Why Meditation Is Important
The only thing we truly know is the existence of our own consciousness. Everything else may be a complete hallucination. In the simplest sense, consciousness is the ability to feel, perceive, or be aware of our internal or external experiences. The dynamic complexities of consciousness have been studied, observed, and debated for millennia by philosophers, contemplatives, artists, and scientists. Yet its true nature remains unsolved, continuing study and investigation from experts and amateurs alike.
What if there is one vast consciousness with many components happening at once? Could several different consciousnesses exist independently? How capable are machines of consciousness, and, if so, what are the ethical implications of that? How do we define sentience in other species, and what moral principles must we follow to ensure their protection and autonomy? Philosophers are currently exploring concepts of self-awareness, or “awareness of awareness.” New developments in the study of memory, thoughts, emotions, and perception present some exciting work in contemporary neuroscience. Artists explore consciousness in ways that science and philosophy cannot. Some contemplatives suspect the presence of a universe-wide consciousness. We might conclude that with such a broad continuum of study, research, and contemplation (with so many unanswered questions), we just aren’t asking the right ones.
Evolutionary psychology indicates that consciousness comes as a solution to one of the critical issues within our nervous system; a high volume of information is continually processing. The brain has developed ever more intricate mechanisms for the deep processing of a few selected signals and the eventual outcome of this was consciousness. By separating the mind into different realms of the conscious and unconscious, we have adapted to using essential parts of the intellect for survivability while storing more traumatic memories deeper within. The issue comes from our current model of civilization. We do not experience the same struggle for survival that our ancestors did. Our brains are not required to store traumatic memories for mental preservation in the same way they used to. Such deep traumas continue to manifest in ways that continue to cause our suffering, even years later. Our own suffering is transferred onto others, creating an endless cycle of perpetual misery. We have trapped ourselves in our own prison.
Suppose the scientist's role is to investigate the universe. In that case, the philosopher's role is to examine ideas, and the artist’s role is to explore the imagination; the contemplative’s role is to study oneself. Meditation offers us an instrument through which to take on this task. The process begins by observing our own perceptions. The brain is essentially a repository of information kept hostage by the knowledge created inside it. We know what we know. That is, we know only what we know. When we authentically understand how we perceive our surroundings, our interpretation of reality can begin to transform. This deep introspection can provide us with a glimpse into our own minds. Rather than attempting to alter unchangeable situations, we can significantly impact the environment around us by improving ourselves first. We can indeed find balance, and that equilibrium is yet another reason why meditation is so important.
There are two broad categories of meditation techniques: focused (concentrative) and open monitoring (mindfulness or insight).
Concentrative meditation involves the deliberate focusing of attention on a chosen object, concept, or mantra. Concentrative meditation aims to calm the mind and deepen its meditative condition. A concentrative technique is suggested to prepare mindfulness work and its potential use in moments of anxiety, stress, or loss of concentration.
Mindfulness meditation involves methodical, non-reactive observation across the spectrum of experience from moment to moment. Mindfulness meditation aims to understand the nature of reality authentically, the fundamental essence of suffering, and the causes of suffering. Mindfulness utilizes an in-depth analysis into three realms: impermanence, suffering, and non-self.
Many different meditation techniques, strategies, methodologies, and other forms and traditions do not fall neatly within this categorization within these two general definitions. These definitions are simply a way to explain meditation practices in general terms.
Meditation is said to be a path to wisdom, so what is wisdom? Wisdom does not inherently come from formal education. Having “street smarts” does not necessarily mean one possesses wisdom either. Is it age? Is it experience? Can wisdom be defined? Let us attempt to do just that.
Wisdom is the practical perception of certain qualities: qualities like sound thinking, compassion, knowledge, awareness, self-transcendence, and non-attachment. According to the Buddha, there are three specific types of wisdom: wisdom gained by listening to others, wisdom gained through theoretical understanding and scientific observation, and wisdom dependent on real direct experience. These are such wise words! By authentically listening to others, we have the opportunity to bear witness to another person's pain and authentically understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their own frame of reference. In philosophical thinking, we have the chance to expand our perspectives on culture, principles, and ethics, concepts, and many other areas of metaphysical ideas. A scientific mindset is a constant quest of scraping through the absurdities to reach an empirical understanding of reality. Exploring expression and emotion can create a deeper understanding of meaning. Direct experience aids our development of practical approaches to how we interact with the environment around us.
