Friday, 2 November 2012

This post exists.

Walt Whitman:
"The question, O me! so sad, recurring--What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here--that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse."

It's not often that we take the opportunity to really stop and think; what will my verse read?

The best moments of my life are those when I suddenly understand some painfully obvious concept that has always existed right before my eyes. I had one of those moments today; I realised that I am alive!
I am living, thinking, experiencing and feeling. I am a tiny, insignificant conscious being in a corner of the vast cosmos. I am both the least and most insignificant thing ever to have existed, and that is a delightful state.
Eckhart Tolle said, "You are the universe, expressing itself as a human for a little while." I do believe he was right; I am inspired by the energy, strength and power of everything that has every existed before me, that exists with me, and that will exist after me.

The beauty of the human experience, I think, is this: that it is so empowering and humbling all at once. I am a tiny, insignificant part of the cosmos, and yet, I am here. And I am armed with the most powerful weapon: time. What I can do with it is undefinable, and limitless. There is an immeasurable amount of knowledge, wisdom, and experience that I have to suck up in the time I have, and there is an infinite number of things I can do with what I take in. Life is an un-drawn picture, and my creativity and art supplies are endless. This excites me more than anything else I can imagine.

As an atheist, I have often criticized groups of people for choosing to view the world through tinted glasses, not seeing it for what it is. But I am guilty of doing the same thing; we all are. There is no such thing as "the world as it is". There is only what you make it to be, and what you make yourself to be in it. I have been censured many a time for my naivety and idealism, and told to come back down to earth. I can understand this; even reading what I've written, the realist in me can't help but shake her head in condescension a little bit. But the romantic in me is far stronger; and the magnificence of life- taken as a whole- seems to matter a great deal more than the politics and economics we try to simplify the human experience into. I know these ideas are not new and original- countless minds before mine have been visited by them. I can see that they do not apply to the "real world"- nobody's going to pay me for recycled epiphanies. Right now, that doesn't matter. What matters is that in the last 24 hours, I have slept, eaten, wept, laughed, and even howled like a wolf. What matters is that the 'powerful play' is in motion, and I am in the process of writing my verse.

I am a hypocrite; As I said, I am guilty of viewing the world through tinted glasses. Everything I see is coloured with optimism, excitement, humour and mystery. I am naive, idealistic, and very likely to get hurt and be painfully disillusioned. But then again, maybe I won't be. I'll leave this to the gods of probability.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

I love the internet- it is my vehicle of communication, accessing information, entertainment (Yohoho and a bottle of rum) and my own personal procrastination machine. What I’ve been seeing on the internet of late, though, is simply disappointing.  As much as I hate to quote Dubstep, the internet was developed to break our limits, not create them. Posts like these, however, are doing just that: setting limits on mankind.
This was posted on 9gag on Women's Day.
Somehow, I can foretell the multitude of comments that are going to accuse me of being devoid of a sense of humour. Yes, I know these posts aren’t intended to be taken entirely seriously, but they are worrying nevertheless. For centuries, forward thinking men and women have fought to bring humanity closer to gender equality. Unfortunately, all these comics do is show humanity’s stubborn and ignorant resolution to hold ourselves back. Old fashioned, orthodox values about ‘women belonging in the kitchen’ are not so surprising when they are held by people from older generations, who never had the opportunities to educate themselves about the necessity of women’s rights in a successful society. The dwellers of the internet, though, are people of my generation- people who, if they chose to, could accomplish much more than the casual, “humorous” subjugation and repression of women “as a joke”. The fact that these jokes seem to be omnipresent, and increasingly popular reveals how backward we- the generation of the future- have become. We are never going to accomplish our goals as the human race if an entire half of that race is constantly being supressed. Progress lies in compromise and cooperation, not a reversion to outdated and counterproductive principles. Rant over (for now).

Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Kony Craze

This whole KONY 2012 phenomenon has really been getting to me. So I started telling all the supporters I saw a couple of facts about Invisible Children and Joseph Kony that I had found out through various articles, and since I’ve been approached by a few people since then to explain the flaws associated with KONY 2012, I made this list of facts:
1.       Kony is actually pronounced "Kohn"
2.       He is no longer in Uganda, he is in the Congo. He hasn't been active in Uganda for 6 years, and the LRA is now only about 420 people large.
3.       The US was in Uganda before the Invisible Children people said anything, because Uganda has oil. Even if more troops are sent, it won't have anything to do with Kony because he's not there!
4.       The Ugandan military is involved in atrocities such as rape and torture. Invisible Children supports them, as well as military intervention- which can only lead to more violence, and the death of a number of the child soldiers.
5.       Invisible Children only gives 31% of donations to the people in Uganda. They use up the rest within the organization- which is hugely unethical.
6.      If they want the US government to take notice, there is no point in asking people outside the US to advocate the group and "make Kony famous"- the US government doesn't care if non-citizens are interested in an issue. It’s simply not their responsibility.
7.       This is a short interview with an ex-child soldier, who spoke to the press about how offended he is by the Kony 2012 Campaign for its failure to respect and communicate the gravity of the situation in Uganda:

I’ve been meaning to start a blog for a while, and though this isn’t the most original of entries, I thought it would be a good start. I’m really happy to see that people of my generation are interested in helping the world and stepping up to make changes, but the way to do so isn’t through coming up with cool activities and having fun while we’re at it. It's understandable that a video that is made to get to viewers emotionally has moved so many people, but the cool graphics and sad five year old don't legitimize everything said in the Kony 2012 video (they even got the geographical location of Uganda wrong). The LRA and Kony, as well as other domestic issues in Uganda are very serious, and cannot be solved by means of having fun, and making it about us instead of them. This video is all about the White Man's Burden- but remember, just because the mainstream in the US weren't aware of Kony and the LRA, the problem was never "invisible". Another reason why I'm a bit upset with Invisible Children is because it doesn't seem to respect the dignity of the people in Uganda who have lived and died through everything that has happened in the past two decades. Their trials were not invisible just because nobody was tweeting about them.
If we really want to take action, we have to find reliable charities, and put in real hard work- changing a profile picture on facebook and running around town laughing with friends while putting up posters really isn’t helping any of the kids who have suffered under Kony. If you really want to make a change, then really do something.  

Additional note: Please do let me know if you're aware of any facts I got wrong; I’ll be sure to research and update them.