At the turn of the new year it feels as if evil is more present and dangerous than ever. One component of worldwide fear is terrorism, and in the minds of religious fanatics who turn to terror tactics, there’s a black-and-white conception of evil. This mental picture of God battling Satan, or something on the same absolute scale, tempts us to fight again terrorism from the same basis. But is there absolute evil in the first place?
There are many reasons to say no. “Pure evil” is a tag applied in the media for horrifying acts, but this is far from proving that the people who perpetrate these acts have become possessed by cosmic evil. As several research projects akin to the Stanford Prison Experiment have shown, ordinary people can step into immoral territory very quickly if given the right situation. Abu Ghraib was another shocking example. There is a lethal mixture when you have an enemy under your power along with permission to do what you want with him, absent any repercussions or punishment.
Extreme acts of violence do not constitute absolute, pure, or satanic evil. Outside a religious worldview, there are rational explanations for evil acts, and our response should be based on which of the following explanation we adopt. Continue reading →
In the event you are struggling to set an intent, know they can also be impactful beyond your immediate day-to-day life. One photographer followed the travels of Syrian refugees seeking home and safety. He is sharing their stories to remind the world that, for millions of humans, the search for a new life is a reality. His work will help many stay present with those struggling so far away. Continue reading →
He volunteered to speak last.
He promised to keep his words to 4 minutes.
He had no plans on talking about his dreams.
Martin Luther King Jr still managed to change history that August day in 1963 as more than 250,000 protesters gathered for the March on Washington.
Today we celebrate all he did and continues to do through the power of words, courage and presence. The History Channel shared this amazing video about the man and the dream:
Sometimes you hear someone speak and their words ingrain themselves into the creases on your palms and the blood in your veins. They settle into your bones and stay there, rattling around in your thoughts and refusing to let you hear anything else.
“There is something called peace,” the man before me promised, and in that moment, I knew these words would become a part of me—present in the mist of my breath on cold mornings and the salt of my tears when I cried—for the rest of my life.
Miles from the Syrian/Jordanian border on a chilly evening in the fall of 2014, my study abroad classmates and I were huddled together in a dusty patch of dirt between expansive crop fields and a small farmhouse, speaking with a Syrian woman, a Jordanian farmer who was allowing her and her daughters to stay on his land, and a translator who interpreted their words from rapid, tearful Arabic for us. The woman had recently fled war-torn Syria with her two daughters after the Islamic State (ISIS) had taken control of her neighborhood. The threats had become too stifling, too real, to ignore.
Laura Ling is an amazing journalist who has partnered with Discovery Digital Networks and ONE.org to bring awareness to stories and issues from across the globe include this most recent story of the energy crisis happening in Africa. Interestingly enough, with access to cell phones, the middle class has exploded on the continent, but the ability to do simple things like charge a cell phone (much less, have consistent lighting in clinics, businesses or even homes) continue to be a struggle as a result of blackouts, shortages and a reliance on “dirty forms of energy.” 7 out of 10 citizens in sub-Saharan Africa still do not have access to electricity. This means expectant mothers, business owners, students and everyone in between are doing their best to move forward and continue developing thriving communities without being able to simply turn on a light.
I will not let the darkness hold me back
-Hussein Mwende, student
Once again the world is infused with a sense of horror and shock by the heinous attacks on innocent Parisians enjoying a Friday night in the City of Lights. And our collective response sensationalized by the media leads us where? The facts leading up to this attack should in no way be received as a surprise, for the endless stream of human barbarism and war has not receded in millennia. Our contemporary world order looks strikingly similar to many civilizations of the past.
What is an alternative response to terrorism? Merriam Webster defines terrorism as, “the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal.” The heart of terrorism is to get under your skin, churning a sense of dis-ease and fear.
Any response powered by fear demonstrates low frequency, low vibration and has an internal destructive nature that ripples across the collective unconscious. Let us find a better solution than more killing, more savagery and attending to the lowest human frequency.
Much has been said about the attacks on Paris over the weekend.
Who is responsible? Are more attacks around the corner? Are those attacks likely in places beyond Paris? How does Syria tie into this? Should we be mad or sad or scared?
Conversations include so much conjecture, much sympathy and some ugliness but without a doubt, the world is in shock at yet another senseless act of violence claiming so many innocent people.
In the wake of all those voices, one we have appreciated hearing was that of a father teaching his son why he didn’t have to be afraid at the site of Bataclan attacks:
French father and son have the most precious conversation in i…A father and son have the most precious conversation during an interview by french media at the scene of the Bataclan attacks. I saw that it hadn’t been subtitled in english yet, so I made a quick edit to show the rest of the world how freakin awesome some of our citizens are. They’re my heros. I feel better too now! (Courtesy of Le Petit Journal) #paris #bataclan #parisattacks
Original Segment: http://bit.ly/1Lix9L2
Original Video (without subtitles): https://www.facebook.com/PetitJournalYannBarthes/videos/1013093998733798/
Yesterday, when my daughters and I came home after school, I put on the live stream of Hillary Clinton testifying before the Benghazi hearings.
I’m not sure if they were 6, 7 or 8 hours into grilling Hillary Clinton yet, but at that particular moment, a Republican congressman was shouting at her. My girls watched, first with horror and then laughing – who is that man? (Actually, my 11 year old daughter asked “Who is that crazy man?”) As he continued to give his own theory on Hillary Clinton’s actions around Benghazi, my 8th grader, who has done mock trials in Elementary and Middle School, asked if that is how a hearing is supposed to go – are you supposed to make up someone else’s story? Or, are you supposed to ask questions, listen, and gather information, facts?
But it was Hillary’s demeanor – calm, collected, in control – that made the most dramatic impression on my daughters and me.
She listened. She reviewed her notes. She didn’t attack.
She smiled as a panel in front of her berated her with nonsensical questions. She acted like a seasoned world leader.
Here are a few life lessons that my girls and I talked about after the debate:Continue reading →
“Every two seconds around the world another girl is forced into marriage.”
Upworthy shared this post about child marriage across the globe. Girls as young as 8 years old are being forced into arranged marriages as a result of issues like poverty, culture, and religious pressures. Continue reading →
Have you heard? World leaders are committing to the Global Goals for Sustainable Development to achieve three extraordinary things by 2030:
End extreme poverty.
Fight inequality and injustice.
Combat climate change.
The Global Goals for sustainable development could get these things done in ALL countries for ALL all people. But to achieve these goals, everyone needs to know about them. Join us in offering your intention for our brothers and sisters around the world. Ours is a world without hunger by 2030.
Many are joining the move to inform and bring awareness to these goals! Pope Francis recently composed Laudato Si’, a letter urging everyone to recognize the crisis state of our planetary health: Continue reading →