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Wasichu vs. Altruism and the state of our planet

Wasichu

The first people who lived on the northern plains of what today is the United States called themselves “Lakota,” meaning “the people,” a word which provides the semantic basis for Dakota. The first European people to meet the Lakota called them “Sioux,” a contraction of Nadowessioux, a now-archaic French-Canadian word meaning “snake” or enemy.

The Lakota also used the metaphor to describe the newcomers. It was Wasi’chu, which means “takes the fat,” or “greedy person.” Within the modern Indian movement, Wasi’chu has come to mean those corporations and individuals, with their governmental accomplices, which continue to covet Indian lives, land, and resources for private profit.

Wasi’chu does not describe a race; it describes a state of mind.

Wasi’chu is also a human condition based on inhumanity, racism, and exploitation. It is a sickness, a seemingly incurable and contagious disease which begot the ever advancing society of the West. If we do not control it, this disease will surely be the basis for what may be the last of the continuing wars against the Native American people.

…excerpt from Wasi’chu, The Continuing Indian Wars,
Bruce Johansen and Robert Maestas
with an introduction by John Redhouse

Aaron Huey set out to photograph poverty in America, but somewhere in his quest, he ended up in the Lakota Indian reservation and the focus of his photography changed. In this impassioned Ted Talk  he talks about something that has been and is still going on all over the world – the process of how history is rewritten by the victor – the original immigrants and how the defeated are truly wiped out. In poverty, ignorance, systematic exclusion & persecution. He talks about how our collective apathy leads to us repeating the same mistakes, silently witnessing destruction of entire nations, with an unapologetic shrugging of our shoulders in the dark, absolving ourselves of any and all responsibility, while we stand in the side lines questioning – “My God what are these people doing to themselves? they are killing themselves”.

History repeats itself in today’s world and perhaps we are doomed to it for all eternity because we refuse to become wise to our “Wasichu” ways. After all, the survival of the fittest & strongest rules is the dominant philosophy of every day lives and choices, while ‘altruism’ lies dead on our wayside. It’s the reason why climate change and it’s very real impact on societies who are drowning now still need to be debated by nations haggling over climate credits and fund allocations.

Its the reason entire wars can be launched in the name of democracy, saving humanity, giving dignity to oppressed people or fighting terrorism / fundamentalists – pick whichever option is suitable to sway the majority of voters. Once the troops are on the ground, work out contracts for rebuilding, for mining, for extractions of precious resources and award them to your fellow countrymen, in contracts with corporations, negotiated behind closed doors.

We conveniently forget that the very people who are supposed to be saved are the one’s being bombed, until nothing is left and they are forced to move. Then we deny these very people, any human dignity or consideration. We leave them on boats to die. We watch them wash ashore – dead. We rally and cry out against this encroachment on our hard-earned easy life. We brand them as economic burdens, pariahs, each country doing it’s best to stem the flow, to close its borders, to shove off as many as possible to its neighbors to share the burden.

We do the same here, we do it with the tribes in the hill tracts. We sign treaties, we violate them, we flood their lands with new settlers of the dominant community. We have no option – we are too big in numbers, we need land to farm, they don’t know how to manage their communal properties. They are backwards and inefficient and in desperate need of our technologies, health system, and education designed to brainwash and indoctrinate children into accepting authorities without question. We award quotas for college and university education, jobs in the civil service. We know they are not going to make it because the systematic persecution is too great. But we sugar coat the truth, we extend hands in friendship and with promises of greater economic prosperity. We destroy lives, culture, history, language and we wipe out anyone trying to hold on to an identity that doesn’t blend in with the ones we want to establish.

The Australians did it with the aborigines, or perhaps I should say that the original immigrants from the British Empire to Australia did it. They did to the Maoris in New Zealand, who by the way, are still fighting for their lands and their rights in the court systems. The Spanish did it to the Incas – wiped out. We have been doing it over and over and over again. We wipe out indigenous population, we wipe out age-old wisdom, we destroy the very fabric of the society. We install progress, democracy, individual wealth economies, we are even wiping out the earth with our fast resource depletion.

