Category: Religion

It’s the dogs that are our connectors!

An unusual finding from a recent survey.

As Yves says: “Yves here. Wow, this is a finding I would never have expected. Shows what I know about dogs, or more accurately, dog owners.

She was commenting on a recent post published on Naked Capitalism.

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How Dogs Help Keep Multiracial Neighborhoods Socially Segregated

Posted on May 24, 2019
By Yves Smith
By Sarah Mayorga-Gallo, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Massachusetts Boston. Originally published at
The Conversation

Cities in the United States are getting less segregated and, according to a recent national survey, most Americans value the country’s racial diversity.

But the demographic integration of a neighborhood doesn’t necessarily mean that neighbors of different races are socializing together.

Diverse urban areas remain socially segregated in part because white gentrifiers and long-time residents have differing economic interests. And the racial hierarchies of the United States are simply not erased when black and white people share the same space.

White residents of multicultural areas tend to overlook inequality in their neighborhoods, studies show. That further reinforces racial barriers.

My sociological research in one such multicultural neighborhood identifies a more surprising vehicle of racial segregation: dogs.

‘A Very Doggie Neighborhood’

I spent 18 months studying Creekridge Park, a diverse and mixed-income area of Durham, North Carolina, to understand how black, white and Latino residents interacted with each other. Between 2009 and 2011, I interviewed 63 residents, attended neighborhood events and conducted a household survey.

I learned that white, black and Latino residents led rather separate social lives in Creekridge Park. Eighty-six percent of white people said their closest friends were white, and 70% of black residents surveyed reported that their best friends were black.

One black resident lamented that neighbors weren’t as “friendly as I had hoped and thought that they would be – or at least, this image I had in my head of what ‘friendly’ would be like.”

White, black and Latino people in Creekridge Park even had different experiences with something as seemingly innocuous as pet ownership.

Many white residents described friendships growing as a result of walking their dogs around the neighborhood, with chance encounters on the sidewalk turning into baseball games, dinners and even vacations together.

“It’s the dogs that are our connectors,” said Tammy, a white homeowner in her fifties. “That’s how a lot of us have gotten to know each other.”

Such positive interactions did not necessarily happen across racial boundaries. More often, I found, dogs reinforced boundaries.

When Jerry, a black homeowner in his sixties, stopped to chat with some dog-owning customers, who were white, in the outdoor seating area of a neighborhood bakery, the staff asked him to leave.

“I owned some dogs like that at one particular time. And I was just speaking to them. All of a sudden, I’m a panhandler,” Jerry said, incredulous and hurt.

Jerry is a black disabled veteran who was wearing his old army uniform that day. He figures they thought he was begging for money.

The dogs didn’t create the interracial boundaries at the bakery, which caters to a primarily white, middle-class clientele. In fact, the dogs presented an avenue to connect black and white neighbors. But they gave bakery staff a reason to intervene, to maintain interracial boundaries.

Neighborhood Watch

The treatment of dogs in Creekridge Park also divided neighbors of different races.

Tammy, the same resident who said dogs served as “connectors” in the neighborhood, disliked that her Latino neighbors wouldn’t let their dog into the house, leaving her tied up in the backyard.

Tethering dogs is a common practice in Durham, NC.

One day, when she heard her neighbor’s dog barking, she decided to monitor their backyard with binoculars, to make sure the dog was OK. When the father spotted her doing her surveillance, Tammy lied. She said she was looking at a different dog.

Tammy was not, however, embarrassed when recounting this story. She felt she was justified in considering the dog’s well-being. She offered the family a bigger dog house and began to take the dog on hour-long walks twice a day. Eventually, she adopted the dog as her own.

Tammy said that she always intervened whenever she saw dogs mistreated in the neighborhood. However, the only examples she shared during our interview involved Latino families.

Latino families are not the only Creekridge Park residents who tied up their dogs. The practice is common enough across Durham that a local group was formed in 2007 to build free dog fences.

Police Come ‘Almost Immediately’

Several white residents of Creekridge Park have even reported their neighbors to the police for suspected animal abuse.

Emma, a white homeowner in her thirties, called the police when she thought her neighbors were involved in dog fighting.

They “came almost immediately,” she said.

Generally, Emma told me, if she knows her neighbors, she will confront them directly about problems she perceives. Otherwise, she prefers to call the police.

Given how segregated friendship networks are in Creekridge Park, this seemingly non-racial distinction between “known” and “unknown” neighbors means that in practice Emma involved police in conflicts only with black and Latino neighbors.

