Archive for March, 2007

The Obsolescence of Beauty

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

In the not to distant future, physical beauty may no longer have the power it holds in today’s society. Similar to how nanotech assemblers will make modern day definitions of wealth obsolete, so too will our concept of beauty become obsolete.

The already used and abused practice of plastic surgery will only become more sophisticated and powerful. Eventually, we will be able to create nanites – super small robots – with powerful surgical capabilities, giving us the power to reshape our physical selves to a degree unheard of today. Want to be a 12′ tall woman? Okay! Want to look like Garey Busey? Okay!

But going under the scalpel will only scratch the surface of what will be available. Developments in bioengineering and gene manipulation will bring forth designer babies – offspring with whatever attributes one wants to give them. You want super-intelligent, super-strong and unbelievably attractive progeny? Sure thing… but why not infuse your child with upgradeable tech implants while you are at it.

Indeed, the ability to alter our physical selves will be significant. But perhaps more important will be our ability to create virtual representations of ourselves. Already, we are creating alter-egos and hyperbolized self-representations via social networking sites (like MySpace and Facebook), as well as creating avatars and characters in massive multi-player games (like WoW). As our societal consciousness continues to shift towards the digital plane, we will spend more and more time in a virtual world… a world where we will be able to alter our own appearance at will.

As long as we continue to progress our technology as we have been doing, then physical beauty will become so ubiquitous that it will be freely available to all. When this happens, the only valuable beauty remaining will be inner beauty.

The Power of Hope Part 2 – Hope for Our World

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Every single one of us has the power to make the world a better place, but only those of us with hope will actually do so. Optimism creates the belief in the possibility of a better world, and this belief will make us more likely to use our power to make the world a better place.

Pessimists do not have the hope, nor the belief, so they do nothing to contribute to improving the world because they don’t think it will do anything. On top of this, pessimists naturally fear change for they think change will bring bad things. These two things – lack of belief and a fear of change – result in inaction amongst pessimists, which in turn contributes to reinforcing the status quo.

All of the problems that are part of the status quo of our world today – war, genocide, torture, and over a billion people living in extreme poverty – are propagated whenever someone squanders their power… squandered because they don’t believe that they can make the world a better place. When the world has enough pessimists, the pessimists’ prophecy for the world becomes fulfilled… because of their inaction due to a lack of hope.

Mahatma Gandhi, political and spiritual leader, was renowned for spreading hope, and his actions were an inspiration to those around him and to the people of the world, including many civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela. The power of hope was strong in the venerable Gandhi, whose words still ring true: “What is true of the individual will be tomorrow true of the whole nation if individuals will but refuse to lose heart and hope.”

The more optimistic someone is regarding the world, the more they believe that they can make a difference, and the more effort they will be willing to exert towards improving the world. The more effort that is put in, the more positive things will come out, and the easier it becomes to be increasingly optimistic about the world.

The more optimists we have in our world, the more combined efforts will be made towards making the world a better place. The power of hope is magnified when there is solidarity amongst people, making a group’s efforts towards world improvement ever the more significant. As more and more people contribute to making the world a better place, it becomes easier for others to become optimists, and for them to also join in on the continuing efforts to make the world an even better place.

Indeed, the power of hope is such that it creates a cyclically improving state; one that can gain influence over time as an increasing amount of optimists create an increasing amount of positive progress, thereby creating even more optimism in the world.

Not only is the power of hope self-perpetuating, it is also contagious. When one individual exhibits unbreakable hope in the face of insurmountable odds, it often serves to inspire others to feel the same way, and this in turn helps to sway the odds in the favour of those with hope.

Just like the Canadian icon Terry Fox, who started the Marathon of Hope, in which he set out to run across Canada to raise money for cancer. While he never completed his journey, the hope and optimism Fox left as a legacy still serves to inspire millions of people every year, especially when they run in his honour. With words like “Dreams are made if people only try”, and with his courageous actions, Terry Fox truly demonstrated how hope and optimism can spread like wildfire, infecting the minds of an entire society.

When people are optimistic, when people have hope, it radiates about them. They cannot help but emit optimism and positive energy to all of those around them. It only takes one person in a group, reaching out to those around them to touch enough people and start a chain reaction.

There are many more examples of how the power of hope can impact our personal life, how hope has made all the difference, and how simply believing in something is enough to make it happen. There are many stories of people who have overcome hardship and disabilities, and others who have stayed strong when the odds where stacked against them. And there are even more examples of what happens when people believe and hope for a better world, and how one person’s hope and optimism can spread to others.

While examples of the power of hope can be inspiring, it is even more important for us to look at the good things we already have in our own lives, and to embrace optimism and make positive thinking part of our daily routine. Having hope, staying positive, and being optimistic are crucial to attaining success in life.

Furthermore, the more we hope for a better world, the more we create the belief in a better world, and the more effort we will put into making the world a better place. As our world improves, more people will begin to think optimistically, and they too will contribute to improving the world. With enough hope, with enough people thinking optimistically, our world will become everything we hope it can be.

The Power of Hope – For One’s Self

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

The power of hope is real… it is significant. Hope can make all the difference… the difference between success and failure and sometimes even between life and death. Anyone can harness the power of hope, if they simply choose to. The power of hope can help us to achieve our own personal goals, and it can even aid in making the whole world a better place.

When Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with cancer, even though the odds of survival were slim, his doctors reportedly gave him a 40% chance of surviving to help him keep his hopes up. He overcame the cancer, and then went on to win the grueling Tour-de-France an amazing seven times in a row! Now, when he gives advice to those who are up against insurmountable odds, he says “What other choice is there but to hope?”

