Posts Tagged ‘questioning’

 

Disclaimer: I am not a political person nor do I claim to know much about politics. 

 

Recently I’ve been besieged by a radio ad, it seems every time I get in my car and turn on the radio, I hear this ad. It’s a political ad stating that if “so and so” gets elected as the new leader of the NDP (new democratic party) he will impose a carbon tax on almost all goods and services, in turn, making everything you buy go up in price. The ad also states that if this new tax was instated gas would go up a WHOPPING ten cents a litre. The ad is basically encouraging people not to vote for this “so and so” person in fear of this tax being created. (as you can see this entry is not about who is running for the NDP or who is running against the NDP)

 

I have a serious problem with this ad, I feel like it is mocking me, as if I don’t know that a carbon tax will make prices go up. Isn’t that the point of the tax? To make goods and services go up in price in hopes to curb our consumption, helping us use less, consume less and lower each persons individual carbon footprint ( or maybe I have the wrong definition of carbon tax). For instance, if this tax was created and gas went up ten cents and tax on my car went up as well maybe I would consider buying a new electric car avoiding both the carbon tax and the gas price increase. Or maybe I would stop buying bottled drinks, or buy more fresh products instead ones wrap in layers of plastic and cardboard that were no doubt produced in a huge factory that creates mass amounts of pollution.

 

I think this tax is logical and rational, people don’t seem understand how much useless production and consumption goes on in the world. Maybe having a tax that directly responds to these excesses would help people see that we really don’t NEED to use and produce as much as we do. What we NEED is clean air, clean water, and clean food. Realistically, everything else is a want and just because you want something doesn’t mean you need it. It seems today that people have lost sight of this, suddenly our wants have become our needs and our needs have become something we waste and destroy with our wants. We destroy our clean air, our clean water, our clean food but polluting all three with the materials and by products of our wants and then we create more products to help re-purify these needs in turn creating more waste and pollution. It really is a vicious cycle when you take the time to think about it.

 

That being said I am guilty of all of these things, I drive a gasoline powered car, I take long showers, I buy what I don’t need, I give into my wants daily. I think the difference between me and others maybe that I understand this is not a healthy way to live. I do try to do my part and make up for my discrepancies, but I know I need to do more. What’s upsetting to me is to hear this ad on the radio and know this person/group/political party is trying to encourage people not to think about our overconsumption, to try to make it seem like this “so and so” person is creating this tax simply to make things more expensive for us all.

 

In closing this rambling blog entry I want to state that I do not claim to have the answers to our over consumption problem, in fact, I don’t have answers for anything, I simply ask questions and hope it sparks questioning in others and in their questioning maybe they can find the answers.

 

Peace and Love and Carbon

Lindsay

(I realize now this blog really had nothing to do with politics, but I like the title so I’m keeping it!)

If you enjoyed this entry I strongly suggest you read or watch Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax and the 2011 documentary Surviving Progress

Whenever I bring up (in conversation) population size/growth I always get the “Lindsay’s at it again, that girl is crazy!” side glances.

Am I the only one who thinks that over population of our planet is one of our biggest worries?

In the short 24 years I’ve been on this planet we have put over a billion people on it! Is this not completely absurd? I can only imagine how many people we will create in the next 24, 50, 100 years.

I have given up on the thought of having my own children simply because of these figures. I cannot knowingly put more beings on this planet, while there are millions of children, teens and adults alike starving for a better life (I hope to adopt one day). This does not mean that I am in any way against people having children of their own. My sister gave birth to twins a little under a month ago and I have begun to worry about their future. Will they have enough food to eat, water to drink, air to breathe when they are my age or older? Will their children or their children’s, children be starved of these necessities? What kind of life will they live on this depleting planet?

I thought the reason for procreation was about the survival of the species? To create a new generation of species hopefully stronger and more resilient than the last. Now reproduction seems more of a recreation, than a survival mechanism. We are taught (at least in western society) that the measure of a good life is getting and education, entering a career, finding a mate and having children. This is a good life…or is it? We seem to be breeding at excessively high rates and the offspring, I find aren’t stronger or more adaptable than the last. In fact, they are in many ways weaker(this generation is expected to be the first generation that will not outlive their parents). I agree that every generation opens their mind a bit more which is promising but the fact that we are still teaching our children to rely so heavily on non-renewable resources and technology, frightens me. These things will too run out, these things will too come to an end and then what?

