Month: April 2014
Prejudice: Is It So Bad?
In this hysterical video, and this great follow-up video, the actors bring to light how quick we are, even when seeming to be liberal, to put people into entire categories of their interests based on the shape of their eyes or color of skin. Then again, the second video makes fun of the first and calls into question how mean the video is to the white guy. Lots of amusing mixed messages here that I urge you to study here. You will certainly see yourself in one form or the other.
In many ways, the fun poked in this video could only make sense in a country of immigrants like America. It is still after all a grand experiment in putting dozens of ancestries together and saying, ‘here, make a coexisting democracy’. The experiment is still an awesome one and has implications for the future of a planet …
Forgiveness as a rational necessity: My outsider’s take on Easter
As we end this Passover/Easter time, I am struck and impressed by the emphasis Christian friends have placed on their tradition’s understanding of Jesus having said, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.” Frankly, that resonates with me for two reasons. One, it is good science. Everything we know today about groupthink, war crimes, the authoritarian personality, the origins of genocide and state crimes says to me that most people don’t know what the hell they are doing as citizens, and they end up hurting a lot of people without even knowing it. I am astonished at the collective narcissistic personality disorder of most enemy groups I work with, deeply obsessed with the pain of those they love, and clueless about the rest. So those words resonate: we have to forgive ourselves because we are pretty stupid when it comes to the big crimes we have all …
Depression, Happiness and the Challenges of Global Peace Work
Please find the full article here on the Huffington Post.
Most people do suffer tragedy, and self-pity is often justified, but it is also very destructive, inducing great anger, depression, and destructive approaches to others. Personally speaking, I simply become a less decent person when all I can think about is my losses and the hurt that was caused me. It is exhausting, time consuming, and embittering.
People are unhappy due to selfishness, according to one of the greatest thinkers on the subject. That flew in the face of every instinct I had my entire life. It was serious people who were sad about the world, it was informed people who worried, cared, talked and ruminated ceaselessly on the worst tragedies, like the Holocaust. They were depressed, but they were the responsible ones on this planet, not the fools saying happy empty things all the time. But here Mill was …
‘Less Violent’ Does Not Have to Mean ‘Apathetic’
Here is another of my recent Huffington Post articles.
It is my opinion that, on balance, the world is better off with Americans who are less prone to go to war than not. There is simply too much American firepower that can be unleashed that causes unpredictable amounts of damage never anticipated by military planners, and certainly not imagined by thoughtless armchair warriors and lobbyists.
We human beings are not just an amalgam of instincts for fight or flight. We have evolved astonishingly impressive systems of local and global governance, which become more sophisticated and elaborate with every passing year. We are using our powers of reasoning and planning to make a less-violent planet in which human beings are living longer than ever before in history, a sign of our success at the rational and compassionate embrace of human life from infancy to old age.
Crowds and Revolutions versus the Bonds That Endure
Here is an excerpt from a recent Huffington Post article I wrote. You can read the full article here.
I am not impressed anymore by the emotional bonding and euphoria created by revolutionary crowds. Finished, done, my enthusiasm squashed after years of promising rallies in central squares whose intent and hopes smashed headlong into reality.
The crowd is not to be trusted. It only knows enthusiasm, not direction, not vision, not a moral compass. We went as civilizations from one kind of crowd delirium to a better one only by building solid, unbreakable emotional and legal bonds between every citizen, no matter how strange or foreign. Bonds that were so strong that most of us now get physically sick just imagining a festival of sadism in the heart of civilized London.