Dogs can connect neighbors – but they can also divide them. Shutterstock

How White People Enforce Their Rules

This white willingness to report non-white neighbors for “unruly” behavior recalls numerous recent incidents nationwide in which white people have called the police on black people for perfectly legal activities.

In July 2018 a white woman in San Francisco threatened an 8-year-old black girl for “illegally selling water without a permit.” A few months before, a white woman dubbed by internet users as “BBQ Becky” called the cops on a black family barbecuing in an Oakland park for using an “unauthorized” charcoal grill.

Other examples of white people using police to enforce their unspoken social norms have occurred at Starbucks, a Yale University dorm and a Texas swimming pool.

In U.S. neighborhoods, middle- and upper-class white residents enjoy a privileged social position by virtue of their race and class. They understand that police, local businesses and government agencies exist to serve them – the same social institutions that often underserve or even target racial minorities.

By drawing arbitrary lines between right and wrong, insider and outsider – even good pet owner and bad – white people like Tammy and BBQ Becky use that power to try to shape diverse neighborhoods into their preferred mold.

As a result of white residents’ focus on their own comfort in diverse places, racial inequality can pervade everyday life – even, my research shows, when walking the dog.

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I have to say that it’s not entirely clear if dog ownership leads to social cohesion or the opposite.

I need to read the article again but what do readers offer.

Can we really avoid the ‘train crash’?

The idea that humanity will not prevent the approaching disaster is beyond belief!

One of the results of all you great people signing up to follow Learning from Dogs is that it encourages me to share things that strike me as so, so important.

Another of the results in there being, as of today, 3,349 following this place, is that I get the sense of what many of you good people also feel is important. Ergo, it is clear to me, clear beyond doubt, that caring and loving a dog or two makes you a person who cares and loves passionately this beautiful planet that is our home.

The emotion that is spilling out of me via these words to you is a result of having just read an essay published recently on The Conversation site and shared with you today.

Directly, it has nothing to do with our dear dogs. Yet, in a way, it does!

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7.5 billion and counting: How many humans can the Earth support?

By Associate Professor of Mathematics, College of the Holy Cross, July 9th 2018.

Humans are the most populous large mammal on Earth today, and probably in all of geological history. This World Population Day, humans number in the vicinity of 7.5 to 7.6 billion individuals.

Can the Earth support this many people indefinitely? What will happen if we do nothing to manage future population growth and total resource use? These complex questions are ecological, political, ethical – and urgent. Simple mathematics shows why, shedding light on our species’ ecological footprint.

The mathematics of population growth

In an environment with unlimited natural resources, population size grows exponentially. One characteristic feature of exponential growth is the time a population takes to double in size.

Exponential growth of world population

It took 127 years for the world population to double from one billion to two. By contrast, it took only 47 years, from 1927 to 1974, to double from two billion to four. Since 1960, world population has grown by about one billion every 13 years. Each point represents an additional one billion people.

[Ed: Text taken from a chart displayed in the article.]

Exponential growth tends to start slowly, sneaking up before ballooning in just a few doublings.

To illustrate, suppose Jeff Bezos agreed to give you one penny on Jan. 1, 2019, two pennies on Feb. 1, four on March 1, and so forth, with the payment doubling each month. How long would his $100 billion fortune uphold the contract? Take a moment to ponder and guess.

After one year, or 12 payments, your total contract receipts come to US$40.95, equivalent to a night at the movies. After two years, $167,772.15 – substantial, but paltry to a billionaire. After three years, $687,194,767.35, or about one week of Bezos’ 2017 income.

The 43rd payment, on July 1, 2022, just short of $88 billion and equal to all the preceding payments together (plus one penny), breaks the bank.

Real population growth

For real populations, doubling time is not constant. Humans reached 1 billion around 1800, a doubling time of about 300 years; 2 billion in 1927, a doubling time of 127 years; and 4 billion in 1974, a doubling time of 47 years.

On the other hand, world numbers are projected to reach 8 billion around 2023, a doubling time of 49 years, and barring the unforeseen, expected to level off around 10 to 12 billion by 2100.

This anticipated leveling off signals a harsh biological reality: Human population is being curtailed by the Earth’s carrying capacity, the population at which premature death by starvation and disease balances the birth rate.

World population projections

In 2020, the UN predicts that there will be 7,795,482 people worldwide.

[Ed: Text taken from a chart displayed in the article.]

Ecological implications

Humans are consuming and polluting resources – aquifers and ice caps, fertile soil, forests, fisheries and oceans – accumulated over geological time, tens of thousands of years, or longer.

Wealthy countries consume out of proportion to their populations. As a fiscal analogy, we live as if our savings account balance were steady income.

According to the Worldwatch Institute, an environmental think tank, the Earth has 1.9 hectares of land per person for growing food and textiles for clothing, supplying wood and absorbing waste. The average American uses about 9.7 hectares.

These data alone suggest the Earth can support at most one-fifth of the present population, 1.5 billion people, at an American standard of living.

A man works recycling plastic bottles outside Hanoi, Vietnam. REUTERS/Kham

Water is vital. Biologically, an adult human needs less than 1 gallon of water daily. In 2010, the U.S. used 355 billion gallons of freshwater, over 1,000 gallons (4,000 liters) per person per day. Half was used to generate electricity, one-third for irrigation, and roughly one-tenth for household use: flushing toilets, washing clothes and dishes, and watering lawns.

If 7.5 billion people consumed water at American levels, world usage would top 10,000 cubic kilometers per year. Total world supply – freshwater lakes and rivers – is about 91,000 cubic kilometers.

World Health Organization figures show 2.1 billion people lack ready access to safe drinking water, and 4.5 billion lack managed sanitation. Even in industrialized countries, water sources can be contaminated with pathogens, fertilizer and insecticide runoff, heavy metals and fracking effluent.

Freedom to choose

Though the detailed future of the human species is impossible to predict, basic facts are certain. Water and food are immediate human necessities. Doubling food production would defer the problems of present-day birth rates by at most a few decades. The Earth supports industrialized standards of living only because we are drawing down the “savings account” of non-renewable resources, including fertile topsoil, drinkable water, forests, fisheries and petroleum.

The drive to reproduce is among the strongest desires, both for couples and for societies. How will humans reshape one of our most cherished expectations – “Be fruitful and multiply” – in the span of one generation? What will happen if present-day birth rates continue?

Population stays constant when couples have about two children who survive to reproductive age. In some parts of the developing world today, couples average three to six children.

We cannot wish natural resources into existence. Couples, however, have the freedom to choose how many children to have. Improvements in women’s rights, education and self-determination generally lead to lower birth rates.

As a mathematician, I believe reducing birth rates substantially is our best prospect for raising global standards of living. As a citizen, I believe nudging human behavior, by encouraging smaller families, is our most humane hope.

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This essay from Professor Hwang is one of those articles that one frequently sees online that comes across as really interesting but, in the end, only gets a skim read; at best.

So if you didn’t fully comprehend what the good Professor included then ‘Stop‘ and go back and read it all very carefully.

Don’t just be alarmed at Professor Hwang writing:

This anticipated leveling off signals a harsh biological reality: Human population is being curtailed by the Earth’s carrying capacity, the population at which premature death by starvation and disease balances the birth rate.

Or:

Though the detailed future of the human species is impossible to predict, basic facts are certain. Water and food are immediate human necessities. Doubling food production would defer the problems of present-day birth rates by at most a few decades. The Earth supports industrialized standards of living only because we are drawing down the “savings account” of non-renewable resources, including fertile topsoil, drinkable water, forests, fisheries and petroleum.

Be concerned that each and every one of us, as in you and me, can only prevent the train crash by making a change in how we live: Today!

Otherwise ….

In so many ways we are such a clever and inventive race, capable of exploring the farthest reaches of outer space and the innermost aspects of quantum mechanics. Surely we must learn to live sustainably on beautiful Planet Earth!

A plea for this planet!

I feel compelled to ‘bang the drum’!

The recent news that many scientists have signed an open letter warning about how soon it will be too late to “save Earth” has been widely broadcast; not that this stops me from republishing the version of the news story that I read on the EarthSky blog site.

Here it is.

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Scientists warn: Soon it will be too late to save Earth

By Eleanor Imster in EARTH | HUMAN WORLD | November 16, 2017
More than 15,000 scientists in 184 countries have signed a letter urging the world to address major environmental concerns. “Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out.”

A letter to all of us, signed by more than 15,000 scientists (and counting) in 184 countries, warns that human well-being will be severely jeopardized by continuing trends in environmental harm, including our changing climate, deforestation, loss of access to fresh water, species extinctions and human population growth.

Entitled World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice, it was published in the international journal Bioscience on November 13, 2017.