I was born in the late eighties, both my grandparents and parents grew up without television, without running water, my dad(along with his brothers) even hunted pheasants and rabbits to put food on the table. I grew up hearing “When I was a kid we didn’t have blah, blah, blah.” I was always highly aware that the conveniences of today were just that, conveniences. I worry that the kids born in the new millennia will never care to learn about how life was before the industrialized revolution. When I was young the past was still very close, only 40-50 years earlier were things much different. However, today it is closer to a century, we are living in the science fiction novels of the late 1800 and early 1900’s. It is hard even for me sometimes to see how far we have come in such a short period of time, hard mainly because it is worrisome. We move so fast in todays society, barely able to wait for the next big thing, already working on the next big thing before the last big thing even came out. Only the big thing is not saving us, it’s killing us.

Here is a few concepts for thought. We spend all this time and money on finding a cure for cancer, surgeries for obesity, pills for mental illness, but we spend little to no time on figuring out why these have become so common in our society. I think it is something like 1-4 people will have some type of cancer in their life, 42% of Americans are over-weight and it seems that almost everyone knows someone who has or had some form of metal illness (I myself have family members currently fighting with all three of these diseases). Why can we not put some effort into figuring out what is causing this cancer, this obesity, this mental illness?(these are only a few of the problems we face daily).

I for one believe much of it is coming from the food we put into our bodies that is laced with chemicals and jam packed with ridiculous amounts of salt and sugar. The air we breathe everyday, all day is becoming more and more contaminated. We are demolishing the very things this planet needs to support our livelihood. We are not even close to as active as we were just 50 years ago, we also live in a high stress, face paced global society, which leaves us with little to no time for meditation and reflection. People rarely take the time to be grateful for what they have because they always think they need more, that they have the right for more.

I am not suggesting I have the answers to these problems. I am not a scholar, but I am a human, a human that is hoping for a better future for all life on this planet. I still have hope for mankind (even with all it’s issues) I feel we can make a change if we start talking about the things that we are ignoring everyday, and start putting action to our words.

This seems to be another one of those blogs where I start somewhere and end up somewhere completely different. I don’t want to these words to be preachy. I am not the knower of all things, I only write what I feel, and today and many days this is how I feel. Why I worry about these things, I do not know, all I know is I do, I worry for you and me, for the trees and the bees! (always good to end a serious blog with a rhyme!)

Peace and Love

Lindsay, The Non-Knower of things 🙂

This is a Quote from a woman by the name of India who was on an episode of Oprah‘s LifeClass featuring Gloria Steinem. After the woman spoke Oprah’s response was I could just weep over that.                                                                                                                                                I did.

“People always ask can you have it all? And I think one of the questions we need to start asking ourselves is not can we have it all, and mean marriage, children, career, but do we have the power to do the things that will make us happy?”

Do we?

I am constantly surprised by how people I know and love think about the world and the people in it. I recently had a discussion with a friend about how much people generalize humans into specific groups, whether it be gender, sexual orientation, race, culture or career. Where I am from there is many misconceptions about First Nations/Native/Indian/Aboriginal people. Many people describe this race as being alcoholics/lazy/addicts/bums/dirty/homeless people. There is a terrible history between what you may classify settlers of Canada and the original people from the continent, the First Nations. I do not wish to get into the specifics but there was many wars and disagreements and conflicts that eventually ended in the signing of the Treaties. Sadly this did not end the hate and bigotry towards the race, in some ways it made the judgments and generalizations worse.

