjects that I had not considered before and every single day I feel like I learn a little more. What stretches your mind?

Conflict

“In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.”
-Tao Te Ching

I was looking for a quotation on conflict, and then I found so much more. I have had a lot of thoughts running through my head lately. The decline of people using good manners, how our capitalist society seems to be consuming itself, and how to overcome these issues. I have come to the conclusion that it needs to begin at home. Teaching the new generation that manners breed respect. Also practicing polite and kind behaviours ourselves.

In a society so obsessed with winning, it seems that the notion that not every situation has to have a loser has been lost. We are so predisposed to conflict it at times makes me sick. People that automatically take an opposite view for the sake of argument do not accomplish anything. Yet our corporations are always trying to promote teamwork between people that have been taught since they were little that they need to be the best.

We have compromised so much to be number one, family, friends, community, and our sense of fellowship. Even though I am sad by the prospect that our society is getting to be more and more self absorbed I do have hope. I think that the Internet has opened up new doors to create community and bring back the sense of fellowship. I also think that sharing ideas is going to take us to the next level, something that had been somewhat dormant for a generation. I believe creativity and progress is moving us forward in this digital world.

From the quote above I can take many things, but concentrating on conflict I come to the conclusion that as a society we need to work on compromise. We need to erase the notion that for someone to be a winner there has to be a loser, and that helping others is more rewarding than simply getting ahead. Climbing a mountain is a great accomplishment; even if you do it alone you still need someone to tell the story to. The measure of success is not how much we have or know, but how we enjoy it with those around us. Please share your thoughts on the topic, or simply what the quote meant to you.

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