In 1992, more than 1,700 scientists signed a World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity published by the Union of Concerned Scientists. But global trends have worsened since 1992, the authors wrote in the new letter. In the last 25 years, trends in nine environmental issues suggest that humanity is continuing to risk its future.

Read the letter here.

The scientists wrote:

Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out. We must recognize, in our day-to-day lives and in our governing institutions, that Earth with all its life is our only home.

The letter also says …

By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivize renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperiled biosphere.

The article was written by an international team led by William Ripple of Oregon State University led the international team of scientists who created the letter. Ripple said in a statement:

Some people might be tempted to dismiss this evidence and think we are just being alarmist. Scientists are in the business of analyzing data and looking at the long-term consequences. Those who signed this second warning aren’t just raising a false alarm. They are acknowledging the obvious signs that we are heading down an unsustainable path. We are hoping that our paper will ignite a wide-spread public debate about the global environment and climate.

Progress in some areas — such as a reduction in ozone-depleting chemicals and an increase in energy generated from renewable sources — shows that positive changes can be made, the authors wrote. There has been a rapid decline in fertility rates in some regions, which can be attributed to investments in education for women, they added. The rate of deforestation in some regions has also slowed.

The warning came with steps that can be taken to reverse negative trends, but the authors suggested that it may take a groundswell of public pressure to convince political leaders to take the right corrective actions. Such activities could include establishing more terrestrial and marine reserves, strengthening enforcement of anti-poaching laws and restraints on wildlife trade, expanding family planning and educational programs for women, promoting a dietary shift toward plant-based foods and massively adopting renewable energy and other “green” technologies.

Scientists who did not sign the warning prior to publication can endorse the published warning here.

Bottom line: A letter entitled World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice, urging the world to address major environmental concerns. was signed by more than 15,000 scientists in 184 countries.

Read more from Oregon State University

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As is the way with this modern inter-connected world it was but a moment to track down said William Ripple, find his email address and ask him what he recommended as the top things that you and I should be doing now.

Not just for you and me but for all the animals as well on this very beautiful planet.

Bill’s reply is part of tomorrow’ post. See you then!

So who is Sam?

You loved Sam Grant’s photos of Casper and Scotland. Learn more about her.

Last Sunday my Picture Parade was primarily a recent item that appeared on the BBC website.

Meet Scotland’s ‘most well-travelled dog’

By Ewan Murrie, BBC Scotland news website, 3rd June 2017

After photographs of her West Highland Terrier received more “likes” on social media than even the most stunning Glencoe landscapes she could capture, Sam Grant conceded that “the wee white dug” should star in her Scottish travel blog.

I went on to republish a wonderful set of photographs that had been taken by Sam. You all loved them and that led me to ask Sam if I could republish her About Me page on her blog. Sam very kindly said that would be fine.

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Scotland with the Wee White Dug

A Scottish travel blog showcasing the best of Scotland. Scotland with the Wee White Dug is a comprehensive and informative guide to Scotland, covering history, outdoor activities, events, visitor attractions, accommodation, eating out and more.

About Me

A little bit about me

Hello and welcome to my Scottish travel blog which I hope you’ll find informative and interesting, but most of all fun.

I’m Samantha but am generally known as Sam, Mrs G or Mum.  I’m married to Alex (Mr G) and we live in Edinburgh with a well travelled wee white dug called Casper.  We also share our home with the The Teen, Casper’s sloth like and gadget obsessed big sister.

All of my free time is spent road-tripping around Scotland.  I’ve travelled extensively throughout the country and never tire of its jawdropping and diverse beauty.

I have a vast knowledge of where to stay, eat and what to do in Scotland. Whether it be an afternoon out, a day trip or an extended tour. I also know all of the best places to go with your four legged friend.

I’m a Visit Scotland Ambassador and I helped launch their online Community in the spring of 2016.  The Community is a Scottish travel forum for sharing insider hints and tips about visiting Scotland.  Visit Scotland’s Ambassadors were selected for their expert knowledge of the country.

In January 2017 I took up the role of resident blogger for East Lothian Council on their Visit East Lothian website.  I write a fortnightly post for their blog, highlighting the delights of East Lothian.

I’m passionate about the history, language, literature, customs and myths of Scotland. I read History at the University of Edinburgh and during my time there I studied Scottish History, Literature and Politics which gave me an excellent understanding of how Scotland became the country that it is today.

I absolutely adore the great outdoors – it’s my happy place.  I love hiking, have been known to summit a Munro or two and am happiest when surrounded by lochs, moors and mountains.

My photography

I’ve been an avid hobby photographer since joining Instagram several years ago.  I’m part of a diverse group of Scottish Instagrammers with a passion for sharing Scotland with the World.

My feed @bean_nighe has appeared on Instagram’s prestigious Suggested User list.  You’ll find the Wee White Dug on Instagram too @theweewhitedug.  His feed is also dedicated to sharing our Scottish travels.

I’ve featured in articles recommending the best Scottish Instagram accounts to follow by The ScotsmanMatador Network and the award winning travel blog Stories my suitcase could tell.

My photos appear regularly on various social media channels including those of Canon UK, BBC, Skyscanners, Scottish Memories Magazine, Scotrail, Historic Scotland, Visit Scotland and The Guardian.

I share my Scottish travels on Facebook and Twitter too so if you’re on those sites stop by and say hello.

I’m passionate about promoting Scotland as a wonderful place to visit.  It’s a country with a rich history and heritage. A country full of stories just waiting to be told.

I appreciate you taking the time to stop by my blog to join me on my travels.  I hope ‘Scotland with the Wee White Dug’ inspires you to visit Scotland, helps you to plan for a forthcoming trip or makes you reminisce fondly about a past visit.

If you’re interested in working with me you can find out more here.

Sam

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Just glorious!

Buddhism and Humanism

Reflections on a very interesting meeting of our local Freethinkers group.

Last Saturday was the regular monthly meeting of our local Rogue Valley Freethinkers and Humanists. Many know that Jean and I are secular humanists and go as often as we can to these meetings in Grants Pass, Oregon.

Saturday’s meeting was all about Buddhism or more accurately as Jerry Reed, the group’s administrator, put it in a recent email:

For Saturday, Aug 5: Brenda will be our presenter/discussion leader. She will introduce us to Secular Buddhism, including comments on basic principles of Buddhism, and how traditional and secular Buddhism compare with each other, as well as on overlapping philosophical views of Buddhism and Humanism.

This video link provides a discussion between a humanist, Scott Lohman, and a secular Buddhist, Ted Meissner, which may help to familiarize you with Brenda’s topic prior to our meeting. It is about 29 minutes long, all interesting, but if you are cramped for time, especially the segment from about 10:30 to 16:30 which discusses basic Buddhist principles that might also relate to humanism, and another segment from about 19:30 to 27:00 on advice to a beginner who might want to try meditation, and how Star Trek borrowed from Buddhism, and also about the similarity of ethical focus of Buddhism and Humanism.

What I would hope is that if any of you are interested in this subject, then do watch the interview with Ted Meisser conducted by Scott Lohman .
Here it is.

Here follow links to the organisations represented by Scott and Ted Meissner. For Scott the Humanists of Minnesota, and for Ted the Secular Buddhist Association.

If you do watch the video you will undoubtedly pick up on the science now discovering that meditation does change the brain … for the better!

More on that tomorrow!

The Owner of All Infernal Names.

A republication of my review of John Zande’s book back in October, 2015.

More than a book review,

a whole new way of looking at you and me, and the rest of humanity.

Back on September 16th, I published the post Of paradoxes, and headaches! It included the fact that I was about 20% of the way through John Zande’s book The Owner of All Infernal Names.

John Zande cover_zpsz7wuq9ccOn Tuesday evening of this week, I finished the book and, without doubt, I shall be publishing a review on Amazon books by the end of the week. First, I wanted to share a longer reflection of Zande’s book with all of you dear readers.

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One of the many five-star reviews of this book that has been published on the relevant Amazon page opens simply: “This is a beautifully written, terribly uncomfortable book to read.” I couldn’t better that summary. This is, indeed, a beautifully written book. Yet it is also a book that will forever change the way you think about species: Homo sapiens.

Zande offers a powerful argument that, “Following then the Principle of Sufficient Reason, the observer concludes with a level of argued certainty that a Creator must exist.” Then sets out to demonstrate that this Creator, far from being an expression of universal love, is fundamentally an expression of universal suffering. Reminding the reader that, “This world was never good. It was never peaceful, and never without suffering.”

For the first time in my life, Zande’s words had cause for me to reflect on something that, hitherto, had never dawned on me. That if there is a God, why have I, and countless others, assumed that this God be necessarily benevolent. The evidence presented in Zande’s book is comprehensive: that there was an evil origin to the universe and, more directly, that the deep, and growing, suffering of the pinnacle of evolution, us humans, can be traced back to that evil origin. Better than that, frequently the book is almost scientific. And in the best of scientific traditions, Zande adopts the position of a neutral witness.

