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Posts Tagged ‘society’

“Though the vicious can sometimes pour affliction upon the good,

their power is transient and their punishment certain;

and that innocence,

though oppressed by injustice,

shall,

supported by patience,

finally triumph over misfortune!”

(From The Mysteries of Udolpho, 1794)

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     Living always somewhere between agreement and disagreement, we lack the comforts and the torments of divine authority and regal power.  Pl;uralistic, we struggle with the idea of unity.  We reach awkwardly for shared purpose.  We talk sentimentally of community, sometimes, as though it could be had without sacrifice — as though order were possible without restraint.  We are nostalgic about the idea of community.  We lust for its consolations. -Robert J. Kingston

Possibly on a collective basis, we should rethink this idea that individually we can make it anywhere.  It is first understanding and then living in the harmony of community that we are going to be – literally – saved.

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On 24 April 2011, MSNBC posted as a file photo from the AP of two young women  of four members of Nigeria’s National Youth Service Corps who were working as electoral officials in Daura, Nigeria on day of the presidential elections.  Their job was to check names of individuals presenting themselves to vote.   They are pictured sitting at a table leafing through books and looking serious about their duty with expressions that make parents proud.   It was recently that I found out details about this extraordinary program — Nigeria’s National Youth Service Corps — and that it is a mandatory year-long assignment for all Nigerians who graduate from university before the age of 30. Most serve as teachers during their stint, but the April 2011 national elections have brought extra responsibilities and danger to their work.

I don’t know whether these young women were stationed at the polls the day of the violence or if there were four others who were burned alive inside their youth hostel that day.  All I know is that some ‘thing‘ is loose again and that after all of these centuries that we have been on this planet, we have yet to determine how to contain it.  Whatever its name — hate, fear, greed, anger — we need to focus on it as we have on cancer and other deadly diseases or maybe we need to hire some exorcists because personally, I’m tired of the madness and I just got here a couple of decades ago!!  It was already enough 4,000 years ago.  Have we learned nothing?

I realize that  Daura was not the only place in the world that “it” was loose.  It has shown up in small sleepy little towns and big city metropolises, in simple houses and grand mansions, in the workplace and on the playground, in the school house and in the places of worship.  It seems that “it” has no boundaries. Who is letting “it” in?  How can we recognize “it“?  Where does “it” abide?  We must find “it” and arrest, bind, contain, destroy “it“.

It has no shame, no values, no repentance, no ethics, no morals, and appears to have no end.  Will we, can we survive until another great teacher comes? When will enough sacrifices be made?   Can we reach a critical mass of compassion and love before “it” reaches epidemic proportions?

May I begin with this simple gesture of compassion:  To the friends and families of those young people who had such promising lives and whose dreams were stolen on 16 April 2011, I send my deepest condolences.  May 10,000 others take their place in service to their people.  May they rest in peace knowing that their lives touched so many.  These are only words, but they are messengers from my heart a place where “it does not abide.

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“We live in a world of unacceptable inequality.  Two thirds of the world’s population takes access to a toilet for granted. Yet a third of the people alive today – 2.6 billion individuals, most of them in Africa and South Asia – do not have access to basic sanitation, and 0.9 billion lack safe drinking water. I want to address this inequality.”  ~~ Professor Anna Tibaijuka,  new Chair of the Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) – former Executive Director of UN-HABITAT.  She will take office in March, 2011.

Congratulations Prof. Tibaijuka!  Let the work continue!

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Ladies, a bit of advise from a young gentleman:

I very well recollect that she showed some curiosity to know my story, frequently questioning me, and appearing pleased when I showed her the letters I wrote to Madam de Warrens, or explained my sentiments; but as she never discovered her own, she certainly did not take the right means to come at them.  My heart, naturally communicative, loved to display its feelings, whenever I encountered a similar disposition; but dry, cold interrogatories, without any sign of blame or approbation on my answers, gave me no confidence.  Not being able to determine whether my discourse was agreeable or displeasing, I was ever in fear, and thought less of expressing my ideas, than of being careful not to say anything that might seem to my disadvantage.  I have since remarked that this dry method of questioning themselves into people’s characters is a common trick among women who pride themselves on superior understanding.  These imagine, that by concealing their own sentiments, they shall the more easily penetrate into those of others; being ignorant that this method destroys the confidence so necessary to make us reveal them.  A man, on being questioned, is immediately on his guard: and if once he supposes that, without any interest in his concerns, you only wish to set him a-talking, either he entertains you with lies, is silent, or, examining every word before he utters it, rather chooses to pass for a fool, than to be the dupe of your curiosity.  In short, it is ever a bad method to attempt to read the hearts of others by endeavoring to conceal our own. -Jean Jacques Rousseau

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The species is somewhere on its way to becoming truly human (still working toward humane).

The ability to “think” is not your crowning glory.

Capacities still quite underdeveloped include:   Awareness, Intuition, Compassion, Love, Vitality, Imagination, Healing, and Communication (interpersonal not technical).

You must activate the rest of your brain.

The Oracle Sophia

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Because you can’t have depths without surfaces.

This post is really about two different topics:  fashion and consciousness.  Or maybe fashion and attitude.  Or maybe culture and dignity.  Or maybe women and worth.   I am sure that I will come back to all of this again.

Several days ago, I was in a local food store and saw a young woman clad in shorts and a top.  Normally, this would not be unusual dress for a hot summer day; but, she was such a spectacle that I am required to write about her.  Because of the size of her stomach, I could not tell if she was pregnant or just obese.  I have learned not to ask the usual question of “When is the baby due.”  As more than once, I have been told “I’m not pregnant.” 

Back to the young woman I saw in the store…her shorts were fastened under her stomach so that it hung out down over the shorts and as she moved in front o me, not just me, but the world could see areas of her behind that should not be public.  I do not know how to write this nicely…but I am trying.  It was disgusting and I thought to myself, does she ever think she will get or hold a man exposing herself out in public this way.  Was she trying to be sexy?  Is this some new fad that I’m just seeing?  Just as that question mark closed my sentence, a man walked up to her and from their conversation, it appeared they were together.  Of course, I did not know his relationship to her, but I was embarrassed for both of them.    I know that there is a difference between a lady and a woman but … my goodness is the distance cavernous today?  If fashion is in place to serve a purpose, what is the purpose of this near nude sometimes vulgar public fashion?

The incident above is by far the worst of the fashion statements that I have seen so far this year, but it is not the only one of this sort.  Thongs came in years ago, but now, we have the low-riders (jeans, etc.)  I have just been shocked by what appears to be the first wave of attempts at simply just going naked in the streets.  Too many of our young women and girls appear really comfortable with this mode of dress and too many mothers are letting it happen.

This all led to my going back and locating this interview of Sonya Rykiel, famous designer of women’s clothes.  It was published in New Woman magazine some years ago and I thought what she said was something good to share with other women who are trying to find ways of rounding up these girls and young women and offering some sound advice.

No form of fashion makes a woman sexy…

What is a thousand times more important than clothes are gestures. The way a woman moves, the way she uses her eyes to look at others, her attitude, the way she arranges her legs when sitting, the way she puts herself in evidence is when she creates sex appeal.

To be sexy must be in the woman’s mind. I don’t own any lingerie at all. I sleep in the nude. A woman can be drenched in black lace and when you take away the veil, if there’s an imbecile, it’s not sexy. The woman must give to her clothes her own dimension, be it mysterious, strange, funny…

Today, any woman must be stronger than the signature she wears.

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