Then we sit back and question, puzzle over and research into why there is so much strife and disorder in this world. Why and how we are destroying the only planet that we have to live in. Why and how we do not recognize, refuse to acknowledge, bury our heads in the sand, when it comes to seeing the very real threat of the imbalance we have created in our ecosystem. We wring our hands as we bemoan the lack of human connections that lead to school children shooting up their classmates. We hold candle light vigil over great injustices and inhumane incidents of crime and torture wrought on members of our societies. We question where and how we lost our humanity, whether we had it, or can ever hope to salvage it.

What are we doing to ourselves?

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The beauty that connects us

In this awesome Ted Talk photographer Jimmy Nelson talks about his journey to photograph tribal people around the world. The lessons he learnt and  how he was affected as a person by the interactions he engaged in. Well worth the 17 minutes to watch this talk 🙂

When Jimmy Nelson traveled to Siberia to photograph the Chukchi people, elders told him: “You cannot photograph us. You have to wait, you have to wait until you get to know us, you have to wait until you understand us.” In this gorgeously photo-filled talk, join Nelson’s quest to understand — the world, other people, himself — by making astonishing portraits of the world’s vanishing tribes and cultures.

Neither am I this… nor am I that

It’s a poem, that they made into a song, it’s from an old Sufi poet named Bulleh Shah, who was born in 1680. This poem, describes men’s everlasting quest to discover his place in the world. By saying he is neither this or that, compares himself to something that transcend humanity. Identity is either created by us or created for us. The world needs a lot more understanding of others than division among us.

The greatest quest for knowledge is perhaps to understand ourselves. Without knowing oneself, one cannot know another. We are limited in our perceptions, by experience, by the extent of our empathy … since each one of us walks a path that is known only to ourselves.

Here’s my toast to this song, to the eternal quest of self-knowledge 🙂

(translation of the song is in the video but there are others on youtube with only lyric and translation but I liked the video on this one better)

Changing lives – one child at a time – Jaago Foundation

All is fair in love and war… or is it?

This semester at the university, I had a course “Gender & Development” and for the term paper, my group of 4 and I decided to do our paper on “LGBTQI & Development”.  The paper itself was interesting to put together but far more interesting was what I learnt along the way of secondary research.

As a die-hard romantic, somewhere deep down, I truly believe in all the Disney portrayal of love and relationships. This despite the fact that I also laugh at how dysfunctional those relationship would be in real life.

Now imagine my surprise, despair and distress at having to immerse myself in the difficulties of same-sex love, relationships and the screwed up institutional bias against the same. If ‘everything is fair in love and war’, then what’s wrong with this love?

Who says that only a man and a woman can be in love with each other? Who decides who your heart will fall for? Which logic dictates how you get to conduct your love affair?

Love for me is a very intimate affair between two people, the state, the law, the society, has no business butting their nose in there. As long as it doesn’t harm anyone else, why should anyone else have a say in it?

I understand parents loving their children and wanting the best for them. But I don’t understand it when parents & families kick out their kids because they are LGBTQI or when society/family pressures drive these people to take their own lives.

This doctor in the UK chose to take his own life, despite the fact that he was in a relationship for 13 years & was professionally successful. His mother told him to seek treatment to cure being ‘gay’ and I guess the pressure got to the point where it didn’t make any sense to keep fighting his family. So he ended it. Whose loss was that? Given the choice, would his family really choose to have him dead, rather than being gay?

While the doctor’s family is muslim, this gay teenager who committed suicide had devout christian family, who performed an exorcism on him to cure him of his ‘gayness’. Below is quoted from his suicide note:

‘My pain is not caused because I am gay. My pain was caused by how I was treated because I am gay.’

‘To my friends you gave me life and love, never think this was your fault…To Lady Gaga, you have been a fearless relentless proud LGBT advocate…’

These cases are far too common, in fact, the opposite is rare. To be able to come out to your family, to be accepted for who you are, to be celebrated for the person that you are, instead of being persecuted is rare. So rare in fact that the news below became quite a sensation.

