Monday, August 30, 2010

percolating thoughts...

['Percolating thoughts' is an on-going collection of quotes I have found and gained wisdom from.  These are the ones that I've recently discovered and that I'm currently sitting with and reflecting on...]

"Always recognize that human individuals are ends, and do not use them as means to your ends."  

"As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being."
-Carl Jung

"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves."
-Carl Jung

"Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people."
-Carl Jung

Saturday, August 28, 2010


As a human society, we've become experts at de-humanizing ourselves.

Our systems (i.e. food production, medical care, etc.) have become so large that they don't see the individual.  For instance, car companies perform a cost-benefit analysis to see whether the cost of a recall or handing out money in settlements is cheaper.  Where is the value of human life?  We purposefully distance ourselves from others in order to make business decisions like this.  If you were the CEO of that car company and your child got into an accident because of a faulty car, you'd want to make better cars.  Our priority has become economics, not human lives.  We de-value ourselves. 

It's also tied to a loss of a sense of community and accountability.  Our society has become so large that we don't look out for others.  The first world is largely an individualistic society.  It's not like small hunter-gatherer communities where the survival of the community depends on its ability to work together and take care of each other.  These days we have grocery stores for food, malls for clothing, and stores full of appliances to take care of the household chores.  Our happiness has become tied to entertainment, because we don't have to worry about survival.  We're free to focus purely on ourselves.

The richest people control our governments and pretty much run the world.  These are also some of the folks with the greatest ability to de-humanize others.  This can be potentially dangerous for our society, but I don't think these guys are the only culprits.  A lot of us allow ourselves to be de-humanized.  We're willing to let companies genetically play with food (at the cost of a few lives from salmonella, etc.) in order to get cheap prices.

So here's a question: how do we humanize ourselves?  Possible solutions would be to shrink our systems of production and become more local, shrink our communities (because when you actually know others, you're less likely to try to cheat them), become individually focused rather than being individually driven (looking at what's good for the whole as well as yourself), and so on.  Some of these things are easier said than done, so where should we go from here?  Where should you/I go from here?

Friday, August 27, 2010

looking up & out

I was having a conversation with a friend today, and we were discussing how each of us are fairly observant people.  Perhaps it's the sociologist in me, but I'm always taking note of those around me, their behavior, and my surroundings.  We were discussing how we each have good friends that aren't as observant, but appreciate the little things we bring to their attention.  This all got me thinking later...

If you're not being observant, are you truly able to grasp your relationship with the world around you?

I've read that when most people walk, they usually walk with their eyes down and keep their line of vision about 10 feet in front of them.  So most people walk with an awareness bubble that has a 10 ft radius unless something happens to pull you out of that bubble (i.e. a person shouting to you across the street, a car honking it's horn, etc.).  However if you change your sight line to the horizon, your entire perception of life changes... how you perceive the people and things around you, how you perceive yourself-- who you are changes

I think changing your sight line to the horizon can and will make you more observant.  There are probably  more ways to connect with the world beyond yourself, but I suppose you need to start by actually seeing it in order to eventually connect to it.    There must certainly be other ways of becoming more observant and widening your view. Something to think about...