We are now approximately one-sixth of the way through the 21st century, and humanity is still faced with the same disease from the time of Cain and Abel; we're still faced with violence. The dictionary definition of disease is that it has distinctive signs and symptoms, and that it causes morbidity and mortality, meaning that it causes injuries or dysfunction or death; which is exactly what violence done. It's a sickness that not only attacks our bodies, but also destroys the physical, psychological, social, and economic health and development of nearly everyone in affected communities, inflicting trauma, reducing life expectancy, limiting possibilities and accomplishments, and further entrenching inequalities. And it's about time we do something about it.
To say violence is a sickness that threatens public health isn’t just a figure of speech, it's a fact. It spreads from person to person, a parasite of an idea that causes changes in the brain, thriving in certain social conditions; which most of us are more than willing to provide. We generally cast ourselves in a positive light relative to our peers, above all else we believe that we are more just, more honest, more superior than others. We allow hubris and hatred to consume our hearts and minds; thus allowing discrimination and intolerance to thrive in this world; thus allowing violence to spread much like a contagious disease.
We need to stop thinking that we are better than the people around us. We are all victims of the same world-dominating machine, suffering different mutations of the same contagious disease. Disease which brings us closer to a dystopian society. A society which is ruled by anger, fear, hatred, and suffering. A society in which there is no independence, no freedom, and no personal thought. A society which is rampant with poverty, disease, and filth. The time has come to ask ourselves, "Have we had enough?"
You see, now it is time for us to choose a side if we haven't already, and to recommit to the fight. There is no more neutrality in this world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you're going to be part of the problem. It's time for all of us to come together as one united people. It's the only way that things will ever get better. It's the only way we will be able to move forward. It's time for a change.
We all remember that second grade conversation with our teachers. The one where you're told that you can be anything you want to be, just as long as you put your mind to it. Some kids wanted to be doctors and detectives, but most wanted to be athletes or superheroes. As for me, I had no idea what I wanted to be. Though, becoming a superhero was tempting.
Looking back, I wonder, was it all a lie? Think about it; most people don’t grow up doing what they dreamed they would when asked the pivotal question, "What do you want to do when you grow up?" Many people have jobs that are so awful that they scheduled bathroom breaks: two times in the morning and three in the afternoon. Who wants to live like this? No one, yet here we are: at a place we didn’t plan. I guess, we weren’t lied to on purpose. But we were lied to, nonetheless.
Where exactly did it all go wrong? Let’s start at the very beginning, at the educational level. Whether it is a primary school, secondary school, or college, we are not getting a fair deal. Instead of learning critical life skills on how to manage money, how to negotiate, how to solve everyday problems, how to identify and utilize our natural talents, or how to communicate, kids are mostly taught to memorize information. This is helpful to learn, but not at the cost of not learning critical life skills. Many people put these “life” skills on the onus of the parents to teach their kids, but not all parents are qualified to teach these lessons, and many assume that school is “enough learning.”
For now, let's put aside the fact that our education system is failing us. What happens once we graduate? Graduation from college does not come with a job. It can come with a mound of student loan debt. The average borrower in the college class of 2018 is expected to carry more than $35,000 in student loan debt, which may be accompanied by growing credit card debt, as well as an auto loan and maybe even a mortgage. In an ideal world, of course, the education system would be free and available to all. However, we do not live in an ideal world. We live in a Darwinian world; in the world that is ruled by the "Survival of the fittest."
Then there's the "Permission Paradox." The Permission Paradox is one of the great Catch-22s in business. “You can’t get the job without experience, and you can’t get the experience without the job.” Being able to overcome this challenge is predominant to successfully launching your career or can be the difference between having enough money to pay your monthly bills and having to borrow money from your friends. This phenomenon can be frustrating for anyone, especially when you know you can be great at this job and yet you don’t have the chance to show it. It's one of those cosmic jokes.
Ask a class of kids today what they want to do when they grow up and you'll get a lot of the same answers. They are programmed to believe that they can be anything they want to be when they grow up; without being given necessary ability, knowledge or skill to succeed. As adults, we know the truth. The system is flawed and perhaps even “rigged” in certain important ways. The question now is whether we are doomed to repeat the past no matter what, or will we be able to overcome this status quo?
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.
"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
A) Each morning all of the monks would wash up in a small fountain outside in the courtyard.
A) One morning, right after snow had fallen, a new student arrived at the monastery.
A) When he saw them washing in the fountain, he asked the master if the water was cold.
B) What did the master say?
A) Nothing. B) Nothing?
A) That's right.
A) Instead he picked up a bucket, filled it with water, and dumped it on the student's head.
B) He dumped it on his head?
B) But why didn't he just answer his question?
A) He Did.
A) In the only way he could.
A) Because no one can tell you how something is.
A) The only way the student can really know if the water was cold, was by feeling it himself.
"People once believed ,that when someone dies, crow carries their soul to the land of the dead. But sometimes, something so bad happens that a terrible sadness is carried with it and the soul can't rest. Then sometimes, just sometimes the crow can bring that soul back to put the wrong things right."