Best birth announcement ever!

The world is screwed up, society is screwed up. We need more lovers and less war. Love and relationship are not guaranteed happiness for heterosexual couples. I cannot even begin to imagine how much more difficult it must be for homosexual people. So why can’t we all just take a chill pill and relax and be supportive … after all … All is fair in love & war.. right?

At some point in time, during our presentation to the class, I may or may not have, cheekily stated that while my first reaction to being ‘bi’ or ‘gay’ would be ‘yayy… more fish in the sea for me’… this wasn’t in any way meant to discount the anguish & distressing experience of thousands of people who had to ‘come out’ to their family or the society around them. However, if you are reading this and if you belong to the LGBTQI community, I want you to know the following:

YOU are beautiful exactly as you are

YOU are enough for yourself

No one and I really mean no one, no religion, society, family, is worth more than YOUR life

God doesn’t care.. he wants YOU to be a good person inside, in your actions, in your intentions.. I doubt that there’s any loving God who will denounce you based on your sexuality. He created us. If we were not what he wanted, you wouldn’t be here. We wouldn’t have free will. Period.

So if I may… “live long and prosper” … and leave the naysayers in the dust where they belong.  Enjoy the holidays, kiss the person you are in love with and love truly and deeply.

It’s all your fault

AWESOME SARCASM !!!!

The satire is poignant in pointing out how ominously, mercilessly, unthinkingly WE allow woman to be victimized – over and over again. Yes, we ….. not some anonymous ‘someone’ or ‘others’….. it is certainly ‘we’ consisting of you and me.

SO……… the next time you are tempted to jump on the bandwagon of being the guardian of “social morales”

wag your tongue and remind a woman of what she ‘can’ or ‘cannot’ do,

what she is ‘allowed’ or ‘not allowed’ to do,

what ‘society’, ‘family’, ‘friends’ will ‘say’ about her or her parents or her upbringing…..

hold your tongue….

IF you can … stop & think and ALLOW common sense to prevail.

She’s busy fighting her way through the 24 hours that already exist in the day, she doesn’t need you to make it harder for her.

We, the women, allow the victimization of other women. We watch silently from the side, while someone else is getting victimized. We ‘allow’ the victimization of our own mother’s, sisters, sister-in-laws, aunts, cousins, nieces, friends, neighbors.

We justify it with ‘what can I do?’, ‘this is not my problem’, ‘it’s a family matter’, ‘what happens between husband and wife behind closed doors is none of my business’, ‘she was asking for it’ and we close our eyes to the violence.

We ‘allow’ it with our silence.

We ‘allow’ it every time we let someone step all over ourselves or someone else.

We ‘allow’ it when we want to avoid making a scene by calling attention to ‘this’.

We ‘allow’ it when we are too busy saving ‘faces’, instead of really looking at those faces around us.

We ‘allow’ it when we leave it to others to take action.

We ‘allow’ it when we encourage others to speak up but quiet down when it comes to our own self or family members  – by neither reporting the perpetrator nor helping the victim.

We ‘allow’ it when we advise a victim to ‘keep quiet’ in order to uphold the ‘family honor’.

REALLY?? Does the family’s honor, the woman’s honor, her social status, her worthiness as a human being, reside in her ability to keep quiet?

in allowing victimization??

in silently putting up with mental, verbal, physical abuse???

While the video above had been a satire, the one below unfortunately is not. Do not fool yourself into thinking that this is a South-Asian problem, an Indian problem or a Bangladeshi problem or an African problem. As report after report with mountainous statistics show…. this unfortunately is true the world over, including the first world countries, the developed world.

When women make up half of the world’s population, why do we put up with being abused by the other half? If we band together and stand up against this, can such impunity really exist?

 

What if the world turned on it’s head?

What if the world turned on its head and you woke up one day to a society like this.

