Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Opinion: Power Over, Power Within, Power With

As a social worker I come across quite a number of people who have been harmed by society, by others or by themselves. More and more I am pondering why our society and the people within it experience this harm and live in a mentality where life is deficient. Life is deficient and therefore we need to go to things outside ourselves in order to feel safe or some semblance of wholeness. For some people this may be Governments, Organized Religion, Philosophical Dogmas for still others it may be relationships, sex, self-harm, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, over or under eating, or consumption of consumer goods.

What I have to the conclusion of as to the reasons why we as individuals and a society go to these things is due to how we are socialize to deal with power. From a young age many of us are taught to respect or fear authoritarian power (also known as power-over). This usually starts with a parent (often father) whom we are taught that their way is law, though some of this is needed when it comes to say not running into traffic or putting their hands on a hot stove, this is generally taken further then that. Then as we grow we come to learn to look to the teacher, police officer, professional, or the government as what to follow and go to.

Answers are provided for us from outside ourselves and we are taught that authoritarian power and hierarchies are what to follow. It is the rare parent or society that teaches children about the concept of working as equals (power-with) or to develop their own inner power (power-within). It is this concept of working with power from a place of power-over that people look for things outside themselves to try to quell the internal. We try to have power-over our lives and feel that it is a personal failing when tragedy befalls us, and society reinforces that belief.

In reality power-over always failures to deliver whether in authoritarian regimes or, personal addictions. Every empire throughout history has eventually fallen as people gain courage and fight back or new empires pave the way. We as a society need to rethink how we look at power. Instead we should nurture society to be one that respects and draws strength from its own power-within and recognize that working with others as equals provides diversity, strength, creativity and, fulfilment for the members of that group.

Every person who lays down using power-over, nurtures their own power-within and, then shares that with others as equals is heroic.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

History: Mother's Peace Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mothers, life-givers, and nurturers.

Mother's Day has a long history, but it was initially Mother's Peace Day started in 1870 by Julia Ward Howe. Commercialization has changed Mother's Day greatly into something entirely different then what it was initially intended. Mother's Peace Day was in response to the United State Civil War in which many thousands died in bloody and grusome ways. Lending itself to one of the darkest points in American history.

The original purpose of the day was for women everywhere to work for Peace. It was to call for disarmament of weapons, a uniting of peoples and, to teach charity, mercy and, patience so that war would not occur again. Howe looked forward to a day where we would no longer fight wars.

Now 139 years later wars still rage around the world. Many of these conflicts are also intra-state conflicts. Unlike Howe's time when most casualties were soldiers themselves, most of the victims of war now are women and children. There is however, a movement started by Inter Pares to reclaim Mother's Day for that purpose. Take Back the Day.

So today honour the life-givers. Honour the nurturers. Honour the Mothers. For they are the ones whom give us life and beauty. Wish for them the Peace that the original day stood for.

As a start Happy Mother's Day Mom. I love you and hope this day is just one day out of a new lifetime of Peace.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Opinion: Enough with Swine Flu

I am so tired of hearing about swine flu or the H1N1 virus that I debated even posting this. There is a lot of scaremongering going on about swine flu. I think back to avian flu, SARS and others. The reality is that all of these including swine flu need to be looked at in the reality of what they are.

So far, more people die per year from regular flu viruses in comparison to these sensationalist viruses. The version in Canada is the same as in Mexico which, would indicate that it is not mutating into something more deadly. Many of the people who die from these viruses are due to other having other healthy complications or not getting healthcare soon enough.

We as a society need to get out of a crisis mentality. We need a proactive mentality about health, the environment and the economy.

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