Mindfulness meditation involves four fields of observation: observing the body, observing physical sensations, observing the mind, and observing mental content. When we examine our perceptions, feelings, and impulses, two main insights emerge. One is the realization that all things are impermanent. Everything is continuously changing, arising, and passing away like a wave in the ocean splashing on a rocky shore. Whether it is something as simple as an uncomfortable numbness in your leg, or something more severe like grieving a loved one's death, these sensations continually shift and alter. Instead of unwittingly resurrecting them, we can develop healthier coping techniques by just observing them arising and passing away naturally. The other insight is the awareness that everything is interdependent, the nature of cause and effect. All concepts are bounded by space and time, formed and expressed according to their setting, form, and purpose. All physical experiences, created and embodied by their environment, configuration, and sense, are connected in space and time. When a phenomenon is detected, it may manifest several experiences rather than a function of its components only. As we understand this interconnectedness on an experiential level, we can begin to examine our relationships within communities and the wider society.
Meditation allows one to understand our unconscious choice of suffering. We often crave reality to be something that it only cannot be. Consider your relationship with your parents, your child, or a close friend. Have you ever experienced annoyance over a personality trait that one of these individuals possesses? And if so, how has this annoyance impacted your relationship with them? Has it ever grown into something more significant than a mere nuisance? Has this engagement ever caused a relationship to deteriorate ultimately? Was it worth it? This is not to suggest that we should accept disrespectful interactions, social injustices, or fail to attempt any constructive effect on societal progress. This indicates that we have a choice in how we engage with the world around us. Can we influence change in others? Yes. Can we alter their behaviors? No. Can we reconstruct our neural passageways of perception? Absolutely. By engaging in this concept, we stand for more nourishing opportunities for everyone and lead the growth transition.
The Self, or Ego, like many other cognitive experiences, is a continually evolving phenomenon. Consider who you were ten years ago. Have you changed, or are you exactly the same? If you have changed, do you recall the precise moment, or was it a more incremental transition? Is there anything left of your old self? Who will you be in 100 years? Will you even be alive? Imagine dipping your hand into a flowing river and gently lifting it out. If you were to place your hand back into the river in the same location, would it be the same water you feel? Expand this concept to a period of a year, or a century, or millennia. Eventually, the water will cease to exist altogether.
The ultimate goal of meditation practice is to get in tune with ourselves and our surroundings. We each carry our own qualia, something only the individual can understand, namely, in how we see the world from our own perspective. Through individuation, the process of bringing the unconscious into consciousness, we will ultimately enter a holistic state, an evolutionary path to being a whole human. Meditation is not a replacement for medical or psychiatric treatment. There are specific chemical imbalances and healthcare needs that we must utilize to ensure our health and wellbeing. Meditation can offer a type of mental fitness to expand our consciousness and understanding of our place within this universe. It can help us find comfort in those unanswerable questions and develop communication skills with our fellow humans.
May you be happy!
May you be peaceful!
May you be free from suffering!
May all beings be happy!
1. A Cosmic Being
You are a Being of Nature.
You come from dimensions
Of powerful strength and light.
Return to those worlds
By discovering yourself within.
You are an explorer
In service to our planet.
Explore new concepts
For our world is endangered
By the absence of new ideas.
Our world is in turmoil because
Of the lack of conscience.
Within the body
Every atom was born
Of an exploding star.
We are made of stardust.
2. Listen to everything you can hear
Regardless of what you believe.
In every case. In any case.
Listen with purpose. Speak with intention.
We’re developed from our first findings
Discovered as children.
The sounds of ordinary living,
And one’s own thoughts …
Perhaps the hidden sound of music
Create an elevated consciousness state.
Everything that occurs leads to something.
We’ve been protecting ourselves.
By increasing awareness,
New neural pathways can replace the old.
The answer to the question is profound,
It needs time.
3. Meditation on Awareness
This should be a simple session
In a simple space.
Sitting upright in a dimly lit space
With eyes closed, and mouth shut.
Breathe deeply and naturally through the nose
Bringing awareness to the sensations of the nostrils.
