An Independent Diplomat

September 17, 2010 § 1 Comment

As anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I don’t generally post about politics.  When I really think about it this post isn’t about politics either. It is about “The Big Picture” and all of us being connected.

Carne Ross is the founder of Independent Diplomat, a nonprofit that offers freelance diplomatic representation to small, developing and yet-unrecognized nations in the complex world of international negotiations. His TED Talk from October 2009 reminds all of us not only how interconnected we are, but falling off a cliff can be a good thing.

We are living in a more complicated and fragmented world. If governments are less able to affect the problems that affect us in the world, then that means, who is left to deal with them, who has to take greater responsibility to deal with them? Us. If they can’t do it, who’s left to deal with it? We have no choice but to embrace that reality. What this means is it’s no longer good enough to say that international relations, or global affairs, or chaos in Somalia, or what’s going on in Burma is none of your business, and that you can leave it to governments to get on with. I can connect any one of you by six degrees of separation to the Al-Shabaab militia in Somalia. Ask me how later, but if you eat fish, interestingly enough, but that connection is there. We are all intimately connected.

Check these out also:

Independent Diplomat: The Diplomatic Advisory Group

Carne Ross Blog at Huffington Post

?Whatif! The Innovation Company

Carne Ross The Independent Diplomat by Christine Flanagan

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Simply the best music video I have seen.

September 2, 2010 § 2 Comments

There is nothing more to say.

Thank you Rachel Bloom and thank you Penn Jillette for bringing this to my attention.

Why I hate labels or Guilt by association.

August 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

Almost every social networking site on the internet requires your to fill out a personal bio section. That “Tell us a little about yourself” box always makes me cringe. It took me weeks to put an “About me” page on this blog. Part of the reason is I find it hard to talk about myself. (I am getting over that.) The main reason though is people are judgmental bastards.

In my real life I don’t socialize with people anymore. It takes way too much energy that I simply do not have. However, in the real world you get to know a person with small talk over time. You don’t walk up to a stranger and ask are you married? how many kids do you have? What religion are you? What political party do you belong to? What medical conditions you have? Oh, well we don’t agree, I guess I won’t talk to you. That would just be …OK that would be funnier than hell, but it would not work.

The labels I use on these sites usually end up not telling the whole story. How could they, they are only a label you have to open the folder to read whats inside. Unfortunately most people are too lazy to look beyond the surface. Why not judge a book by its cover when there are so many books to choose from?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care if people think I am wrong or that my Ideas are nuts. Most of the time I admit that I have no idea what the right answer is and I am pretty sure I am nuts. I just don’t want to be misjudged by the label is choose to associate myself with.

For example, I am an atheist. To me that simply means I do not believe in a creator or higher power.  Since I have been hanging around the twitterverse and blogospher I have learned that to many people atheists are angry, hedonistic, unethical, Satan worshipers. I am not even sure how that last one would work. But, I can assure you I am none of those things. Well, maybe a little hedonistic. ;-}

I am also a Non-Dualist. Now this one is a little tougher because people don’t always understand what that means so they dismiss it as  woo or new age bullshit. It is not. Nondualism simply means that the mind and the body are not two separate entities. In other words, there is no “soul” to live on after the body dies.

Through much reading it seems that I am also something called a Pantheist. Pantheism is the belief that our entire universe and everything and every one in it are one and are connected. However most of the definitions and blogs on the internet do not represent my beliefs at all. So I am reluctant to label my self as such.

One of my favorite misjudged and misused labels is skeptic. My definition of a skeptic is a person who uses critical thinking and a reason based on scientific evidence.  I have seen the world skeptic used in place of cynic. I have seen it used by people who have no idea what the word means at all. The so-called “Skeptic Movement”, while a great idea, really needs a PR campaign educating the public on what skepticism means.

My point is this, I don’t care if you think I am a nut job because I probably am. I just don’t want to be lumped in with the other nut jobs that I have nothing in common with just because of a label I chose. Oh well, I am sure most people stopped reading this post when I wrote the word atheist…Judgmental bastards.  If you are still reading this what is wrong with you? See, I do it too. Thank you for taking the time to read beyond the labels.

