serious times

 

 

World Hunger

  • 842 million people – or one in eight people in the world – do not have enough to eat. 2
  • 98% of the world’s undernourished people live in developing countries.2
  • Where is hunger the worst?
    • Asia: 552 million2
    • Sub-Saharan Africa: 223 million2
    • Latin America and the Caribbean: 47 million2

Aiming at the very heart of hunger, The Hunger Project is currently committed to work in BangladeshBeninBurkina FasoEthiopiaIndiaGhana,MalawiMexicoMozambiquePeruSenegal and Uganda.

Women and Children

  • 60 percent of the world’s hungry are women.2
  • 50 percent of pregnant women in developing countries lack proper maternal care, resulting in 240,000 maternal deaths annually from childbirth.3
  • 1 out of 6 infants are born with a low birth weight in developing countries.4
  • Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five – 3.1 million children each year. That is 8,500 children per day.6
  • A third of all childhood death in sub-Saharan Africa is caused by hunger.5
  • 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone.6
  • Every 10 seconds, a child dies from hunger-related diseases.5

The Hunger Project firmly believes that empowering women to be key change agents is an essential element to achieving the end of hunger and poverty. Wherever we work, our programs aim to support women and build their capacity.

HIV/AIDS and other Diseases

  • 35 million people are living with HIV/AIDS.7
  • 52 percent of people living with HIV/AIDS are women.7
  • 88 percent of all children and 60 percent of all women living with HIV are in sub-Saharan Africa.7
  • 6.9 million children died in 2011 each year – 19,000 a day- mostly from preventable health issues such as malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia.5

Launched in 2003, The Hunger Project’s HIV/AIDS and Gender Inequality Campaign works at the grassroots level to provide education about preventative and treatment measures.

Poverty

  • 1.4 billion people in developing countries live on $1.25 a day or less.8
  • Rural areas account for three out of every four people living on less than $1.25 a day.9
  • 22,000 children die each day due to conditions of poverty.10

Rural Hunger Project partners have access to income-generating workshops, empowering their self-reliance. Our Microfinance Program in Africa provides access to credit, adequate training and instilling in our partners the importance of saving.

Agriculture

  • 75 percent of the world’s poorest people — 1.4 billion women, children, and men — live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and related activities for their livelihood.11
  • 50 percent of hungry people are farming families.11

In each region in which we work, The Hunger Project provides tools and training to increase farming production at the local level. In Africa, our epicenter partners run community farms where they implement new techniques while producing food for the epicenter food bank.

Water

  • 1.7 billion people lack access to clean water.12
  • 2.3 billion people suffer from water-borne diseases each year.12
  • 12 percent of the world’s population uses 85 percent of its water, and none of the 12 percent lives in developing countries.13

The Hunger Project works with communities to develop new water resources, ensure clean water and improved sanitation, and implement water conservation techniques

 

Sources:

  1. US Census Bureau, International Data Base
  2. State of Food Security in the World 2013
  3. MDG Report – Goal 5, 2013 (pdf)
  4. World Hunger and Poverty Statistics, 2013
  5. MDG Report – Goal 4, 2013 (pdf)
  6. World Food Programme Hunger Statistics
  7. UN AIDS Report on the Global Epidemic, 2013
  8. IFAD Rural Poverty Report 2011
  9. Human Development Report, 2007/2008
  10. UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2010 (pdf)
  11. FAO Addressing Food Insecurity in Protracted Crises, 2010 (pdf)
  12. WHO Unsafe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (pdf)
  13. Water as Commodity – The Wrong Prescription by Maude Barlow, The Institute for Food and Development Policy
  14. A Life Free From Hunger: Tackling Child Malnutrition, Save the Children, Feb 2012

 

 

VICTIMS

SHORTLY after the birth of her sixth child, Mathilde went with her baby into the fields to collect the harvest. She saw two men approaching, wearing what she says was the uniform of the FDLR, a Rwandan militia. Fleeing them she ran into another man, who beat her head with a metal bar. She fell to the ground with her baby and lay still. Perhaps thinking he had murdered her, the man went away. The other two came and raped her, then they left her for dead.

Mathilde’s story is all too common. Rape in war is as old as war itself. After the sack of Rome 16 centuries ago Saint Augustine called rape in wartime an “ancient and customary evil”. For soldiers, it has long been considered one of the spoils of war. Antony Beevor, a historian who has written about rape during the Soviet conquest of Germany in 1945, says that rape has occurred in war since ancient times, often perpetrated by indisciplined soldiers. But he argues that there are also examples in history of rape being used strategically, to humiliate and to terrorise, such as the Moroccan regulares in Spain’s civil war.