Many examples can be found to show how significant the power of hope can be, and how important it is to remain optimistic and to always think positive. Sometimes, the simple act of hoping for something can make it more likely to come true. While the metaphysical aspects surrounding these implications are interesting, the power of hope can be explained in a more pragmatic manner. There are real reasons why having hope and being optimistic can help us to get good things.

For starters, being optimistic means seeing the positive side of things. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and so to is the ability to always see good things. By seeing experiences and events from a positive point of view – by finding the proverbial silver lining – we can consider many things to be good things.

But embracing hope goes beyond simply seeing things as being positive. The power of hope can actually make good things happen – things that otherwise would not have come true. We have the power to shape the world around us, simply by putting our minds to it.

One constant in life is change, and change, like the future, represents an unknown. How we react to this unknown depends on our point of view. If we lean towards being pessimistic, we will fear change, for we expect change will bring bad things. If we lean towards being optimistic, we will anticipate change, for we will expect good things to come from it.

When we are expecting good things, we will also be looking for good things, and can thereby seize the opportunities that a pessimist would otherwise miss. Hope makes us more inclined to make the most out of whatever is available, and to do as the Chinese proverb says and build a windmill instead of a shelter when the winds of change are blowing. The act of willing, of hoping, of being optimistic, contributes to making good things happen.

When we don’t hope, we don’t try, and if we don’t try, we don’t attain. Pessimists’ negative prophecies are self-fulfilling… they expect nothing, and then they get it. While optimists can excel by making the most of whatever opportunities there are, pessimists do not even see the opportunities, for they are not even looking. The pessimist’s prophecy becomes doubly true when compared to an optimist who has already attained success.

When good things happen to us in the present, it becomes easier for us to be optimistic in the future. This means that the more we invest in being optimistic now, the easier it will be to remain positive later on. Furthermore, when we embrace optimism for long enough, it can become ingrained into every ounce of our being – our consciousness – and it can manifest itself throughout our entire life.

Donald Trump, billionaire and television celebrity, never gave up, even when he was in debt for billions of dollars. While he may have been born into a privileged lifestyle, when he came upon trouble he never gave up hope, and it was the power of hope that helped him to become one of the wealthiest humans alive today.

Throughout the course of our lives, the power of hope can be an integral part of attaining our goals and achieving success. Most successful people will tell us how important it is to stay positive and to always believe in yourself and to chase your dreams… and they are right. The state of mind we have when we approach any situation has a direct impact on the outcome. The more positive and optimistic we are, the better the outcome will be.

One interesting thing about hope is how it can transform itself into self-confidence. The more optimistic we are, the fewer doubts we have. The less doubts we have, the higher our level of confidence can become. When our level of confidence is high, we can approach anything with the positive state of mind that it takes to be successful.

For tightrope walkers, the goal is to reach the other end of the wire without falling, and it takes a calm, confident state of mind to attain the goal without error. If the tightrope walker succumbs to doubt, their fear creates the opportunity to falter.

Just like for the tightrope walkers, confidence is essential for everyone to achieve success in life. When we allow our fear to overtake us, our doubts can topple us, and we will fail to achieve our goals. Our fears can even make us not want to try anything, and if we never try, we never succeed. Hope can help us to overcome our fears, our doubts, and our insecurities, to help us find the strength and the courage to become fearless.

Every one of us can choose to embrace the power of hope, to start being optimistic, and to make positive thinking part of our daily routine. While we may never have to face the obstacles that Lance Armstrong had to face, we all have our own mountains to climb, and having hope can make it easier.
When we persist with telling ourself to always think positive, then, over time, we will be able to reprogram our brain to always think positive, and we can internalize the power of hope so that it becomes second nature to us.

Of course, being optimistic can come with a small price: the risk of being disappointed. But, if we do as Martin Luther King Jr. says, and “…accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope”, then we need not be disappointed when we fail. When we stay optimistic, we can consider failure to not be failure at all, and instead, know that it is only a learning experience that takes us one step closer to our inevitable success.

The popular Canadian singer Shania Twain knows about the power of hope, and about making the most out of a situation. Coming from an underprivileged background, she had to persevere and strive to stay optimistic, and when she got really desperate, she would “…say a few prayers, and hope for the best.” Even her stage name, which is an Ojibwa word meaning “I’m on my way”, resonates her optimistic attitude which undoubtedly contributes to her continued success.

Extending beyond just our own personal lives, the power of hope can impact entire societies, helping to shape a better world and create a brighter future for everyone. Similar to how positive thinking can help us attain goals in our own lives, the more we think positive about the future of the world, the more likely it is for good things to happen in the world. When we have hope for a better world, the power of hope can make the dream of a better world into a reality.

Next up: The Power of Hope – For Our World

Hope

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

We have the resources to end starvation on earth, and we have the power to stop international warfare – RIGHT NOW! What we lack is the belief that these things are possible. Our doubts and our pessimism impede our will to act.

We cannot wait for the government or for politicians to tell us that we are empowered. The system only strips us of our power. Empowerment comes from within the individual… from what we believe to be true. If we believe that a better world is truly possible, we can spread our hope to those around us.

The hope for a better world and the belief that significant change can happen is empowering. When enough of us are empowered, we will end starvation and stop war.

Use your power to spread hope to others. Share hope to all who will listen.

Over the next few blog entries, I will be splitting up a paper I wrote called The Power of Hope. While the paper is a little long winded, I feel the main points are extremely important. These points are: