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Life/Philosophy

Acceptable Versus Unacceptable Ways To Go Forward!

Acceptable Versus Unacceptable Ways To Go Forward!

In the natural world, a mother bear, during a particularly harsh winter in which it is hard to capture prey, will often eat one of her cubs. It will nearly always be the runt unless the larger one is sickly. If she is still hungry and unable to locate food from other species later that same winter, she will consume[Read More…]

Public Policy: Integration or Catalyst to Institutional Oppression?

Public Policy: Integration or Catalyst to Institutional Oppression?

Abstract In this brief essay, I examine how public policy as a commodity under a business model, in which the state operating in accordance with neoliberal policies has evolved toward a more authoritarian orientation in the early 21st century. Whether in developing countries with high levels of public and private sector corruption, or in the US, the manner by which[Read More…]

Education: A Privilege of the Rich in the Third World

Education: A Privilege of the Rich in the Third World

We commit a big fallacy when we assume that our educational accomplishments are our individual achievements. We like to believe that we were born with a certain innate talent which makes us intellectually superior to all the rest. But the fact of the matter is that our innate talents aren’t all that different. Some people are born with genes that[Read More…]

Alone Together: The Return of Communal Restaurant Tables

Abundance: Gifting It Forward

A few times a year, my parents took me to a restaurant in NYC when I was very young, indeed under school age. For the occasion, my parents asked me to dress-up – to put on best fancy clothes and shoes, my patent leather ones — all black, shiny and perfect to go out on the town. I complied. So[Read More…]

Not Just Black or Muslim, ALL Lives Matter!

Not Just Black or Muslim, ALL Lives Matter!

United States of America has been the leader of nations for a while. From fashion and food to “war on terror” other nations simply follow the leader. But people embrace American products like McDonald, Nike, iPhone and other American lifestyle by choice. So it is unfair to say that the US gets the world to follow it under the gun.[Read More…]

The Relationship Between Racism And Slavery That’s Taught In The U.S.

The Relationship Between Racism And Slavery That’s Taught In The U.S.

  “A People’s History of the World is an indispensable volume on my reference bookshelf.” — Howard Zinn Over the course of several months this year, I surveyed four-year college and university History departments at select academic institutions in the fifty United States. To determine whether or not professors thought slavery caused racism or racism caused slavery. I also addressed the same[Read More…]

Photo by Lupuca

On the Role of “Pressure” In The Elementary School Realm of the U.S.

  “The Declaration of Independence said governments are not sacred things. The laws are not sacred things. Governments are set up by people to defend rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And when governments become destructive of those ends, it’s the right of the people to alter or abolish those governments.” — Howard Zinn The obligation of the[Read More…]

What Does It Mean To Be Human?

What Does It Mean To Be Human?

  I asked my employer yesterday about the way that he dealt with tragedy in life, especially since there is so much of it always erupting everywhere. He answered that he tries to find something of joy to celebrate in every day and tries to bring something good to others – other people, other animals and other life as a[Read More…]

Domestic Violence Survivor Faced Challenges Headlong And Reclaimed Her Power Back

Domestic Violence Survivor Faced Challenges Headlong And Reclaimed Her Power Back

  “Earlier my husband would taunt me for not conceiving and said that I was barren. Then he became angry when I gave birth to a daughter. He warned me that if I ever produced a girl again, he would kill me. My in-laws would instigate him and he would thrash me. Father and son both used very abusive language[Read More…]

Why War? Building On The Legacy of Einstein, Freud And Gandhi

Why War? Building On The Legacy of Einstein, Freud And Gandhi

  In 1932, Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein conducted a correspondence subsequently published under the title ‘Why War?’ See ‘Why War: Einstein and Freud’s Little-Known Correspondence on Violence, Peace, and Human Nature’. In many ways, this dialogue between two giants of the 20th century is symbolic of the effort made by many humans to understand that perplexing and incredibly damaging[Read More…]

The U.S.' priciest house for sale is a Bel-Air mansion that includes 7 staffers and a helicopter - LA Times

The Bad, The Good And The Horrid

A week ago, I was eating lunch and turned on the TV. (Sometimes I don’t know the reason that I bother since so much is disturbing to view on the television, such as murders, car thefts, nightclub shootings, wars, rapes and so on, along with nonsense programs.) Yet I did so anyway and saw part of a show about a[Read More…]

Through Ignoring The Looking-Glass

Through Ignoring The Looking-Glass

“…so many out-of-the-way things had happened lately that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible.” — from the Down the Rabbit-Hole section of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland When Humpty Dumpty shakes hands with Alice he extends only one finger. In Victorian Days, when someone shook hands with a person of inferior social status it[Read More…]

For A Reduction of Violence on the U.S. Domestic Front

For A Reduction of Violence on the U.S. Domestic Front

  For a reduction of violence on the U.S. domestic front educators on all levels will have to do what I suggest here, or attempt to implement or embrace some significant variation of it. Educators cannot think that our present wars are necessary, cannot believe and teach that we are “exceptional” in a positive way with our ongoing behavior overseas.[Read More…]

Be Judgmental Just Be Careful Who You Judge

Be Judgmental Just Be Careful Who You Judge

Tolerance is overrated. In order to appreciate this, some basics should be covered. First, tolerance is not kindness nor is intolerance hate. Second, tolerance as an unswerving philosophical principle leads in equal part to acts of decency and of savagery. Third, for most of its votaries, tolerance is simply a euphemism and cover for utter cowardice. Judgmentalism is underrated. “Live[Read More…]

Cow, Caste, Che Guevara

Cow, Caste, Che Guevara

Cows, cows and more chocolate brown cows. Driving on the highway that cuts through the vast Argentinian pampas, south of Buenos Aires, that’s all one sees everywhere around for miles and miles on end. Thousands of cows, peacefully grazing on grass or eating non-stop at the feedlots – huge dumps of artificial feed where they grow fatter and fatter- till[Read More…]

Charity CEO’s Get Rich by Taking From the Poor

Charity CEO’s Get Rich by Taking From the Poor

The greed and selfishness that the free market capitalist economy inspires seem to impact every area of social and commercial interaction in consenting societies. It’s not just Wall Street and government leaders caught in the trap. It’s the entire system that is set to keep moving ever more money to the top economic tier by siphoning it from the bottom[Read More…]

High Plains Food Bank, USA

Putting Food On All Tables

  Please note that if you have hungry impoverished people in your region, you can find ways to get financial and food donations from various individuals and groups, such as farmers at markets or at their farms, religious groups, charitable organizations, grocery stores and other sources. So they are worthwhile to pursue. While you might not have immediate success on[Read More…]

We Need Their Voices, And Yours!

We Need Their Voices, And Yours!

    Saint Francis said: “Blessed is he who loves and does not therefore desire to be loved; Blessed is he who fears and does not therefore desire to be feared; Blessed is he who serves and does not therefore desire to be served; Blessed is he who behaves well toward others and does not desire that others behave well[Read More…]

 Auguries Of Innocence And Navel-Gazing

 Auguries Of Innocence And Navel-Gazing

Does our understanding of freedom depend on how we respond to two contra cosmological paradigms…namely the interaction between the ‘particular’ and the ‘universal’ …orif you will…the popular versus philosophical narratives that engage us in exercises that shape reality. Technological innovation…as reality on the trot…did much to ensnare popular imagination in a process that fed off locomotion…as did cinematographic art…by way[Read More…]

Sins, Rebirths And Disability

Sins, Rebirths And Disability

  ” You have committed sins in your last incarnation” From the time I gained consciousness, I have been hearing this sentence from whoever speaks to me – irrespective of the age or relation of the person. This sentence has haunted me for long and when I heard even educated people say this sentence over and over even in towns[Read More…]

Helen Keller, We Need Your Voice Today!

Helen Keller, We Need Your Voice Today!

  Annie Sullivan becomes Helen’s teacher Helen Keller was born in 1880, in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Her father had served as a captain in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War, and her mother, Kate Adams, was the daughter of a Confederate general. She was also related to Robert E. Lee, so by birth she was certainly a Southerner. Today[Read More…]

Coventry, after the air raid of 14 November 1940

Protecting Life

  During World War Two, parents with children in London sent their children to the countryside of Great Britain to live with strangers while not knowing with whom they’d be placed, nor whether they would, indeed, ever see them again. They packed their children’s little suitcases with hairbrushes, toothbrushes, the favorite stuffed animals to comfortingly clutch at night, clothes, shoes,[Read More…]

George Orwell, We Need Your Voice Today!

George Orwell, We Need Your Voice Today!

  A lower-upper middle class family and education Eric Arthur Blair (1903-1950), better known by his pen name George Orwell, was the great-grandson of Charles Blair, a wealthy country gentleman, and Lady Mary Fane, daughter of the Earl of Westmorland. Over the generations that separated Eric Blair from his great-grandparents, some of the gentility remained but most of the wealth[Read More…]

Solidarity With Earth And Humanity

Solidarity With Earth And Humanity

In the spring-early summer of my passage from 17 to 18 years old, Albert Camus helped to solidify my opposition to the war in Vietnam. Camus has never been far since then; a familiar recall to ordinary dignity and decency articulated with extraordinary clarity and courage. Now when I write about America, my words are tears. Every value held in[Read More…]

Bertha von Suttner: We Need Your Voice Today!

Bertha von Suttner: We Need Your Voice Today!

  Early life and marriage Baroness Bertha von Suttner (1843-1914) was born in Prague as Countess Kinsky. She was the posthumous daughter of a Field Marshall, and during the first part of her life, she accepted the military traditions of her family. Later she vigorously opposed militarism, and she became a leader of the peace movement. It was her arguments[Read More…]

Authentic Discussion Naming Names

Authentic Discussion Naming Names

  “There is no intelligence in Washington. Only arrogance and hubris. The quarter century I spent there was with the most utterly stupid people on the face of the earth.” — Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan, author of Another Step Toward Devastating War “The EPA was run like the Mafia for the twenty-five years I[Read More…]

A Nonviolent Strategy To Defeat Genocide

A Nonviolent Strategy To Defeat Genocide

  It is a tragic measure of the depravity of human existence that genocide is a continuing and prevalent manifestation of violence in the international system, despite the effort following World War II to abolish it through negotiation, and then adoption and ratification of the 1948 Genocide Convention. According to the Genocide Convention, genocide is any act committed with the intent[Read More…]

Edna St. Vincent Millay: We Need Your Voice Today

Edna St. Vincent Millay: We Need Your Voice Today

          The beautiful red-haired American poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950), is known for her lyric poetry, but she also wrote some of the finest sonnets in the English language, combining classic form with modern imagery. Many of these sonnets are based on the emotions that she experienced in her love affairs with both men and[Read More…]

Albert Einstein, We Need Your Voice Today!

Albert Einstein, We Need Your Voice Today!

“The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything except our ways of thinking, and thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophes.” “I don’t know what will be used in the next world war, but the 4th will be fought with stones.” Albert Einstein (1879-1955) Besides being one of the greatest physicists of all time, Albert Einstein was a lifelong pacifist,[Read More…]

Forcefully Pushing Forward!

Forcefully Pushing Forward!

Excellent, short and worthwhile to watch: Man beaten by Sacramento police officer speaks out … caught on camera beating a pedestrian… Excerpted from Washington Post article on the same subject: When Nandi Cain Jr. was seen on video getting slammed to the ground and pummeled repeatedly by a police officer, that was not the end of his ordeal, according to[Read More…]

Hiding head in sand

The Rape of Nanjing, Education By The Nape Of The Neck

  “Western indifference has been a problem. It continues to be a problem.” — Iris Chang to the author, 2004 On Craig’s List I came across an ad which called for an Elementary School Teacher to provide Spoken English instruction to youngsters in Nanjing, China. I’m highly qualified to serve in that capacity, the pay and benefits are good, and I’d love to[Read More…]

Martin Luther King, We Need Your Voice Today!

Martin Luther King, We Need Your Voice Today!

The son of a southern Baptist minister, Martin Luther King, Jr received his Ph.D. in theology from Boston University in 1955. During his studies, he had admired Thoreau’s essay “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience,” and he had also been greatly moved by the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. King applies the teachings of Thoreau and Gandhi to the[Read More…]

Questions For U.S. Educators

Questions For U.S. Educators

  Some of the questions below are, unquestionably, not appropriate for all grade levels. But — certainly — some should be addressed by the time a student secures entrance to, or matriculation status at, one of our institutions of higher education. If you disagree, do let me know. Over the last 34 years, incomes for the top 0.001% richest Americans[Read More…]

Facebook Makes Everything Worse

Facebook Makes Everything Worse

Here’s how “awareness” works in 2017:  Something happens.  We post about. Until something else happens. We revel in the likes, shares, or comments. Or we wallow in self-doubt about the lack of likes, shares, or comments. Meanwhile, “stuff” keeps happening. For example:  The rich get richer.  The eco-system moves one hour closer to complete collapse.  Patriarchy and white supremacy grow[Read More…]

Mahatma Gandhi, We Need Your Voice Today!

Mahatma Gandhi, We Need Your Voice Today!

If humans are ever to achieve a stable global society in the future, they will have to become much more modest in their economic behavior and much more peaceful in their politics. For both modesty and peace, Gandhi is a useful source of ideas. The problems with which he struggled during his lifetime are extremely relevant to us in the[Read More…]

The Way Of The World!

The Way Of The World!

I’ll be the first to admit that members of our species can show incredible acts of kindness to and sacrifice for others, even strangers. Some will even give up their own lives for strangers. I know this is so and have factual evidence testifying to this being true. However, we do have a vicious side to our natures. … Look,[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
Ewan MacColl’s Call From The Grave

Ewan MacColl’s Call From The Grave

“Life is just a short walk from the cradle to the grave — and it sure behooves us to be kind to one another, and keep our word along the way. What do they say, In the Beginning there was the Word?” — Kirsty MacColl “Music to my fears this morning, my Muse mourning. For our one sphere of influence comes[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
Count Leo Tolstoy, We Need Your Voice Today!

Count Leo Tolstoy, We Need Your Voice Today!

  Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828. While he was still a child, his parents died, and he became Count Tolstoy, with responsibility for the family estate at Yasnaya Polyana. As a young man, he was attracted to the gay and worldly social life of Moscow, but his diary during this period shows remorse over his pursuit of sensual pleasures.[Read More…]

Henry David Thoreau, We Need Your Voice Today!

Henry David Thoreau, We Need Your Voice Today!

In the distant future (and perhaps even in the not-so-distant future) industrial civilization will need to abandon its relentless pursuit of unnecessary material goods and economic growth. Modern society will need to re-establish a balanced and harmonious relationship with nature. In preindustrial societies harmony with nature is usually a part of the cultural tradition. In our own time, the same[Read More…]

Photo by gideon_wright

What On Earth Is A Human Being?

  This article is based on a presentation made at a conference on 13 June, 2017 in Rosario, Argentinatitled ‘Madre Tierra: Una Sola Salud” or  “Mother Earth: Only One Health” Many years ago when my daughter was just eight years old she sprung a surprise question on me. ‘Papa’, she asked, ‘who are we and where does everything in the[Read More…]

John Stuart Mill and his stepdaughter Helen Taylor, with whom he worked for fifteen years after the death of his wife, Harriet Taylor Mills (Wikipedia).

John Stuart Mill, We Need Your Voice Today!

He was not allowed to have a childhood John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) showed his genius at an early age, and his father, the Utilitarian philosopher and political economist James Mill, immediately began to groom him to replace Jeremy Bentham as the leader of the Utilitarian movement. From the age of 3 onwards, Mill was deliberately kept away from children of[Read More…]

A Tribute To Garda Ghista

A Tribute To Garda Ghista

  I had a friend, who died several years ago from breast cancer. Her name was Garda Ghista. She was a dedicated writer, as can be seen here at the next link, and personally did all that she could muster to serve others. Indeed, she was driven to do so. Amazon.com: Garda Ghista: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle https://www.amazon.com/Garda-Ghista/e/B004LXVFOW The[Read More…]

Che

Che

  Che is unvanquished. Proletarian revolutionaries and revolutions don’t get vanquished as they move from one phase to another through class struggle. So, the torch of liberation that Che Guevara carries never gets eliminated; the flame of freedom that Che ignites never gets extinguished; the dream of equality that Che livens never gets wiped out. Today, the day Che Guevara[Read More…]

Robert Owen, We Need Your Voice Today!

Robert Owen, We Need Your Voice Today!

  A pioneer of social reform During the early phases of the Industrial Revolution in England, the workers suffered greatly. Enormous fortunes were made by mill and mine owners, while workers, including young children, were paid starvation wages for cruelly long working days. However, trade unions, child labor laws, and the gradual acceptance of birth control finally produced a more[Read More…]

A Good Man’s History Lesson 

A Good Man’s History Lesson 

  “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” — William Faulkner Patrick Cockburn concludes his article Britain Refuses to Accept How Terrorists Really Work with, Contrary to conventional and governmental wisdom, terrorist conspiracies have not changed much since Brutus, Cassius and their friends plotted to murder Julius Caesar. It made me think about how many people Caesar killed or enslaved[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
Percy Bysshe Shelley: We Need Your Voice Today!

Percy Bysshe Shelley: We Need Your Voice Today!

  A pioneer of non-violent resistance to tyranny Largely unrecognized during his lifetime, Shelley is today considered to be one of the major English-language poets. Less well known is the fact that he was a pioneer of non-violent resistance to tyranny, whose ideas influenced Henry David Thoreau, Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi. Percy Bysshe Shelley was the eldest legitimate son[Read More…]

You Want Change? Then You Must Work For It!

You Want Change? Then You Must Work For It!

  Several years ago, I saw a dark skinned woman in her early twenties and sporting Nigerian clothes in front of me at a bank ATM station. (I was many decades older than she while also a blond and white skinned. I figured that it was a great opportunity to hear her views about racism in the USA, the country[Read More…]

Thomas Robert Malthus, We Need Your Voice Today!

Thomas Robert Malthus, We Need Your Voice Today!

    A debate between father and son T.R. Malthus’ “Essay on The Principle of Population”, the first edition of which was published in 1798, was one of the the first systematic studies of the problem of population in relation to resources. Earlier discussions of the problem had been published by Boterro in Italy, Robert Wallace in England, and Benjamin[Read More…]

Practical Love Supreme in Activism

Practical Love Supreme in Activism

A review of a documentary on John Coltrane reminded me that the iconic jazz musician died on the same day that the Newark Riots officially ended. I trust that the reader knows why I’m using italics here; fact is, the trauma of those riots — fifty years old as of 2017 — never went away. Definitely not for me, as I knew colleagues[Read More…]

Marquis De Condorcet, We Need Your Voice Today

Marquis De Condorcet, We Need Your Voice Today

  A vision of human progress In France the Marquis de Condorcet had written an equally optimistic book, “Esquisse d’un Tableau Historique des Progres de l’Esprit Humain”. Condorcet’s optimism was unaffected even by the fact that at the time when he was writing he was in hiding, under sentence of death by Robespierre’s government. Like Godwin’s “Political Justice”, this book[Read More…]

TOSCA in Tucson

TOSCA in Tucson

“We are documenting, discussing, debating, demonstrating, diverting and delaying ourselves to death in lieu of doing something new in solidarity that stands to make a big enough difference in time.” — One of the author’s home schooled youngsters at six years old (calling attention to the collective deadlines we face respecting our collective crises) “Yes, of course, one could make[Read More…]

William Godwin in a painting by James Northcote (Wikipedia).

William Goldwin, We Need Your Voice Today!

Political Justice In 1793 the English novelist and philosopher William Godwin published an enormously optimistic book, “Political Justice”. As the eighteenth century neared its end, this book became the focus of hopes for political reform and the center of the debate on human progress. Godwin was lifted briefly to enormous heights of fame and adulation, from which he plunged, a[Read More…]

Reminders of Hope

Reminders of Hope

  Dear Countercurrents readers, please excuse the personal nature of this short piece. We are in a world in which rightward drift has become a Hurricane gale.  The world round, racism, misogyny, obscurantism, violence, and demagoguery are on the rise.  Multiple theories exist to explain the rise of such base ideas, but irrespective of which theory is most compelling at[Read More…]

Cattle Being Herded In A Heat

Cattle Being Herded In A Heat

The extraordinary achievement of Claire Simon’s latest film, The Graduation, relies on its ability to capture power at work. The film documents the entire selection process that hundreds of young candidates go through at La Femis in Paris to obtain a seat at one of the most prestigious film schools in the world.

We Need Their Voices Today: Mary Wollstonecraft

We Need Their Voices Today: Mary Wollstonecraft

  The first of a new genus Mary Wollstonecraft was born in London 1n 1759. Although her family had a comfortable income during her childhood, Mary’s father later lost his fortune through speculation, and the family entered a period of severe financial difficulties. He also subjected his wife to physical violence, and Mary often  slept in front of her mother’s[Read More…]

Torment In American Sports And The Star Spangled Banner: A Life Sketch Of Colin Kaepernick

Torment In American Sports And The Star Spangled Banner: A Life Sketch Of Colin Kaepernick

At every turn in American culture, be it politics, sports or the corporate world, the citizenry is constantly taught, some would argue brainwashed, to believe in the Cult of the Uniform & The Flag, be it that of the armed forces, local law enforcement, or sports. It’s a veritable religion that one ever dares to criticize at their peril. Political[Read More…]

Lafzon ka Perh (The Tree of Words)

Lafzon ka Perh (The Tree of Words)

(This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to recent events or people is intentional, fiction after all is the step daughter of reality) Azadnagar was a unique place. It had birds which could speak. Yes, speak as we could. The people of Azadnagar loved their birds but no one knew how they could speak. The secret of the speaking[Read More…]

We Need Their Voices Today: Thomas Jefferson

We Need Their Voices Today: Thomas Jefferson

  Jefferson’s Education Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was born in the British Colony of Virginia. His father, Peter Jefferson, who was a planter and surveyor, died when Thomas Jefferson was 14 years old, and Thomas inherited an estate of approximately 5000 acres. At the age of 16, Jefferson entered the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg Virginia. His studies there[Read More…]

The Little Acknowledged Legacy of Steve Biko

The Little Acknowledged Legacy of Steve Biko

This opinion Piece was widely circulated through the Independent Newspapers Group and was published in the Daily News (08 Sept 2008), Cape Argus (11 Sept.2008) and in other newspapers belonging to the group. Thirty years ago in 1977 the beast of Apartheid snuffed out the life of one of the greatest thinkers in the liberation pantheon of South Africa: Steve[Read More…]

Photo by Public Domain Photos

Educators Serving The Powers That Be: Results of a Recent Survey

In the months of April and May we conducted a random survey of 100 U.S. educators nationwide* — on all levels, in public and private institutions — and discovered that less than 10% of teachers and administrators** knew much at all about the 25 major environmental issues plaguing the planet today.

We Need Their Voices Today: Thomas Paine

We Need Their Voices Today: Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine, defender of democracy, defender of human rights, defender of ordinary citizens against the tyranny of oligarchies, we need your voice today!

Sri Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV -The Philosopher King of Mysore

Sri Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV -The Philosopher King of Mysore

While all over India citadels of royal families crumbled before the might of British onslaught, the Wodeyars of Mysore through their liberal, progressive and secular outlook and policies retained their domain till 1947. In the long history of Mysore it was under Sri Krishna raja Wodeyar IV who ruled from 1902 to 1940 that the state came to be referred[Read More…]

We Need Their Voices Today: William Blake

We Need Their Voices Today: William Blake

Education as an engraver and printmaker William Blake was born in 1757 in the Soho district of London. He was the third of seven children, two of whom died in infancy. His parents, who were English Dissenters, seem to have been reasonable wealthy during his childhood, since his father was able to purchase many books for him. Among these were[Read More…]

We Need Their Voices Today: Saint Francis of Assisi

We Need Their Voices Today: Saint Francis of Assisi

Saint Francis of Assisi was born in 1181 in the Italian hilltop town of Assisi. His father, Pietro di Bernardone, was a prosperous silk merchant, and his mother Pica de Bourlemont, was a noblewoman from Provence. Saint Francis was originally called Giovanni, but his father later renamed him Francesco because of his successful business dealings in France and his admiration[Read More…]

AL25-HAPPINESS A Danish study suggests that depression and unhappiness can inspire creativity. It appears that the most lasting inspiration for artists may come from the most difficult moments.



Editable vector silhouette of a man sitting with his head in his hand with background made using a gradient mesh

Uploaded by: Herron, Shaun

An Open Letter To People With ‘Mental Health’ Issues

  As ‘mental health’ issues gain more attention, sympathetic and otherwise, in a wide variety of contexts and countries around the world, the opportunity for inaccurate perceptions of what causes these issues, and how to treat them, are likewise expanded. So if you or someone you know is supposed to have a ‘mental illness’ such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive[Read More…]

We Need Their Voices Today!

We Need Their Voices Today!

We are honored to serialize the new book by John Scales Avery “We Need Their Voices Today!”. We are publishing the Preface of the book today. The chapters will be published in the coming days

Tobacco Endgame Is Critical ‘Cog In The Wheel’ For Sustainable Development

Tobacco Endgame Is Critical ‘Cog In The Wheel’ For Sustainable Development

Although governments have promised sustainable development by 2030 by adopting UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but tobacco triggered pandemics threaten to stall or even reverse the progress made. Tobacco is a major risk factor of killer non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardio-vascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, among others. In addition to devastating health, tobacco is also linked to poverty,[Read More…]

The Mystical Journey Of The Unconscious Mind

The Mystical Journey Of The Unconscious Mind

Bismillaàh Some experiences sometimes in this journey called life are beyond words and description .The magnitude of their impact unmeasurable ……all these years I have carried a mystical enigmatical experience within me..merged into my being …the outer self questioning …is it true …possible ? the “ruh” never in doubt of this happening! A normal hectic working day I came back[Read More…]

And The Minds of Children Closed

And The Minds of Children Closed

  Schools are still shills for our collective addiction to belief in technological fixes as a decent approach to addressing climate change issues. That’s one reason to home school, among many. But my informal survey of home schooling parents nationwide has revealed that virtually no one is teaching youth that only a no-growth vision of economics can possibly give us[Read More…]

The President Has Taken Your Wives; Now You Must Eat Your God

The President Has Taken Your Wives; Now You Must Eat Your God

  Don’t take this too seriously; it’s something I dreamed up one rainy Sunday afternoon. -Sigmund Freud (in communication with Abram Kardiner) The psychoanalytic theorist, Eugène Enriquez, informs us that “Charles Darwin and evolutionary sociologists of the nineteenth century used a term of Tartar origin, “primitive horde,” to refer to the simplest possible form of social formation in existence during[Read More…]

Getting Sensible And Realistic About Maladaptive Behaviors

Getting Sensible And Realistic About Maladaptive Behaviors

Feeding 9 Billion | National Geographic National Geographic1536 × 1152Search by image “Picture of [a] pig farm in Mato Grosso, Brazil, with sows confined …” [Presumably, they can’t stand, nor move.  Stuck in one position, they are forced to lie on one side to nurse after being artificially inseminated. They do so day after day, week after week and month after month[Read More…]

The WhatsApp Republic: Unfriending Saudi King Salman And Learning To Be Politically Savvy

The WhatsApp Republic: Unfriending Saudi King Salman And Learning To Be Politically Savvy

Our mornings earlier started with roosters crowing, loud gurgles of the old neighbor, swoosh-swoosh of water flowing (If it is flowing from the taps for the few lucky Indians.) or the sweet sweeps of large brooms cleaning the front-yards. Gone are those backward days. Now our Ache din start with screechy Good mornings, from our phones as early in the[Read More…]

Standing by Truth Together

Standing by Truth Together

The thing is, a core group of citizens are — first — going to have to get off of the Untruthful Treadmill that they’re on. Talk about the toxicity of the blacktops that cover the only roads now available. And, then, carve out unprecedented inroads in the realm of the electoral arena.

Truth or Delusion?

Truth or Delusion?

One inevitable outcome of the phenomenal violence we all suffer as children is that most of us live in a state of delusion throughout our lives. This makes it extraordinarily difficult for accurate information, including vital information about the endangered state of our world and how to respond appropriately, to penetrate the typical human mind. ‘Phenomenal violence?’ you might ask.[Read More…]

Connecting ‘Silos’: Interdependence Is Key To #EndTB in Sustainable Development Era

Connecting ‘Silos’: Interdependence Is Key To #EndTB in Sustainable Development Era

  (CNS): When major weak-spots go beyond the purview of health ministry, inter-sectoral programming becomes critical to progress towards ending tuberculosis (TB) by 2030, globally. Indian government has committed to end TB by 2025 – a welcome political commitment indeed – but warrants urgent and unprecedented actions to muscle up the required pace to keep this promise. As our governments[Read More…]

Growing Up With A Monster In Your Life!

Growing Up With A Monster In Your Life!

As children, my sister and I used to feel sorry for ourselves from time to time while having a brother, who’s a pathological narcissist. He was by no means easy with whom to interact day after day and year after year while growing up. Pathological narcissism | definition of Pathological narcissism by … medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Pathological+narcissism a psychiatric diagnosis characterized by an[Read More…]

Thinking About The Brain Thinking About Changing The World

Thinking About The Brain Thinking About Changing The World

     Albert Einstein said, “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking, it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”  Changing our thinking requires an understanding of how our brains work.  Scientific research has led to the discovery that our thinking brain is strongly influenced by our primitive emotional brain, known as the limbic system,[Read More…]

The Navajo Way!

The Navajo Way!

    It is sickening, tiring and frustrating to year after year deal with racism and bigotry. What does it matter whether directed against darker skinned peoples, people from other cultures, people designated as less than equal due to a caste system or the fact that some group wants the resources or land that the other group has and, so,[Read More…]

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Cleaning Up The Air We Breathe

(CNS): My first personal brush with the severity of asthma was several years ago, when one of my students suddenly started gasping for breath in the middle of her Physics Practical final examination of Class 12. We were clueless about the cause of her sudden affliction. Other than making her sit in the open air and force her to drink[Read More…]

Positioning Popularity Properly

Positioning Popularity Properly

“Frequently the cock combines the lifting of his tail with the raising of his voice. He appears to receive through his feet some shock from the center of the earth, which travels upward through him and is released: Eee-ooo-ii! Eee-­ooo-ii! To the melancholy this sound is melancholy and to the hysterical it is hysterical. To me it has always sounded[Read More…]

Consuming Passions And Environment

Consuming Passions And Environment

    “Runaway growth in consumption in the past fifty years is putting strains on the environment never before seen.” The United Nations’ Human Development Report 1998 (UNDP Report) WHEN WILL WE EVER LEARN – LAMENT When will we ever learn? That “conspicuous consumption” only satisfies our shallow need for positive appraisal, self-esteem and Identity. That happiness is not the result of[Read More…]

Love Vs Pornography, Revolution Vs Passivity

Love Vs Pornography, Revolution Vs Passivity

  You say that you want facts – facts and more facts, before you can commit. Before you finally decide to become part of something: a political party, a movement or another human being. You already have plenty of them: an avalanche, a tsunami of facts. “In fact”, your life is overflowing with facts. Most of them are brought directly[Read More…]

Come to the Okavango

Come to the Okavango

First there was the dry. Then it rained high up and far away in the mountains. And water flowed. Life giving water filled the river banks and overflowed. Life giving water which itself gives up its life in a few months when it sinks into the sands of the Kalahari Desert. But while it lasted, it would be called by[Read More…]

 Comic Faith, Wonder And Activism

 Comic Faith, Wonder And Activism

Proactive concerned citizens attempting to bring about institutional changes in the midst of our horrid momentum — rife with what makes us wretch morning, noon and night now — must embrace humor as they heft their sad sandbags onto barricades being used to fight the powers that be.

Left Liberals And Counter-History

Left Liberals And Counter-History

I read a Facebook post by an American Liberal comparing the refusal of the French Far-Leftist Jean-Luc Melanchon to choose between Emmanuel Macron and the rightist Marine Le Pen as President of France to the Left’s rejection of the German Social Democrats on the eve of WWI, resulting, ultimately, in the emergence of Naziism. He cited other similar cases where[Read More…]

The Power of Grey – Towards A Harmonious And Peaceful World Order

The Power of Grey – Towards A Harmonious And Peaceful World Order

The society and humankind has been painstakingly trained, through centuries, to be fascinated by black and white. This is irrespective of the fact that if human soul was to be assigned a color, it most definitely would have to be grey, neither black nor white. So deeply have we been prejudiced that black is associated with darkness, negativity and all[Read More…]

All We Like Sheep Are Being Led Astray

All We Like Sheep Are Being Led Astray

  “Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.” ― Bertrand Russell We are often taken aback by the vehemence with which our friends, associates and acquaintances disagree with our observations, especially while discussing the political motivation of politicians. We are also surprised by their loyal devotion to the[Read More…]

Band wallahs march during a procession. Photo courtesy: Sadia Akhtar

Photo Essay: The Band Wallahs of Indian Weddings

Marriages in India are considered to be a sacrosanct social institution. Amid the glitz and the glitter of the wedding are men, whose music has become entwined with the wedding affair, the band wallahs. But who are these men, whose job is to be perpetual celebrants on behalf of other people. What kind of existence do these band wallahs lead?[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
The Case For An Intellectual Discourse On Islam

The Case For An Intellectual Discourse On Islam

  The righteous rage that boils over into lynchings, mobs, suspicions and allegations of blasphemy shows a loss of balance and rationality in our social behaviour. This is a disturbing truth that needs a serious collective introspection. Among other things, a lot of this (self) righteous rage is because of an inability and unwillingness to intellectually confront and address diversity,[Read More…]

The Relationship Between Forgetting Ourselves And War

The Relationship Between Forgetting Ourselves And War

  “The essential thing is to WANT to sing.” — Henry Miller “Education in this country just boxes you in.” — Emil White Just prior to Emil White dying, I had a chance to interact with the publisher, artist and well-known friend of Henry Miller at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, California in the late eighties. One of[Read More…]

A Few Lines From Young Marx

A Few Lines From Young Marx

  It was 1830, the July Revolution forced abdication of king Charles X in France, and Louis Philippe became constitutional monarch. Twenty-eight years prior to this development in France, in 1802, the first factory law was introduced in England; and the law pertained to child labor. In the same year, John Dalton introduced atomic theory into chemistry. In the Congress[Read More…]

The Bad Brother!

The Bad Brother!

  My younger brother, Rick, wasn’t meant to be born. That is — he wound up as an accidental birth concerning which my mother had mistakenly gotten pregnant only one month after I was born. Her ob-gyn was alarmed by the occurrence. He was the one, along with my mother and my father since the twosome were co-joined in decision-making[Read More…]

Photo by John Vetterli

I’d Rather Be ‘Intellectual’ Than Stupid

Politicians, once they come to power, blame ‘intellectuals’ and ‘liberals’ for slowing down their bid for absolute control and power over all of us citizens. Politicians use the words ‘Intellectual’ and ‘liberal’ to malign, belittle and disparage social thinkers and independent minded social commentators who differ and disagree with them. Social commentators and all those who do not agree with[Read More…]

Resistance must be more than blockades and protest. (Photo: Eric Wüstenhagen/flickr/cc)

 Variables Vitiating Viewpoints, Visions

  I’m not using the “V” here to allude to the 2009-2011 mini-series, the 1983 television production, the Guy Fawkes mask, Thomas Pynchon’s debut novel or any other silly or pseudo-serious treatment of radical response to the powers that be. Rather, for me, there’s a need to address the repetition that we’re experiencing in the realm of activism, whereby — ad nauseum — vociferous citizens are voicing[Read More…]

Remembering Karl Marx  

Remembering Karl Marx  

While most of the European thinkers and philosophers are famous, not all of them are as relevant as Karl Marx who is often referred to as the father of revolution. As a student of social sciences it was a privilege for me to study Karl Marx during early days of my graduation and at doctoral level. The present piece of[Read More…]

Conflict Resolution: White Feathers of Peace

Conflict Resolution: White Feathers of Peace

Absolutely, I get deeply angry at the carnage that our species demonstrates towards others of our kind and other species, the ones that are a part of the natural world that we dismantle for economic growth. Yet sometimes anger is necessary as it pushes one to where he doesn’t want to tread and to be someone he’d like to avoid[Read More…]

Securing Sweetness For Sugarcane Souls: A Tribute To Paulo Freire

Securing Sweetness For Sugarcane Souls: A Tribute To Paulo Freire

  “…there neither is, nor has ever been, an educational practice in zero space-time—neutral in the sense of being committed only to preponderantly abstract, intangible ideas.” — Freire, Paolo (2014) Pedagogy of Hope: Reliving Pedagogy of the Oppressed, New York: Bloomsbury, p.67   “Paulo Freire says that reflection and action… action… action should be directed at the structures that need to be[Read More…]

Photo courtesy of PIX11 News

Who Cares About Helping Homeless Women?

I hadn’t seen J. in more than a week and that was concerning. It always worries me when one of my “regulars” vanishes. Often, this situation has resulted in me eventually encountering them and getting updates about illnesses, hospital visits, and/or surgeries. Whenyour mission is offering food, clothes, supplies, and more to New York City’s homeless women, you quickly learn[Read More…]

Dealing With Tragedies In Life

Dealing With Tragedies In Life

Unavoidably, we all sometimes face seemingly insurmountable tragedies in our lives that can disassemble us in dreadful ways, such as a death of an only child or a deeply loved mate. So what do we do to pull ourselves back together after such overwhelming loss? It’s all about the ways that we use outrageous, totally devastating tragedies in their aftermath[Read More…]

Artificial Intelligence: Socioeconomic, Political And Ethical Dimensions

Artificial Intelligence: Socioeconomic, Political And Ethical Dimensions

Introduction: Humanity’s Future in AI-Biosynthetic World In a few centuries or perhaps a few decades, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and biosynthetic engineering will be perfected to the degree that androids will closely resemble humans and biosynthetically engineered humans will resemble androids. Despite the nightmares of such a prospect for some scientists, humanist scholars and theologians, AI will be a dream becoming[Read More…]

Children As Songbirds

Children As Songbirds

  “We live in one global environment with a huge number of ecological, economic, social, and political pressures tearing at its only dimly perceived, basically uninterpreted and uncomprehended fabric. Anyone with even a vague consciousness of this whole is alarmed at how such remorselessly selfish and narrow interests – patriotism, chauvinism, ethnic, religious, and racial hatreds – can in fact[Read More…]

International Collaboration to End Violence

International Collaboration to End Violence

While much of the world is engulfed in violence of one sort or another (whether violence in the home or on the street, exploitation, ecological destruction or war), a global network of individuals and organizations is committed to ending this violence in all of its manifestations. With individual signatories in 100 countries and organizational endorsements in 35 countries, each of[Read More…]

The Football Analogy for Activists

The Football Analogy for Activists

  “Billy Graham, a key figure at the Christian Woodstock in 1972, once compared life to a golf course, where it was only important to follow the rules in order to be embraced by the Lord once the game was over.” —  Vine Deloria, Jr. in conversation with the author Explo ’72 was a gigantic rally held at the Cotton[Read More…]

Setting An Example

Setting An Example

    When I was a child, I took it for granted that my world would always be surrounded by the beauty and wonder of many other species included in it. For example, I thought that it was normal to see many mourning doves flap out of a stand of trees next to my home while starting, shortly before dawn’s[Read More…]

Paintings Without Frames, Living Without Games

Paintings Without Frames, Living Without Games

“Near Eastern religions have a propensity for building massive temples and tombs and this tradition has been emulated by Christian tendencies to construct gigantic cathedrals. Temples, churches, and synagogues separate the faithful from the secular world and from the natural world as if religion needs to be isolated from the rest of human activities.” — Vine Deloria, Jr., God is Red:[Read More…]

A top shot of the Okhla Sabzi Mandi

Photo Essay: Okhla Sabzi Mandi, Life in Action

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players;” (As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7) The quoted lines, written by Shakespeare somehow, explain the cycle of our life. We are born and then we die. But it’s the “in between” where we actually live. We’re actors of the play called ‘Life’ and we go[Read More…]

Socio-Political and Economic Aspects Of Fluorosis

Socio-Political and Economic Aspects Of Fluorosis

A Presentation made at XL Indian Social Science Congress, Dec 19-23, 2016, University of Mysore, Mysuru , focused on PEOPLES HEALTH AND QUALITY OF LIFE IN INDIA. It was widely appreciated as one focussing on a key problem faced by vast masses of India, neglected by all the (un-)concerned agencies

“A homeless sleeps amid a snow storm outside the White House in Washington D.C., capital of the United States…” [Photo: Xinhua/Zhang Jun]

On Finding A Homeless Person In A Blizzard!

  Personally if I were to find even one homeless person sleeping in the icy snow not far from my home, I’d make it a habit to always nightly check the area for others in the same condition and, in the least, call a local shelter for a pick-up of him, give him hot tea and a sandwich, as well[Read More…]

Photo by Teknorat

Science Needs To Be Set Free For The Good Of Mankind

  This article is based on the Presidential Speech by well-known physician, Dr BM Hegde at the 40th Annual Congress of the Indian Social Science Academy, held in Mysore, Dec 19-23, 2016. We are publishing the entire content of the speech in the light of the many brilliant and thought-provoking observations made on science and health but cannot verify all the[Read More…]

A washerman washing clothes inside the cement tubs at the ghat.

Photo Essay: We Treat Your Clothes Like Our Babies

Devi Prasad Sadan Ghat has managed to exist and battle the innovations of technology that brought washing machines to every household. Almost hidden and unnoticed by people the biggest dhobi ghat in Delhi is located in CP at the otherwise quiet and serene Hailey lane. Families of 60 washermen, try to sustain themselves by washing and ironing clothes from dawn[Read More…]

Photo by MarioGuti / iStock.

The Reign Of ‘Humanity’

I am told it was the best moment of their lives When my parents saw my pretty little face, they say they forgot all strife They loved me, adored me I felt I was the most blessed child They made me feel special, beautiful, strong, dignified, let me have fun, allowed me to get wild In the world I grew[Read More…]

Eyes On Eternity Versus Eyes On The Prize: Dedicated To Gil Scott-Heron

Eyes On Eternity Versus Eyes On The Prize: Dedicated To Gil Scott-Heron

  Henry Hampton‘s work — like his groundbreaking Eyes on the Prize (1987-1990) — should be applauded. His grand efforts and accomplishments — along with those of his many hardworking, talented colleagues, such as the dedicated and incomparable Judy Richardson — are praiseworthy by any standards. That said, to have one’s eyes on any prize in the realm of social activism usually means a[Read More…]

Tapping Into The Creativity Of The Poor

Tapping Into The Creativity Of The Poor

I always believe that people can do wonders, if their energy is channelized and focused on a given task. Tomorrows are made by people. A lesson I learnt early in life is that great leaders don’t teach. They touch and transform. They don’t instruct; they inspire by their conduct and disposition. They help people discover within themselves the strength to[Read More…]

Inter-Sectoral And Well-Coordinated Battle To #endTB Is Imperative To Deliver On Agenda 2030

Inter-Sectoral And Well-Coordinated Battle To #endTB Is Imperative To Deliver On Agenda 2030

(CNS): Growing political commitment of governments globally to #endTB is indeed welcoming but governments need to walk the talk too to #endTB and deliver on promises of integrated sustainable development by 2030. Reality check on any specific indicator to show progress made towards ending TB will raise serious concerns regarding meeting these commitments in a timely manner. For example, TB[Read More…]

 Decolonisation Of “Modern Medical System: The Need To March Towards People Oriented Holistic System

 Decolonisation Of “Modern Medical System: The Need To March Towards People Oriented Holistic System

Text of a Speech circulated on Dec24, 2016, at XL Indian Social Science Congress Organized by Indian Social Sciences Academy(ISSA) , held from 19th Dec. 2016 and 24th Dec. 2016, in collaboration with University of Mysore, Mysuru, Karnataka

People waiting to get registered at Motihari District Government Hospital in East Champaran, Bihar. With so few doctors employed to work in the public sector of healthcare in India, this scene is typical.

What Should Actually Make The Doctors Angry

The recent strike of doctors across Maharashtra (and other parts of the country) against violence unleashed on them by disgruntled relatives of patients have thrown up uncomfortable questions. Whenever and wherever, violence must be abhorred and condemned in all its forms. Without doubt, all healthcare providers should be ensured safety at places of work. Violence at place of work can[Read More…]

An Interview With Anand Patwardhan

An Interview With Anand Patwardhan

For over 40 years Anand Patwardhan’s documentary films have stood for freedom of expression. He faced censorship on numerous occasions, took the government to court, and won each time. Anand is not just a filmmaker but an activist in the cause of Indian democracy, clearly under threat today. In this candid conversation with Vidya Bhushan Rawat, Anand discusses his views[Read More…]

Education Still Far From The Reach Of Many Girls

Education Still Far From The Reach Of Many Girls

Education is instrumental in empowering girls and women, and eventually their entire families; therefore India is determined to educate all children, especially the girl child. By declaring education as a fundamental right, constitutional provisions were made to provide free and compulsory education to all children ages six to fourteen. Since the Right to Education (RTE) was enacted in 2010, gross[Read More…]

How Fair Is The Media?

How Fair Is The Media?

   There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil. -Walter Lippmann In an ideal world, journalism is a profession of incredible integrity. Good journalists are amongst the most dexterous and skilled people in the world—and also the most respected. We have all benefited from the work of indefatigable journalists who[Read More…]

Insights Of A Cancer Survivor With Indomitable Spirit

Insights Of A Cancer Survivor With Indomitable Spirit

“One night, in the summer of 2013, I felt a twitch in my breast. It was something like if you hurt your toenail. Having a family history of cancer, I did not want to take any chance, and promptly saw my doctor the very next day. He reassured me that there was nothing to worry, more so because there was[Read More…]

Sing It One More Time Like That

Sing It One More Time Like That

The world stands out on either side No wider than the heart is wide; Above the world is stretched the sky,— 205 No higher than the soul is high. The heart can push the sea and land Farther away on either hand; The soul can split the sky in two, And let the face of God shine through. The above[Read More…]

Hawkeye: Shunner of the Status Quo

Hawkeye: Shunner of the Status Quo

Hawkeye was one of the most colorful people whom I’ve ever known since the time of my first having met him as a toddler. It was because of his basic life’s position and sometimes unusual choices. Indeed, his alternative selection to the norm as a way to move forward in life was impressive to me. He embodied the Quaker outlook[Read More…]

Kate E. And Lady Gaga, Defenders of the Maligned

Kate E. And Lady Gaga, Defenders of the Maligned

I’m sick of the wars, utterly sick of all of them. They happen abroad in a panoramic view involving thousands if not a million or more and right on USA soil on a greatly curtailed scale. Sometimes they are big and sometimes they are small. The types that happen within families, I suppose, are small versions and can involve even[Read More…]

Photo Essay: Earning, One Cut At A Time, Street Barbers Of Delhi

Photo Essay: Earning, One Cut At A Time, Street Barbers Of Delhi

You believe in expert marketing strategies of moustached-uncles sitting patiently inside wholesale shops of Sadar Bazaar, and indulge in ‘chai-pe-charcha’ for the latest political gossip, and immediately turn to your best buddies in need of a life-turning advice rather spending on professional psychiatrists. Don’t worry, you are just an average Indian. The country that contributed ‘jugaad’ as a new term[Read More…]

Mary, Protector Of The Harmed

Mary, Protector Of The Harmed

I met Mary H. when I was sixteen years old. She was twenty at the time and my parents had been asked by NYC Quakers to take her for the summer months. Her “story” went like this. Born in a fundamentalist Christian Maryland, USA family — she had parents paying for her to attend a university in Maryland. Then one[Read More…]

'The best part of the work we do is that it’s not what we’re fighting against but what we’re fighting for.' (Photo:  Indigenous Environmental Network/Facebook)

 Big Yellow Hearse To Moriturus

Dedicated to Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Fight for Sacco and Vanzetti “With his hand on my mouth He shall drag me forth, Shrieking to the south And clutching at the north.” — Edna St. Vincent Millay, from Moriturus As everyone paying attention knows, we are about to die. Unless indigenous people — the ones whose lead must be followed according to[Read More…]

Religiosity

Religiosity

  I couldn’t believe my eyes while flipping TV channels. There on one station are two guys smacking each other upside their heads. All that I could see was them inflicting injury and life-long damage onto each other via teeth loss, broken noses, concussions, skull cracks and so on. Meanwhile the audience is cheering as these two fellows slam each[Read More…]

What Kind of Woman IS This?

What Kind of Woman IS This?

  I’ll be frank. I do not like everyone. For example I strongly dislike Josef Mengele, a Nazi medical doctor who tied a Jew’s legs together while she was giving birth so as to see the medical results. I also do not like Marjorie M. She was the wealthiest woman in the world when I was a child. She sent[Read More…]

Photo by poptech

“The Narrative Of Progress Is No Longer Sustainable.”

  When I read that in the New York Times article, ” A Critical History Asks, What Does It Mean to Be Modern?”(Aug.26), the Counter Currents article “‘Gandhi Was Perfectly Sensible To Call Industrial Civilisation ‘A Nine Days Wonder’” (Sep.23) came to mind. Has modernity been about allowing the short term to blind us to the long term?: For too[Read More…]

The Perfect Necklace

The Perfect Necklace

Many years ago, my parents visited a Masai village in Kenya. Many of the Masai are environmentalists, and know that maintaining assorted wildlife, including a variety of plants in their region, is good for the planet. Simultaneously their orientation supports the tourism industry. It’s because regions in their country rich in biological diversity attract visitors from other countries. Yet they[Read More…]

Ornithological Ox Omen

Ornithological Ox Omen

In the realm of songbirds one never finds any creatures attempting to force others to embrace their singular song. Humans do exactly that with their wars abroad. And with their domestic political squabbling, expecting those with different points of view to sing the same tune.

The Good Sister, A Model For US All!

The Good Sister, A Model For US All!

Fourteen months older than am I, my sister was a terror as a toddler. I understand it from an evolutionary standpoint now, although I didn’t then as a little girl. Often there wasn’t enough food for all for ancient ancestors and the dominant child would get the brunt. It’s like a baby bird in the nest — the stronger and[Read More…]

Can Go Congo, No

Can Go Congo, No

“Habit is the great deadener.” — Samuel Beckett An intrepid investigative journalist recently produced six minutes and seventeen seconds of footage that underscores how attachment to high tech gadgetry is causing abominations which are the equivalent of The Holocaust (which Hollywood never lets us forget). The atrocities being committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo — by any standards —[Read More…]

The Peace Grandmother Of Copenhagen

The Peace Grandmother Of Copenhagen

 The weather here in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark is always shifting. It’s rainy and windy now. In another minute the sun would be out giving a little respite to the cold of this late winter or early spring weather. Come rain or sunshine they are outside the parliament house in Copenhagen, protesting against the involvement of Danish troops in[Read More…]

Upper Class, Politicians and the Loss Of Public Space

Upper Class, Politicians and the Loss Of Public Space

  All media focus currently is on whether the BJP or the Shiv Sena will have its Mayor in Mumbai following a hung house after the recent civic election. Real issues usually remain buried, unexplored. Look at the neglect of public spaces despite the increasingly poisonous air . Mumbai city’s deterioration can be understood in the context of the concern[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
Bad Schools

Bad Schools

Be Careful In Selecting An Early Childhood Center For Your Children’s Care! They may look good on the outside — on the skin level. Yet many are rotten to the core! Recently I learned from TV channel seven news reports that 10,000 of the 70,000 early child care centers in Massachusetts, USA are under intense investigation at any given time[Read More…]

Still from Ex Machina. Courtesy of A24 Films.

For Automation to Benefit Society, It Must Serve Humans, Not Replace Them

A recent episode of CBC Radio’s Day 6 featured an interview with David Levy, artificial intelligence expert and author of Love and Sex with Robots. Levy discussed a line of robotic sex dolls to be released in 2017 that can speak and respond to touch. He reaffirmed his 2007 prediction, in his book Love and Sex with Robots, that humans[Read More…]

The Child and the Chainsaw

The Child and the Chainsaw

  “No one ever really sees a flower anymore.” — Georgia O’Keeffe A rose doesn’t decide to provide its fragrance only for good people, nor deny its beauty to even the most evil people on earth. And a tree offers shade to anyone who comes under its umbrage. Also, with no discrimination. Beautiful fragrance on any day, and shade from[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
An Ordinary Woman’s Struggle – Personal And Against The Mighty Indian State For The Family’s Honour

An Ordinary Woman’s Struggle – Personal And Against The Mighty Indian State For The Family’s Honour

Manjit was born in 1938 on the eve of Christmas as the first child in a lower middle class Sikh family. As a small child she had developed ‘double-pneumonia’ (inflammation of both the lungs); so severe was this episode that her breathing became very shallow and infrequent. A wise Muslim allopathic doctor was summoned from Old Delhi to her home[Read More…]

Colonial enslavement of Native Americans, 
An image from 1595 depicting conflict between Native Americans in Mexico and Spanish colonists led by Francisco de Montejo. Courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University

Sub-Humans — Just What Are We To Do with Them, The Vermin?

I just now read an article that states: Native American slavery “is a piece of the history of slavery that has been glossed over,” says Linford D. Fisher, associate professor of history at Brown University. “Between 1492 and 1880, between 2 and 5.5 million Native Americans were enslaved in the Americas in addition to 12.5 million African slaves.”  From Colonial[Read More…]

“I Am THE Supremacy And Aim To Keep It That Way!”

“I Am THE Supremacy And Aim To Keep It That Way!”

The President of the USA simply needs to give up dangerous, immoral notions and statements that can only lead to ever deepening tragedy and further horrific conflicts between us and the presumed “Other.” These all-out conflicts simply need to end.

Hate Speech, Fear And The Primitive Human Brain

Hate Speech, Fear And The Primitive Human Brain

     It is illegal to shout “fire” in a crowded theater.   The idea of fire creates intense fear deep in the primitive human brain known as the Limbic System, or emotional center.  The “Fight or Flight” reaction is activated causing a stampede, resulting in injury and death.  Similarly “Hate Speech” can activate the emotional centers of the primitive human[Read More…]

Instructive Incarceration Inquiry

Instructive Incarceration Inquiry

“Gonna raise me an army, some tough sons of bitches I’ll recruit my army from the orphanages….” — from Bob Dylan’s Thunder on the Mountain In Madness and Civilization Michel Foucault makes the claim that the period of the Enlightenment in Europe effected a transformation in the way deviancy was managed. Whereas Medieval and Renaissance society allowed beggars, thieves, and lunatics to[Read More…]

The Truth About Our Acceptance Of Manufactured Truth

The Truth About Our Acceptance Of Manufactured Truth

     Post-truth, a dubious compound word has been officially recognised and admitted into the Oxford dictionary in 2016 thereby acknowledging its legitimacy. Shamefully, our acceptance of this word into our vocabulary is in truth a measure of our moral inadequacy, because it shows that we are willing to conform, play the game and allow public deceit and political dishonesty to[Read More…]

The Life You Save

The Life You Save

In the opening of her 1953 short story “The Life You Save May Be Your Own”, the deplorable tramp Tom T. Shiftlet cannot keep his eyes off of “the square rusted back of an automobile.” He totally falls in love with a Ford that hasn’t run in fifteen years, which is sitting in a shed. His love-at-first-sight trembling is interrupted[Read More…]

Scenario Homo sapiens

Scenario Homo sapiens

A metamorphosis of the human mind far surpassing others seen throughout history will be occurring. Humans finally will have come to an understanding of a harsh reality; by their own actions and inactions they have brought on the beginning of their end. A painful lesson will have been learned, one forcing them to accept the fact that their continued existence[Read More…]

Winners And Losers

Winners And Losers

  On Tuesday morning after Sunday’s Superbowl football game in TX, USA, I turned on the TV to try to catch the news during breakfast. Every news channel had suspended the news in favor of discussing the parade for the Superbowl football winners from my state of MA. The announcers all sounded deliriously happy or were faking extreme and over-the-top[Read More…]

The West Must Learn To Love And Rebel

The West Must Learn To Love And Rebel

  Despite certain economic and social setbacks, the Western Empire is doing remarkably well. That is, if we measure success by the ability to control the world, to condition the brains of human beings on all continents, and to crush almost all substantial dissent, at home and abroad. What has almost entirely disappeared from life, at least in such places[Read More…]

Caste And Communists: Remembering T. Nagi Reddy

Caste And Communists: Remembering T. Nagi Reddy

                                                          Introduction The first part gives a brief sketch of  Com TN’s political life.  The next section given below is an Extract from INDIA MORTGAGED, written by comrade Tarimela Nagi Reddy (1917-1976),[Read More…]

Curing Parkinson’s Will Take More Than Hope

Curing Parkinson’s Will Take More Than Hope

I first learned I had Parkinson’s Disease (PD) in 2007. It is a disorder that kills off brain cells that make dopamine — a substance the body needs to control movement, speaking, swallowing and a multitude of other functions. PD afflicts over 1 million people in the U.S. and millions more worldwide. At present, there is no cure and a[Read More…]

World Cancer Day: Ensure The Right Treatment At The Right Time To Every Patient

World Cancer Day: Ensure The Right Treatment At The Right Time To Every Patient

(CNS): Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide. In 2012, there were an estimated 1.8 million new lung cancer cases (13% of all cancers diagnosed), and 1.59 million deaths (19.4% of the total cancer deaths). According to the latest cancer registry data released by the Indian Council of Medical Research, 0.114 million new lung cancer cases (83,000 in males[Read More…]

The God Of Big Things

The God Of Big Things

And so the two of us highly recommend what Arundhati Roy — author of that 1997 Booker Prize for her debut novel, The God of Small Things — suggests is absolutely necessary. That is, that we find some new way of bonding as concerned citizens, so that our movement in solidarity isn’t undermined down the road quite as easily as it has been throughout the very long history of resistance in this troubled world. A huge, monumental undertaking, admittedly, this big bedeviling challenge.

#BeTheChange: It Is About Growing In Years, Not About Getting Old!

#BeTheChange: It Is About Growing In Years, Not About Getting Old!

 (CNS): As fertility rates decline and life expectancy increases, the number of senior citizens is growing globally. Among the 7.3 billion people worldwide in 2015, an estimated 617.1 million, were aged 65 years or more. The Asia Pacific region is ageing rapidly and South-East Asia’s elderly numbers are growing fast at around 5% a year – between now and 2030[Read More…]

The encampments at Standing Rock worked to keep prayer and nonviolence at the center of their actions. Photo by Joe Zummo.

Nonviolent Action Is Extremely Powerful

Nonviolent action is extremely powerful. Unfortunately, however, activists do not always understand why nonviolence is so powerful and they design ‘direct actions’ that are virtually powerless. I would like to start by posing two questions. Why is nonviolent action so powerful? And why is using it strategically so transformative? When an activist group is working on an issue – such[Read More…]

Resistance

Resistance

The first response to inhumanity is shame. The sustained response—resistance. The way of compassion embraces both compassionate denouncement and compassionate affirmation. Compassionate denouncement deconstructs life denying, denigrating and destroying wrongdoing, so that it will, thereby, be exposed to universal view for what it is. Compassionate denouncement declares itself free from propaganda. Compassionate affirmation recognizes, respects and celebrates what is authentic;[Read More…]

How Do We Assist Those Not As Fortunate As Ourselves?

How Do We Assist Those Not As Fortunate As Ourselves?

How about a mother urging her young, emaciated, malnourished and scrawny son to put his mouth up to a cow’s dirty vagina so as to drink her urine since it will be the only liquid that he will get that day? Then he does it to stay alive. How can we, half a world away, help? How can we possibly[Read More…]

Photo by Ryan McGuire

Rebuilding Activism From The Ground Up

I. I recognized a familiar sound I’d just finished working with a personal training client near Central Park before hopping on a downtown R train. Over my shoulder was a canvas bag holding five “FOR packs.” Each of these packs contained food and supplies for homeless women on the streets of Manhattan. FOR is the moniker I bestowed upon this[Read More…]

Individual Responsibility

Individual Responsibility

The duty of individuals living under an unjust government. There are many governments today that can be described unjust, and some that even deserve to be called fascist. What is the duty of the individual citizen, living under such a government? What was the duty of a German, living under Hitler? The thoughts of Thoreau, Tolstoy, Gandhi and Martin Luther[Read More…]

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)

The historical roots and the continuing theoretical basis of the modern liberal, liberal democratic and neo-liberal — states can be traced to the economic and the consequent political and intellectual developments of, what is known as, the long 18th century (1685-1815) in Europe beginning with Thomas Hobbes, as far as the history of political theory is concerned, though his major[Read More…]

Nationalism And The Egalitarian Alternatives

Nationalism And The Egalitarian Alternatives

  As Benedict Anderson has rightly pointed out in The Imagined Communalities, the concept of nationalism as a new identity criterion and as a hegemonic ideology “was born in an age when Enlightenment and revolutions were destroying the legitimacy of divinely ordained hierarchical dynastic realm”. In fact the basis of the secular allegiance in place of the old religious-feudal is[Read More…]

"The issues are, in a sense, the easy part," says Michael Gecan, co-director of the Industrial Areas Foundation. "Power is organized people and organized money." (Cartoon: Mr. Fish / Truthdig)

Building The Institutions For Revolt

Politics is a game of fear. Those who do not have the ability to make power elites afraid do not succeed. All of the movements that opened up the democratic space in America—the abolitionists, the suffragists, the labor movement, the communists, the socialists, the anarchists and the civil rights movement—developed a critical mass and militancy that forced the centers of[Read More…]

Remembering MLK

Remembering MLK

We all need to rise up and have the courage that M. L. King, Jr. had. I am humbled by his writings because they remind me that I have to even stretch further than I have on behalf of social and environmental justice. My “sin” or “wrong” (since I don’t like the word “sin” due to its religious implications —[Read More…]

Activists Must Do More Than Mobilize, Part I

Activists Must Do More Than Mobilize, Part I

Written by Rachel Olivia O’Connor (drawing upon C.S. Lewis) When concerned citizens mobilize, most often they assemble on the basis of morality. Yes, the issue of survival frequently comes to the fore, but there’s almost always — with that — a voicing or thinking of what’s right and wrong vis-a-vis what’s taking place. Tainted water in Flint? Intentionally exposing citizens[Read More…]

It’s Not A Level Playing Field. It’s A Jigsaw Puzzle With A Lot Of Missing Pieces

It’s Not A Level Playing Field. It’s A Jigsaw Puzzle With A Lot Of Missing Pieces

“I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.” – Stephen Jay Gould Re-read that Gould quote. Read it aloud, in fact.  Breaking news: It’s not a level playing field.  More accurate analogy: An enormous jigsaw puzzle with[Read More…]

Helping Traumatized Youth

Helping Traumatized Youth

I recently applied for a position of Youth Counselor for traumatized youngsters living at a Residential Treatment Center in Sonoma County, California. I submitted a resume which I can’t but help feel puts me way at the head of the pack of candidates. But no one’s replied to date to my outreach. Don’t know, but the silence might have something[Read More…]

Liquid Modernity: Zygmunt Bauman And The Rootless Condition

Liquid Modernity: Zygmunt Bauman And The Rootless Condition

“It was the rational world of modern civilization that made the Holocaust unthinkable.”-Zygmunt Bauman Modernity, as the late Zygmunt Bauman noted in his magisterially provocative Modernity and the Holocaust (1989) has not necessarily entailed enlightenment, the liberation from immaturity.  Since the cave dweller existence, humanity has retained traditional forms of savagery.  What mattered was the sheer lethality of it all,[Read More…]

Man The Maker Of His Destiny – Swami Vivekananda

Man The Maker Of His Destiny – Swami Vivekananda

(These are days when science and superstition are  mixed up, so are religion and superstition,   often with the support of the powers that be. Hi-tech youth schooled in sciences are also caught in irrational beliefs.  Science learning and scientific outlook are disjointed. In this context, at a time when his birthday is celebrated on january12,  it is instructive to recall[Read More…]

Cities Of Sickness: Pollution, Dementia And The Modern Condition

Cities Of Sickness: Pollution, Dementia And The Modern Condition

London: The journey from Tooting to the British Library tends to be a crowded affair at the best of times.  Humans mash in ungainly fashion on the London Underground, though not mosh, as they tend to in Tokyo under almost brutal supervision. In the course of the walk, a breakfast of muffins and takeaway coffee is flavoured by furious fume blasts[Read More…]

What Should Parents Do?

What Should Parents Do?

There’s an illusion of choice in the U.S., when it comes to securing information about current events. Specifically, there are approximately 1,500 newspapers, 1,100 magazines, 9000 radio stations, 1,500 TV stations, and over 2,400 publishers, BUT… they are owned by only six corporations! Furthermore, a mere 272 executives (calling the shots for those corporations) control 90% of what something like[Read More…]

Illustration by Marco Cibola

Pacifism (???)

I grew up in a Quaker pacifist family. Many Quaker children have a problem to express anger or contention since it is strongly inculcated to “forgive and forget,” assist others like murderers, “love thy neighbor as thine self,” avoid warfare in any form (even in small squabbles with family members when a sibling grabs your toy with which you were[Read More…]

Is It A Bird or Is it A Plane? Homeschooling

Is It A Bird or Is it A Plane? Homeschooling

Of late I, have been reading many articles on ‘Homeschooling’ – which term when written like this seems to have acquired the status of legitimacy instead of being wrong spelling. The need for a hyphen is apparently no longer felt. ‘Home’ and ‘School’ are evidently no longer two different places, either geographically, physically or emotionally. The latest of these articles[Read More…]

My Romance With A Village Postman

My Romance With A Village Postman

daak laaya  kushi ka payaam kaheen dardanaak laaya daakiya daak laaya …” —From the film  Palkon Ki Chhaon Mein’  (1977)    The Rajesh Khanna, Hema Malini starrer 1977 film was a flop in the Box Office, but the song, penned by Gulzar and sung by Kishore Kumar remains a strong favourite for that generation. The lyric  reflects a reality all[Read More…]

Gated Communities, Cars And Black Money

Gated Communities, Cars And Black Money

One has to be really affluent or be in rich surroundings to walk with ease in India, it seems. I was in a very upmarket gated colony of bungalows in Bangalore last week. There were footpaths on both sides, lined with palm trees, there was little traffic and one could enjoy the walking. This is a highly protected environment. The[Read More…]

Photo by John Vetterli

You Were Made For This

  My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. . . Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people. You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children,[Read More…]

Accommodating Persons With Disabilities In Jobs

Accommodating Persons With Disabilities In Jobs

Disability is both a cause and consequence of poverty. Poor people are more likely to become differently abled and people with disabilities are among the poorest and most vulnerable group of population mainly due to the lack of access to education, skills and employment opportunities. To break this vicious cycle of poverty and to make PWDs included in the mainstream,[Read More…]

Steve Biko At 70

Steve Biko At 70

“They had to kill him to prolong the life of apartheid.” Nelson Mandela Commemorating birthdays in the aftermath of a person’s death tends to be a false exercise. At best, it reminds us about an era that will have, almost certainly, vanished. This goes for whatever that era entailed – brutality, or peace; tranquillity or chaos. Then comes the issue[Read More…]

A Colorblind Society? Not So Fast!

A Colorblind Society? Not So Fast!

On four occasions in the last year, white acquaintances have extolled their children for being “colorblind,” for not even considering race when speaking of or interacting with other kids. In all four cases, the same “example” of this “post-racial” attitude was brought to the conversation: that when attempting to describe a fellow (minority) student, their children did not use the[Read More…]

A Letter To Professor X And Those Others In His Profession Of Economics

A Letter To Professor X And Those Others In His Profession Of Economics

Dear Professor X, For many years now I have been reading your 0p-Eds, articles in periodicals and academic papers. In my mind you are one Nobel Prize economist who speaks the truth to the weaknesses and strengths of past and present economic theory. With all due respect though; let me suggest that the time has come for you and the[Read More…]

Photo by John Vetterli

Confidence And Courage

We stand on the edge of the destruction of humanity and our planet, therefore we need Confidence, Courage, Love, Respect, Understanding to comprehend precisely, what human race needs to do in order to achieve real changes for the benefit of all mankind. As long as people do not see this great danger, nothing else matters. Understanding of the strength of[Read More…]

Social And Economic Causes Of Disease: Health And Political Consciousness

Social And Economic Causes Of Disease: Health And Political Consciousness

  Many of us are aware that the leading cause of death in the US during the first half of the 20th Century was due to infectious diseases.  On the other hand there is a general lack of understanding that these diseases were eliminated for the most part, by Public Health disease prevention strategies, such as clean water, sewage treatment[Read More…]

new life

The “Optimist” Conundrum

  Since the election, a variety of attitudes towards the future have emerged of which one is particularly pernicious, though stemming from a place of decency and grace.  I call this attitude the “’Optimist’ Conundrum.”  For a host of liberals and even some Leftists, the election has brought a “wait and see” attitude in which “hoping for the best” has[Read More…]

Telling Local People’s History: An Interview With Hartford Activist Steve Thornton

Telling Local People’s History: An Interview With Hartford Activist Steve Thornton

                                                                                                                                                                                           Steve Thornton has been an activist in Hartford since moving there in the 1970’s after graduating from the University of Connecticut. He worked for many years[Read More…]

One Astronomical Step For Activists And Humankind

One Astronomical Step For Activists And Humankind

Co-Written by Rachel Olivia O’Connor and Richard Martin Oxman “Cleopatra’s nose, had it been shorter, the whole face of the world would have been changed.” — Pascal One year before meeting with Tycho Brahe in 1600, Johannes Kepler had determined to make use of the Danish nobleman’s highly valuable astronomical instruments. He revealed his game plan in a letter to his mentor: “Any single[Read More…]

An over 12-year-old cartoon that featured in the national media to mark 50 years of India’s independence: the situation is as grim

Same Chairs, Different Bottoms

Once upon a time there was a beautiful land in which clear rivers flowed through lush forests. Birds flocked to the trees which were heavy with fruit until one was almost deafened by the cacophony of their cries. And if one dared to walk under the trees, then one needed an umbrella which quickly changed color and became white with[Read More…]

Obesity And Health Hazards

Obesity And Health Hazards

Obesity is a major health problem arising out of excessive overeating with less outcome in terms of physical activity. Its prevalence has dramatically increased in the last few decades. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) equal to or higher than 30 kg/m2 resulting in a number of medical disorders, including metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic[Read More…]

Where We’re Heading (If We Don’t Take Heed)

Where We’re Heading (If We Don’t Take Heed)

  Written to a friend: Look — no sweat about the particulars of here and now with Trump (vs.Clinton) being the winner in the US Presidential election contest. Either way, there’s no big difference when one looks at the bigger, long-term picture. You personally know about where the world is going with increasing human overpopulation, climate change (which according to[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
Historical Knowledge Creates Empathy And Ignorance Fuels Easy Hate- Let’s Discuss!

Historical Knowledge Creates Empathy And Ignorance Fuels Easy Hate- Let’s Discuss!

  Years ago, a professor told me of a situation at her university in which a colleague of hers broke down while describing the massacre at Nanking to her students. The professor remarked not about the break-down but about the complete lack of empathy her colleague’s students had shown to their teacher. Worse, still, many students laughed, poking fun at[Read More…]

The Ideological Stagnation Of Communist Parties:  A Moment To Go Back And Reaffirm Marx

The Ideological Stagnation Of Communist Parties:  A Moment To Go Back And Reaffirm Marx

“The educator himself has to be educated”– Marx, Theses on Feuerbach. There is no confusion and hesitation is saying that established left parties have arrived to a deadlock with a lurking ideological stagnation. From CPI, CPM to CPI Maoist there is very much a visible political-ideological deadlock. CPI has become a non-relevant party who abandoned Marxist politics decades ago. Similarly,[Read More…]

Photo by karen H. nickname.{ pooh}

Is Peace Possible? A Dialogue With Johan Galtung On Ukraine; Trump, Putin, Gandhi, And….

  “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (from “The Sermon on the Mount”) [Interviewer’s Note: A man who has published more than 150 books and 1500 articles on peace and related issues; the founder of TRANSCEND: A Peace, Development and Environment Network; a man who has worked as a mediator with the U.N.[Read More…]

Photo by matrianklw

Virtues Of Being An Informed Ignorant! 

   ” Success ke piche mat bhago…excellence…excellence ka picha karo…success jhak maarke tumhare pass ayegi..”  – Amir Khan, 3 Idiots. At a time when catastrophic events are happening around us, be it the  jaw-dropping victory of Donald Trump or the ongoing chaos in India after the demonetization episode, why did I stumble upon this ‘success-excellence’ thought now? With the refugee[Read More…]

Seeking The True Path

Seeking The True Path

One of the more subtle manifestations of the intimate link between (unconscious) human emotions and behaviour is illustrated by the simple concept of choice and how this is so often reduced to a dichotomy between two bad options. In such circumstances, most people choose whatever they consider to be ‘the lesser evil’. But how often are there only two options,[Read More…]

Similarities And Commonalities

Similarities And Commonalities

There is so much similarity and commonality among people, voters, left, right, social, center, liberal, or not politically interested. Almost everyone has had enough of the establishment, of the selfishness of greed, of the failure of the elite. The degradation of society, spiritual values and decency. Similarities: Hard work, work longer, without getting anywhere. The gap between rich and poor[Read More…]

It Is Not Just Cash, Government Policies Hurt Us In Many Other Ways

It Is Not Just Cash, Government Policies Hurt Us In Many Other Ways

The money crisis is more painful because of is suddenness. But the government has been causing hardships to citizens for years through various ways. One is the anti-people policy on transport. The pain is spread over a long time and we do not feel it so intensely. The government has inflicted motorization on the country without any safeguards to vulnerable[Read More…]

Tubeless Tyres And Soulless Bodies

Tubeless Tyres And Soulless Bodies

Tubeless tyres are a great discovery; a marvel of sorts. They claim you can run for fifty odd kilometres even after the tyre is punctured! I had other reasons to enjoy the boon of the tubeless tyre. A month back air pressure in one of the tyre of my sedan went low. On my way to work I stopped at[Read More…]

Muslim Countries And Science Outreach: A Steep Decline And Way Forward

Muslim Countries And Science Outreach: A Steep Decline And Way Forward

Science has it’s roots established as old as Islamic civilization. The institutes of scientific dissemination had been established first by muslim dominated nations as is evident from history & historical monuments. The Islamic theology lays claim to the world’s oldest continually operational university. The University of Qarawi­yyin was founded in Fes Morocco in 859 AD at the beginning of an[Read More…]

Capitalism or Life

Capitalism or Life

The global socioeconomic system of capitalism, is forcing us to work harder to surpass previous consumption and population numbers until we have devoured everything that maintains life, ending up with a polluted, lifeless, and a scorched planet. Civilisation’s present and ultimate mode, capitalism is the system that can only lead us to our annihilation. This isn’t any individual’s, or any[Read More…]

Modi Is Cheered, As The Mahatma Is Reduced To A Pathetic Figure In Gandhinagar

Modi Is Cheered, As The Mahatma Is Reduced To A Pathetic Figure In Gandhinagar

  Gandhinagar, 13 November, 2016: This turned out to be quite a travesty of Mahatma Gandhi and his teachings in the land of his birth. This was in Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat . The occasion was the inauguration of an official government of India conference on urban transport on November 8 but the inauguration proved to be a well-planned[Read More…]

Trustworthiness

Trustworthiness

“Direct action is necessary for democracy to work, bold moves walking a fine edge, going over the line at times. But talk about ‘revolution’ in the U.S. is premature, to say the least. The thing is, if one wants democracy to function, there must be leadership which is trustworthy. People are either too cynical to embrace that notion, or they[Read More…]

Kindness

Kindness

IN ACTIVISM — acting out as a concerned citizen seeking movement in solidarity (to make this a better world, to encourage a sense of family among all the creatures on this earth) — kindness must now rear its beautiful head. Treating one and all as kin.

Reconciling Mutual Aid With Revolutionary Violence: The Case of Peter Kropotkin

Reconciling Mutual Aid With Revolutionary Violence: The Case of Peter Kropotkin

An American evolutionary biologist and historian of science, Stephen J. Gould, wrote the following in his essay titled “Kropotkin Was No Crackpot”: “More generally, I like to apply a somewhat cynical rule of thumb in judging arguments about nature that also have overt social implications: When such claims imbue nature with just those properties that make us feel good or[Read More…]

The Loneliness Of  The Long Distance Activist

The Loneliness Of  The Long Distance Activist

“The thing that makes you exceptional, if you are at all, is inevitably that which must also make you lonely.” — Lorraine Hansberry “One of the problems with activists is that they’re afraid of being lonely, and they don’t get that the road they have to go down doesn’t allow for moving four abreast.” — James Baldwin “Direct action is[Read More…]

McDonald’s, McDonnell Douglas, 3M And Me

McDonald’s, McDonnell Douglas, 3M And Me

“The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas…. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.” — from The Lexus and the Olive Tree At the bottom of Public Servants or Corporate Security? An[Read More…]

Atypical Revolutionary Effort (ARE): You Ready?

Atypical Revolutionary Effort (ARE): You Ready?

“There is a new kind of secessionist movement taking place in India. Shall we call it New Secessionism? It’s an inversion of Old Secessionism. It’s when people who are actually part of a whole different economy, a whole different country, a whole different planet, pretend they’re part of this one. It is the kind of secession in which a relatively small[Read More…]

Human Potential: The Case of Peter Kropotkin

Human Potential: The Case of Peter Kropotkin

  “The function of ethics is not even so much to insist upon the defects of man, and to reproach him with his ‘sins,’ as to act in the positive direction, by appealing to man’s best instincts.”[1] Those best instincts are the very ones that urge us to engage in acts of mutual-aid, justice, and self-sacrifice. Peter Kropotkin writes that nature is[Read More…]

Is Gandhi Still Relevant?

Is Gandhi Still Relevant?

Mention Gandhi in certain circles and the response might be one of cynicism: his ideas are outdated and irrelevant in today’s world. Such a response could not be further from the truth. Gandhi could see the future impact of large-scale industrialization in terms of the devastation of the environment, the destruction of ecology and the unsustainable plunder of natural resources.[Read More…]

Thinking Is A Responsibility

Thinking Is A Responsibility

                        We all constantly hear the lament of how our education system is in a mess. Education today is no more about exploring new ideas, seeking multiple forms of knowledge and an eagerness to get introduced to hitherto unknown terrains of intellectual wealth. Job security precludes the possibility of[Read More…]

Punishment Is Violent And Counterproductive

Punishment Is Violent And Counterproductive

Punishment is a popular pastime for humans. Parents punish children. Teachers punish students. Employers punish workers. Courts punish lawbreakers. People punish each other. Governments punish ‘enemies’. And, according to some, God punishes evildoers. What is ‘punishment’? Punishment is the infliction of violence as revenge on a person who is judged to have behaved inappropriately. It is a key word we[Read More…]

Obscured American: Hank The Christian Constitutionalist

Obscured American: Hank The Christian Constitutionalist

  America has become an eviscerated country draped in a gigantic flag. Day by day, its culture becomes more grotesque and obscene, a luna park of lunacy. Leached of essence, it burps up slogans, but who’s convinced? What define America, exactly? Paul Craig Roberts narrows it down to the Constitution and Christianity, “All Americans have a huge stake in Christianity.[Read More…]

Morality: The Lust For Pleasure -The Case of Peter Kropotkin

Morality: The Lust For Pleasure -The Case of Peter Kropotkin

According to N. Lebedev, Kropotkin’s editor with whom he frequently corresponded both in person and through letters, two central reasons prompted the celebrated anarchist to devote the last years of his life to writing about the fundamental questions of ethics. The last decade of the nineteenth century saw an influx of ideas about the relativity of ethical conduct and even[Read More…]

Corporate Media, ‘Robo-Citizens’ And Bourgeois Democracy

Corporate Media, ‘Robo-Citizens’ And Bourgeois Democracy

INTRODUCTION: Journalism and the Open Society In contemporary US, and in most countries, the media presents itself as a sentinel of the ‘public interest’. This implies that ‘public interest’ is universally encompassing and equally distributed in its benefits for all classes. The implication is that there is no difference for a pauper than a billionaire when it comes to the[Read More…]

Propaganda By Deed And The Glory Of Self-Sacrifice: The Case of Peter Kropotkin

Propaganda By Deed And The Glory Of Self-Sacrifice: The Case of Peter Kropotkin

  George Woodcock, a prominent Canadian writer and anarchist thinker, writes that anarchism’s “ultimate aim is always social change; its present attitude is always one of social condemnation, even though it may proceed from an individualist view of man’s nature; its method is always that of social revolution, violent or otherwise.”[1] Peter Kropotkin was not a pacifist. More often than[Read More…]

Photo by Thejaswi

Echoes From The Past Expressing Hope For Humanity

A 2012 World Bank report stated that without quick action to curb CO2 emissions, global warming is likely to add 4 degrees Centigrade (39.2 degrees Fahrenheit) during the 21st century which is dangerously close to the temperature that initiated the Permian-Triassic extinction event 252 million years ago when 96% of all marine species and 70% of all terrestrial vertebrates were[Read More…]

Legacy Of Samar Sen, Founder-Editor, Frontier, Kolkata

Legacy Of Samar Sen, Founder-Editor, Frontier, Kolkata

It was March 1969. Andhra Pradesh State Assembly was in its budget session. T Nagi Reddy was delivering a speech in the Assembly. While announcing his resignation as member of the Assembly and the path he was choosing to carry forward the struggle for emancipation of the people he was making his observations on the condition of the country, policies[Read More…]

Obscured American: B.B. The Bartender

Obscured American: B.B. The Bartender

The flame-like tree and yellow stars from Van Gogh’s Starry Night burn on B.B.’s right shoulder. Blonde, slim and 33, she bartends at Friendly Lounge twice a week. She calls everyone “darling,” as in, “Are you good, darling? You need another one?” When B.B. told me she had lived in the Tenderloin, had drifted much, was fond of Jameson and[Read More…]

Homage To RVK Satyanarayana

Homage To RVK Satyanarayana

RVK Satyanarayana, the General Secretary of the OPDR (Organization for the Protection of Democratic Rights, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh States) and a leading functionary of the UCCRI(ML), passed away in the early hours of 8-10-2016 while battling his illness. He was suffering from chronic kidney failure and its various complications for several years. He was under dialysis for the last[Read More…]

Anarchist Communism: The Most Moral Organization Of Society?

Anarchist Communism: The Most Moral Organization Of Society?

Introduction Prince Peter A. Kropotkin (1842-1921), second only to Mikhail A. Bakunin among the Russian anarchist philosophers in terms of popularity and influence on the anarchist communist thought, authored a momentous scientific work which asserted that cooperation within a single species was a more significant factor of evolution than were the competition and struggle for existence. On the other hand,[Read More…]

Obscured American: Amanda Zinoman The Film Editor

Obscured American: Amanda Zinoman The Film Editor

  Yes, it is a bit odd to include Amanda in my series of obscured Americans. She is a very successful editor of films that have appeared on television and in theaters. Her credits include Paul Bowles: The Complete Outsider (1994), Carmen Miranda: Bananas is my Business (1994), The Lost Children of Rockdale County (1999), Drinking Apart (2000), The Last[Read More…]

Science And Society

Science And Society

  I would like to announce that an updated and very much enlarged edition of mu book “Science and Society” will very soon be published by World Scientific (in November, 2016). The book can be purchased at a 20% discount at the following address by quoting the code number WSSPPS20. http://www.worldscientific.com/worldscibooks/10.1142/10227 This book has a very interesting history. In 1986,[Read More…]

Kamaraj:The Selfless Leader

Kamaraj:The Selfless Leader

Kamaraj was a rarity in Indian politics, and undoubtedly the tallest leader in Tamil Nadu. A school dropout and freedom fighter who went on to become the Congress president despite knowing no Hindi and no English. His genuine concern for the poor was matched only by his scrupulous honesty and integrity.

Is There A Future For Our Species ?

Is There A Future For Our Species ?

Only with honesty, truth and justice can there be a future for our species, and I don’t see any of it-anywhere

Rethinking Gandhi

Rethinking Gandhi

                          October 2,  like all public holidays, is cherished as a token appreciation for the reason behind the holiday. Can we try and make a modest effort to move beyond this ennui of arrogance for understanding Gandhi, the phenomenon? What does Gandhi mean for us in the 21st[Read More…]

Economics And Politics Of Heart Surgeries

Economics And Politics Of Heart Surgeries

We need people to understand that better living standards would eliminate most of the valve problems. Let us do the less publicized but humane methods in medical care instead of the media savvy hi-tech but top-heavy procedures, which would reach only the rich.

Gandhi And The Message Of Nonviolence

Gandhi And The Message Of Nonviolence

As most of the world ignores or hypocritically celebrates the 147th birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on the International Day of Nonviolence on 2 October, some of us will quietly acknowledge his life by continuing to build the world that he envisioned. When asked for his message for the world, Gandhi responded with the now famous line ‘My life is[Read More…]

Interventional Cardiology

Interventional Cardiology

World Heart Day on 29 September is the World Heart Federation’s (and the world’s!) biggest platform for raising awareness about cardiovascular disease (CVD)   When the editor asked me to write an article on Interventional Cardiology, I attempted that with great trepidation. Being a poor clinical cardiologist, that too of the untouchable variety, (I do not have my DM; in[Read More…]

Edward Snowden, The CIA And Sioux Indian Converge In Man’s Life

Edward Snowden, The CIA And Sioux Indian Converge In Man’s Life

The premiere of Oliver Stone’s film Snowden Live brilliantly depicts the intellectual and emotional underpinning that motivated Edward Snowden to first enter into and then defect from the CIA with the revelatory files that have since become a fundamental game-changer in not only American but World History. The convergence of this film with the Standing Rock Sioux Indians defiance of[Read More…]

Do We Need Eco-Friendly media or Citizen Friendly Media?

Do We Need Eco-Friendly media or Citizen Friendly Media?

You wake up in the morning pretending to be fresh in this world full of gadgets making you sleep at 4 a.m., the first thing in today’s world you do is not rushing towards the most peaceful place shedding the load of junk you ate last night, but what you do is grabbing the gadget which did not let you[Read More…]

Both Ms. Clinton And I Got Burned Out – For Very Different Reasons

Both Ms. Clinton And I Got Burned Out – For Very Different Reasons

Yesterday I watched Ms. Clinton on television screen, stumbling towards her van, after attending a ceremony at the WTC in New York City. She had to be grabbed by both arms by her aids, and then literally pulled into the vehicle. Embarrassing? Not really. People get exhausted; they get sick and sometimes they can even hardly remain standing on their[Read More…]

Indifference

Indifference

Indifference is an American-European story. As French chansonnier Serge Gainsbourg sang of his love for Brigitte Bardot: “What does the weather matter, what matters the wind? Better your absence than your indifference.” Or Gilbert Bécaud: “Indifference kills with small blows.” The indifference of one person to the other in a dwindling love affair is emblematic of the terrible impact of[Read More…]

For Age Is Opportunity No Less Than Youth Itself…

For Age Is Opportunity No Less Than Youth Itself…

“…As the evening twilight fades away, the sky is filled with stars invisible by day” are the immortal words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Alas! this does not hold ground for many people in countries of Asia Pacific (and maybe elsewhere too). The elderly are getting pushed more into a dark night devoid of stars. The erosion of traditional livelihoods and[Read More…]

Money And Power In America

Money And Power In America

Sixty-six years ago this summer, on my 16th birthday, I went to work for the daily newspaper in the small East Texas town of Marshall where I grew up. It was a good place to be a cub reporter — small enough to navigate but big enough to keep me busy and learning something every day.  I soon had a[Read More…]

Kaepernick Gate

Kaepernick Gate

  This article is not about Colin Kaepernick. It’s also not about other athletes who have joined him in expressing dissatisfaction with the status quo and the injustice inherent in it. No, this article is not about particular celebrities or individuals. Instead, it is about the depths to which we’ve fallen. We. Not them. We all. A young athlete-disgusted with[Read More…]

Protect candle flames

Guarding The Flame. Reflecting On The Herbal Medicine Traditions

The Western herbal medicine tradition represents a neglected and devalued repository of much of the knowledge developed over many thousands of years of medical experience in Europe, the Mediterranean and the Americas. Practitioners of herbal medicine throughout the world continue to make use of several hundred medicinally-active plants many of which have a long and established history. A few among[Read More…]

Photo by Pardee Ave.

Can Zoos Teach Us Compassion?

It happens that the offices of YES! are in a building complex that also houses Studio Hanson | Roberts, one of the leading zoo-design firms in the world. As a result, I recently found myself breaking bread with a group of folks shaping the future of U.S. zoos. The conversation quickly turned to the future of zoos, their relevance to modern[Read More…]

“The Horror, The Horror!”

“The Horror, The Horror!”

Apparently it is impossible to continue to exist without righteous indignation at the present. There are more than enough reasons to exercise your anger. In fact, it is becoming more and more difficult to continue to contain ones anger. Everyday debilitating news brings us close and closer towards breaking our own vows of resistance and restraint at social indifference and[Read More…]

Why Work Performed By Differently Abled Persons Do Not Get Due Recognition

Why Work Performed By Differently Abled Persons Do Not Get Due Recognition

Disability is not a curse, for those who actually live with it. It’s ironical, that those who are so called “able bodied” time and again make persons with disabilities realize that they are disabled and they lack something which is very important for the survival of human beings on this earth. Based on my own experiences, I can say for[Read More…]

Loyalty

Loyalty

Most certainly in the struggle between guilt and innocence, and between loyalty and betrayal, I have never been peaceful. Walking along the lip of the precipice, you learn what loneliness is. Yet loyalty and duty and responsibility and love can save you from a leap into the dark.

Smriti Nagpal

Two Ladies, Who Made The Mission Possible!

A 6-14 year old minor girl could be an‘object’used for dispute settlement between two parties. No matter how absurd it may sound, this practice, known as “Swara” (http://bit.ly/1PWTLKm), is prevalent in some parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan, mostly in tribal belts. This is a 400 year-old tradition based on principle of “blood for blood” for dispute settlement where virgin girls[Read More…]

The Raoul Wallenberg stamp, released by Canada Post on Thursday January 17, 2013, is shown. Wallenberg is credited with saving at least 20,000 Jews in Budapest during the Second World War by giving them Swedish travel documents, or moving them to safe houses. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

We All Need Chutzpah

The meaning of “chutzpah: is as follows:Chutzpah (/ˈhʊtspə/ or /ˈxʊtspə/)[1][2] is the quality of audacity, for good or for bad. The Yiddish word derives from the Hebrew word ḥutspâ (חֻוצְפָּה), meaning “insolence”, “cheek” or “audacity”. The modern English usage of the word has taken on a broader meaning, having been popularized through vernacular use in film, literature, and television. The[Read More…]

Giang in Fort Indiantown Gap

Postcard From The End Of America: Fort Indiantown Gap, PA

  It’s remarkable that I’ve been friends with Giang for nearly four decades. We’ve spent but a year in the same state and, frankly, have little in common. Giang studied computer science, business administration and engineering technology. He makes more in a year than I do in ten. He drinks Bud Lite and recycles corny metaphors and analogies. A director[Read More…]

Nonviolent Revolt In The Twenty-First Century

Nonviolent Revolt In The Twenty-First Century

I sometimes wonder whether one of the ways in which ‘Amercian exceptionalism’ manifests is that many US scholars and others are unable to consider the contributions of those who are not from the USA. For example, I routinely read about studies of Martin Luther King Jr. and his associates (such as strategist James Lawson) in relation to nonviolence while the[Read More…]

Photo by notfrancois

Let’s Become A Part Of The Commons Once Again

Alas education in civilization justifies and encourages ruthless greed. It seems that all vertebrates go through a learning process and all mammals need or do better with an education from their parents and siblings. However, people are completely dependent on human interaction to be able to participate in any social setting. That is we must learn from other people to[Read More…]

Remembering Legendary Humanist Ramswroop Verma

Remembering Legendary Humanist Ramswroop Verma

Being a humanist, it is time to speak of Mahamana Ramswroop Verma, one of the tallest leaders of socialist movement in Uttar Pradesh and founder of Arjak Sangh which was constantly working to eradicate social evils, bring social change and demolish the brahmanical structure. And the ways it adopted were unique. If any one read the books written by Verma,[Read More…]

Innocence

Innocence

Dostoevsky’s Myshkin has retained much of his innocence and therefore, like real innocents in real life, is considered odd, naïve and ignorant by others who are already branded by “experience” and are just muddling through life in a world in which innocence dies away while the great majority of people, ignorant of their former childhood innocence, strives to toe the line and be like others

Rudy List and Henry Herskovitz

Obscured American: Rudy List The Retired Math Professor

  Though each life is rich, some are staggeringly so. Over four days in July, I had a series of conversations with Rudy List at his house in Dexter, Michigan. A 74-year-old retired math professor, Rudy introduced me to Hua Luogeng, Zitang Zhang and Terence Tao. In return, I told him about Otto Dix, Cindy Sherman, Honey Boo Boo and[Read More…]

“It All Turns On Affection”

“It All Turns On Affection”

Land and people have suffered together, as invariably they must. Under the rule of industrial economics, the land, our country, has been pillaged for the enrichment, supposedly, of those humans who have claimed the right to own or exploit it without limit. Of the land-community much has been consumed, much has been wasted, almost nothing has flourished. But this has not been inevitable. We do not have to live as if we are alone.

 Uncle “Sham” Says “Dance”…. And The Band Plays On….

 Uncle “Sham” Says “Dance”…. And The Band Plays On….

    I recall from my early teens, the “Judgment at Nuremberg” movie, which made a big impression then about “justice” and the “rightness and virtue” of the Allied cause.  But when I watched the movie on TV, years later, it was the Richard Widmark character–one of the prosecuting colonels, I believe–who made the deepest impression because, by the end[Read More…]

Human Nature: An Evolutionary Paradox

Human Nature: An Evolutionary Paradox

Today, human greed and folly are destroying the global environment. As if this were not enough, there is a great threat to civilization and the biosphere from an all-destroying thermonuclear war. Both of these severe existential threats  are due to faults our inherited emotional nature. From the standpoint of evolutionary theory, this is a paradox. As a species, we are[Read More…]

Existential Threats And Our Belief Systems

Existential Threats And Our Belief Systems

This new Homo sapiens contradictory planetary reality leaves not just the western world, but the whole world in search for answers. We need to find the reason we are heading so rapidly toward dangerous shoals. How could we, the most clever and brilliant primate ever, be bringing on our own demise? Where did we all go so wrong? Could it[Read More…]

A Nonviolent Strategy To End War

A Nonviolent Strategy To End War

There is a long history of anti-war and peace activism. Much of this activism has focused on ending a particular war. Some of this activism has been directed at ending a particular aspect of war, such as the use of a type of weapon. Some of it has aimed to prevent a type of war, such as ‘aggressive war’ or[Read More…]

Detroit gas station, 2011

Obscured American: Hank The Small Business Financial Advisor

  I had spent four days in Ann Arbor, Dexter and Chelsea. This stay allowed me to experience a whiter and more Norman Rockwell Michigan. On two previous trips, I was confined to mostly black and car wrecked Detroit. Flying out from Detroit Airport, I bought two National coneys and, boy, were they sad. Hotdogs, chili, onion, mustard and buns[Read More…]

After witnessing a catastrophic oil spill in San Francisco Bay in 1971, John Francis got out of his car, took a vow of silence, and walked for the next 22 years. /Photo by Gabriela Urda.

My Walking Pilgrimage

I clearly remember learning to walk. I remember falling and the frustration of trying to stand on my feet unsupported, without the help of parents. Finally, there was the euphoria of one day rising by myself. Like a young bird flying, my hands flapped, and my feet lifted to make the first wobbly steps to the other side of the[Read More…]

 Is Democracy Consistent With Islam?

 Is Democracy Consistent With Islam?

Some people are under the impression that democracy and Islam are incompatible. But I don’t see any contradiction between democracy and Islam, as such. Though, I admit, that there is some friction between Islam and liberalism. When we say that there is a contradiction between Islam and democracy, we make a category mistake which is a serious logical fallacy. There[Read More…]

Courtesy: UNICEF

It’s Breast Feeding Week 2016

We were sitting in Bonefish Grill in Omaha, Nebraska,  eating my favourite Bang Bang Shrimp.  The whole restaurant was packed to capacity, with a big crowd still waiting to be seated. Our food had arrived and suddenly the baby began to cry. It was her feed time. In seconds my  friend, swiftly covered herself with her feeding sling and very[Read More…]

Mickey and his mom share a hug. Photo credit: Mickey Z.