As the reporting of rape has improved, the scale of the crime has become more horrifyingly apparent (see table). And with the Bosnian war of the 1990s came the widespread recognition that rape has been used systematically as a weapon of war and that it must be punished as an egregious crime. In 2008 the UN Security Council officially acknowledged that rape has been used as a tool of war. With these kinds of resolutions and global campaigns against rape in war, the world has become more sensitive. At least in theory, the Geneva Conventions, governing the treatment of civilians in war, are respected by politicians and generals in most decent states. Generals from rich countries know that their treatment of civilians in the theatre of war comes under ever closer scrutiny. The laws and customs of war are clear. But in many parts of the world, in the Hobbesian anarchy of irregular war, with ill-disciplined private armies or militias, these norms carry little weight.

Take Congo; it highlights both how horribly common rape is, and how hard it is to document and measure, let alone stop. The eastern part of the country has been a seething mess since the Rwandan genocide of 1994. In 2008 the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a humanitarian group, estimated that 5.4m people had died in “Africa’s world war”. Despite peace deals in 2003 and 2008, the tempest of violence has yet fully to subside. As Congo’s army and myriad militias do battle, the civilians suffer most. Rape has become an ugly and defining feature of the conflict.

Plenty of figures on how many women have been raped are available but none is conclusive. In October Roger Meece, the head of the United Nations in Congo, told the UN Security Council that 15,000 women had been raped throughout the country in 2009 (men suffer too, but most victims are female). The UN Population Fund estimated 17,500 victims for the same period. The IRC says it treated 40,000 survivors in the eastern province of South Kivu alone between 2003 and 2008.

“The data only tell you so much,” says Hillary Margolis, who runs the IRC’s sexual-violence programme in North Kivu. These numbers are the bare minimum; the true figures may be much higher. Sofia Candeias, who co-ordinates the UN Development Programme’s Access to Justice project in Congo, points out that more rapes are reported in places with health services. In the areas where fighting is fiercest, women may have to walk hundreds of miles to find anyone to tell that they have been attacked. Even if they can do so, it may be months or years after the assault. Many victims are killed by their assailants. Others die of injuries. Many do not report rape because of the stigma.

Congo’s horrors are mind-boggling. A recent study by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and Oxfam examined rape survivors at the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, a town in South Kivu province. Their ages ranged from three to 80. Some were single, some married, some widows. They came from all ethnicities. They were raped in homes, fields and forests. They were raped in front of husbands and children. Almost 60% were gang-raped. Sons were forced to rape mothers, and killed if they refused.

The attention paid to Congo reflects growing concern about rape in war. Historically the taboo surrounding rape has been so strong that few cases were reported; evidence of wartime rape before the 20th century is scarce. With better reporting, the world has woken up to the scale of the crime. The range of sexual violence in war has become apparent: the abduction of women as sex slaves, sexualised torture and mutilation, rape in public or private.

In some wars all parties engage in it. In others it is inflicted mainly by one side. Rape in wars in Africa has had a lot of attention in recent years, but it is not just an African problem. Conflicts with high levels of rape between 1980 and 2009 were most numerous in sub-Saharan Africa, according to Dara Kay Cohen of the University of Minnesota (see chart). But only a third of sub-Saharan Africa’s 28 civil wars saw the worst levels of rape—compared with half of Eastern Europe’s nine. And no part of the world has escaped the scourge.

The anarchy and impunity of war goes some way to explaining the violence. The conditions of war are often conducive to rape. Young, ill-trained men, fighting far from home, are freed from social and religious constraints. The costs of rape are lower, the potential rewards higher. And for ill-fed, underpaid combatants, rape can be a kind of payment.

Full article: http://www.economist.com/node/17900482

 

 

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the spirit within

Born within it’s mind
rhythm with the rhyme
beyond space, beyond time
the living sublime

the cycles of life
from beginning to end
and around again
going deep within

from the source we spring forth
and we return in the end
to a beginning again
light shining within

health is wealth

Human DNA Origins: Genetic study and its relationship to the Divine

Human DNA Origins: Genetic study and its relationship to the Divine

The study of genetics is such a broad topic that volumes and volumes have been written already and more are being written and more will certainly continue to be written as we continue to learn and understand. Genetics is defined by Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary as, the branch of biology dealing with heredity and variation among related organisms, largely in their evolutionary aspects. As an applied science it deals with the fundamentals of plant and animal breeding, especially in the production and development of improved strains, varieties, and breeds. This paper will focus primarily on human origins, growth, and development.

Studying genetics is a way for us to learn more about life. Throughout the ages human beings have been looking for answers. Science is a field of study wherein research is conducted in order to establish data. Evidence needs to be presented and facts (defined as such based upon said research) need to be proven.

