Patience

Time is the master of all things. It gives us the opportunity to reflect, to reason, to learn, to love, to create, to explore…..We have the freedom to explore no man’s land called philosophy. We are posed with so many questions and when we think we’ve found an answer, it leads to another question and so on. What do we really know if we learn every day? Knowledge is continuous and so we must revel in the mystery of the unknown. Take heed to the signs from the universe and know that everything happens it its time. If everything happened today, there would be no need for tomorrow. Take everything day by day, use our time wisely, for time lost can never be regained. Life is precious so we must look forward to making the best of each day.
Patience is indeed a virtue and so it requires humbleness.

Sabali

Cultural Relativism & Feminism in a Liberal Society

Multiculturalism and feminism are two values held in a liberal society that have stirred controversy for some time. Although we as human beings can relate in many ways,  geography has played a significant role in our ways of life.

Feminism, although mostly misunderstood promotes equality between men and women…Yes, EQUALITY! Women shouldn’t be disadvantaged by their sex but be recognized as having human dignity equally with men. Also, they should have the opportunity to live as fulfilling and as freely chosen lives as men can. The second value Multiculturalism promotes protecting minority groups cultures by granting them group rights.

It is evident that there is a predominance of patriarchal cultures and traditions within minority groups. Given this fact, the dominant theme in minority cultural groups is the fulfillment of the men sexual, reproductive and domestic desires by the women. It’s not shocking that there are many controversial customs within minority groups.
Based on the descriptions of both values, it is evident that they contradict one another. Group rights and human rights cannot coexist in a liberal democracy. By granting group rights to protect multiculturalism, liberal democracies are allowing for denial of liberties to the women in those groups. Not coincidentally, male members are those who are generally in a position to determine and articulate the groups’ beliefs, practices and interests.

The challenges of cultural relativism from an ethical standpoint:

The Cultural Differences Argument is false. It states that different cultures have different moral codes, therefore, there is no objective “truth” in morality. Right and wrong are only matters of opinion, and opinions vary from culture to culture. However, the logical point is that the conclusion does not follow from the premise. Just because two cultures disagree on a matter does not mean that there’s no “objective truth” in the matter. The premise deals with what people believe whereas the conclusion concerns what really is, clearly two different ends of the spectrum.

Cultural relativism not only forbids us from criticizing the codes of other societies, it also stops us from criticizing our own. If right and wrong are relative to culture, this must be true for our own culture just as much as for other cultures. We would have to stop condemning other societies merely because they are “different”. There are some moral rules however, that all societies must have in common because those rules are necessary for society to exist.
Cultural relativism says that a sort of independent moral standard cannot exist. We DO have a method to judge other culture’s moral codes and discover universal truths. We can analyze the situation by using our ability to reason.
By accepting cultural relativism and therefore multiculturalism, the rights of minority groups must be consistent with the fundamental of liberalism. It’s aim is furthering the well-being of its members especially those of the women and children. There can be no assurance that the leaders of the groups, which are mainly elderly men, represent the interests of all the groups’ members.

The challenges of cultural relativism from a political standpoint:

Multicultural defense should not be used if it causes harm to the people whose lives are affected by it. No matter who’s guilty, the women always get the blame and suffer, while the men get reduced charges. The real concern should be that by failing to protect women and children from male violence, their rights to equal protection are violated. When a woman from a more patriarchal culture comes to a liberal state, such as the U.S.A, they are discriminated against and less protected from male violence. futhermore, cultural practices that are oppressive to women can often remain hidden in the private or domestic sphere. Therefore the courts cannot enforce their rights.

I think Susan Okins’ argument is a good argument. She recognizes: the importance of the development of self-respect and self-esteem of the group members; that sexual discrimination occurs more or less in all cultures; patriarchal minority cultures can exist but is dependent on their willingness to become less. Therefore, group rights justifications can be made once they take women’s equality seriously. Finally and most importantly, human rights trump group rights.


 

Rachels, J (1999). “The Elements of Moral Philosophy”. McGraw-Hill, Inc, pp 15-29.

Moller Okin, S. (1999) “Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?”. Princeton University Press.

Science, Religion & the Bigger Picture

Everything in the universe has a unique design and although each element has its own identity, they’re all connected. Despite the long standing conflict between religion and science, they share a common ground in that they affect our ways of life. Religion is an institution that’s divisive, rigid and judgmental, whereas science is an intellectual and systematic body that simple seeks to explain. It’s logical and it works! However there are things that science can’t explain and religion can’t comprehend which leads to severe grey areas. Despite the many differences among them, there are commonalities; their sacred scriptures all speak of “peace”.

• “If a man sings of God and hears of him, and lets love of God sprout within him, all his sorrows shall vanish, And in his mind, God will bestow abiding peace.” –Sikhism
• “A Muslim is one who surrenders to the will of Allah and is an establisher of peace (while Islam means establishment of peace, Muslim means one who establishes peace through his actions and conduct).”–Islam
• “The Lord lives in the heart of every creature. He turns them round and round upon the wheel of Maya. Take refuge utterly in Him. By his grace you will find supreme peace, and the state which is beyond all change.” –Hinduism
• “The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.” –Judaism
• “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.” –Christianity

We should look to nature for answers, put our minds to work; reason, and make every experience a learning one. It is evident that as humans we need something constant to believe in (religion) but everything in nature shows us that change is constant, gradual but constant and with change comes evolution and so we must evolve as a species physically and intellectually. It’s not about finding “one absolute truth” or whether God is Allah, Krishna, Jah or Brahman. It’s not a religious thing, “but a spiritual network linking us to the most high, the universe and each other”. (H.I.M Haile Selassie I). It’s our differences that make us dynamic and instead of embracing it we fight for superiority. We should be finding ways to coexist through a system that is based on compromise; irrespective of any social or cultural preferences.

Everything on earth is connected to each other and to the rest of the universe. Look at the Human Genome Project, we’re not nearly as complicated as we thought; we share much of our genome with many plants, worms etc. So it leaves me to wonder why we think we’re superior…There’s a cycle, a balance to be maintained among all life forms and as humans we take advantage and exploit for our unfounded needs.

There comes a point where everyone dies, the physical body can no longer perform essential processes. The divine part of our being, most commonly referred to as our soul, however, transcends scientific explanations. It lives on. Destruction of the flesh is not the ending of life. Like energy is never lost but changes from one form to another and the existence of different planes/dimensions, so too is life.

We live in an era ruled by technology, but before we became so advanced people relied on the sun to tell time, the lunar stages to plant crops and to make other decisions and deductions. The people of antiquity (Babylonians, Assyrians) worshiped the moon, the sun and stars and so became masters of astrology. They dedicated a day to each of the five planets known to them and with the sun and moon made up the seven-day week:

Satur (Saturn) day, Sun-day and Mon (Moon) day.

See, it all fits together.

It’s amazing the diversity in the customs and beliefs of the people throughout the world. Let’s take for example funerary practices: accodring to Herodotus, the Callatians ate the flesh of their fathers. To them this could have been a sign of respect and a means of staying connected to them. Given that interpretation the cremation of the dead, as the Greeks did would be unacceptable, therefore, “Right” and “wrong” is relative to the paradigm with which you’re using.

Everything is open to interpretation; that’s the beauty of life. The sense of not really knowing that leads to a realm of possibilities. At the end, it’s about never stop questioning, because a stimulated mind is essential to life.

MindxBodyxSpiritxNaturexUniverse

The Happiness Recipe

Happiness is something we spend our entire lives trying to find. However, when we think we have found it we’re most likely mistaken it for pleasure. True happiness is associated with “The Good Life”. It’s about seeking knowledge and nobility (virtue). One can only be happy if he is at peace, have achieved something beyond his own self-interest and affected change in the world. Each person must follow their own path and do what’s right for them; and it starts with the SELF:

Self-Awareness; Self-Exploration; Self-Discovery; Self-Understanding; Self-Love; Self-Transformation; Self-Mastery

     Because it first has to be right within.

       According to John Mill’s Utilitarianism Theory, humans experience two types of pleasure: lower pleasures and higher pleasures. The lower pleasures are those of a physical nature associated with contentment. They are based on the body and are the ones we’re born with; not acquired. The higher pleasures are those of intellect and must be cultivated. In attaining the higher pleasures, there may be challenges encountered. However, it is still desirable because even if you fail to achieve the higher pleasure you build a tolerance to pain and have put so much work in that you are not so disappointed. My definition of happiness is related to the higher pleasures. Many associate happiness with the luxuries of material things, oblivious to many social issues and live blissfully in ignorance.

We should seek to be wealthy, not with money, cars or houses, but qualities such as humility, integrity, patience, wisdom; attributes that cannot be taken away from you, negotiated or bought.