Saturday, 26 May 2012

Hitler or Gandhi?

What will you leave behind when you die? Cash in the bank that won't even cover a bus fare, a dilapidated house to give someone else a headache,  a couple of vicious pets that someone else will have to 'put down'? Smelly old clothes that nobody wants to wear - not even a charity would take it? Unpaid debts (hopefully not in joint names), fake jewelry with no sentiment attached, or even a fancy car that doesn't work and nobody wants anyway? 

Let's say the above things (pets excluded) are brand spanking new and worth a big penny. Is that all you would really like to leave behind when you die - possessions? 

What about an imprint on society or better still, somebody's life? A legacy. Something that generations ahead of us will be able to continue to build on. Something that others will be able to learn from or be encouraged about. Something that will lead someone not to take their own life but rather to take control of it. A real legacy. 
Gandhi didn't leave much in the way of possessions but he left a free nation. To be precise: two dinner bowls, a wooden fork and spoon, his diary, prayer book, watch, porcelain monkeys, letter openers, spittoon, and two pairs of sandals. Hitler left millions dead, his country in ruins and a chapter in history that we will never forget. Martin Luther King left us all a dream of a world in which 'all men would be judged not by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character'. Florence Nightingale left behind considerable wealth, but we all know her for the caring nature she had towards the wounded and dying. How about Mary Seacole? She did much the same as her counterpart Nightingale but after her death she was not recognised until much later. My point is, she still left a legacy. 

On a smaller scale, I know that we are not all going to be able to free a nation, or get gunned down fighting for the rights of oppressed people. Not everyone gets to be rich or even gifted with exceptional charisma or intelligence, but we can still leave a great legacy behind us and hopefully a good one. I often wonder how Van Gogh the famous painter would react knowing that the paintings he couldn't sell in his lifetime are now priceless. He was the classic tormented genius. Not appreciated at all when he was alive but he still managed to leave a legacy to his name. 
You may not realise it, but you may mean a lot to someone else. Others may be looking to you. They may see you as their mentor. They may be watching your every move and how you react and how you deal with things in life. 

What if you had no material possessions to leave behind? All that you left was the impression you made on the people around you?

So my big question is, what are you going to leave behind that is unique?

Friday, 18 May 2012

Best Friend or Worst Enemy?

What on earth would a 4 year old, 8 year old, a pregnant woman and an 83 year old all have in common? Here's a clue, they were all killed.

But what might surprise you is that the culprit is commonly known to us as 'mans best friend', the dog. What is it that turns an affectionate pet into a vicious killer? Or did we try to turn a vicious killer into an affectionate pet? 

The 4 year old was playing with her mother at home when the neighbour's dog simply walked in from off the street and attacked her. The 83 year old was attacked whilst in his own garden by an escaped dog. The pregnant woman was found unconscious in her home with her own dog standing over her, she later died from the injuries. So not all dog attacks take place outside of the home, and not always at the hand (or paw) of an animal unknown to the victim. Apart from the deaths caused by dogs, there seems to be a high increase in the amount of horrific injuries.

I have a great concern how specific breeds of dogs are deliberately being used as weapons, especially by youths within the gang culture. These dogs are being used to cause fear and intimidation to control their victims. In one situation the dog was used to bring down the victim who tried to run away before being stabbed and beaten to death by the gang.  
So are dogs dangerous by nature? Or is it just some breeds that are innately aggressive and therefore should never become pets? If so, what should we do with those breeds?

I love dogs. I grew up around Alsatians, German Shepherds, and various other breeds. Our dogs were under strict control at all times and was placed on a lead whenever we left the house. Nowadays, you see groups of teenagers and even adults who always seem to have a pit bull type looking huge dog with them, hardly ever on a lead roaming the streets as a display of status. The sheer size and power of the dog compared to the owner is usually disproportionate. At times you can clearly see that the dog seems to be taking the owner for a walk. I know that if the dog was to switch, there is no way that the person would be able to control it. 

Given the opportunity I would love to have a dog again, but these events which are on the increase,  raise serious questions for me. Regardless to how much time you spend training/nurturing a dog, whether you muzzle it or keep it on a leash, a dog can become unpredicable with no prior warning. If a dog decides to attack for whatever reason, you may find yourself in a situation where you cannot control your own dog.

In light of all the above, if a dog becomes aggressive and attacks, should the owner be held totally responsible and face the full strength of the law?
Should the dog be held responsible therefore giving it an automatic death sentence regardless to the injuries caused?

What are your views?

Friday, 11 May 2012

Incarcerated Freedom

Incarcerated freedom is the best kept secret known to man. Why? Simply because we have all been led to believe that we have certain rights to freedom of speech, expression, information, and respected privacy (Human Rights) plus much more. This is really not the case. We have been given a false sense of security, or should I say a false sense of freedom.