Cells were discovered over 300 years ago. The cell is an extremely efficient and well-networked system with millions and billions of processors and billions of pieces of information. Cells are the structural and functional units of all organisms. The average human has at least one hundred trillion cells. Each cell functions independently and collectively with other cells. Each cell contains a precisely orchestrated and magnificently integrated manifestation of life. The nucleus within the cell controls the growth, metabolism, and reproduction of the cell. Microbiologist J. Craig Venter, who created the first computer designed, synthetically produced genome (set of application programs for an organism) said in an interview, “life is basically the result of an information process, a software process. Our genetic code is our software, and our cells are dynamically, constantly reading that code.” Many who study genetics say that a cell has within it thousands of computers that are all exchanging information and functioning in a synchronized manner. This analogy helps us to understand that within the cell there are many singular intelligences independently functioning as they have been designed to function. However, while this is a great analogy, in reality, the nature and function of the inner world of the cell and the inner world of the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and the genetic code within the cell, is beyond anything we could create in its beauty and sublimity.

James D. Watson and Francis Crick were awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine “for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material” From then on those who studied DNA in depth marveled at the ancient knowledge that having been hidden, was now unveiled. This discovery has been one of the major scientific events of the 20th century. Watson commented on a schematic illustration of the double helix formation of DNA, saying, “the two sugar-phosphate backbones twist about on the outside with the flat hydrogen-bonded base pairs forming the core. Seen this way, the structure resembles a spiral staircase with the base pairs forming the steps.” This knowledge has changed our understanding of the world drastically. Human existence originates in the DNA.

DNA consists of two anti-parallel strands of nucleotides that are 20 antron (microunits) in diameter and formed in a double helix formation. The nucleotide strands consist mostly of Deoxyribose sugar, Phosphate, Nitrogen bases, and Phosphodiester bonds. Author, Elof Axel Carlson, describes the DNA molecule in his book, Neither Gods Nor Beasts, as such, “The DNA molecule is crystalline and replicates by separating the two strands. The two strands are complimentary. The DNA specifies proteins as its major role in transmitting information. Genes are DNA and their sequences could be worked out and their products could be predicted from those sequences.”

Inside of every cell of every living thing is a long molecule of DNA. E. Coli bacteria are great for scientific study due to their simplicity and rapid replication. Due to this simplicity and continuous replication, the complex enigmatic DNA molecule is studied in depth. When people realized that the DNA molecule could be studied and gene splicing took place, genetic engineering was born. This study led to a large amount of research into seeking cures to cancer and other diseases, and this research continues today. This research has led to more advanced knowledge that has led to cures. However, when the DNA of humans, animals, and plants are mixed and deliberately changed by scientists, changes take place. This reality continues to fuel debates and controversy regarding whether genetic engineering is safe. People are concerned that scientists will mix human DNA with animal DNA giving birth to life forms that many people believe should not come into existence. The common term, “playing God” is employed implying that only God (the creator of life) should manage and dictate the manner in which DNA is directed.

When one studies the nature of DNA it becomes clear that DNA is operating on its own. It functions as it does and we watch and bear witness to the plain and clear reality. It is clear that it is intelligent and continuously at work. Bearing in mind that this is the microscopic, we can bear witness to the many layers of depth. The DNA is within the cell and the cell is within the human body. Thus the particle is within the whole. While the particle on the microscopic level functions in its own realm and carries out its task accordingly, the human body in the macroscopic realm (according to the given scale) contains the DNA. If the body dies, the cell dies, and the chromosomes containing the DNA die. In such a way, the cell is completely dependent on the whole for its life force.

How did DNA become as such? How does it know to function as it does? What makes it live and what gives it its elaborate design. Our perception plays an important role in understanding. Some watch the DNA function with its intelligence and precision. Others watch it all manifest as such and give credit to the Divine, saying that it is designed as such and functions as such because the Divine has made it so.

We can make similar observations in the macroscopic world. We can watch the plants and animals and reflect upon the manner in which they function and ask how did it become so? Considering the internal encoded genes being created and orchestrated as such and the external manifestation of this as it plays out in the natural world, we can see that something is responsible for the existence of life. When seeking knowledge of the existence of DNA we are actively engaged in tracing life back to its source. To truly understand all the details and the manner in which DNA comes into existence as well as the manner in which DNA exists and functions, we need to understand the power that gives life to DNA.

Deep inside the highly coiled DNA, a mysterious intelligence exists. It exists and it is alive and intelligent and responsible for life on earth. To understand the power that creates DNA we must consider the whole spectrum. DNA exists within the cell and the cell exists with in the human body. The human body exists on a flying planet and the planet exists in a gigantic universe that is bigger than we can truly comprehend. If we consider the power that gives life to the DNA, we must consider the power that gives life to the cell (the same power). Following this line of thought, consider the power that gives life to the human being, the earth, the universe, and beyond. It is logical to consider that something (intentionally leaving it undefined) is responsible for the existence of life because something is orchestrating the inner world and as such, controlling the manner in which life on earth comes into being. The “outer world” (life as we experience it) is macroscopic when compared to the microscopic DNA within the cell, but when compared to the universe, human beings and planets are the microscopic world. Life exists in great depths and layers within layers of perceived understanding.

