Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Reclaim

2016 is for reclaiming societies—by the people in our common pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.

Much is at stake and we confront desperate times. Guns and violence are on the rise. Governments endorse them abroad in righteous and popular wars; radical terrorists of all walks of life use them as ways to advance religious and political agendas they know won't pass the common sense muster. Police are ever more incompetent and we are ever more radical in our methods of opposition. While civil law enforcements now have tanks and automatic rifles, we citizens now idolize violent resistance (Guy Fawkes). The rest of the flock of sheep are caught in the middle of a waging war of many sides: private interests, deliberate or indirect censorships, caught amongst the mess because there are profits to be made, fame to be gained, power to be had.

Fame and fortune direct the flow of things and irresponsible politicians take advantage of the situation; we see the uglier side of the human experience: fear, hatred, and all sorts of “-ism's” that we use to identify our self-imposed superiority. We waste time talking bans, exclusions, building walls and justifying wrong-doings with lies.

The public debate is a joke. The punchline is that we actually believe things can be different. All sorts of professionals spend their time turning the conundrum of how to solve the world's problems ignoring the politics. I commend them on their focus and dedication, but like the rest of the herd, I fear they tread dangerous waters. Academics once created terms “sustainability” to encompass what they had hoped for: social, environmental, and economical solutions working in unison. Business professionals coined “social entrepreneurs” to advance the agendas. Yet somewhere along the path everyone got lost to the big ideas, big technologies, big leaps forward. They forget that progress is often made step-by-step, incrementally and purposefully, and must account for all factors of sustainability: environmental protection and conservation, social progress and stability, as well as economic efficiency.[1] Big ideas, big technologies, big leaps forward are rare and are often only recognized after-the-fact. Why do we obsess with them and separate progress from success?

Social entrepreneurship and sustainability are not two different creatures of alien worlds. No, they are one and the same. Civil participation begins there and meaningful passive resistance for change begins with a case for its economics. One has to be productive in society to part-take and enjoy its benefits. The productivity generates economic, environmental, and social value. The exchange of this productivity for social benefits defines the nature of the social contract, from which our national constitutions governs the finer details. We are one human race experiencing one lonely planet. We have to reclaim it from those who have not paid attention to the meaningful path forward.

We are living now,
not in the delicious intoxication induced by the early successes of science,
but in a rather grisly morning-after,
when it has become apparent that
what triumphant science has done hitherto is to improve the means for achieving unimproved or actually deteriorated ends. 
                             - Aldous Huxley (1963)

2016 is the year for reclaiming societies, healing wounds, confronting terrors no matter who or where they are created. One can, after all, idolize Guy Fawkes not for the "Fifth of November" but for the tragedy and betrayal onto those who would stand and hope for better things. Guy Fawkes is a story of tragedy and reminder, not of triumph and success.

Neither violence nor ignorance are the answer, so 2016 is the year for reclaiming our sanity and strength to do battle against the divisions.       


I ask for divine strength 
  to meet the demands of my profession. 
Help me to be the finest medic, 
  both technically and tactically. 
If I am called to the battlefield, 
  give me the courage to conserve our fighting forces 
  by providing medical care to all who are in need.
If I am called to a mission of peace, 
  give me the strength to lead 
  by caring for those who need my assistance. 
Finally, help me to take care of my own 
  spiritual, physical, and emotional needs. 
Teach me to trust in never-failing love.

  - a combat medic's creed.


A student said to his master: "You teach me fighting, but you talk about peace. How do you reconcile the two?"

The master replied: "It is better to be a warrior in a garden than to be a gardener in a war."
_______________________

[1] Take micro-packaging for example: it is sometime touted as a genius of an idea for selling products to the poor and therefore a prime example of social entrepreneurship. But what about the environmental factor of economic and social impacts the micro-packaging can cause? Does it create more jobs locally or shift packaging and labor to other places? Does it create more or less trash for the environment? Or were these types of conversations not often taken in those board rooms where the idea is pitched? Highly likely never even mentioned.

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