There is no need for counting, mental image, or mantra.
Simply breathe deeply and naturally.
The moment you become aware
That you have drifted in your mind,
That you are lost in thought,
That you are daydreaming,
Simply return to the breath.
Breathe deeply and naturally
With eyes closed, and mouth shut
Bringing awareness to the sensations
on the area of the nostrils.
One begins the journey
By taking the first step of the way.
Sensations come and go
Like waves in the stormy sea.
Conscious breathing is our anchor.
The source of our life is breathing.
4. Meditation Psychedelic
This should be a simple session
In a simple space.
Lay back in an atmosphere of a natural setting
That was not substantially affected
By human behavior.
It’s best to be alone, still
In the wilderness.
You note the echo
Of the thousand harps
If tomorrow is at rest
You have been extracted.
Surround yourself with:
Air, fire, soil, water,
wood and textiles
Ancient sounds or silence
Greenness, fruit, scent
Connect to Spirit’s seeds
Beautiful latent flowers
Taking a lane
Regarding your reflections
Only to get the feelings
Choose the guide
Where is the limit?
Choose your own story!
Adoration and friendship
Let it go! Let it fly!
Let it float!
Sounds of the drops
A number of consciousnesses
In tomorrow’s prosperity
You do. You will.
Deceived and naive
Ultimately, the nature
Now. Then. Too.
Revolutionary art will promote
A spirit of rebellion.
Revolutionary art will promote
Class and universal identity
In order to combat injustice
And outdated philosophies.
Revolutionary art will promote
Humanity, morality and safety,
Not secrecy or deception.
Art creates love.
Art creates hope.
Art creates perspectives.
The artist assumes
A significant position in society
And can contribute
To transcendent conditions
For the proletariat.
A culture that is in harmony
With its citizens capabilities and needs
Wellness for every being is not a fantasy,
but a necessity
6. Waving of the Banner
Ignorance is society’s
Most destructive component.
Patriotism believes that
Our planet is split into tiny spaces.
A closed barrier to everyone else.
Citizens are brought up to feel nobler,
More prosperous, more intelligent,
More valuable than those
Residents of other places.
All residents in this chosen position therefore
Will battle, destroy, and die
To rule over other people.
This is a greedy arrogance
And the most harmful ignorance.
There is never a winner.
7. Hymn To The Gray Skies
Who’s going right now?
This will be there.
Is the toxin of the corrosion
Every amazing experience.
With the system moving on,
Humanity organizes before occupation
With a system of Excellence
The Environment Control
Will it have to move on?
So it occurs eventually.
Lead our planet
The death of the animals.
prior to society reconstruction
Through an undivided society
Using his experience of culture,
Performance of society,
technical experience technical experience,
Creation for its own good
Across the developed nation
Any environmental issue has its roots
About the subjects of culture.
It is not gradually degenerating.
Our search is Utopia
Spirit is our truth.
It is a transition that our vision is.
We need not to pursue warriors,
But pursue revolutionary thoughts.
Prosperity is one view of the world.
Yet, one can not move over
And embrace obligations
Unless you learn deeply of the
If you assume there is no path,
Then you know that there is no route.
You will move for a prosperous world
If you find you want to change.
You have the capacity for everything.
9. Check and Denounce
The discovery and denunciation
Of the rule of
Power, dominance or inequality
In all fields of existence
Is only logical and a must.
If an argument could be created,
To expand the rights of all humanity,
Those in power
Would declare it to be unconstitutional
You either recite the same traditional lectures
Or you say something new from the ether.
However you put it,
You are discovering something newer and deeper.
10. Life Force
From a celestial viewpoint,
Each of us is essential.
It is much more than seeking to delude
But to consider the world
With a greater view of the essence,
And advantages of the cosmos,
As it really is.
11. Without Music
Without song, the world can not change.
A pattern, a certain tone,
And a little note moving the world.
If the world will crumble,
The music will end.
It is time to do what is impossible.
Save the world.
12. With Music
Everybody has to teach.
Knowledge cleanses poverty.
Is the source of knowledge always traveled?
The trouble with this earth’s people
Is they appear to believe all
Except what they don’t recognize.
Trigger intervention rather than effects
Or it’s just a song about the effects.
When one listens intently,
They don’t have any questions.
As communities, economies, media , and social networks develop,
We try to look for significance that has already been there.
Life may be a difficult sleepwalk.
Fill this life with song.
The room is full of song
When all matter is music.
14. Inherent collective aid
For eons, within the human psyche,
Mutual aid is an inherent quality.
Our very existence has maintained this,
Regardless of the neo-liberal propaganda.
This does not mean that there should be no progress
Or that adaptation is not desirable.
It is to say that we can create a better life
through cooperation and mutual aid.
People desperately wish
To survive after death.
Yet, they pass away without understanding
The spirit of human wellbeing
Is still very much alive.
The next generation is inspired.
The spirit is transmitted again to the next
And to the next.
This is the objective of all moral lessons.
You are made of
And emotional capacities.
Your experience, your zeal,
Your will for change.
Your will to be strong.
It is worth this battle to attain our legacy.
Is this a true afterlife?
Many would say “yes.”
To be clear, I am not a professional writer, nor am I a professional political theorist, nor am I a professional historian... I am simply a human being who sees serious warning signs in the current political arena and feel that we need to continue to fight before it is too late.
What is fascism? Is it the ideology of Benito Mussolini in 1922 Italy? Is it German National Socialism pushed forward by Adolf Hilter which lead to some of the most horrendous crimes against humanity in the 20th century? Is it the strange philosophy of Savitri Devi in search of a living pagan Aryan culture combined with Hinduism? Is it the current trend of alt-right trolls, dogmatists, and terrorists that have infected our current culture?
The answer is yes. All of these are fascists, and there are many more variations.
The definition of fascism has been debated by many historians, political scientists, philosophers, and other scholars since the term first came to be in 1915 in the essay The Doctrine of Fascism by Benito Mussolini.
“Granted that the 19th century was the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy, this does not mean that the 20th century must also be the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy. Political doctrines pass; nations remain. We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the 'right', a Fascist century. If the 19th century were the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the 'collective' century, and therefore the century of the State.
The Fascist conception of the State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value. Thus understood, Fascism is totalitarian, and the Fascist State—a synthesis and a unit inclusive of all values—interprets, develops, and potentiates the whole life of a people.
...everything in the state, nothing against the State, nothing outside the state.
Fascism is a religious conception in which man is seen in his immanent relationship with a superior law and with an objective Will that transcends the particular individual and raises him to conscious membership of a spiritual society. Whoever has seen in the religious politics of the Fascist regime nothing but mere opportunism has not understood that Fascism besides being a system of government is also, and above all, a system of thought.”
-Benito Mussolini, The Doctrine of Fascism
Now, for some odd reason, there has been a movement attempting to push the narrative that fascism is actually a left wing ideology. It's just not true, historically or logically. I personally have zero qualms criticizing the Left and gladly point out any hypocrisy when it happens. We don’t need to create false narratives. It is completely dishonest, and just to point out, the people who publicly identify as fascists, call themselves right wing. I digress…
Italian novelist, cultural critic, philosopher, and semiotician Umberto Eco coined the term Ur-fascism in his 1995 essay “Eternal Fascism” giving a list of 14 properties that can be used to identify fascism when it arises.
I highly recommend reading/listening to Eco’s essay and watching this in depth video by Angie Speaks for a better understanding of Ur-fascism.
My purpose of this blog post is to look at these 14 properties and see if and where they can be applied to Donald Trump and his administration. Remember, this is my unprofessional conjecture. I simply consider myself a well researched amateur, but there is a lot of area to improve.
"The Cult of Tradition", characterized by cultural syncretism, even at the risk of internal contradiction. When all truth has already been revealed by Tradition, no new learning can occur, only further interpretation and refinement.
I don’t see any connection with Donald Trump and tradition, though the Mike Pence/evangelical portion of his administration is frighteningly full of syncretism with wild combinations and incoherent combinations of thought, such as being pro-Christ, but anti-welfare.
"The Rejection of modernism", which views the rationalistic development of Western culture since the Enlightenment as a descent into depravity. Eco distinguishes this from a rejection of superficial technological advancement, as many fascist regimes cite their industrial potency as proof of the vitality of their system.