Bill Gates, who pioneered the personal computer and found Microsoft, said that “Human DNA is like a computer program, but far, far more advanced than anything we’ve ever created.” The manner in which DNA exists is so advanced and so sophisticated that no one could design anything greater. The power that gives life to the human being, gives life to DNA. That same power simultaneously gives life to the earth, the galaxy, the universe, and beyond. Only the power that is responsible for giving life to all wields the power to constantly sustain the universe. It fills the stars with light and expands the cosmic expanse. It gives the planets flight and it gives us the breath of life.

Human origins is a topic that leads us deep into the past. As one walking in the darkness, the human race walks in the darkness of ignorance. As scientists, we want to find evidence in order to find more insight into human existence. The study of genetics helps us understand how the body functions. We can look into the DNA and see the code that is responsible the external manifestation (phenotype). DNA exists in all living things.

In the medical field, understanding genetics allows greater access to solutions. Cures to sicknesses are obtainable. With greater knowledge and application of genetics, comes the ability to correct disorders. Many people are doing fascinating research into finding cures. Through the study of genetics, scientists have gained the ability to manipulate genes. Scientists have observed specific genes that are responsible for specific manifestations.

The work of the Czechoslovakian monk, Gregor Mendel, led to a greater understanding of chromosome heredity. Since then, greater insight regarding DNA replication has given us the ability to have greater control over the outcome of events. We watch and bear witness to chromosomes undergoing mitosis (The process where a single cell divides and normally results in two identical cells, each containing the same number of chromosomes and genetic content as that of the original cell). This is the basis for the continuation of life. When seeking knowledge regarding the origins of human existence, we are left with many questions. It has become clear that humans, as well as all other life forms, undergo change, growth, and development. The only thing that stays the same in this world is the reality that everything changes. This has led to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. While the reality of evolution is clear for those who observe and study the impact of change over time, the origins of the human race still remains an enigma. Many believe that we evolved from primates, yet this theory is lacking solid evidence and continues to fuel much controversy. Many reason, that if primates evolved into sophisticated beings that can split the atom and fly into outer space, then why haven’t lions or elephants or any other animal evolved as such? Why is it only limited to primates? Logic tells us that if such heights of evolution are reached by primates, then similar heights of evolutionary progress should be reached by others as well. Researcher Mikhah Ben David discusses the genetic anomalies of human beings in chapter 51 of Biogenesis;

“With regards to human genetic anomalies, all primates have a head of hair that grows to a certain length and then stops. Similarly, all primates have fingernails and toenails that grow to a certain length and then stop (unlike humans). The human skull is much flatter in terms of facial relief and feature prominence. This is unsuitable for development, as the receded forehead and such would make the eyes more susceptible to both damage and blinding sunlight. Animals are perfect for their context, environment, and stage of evolutionary development. There is a marked difference between human brains and those of pure primates.

The comparison with regards to method of movement or “locomotion” is easily as wide as the comparison of brains and skulls. Humans are bipedal; primates are quadrupeds. Why such a change would have universally “evolved” is beyond logical explanation. To say that the evolutionary reason was to stand erect in order to see predators is insufficient, as few primates are done in because of their lack of standing erect. How then, and why, would this trait have “evolved” with minimal evolutionary, utilitarian use, simultaneously with “nature” (allegedly) stripping us of our natural protection from the elements, primate-strength, and self-regulating hair and nail growth? Sexually, primate females have estrous cycles and are sexually receptive only at particular times. Human females have no estrous cycles in the primate sense. Humans are continuously receptive to sex.

Primates also have 48 chromosomes. Humans are considered vastly superior in a wide array of areas, yet somehow we only have 46 chromosomes. This begs the question of how we could just lose two full chromosomes (which represents a great deal of DNA), in the first place, and in the process become so much better. Nothing about it makes logical sense.

As with all wild animals (plants, as well), primates have relatively few genetic disorders spread throughout their gene pools. Mostly, though, serious defects are quickly weeded out in the wild, so wild gene pools stay relatively free of disorders. In contrast, humans have over 4,000 genetic disorders, and several of those will absolutely kill every victim before reproduction is possible. This begs the question of how such defects could possibly get into the human gene pool in the first place, much less how they remain so widespread.

A favorite Darwinist statistic is that the total genome (all of the DNA) of humans differs from chimpanzees by only 1% and from gorillas by 2%. This makes it seem as if evolution is indeed correct and that humans and primates are virtually kissing cousins. However, what they don’t stress is that 1% of the human genome’s three billion base pairs is 30 million base pairs. In terms of gene manipulation, this can easily add up to a tremendous amount of difference. So are we predominately primate genetically? It would appear so. However, those 30 million or so base pairs are a difference that is impossible to relegate to “natural selection.””

There are many levels of truth. The theory of evolution has many layers of truth, but is it the whole story? When did we go from being animals to being intelligent beings (not to say that animals are not intelligent, but instead to imply an advanced level of sophistication? Did this naturally happen over time? Genes that control the size and complexity of the brain have undergone much more rapid evolution in humans than in non-human primates or other mammals. Humans have extraordinarily large and complex brains, even when compared with non-human primates. The human brain is several times larger than primates and “it is far more complicated in terms of structure,” said senior author Bruce Lahn of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Chicago. He explains the “special event” that took place in the human genome, “the human lineage appears to have been subjected to very different selective regimes compared to most other lineages,” said Lahn. “Selection for greater intelligence and hence larger and more complex brains is far more intense during human evolution than during the evolution of other mammals.” To many researches this suggests that, while evolution is real, our true origins are mysterious.

The ultimate source of life is the source of the universe and all existence. It is intelligent and aware and it is responsible for human existence. The source of the DNA is present now. Just as the cell is dependent upon the whole (the human body) for sustenance, the human being is dependent upon the earth for sustenance. Within the universe we exist and the universe exists within the power that gives life to all. The power that gives life is present always, permeating all life. As particles within the whole, we depend on the whole for life. Just as the cell is dependent upon the whole (the human body), the human body is dependent on the whole (the universe and beyond) for life. The all-permeating intelligent power that sustains all life is real. No one can truly be told what it is, one needs to see for oneself. There are many ways to come to know and understand the mysterious creator of life. Studying genetics is a way for us to look into the microscopic world and see a reality that is so beautiful and sublime, that for some, this alone is evidence that the source of life is alive and controlling everything. We all bear witness to the marvel and beauty of the cosmos. Glorious and beautiful is the kingdom of the universe. We bear witness to the universe as it exists and its existence is evidence of a creator.

In Chemistry, we deal with reactants and products. One cannot make products, without reactants. Therefore it is reasonable to consider that something is responsible for producing the product. It is reasonable to think that there is a source for the universe and beyond. Everything is so precise and so complex that it is too sophisticated to lack intelligent guidance. The pyramids are generally considered to have been built rather than having had naturally formed. Their construction is too precise and unlike something that would naturally occur on earth. Similarly, all life on earth is so complex that it is clear that an all-permeating power exists. We exist within the life of the creator. We experience life because it allows us to. It is more real than words can say, and it is always aware of what we think and say. It makes the earth fly and it gives the sun its warmth. It sustains the universe and gives us the breath of life. It allows us to learn and understand. Genetic research brings knowledge and understanding. As more knowledge regarding human origins is made known to the world, the greater capacity to understand where we came from will be obtained. Understanding where we came from, will help us determine where we are going.

Works Cited

Watson, James D. The Double HELIX. The Kingsport Press, Kingsport, TN. 1968. pg. 202.

Carlson, Elof Axel. Neither Gods Nor Beasts. ColdSpringHarbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, New York. 2008. pgs 74-75.

David, Micah Ben. Biogenesis Ilm Publishing, London, United   Kingdom. 2006. pgs,  351-355.

G. & C. Merriam Co. Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary. 1999. pg, 345.

Medical Science documentary on DNA evolution Vs Religious Theologies http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X6FpP41vOo.

Programming for life. (Educational program, study of genetics): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00vBqYDBW5s http://programmingoflife.com/facts

       Scientists Build First Man-Made Genome; Synthetic Life Comes Next: http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/01/synthetic_genome?currentPage=all

Human Brain Evolution was a ‘Special Event.’ http://www.hhmi.org/news/lahn3.html

educational program: study of genetics

One Love: Philosophy of Education

One Love
Magnum Opus – Philosophy of Education

“Happy the one who discovers wisdom, the one who gains discernment: gaining her (wisdom) is more rewarding than silver, and more profitable than gold. She is beyond the price of pearls, and nothing you could covet is her equal. In her right hand is length of days; in her left hand, riches and honor. Her ways are delightful ways, and her paths all lead to contentment. She is a tree of life for those who hold her fast, and those who cling to her live happy lives.” –Proverbs 3:13

This presentation of my thoughts on the philosophy of education will examine the world in which we live in order to gain deeper insight into the hearts and minds of all people. It will discuss the meaning of reality. How did we come to find ourselves alive and riding on a giant planet that is flying around a burning star? Why? As a result of declining global statistics, the education department is demanded to work harder and harder to educate and strengthen through knowledge all who seek to gain understanding. Discerning between right and wrong behavior is crucial to proper development. Helping those in need represents the healing power of good knowledge. Educators must consider the world as it is now as well as how it might be in the future and work achieve the greatest result.