What would change for you?

as a man…

as a woman…

as a human being…

Wise men say before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoe. Yet we specialize in jumping …. to conclusions, to forcing others to live up to what we expect from them, what society expects, what religion expects, tribal laws, family laws/customs or whatever else we can drum up…… ever stop to wonder what they expect from themselves?

Have you ever asked someone what they want for themselves and REALLY listened?

This is not an invitation to debate, it IS an invitation to stop and think. Take a moment, take a breath and reflect.

Compartmentalisation

Psychology defines compartmentalization as a defense mechanism, or a coping strategy, which doesn’t impart a very good connotation. Put simply, it’s how our minds deal with conflicting internal standpoints simultaneously.

Compartmentalizing is something that doesn’t usually come easily to people. You can see this in the way people will bring problems from home to work, let that affect their performance and vice versa. For some not so strange reason, I seem to have the opposite problem. My life is compartmentalized in so many segments that I find it difficult to allow them to mesh together. Maybe that’s also the reason I challenged myself last year to allow a disintegration in the boundaries, to mesh in all the different parts and build a new collage of the different parts.

Compartmentalizing is good, as long as you can handle it. To compartmentalize is to shove something in a box in your mind. It isolates the issue, allowing you breathing space, to get back to it with a cool head, a certain sense of detachment if you will, that allows you to approach it in a new way. In my own experience, this detachment has allowed me more flexibility and find more solutions, it’s probably the reason that I can come up with a Plan A, B, C and D to most any situation.

Compartmentalization however doesn’t work if you are trying to run away from issue, to avoid dealing with them. You do not get to shove things in a box in your mind and pretend like you have forgotten them. The issues don’t leave, resolve and in the back of your mind, you know that they exist. In extreme cases, this denial can lead to disassociate disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The reason I do it is automatic but it’s a skill like every other that we acquire. Being able to compartmentalise can help you to achieve more, be more effective and efficient. It allows me to do a 40 hour week, my two volunteer work, one full time evening masters. There is no end to how much more you can handle. Anyone can train themselves to be anything, us humans have unlimited potential, if we focus on expanding our potential.

And that applies to humans too 😉

This is not a new phenomena infact a vast majority of us do practice it daily. For example, you might go home, see your kid smile at you and completely forget the stress you carried over from work.It’s what people talk about when they say that they want more work-life balance. It’s what allows multi-taskers to be effective. Leaders to stay on top of all the varied things that go on under them in an organization, team or league. It is our unconcious mind protecting us automatically from being overwhelmed. 

If you would like to use the process of compartmentalization in a concscious and effective way, then I suggest the following steps:

1. To effectively compartmentalize, isolate the issue. Don’t confuse one thing with another. Be very clear on what you are isolating.

2. Once the issue/problem/riddle is isolated, focus on it. Really focus on it. Place that issue on the table in front of you like a rubics cube and look at it from all angles. BUT do this only for short periods of time.

3. Once you have analysed a problem, you can then start working on a solution. A little bit at a time.

4. Once the problems been handled, close the compartment. The problem existed, you handled it. Don’t dwell on it. Don’t file it away somewhere in the back of your mind in order to return to it over and over again. You have already given it your full attention. You have already solved the issue at hand to your best possible ability. Now close it and be done with it.

5. Learn to say “no”. Get comfortable saying “no”. Prioritize your time and your attention. While there are unlimited supplies of problems, both at home and at work, you as a human however only have a limited supply of energy and time to devote to them. So learn to get comfortable saying “no” to things that have no business in your life. And once you have said no, move on. These do not have to be filed or compartmentalized in order to be handled at a later time. It’s like cleaning your PC when it gets virus infected. You purge and reboot 🙂

“Pamela Meyer: How to spot a liar”

I stumbled on this talk quite by accident this morning and that too after a heated exchange with someone whose lies I was simply not buying. This person is not lying to me, he is lying to himself. He is lying because he has no idea what he really wants or maybe he thinks that he can’t get what he wants with the truth. The argument was heated because I have no space for half-truths and disguised intentions in my life anymore and I do not wish to control the reins of someone else’s life whether explicitly or implicitly.