Whether or not you are relaxed about that previous paragraph, and I suspect many readers will not, it is impossible not to be in awe of the beauty, the power, and the eloquence of Zande’s words. Take this opening paragraph of Zande’s chapter titled A SIGHTLESS CREATION.

It is a basal vagary, a question that screams for attention and if left unresolved – if left problematic – could invalidate all practicalities of a functioning Creation lorded by a maximally wicked Creator: Would sentient, attentive, self-respecting life choose to live in a world underwritten by evil? Could self-aware life endure a thoroughly hopeless reality?

Whether one is a believer in a religious god or not, it will also be impossible not to have one’s deepest emotions and beliefs about the nature of humankind stirred very deeply around. No-one who reads this book will be left unchanged.

If you have ever pondered about the way the world is heading, or more accurately put, about the way that we humans are managing our existence on Planet Earth, then you need to read this book. Period!

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So my review of John Zande’s latest book is being published tomorrow.

Decisions; decisions.

Things do not change; we change.

That saying from the lips of Henry David Thoreau, the American essayist, poet and philosopher, reminds us that we must be that change before that change comes along.

Thus whatever you or I, or anyone else, thinks is wrong with these times, so eloquently expressed by George Monbiot in his essay republished in this place yesterday, bringing about the changes that you or I, or anyone else, want has to start with the individual.

That, inevitably, requires many to chose which path to follow.

Last Saturday, Sue Dreamwalker of the blog Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary, published a post that truly couldn’t have been better written in terms of following on to yesterday’s post.

Here it is republished with Sue’s kind permission.

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Crossroads~ Which path do you choose?

I felt the need to post something deeper again today, and I could find no better words to write than I have already written as my thoughts go out to the many places around our globe in conflict right now.

I know there are many new subscribers here to Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary this year who may not have read this post.. I thank all in advance for their contributions..

If I am slow getting back to you, it’s because I want some time to paint this weekend and walk out in nature..
So look after each other and choose your Pathway well..
Love and Blessings
Sue❤

Image Source Here
Image Source Here

Much is happening with our Earth Plane at this time of transformation, the Mayans called it

“ A crossroads of time of Great External Changes and Major Internal Upheavals”.

We have seen around the globe how many nations are starting to change, we are also changing ourselves internally through our awareness and intuition and I see many withdrawing into themselves as they seek peace as they set about clearing the debris of our emotional bodies, myself included as we adjust to the vibrations around us.

At times all that is thrown our way is too disturbing to cope with, so we withdraw within our inner sanctuaries finding solace within Nature and our meditations..

I have to remind myself daily of the GOOD in this world as we get constantly bombarded with the BAD… So many things which are UGLY in this world which led me to revisit a post first posted in 2012.. The Good Bad and Ugly.. in which I used the Mayan quote above..

Everything in this world mirrors everything else, and everything is part of everything else, as difficult as that is to comprehend. So while we react with outrage, our rage is joining the tide of Anger already out there which is foaming back and forth in the sea of discontent.

It seems as if our very Earth Mother feels that anger as she too is rumbling ever louder in the bowels of our planet as we have seen how devastating her energies can be in Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions which are now becoming more active again around our globe..

We have to be careful not to be taken down the road of Fear.. Lest it trap us into engaging in giving out more fear by our failure to see how we are all quick to judge and use our own prejudices in labelling that which we are not in alignment with.  Whether that be in our politics, beliefs, or idealisms. None of us is perfect.

We are now ‘Shifting’ from duality to Unity Consciousness, this was brought home again to me on how many of us are thinking similar thoughts even here on WP we see similar themes as we link into the Mass Consciousness as we join together our thoughts as we link subconsciously to the Cosmic web of thoughts..

We need to be aware of the Power of our thoughts and how we can assist in raising our planets vibration and our own collective Consciousness..

Much has been spoken upon Ascension, but first we need to ascend through our own layers as we climb ever higher, leaving behind the things that no longer serve us.

We do that by not getting swept up in conflict.. by being more loving and tolerant and being compassionate rather than  being judgmental holding hate and anger.

We need to put the Care back in the world and if we embrace and choose Love over fear  and we stop looking who to blame, but start to set examples of living in harmony and unity, then the true magnificence of who we really are can begin to manifest that ‘Golden Age’ which was once prophesied to bring about Peace..