This brings me to a conversation I recently had with a friend. I was fighting my point that you just cannot generalize any group of people (on this day we were specifically talking about aboriginals) because not all people are the same not matter what “group” you may personally assign them to. This friend then gave me the example of two apple trees:

On one side you have an apple tree that produces mainly bright red, perfect apples, that appear to be the best apples out there however, this  tree produces a few apples that are misshapen, brown and mushy. On the other side you have the same kind of apple tree that appears to produce predominantly bad apples that aren’t as appealing as the others. But again on that same tree there is also bright red, crisp, perfect apples that look the same as the other attractive apples on the opposite tree. The friend then asked Which tree do you pick apples from, which tree to you water and keep alive? The tree with the abundance of “good” apples or the tree with mostly “bad” apples?

I answered honestly, in the fact that innately if it was for survival I would probably pick from the “good” apple tree and support its life. However, if I was being logical I would simply pick the “good” apples from both trees and support growth of both trees since neither tree was completely without flaw. I also implied that it was not realistic to use a metaphor about a plants and apply it to human behaviour.

This friend was not enthused by my answer and suggested that I, as well as everyone would choose the good tree because we live in a survival of the fittest world. I began to explain that I don’t believe we live in that kind of reality anymore (at least in the western world) I believe we don’t have to leave the sick/weak/suffering/struggling to die or rot in their own life just so we can keep on living. I believe (in this day) we have the power overcome what some may call our innate sense of selfishness, our ability to pick out peoples differences and avoid things that make us uncomfortable. I told this friend that I believed this because I live it. I work on breaking through my judgments and stereotypes because I meet people who break the ideals I or society have imposed upon them. This friend still believed that it was not possible for me to do what I am doing, and we ended the discussion at that.

The funny thing is if it wasn’t possible for me to break through my own misconceptions then I wouldn’t have been able to keep this person as a friend. Just because he/she had these stereotypes about these people I didn’t judge him/her. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, that is my opinion. There is a reason that I did not use a name in this blog, because this blog is not about attacking someone for their beliefs its about understanding that not all people have or rather choose to have an open mind. Sometimes people find that living inside the box is safer, easier and more fruitful. Being on the outside I can only reach my hand in and offer a possible way out.

I enjoy to having these kinds of discussions with people. I like to talk about things that may cause them discomfort or anxiety in an attempt to make them think or see things differently. I don’t know if this friend ever thought of our discussion again, but I know I think about it often. It just makes me wonder what other things people believe, what other things people think they know about the world. It also worries me that still in this day people are so consumed in their own ideas and opinions. When will we stop thinking of the world as billions of individuals with certain characteristics trying to survive and start thinking of it as one solid system of life, love and happiness?

I was suggested this video by a fellow blogger who thought I might be intrigued by it. He was right! I am not a business person but what this guy is talking about makes sense. The only way to be successful and inspiring is to know WHY you do something. Not the end result of WHAT you want to accomplish. It is a tad long and may seem boring to some but the last 4 minutes of the video is worth everything. After all “Martin Luther King wrote the I have a Dream Speech not the I have a Plan speech.” The Golden Circle is something we all should look into applying in our lives. Hope you take some time to watch! 🙂

http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html

http://liberatedself.wordpress.com/

If only we could see, what this world could be

Always thinking of me, me, me

Never of the others suffering

  –

Trying to find ways to flee, avoiding conflict desperately

Always fighting to be free

Why can’t we all live in harmony?

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I work as a nanny for three amazing kids and everyday they surprise me. Always so curious asking tons of questions a day What are clouds made of? Why do people kiss on the lips? What happens when you die? They have this ability to believe anything I tell them (another reason why I love kids so much). I feel I was sometimes misinformed as a child so I always try to give them the most honest and true answers to their questions. Clouds are made of water, people kiss when they love each other, no one really knows what happens when you die.

This brings me to the topic of my blog today. One day while I was at work I noticed the kids calling others kids of darker skin as black or brown. This disturbed me as I had never referred to people of darker skin tone as a color (certainly not in front of them). It didn’t feel right to me to let them continue on using these terms so I said “Kids you don’t call people black or brown. Does anyone call you white? No. People are not colors they are simply people. We are all different shades some people are lighter shades others are darker.” They were about three at the time and that simple statement kiboshed their use of those words to describe people. The best part was seeing them go out into the world and spew this information to people young and old so proud of this new information they had learned. “Did you know people aren’t colors? They are shades? I’m a lighter shade!” (so cute, and the looks they get from people, priceless!).