Educators must educate in a manner that helps the student reach total development. What is total development? There are many philosophies of the “ideal” man and the “ideal” woman. Socrates comes to the mind of many when considering philosophy. He expressed the importance of being morally good in order to achieve happiness. He stated, “I do nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons or properties, but first and chiefly to care about the greatest improvement of the soul. I tell you that…from virtue comes…every good of man, public as well as private.” Though the philosophies differ, all educators might agree that honor and respect are qualities to be cultivated in all students. Herein I will present philosophies that impact the minds of people worldwide, historically as well as today, concluding with the philosophy of education I use personally.

Philosophy is made up of two Greek words: philo meaning “love,” and sophos, meaning “wisdom”. Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines the word ‘wise’ as discerning and judging soundly concerning what is true or false, proper or improper. Cognizant, aware, informed, having knowledge, learned, and sophisticated. ‘Wisdom’ is defined as the quality of being wise; the ability to judge soundly and deal sagaciously with facts as they relate to life and conduct, discernment and judgment, discretion and sagacity. Wisdom thus can help us understand how we should live our lives. It can help us discern between proper conduct and improper conduct. It can help us understand what life is and why?

Since the dawn of the human existence people have looked for the answers. What is acceptable social behavior? What areas of knowledge are important to learn and why? In the past people turned to the “gods”. The gods descended from the sky and possessed knowledge and power. People turned to the gods for assistance and help.

Why are we here? How did we get here? Questions like these have fueled the minds of philosophers from generation to generation. We can reason that we are not responsible for the creation of the universe and all that is in it. We can reason that existence did not just happen without a purpose. In pursuit of finding a purpose, many people turn to spirituality and religion seeking knowledge.

Religious philosophy impacts the majority of the world. It strongly effects how people think, live, and judge between proper and improper conduct. The Bible tells us that we will be judged according to our deeds. Thus, if one lives an upright life, engaging in works of righteousness, one will attain a pleasant abode in the next life. Contrarily, if one engages in wickedness, one will descend into suffering. This common theme can be found in religious texts all around the world, thereby shaping the way the people of the earth view the world in which we live.

Buddhist philosophy teaches us that life is enhanced and ultimately perfected by inward development. Siddhartha Gautama, known as Buddha worldwide, said in the classic text, the Dhammapada, that, “irrigators contain the flowing waters, arrowsmiths fashion arrows, carpenters shape wood to their design, and wise people mold their characters.” Such has been and continues to be the goal of sages and mystics, worldwide, regardless of culture or race or religious preference. Inward purification, complimented by the external manifestation of this intention, is the goal of such individuals. It is believed that establishing such a state of true purity can allow them to establish an ascended state of consciousness. Aristotle said similarly: “I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over yourself” as well as “moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.”

Freedom from fear, purity of heart, generosity, self-harmony, adoration, austerity, righteousness, non-violence, truth, freedom from anger, serenity, aversion to fault-finding, sympathy for all beings, peace from greedy cravings, gentleness, modesty, steadiness, energy, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, a good will, and freedom from pride. These are the treasures of one who is born for heaven. These words were revealed to us long ago as a reminder to remember the Invisible, the Eternal. These words of wisdom remind us of the inner qualities we need to embrace in order to ascend into the higher realms of consciousness. John Dewey, a major representative of progressive philosophy, said “The good man is the man who, no matter how morally unworthy he has been, is moving to become better.”

The five most popular educational philosophies are essentialism, perennialism, progressivism, social reconstructionism, and existentialism. All of these approaches have many strengths and I integrate them all into my personal philosophy. I will briefly summarize them. Essentialists put much focus on academics, patriotism, and character development. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are essential subjects that are cultivated in this curriculum. Perennialist’s study the great books. Books such as Aristotles’s Sense and Sensible, The Bible, Oliver Twist, The Iliad, Ulysses, The Koran, Common Sense, War and Peace, and more are highlighted in this philosophy. Possessing knowledge of these books is important for student growth and development.

Progressivism is important as it teaches the student to learn through experience. Experience can teach more than classroom learning in many areas. I would embrace the scientific method of progressivism by having the students work in groups and do a lot of field work in order to get a more real world perspective. A social reconstructionist wants to rebuild society in a manner that improves the condition of the world. Taking action to change negative conditions with the intention to help all is an important task to embrace. The goal of this philosophy is making the world a better place. Existentialism promotes frontal lobe development and allows one to understand one’s role in life thereby attaining a deeper understanding of existence. These five philosophies, in my opinion, should be embraced by all teachers. In order to reach total development one must not be limited in one’s approach. One must open one’s mind completely. Thomas Jefferson stated regarding the importance of knowledge: “To penetrate and dissipate these clouds of darkness, the general mind must be strengthened by education.”