I'm not talking about the obvious boundaries we all need to keep us safe and secure, but rather the unnecessary things that ebb away our liberty and freedom.

We all want to freely express our views, voice our opinions, debate matters, but do we really have a right to say what we mean - especially in public? Or are we forced to suppress our true feelings for fear of being labeled as a harsh critic, a racist, a trouble-maker or fanatic? Even when our thoughts are not criminal we can be scared of voicing our own real truth. So are we really free to speak? Or are our hands bound with the rope of political correctness?

I recently heard that google wanted access to everyone's private emails. It doesn't matter why, even if the reason can be justified. What really matters to me is the fact that this was just planted upon us, we were not given the opportunity to debate and furthermore, have no option to opt out. Our privacy is at stake. Again, freedom of choice is taken away.  They are making our private lives into public property.

How about CCTV? It started off as a good idea, to catch criminals by identifying them irrefutably etc. and yes, it has provided some good evidence. But things have gone absolutely crazy now. CCTVs are everywhere. They're on the buses, the trains, inside/outside shops, banks, doctors surgeries. Yes, doctors surgeries. There I was sitting and talking to my doctor when all of a sudden I noticed this intrusive monster looking at me. Mr CCTV. Even though the area where you got undressed was behind the camera, nobody informed me beforehand that I would be filmed whilst privately talking to my GP. There was no opportunity given to challenge it's arrival and no liberty to have it removed. My privacy is being invaded and somewhat taken away.

I thought there was freedom of information if your requested it. Have you ever tried to get information that the government or authorities don't wish you to have? If you are lucky enough to get a response to your request, I can guarantee that parts may be edited, deleted, or have relevant missing pages.  So information is not always that free flowing. How many times have essential facts been covered up? One good example is Rupert Murdock CEO of News Corporation, allegedly involved in the phone hacking enquiry in the UK at present. Emails have been conveniently erased, conversations not remembered, and vital evidence missing or deleted. Telephone conversations have been hacked into time and time again. Privacy taken away. This does not just happen to the rich and wealthy.

What about Anders Breivik who murdered all those people in Norway? I wanted to hear what he had to say on the matter, I wanted to know why he believed he had to stand against multiculturalism and immigration and who he was affiliated to BUT the TV channel made a decision for us all. We were not to see parts of the trial. Even if they had a valid reason, once again my friend called 'choice' was taken away. No freedom to choose.

This is a vast topic and length of post limits the amount of examples I can give, but hopefully you have managed to grasp my point here about freedom.

Opinions, examples, agree, disagree - whatever the case, I'd love to hear from you. Feel 'free', whether you believe you are or not.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

What Is Your Purpose In Life?

Why do we fight so hard to cling on to life each day? And do you actually know the purpose for your existence? In short, do you believe that you have been born for a particular reason, and if so, what exactly is it?

Some people may belong to a belief system and they do their best to live by the rules of that particular group. They state they have a strong desire to become leaders, preachers, counsellors or Imams etc within those groups, and that is their main purpose in life. 

Others have no belief system but also feel they have a burning ambition to become a doctor, fireman, engineer or politician, and will dedicate their life to gaining the relevant qualifications and training to do what they feel they have been called to. Some of those people will tell you that they had that strong sense or desire since they were a child, and they are now achieving their goal. They wake up every morning and can't wait to seize the day. 

But this is not the case for everyone. Regardless of what group you belong to in society, what if you have absolutely no idea what your purpose in life is? You may be employed or unemployed, rich or poor, sick or healthy, but you feel like a rolling stone gathering no moss. You feel that, like a needle in a haystack, your purpose just cannot be found. 

You just simply bounce in and out of each day with a sense that you have nothing to show for it.

As a wild thought, could this be one reason why so many people suffer from illnesses such as depression, anxiety, loneliness, and even end up committing suicide because they cannot see any purpose for their life? Could it be that having a 'purpose' would govern how we behave today? I'm not saying that troubles won't come up and bite us in the posterior at times, knocking us off our course, but at least we have an aim. 

Sometimes we are thrown further off course because others try to force us into what they think our purpose in life should be. Ever felt your parents, peers, school or workplace or other outside pressures were molding you to be something other than who you feel yourself to be from the inside?

It doesn’t seem to me that previous generations suffered so much from this. Could it be that this purposelessness is a symptom of modern living?
Can you relate to the experience of having a strong sense of purpose?
Or is it the opposite for you?
What impact do you see your sense of purpose, or lack of it have on your life?

Please share your views and experiences.
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