How Chaos Theory Affects the Course of Human Affairs.

We all have heard of the Chaos Theory (also known as the Butterfly Effect) in one way or another. The concept is quite simple, a butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil creating a chain of events that will lead to a tornado in Texas a few days later. It’s an interesting concept that embodies the togetherness of the Whole and demonstrates how all things and events are knitted together in the endless fabric of space and time, even though the complexity may be way too great for our human intellect to grasp. Anyway, like all great Truths in the Universe, this concept can be transposed to other fields of human knowledge whether its value is positive, negative or neutral.

Allow me to explain.

Home Economics. One might prefer to buy a product because it’s cheaper, knowing fully well that the company that produces it is not environmentally/socially/politically friendly. The harm done is innocuous, how can such a simple purchase decision have the capacity to affect the world? The truth is, like a gentle breeze is strewn from the wings of the butterfly, that purchase decision will create the incentive for that company to continue production using its unethical ways which will sooner or later fall upon the consumer that is responsible for the decision on the first place.

How?

Environmental. China is dealing with a serious problem of pollution right now. Not only Beijing, but also Shanghai, Guangzhou and several other regions in the country. This is cause mainly by excessive and undiscriminated factory production and oil-combustion based vehicles. Along the last decade, United States has been allocating their production centers to China, the workforce is cheap, the ethical values for employees are flexible, etc. Also, they sell a lot of oil to China to fuel the exponential increase in private car purchases by the growing medium-class in the Chinese population. So, was it really a surprise when the United States discovered that their pollution levels were rising from an outside source? Where? China of course. The wind was carrying the pollution all the way back to the States. Unfortunately this makes it a lot harder for the US government to control its pollution levels since they have no hand in the affairs of Chinese politics.

And last, but definitely not least…

Financial. The world is drowned in loans as everyone knows. It matters not if we are referring to people, governments or organizations. The debt numbers have reached astronomical values and grow every passing minute. What few people know is that there is an awful truth concealed behind the mask of debt. Let’s imagine that you apply for a 10.000 loan with a 5% interest rate. This means that whenever the totality of the loan has been paid you would have paid a total amount of 10.500 dollars, thus, at the end of the day there will be more 500 dollars in circulation in the global economy that were created out of thin air, without any material deposit to support it. More money in circulation means a greater inflation rate for the whole economy. A greater inflation rate means that you will need more money next year to buy the exact same things that you bought this year, but if the money is, in fact, worth less then maybe, just maybe, you will need another loan. As you probably understood, this is the vicious cycle that haunts our world today and it’s what makes us slaves to money, debt and the banking system. In truth, it all started with a small loan for 10.000 dollars once and is now a race towards the cliff of inescapable global financial and economic collapse.

.Have no illusions, you are powerful and your decisions affect the world. Choose wisely.

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Children of the World

“India has replaced China as the world’s largest arms buyer, accounting for 10 percent of all arms purchases during the past five years[…] India purchased some $12.7 billion in arms.”

A global food crisis is impacting children all over the world. Food prices around the world have continued to skyrocket – in some areas of the world they are up to 75% in the past years.

Obviously, the ones at higher risk are the poor. Families who are already living on the edge. Families, children who are now going without food for days.

Hunger continues to be a critical issue in India, Africa and elsewhere. India is the home of one in three malnourished children in the world. Although the nation’s grain output has been robust, there is an acute shortage of storage facilities in which to hold it, causing crops to rot. Meanwhile, people in agriculture-poor areas of the country suffer from lack of food and inflated prices. Just like me, I believe there are out there people who are concerned about this impact on the children of the world.

Why not spend these billions in worthy causes…?

Read the entire article here (The New York Times).

Ryan Hreljac: A Tale of Willpower.

Ryan Hreljac

Ryan was born in Canada in May of ’91. He was only a 6 year-old boy attending first grade, when his teacher, Mrs. Cathy Pres, explained to the class the conditions in which children in Africa lived.

He was deeply touched when he knew that most of those African children so far as died of thirst simply because they had no wells to take water from, while he, on the other hand, only had to take a few steps to have access to a source of endless clean water…

Ryan asked the teacher how much it would cost to bring those children water. The teacher thought for a little and recalled an organization called WaterCan dedicated to the topic and told him that a small well should cost about $70.

When he got home he went straight to his mother Susan and told her that he needed $70 to buy a well for the African children. His mother told him that if he wanted that money, then he should earn it himself and began to give him some chores around the house with which Ryan earned a few dollars every week. One day, he finally gathered the necessary 70 dollars and asked his mother to accompany him to the headquarters of WaterCan to finally buy his well for Africa’s children. When addressed, the man in the secretary across him told him that the cost of drilling a well was actually closer to $2000 dollars. Without a solution, Susan told him that she could not give him $2,000 no matter how hard he or she worked, but Ryan did not surrendered. He promised the man in front of him that he would return… and he did.

Back home, all his brothers, neighbors, and friends were infected by his enthusiasm and endeavored to raise this money. Between works and errands throughout the neighborhood they managed to raise the $2000 dollars and Ryan returned triumphantly to WaterCan to ask for his well.
Finally, in January ’99, a well in a village in northern Uganda was drilled. Then and there the legend was born.

Ryan did not stopped raising funds and travelling halfway across the globe looking for support for his project.

After the Angola well had been drilled, Ryan, now in college, began to correspond with the children from the school next to where the well was made.
Through this Ryan met Akana; a boy who had escaped from the clutches of the dreadful children’s armies in Angola and who each day struggled to study. Ryan, felling captivated by his new friend, asked his parents if he could go and visit him. In 2000, with a great economic effort, his parents managed to pay a trip to Uganda and Ryan came to the village where his well had been drilled. When he arrived, hundreds of children from the surroundings had gathered and formed a corridor, chanting his name.
– “They know my name?” – Ryan asked his guide, quite intrigued.
– “Everyone in a 100 kilometer radius knows your name.” – he replied.