Internet overload

August 13, 2010 § 1 Comment

I have been spending far too much time on the internet the past few months. Between twitter, RSS and my blog, I spend almost no time with my husband anymore. I miss him. He is my favorite person in the world and frankly, my reason for living.

Worst of all I realized this morning that I have spiraled into a deep depression.  Depression is nothing new for me. I am Bi-polar. However, for the last few years, I have been in a “place in my life” where my depressions were simply a chemical imbalance in my brain. I felt the all the symptoms of depression, but because I was otherwise happy with my life, they were just like any other symptoms I have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.

This morning however I realized I wasn’t happy anymore.  Nothing fundamental has changed in my life. All that has changed is my “online” life. Like most people I follow people with similar interests to my own. I wanted to learn, share ideas, understand what was going on in my head.

I followed scientists, and skeptics which let to atheists. Eventually my circle grew to include “spoonies”. In the beginning I was very careful to only follow people who were positive, or at the very least not outright negative. That did not last long.

I am now spending hours(yes hours, partially blind) every day reading through hundreds posts and articles of people bitching and moaning about how terrible the world is, just to find a few good tidbits of information. And looking back at my own posts, I have started doing it too. I don’t want to be that person. Please don’t take that the wrong way. I am not saying people’s problems are not important. They are very real issues and they should be discussed. The internet is the right forum to discus them.  The problem is mine. I should not be reading them.  Fuck, I was yelling at the news on TV last night. I need to make some serious changes to my internet habits starting today.

I suppose this post is for the few people who actually follow me on a regular basis. I am not leaving the internet. I am not giving up my blog or twitter. I will simply be scaling things back.

May peace and joy be with you.

PJ

Is it time for the Phone Call to die?

July 31, 2010 § Leave a comment

Having spent most my working life at the mercy of the telephone, I now have learned to ignore its melodic cries for attention. The only people who call on the telephone anymore are telemarketers, charities and pollsters. Family and friends will call out of the blue once in a while. But, most of the time we know what calls to expect when. The rest go to voice mail.

“This generation doesn’t make phone calls, because everyone is in constant, lightweight contact in so many other ways: texting, chatting, and social-network messaging. And we don’t just have more options than we used to. We have better ones: These new forms of communication have exposed the fact that the voice call is badly designed. It deserves to die.” Read full story

Death of the Phone

via Clive Thompson on the Death of the Phone Call | Magazine.

How can your blog brighten the world?

July 16, 2010 § 2 Comments

Sure, the web connects the globe, but most of us end up hearing mainly from people just like ourselves. Blogger and technologist Ethan Zuckerman wants to help share the stories of the whole wide world. He talks about clever strategies to open up your Twitter world and read the news in languages you don’t even know.

Visit Global Voices website today. Follow Global Voices on twitter.

Do you remember the “First Amendment”?

July 12, 2010 § 3 Comments

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Those words are so simple. So many of us grew up with those freedoms that we take them for granted. We think we know what they mean. We get indigent when someone tells us “You can’t say that”, “You can’t protest here” or “Turn those camera’s off.” But the First Amendment means so much more.

I was reminded of how truly free we are, and how much we take it for granted by a voice reaching out from true oppression. A teacher named Sam in Iran read my post of June 20, 2010 Is it time for scientists to come out of the closet? He posted the following comment on July 11:

“I don’t know why they’re pretending on some nonsense. In a free society where you all live, practically there shall be zero constraints on people’s believes. This is exactly what I don’t understand, when only few people believe in god these days, politicians & scientists still have doubt about speaking out…”

I have been thinking about this comment and Sam. What must it be like to live in a place where expressing your beliefs will get your beaten or killed? I encourage everyone to read Sam’s blog to get some perspective on human rights.

1forAllI also encourage everyone to join 1 for All is a national nonpartisan program designed to build understanding and support for First Amendment freedoms. 1 for All provides teaching materials to the nation’s schools, supports educational events on America’s campuses and reminds the public that the First Amendment serves everyone, regardless of faith, race, gender or political leanings. It is truly one amendment for all.

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