Friday, April 29, 2011

being thankful

This morning I was watching a TV program with a friend.  The show took place in Saudi Arabia.  A camera crew placed a hidden camera inside a drive-through coffee stand.  They monitored whether not not people said 'thank you' to the salesperson after they got their coffee.  Then they would stop the car after it drove through to ask the person why they did or didn't say thank you.

As the show was in Arabic, I didn't catch all that was said.  However, those that didn't say thank you seemed to say that it was because of peoples' different personalities on why or not they said thank you (I don't know if I'd agree with that argument). 

The point of the show was to call attention to a Quran verse that reads, "He who does not thank people, does not thank Allah."  I thought that was probably pretty true...  If you can't thank people, how can you thank God?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

wanting power

In a follow up to my last post, I've also been thinking a bit about power.  Here are my thoughts so far...

What is power?  I think power is essentially influence.  It's when you're able to influence others' and your own thoughts, actions, and feelings.  It's so easily corruptible though.  Power can change the way you see yourself.  It helps you get lost in you.  It can feed your sense of self-worth in different ways.

When drugged with power, people will do anything.  Like that famous prison study where participants were split in half-- half were to pretend to be prisoners and the other half would be prison guards.  The guards began to take their role way too seriously, and the study was eventually stopped early.  The guards' self-identity began to change and they didn't see how cruel they were becoming to the prisoners, they were just doing their "job."  Who we are can change drastically with power.  It can be frightening.

But why do we crave power so much?  I've had a harder time coming up with an answer for that one.  Is it just a drug-- one taste and you crave more?  I feel like there should be more to it than that.  Thoughts??

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

wanting control

Lately I've been reading The Fate of Africa, by Martin Meredith.  In the book he discusses the independence of African countries from colonial power and the subsequent troubles they have faced.  It's no secret that Africa has had a lot of corrupt rulers.  But this has got me thinking about control and power...

Westerners seem to think they can control much more than they really can.  Less developed areas that are more dependent on agriculture, the weather, the seasons, are more susceptible to disease, etc. realize more their lack of ability to control things.  

Control is largely an illusion.  I can control what clothes I put on, but I can't control the weather, the possibility of getting into a car accident, or whether or not I'll die tomorrow. But I'm really curious about the why.  Why do humans, particularly those from the developed world, lust after control as much as they do?  My best guess is it our way of coping with a world where we truly have no control.  It's scary to be out of control.  We like having things to depend on.

Any one else have an idea?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

giving up on changing the world

I hate it when people give up their dreams of "changing the world" because they think that they're too old or they believe that if they can do something significant it will have to be through their children.  That's never true.  There's always time to change the world.  It's never too late to do anything.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

percolating thoughts (#8)

['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...]

"What you draw to you is what you are."
-Iyanla Vanzant

"At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want."
-Lao Tzu

"True battles are fought in the heart."

"If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together."
-African Proverb

Saturday, April 2, 2011

knowing yourself

I heard of a girl once who was so scared of sitting with herself that she said she didn't even like to think.  A lot of people are like that.  We don't like to sit in silence, so we bring our ipod or phone.  We do our best to avoid having nothing to do.  When boredom hits, we put on the TV or do anything that will take us away from ourselves.  It's almost as if we're scared to sit with ourselves.

I believe knowing yourself is the bravest thing of all.

A friend recently sent me this poem: