A short journey to the center of a human

When I first started this project, I did so hoping it would become a collaborative space. I wanted to provide a platform to discuss the difficult questions we all say we need to talk about but don’t necessarily have the opportunity to do so. While I have been the main contributor for some time now, collaboration is still the goal.

In this spirit, I wanted to return to the original questions posed to stimulate discussion. I realized what I was asking was rather intense, as it was forcing us to dig deeper than it often feels comfortable to do. Nevertheless, several people responded and shared a little piece of themselves they probably aren’t used to sharing.

I am quite thankful for this, for I benefited greatly from this brief look into the depths of those around me. Shortly after the buzz died down, some of those who responded reached out and told me they too enjoyed the exercise, since it gave them a new outlet for self-reflection and expression.  Unfortunately, though, the dialogue stopped there. 

This was truthfully quite discouraging; I believe I set my expectations too high. However, looking back, I realize it was quite unfair of me to ask people to open themselves up to the world without being willing to do the same myself. My intention behind this was to show how this project is not solely about me, which is often assumed to be the case when someone starts a blog.

Now, several months later, I’ve had a change of heart, and I thought I would share my answers to try and get a conversation going. In many ways, these thoughts and self-reflections are what motivated me to ask these questions in the first place. I hope you find them interesting.

Continue reading “A short journey to the center of a human”

What is the Question ‘What Do You Do?’ Really Asking?

So many of the things we do on a daily basis occur without us ever taking a second to notice them. We are constantly thinking, feeling, acting, and reacting based on what we perceive of the world around us. Part of the reason we glance over things or don’t stop to analyze all we do is due to our bounded attention. We are surrounded by so many things and are constantly active, which would make self-examination get in the way of being able to do even the most mundane tasks. This level of analysis would be unnerving at best. Imagine as you walk to work you are constantly asking yourself: “Why did that person choose to go that way? Why did I cross the street against the light? What are the political ramifications of that construction project? The overpowering complexity of the world around us would reward this behavior with anxiety and stress. However, when channeled, this questioning attitude towards even the most seemingly insignificant act can produce a profound redefinition of something that once seemed so clear, which produces confusion about other things assumed to be true, and inspires further inquiry into the workings of the world around us. In line with our commitment to understanding the profound implications of our actions, I’d like to apply this inquisitive spirit to a rather simple question that seems somewhat silly to analyze, but that actually reveals quite a bit about the way we construct our vision of the world. The question being one we often ask shortly after meeting someone for the first time: What do you do?

Continue reading “What is the Question ‘What Do You Do?’ Really Asking?”

3 Inhuman Moments: The Power of Context

All this talk about love, compassion and respect for difference paints a pretty picture about the world. It’s easy to let yourself believe this is how things really are, but then there is reality. For all the hand-holding and kumbaya-ing, we all know that there are loads of jerks out there. People that make us shake our heads and wonder, “what is going on?!”

Continue reading “3 Inhuman Moments: The Power of Context”

3 human moments: celebrating the simple

What’s your favorite?

What a deceptively straightforward question. We ask it about food, movies, TV shows, cars, you name it. We ask it so often, yet an answer is rarely easy to find. There is something about having to choose just one that makes us balk, makes us crack under pressure.

I have been fortunate to spend the last few years of my life living abroad and travelling and whenever I go home or see someone after a trip, the inevitable question always come up: what was the best part? What was your favorite?

Continue reading “3 human moments: celebrating the simple”

The Crisis of Solidarity

“All for one and one for all, united we stand, divided we fall.”

This famous quote from Alexander Dumas’ The Three Musketeers was written over 175 years ago but is just as relevant today as when it was published. Many of us likely read and agree with it, but recognize that its sentiment is not as readily visible in our daily lives and interactions as much as we might like. This is because we as people are in a state of crisis. Not an economic crisis or a mid-life crisis, but rather a crisis that is much more widespread, much less visible to us, but much more serious than any other that we could experience.  What we are dealing with right now is a crisis of solidarity.

Continue reading “The Crisis of Solidarity”

Change, grow, adapt, learn, survive—we can do it!

Anyone who has had the opportunity to go to a training session or professional development event will know that the power of change and the ability to adapt is one of the most important skills we can learn. We live in an incredibly complex world that seems to be mercilessly dragging us along as it changes on a dime and constantly presents us with more challenges to overcome. It is overwhelming to say the least, but we all manage the anxiety that this situation brings knowing that we as people are incredibly smart and capable of adapting to any situation.

This gives us the strength to confront the world and provides us with the comfort of knowing that we will be all right. But in order to make use of this incredible ability to adapt we must do one thing above all else: we must understand, as best we can, the world around us. We must know the problems we are facing so we can determine the best solutions to ensure the continuation of mankind and the safety and security of generations to come.