If everyone on earth embraced love, then all conflict would disappear as all came together in unity. All would then ‘awaken’ to the fact that we are all one family and would live together in a state of ascended harmony. Regarding the nature of life, popular and respected philosopher Lao Tzu stated that “Life derives from the nature of the earth. The earth derives from the nature of the universe. The universe derives from the nature of the Great Integrity. And the Great Integrity is the omnipresent, omnigenous omniform, the universal material and spiritual substance, and the holoversal interlinkage and coition of existence.” Is it wise to ignore the Power that commands all to exist? Should we consider the Power that gives life and contemplate the nature of existence? If we are intelligent and aware, is it not reasonable to consider that the Power that makes our hearts beat is also intelligent and aware, even more so? Yet so much mystery surrounds this Power that is seemingly absent, yet permeates our very being.

The earth is a garden, a garden in space, a beautiful place. Where is the universe? What is beyond it? What sustains it? It is said that the Giver of life has always been and will always exist, full of glory and honor, full of might and power. The sage Krishna said that even the gods fall down in the presence of the Power that commands them, yet the Giver of life is beyond all thought, supreme. How then can we wrap our minds around such a concept? It seems the deeper we go, the more questions we have.

Questioning the reason one exists is crucial for development. When death appears, what happens next? Spiritual education teaches the student to worship the Creator of life. How will this impact the total growth of the student? Is there harm in it? Is it worthwhile?

The core of spiritual philosophy is to love one another. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. When people choose to engage in thoughts rooted in lower desires such as hate and greed, these lower tenants take form and eventually lead to suffering. As a result, people suffer in pain and misery. Why is it so difficult for people to simply love each other?

The core of my personal and universal philosophy is love. Every layer of my philosophy is love. All manifestations of my philosophy are love. It is love that binds us. Without love, the world would fall apart. Without love, the universe would collapse.

When instructed to write of my personal philosophy of education, many questions came to mind. The philosophies that have been alive and passed down for thousands of years, teach us of God and heaven and hell, angels and devils, right and wrong, good and bad, punishment and reward, the beginning and the end, and many other philosophies regarding the nature of existence. Why is so much emphasis on religion? Midwest America is primarily of Judeo-Christian culture. Acknowledging the teachings of the Bible is important for most. The Bible teaches about God and the goodness of doing good, morally and ethically, and teaches us to pray to God and gives thanks. Religion impacts value development as well as the way in which we perceive reality.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a time when a person would not be judged by skin color, but by the content of one’s character. Philosophies revolving around disdain and dislike need correction. One needs to be accepting of others regardless of how they look. The only exception comes when people violate the boundaries of respect and harm others. I want to help people to overcome their differences, whether racial, sexual, or anything else, and live together in peace. If people can overcome hate and all manifestations of it and embrace compassion, life would enhance for all. Hate is not good, love is greater.

I do not believe in violence, unless it is an absolute struggle for survival against incoming force. There is no reason people cannot discuss things and be rational. There is no reason why all people on earth cannot live in peace. I love life. I love all. I want all people to love all. It is time to do away with hate and all manifestations of it. All forms of discrimination, greed, selfishness, and all similar thoughts that hinder our development should be abandoned. We can develop by wanting to help people, by doing things that benefit ourselves and others, and by letting go of these lower tenants.

I believe that all life is sacred and should be respectfully honored. If people could develop a deeper state of love within their being, life would be experienced in greater depths. It is said that the earth flies at the speed 66,000-67,000 miles per hour. Every second we travel nineteen miles through space. The invisible force that drives the planet is the same invisible force that gives us our every breath. I acknowledge the Ultimate Power that gives life to all.

It would be worthwhile to acknowledge the law that binds us. All are in submission to the Power that commands. We had no power over our birth. We must breathe. We must eat and drink. We must sleep and wake up. We are bound by the laws of physics. We must live accordingly, and we must come face to face with death.

Art and science are a major part of the philosophy I wish to teach. Life is art and science. Music and imagination, as well as reflection and contemplation, enhance total development. Sitting under the stars and the moon and feeling the wind blow can help one connect with nature. Connecting with nature will strengthen one’s clarity and understanding. Stress relief through exercise, meditation, and relaxation are therapeutic measures to be taken for educational growth. Everyone should embrace healthy living in all ways possible. Health is wealth. It is mandatory to maintain a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle in order to reach total maturity.

Freedom and justice help balance proper conduct in society. Students should be encouraged to think about such matters. Students should have access to all knowledge that helps them develop completely. Students should be taught to think not only about their own welfare, but of the welfare of all.