I have said this before and I will say it again – we lie to ourselves far more often than we lie to others.

We lie to justify our actions. We lie to close the gap between what really is and what we wish it was. We lie because reality is too painful to digest as it is. We lie to sweeten our conversations. We lie to smooth over ruffled feathers. We lie because we want to tell the other person what we think they want to hear. We lie because we want to blame someone else for our actions – subconsciously. We lie because we perceive that we have no control over our life, so we need to cajole the people around us to give us what we want by telling them whatever they want to hear, whatever will sweeten the deal for them to give us what we want.

In all of these interactions, we essentially handover the power that we have over our own lives – to someone else.

We do this not only by deceiving ourselves but by deceiving others when we use words and sentences like “I will do what you want”, “whatever you want, however you want it, is the way its going to be”. Why do I call this deceit? Because when the chips fall and what you get is not what you want, you will then use these same sentences to place the blame of your failure on the other person’s shoulder. You did what they wanted but they failed to do what you wanted/needed etc regardless of whether they want to take that responsibility or not. It’s a covert way of placing the responsibility somewhere else other than ourselves.

“Lying is a cooperative act. A lie has no power by its mere utterance. Its power emerges when someone else agrees to believe the lie.”

The truth may not be easy – to either dish out to ourselves or others but it really does set us free.

Deception is actually serious business.This con man, Henry Oberlander, he was such an effective con man, British authorities say he could have undermined the entire banking system of the Western world. And you can’t find this guy on Google; you can’t find him anywhere. He was interviewed once, and he said the following. He said, “Look, I’ve got one rule. “And this was Henry’s rule, he said,”Look, everyone is willing to give you something. They’re ready to give you something for whatever it is they’re hungry for.” And that’s the crux of it.If you don’t want to be deceived, you have to know, what is it that you’re hungry for? And we all kind of hate to admit it. We wish we were better husbands, better wives, smarter, more powerful, taller, richer –the list goes on. Lying is an attempt to bridge that gap, to connect our wishes and our fantasies about who we wish we were, how we wish we could be, with what we’re really like. And boy are we willing to fill in those gaps in our lives with lies.

While you may be tempted to use these on others,  the reason I am sharing this video is to enable us to spot the lies that we tell ourselves. The lies in our heads, the justifications we give for our actions. The half-truths and outright lies that rob us of the power to design our own authentic life. Our inner thoughts have more control over our actions and thereby our life, then we realize.

When you realize that, you become the master of your own destiny.

Julie Bort’s 50 Universal Truths That Will Make You More Successful

I read this article a few weeks ago and loved it for the nuggets of wisdom it contained. A seasoned professional, Julie Bort hit the nail in the head with her advice.  You can follow the link and read the original article here:  http://www.businessinsider.com/50-universal-truths-for-success-2013-10#ixzz2kaPHJJ89

50 Universal Truths That Will Make You More Successful

Julie Bort Oct. 28, 2013,

 No matter what is going on in your career, good advice is universal. No matter what problems you are trying to solve, chances are someone else before you had a similar problem.

I’ve been a journalist for the better part of two decades and during that time I’ve interviewed and written about thousands of people in various stages of success, from billionaires to entrepreneurs launching startups (one while fighting brain cancer).

All of that has led me to conclude that there are certain universal “business truths” — tips and tricks that work for nearly everyone in every business. They are:

