Showing posts with label freedom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label freedom. Show all posts

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Don't Suffer Injustice

Douglas Clark
-Head writer, The Inspiration Engine

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
     
     It would be a wonderful thing if everyone had a positive moral center. The world would be a better place if a universal moral truth existed that we could all center around, believe in, and adhere to. Sadly, an altruistic moral goodness does not seem to be something we all can share. There is a major difference between having a difference of opinion, and having radically opposing ideologies. Wars have been fought, men have killed and died, people have suffered, and lives shattered in following those ideals. But what does that mean for the common man, the individual? Having conviction for your beliefs is one thing, oppressively forcing those beliefs on others is quite another. What qualifies as sharing the tenants of a belief structure or forcing it down someone’s throat? These are deep philosophical questions that may have no definitive yes/no, right/wrong answer. So what do we do with the inevitable injustice that comes along with all of this ideological ambiguity?  Vigilance.

     Thomas Jefferson once said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance”. This vigilance, this eternal watchfulness for danger, abuse, and dishonesty keeps you ever aware of the actions around you. Paying attention to what is going on, what is happening around you, who is doing it, and for what reasons are fundamental in forming a foundation of morality. You will be influenced by others, you will be influenced by experiences, your education, environment, health, religion, if you have one, responsibilities, even your wealth or lack thereof. Recognizing that your perspective is not the only one is the first step into understanding what drives others to do the things (sometimes despicable) that they do. This is not to say it exonerates them or justifies their actions, but you will know more about the drive behind those actions. This understanding is important because for the most part, you cannot and will not change anyone, except yourself.

     It is almost inevitable that you will be the target of injustice. The key is to not be the victim. Accepting the ideal that you were powerless to stop another’s actions may seem reasonable, but don’t fall into the trap that just because you could not stop someone from doing something, that it means you cannot recover from it. There is always recourse. Some people delight in causing pain, anguish, misery, whatever you might call it, mostly because they are miserable themselves. In a way they are the victim; the victim of their own limited perspective hiding in a mental world of fear, or rage desperate to lash out at anyone they perceive as a threat. They will attack, they will lie, cheat, steal, cajole, and offend, sometimes overtly, sometimes blatantly; both methods are insidious. Vigilance against these forces of negativity is your first line of defense. There is however, more to life than just battling against the never ending tide of grief. 

     Keeping an open mind about your circumstances allows your perspective to mature. Accepting that you can learn from others both good and bad allows you to see the world from many angles. This multi-faceted perspective cuts through the ambiguity and helps focus on foundational elements essential to a moral center. It may be true that the whole of society will never agree on a bullet-pointed list of things that define true morality; we may never have consensus. Blindly accepting established social dogma and railing against accepted norms for the sake of social disorder are neither effective nor prudent, but centering your individual mindset is the only way to reach out. You don’t have to remain planted with your proverbial feet in the ground, but drifting along with the wind is no help either. One of the hardest things in life is holding on to a conviction that you believe to be right even when others denounce you. The other is apathetic refusal to believe in anything. It comes down to a simple fact: life is full of choices; make good ones.


 Questions and comments are welcome.  Thanks for reading. 
  


Thursday, July 19, 2012

What Do You Need?


“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed” – Mahatma Gandhi



Depending on how you look at it “What do you need?” is either a rather innocuous question or a very profound inquiry about life.  Answering that question when it comes to basic survival is easy: food, water, and shelter.  But since when has answering life’s questions every truly been easy?  If you think about it for a few minutes, what do you really need?  When I say need, I mean what do you need to be happy, successful, content; those sorts of things. 
Now I know we’ve all heard it, or said it.  It’s that line where we say we need something because it is so awesome or cool, or it would make things so much better than they are right now.  I remember thinking when I was a teenager thinking “I need a car”, or “I need to get a Playstation.”  Yeah, it’s funny how our priorities seem so out of whack when we re-examine them years later.  I obviously didn’t need a car or a playstation; the truth is I really wanted them.  And that’s a big difference, between need and want.  Sometimes it’s hard to make the distinction.

You can look at it from this perspective.  If something is going to give you lasting inner peace, contentment, or understanding, I’d say you need it.  If something is going to provide stability and security, I’d say you need it.  If something provides a distraction, fill an emptiness brought about my envy or greed, you don’t need it, you want it.  I think too often people have wants that go unfulfilled for so long, those wants become what seem like needs because nothing else will satisfy their desire.  But that still is not need.  It is an unhealthy want.  And really, what you should strive to do is eliminate unhealthy elements in your life.  Purging those destructive and limiting wants will show you what you really need.

I’ll tell you, I want a high paying job; I want a big house; I want to take trips to Europe. I don’t need any of those things.  I need to see my daughter every day; I need to give her a hug and kiss and tell her I love her; I need to express myself, mostly through writing or I feel stifled and depressed; I need to be free to make my own choices.  I guess you can say I need mental freedom most of all.  When I weigh the pros and cons of it all, most of the stuff society tells us we need, is just stuff.  Sometimes we need to be reminded of what’s important so we don’t want for things we don’t need. 

Think about it.



Thanks for reading.  Comments and questions are welcome.

Understanding Pandemics

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