It is important for one to gain an understanding of the nature of realty. Love is the answer. In my personal philosophy of education I will seek to help all students, regardless of who they are, learn to grow and develop into upstanding citizens of the world. I will encourage them to have love for all and to live in a manner that improves the condition of the earth. I will work to improve my students to the best of my ability. Perhaps then all life can live as one, and as one, we can live in peace.

Cleary D. Tao Te Ching. Pg. 44.
Doubleday and Company, Inc. The Jerusalem Bible. Pg. 936.
Hahn, T. The Dhammapada. Pgs. 33.
Jefferson, T. Quotes. http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Thomas_Jefferson
King, M. I have a dream speech. http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm.
Mascaro, J. The Bhagavad Gita. Pg. 40.
Sadker, Sadker, and Zittleman. (1970). Teachers, Schools, and Society. Pgs. 319-343.
Socrates. Quote on virtue. http://www.molloy.edu/sophia/plato/socrates.htm

Unveiling Qi Gong



chakra meditation

Understanding the complete nature of the body leads us to an understanding of the nature of matter and energy, duality and oneness, and the visible and invisible realities of consciousness. For purposes of understanding we can liken the body to a machine. This machine, while being composed of matter, requires energy to survive. It inhales oxygen and nitrogen gas and absorbs the energy. It requires energy to function as needed. We eat matter and the body absorbs the energy in the matter and absorbs water and the energy in water. The body produces energy. As long as it is fed properly and taken care of, it will constantly produce energy. The body is here…if you are reading this then you probably are in a body…you can see it and touch it and sense it…the mind however is more mysterious…you can’t see your mind and you can’t touch your thoughts…yet the obvious reality of your mind and its presence remains. Similarly, when we consider the “chakras” we need to understand their nature. We cannot see them with our flesh and blood eyes because they are part of the machine and the machine is limited. Just as we cannot see our mind, we cannot see our chakras. The key to unlocking them lies within. The best way to go within is to close your eyes, quiet your thoughts, and when there is silence, begin…

We will begin with the lowest chakra and work our way up to top…the lowest chakra forces us to address fear. Fear leads to death. Consider all your fears…fear of loss…fear of death…fear of heights…fear of public speaking…confront your fears…with boldness…smash your fears! and arise to the next chakra…

As long as fear remains, the chakra will not open…

The next charka is locked when we harbor guilt within us. Often times when we feel guilt, it’s because we are guilty. If you can feel it, it is probably because you are guilty. This is not always the case though. And sometimes we may be guilty for the wrong reasons…sometimes apologizing can help if necessary. Get past it and ascend to the next chakra…

The next chakra is governed by shame. Perhaps the shame is born out of improper action, such as engaging in “low” activities. Maybe it is born out of society’s perception of you? Maybe you have no shame. Maybe you would do anything without a care? Whatever shame you have, confront it, consider its source, make amends where needed, and through these steps, move past it…

The heart charka is next, it is love that opens it…it is grief that locks it. Here we confront grief in all its forms. We think about grief and what causes it…how to avoid it and how to confront it. Why do we grieve, what causes our pain…how can we end it? It is difficult to overcome grief when there is so much of it. So many people grieve and suffer. When people are being oppressed, as they are all over the world, then this causes suffering and grief then becomes manifest. However, some grief can be overcome through knowledge and understanding. The most difficult grief many people face is losing loved ones. This is hard but when proper understanding is in place, it can lead us back to reality. Everyone will pass through death into the next life. The body is only a machine, it is the person inside that is real. No one ever truly dies, we all return to the power that gives life. It is not by accident or coincidence that every major religious tradition from Judaism to Taoism to Buddhism to Christianity, and every sacred spiritual text from around the world attests to the fact that the body is born of the earth and when our time to go comes, the body will return to the earth and we will go…”we” are not our bodies…we are not of this world, we have been born here to experience this life, but it is temporary…we will all return home soon…so be at peace…trust in the power that commands the universe…for it is glorious and beautiful.

The throat chakra is locked by lies…so don’t lie and it will open. It is governed by truth, thus we seek truth in all its forms and manifestation. We accept the truth wherever and whenever it manifests.

The “third-eye” chakra is governed by insight. We are born in a world of duality. Up and down, left and right, light and dark, good and bad, truth and lies, in and out, here and there…We understand that the yin and yang manifest in the universe, and all duality that exists is limited to it’s time and place in space and that the all-permeating, omnipresent, all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the universe and all existence is one, and the living life of its presence permeates all existence. While there is up and down, it is only so within the context of creation. The all-permeating creator of life is one and its oneness permeates all. When this is known and felt and understood, then this will lead to the crown chakra on top to the head…

The crown chakra can only be activated when one fully submits to the commander of the universe and all existence. By understanding the nature of the life of this world as well as the nature of the giver of life, the crown can be opened.

light

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