But I would like to present a new perspective, one that points out how this type of thinking might just be what is getting in the way of our efforts to truly make this world a better place. This idea rests on one key concept:

We cannot understand the world around us.

It is far too complex, interconnected, multilayered and just plain old too big to possibly be able to understand it. There are too many of us thinking and doing too many different things and this makes any effort to comprehend it fall short and leaves us scratching our heads when plans don’t work out as we expected. This presents a complicated situation, because how can we possibly hope to inflict change on something we cannot hope to ever understand?

Continue reading “Change, grow, adapt, learn, survive—we can do it!”

The 21st Century Bill of Rights

It’s funny to think that the Bill of Rights, something held so dear by all, was not actually part of the original Constitution. It was instead a series of amendments drafted by James Madison that was added to the Constitution in 1791.

The focus of The Human Revolution for this week and possibly next is to float the idea of a new Bill of Rights. The idea is to come up with a list that adds to the existing framework by ensuring some of the rights that we know deep down that we have but that aren’t necessarily guaranteed by law, which cannot be true when the government claims to be “of the people, for the people and by the people.”

Here’s a quick background to get an idea why we’re doing this, but if you’re burning with ideas and don’t want to wait until the end of the article, leave them as a comment or send them in to: thetimehascome.bethechange@gmail.com. As ideas come in we will put together a draft to start laying out the framework for the change we hope to see.

Why is the Bill of Rights separate?

Without going into a long history lesson, basically there were two groups, the Federalists, who thought that the provision that any right not granted to the federal government would be granted to the states or the people was enough to secure the protection of individual liberties, and the anti-Federalists, who didn’t buy that argument and wanted some written guarantee. Eventually, the Anti-Federalist argument won out and the result was the 1791 Bill of Rights. So, the question to ask here is: why do we assume today that rights not guaranteed by law are automatically ours? Perhaps we should take up in the spirit of the Anti-Federalists and turn the implicit into the explicit.

So what?

The Bill of Rights is a critical component of American democracy. It guarantees freedom of speech, the press, assembly, religion, and petitions against the government. It also guarantees that you will be protected against unfair treatment in the event that you are charged with a crime. Several amendments deal with this concept and a select few deal with specific concerns of the time, like the protection against soldiers entering your home and the right to bear arms. These individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution reflect what was most pressing for those living during the birth of the United States. The press and assemblies were essential in rallying support against the Crown in the name of liberty and the unfair treatment of those charged with crimes was just one of the many injustices felt by those living in the colonies. Even if they were written 225 years ago, they live on today and are the building blocks for personal freedom not only in the US, but around the world.

So, good job Madison and the Anti-Federalists; you have saved us from restrictions of liberty and we are forever free from worry that our rights as people will be damaged or taken away. Right?…Hold on one second, let’s think about this a little further.

It is not too much of a leap to say that this might not be the case. Women, homosexuals, minorities, Muslims, immigrants and a whole lot of other people have their rights restricted every day in very different ways. Maybe this type of limitation to freedom is not direct, but an indirect consequence can be equally painful and often harder to change, especially when it is a product of the way in which our society is built.  If we are truly trying to stand up for what it means to be human, all human rights need to be protected in practice and in law, not just in theory.

What would the 21st Century Bill of Rights look like?

The current Bill of Rights isn’t going anywhere, and it shouldn’t, but there is certainly an argument to be made that our advanced society has an advanced understanding of what we should be afforded as people. The Constitution guarantees the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Do our actions go along with this?

We might think that “Freedom of Speech” covers a lot of ground and therefore doesn’t need to be expanded upon, but where do things like health and education fit in? Is access to quality, inclusive education not a right in our modern day society? What about healthcare?

It is only logical to think of rights within the context of the times. James Madison and the Anti-Federalists were doing it and when they came up with what was fair they pushed to have it guaranteed by law. This is something to think of as The Human Revolution takes root and needs to formulate plans for enacting productive change.

This week’s question:

What would the 21st Century Bill of Rights look like?

We are trying to start “The Human Revolution” and if success is ever to be obtained we must first have a plan. That plan can start with asking of ourselves and answering the following question: What are the basic rights that each person deserves simply for being a person?

The United Nations has tackled this idea already (see UN Declaration of Human Rights), but on a much larger and much grander scale. Let’s bring it down to our own lives and see if we can’t come up with a more specific list. Here are a few ideas to get started, but through your thoughts and contributions we should be able to come up with a comprehensive list so we can know what it is we are truly fighting to improve.

  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Voting and elections
  • Corporate power
  • Internet access.

Again, these are just a few suggestions to get started. The rest will come from the conversation. Feel free to comment on this post or send your ideas in to:

info@thehumanrevolution.net

Let the conversation begin. The time has come.