But it’s up to us to pledge to change our own lives,and when we each start bringing back that peace within our own Lives, It’s up to each of us which road we want to take. And what dominant energy we want to prevail.. I choose Love.

Blessings

Sue.

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You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.

So said Jim Rohn, the American businessman who died in 2009.

Forgive the introspection: Part Two

A good philosophical “coating of thought”.

In yesterday’s Part One, I focused on the hugely damaging effects of inequality in society. Reinforced only last Monday by an article by Professor Adam Levitin, a Professor of Law at Georgetown Law School. (Who also recently served on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Consumer Advisory Board and was Special Counsel to the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.) Levitin’s article was published by Naked Capitalism and opened with this statement:

A lot of Americans — right and left — are frustrated with what has happened to the middle class. The gap between the superrich and the rest of the country has widened, and it seems like everyone is having to work harder just to stay in place: wages have been stagnant, two-incomes are nearly mandatory (creating a subsidiary child care issue), and millions have lost their home equity in foreclosures. While there are a lot of people who bemoan the fate of the middle class, and even some want to do something about it, they don’t or can’t do the heavy lifting necessary to figure out why the system is broken and who wants to ensure it remains that way.

(I strongly encourage you to read the rest of the article.)

Trust me, as a good middle class Brit (albeit now living in America), it’s not just Americans who are frustrated!

However, one happening in this modern world is wonderful. I’m speaking of the ways that ideas can circulate around the world.

Better than that, the wonderful way we can “listen in” on the reflections of others in a manner that would have been impossible twenty years ago.

A few days ago, Patrice Ayme (PA) published a post called Human Kind, Yet Evil Rule. As so frequently happens, it attracted a clutch of fascinating responses.  One of those responses came from a PA reader who writes under the name of EugenR. EugenR offered in his response a fascinating dialogue between a group of persons, and I saw that dialogue as promoting the value of philosophising about the more challenging aspects of present life.

Eugene explained, “It was edited from a conversation in the past. I found it to be a relevant response to the essay.” It matters not the names of the people described by the initials, what matters so much more is the value of an introspective “coating of thought”.

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EugenR: The worst rule the world, because they are the worst.

GD: Not for long

EugenR: For ever

GD: What about Non Violent Civil Disobedience ?

EugenR: At the end the “Non Violent Civil Disobedience” is a human organization, and as such it will either die out, or in worse case will have an organizational structure in which the worst bullies will be on the top. There is nothing new under the sun.

GD: At the end the truth, that at the age of internet is a simple finger click away, will win.

EugenR: At the end the truth wins, the question is when and at what price. In between the lie and cruelty celebrates. Just remember the last century events (Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Mugabe i mean Dr Mugabe, etc.). All of them are gone (except the least evil Dr Mugabe). Did you know Pol Pot studied in Paris? Don’t be upset by history but learn from it. And now you have the Islam fundamentalism, that is all about cultural and religious non tolerance, racism (Sudan, Darfur, etc.), legitimization of enslavement of the non Muslims, intellectual degradation of women, death penalty for apostasy (Under current laws in Islamic countries, the actual punishment for the apostate (or murtadd مرتد) ranges from execution to prison terms. Islamic nations with sharia courts use civil code to void the Muslim apostate’s marriage and deny child custody rights, as well as his or her inheritance rights for apostasy. Twenty-three Muslim-majority countries, as of 2013, additionally covered apostasy in Islam through their criminal laws.), etc.

GD: The real question is do we have less fear because we have more access to knowledge? Or more fear because the media has portrayed fear as the new normal? I am not sure that mass herd mentality works in modern society anymore. And that is how dictators ruled. The new fear is forced acceptance. It is worse. Or should I say financially forced acceptance.

AH: I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant. Take the example of Martin Luther King, Jr.

EugenR: Yes, they were in history few good leaders who won. Martin Luther King is among them, others are N.Mandela, M. Gandhi, V. Havel all of them won, but at what personal price. Two of them murdered, two served years in jail. And anyway after them came some scoundrels destroyed anyway their achievements. Still the strife for self evident justice (that’s what these leaders were after) must go on. But who are the new Mendelas, Gandhis, Kings or Havels? In the best case those who came after them are at the best Obamas.

AH: It is a process. In the last 500 years from time of Galileo (who was threatened by his Church for telling the truth about the nature of the planets) to today there has been tremendous progress on a global scale. We with progressive values and committed to the path of love, must remember that darkness is also part of human nature (perhaps an essential part) and remain vigilant — and hopeful.

