Friday, 15 March 2013

Don't put yourself in a Box

I am in the beautiful country of Rwanda and it has thrown up lots of thoughts about our nature as a species. Having been observing the Mountain Gorillas on the Rwandan Congolese border the last few days, it has made me think a lot about human nature. The similarities we have with a species that shares 98.5% of our DNA is astounding. I could see the thought in their eyes and the intelligent nature of their being, constantly relating their behaviour with our own. Well i now realise that although we are very similar, that 1.5% they don't share, is a blessing for them.


It is hard to think that not long ago where I am sitting right now in Kigali (the capital of Rwanda), screams will have been heard and the stench of death will have filled the air.  In a brutal Genocide between the Hutus and the Tsutsi's, this country was ravaged by what must only be called, mass hysteria and our species at its worst.  These branded titles cast upon the people of Rwanda by the colonialists in an attempt to control them, later fuelled the divide that ripped apart a nation.   Kids in school were made to stand up and they would be told that they were either a Hutu or a Tsutsi. This labelling was formed upon, economic background, facial features and all sorts of other unfounded reasons. They were given passes and a once whole nation was divided. 10,000 people were killed each day for 100 days and 1 Million men, woman and children were killed by their neighbours and even by their own families. This labelling for me is the foundation for any major conflict we have faced in our history. Divide…

I believe that registering differences between our species will do exactly what it says on the tin… create 'differences'. By doing this, we are paving the way for our own downfall. The exact box we put oneself in for security, ultimately drives the fear that kills us. Humans in our nature are social beings and it is understandable that we crave an identity. Whether it be right wing, left wing, Hutu, Tstsi, liberalist, socialist, communist or any other divide. We all have differing outlooks on the world but at the heart of it all, we are people. People who care about the same things. Health, happiness, security, family and the wellbeing of the people we love.

It is fear that drives us to act in a way that victimises our fellow man. A fear that those in power sometimes exploit. We must see ourselves as one global community all striving for the same goals in life and if we are ever faced with a divide, stand up for what we believe in to be right. Bad things happen when good people don't speak out. We all have a voice. Don't put yourself in a box. Be your own person and be accountable for your own actions. Embrace all people in the world with compassion and empathy and in doing that we will pave the way for the healthy and sustainable future.

Desmond Tutu, who was a cornerstone for court of reconciliation after Apartheid in South Africa, looked to the future and realised that forgiveness was the only way forward after all the atrocities committed. He says to the world UBUNTU - 'A person is a person through other persons'. We must embrace this idea and see ourselves in others, as it is them who make us who we are.

I am a big believer in the human spirit being able to adapt and although we are a young species, we are learning from our mistakes.  I will strive in life never to be put into a box, as this stops us from being able to look objectively on life and therefore we are unable to make the best decisions.

I have used this quote from Albert Einstein before, but in this context it is a perfect summary of the point i am trying to get across:

"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the 'Universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.”

What I love about his words here is that the mere striving for such a perspective is in itself creating the foundation for a more peaceful world. Therefore we don’t need to put all the focus on 'how can little old me possibly make a difference', but on just trying to live a more compassionate, open minded life and in doing so you are being a part of the thing you are trying to create. Imagine if Gandhi had said 'how can I possibly make a difference?' I believe apathy is one of the most destructive things on the planet.

The media spreads fear and puts people in boxes on a daily basis and it affects the way we act and think. It has a profound influence on the behaviour of its audience. Fear is used to control people and it divides us. It is so important moving forward to not base your opinions of the world on the medias take. It is in their interest to sensationalise and in doing so this clouds the truth.  We must be our own educators and drive towards creating a balanced global perspective.

The world is at a crossroads and I am very excited about the future. I believe that my generation is much more open minded then the last. Via the internet, access to information and education is much more accessible and finally it has connected the world back into a global community. The technology which drove us apart is now bringing us together.

Individuals are no longer in charge. The collective voice of the people are. Lets use this voice to bring all of us together and in doing so, pave the way for a more peaceful and sustainable planet.

8 comments:

  1. very true ! each para could make an impact on our planet/our little world ! lets change begin........
    our wisdom literature in India tell us : "दया धर्म का मूल है,
    पाप मूल अभिमान।
    तुलसी दया न छोड़िये,
    जब लग घट में प्राण।"

    "Compassion is the root of all Dharma. Egotism is the root of all adharma. The poet Tulsi says - I should not leave compassion till the last breath of my life." lets make better world !

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  2. phew quite a lot said and clearly passion for freedom.
    Take a breath ;)

    I love it when nature wakes people up. Too many of us have been sleeping our lives away when we can actually be a force to be reckoned with. Enjoy the journey, and remember that questioning your boundaries is normal.

    I am well familiar with that epic genocide and indeed the reasons leading up to it, in fact, I have had little choice but become familiar with Africa's history in general.

    Deciding your boundaries- at least in principal; is the hardest journey if taken alone and without a mentor. Principals of power are the only things you can take with you when its all over and it sounds to me you have the foundations down pat even if still a lot to learn- same as all the rest of us on the journey.

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  3. Vous avez bien dit, la peur est mauvaise conseillère et nous fait faire souvent des choses que nous regrettons ensuite. J'aime cette frase de Goethe qui dit"Si tout le monde balaye le pas de sa porte le monde sera propre" Si chacun travail à accepter l'autre tel qu'il est nous vivrons dans un monde magnifique. Mais pour cela nous devons prendre confiance en nous et ne pas nous laisser manipuler par les médias qui entretiennent nos peurs. Nous devons apprendre à vivre comme les petits enfants, sans jugement et dans le moment présent et en plus nous découvrirons "le Bonheur" avec un grand B.

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  4. Let yourself be open and life will be easier. A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed. - Siddhartha

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  5. The comment you made below is so true! I had a media company and recently sold it so I understand this all too well. I wish there was a way to start another media firm or campaign telling ppl this so that they would search for the truth or receive news in a different way not creating fear, non biased, and truth telling.

    It is so great to see the work you and your family do. You have been given much and have taken everything and given back to others! I truly believe that is why your family is so blessed with everything you all put your hands on! Thank you for being an amazing example!

    I love this quote from your blog! "The media spreads fear and puts people in boxes on a daily basis and it affects the way we act and think. It has a profound influence on the behaviour of its audience. Fear is used to control people and it divides us. It is so important moving forward to not base your opinions of the world on the medias take. It is in their interest to sensationalise and in doing so this clouds the truth. We must be our own educators and drive towards creating a balanced global perspective."

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  6. Unless we know someone we tend to place them into boxes or groups in order to create a perception of what they must be like. The problem is that in reality everyone is different and are individuals so although someone seeing you for the first time will place you into various boxes for eg.religion,race,age,gender,nationality,hobbies,occupation, income etc two people who belong to all the same groups can in fact be very different as they are the sum of their past experiences and this is why the saying about having to walk in another mans shoes to fully understand them makes a lot of sense. Once you start thinking this way you become a lot more tolerant towards other people. By the same token two different people who meet you for the first time will often form different opinions of you which will be based on their perceptions which is influenced by their individuality upbringing, experiences etc.

    So whilst it is normal to place people into groups once you start to apply the halo effect of these groups to the individual you are heading down the wrong path.

    How can you hate a person that you don't even know?
    I enjoyed your insight and comment about placing people into boxes.


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  7. WOw, Sam.

    Your Fathers book 'Losing my Virginity' changed the way i understood financial wealth, and i a lot of ways changed my mind about a lot of things It is great to see that you also are an inspiring person with such a sound reasoning. I can honestly say, I really like the Bransons, knowing full well i have never met any of you.

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