Donald Trump does not seem to be against modernism and would seemingly support any technology that would help support his reign of power.
"The Cult of Action for Action's Sake", which dictates that action is of value in itself, and should be taken without intellectual reflection. This, says Eco, is connected with anti-intellectualism and irrationalism, and often manifests in attacks on modern culture and science.
Yep. This is Donald Trump. With his travel ban on countries that have never sent us a terrorist, push for a border wall on Mexico when immigration is down, and drastic assault on climate science and journalism.
"Disagreement Is Treason" – Fascism devalues intellectual discourse and critical reasoning as barriers to action, as well as out of fear that such analysis will expose the contradictions embodied in a syncretistic faith.
Yep. Donald Trump will not allow anyone to question his decisions and dissenters are highly propagandized against. I’ve been the Trump/Pence mailing list for research purposes since 2016, and the amount of propaganda sent out on a daily basis about people who have disagreed with the administration is spine-chilling.
"Fear of Difference", which fascism seeks to exploit and exacerbate, often in the form of racism or an appeal against foreigners and immigrants.
Yep. The constant focus on the border wall when immigration is down and the constant focus that those who come to this country undocumented are violent, lazy, stealing votes, and not paying taxes is definitely a tenet in this administration.
"Appeal to a Frustrated Middle Class", fearing economic pressure from the demands and aspirations of lower social groups.
Yep. My home state of Ohio loves Trump right now, even when he says and does things that would have caused a ruckus under any other president, especially a liberal. I’ll give credit where credit is due. Trump actually went to the rust belt and listened to the economic concerns of the middle class there. He was lying, and it should have been obvious, but alas, he did ACTUALLY GO THERE AND LISTEN.
"Obsession with a Plot" and the hyping-up of an enemy threat. This often combines an appeal to xenophobia with a fear of disloyalty and sabotage from marginalized groups living within the society. Eco also cites Pat Robertson's book The New World Order as a prominent example of a plot obsession.
Yep. Look at the constant propaganda being put out by the president directly via his Twitter account about the Democrats, the Mueller investigation, and even conservatives that didn’t/won’t tow-the-line.
Fascist societies rhetorically cast their enemies as "at the same time too strong and too weak." On the one hand, fascists play up the power of certain disfavored elites to encourage in their followers a sense of grievance and humiliation. On the other hand, fascist leaders point to the decadence of those elites as proof of their ultimate feebleness in the face of an overwhelming popular will.
Yep. Donald Trump constantly calls the Democrats (and liberals in general) radical leftists who can’t control themselves emotionally whilst also masterminding plots against him and his administration. This is all a tactic. He’s not paranoid. He’s playing paranoid to trick people.
"Pacifism is Trafficking with the Enemy" because "Life is Permanent Warfare" – there must always be an enemy to fight. Both fascist Germany under Hitler and Italy under Mussolini worked first to organize and clean up their respective countries and then build the war machines that they later intended to and did use, despite Germany being under restrictions of the Versailles treaty to NOT build a military force. This principle leads to a fundamental contradiction within fascism: the incompatibility of ultimate triumph with perpetual war.
This is a no. I don’t see Trump as any different than any of the last presidents. They’ve all be warmongers and I’m ashamed of all of them for this very reason.
"Contempt for the Weak", which is uncomfortably married to a chauvinistic popular elitism, in which every member of society is superior to outsiders by virtue of belonging to the in-group. Eco sees in these attitudes the root of a deep tension in the fundamentally hierarchical structure of fascist polities, as they encourage leaders to despise their underlings, up to the ultimate Leader who holds the whole country in contempt for having allowed him to overtake it by force.
Yep. This is Donald Trump’s entire position. He’s here to ‘drain the swamp’. Of course, he’s not doing anything of the sort, and is, in fact, filling the swamp with more swamp. Look at his cabinet and every appointee he has brought into high government positions.
"Everybody is Educated to Become a Hero", which leads to the embrace of a cult of death. As Eco observes, "the Ur-Fascist hero is impatient to die. In his impatience, he more frequently sends other people to death."
I don’t see Trump as anything exceptional in this area. This is a no.
"Machismo", which sublimates the difficult work of permanent war and heroism into the sexual sphere. Fascists thus hold "both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality."
