Tag Archives: Philosophy

Exercise 1: Gain Perspective On Humanity


With the study of the history of humanity it seems that we have a gap between what it means to be human and our modern day society. For years we have seen countless wars being waged over things that just do not make sense. We began with land and have now worked our way to wars over our own minds. We began to create wars over who could think which way and what way of thinking is right. Where does this insanity end? Where should the line be drawn between what we can and cannot wage war over?

Our American society, which has now grown into a global phenomenon, has put such value on material gain and material things that we have lost sight of what it truly means to be human. Our sexual desires are now outlined by what we should and should not do during sexual intercourse. Our desire for food has been replaced by packaged and processed items and even the way that we entertain ourselves is outlined by what society deems “right”. What makes these things right? Who makes these things right?

When it comes down to it, each and every one of us is responsible for how we live our day to day lives. Whether you would like to believe we are controlled or not we have to understand that we do have choices. We have the ability to reach within ourselves and grasp what it truly means to be human.

The exercise I would like you to try is quick and easy and only requires you, a quiet spot (preferably alone), a piece of paper and a pen

1. First write all of the things that you disagree with in life. Whether it be religion, politics, the way someone does something.

2. Take a look at that list and see if you can attach any situations or persons to those disagreements.

For instance, you may write that you disagree with the Buddhist tradition and then go on to write that you disagree with it because someone has told you to. Or you may disagree with it because someone who believes in Buddhism has disagreed with you.

3. For those beliefs that you have attached to a person or situation, try and understand them. Feel the situation or person that has provided a negative backing to this belief. Take a deep breath and let go of those negative emotions. Understand that these are just words and you do not have to believe in them but feel yourself becoming accepting of the fact that these are just different beliefs. See them for what they truly are, differences of opinion.

4. For the words that you cannot connect to a specific person or thing I want you to take these into special account. I would like for you to research them and jot a few notes down. Understand these beliefs. See if you can gain perspective on them. While you also do not have to agree with them, simply disliking something because you “Just dislike it” is also not the way to go.

After this exercise understand that while there are differences throughout this world, we must keep our eyes open to everything. We must see that each and every person provides a vital role in life and that arguments over politics or religion is petty. Love one another and gain insight into humanity by accepting one another.

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Judgement: Fact Of Life?


Review of “Black Men and Public Space” by Brent Staples

Judgment is a topic that comes up very often when discussing matters of race, ethnicity, social status, economic status and the various social structures that we are all categorized in. I personally believe that it’s wrong to judge others based on appearances without actually getting to know them first. Aren’t we all the same anyway? Essentially at the core we are all made up of the same molecules and the same elements and the only thing that is different is our perceptions of the world. No one person is really an individual. I don’t mean to speak harshly but rather use this knowledge to possibly look at one another with more respect and seeing others as ourselves could pose to be useful when using harsh words or actions. It may be naïve for me to say that I would treat others with respect and walk up to a person holding a gun as if they were my equal so there is a fine line between judgment and safety.

The issue that this man is facing is the fact that society brings upon judgment based off of the facts of the majority. What ends up happening is, groups of people get judged for things that they have never even done or thought about doing in their lives. Although we must see his perspective as being that of one who is being judged, we must also see the outside world’s point of view.

The amygdalas of the human brain is where our “fight or flight” responses take place. These responses are closely related to registered pictures or words based off of a negative emotion, such as fear. What ends up happening is that the fear is registered and brought into the outside world and applied. The issue here is that we are using our fight or flight responses based off of people we have never met before.

The issue that this man has to overcome is the fact that we have no choice as to what position we are born in and as to what kinds of people are out there in our world. We have no control over the media and what kinds of images they would like to portray to the world. In the case of how groups of individuals act, we have no control over that as well. If the majority of the African American population is seen as gun-wielding murderers and rapists, unfortunately there is no control over that either.

We do however have a choice. Now this may seem unfair but it will essentially boil down to changing one’s life to suit others, which is what this man demonstrates to us. Towards the end of the essay he has clearly evaluated his environment and has acted upon it. By implementing ways to create a more comfortable atmosphere for him and others around him he has learned to avoid people and even whistle a tune from Beethoven.

This may not sound like the most pleasing thing to do, change yourself to suit others but it may be an essential way to survive. Throughout the history of man, and other organisms alike, we learn to adapt and survive in the most comfortable way possible and this is just another example. Although it is much different than having to change your way of hunting food or fending off predators it is an adaptation nonetheless.

The beauty of humankind is the fact that when it boils down to everything we essentially have control over what we do. As stated before, we may not have the abilities to change the world around us but we do have the power to change ourselves. I feel for this man and I do believe that he means very well in his life and he is not a horrible person in the least, he has managed the situation he was given very well. Most would take on the role of the murderer, thief or rapist purely because they begin to think that way about themselves without even realizing it. This man clearly has a strong mind and will to survive and adapt in the world he was born into.

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Separation


Before there was anything…Before you could even see…Before you could even feel…there was nothing. Not the kind of nothing that puts fear into the very souls that walk among the earth but there was beautiful and peaceful nothingness. This nothingness began to love itself so much that it started to create something. This something would string on and on and on to become the most beautiful things that we see today. We don’t realize how important this nothing is. We must embrace it and we must feel it in it’s entirety. For if we do not realize this nothing then we will be only susceptible to experience the something and this is only one side of the coin. To be able to really experience and really feel we must see everything from all angels and all possibilities. Animals have the power to realize that they are part of a slew of infinite possibilities. It is the mind that has been created to see separation. Other animals have the issues of predation or certain types of climate issues…We have the issue of the mind. We cannot separate from it. We become so engulfed in the mind that we no longer are able to really see. We need to break free from this way and start to feel in our hearts and accept the things around us. Whatever situation we find ourselves in we become part of that situation but it is important to be able to flow freely from being a part of the situation and become separate from it. We must see both sides. We must feel all angles to truly understand. And the most important part is to not judge anything that we see because then we are using the mind.

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