Currently Ryan Hreljac has his own Foundation and over 630 water and sanitation projects in 16 countries bringing clean water and sanitation services to over 700,880 people.

Link to Ryan’s Foundation

When is Enough really Enough?

It’s a well known fact that our irresponsible way of life its taking a terrible toll with every passing day. In their book “Enough is Enough – Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources” (Berrett-Koehler Publishing, San Francisco, CA.), authors Rob Dietz and Dan O’Neill lay the numbers on the table:

  • 7 billion people on earth, with 2.7 billion scraping by on less than $2 per day.
  • 394 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, threatening to destabilize the global climate.
  • $15 trillion of public debt in the United States, an unfathomable sum of money to be paid back by the next generation.
  • 2 percent of adults owning more than half of all household wealth in the world.
  • 400 ocean zones devoid of life, with the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico estimated to cover almost as much area as the U.S. state of New Jersey.

The authors complete these unsettling statistics reminding that the most dire part of these numbers remains unseen: reality. Behind the veil of the lifeless statistical figures lingers the pain of poverty and hunger, the increasing toxicity hidden in the air we inhale, the endless slavery to debt in households all around the world and the extinction of animal species that our sons and daughters will never see.

Must we behave like children and bang our head against the wall before we understand that we cannot live independently of the planet and all that lies within? That the health of the Earth is symbiotically and intrinsically connect to ours? That the happiness of our neighbors is reflected in our own happiness.  So when is enough really enough? Close to one billion people starving when there is enough abundance for everyone if the resources were well-distributed. Earlier this year the air pollution reached unbelievable levels (Beijing’s PM2.5 value reached 600, which is more than 24 times acceptable for human health, Shanghai reached 300) and the forecast is for worse. Globally the world owes 49,819,277,626,442 US dollars and all of the world’s governments owe money, a good question would be to whom do they owe it to? Is the power now in the hands of these lenders? Finally, science holds us responsible for the 6th massive extinction crisis in the history of the world. The one we seem to be solely responsible for.

And yet, there seems to be so little action from the holders of the power of decision.

Lets hope that one day we will be wise enough, as a race, to rise above the smog of greed and competition and understand the simple fact, as the authors so sagaciously point out, that

[…] perhaps the most important number of all is one—one single blue-green planet with finite resources that we all must share.

The Great Dictator, by Charles Chaplin

There have been a few truly great speeches recorded throughout human history. Here is one by Charles Chaplin in his 1940 movie “The Great Dictator”. The message remains apropos.

 

I’m sorry. I don’t want to be an emperor, that’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I would like to help everyone if possible. Jew, gentile, black man or white. We all want to help one another, human being are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the good Earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind, we think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity, more than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without this qualities life will be violent and all will be lost. The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together, the very nature of this inventions cries out to the goodness in Men, cries out for the universal brotherhood and the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world. Millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say, do not despair. The misery that is now upon us in but the passing of greed. The bitterness of men will fear the way of human progress. The hate of Men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people and so long as men die, liberty will never perish. Soldiers, don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and slave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to this unnatural men, machine men with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines, you are not cattle, you are MEN. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don’t hate. Only the unloved hate. The unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers, don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Lucas it is written “The Kingdom of God is within Men”, not in one men or a group of men, but in all men, in you, you the People have the power! The power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the People have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power, let us all unite! Lets us fight for a new world. A decent world that will give men the chance to work, that will give you the future and old age a security. By the promess of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie, they do not fulfill their promess, they never will. Dictators free themselves, but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfill that promess, let us fight to free the world. To do away with national barriers, to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world were science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!

 

Original Media:

(from “The Great Dictactor” by Charles Chaplin)

Deaths by Suicide Outnumber Battle Deaths in the US Armed Services

It is an odd and startling statistic, but nonetheless true. In this stirring care2.com article, author S. E. Smith. sheds some light on the wounds that are suffered on the other side of the gun and criticizes the United States’ Department of Defense (DOD) in its inadequacy to deal with this issue. As she explains, the numbers are very explicit:

Approximately every 80 minutes, a US military veteran commits suicide in the United States; for Iraq and Afghanistan, the numbers of veterans lost to suicide now outstrips casualty lists of those killed in action. The suicide rate for active duty personnel isn’t so shockingly high, but it’s still significant; in the first half of 2012, almost one soldier a day took his or her own life. Both veterans and combat personnel have experienced a steep rise in suicide rates since 2005, which notably marked a sharp increase in the intensity of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Although the DOD focus its critics on the privately-owned weapons situation as the cause for this problem it’s easy to understand that the root of the problem lies way deeper:

While on duty, soldiers deal with high stress on a constant basis, with limited opportunities for decompression and processing. While counseling services are available and mechanisms are in place to flag soldiers as “high-risk,” such systems come with significant stigma, which can make people reluctant to report suicidal thoughts and other signs and symptoms of severe depression. They can risk losing their clearances, being discharged or being taken away from their units, which can serve to increase feelings of isolation and depression.

Men was made to create, not destroy. Love, not kill. To go against our own nature will not only drain our energy, it will, in time, make us feel useless, depress and unaccomplished. The times for glory in the battlefield have dissipated with our evolution from the earlier states of society and primitive social mindsets. A developed being cannot find comfort in war when he understands that the dead of another human being makes less of him and the world. At a time that urges for global unity and cooperation, the blast from a gunshot might echo for a whole life.

Complete Article: http://www.care2.com/causes/suicides-outnumber-battle-deaths-in-the-armed-services.html#ixzz2HIWJ9ZeZ