Monday, May 21, 2012

The New Religion is Flawed

The new religion of this age is non-discrimination. But righteousness is more than just non-discrimination. Way, way, way more than that. Favouritism and sweeping judgments are but one part of living right.

We must also know how to discern between right and wrong and make the decision to choose what is right. In other words, we must learn to discriminate between right and wrong behaviour.

A lot of times I hear the response, "I don't know" from my students. It's almost like "I don't know" has become a standard response, an accepted norm.

But we must learn, we must gain knowledge and understanding and from this knowledge and understanding gain the wisdom and the courage to make the right decisions. Knowing is useless if we don't use it to make right decisions.

What the new religion of today emphasizes is non-discrimination. It's a backlash to the the previous decades of segregation rules and apartheid policies.

And so, we have champions for non-discrimination, any and everywhere there is discrimination it is labelled as wrong. But there are things and behaviour that is wrong, that we must say NO to.

The sad thing is that getting cues from the media and our peers can be a bad indicator of what is truly wrong and right. If our peers love to smoke, it does not necessarily mean that smoking is good.

The media loves to highlight beautiful couples and glamour. The Hollywood hype has glamourized movie idols and celebrities but in doing so it glosses over behaviour that is wrong. Having an affair and the lack of self-control is excused in favour of "true love". It has redefined "true love" as finding someone more attractive instead of working out problems and being committed to the one you made your vows with.

The new religion has taken freedom to be yourself to be an excuse to give in to any whim and fancy that overcomes you. The "natural" desires that you believe you have a considered pure and good. Then we might as well piss on the streets and defecate on the sidewalks, these are natural desires. No, we exercise self-control. There is a time and place for everything. 

It is not suppression but control, lest we become nothing more than animals. Humans are more than just animals. We are not just thinking animals. We have something nobler, something inside of us that is more than what an animal is. It is something foreign  inside of us that tells us that something is wrong even though the animal body wants it so badly.

We call it the conscience. We call it the spirit. Science can only explain things in the 3 dimensions only what we our senses can detect. Economics and Biology calls us the selfish animal. But I think there are more things in life that goes beyond what we can see, touch, hear, feel or taste. It is with the heart that we see the true beauty in this world.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Freedom from Want vs Freedom from Responsibility

I think the dream a lot of people in society is to have a comfortable life, a life where you can have the pleasures of life and none of the pain.

One of the freedoms that America cherishes is freedom from want. Even the Bible in Psalm 23 speaks of having the Lord free us from want.

But freedom from want is not the same as freedom from care and responsibility. The higher we go up in life, the greater the responsibility, the greater that people depend on us.

But it is a burden that is gratefully embraced. Because the joy of serving and loving others offsets the suffering that it entails.

So, if we find that we are burdened by unavoidable suffering and responsibility, perhaps we should ask, are we loving enough?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Am I More Evil Than Hitler and Stalin?

There's this verse in the Bible which says that "God came into this world to save sinners, of which I am the worst".

That's all very nice to think. But when you think of it in a deeper manner, it implies that I'm even more evil than Hitler, Stalin, Osama bin Laden or any other evil person that you could think of.

It means I could be just as evil or even more evil than Kim Jong Il? But is sin the same as evil?

Evil may not be the right word.

Sin means disobedience, not following the word. That means that I have a heart that does not follow God. It doesn't like to do what God wants me to do.

And what are the things I want to do that is not in line with what God wants? I'm lazy, I don't like to do chores, I don't like to study, I don't like to work, I don't like many things even though I know that its good for me. I have said prideful things. I have felt anger, hate and pride. Think of the smoker who knows its bad but doesn't give it up.

Evil is bad. It is sin. But sin is also more than just evil. I may not sin against someone, or do evil. But I can sin... am sinful. And when I realize that, only then can I come to God and say I need help.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Getting Things Done vs Maintaining Things

I've realized that in the workplace, there people are rewarded for doing new things or getting things done.

But maintaining things, keeping things in order, making sure everything is working squeaky clean, these are the things that go unnoticed, and only if something goes wrong will attention be paid to it. It's the engineer who goes on unsung, keeping the trains on time. No matter the competency level, if it's not a high profile job, it won't be rewarded well.

Friday, February 25, 2011


American Idol: The Untold StoryWatching American Idol, I can't help but see and think: "These are people who are in their element!"

Some of these are kids, 16, 17 years old, but they are acting professionally, hitting notes that many of us could never reach, playing musical instruments and singing nonchalantly, but nonetheless with power, passion, and professionalism.

I truly wish that each one of us finds the passion, our element, the thing that is our element, that activity that we resonate with.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Growing Up

When I was young, growing up, adults and people in authority were the ones who made decisions, they were like gods. They made decisions, they were confident, they always seemed to know what to do.

So when I became an adult, I thought I could finally now be like them, be confident, to know everything and what to do and to make decisions.

But I realize now that just being a adult, or at least in physical form does not confer upon me these qualities.

I've realized that a lot of adults don't know everything. That a lot of them are quite ignorant. They make decisions not out of wisdom but a lot of them out of old habits, haste, ignorance, arrogance, pride, fear.

And it's not just anyone above 21. It's not just your average town fool who does this. It can be managers, colonels, directors, CEOs, bankers, lawyers, degree holders.

None of us are exempt from grasp of foolishness.

We are all given the responsibility to search out wisdom. As Euclid replied to a king: There is no royal road to learning and understanding.

I think that if we believe that once we become 21, or get the title of "Manager" or "CEO", we've made it, that we've reached the end of growing up. I think now that that is foolishness.

The act of changing our marital status to "Married" does not make us any happier (or wiser). Nor does having children, or getting promoted, or of winning the lottery.

So, what does make us any more wiser?

I can't think of just one answer right now as I write this blog post. I can think of several things that do contribute.

One of them is to make a decision (and to stick with it). Another is to give up our overweening pride. Another is to seek out the truth behind facts, to know the motives and intents of others. Another is to conquer our fears and to be courageous. Another is perseverance. Love too is an important ingredient, perhaps the most important one of them all from which the other actions hang from.

All I can say is that we must be alert, from one moment to the next, to be aware of what is happening in the here and now and to take the courage to do what is the most important and loving thing at that time.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Watson, The Dawn Of A New Age?

Just a couple of days ago, Watson, an IBM Computer took part in Jeopardy, a quiz show that asks questions using metaphors, puns, wordplay and allusions.

Watson beat the competition hands down, you can watch the episodes from Jeopardy on Youtube below:

Watson's Jeopardy Episodes.

When they announced that the next use for Watson would be in the field of medicine, trying to determine the answers to problems from voluminous amounts of information, I couldn't help but think of the Emergency Medical Program from Star Trek's Voyager TV Show.

Will this program revolutionize our search for answers, leaving humankind to do more important things like being creative and loving one another?

For now, I can't wait to hear a computer program greet me with "Please state the nature of your medical emergency."