Yep. Donald Trump has a long, toxic history with women, whether it be speaking down to a female news anchor all the way to admitting on camera to sexually assaulting women.
"Selective Populism" – The People, conceived monolithically, have a Common Will, distinct from and superior to the viewpoint of any individual. As no mass of people can ever be truly unanimous, the Leader holds himself out as the interpreter of the popular will (though truly he dictates it). Fascists use this concept to delegitimize democratic institutions they accuse of "no longer representing the Voice of the People."
Yep. Donald Trump claims to speak for the working class whilst actually making huge tax cuts for the rich, raising our outward economy while simultaneously hurting the working class. This is Donald Trump’s rhetoric. And just so you know… he’s lying.
"Newspeak" – Fascism employs and promotes an impoverished vocabulary in order to limit critical reasoning.
I don’t see this one. No on Newspeak.
In conclusion, is Donald Trump a fascist in the same way that Benito Mussolini, Jorge González von Marées, Ioannis Metaxas, or Francisco Franco were? No. I don’t think so.
However, do he and his administration fit into any of the 14 properties of Ur-fascism (Eternal Fascism). I would say coming in at 67.86%, that’s a frightening yes. Remember, Eco didn’t create this as a checklist, he said "it is enough that one of them be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it".
This is a warning of the dangers of the Trump administration.
PS I predict that he is going to win in 2020, and I also predict that he is going to figure out how to stay in office longer than that. I hope I’m wrong on both.
The Five Realms of Well-Being are 5 general realms of focus that can aid in bringing balance to their life. Every individual is different. These are my five realms with short definitions within the subcategories.
So, I want to admit that I was wrong about the boys at the March for Life rally.
Here's the breakdown to what we now know:
The racist group known as the Black Hebrew Israelite's harassed a whole bunch of high school kids, calling them racial slurs (specifically the African American boys and Native American activists) and homophobic slurs.
Nathan Phillips went up to the Covington High School kids and began playing a drum/singing a song, seemingly to keep the peace.
An out of context video put into the world, appearing that the boys had surrounded Phillips, chanting racist things, etc.
Phillips gave an interview telling his side of the story, and everyone was outraged, myself included.
It's a mess.
Here's my genuine reaction to it now.
I have had many direct interactions with the Black Hebrew Israelite's, as their home base is literally a few blocks from my apartment in Harlem. They're awful, and I would love more media attention to be focused on them in general. Like most radical racist groups, they sprinkle tiny bits of truisms in to push their awful separatism agenda, and clearly have hints of violence within their message. Literally, they were harassing High School kids with racial and homophobic slurs. These guys are super gross.I genuinely believe Nathan Phillips account of what happened. I don't think it's fair when people are calling him a liar. He definitely DID put himself directly in contact with the Covington kids, but I don't think he meant agitation. This is all speculation based on my experience studying psychology, military training, and experience being directly involved in protests where people whom I am horrendously opposed to are present. I like to call it 'a really educated gut feeling'.
Now, on the kids.They're kids.I don't blame them for acting the way they were. They were chanting things that are generally associated with modern day sports (which I do consider these chants to be horrendously racist, but that's another debate entirely). The 'smirking kid' was reacting as any awkward teenager would act in a circumstance that they were feeling uncomfortable in.I still stand by my initial reaction to the adults in charge. This should be used as a learning experience. If one is willing to attend an obviously heated protest, wearing gear that is obviously politically charged. Please don't pretend that wearing a MAGA hat doesn't attract negative attention. There's a reason I don't wear political gear. It brings attention to the person wearing it and brings people who don't know you to make automatic assumptions about you.
What these kids can learn from this is... If you go to a political protest wearing gear that shows direct support for a controversial politician, you are setting yourself up for backlash. Backlash is okay. It happens in the real world everyday. The question to ask is this..."Am I willing to deal with the backlash I could potentially bring upon myself?"
I know this was a rambling post, but I wanted to apologize for putting more outrage out into the world. I'm currently working on a follow up email to send to Covington High School's principal to clarify my initial email I sent him yesterday.
Below are some links that helped me navigate through this ridiculousness.
This is my email I just wrote to Principal Rowe at Covington Catholic High School due to his students conduct towards an indigenous veteran. For more information, read this story HERE.
