Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Why do we live in shameful silence?

Guilt is the assumption of responsibility for violating stated or presumed values of right and wrong behavior. Shame is the pervasive perception of being entirely unacceptable and fundamentally damaged at core. As children, we feel guilty if we took cookies without permission; we feel shame if we are irredeemably flawed: thieves who can't ever respect mother's ownership of the cookiejar.

As adults, our sense of guilt and shame are embedded in our psyches, enabling us to conform to the basic values of society. By virtue of our American citizenship, our fundamental behavioral expectations are generally governed by the rights, freedoms, and obligations set forth in the Constitution.

For more than 200 years, Americans have upheld this honorable system. Our elected representatives codify these values with legislation that enables everyone to understand our rights and obligates the correction of any wrongs; and the President must concur to authorize these laws to take effect. Our courts review alleged transgressions, determine violations, and order corrective measures; and it is the right and responsibility of every citizen to ensure that abuse of our values is adjudicated promptly.

As a nation principled in this judicial equality, it is a fundamental founding right of every accused individual to be charged under law and brought to timely trial. Even during times of prejudice and adversity, detainment was lawfully managed. Yet for the past decade, Americans have tolerated egregious violations of this rule of law.

Shamefully today, America remains guilty of depriving thousands of prisoners of their Constitutional and human rights. By indefinitely incarcerating prisoners without charge in inhumane conditions, even subjecting them to torture, America has not only violated international standards, we have violated our own stated laws of rightful behavior.

Even worse, we Americans have allowed our nation to become fundamentally damaged at core. We have tolerated behavior that ignores our own rules of law and the Constitution's system of checks and balances. In fear-induced capitulation, we disregarded our constitutional values, and for ten years, we have perpetuated that shame by allowing Guantánamo prison to operate outside American law and without international sanction.

Torture, indefinite incarceration, and deprivation of human and legal rights are not American values. Keeping this prison operational is a visible and disreputable reminder of our national guilt and shame. Perpetuating this travesty of constitutional justice is not only immoral and illegal, it is counterproductive if America ever wants to reclaim its standing as a model of democracy in action.

On this shameful anniversary of America's most costly human rights catastrophe, Amnesty International points out, 
"There is a simple solution to closing Guantánamo – either charge detainees and give them a fair trial in US federal court, or release them."

It's time to overcome your shame and become proactively pro-American again. Support Amnesty International's human chain of protest in Washington DC: add your signature to the petition to close Guantánamo.
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Monday, January 9, 2012

What is a HeartLink?

HeartLinks are practices that help you become closer to those you care about and more meaningfully connected in the ways you interact with and relate to loved ones and the world. Every time you consciously connect with yourself, another, or the world around you, you gain more self-awareness and appreciation for how you can improve your life and world.

If you share your HeartLinked observations and practices with your loved one(s), the bonds between you are strengthened. The more you share with each other, the more connected and intimate your self- and mutual- understanding becomes.

The more we connect with this intimate knowledge of our own and another's innermost ideals and values, the more fully filled we can become with mutual respect, care, and love for each other.

A HeartLinked world grows the fulfilling peace of CommonUnity.
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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Why limit passion to romance?

Society tends to idealize coupleship passion. There may be an underlying biological imperative for replicating genes, but to focus society's resources on building homogenous communities is a misconception of bygone history.

This isn't to recommend promiscuous morals to enable more extra-marital diversity in the gene pool (though certainly humanity could derive an evolutionary benefit from that); rather, my point is that passion has no basis in sex or biological drives whatsoever. To focus social attention on marital fidelity ignores the far more transcending potential of passion in today's globalized community.

The sort of passion today's world would benefit more from is not unlimited localized population growth but rather passionate growth of other kinds. Passion is a driving force for creativity and fulfillment, and rather than limiting our conception of passion to human conception, passionate energy can be directed into far more productive choices for humanity, the environment, and our evolving global community.

As Jane McGonigal points out in Reality Is Broken, the planet's underutilized human resources are searching for more fulfilling ways to achieve their potential. To divert those ambitions into online games is less than globally productive not just from an evolutionary perspective but from a business point of view as well.

While monied corporate executives and legislatively self-empowered politicians focus on short-term resource exploitation for immediate personal profits, the planet's potential is squandered. Not only are physical resources dwindling in irreplaceable and irresponsible ways, but the human potential of most of humanity is being neglected at best and subverted more often.

Passion, not profit, is the planet's most valuable resource. Until we learn to nurture every individual's passionate potential, we are wasting time, effort, energy, and attention on not just the wrong but the most self-defeating purposes.

For the long-term benefits of all, we should be maximizing potential, and to do that, we need to make the most of all our resources, energy, and effort in the time available. To do that, we need to value every person for their unique potential. We need to develop their abilities, encourage their interests, and assist them to join with like-minded others to create the power pools of synergy that generate the energy of previously unimagined passionate potential.

Each and every individual has passion enfused in their core of being. It's time to identify, nurture, and maximize what is universally available today. Once we do, the world can become all it is capable of being – until then, we are living in the shadows of our dreams and limiting ourselves unnecessarily.

The longer we wait to realize the potential of unlimited passion, the more remedial effort we will need to undertake before true progress can begin.

But you don't have to wait for someone else to take the lead. You can start today by exploring your own passionate potential. When you do, the internal conflicts will drop away and you'll begin to live in the PeacePlace of ever-more-expansive fullfillment.

Why would anyone want to live a passionless existence?

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What value do you give to truth?

Imagine the incompatibility of oil on water and you understand the mutally contradictory truths Helon Habila explores in Oil on Water.

In the wilds of Nigeria, petrochemical companies have brought in not just advanced foreign industry but a conflict of values. Greedy profiteering along the oil-rich waterways has devastated not only nearby fishing and the local economy but the population, the environment, and the culture. Dominos of righteous rebellion, retaliatory government defenses, and onslaughts of unscrupulous gang extortion wreak further havoc.

Amidst this mess of exploitation, it has become common practice to abduct foreigners associated with the oil industry. Rookie Nigerian journalist Rufus believes he has lucked into a career-making scoop as his exhaustive pursuit of the routine abduction of British oil executive James Floode's wife uncovers layers of ruthless agitation beneath its commonly accepted surface.

Along the trail, Rufus, like the native population, learns the burdensome impact of not only the oil exploitation itself and the impact of both military and militant oppression but also the nonchalant devastation caused by cultural collision. Through hard lessons, Rufus becomes aware that devastating consequences extend far beyond the thoughtless victimization of rural land and displaced people.
It is the nature of existence. A thing is created, it blooms for a while if it is capable of blooming, then it ceases to be. ~ Helon Habila in Oil on Water
Just like Rufus losing his naive beliefs following the trail behind the abduction, readers become deeply immersed in the dirty truths of Oil on Water.

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