Since then I have used this tactic to instill understanding and compassion for many other things such as homosexuality, adoption, poverty, amputations/physical differences/paralysis. These kids understand that you can love whoever you want, that some kids have many parents some have none, that we all are a little different but we are also all a little bit the same. They don’t seem to hold it against people their lifestyle choices or aesthetics. If you play with them and make them laugh, they will love you! I find it fascinating that such young children could understand and accept such concepts that most adults can’t or choose not to understand.

Let me make it clear, I am not trying to suggest I changed these kids lives or that I am Miss-Judgement Free 2012. I only wish that when I was a young I had someone to stop my stereotypes before I had time to develop them. Instead I work hard to break through a little bit of my judgements and generalizations everyday, that I feel, the society I grew up in conditioned. However the more I break through the easier it gets.

Children are our future. Ellen Degeneres was right when she suggested that Compassion should be a subject in school. Children are like sponges soaking of every last bit of information available. Why don’t we make the available information be ones of compassion, love, acceptance, and peace? Everyday I lose hope in humanity, it sometimes seems that people will never get it. We have 7 billion people each living in their own realities, how do you get them all to live as one? Is that even possible? Should I even care? I don’t know (as usual). All I do know is that when I see kids spreading words of support, empathy, happiness and helpfulness I gain back the little hope I had lost. Children are our hope.

Side note: Miss Judgement-Free 2012 intrigues me. Maybe a contest is in order?!………

Dear uWise One, You are anything but unwise. I love what you have to say about yourself and what you write. I take it you’re from Canada? Would like to know more about what has most influenced you as a person, poet and philosophical searcher. I wish there were more unWise ones in the world. It humbles me and gives me hope for the future.
– Gordon Stewart –

 First of all thank you for your questions and kind words. I assure you they humble me. 🙂

At first I was skeptical of answering this question because I really have no education in the area of philosophy or writing. All I know is that I was always an inquisitive child, curious for answers asking endless bounds of questions. My parents were very helpful in this development they always encouraged me to ask questions and listen and talk about anything and everything. I also had a passion for writing poetry and prose as a child. I remember being encouraged by my grade 2 teacher to never stop writing and I have listened to her. When I look back at my writings from childhood I see the wonder and curiosity I had that started from very young age and seemingly sprouted out of no where. My only explanation for it is that I must have been born with it. Even so I have never considered myself a writer or a poet or even an artist. (however with all this blog love I might started considering it)

That being said my real philosophical journey began after I dropped out of university. Once I left I began to read endless amounts of books about everything. I was so angry at being forced to read books during my 14 years in the education system. I always hated reading in school and being expected to have certain opinions or understand the book in a certain way. So I rebelled by reading as many books as I wanted on every topic that interested me (oh what a rebel, ha!). The more I read, the more I wrote, and the more I wrote the more I read. It was a continuous circle of thoughts, ideas and questions. Then one day in 2010 I went to Chapters Bookstore to pick up some books on the 2012 End of The World Prophecies as I had become weirdly curious with this concept. I pulled a book from a shelf and another book tipped over, my eyes were drawn to the tilted book and I was immediately intrigued by the title, it read The Book of Not Knowing By Peter Ralston. I picked it up and put it on the pile of others I had collected. When I got home I and in the following weeks I read through the 2012 books and was almost convinced that the world could realistically end in two years (ah how naive). A few days later I began The Book of Not Knowing and my mind was immediately expanded.

I have to admit with minimal education the book was difficult for me to read/understand but the book reassured me that what I was reading now, would make more sense later if only I would keep reading. So I did as it asked. Everyday I read more, I did the exercises it asked me to do. Some were writing exercises others were focussed solely on your thoughts and awareness. Every time I would read the book I could almost feel my mind being opened. The weird thing was that book was not providing me with any answers in fact it started making me question things that I thought I had the answers for.    Eventually I came to the near end of the book in which it asks you to re-read from the beginning because this was the point of no return. I was shocked. It had taken me months to get through the bulk of the book and now I was expected to re-read it before I finished it?! Needless to say I was irritated so I simply closed the book and pledged to myself that I would re-read it eventually but not anytime soon.