  1. Have a passion for your work. If your work is meaningful to you, your work life will be a joy.
  2. If you can’t be passionate about the work itself, be passionate about the reason you do it. Maybe you don’t love your job/company/career, but the money and benefits are good for your family. Be passionate in your choice to do right by your family.
  3. If something needs changing, be the one to lead the change. If you dislike your job but are stuck, work on getting the skills that will get you unstuck. If there’s a problem at your office, work on being the one solve it.
  4. Start small and build from there.
  5. Do the obvious stuff first, then progress to the harder stuff. (Otherwise known as going for the low-hanging fruit.)
  6. If it’s not broke, don’t fix. Do improve it.
  7. The hardest lesson to learn is when to keep going and when to quit. No one can teach you that. At some point, you have to choose.
  8. The definition of crazy is to do the same thing the same way and expect a different result. If the result isn’t good, change something.
  9. No one succeeds alone.
  10. Ask for help. Be specific when asking. Be graceful and grateful when help comes.
  11. Surround yourself with positive people and you’ll have a positive outcome.
  12. Embrace diversity. The best way to compensate for your own weaknesses is to pick teammates who have different strengths.
  13. People experience the world differently. Two people can attend the same meeting and walk away with different impressions. Don’t fight that. Use it.
  14. You don’t have to like someone to treat that person with respect and courtesy.
  15. Don’t “should” all over someone, and don’t let someone else “should” all over you.
  16. No matter what you do or how much you achieve, there are always people who have more.
  17. There will always people who have less, too.
  18. No matter how much you excel at things, you are not a more worthwhile human being than anyone else. No one else is more worthwhile than you, either.
  19. If you spend most of your time using your talents and doing things you are good at, you’re more likely to be happy.
  20. If you spend most of your time struggling to improve your weaknesses, you’re likely to be frustrated.
  21. Practice is the only true way to master a new skill. Be patient with yourself while you learn something new.
  22. The only way to stay fresh is to keep learning new things.
  23. To learn new things means being a beginner, and that means making mistakes.
  24. The more comfortable you grow with making beginner mistakes, the easier it is to learn new things.
  25. You will never have all the resources (time, money, people, etc.) that you want for your project or company. No one ever has all the resources they want.
  26. A lack of resources isn’t an excuse. It’s a blessing in disguise. You’ll have to get creative.
  27. Creativity and innovation are skills that can be learned and practiced by doing your usual things in a new way.
  28. Take calculated risks.
  29. In the early stages of a company, career, or project, you’ll have to say “yes” to a lot of things. In the later stages, you’ll have to say “no.”
  30. Negative feedback is necessary. Don’t automatically reject it. Examine it for the nuggets of truth, and then disregard the rest.
  31. When delivering criticism, talk about the work, not the person.
  32. Think big. Dream big. (The alternative is to think small, dream small.)
  33. Treat your dream as an ultimate roadmap. You don’t have to achieve your dream right away, but the only way to get there is to take many steps toward it.
  34. If you think big, you will hear “no” more than you hear “yes.” They don’t get to decide. You do.
  35. How long it takes you to create something is less important than how valuable and worthwhile it will be once it’s created.
  36. If there is one secret to success, it’s this: communicate your plans with other people and keep communicating those plans.
  37. Grow your network. Make an effort to meet new people and to keep in contact with those you know.
  38. No matter what technology or service you are creating/inventing at your company, it’s not about the product; it’s always about the people and the lives you will improve.
  39. No matter how successful you get, you can still fail and fail big.
  40. Failure isn’t a bad thing. It’s part of the process.
  41. Things always go wrong. The only way to keep that from hurting you is to plan for that.
  42. Learn how to respectfully, but firmly, say “no.”
  43. Say “yes” as much as you can.
  44. In order to say “yes” often, attach boundaries or a scope of work around your “yes.”
  45. No matter how rich, famous, or successful another person is, inside that person is just a human being with hopes, dreams, and fears, the same as you.
  46. Getting what you want doesn’t mean you’ll be happy. Happiness is the art of being satisfied with what you already have.
  47. Working with difficult personalities will be a part of every job. Be respectful, do your job well, and nine times out of 10 that person will move on.
  48. For that one-out-of-10 time, remember you aren’t a victim. Do what you need to get a new job.
  49. As soon as you have something to demonstrate, get an executive champion to back or support your project.
  50. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/50-universal-truths-for-success-2013-10#ixzz2kaPHJJ89

 

NB: No Copyright infringement intended!

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