His contact information is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Principal Rowe,
I hope this email finds you well.
First and foremost, I am writing you to tell you that I am a full supporter of free speech, even when it it something I disagree with on a principled level.
Secondly, I am writing you to let you know that I am utilizing my free speech to discuss the disgust I felt watching your students harass, mock, and intimidate a Vietnam veteran and indigenous citizen of the United States this Saturday at the March for Life.
I currently serve in the Army National Guard and to be completely upfront, watching a brother in arms get harassed by children was infuriating. I am not saying that they are not allowed to speak up for what they believe in. I am not saying that they should get 'in trouble' for their beliefs.
I AM saying that all actions face consequences, and that their actions came off as entitled bigotry, enraging a large portion of the country, myself included.
I know you will do the right thing. This should not be a moment of punishment, but a moment of teaching and learning, as well as accountability.
Because they are children, I put much more accountability on the adults in their lives, including you.
All the best,
By John Cage
We don’t need government
We need utilities.
Air, water, energy
Travel and communication means
Food and shelter.
We have no need for imaginary mountain ranges
Between separate nations.
We can make tunnels through the real ones.
Nor do we have any need for the continuing division of people
Into those who have what they need
And those who don’t.
Both Fuller and Marshal McLuhan
That work is now obsolete.
We have invented machines to do it for us.
Now that we have no need to do anything
What shall we do?
Looking at Fuller’s geodesic world map
We see that the Earth is a single island, Oahu.
We must give all the people all they need to live
In any way they wish.
Our present laws protect the rich from the poor.
If there are to be laws, we need ones that
Begin with the acceptance of poverty as a way of life.
We must make the world safe for poverty
Without dependence on government.
Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
The lifestance of Humanism—guided by reason, inspired by compassion, and informed by experience—encourages us to live life well and fully. It evolved through the ages and continues to develop through the efforts of thoughtful people who recognize that values and ideals, however carefully wrought, are subject to change as our knowledge and understandings advance.
This document is part of an ongoing effort to manifest in clear and positive terms the conceptual boundaries of Humanism, not what we must believe but a consensus of what we do believe. It is in this sense that we affirm the following:
Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis. Humanists find that science is the best method for determining this knowledge as well as for solving problems and developing beneficial technologies. We also recognize the value of new departures in thought, the arts, and inner experience—each subject to analysis by critical intelligence.
Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change. Humanists recognize nature as self-existing. We accept our life as all and enough, distinguishing things as they are from things as we might wish or imagine them to be. We welcome the challenges of the future, and are drawn to and undaunted by the yet to be known.
Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience. Humanists ground values in human welfare shaped by human circumstances, interests, and concerns and extended to the global ecosystem and beyond. We are committed to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity, and to making informed choices in a context of freedom consonant with responsibility.
Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals. We aim for our fullest possible development and animate our lives with a deep sense of purpose, finding wonder and awe in the joys and beauties of human existence, its challenges and tragedies, and even in the inevitability and finality of death. Humanists rely on the rich heritage of human culture and the lifestance of Humanism to provide comfort in times of want and encouragement in times of plenty.
Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships. Humanists long for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence. The joining of individuality with interdependence enriches our lives, encourages us to enrich the lives of others, and inspires hope of attaining peace, justice, and opportunity for all.
Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness. Progressive cultures have worked to free humanity from the brutalities of mere survival and to reduce suffering, improve society, and develop global community. We seek to minimize the inequities of circumstance and ability, and we support a just distribution of nature’s resources and the fruits of human effort so that as many as possible can enjoy a good life.
Humanists are concerned for the well being of all, are committed to diversity, and respect those of differing yet humane views. We work to uphold the equal enjoyment of human rights and civil liberties in an open, secular society and maintain it is a civic duty to participate in the democratic process and a planetary duty to protect nature’s integrity, diversity, and beauty in a secure, sustainable manner.
Thus engaged in the flow of life, we aspire to this vision with the informed conviction that humanity has the ability to progress toward its highest ideals. The responsibility for our lives and the kind of world in which we live is ours and ours alone.
Humanist Manifesto is a trademark of the American Humanist Association
© 2003 American Humanist Association
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