Well, it has been two years since I put the book down I have yet to re-read and finish it but yet I am still feeling the effects of what I read everyday. When I stopped reading the book was when my real, honest and true philosophical journey began. In the simplest sense The Book of Not Knowing made me question everything I thought I knew and contemplate anything that could ever be or not be. It recharged my love for curiosity, philosophy, ontology and life in general. I still plan on finishing it one day but not until I feel I’m losing sight on the things I have learned…or better yet unlearned.

Check it out:

http://www.amazon.com/Book-Not-Knowing-Exploring-Consciousness/dp/1556438575

http://www.gordoncstewart.com

Backstory

I stopped believing in God over ten years ago. Shortly before I lost my faith (not that I really had much to begin with) I stopped believing in the devil. I came to the conclusion that the devil was simply made up to scare people into being Godly or following God’s word. So I chose not to believe in such a thing. Soon after I chose not to believe in God either. I had the realization that there could be no God. God for me became Santa Claus or Unicorns or Leprechauns. It appeared to me that faith was simply a coping mechanism for all the things we cannot understand in our world, and I personally did not feel I needed answers. For me I have less guilt and more freedom  without god/religious duty looming over my head. That being said I have no judgement towards faith/religious lovers, I am the first one to say believe in whatever you want to believe in, and I will believe in mine.

This brings me to the topic of my blog today. I was recently at and event where someone suggested that to be a good person and to carry out justice for all, you somehow must  have god’s light in your heart. I don’t overly agree with this. I would have to say bluntly I have none of God’s light in my heart. My heart is made of blood and muscle and tissue. It’s made of the same thing that your heart is made of. This however may suggest that I am a bad person, selfish, vain, greedy. I hate this stereotype of non believers. I consider myself a good person and in a way I feel like I feel more pain than most because I try everyday to have compassion for every person, and living thing on this planet. More and more these days I see how everything is connected and that the stars in the sky are on the same level as mosquitos, as carbon, as music, as humans. Everything we have today is because of how this Universe has developed at random. To me life is a gift but not a gift given by  someone or something. A gift of happening, a side effect of our Universe. And I try to live in this gift as a peaceful person not because I was taught to but because I want too, because hate, violence, judgement and intolerance have never amounted to anything positive.

The older I get the more I have noticed that Language is in many ways a hinderance to humanity. I remember being a kid and saying a word over and over until it didn’t even sound like a real word. This exercise made me question Who decides words? Who said that one is one not two? Who said up was up an not down? I then started to wonder what if everything I knew as language was backwards. What if what we know as red was actually called green? This intrigued me.

As I reached what some would call Adulthood I noticed another thing about Language, Tone. I had long heard the phase It’s not what you say but how you say it. As an adolescent I hated the phrase. To me I delivered words of rebellion in the same way I delivered words in usual conversation. Being an adult and listening to people young and old I started to understand this idea of tone. Somehow two people could say the same exact thing but it could be received in completely conflicting ways. Ah the tone I would think to myself. How was I unable to hear it before? Did I simply choose not to hear it or was I incapables at the time? All I know is I hear it now and it puzzles me constantly. Not only do we have hundreds of languages but we also have hundreds of tones those languages can be delivered in.

This is where language can become a hinderance. It is very hard for people to properly communicate their feelings with such a wide variety of options to convey them. Human perception also makes this difficult because even when we find the right words to say, the person/people receiving this message may percieve a tone in the way the person delivered the words. This may in turn lead to a long discussion explaining why what you said was not what you meant. I often find that words can never describe what we are truly feeling or trying to communicate.

I think it’s funny that there is so many words for one thing. We call them synonyms but what they really are is useless. Why do we need twenty words for beautiful? Do we really need three ways to say to/too/two or there/they’re/their? Are these necessities of language or excesses? Would language crumble if these ceased to exist?

Sometimes silence is the easiest way to communicate, odd as that sounds. At least that’s what I’ve found. In the words of the great Joss Whedon “When people stop talking, they start communicating.” (if you haven’t seen the silent episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer “Hush” I recommend you watch it!)