What My Mom Taught Me About LOVE

I wasn’t supposed to be born. After my mother gave birth to my sister, the doctors told her she’d never have another child. They couldn’t say exactly why (she was eventually diagnosed with endometriosis) but they were pretty damn certain… in that unique way doctors tend to be pretty damn certain. Wisely, my mother ignored such white coat condescension and[Read More…]

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Mainstream Media Are Betraying Humanity

Mainstream Media Are Betraying Humanity

“Donald Trump is bad for America, but he is good for CBS” Leslie Roy Moonves, President of CBS Physicians have a sacred duty to their patients, whose lives are in their hands. The practice of medicine is not a business like any other business. There are questions of  trust and duty involved. The physician’s goal must not be to make[Read More…]

 Think like A  Genius, Stephen Hawking

 Think like A  Genius, Stephen Hawking

(Open letter to professor Stephen Hawking.) In your 6 part GENIUS TV presentations, you made it easy to understand that we cannot possibly be alone in the universe, and gave people much to think about. How sad that you had to challenge us, earlier, with these words: “How can the human race sustain another 100 years? A month later you[Read More…]

 Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU 

 Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU 

Over half the population of the European Union (EU) is overweight or obese. Without effective action, this number will grow substantially in the next decade warns an important new report. ‘A Spoonful of Sugar: How the Food Lobby Fights Sugar Regulation in the EU’, by the research and campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), notes that obesity rates are rising fastest[Read More…]

The Rich Are The Encroachers On Public Space In the Era Of So Called Reforms

The Rich Are The Encroachers On Public Space In the Era Of So Called Reforms

The Maharashtra government is back to its policy of privatizing open public spaces in Mumbai. Ordinary people are the losers because of this policy declared on July 27. . The upper class is not bothered because it has created its own spaces for recreation when it is not grabbing public space. I got a glimpse recently when I attended a[Read More…]

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Tarimela Nagi Reddy Remembered

Tarimela Nagi Reddy Remembered

July 28, 1976 was the day when  veteran communist revolutionary leader Com TN, as he was called, died of a sudden illness when he was not even 60. It was the period of  Internal Emergency  proclaimed (on 1975 June 26)  by Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s regime, a watershed in India’s  political history. He along with his comrade-associate  DV Rao ( the[Read More…]

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The Weak Constitutions Of The Privileged

The Weak Constitutions Of The Privileged

The privileged are hypocritical in large ways and small.  Working one’s way out of that hypocrisy is no mean-feat but it’s vital if we are to have a decent society to call our own. While I’m struck by the disregard the privileged have for the less-lucky, even more shocking perhaps is that they lambast others for reasons that more resemble[Read More…]

The Psychology Of Ideology And Religion

The Psychology Of Ideology And Religion

Two of the drivers of world affairs that manifest in the daily decisions that affect our lives are ideology and religion. Ideology is the term widely used to describe the underlying set of values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine that shape the behavioral approach to political, economic, social, cultural and/or ecological activities of an individual or organization. This organization[Read More…]

Integrated TB-HIV Responses Are A Must To Meet Sustainable Development Goals

Integrated TB-HIV Responses Are A Must To Meet Sustainable Development Goals

(CNS): At the 2015 United Nations General Assembly, governments committed to achieve SDGs by 2030, one of which is to end AIDS and TB by 2030. If people living with HIV continue to die of TB, we will not only fail to achieve SDGs but also lose gains made in the fights against HIV and TB. Keeping in mind the[Read More…]

 Self-Stigma: Let Us Do More Than Just ‘Talk About It’

 Self-Stigma: Let Us Do More Than Just ‘Talk About It’

Senior HIV activists who have not only helped shape HIV responses on the ground over the years, but also have been living with the virus for several years, shared their personal battle against self-stigma at a press conference session hosted by The Work For Change (www.theworkforchange.org) and partners at the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) held in Durban, South[Read More…]

Rainforest Etiquette In A World Gone Mad

Rainforest Etiquette In A World Gone Mad

  Let us begin with theettam. Or if you prefer, with Leelamma’s kitchen, where thee (fire) burns. Between the wood-burning stove and the community pit-loo, an ecological picaresque unfolds.   Perhaps this is why, in Malayalam, theettam (excretum) and thee’tta (food) are near-homonyms.Newcomers to the language, whose ears (and tongues) cannot distinguish between  ‘tt and tt (slight upward flick of[Read More…]

What Is The World? Who Are We? What Are We Going To Do About It?

What Is The World? Who Are We? What Are We Going To Do About It?

We are better people, individually and collectively, when we reject hubris and embrace humility, and we stand a better chance of making real progress — defined by Rowe as “whatever is conducive to sustainable participation in Earth’s ecosystems” — when we better understand the world and our place in it

Battling With Three Diseases And Still Going Strong

Battling With Three Diseases And Still Going Strong

(Based on an exclusive interview given by Nqobile Zungu, and her doctor Dr Samele Madela to CNS – Citizen News Service) I met 37 years old Nqobile Zungu, at the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) that is being held in Durban. And yes, her looks were deceptive in the sense that one could never guess that her outwardly healthy[Read More…]

Single Worker May Slit Throats Of 600 Dogs Per Hour, 8 Hours A Day, For 40 Years

Single Worker May Slit Throats Of 600 Dogs Per Hour, 8 Hours A Day, For 40 Years

Every workday, for eight hours a day, often for many years on end, a worker gets up and has breakfast, then goes in to the office, picks up a blade, and starts slitting the throats of live dogs. That day, he or she will personally slit the throats of about 600 or more dogs per hour, every hour, all day,[Read More…]

Even the temporary settlement is in danger of being evacuated since the Delhi Metro construction is getting intense in the area.

Photo Essay: Life In Pieces For Delhi’s Displaced Community

“The bulldozers were running over our homes even without any prior notice. We all ran to save our belongings, only to find most of them destroyed,” says Geetha, a former iron carver who is now working as a maid in homes nearby. She belongs to Gadia Lohar community, which seeks its origins from Rajasthan and finds its existence in History[Read More…]

A Letter From Germany

A Letter From Germany

A friend in Frankfurt emailed me on July 19th: It is sheer madness what is happening here… The noose is tightening and yet—it is still only the beginning… What took place in some dull regional express close to Würzburg, a town in Franconia in the middle of Germany, was—in some respect—like a watershed event—just like the mass sexual assaults in[Read More…]

Veteran Communist Revolutionary  DV Rao  Remembered

Veteran Communist Revolutionary  DV Rao  Remembered

July 12 is the death anniversary, and 2016 marks the beginning of the centenary,  of  Com DV Rao. Devulapalli Venkateswara Rao (Born 1917 June 1- died on 1984 July 12),  prominent communist revolutionary (CR) of India ,  known for his unique role in leading the Telangana People’s Armed Struggle (1946-51), was the youngest member of the Central Committee of  the[Read More…]

International AIDS Conferences: From Durban To Durban – Has Anything Changed In 16 Years?

International AIDS Conferences: From Durban To Durban – Has Anything Changed In 16 Years?

  AIDS 2016, the XXI International AIDS Conference – (with the theme of ‘Access Equity Rights Now’) which will be held in Durban, South Africa, from 18 to 22 July 2016, marks a dramatic change in the country’s AIDS response in the 16 years since XIII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2000), which was also held in Durban “When Nelson Mandela[Read More…]

Hiding head in sand

The Delusion ‘I Am Not Responsible’

One of the many interesting details to be learned by understanding human psychology is how a person’s unconscious fear works in a myriad of ways to make them believe that they bear no responsibility for a particular problem. This psychological dysfunctionality cripples a substantial portion of the human population in ways that work against the possibility of achieving worthwhile outcomes[Read More…]

Euro Cup Final: A Neutral Point Of Happiness.

Euro Cup Final: A Neutral Point Of Happiness.

 ” I go about the world, hand out-stretched, and in the stadium I plead : ‘ A pretty move, for the love of God.’ And when good football happens, I give thanks for the miracle and I don’t give a damn which team or country performs it.”  –  Eduardo Galeano. Watching as a neutral spectator, this is exactly what I[Read More…]

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Right To Road Must First Go To Pedestrians, Non-Motorised Vehicles

Right To Road Must First Go To Pedestrians, Non-Motorised Vehicles

  (CNS): “It did not strike me even for a second how fatal it could be for my child to ride a two-wheeler as a pillion rider – without a helmet. If I was conscious about the risk then I would have definitely given a helmet to my child” said the mother of a child who died in an unfortunate[Read More…]

July 4th Reflections From Frederick Douglass

July 4th Reflections From Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass, one of the most brilliant minds in history, had many praises for the US and its founders. However, he experienced the nation more fully than any of them, beginning his life a victim of the totalitarian fascism they practiced and promoted, and ending it a statesman and a friend of President Lincoln.  Thus his understanding and analysis of[Read More…]

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 27JAN08 - captured during the session 'Message from Davos: Believing in the Future' at the Annual Meeting 2008 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 27, 2008. 

Copyright by World Economic Forum    swiss-image.ch/Photo by Remy Steinegger

+++No resale, no archive+++

Was Elie Wiesel Really “The Conscience Of The World”?

  When news of Elie Wiesel’s death broke on July 2, the predictable paeans and plaudits flowed. President Barack Obama, for example, called his fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner “the conscience of the world.” As for me, I instead reflected back to July 4, 2004, when Parade Magazine to hired Wiesel to pen a little something for Independence (sic) Day[Read More…]

Ahistorical And Deluded, With Fireworks

Ahistorical And Deluded, With Fireworks

  The Dinh Dynasty lasted only 12 years and ended in 980, but in the 20th century, there were around a dozen plays about one of the Dinh queens, Duong Van Nga. When I was a kid in Saigon in the 1970s, a folk opera about her could pack a theater night after night. In 2013, an elaborately produced 12-part[Read More…]

Dynamics Of Intercultural Education in Schools: A Perspective

Dynamics Of Intercultural Education in Schools: A Perspective

Interculturality is a dynamic concept and refers to evolving relations between cultural groups. It has been defined as “the existence and equitable interaction of diverse cultures and the possibility of generating shared cultural expressions through dialogue and mutual respect. Interculturality presupposes multiculturalism and results from ‘intercultural’ exchange and dialogue on the local, regional, national or international level.

Need For ‘Compassion Of Buddha’ On The Road

Need For ‘Compassion Of Buddha’ On The Road

 The roads are regarded as the ‘Lifeline of a country’ India has one of the largest and densest road networks in the world. But a newspaper recently published an alarming report stating that ‘according to 2015 data released by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, 400 people die daily in road mishaps, ten times the entire global toll of[Read More…]

Beryl & James Burrowes 1942 & 2016

Lament For Humanity: A 50 Year Reflection

Deeply affected by the death of my two uncles in World War II, on 1 July 1966, the 24th anniversary of the ‘USS Sturgeon’ sinking of the Japanese prisoner-of-war ship ‘Montevideo Maru’ which killed the man after whom I am named, I decided that I would devote my life to working out why human beings are violent and then developing[Read More…]

 Knowledge Through Entertainment

 Knowledge Through Entertainment

    Knowledge is empowering. It is enriching. It keeps you aware, makes one conversant with issues and broadens your horizon in a rapidly changing world. Seen through a traditional framework, it is normally seen as something that gets imparted through the written words. Oral communication has had its vital share in broadening the horizons of knowledge as seen in[Read More…]

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Accusation Claims Syrian And Russian Troops Are Looting Palmyra! Indictment Not Proved

Accusation Claims Syrian And Russian Troops Are Looting Palmyra! Indictment Not Proved

Palmyra: “Syrian Troops Looting Ancient City Of Palmyra, Says Archaeologist.”  So shouted the highly respected UK Guardian’s headline of June 1, 2016 on the eve of the opening day of this month’s two-day Berlin Convergence attended by more than 170 scientists, archaeologists, architects and planners.  The gathering of experts was convened to discuss how best to preserve Syria’s, and our heritage,[Read More…]

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Iceland’s Football Story: The Glory Of Public Football

Iceland’s Football Story: The Glory Of Public Football

“These guys now with us in the [Iceland] national team were brought up on artificial pitches. Many would have had youth coaching in an indoor dome. They could go out if the weather was good, but they always had good facilities to train.” Heimer Hallgrímsson, joint Iceland football coach, BBC Sport, Nov 15, 2015 This has been a competition of[Read More…]

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Counter-Thinking  BP :What Is Normal Blood Pressure?

Counter-Thinking  BP :What Is Normal Blood Pressure?

    “When people cheat in any arena, they diminish themselves-they threaten their own self-esteem and their relationships with others by undermining the trust they have in their ability to succeed and in their ability to be true.” – Cheryl Hughes I have been wondering about this normal blood pressure for the last sixty years ever since I joined the  MBBS class[Read More…]

Who Should Make Political Policy, The People or The Politicians?

Who Should Make Political Policy, The People or The Politicians?

In the midst of what undoubtedly will be the nastiest and most expensive presidential campaign in American history, it is important to remember that the question is not so much whether a candidate is a good or bad person, but rather what should and will be the policies, objectives, and consequences of her or his administration? What do the People[Read More…]

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Robotic Politics Is Menace To Global Peace And Security

Robotic Politics Is Menace To Global Peace And Security

  “The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion” (Thomas Paine) “Most Americans go along with unaccountable murder, torture, and detention without evidence, which proclaims their gullibility to the entire world. There has never in history been a population as unaware as Americans. The world is amazed that an insouciant people[Read More…]

Don the hunter and fisherman, Philadelphia, 2015

Obscured American: Don The Retired Building Contractor

  Showing up in Friendly Lounge, beaming Maria said to bartender Manon, “How’s my baby? Come here and give me a hug! How are your job applications?” “Nothing yet, but I have a couple of interviews coming up.” For the last six months, Manon has been trying to get hired as a school counselor. She only gets one shift a[Read More…]

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The Rich In Their Posh Clubs Are Having Fun At Our Expense

The Rich In Their Posh Clubs Are Having Fun At Our Expense

Bombay Gymkhana Mumbai: The 140-year-old Bombay Gymkhana asserted its elite and exclusive character earlier this month. It voted after much debate not to admit senior government officers as members. But then how come this class, so keen to preserve its privilege , has for years so openly intruded upon public space just outside its premises for almost 20 years ?.[Read More…]

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It Is Expensive To Be Poor

It Is Expensive To Be Poor

Mumbai: A man murdered a woman in Mumbai recently because he was afraid she was going to deprive him of his job as a temporary watchman. This shows the crisis of employment in Mumbai. And this is a city which among all places in India is supposed to provide the maximum employment opportunity. And the watchman security industry is one[Read More…]

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The Devil’s Century

The Devil’s Century

Our present generation is living out of the spiritually vacuous philosophies of modernism and post-modernism, the cancerous ideologies of free-market economics and unrestrained economic growth, and the corporate and political tyrannies that have nurtured an energised ethos of transience. The triumphalism of modernity has effectively wiped from our collective memories a coherent view of just what has gone down in[Read More…]

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Islamophobia: Why Are So Many People So Frightened?

Islamophobia: Why Are So Many People So Frightened?

Islamophobia has become a significant factor driving politics in many western countries. Islamophobia – fear of Muslims – is now highly visible among European populations concerned about terrorist responses from Islamic groups claiming Jihadi links. However, it is also evident among those same populations in relation to the refugee flow from the Middle East. In addition, Islamophobia is highly evident[Read More…]

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Italian Lessons

Italian Lessons

From “Positano,” a 1953 article by John Steinbeck: About ten years ago a Moslem came to Positano, liked it and settled. For a time he was self-supporting but gradually he ran out of assets and still he stayed. The town supported him and took care of him. Just as the mayor was their only Communist, this was their only Moslem.[Read More…]

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Linh Dinh and Eirikur Orn Norddahl in Stokkseyri Iceland 2007

A View From Iceland: An Interview With Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl

Born in Reykjavík in 1978, Norðdahl was raised in Ísafjörður, a fishing village of just 2,623 people in northwest Iceland. Its population has been shrinking for several decades. Norðdahl’s father was a fisherman, and his mother a school teacher. Starting with his first job in a shrimp factory at age 12, Norðdahl has worked as a hotel night watchman, cook[Read More…]

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