Necessary Discomfort

Posted January 2, 2009 by zyphlar
Categories: Philosophy

This was originally posted as a comment to and inspired me to add similar philosophical discussions to my blog in the future. The thesis of the original post was, is complete globalization necessary to achieve peace?  My thoughts below.

Globalization in its most extreme, leading to the disintegration of homelands, somewhat fits with my ongoing theory that mutual discomfort is what makes us adult humans. I wouldn’t advocate the actual disintegration of a cultural identity, but I do believe every person needs to become more of a world citizen to some degree.

Discomfort toward constructive ends is necessary. If I never learned math or English, would I be able to earn a decent living? If I wasn’t forced to help with my parents’ business as a child, would I be a manager at age 22? If people never went to school or summer camp, would they grow and learn? Doing chores is uncomfortable. Being a member of society can be uncomfortable. Integrating into a new culture can be uncomfortable. Our fathers told us that dealing with this discomfort built our character and made us more mature, but we didn’t listen to them, and so we avoid discomfort all the time, to our own and to the world’s detriment.

I advocate discomfort. Sell your car and ride the train. Talk with homeless people and volunteer for women’s shelters. Visit a foreign country for a month or two and realize that although a foreign cultural system may not agree with ours, it is the system’s integrity that matters, not the system itself. We must find a way to integrate with foreign cultures or risk alienating our worldly neighbors. We can’t ask other cultures to integrate with us– this is a personal task and responsibility. Ideally we are able to integrate without fully abandoning our own culture or diluting either culture to irrelevance. These are uncomfortable tasks but necessary for our maturity and usefulness as human adults, in this new interconnected world where an American has the privilege and honor of commenting in an Indian publication.

Illogical Sensitization

Posted January 25, 2008 by zyphlar
Categories: Philosophy

We’re sensitized to the wrong things and desensitized to the right things. We worry about bird flu but don’t take our daily vitamins. We call 9/11 and Katrina wake-up calls, but then fail to follow through with adequate action.

BREAKING NEWS, Las Vegas: Monte Carlo Hotel on Fire

Posted January 25, 2008 by zyphlar
Categories: News

Tags: , ,

This just in: the Monte Carlo Hotel in Las Vegas is on fire. Stay tuned for pictures, coming as soon as wireless networks will allow.

Picture 1Picture 2Picture 3Picture 4Picture 5Picture 6Picture 7Picture 8Picture 9Picture 10Picture 11

Update: Photo credits Jason Gordy. “Fire started just before 11am. ” “[not a terrorist attack], noone’s hurt, everyone’s rescued, nobody’s trapped. Traffic is blocked for 2 miles around the casino, every road barricaded. The fire was in the South wing.”

Update 2: Jason Gordy live on KNBC!
(Thanks to NBC!)

Notify and Walk

Posted October 20, 2006 by zyphlar
Categories: News

I just caught a bit on the news about Armitage’s “Notify and Walk” suggestion. Hey, for a former Bush official and someone who loves to gossip about the secret identities of CIA spies, he’s got a point.

Earlier this week, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage suggested a gradual reduction of U.S. troops, perhaps at a rate of about 5 percent every few months.

“We can’t win on the battlefield,” said Armitage, who served throughout Bush’s first term. “The problem is that this is now a political struggle being carried out amid chaos, and we can’t wish stability on the Iraqis. They have to be willing to fight for it.”

Asked if he thought that staying the course remains an option, Armitage replied: “If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, then clearly it isn’t. The problem is that you can change tactics in an hour, but it takes time to change strategy, and it’s too late for that now.” (The Mercury News)

What’s this, a beginning acceptance that our strategy in Iraq is insanity? Isn’t this the exact strategy that I’ve been suggesting for a year now? Ad hominem be damned, finally someone is seeing the light. The only wish I have is that we dramatically increase our social and political work while turning our battle strategy into a true peacekeeping mission. But as he said, it could be too late for that now. What ever happened to “winning the hearts and minds?”

President Bush says that “America will stay, we will fight, and we will win in Iraq.” Do you think he’ll ever realize that the second part is preventing the third part?

Found on Fark

Posted October 20, 2006 by zyphlar
Categories: News

It’s kind of hard to win the hearts and minds of Iraqis when you are firing a quarter of a million bullets per day in their homeland.

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