Archive for December, 2006

The Insurgent Mind

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

Ever wonder what is going on inside the minds of the Iraqi insurgents… the ones who use guerrilla tactics against the American soldiers?

Well, apart from having different cultures and religions, the people in Iraq are pretty much like everyone else… just like me and you. Therefore, to see inside the insurgent mind, all we have to do is ask ourselves what we would do in their situation.

Just imagine what you would do if your own city were to become occupied by the soldiers of a foreign power that was intent on enforcing their way of life upon you. Would you go down without putting up some kind of fight?

While we may not condone the use of violence, it is easy to see why one would at least want to put up some kind of a fight. Furthermore, as one is surrounded by increasing chaos, so too grows the likelihood of resorting to the use of violence.

Even if this foreign power could somehow provide a better way of life, most people would stop listening the instant a fellow citizen was killed in the streets. And from there on, the liberators become the enemy, and the invaders lose all hope of instilling order (if that was indeed their goal).

So, even without having the distinct cultures within Iraq (that are now engaged in a civil war), the invasion would have been unlikely to succeed because humans are not easily forced into changing, unless they are willing to change to begin with.

Kick-Ass Korten

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

In October 2006, David Korten gave a speech to the Veterans for Peace called “The Great Turning”, derived from his book of the same name. This lecture is full of insights about the plight of humans today, as well as the options we can take to alleviate some of the problems that plague our world.

The “great turning” refers to what Korten predicts will be the collapse of the current empire of (mostly American) corporations and military, and how it will be replaced by an establishment of a global community, based on egalitarian, locally based economies. Heres a few paraphrased points that he makes:

  • We should stop wasting our resources and our lives on warfare and the quest for global dominance and instead work towards making the world a better place for ourselves and our children.
  • The U.S. is not a real democracy… the entire system is a farce designed by rich, white slave-keeping land-owners who wanted to secure their position. If the American people want democracy, they will need to take their political system to a place it has never been before.
  • The U.S. military has consistently been used to protect or advance commercial interests unrelated to the security of the U.S.
  • Violence and greed in adults are pathological disorders caused by Imperialist cultures and institutions. And those who exhibit these behaviours the most are rewarded with power, and this only serves to perpetuate the myth that these traits are divine.
  • He mentions how the perceived necessity of economic inequality, the required use of oppressive force, and the righteousness of those in power are all fabricated myths instilled into society to perpetuate the status quo.

The solutions he suggests are:

  • Speak out against the injustices… speak the truth about the fabricated myths, and break the cycle of indoctrination and imperialism.
  • Realize that despite the U.S. being polarized politically, the majority of Americans share key values, and that the U.S. is indeed a nation that shares the same goals.
  • We have the power. We are the generation we have been waiting for.

I feel that many of the ideas he presents are worthy of repeating to a wider audience, so I took the liberty of taking some prime sound clips and splicing them together with some visuals. Here is the final product:

The original 27 minute lecture can be found by clicking here.

May the Swartz be with you

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

Jeffrey Swartz, CEO of Timberland & environmental activist, while on the Colbert Report said a few things I found to be quite refreshing to hear from the head of a billion dollar corporation.

On the free market:

“I have a deep respect for the free market. The free market is one of the most creative forces that exists anywhere in the world, and in this great democracy, there is nothing more powerful than the free market. But the free market can be part of a solution that is broader than just delivering this quarter’s earnings.”

On making profit:

“[I care about making profit], but that’s not the only expectation for a CEO these days. I am absolutely convinced, and I am not the only one in the fortune 1000, that believe that commerce and justice don’t have to be two different ideas. That you can make a living, that you can create wealth for your shareholders, and you can have a positive social impact. You can be responsible for the way you run your business. You don’t need to [exploit] the environment.”

He also speaks of being carbon neutral, of taking responsibility for your environmental footprint, for renewable energy, for reducing consumption, and for employee friendly policies. He says that you can do all of this, an more, and still be profitable.

Heres a clip from the show:

Silence is Consent

Sunday, December 3rd, 2006

Those of us who do not speak out against the stripping of civil liberties empower those who are taking away our rights.

Those of us who do not discuss the unjust distribution of wealth are allowing billions to live in extreme poverty.

Those of us who do not look critically at our political system and our politicians are perpetuating corruption in the government.

Those of us who do not actively seek peace, either inner peace or world peace, are contributing to war on earth.

When it comes to anything wrong in the world that we have the power to change: those of use who do not actively voice our opinions, those of us who are too scared or too content to speak out…. we are the ones responsible for all that continues to be wrong in the world.

Inaction is consent. Fear is consent. Ignorance is consent. Silence is consent.

We all have a choice to make the world a better place. If we do not choose to act, then we are choosing to be part of the problem.