EugenR: I assume you never lived in a country where the government terrorizes its citizens. Try to express your truth in one of the terror countries, like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. Try to say there, it is wrong not to let women to have education (about 50% of them are illiterate). Try to say something about freedom of faith. Communism was wiped out only 20 year ago, its leftovers are regimes like the one in N. Korea but also Cuba. You say, ……darkness is also part of human nature…. The question is not if darkness is part……..it definitely is and nobody can deny it, but how do you fight it. In most of the cases the fight is with even more darkness.

AH: I have never lived in a terrorizing country. I did have terrorizing parents and an entrenched belief in a terrorizing Pentecostal God. I am a racial minority in a world that devalues everything I do because of my skin colour. We all have our challenges. In the end, it is arrogant for me to think you can make (force) people do what I think they should do or feel what I think they should feel. This is exactly the mindset of the dictator and I reject that thinking completely. The best I can do is look at my inner signaling. I seek to elevate my own consciousness and change myself for the better. The next step is the social conversation. I share my thinking and values with others in the hope that they too will be inspired to change themselves for the better.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

EugenR: Sorry Alexi, this time M.L.King had it wrong. The Nazis were defeated by Stalin, just because his cruelty did not have limits, while the Nazis limited their cruelty only to the non Germans. Without Stalin the Western powers would never stand against the Nazis.

AH: If you think about it carefully, the darkness of Hitler was replaced by the darkness of Stalin. This was true for the USSR, East Germany, East Berlin and most of East Europe. So Stalin did not drive out darkness, he just replaced it with his own dark shadow.
Alexi: Stalin was in control by 1923, ten years before Hitler (Lenin tried to stop him at the end of his life).

PA: The French started the nuclear bomb program in 1938. Nobel Laureate Irene Curie was certain that a bomb could be made. The program went to Manhattan, in total secret to the Nazis, and total opening to Stalin. Hitler would have been nuclear bombed into submission.

EugenR: If we speak about destiny probably Hitler would survive even the nuclear bomb, as he survived about 30 assassination attempts. If to believe in God here you have him. God is against humanism and humanity, and mainly against his “chosen people”. As he misled His Own People, some Jewish rabies made a trial of God in some extermination camp, and their verdict was, Death penalty. But then after the verdict they went to the next ceremonial pray. The religion is not about morality (mostly in contrary), not about reality or evidence, not about belief in truth (I know many skeptic believers), not even about tribalism since there are religious newcomers, who did not grow in the tribal tradition.

It is all this about some false answers to questions of eternal life? It can be right for some, but not for everyone. So tell me, what it is all about? The faith in communism did not include even belief in eternal life, and still it has so many followers. It seems religion or faith is a need of the human spices to believe in some fundamental dogma, be it even an obvious lie, all it needs is enough followers, and supporters of a false idea. In a way to be a football club fun is also a religion.

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As I said, I found the dialogue a compelling example of thinking ideas through.

More than a book review,

a whole new way of looking at you and me, and the rest of humanity.

Back on September 16th, I published the post Of paradoxes, and headaches! It included the fact that I was about 20% of the way through John Zande’s book The Owner of All Infernal Names.

John Zande cover_zpsz7wuq9cc

On Tuesday evening of this week, I finished the book and, without doubt, I shall be publishing a review on Amazon books by the end of the week. First, I wanted to share a longer reflection of Zande’s book with all of you dear readers.

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One of the many five-star reviews of this book that has been published on the relevant Amazon page opens simply: “This is a beautifully written, terribly uncomfortable book to read.” I couldn’t better that summary. This is, indeed, a beautifully written book. Yet it is also a book that will forever change the way you think about species: Homo sapiens.

Zande offers a powerful argument that, “Following then the Principle of Sufficient Reason, the observer concludes with a level of argued certainty that a Creator must exist.” Then sets out to demonstrate that this Creator, far from being an expression of universal love, is fundamentally an expression of universal suffering. Reminding the reader that, “This world was never good. It was never peaceful, and never without suffering.”

For the first time in my life, Zande’s words had cause for me to reflect on something that, hitherto, had never dawned on me. That if there is a God, why have I, and countless others, assumed that this God be necessarily benevolent. The evidence presented in Zande’s book is comprehensive: that there was an evil origin to the universe and, more directly, that the deep, and growing, suffering of the pinnacle of evolution, us humans, can be traced back to that evil origin. Better than that, frequently the book is almost scientific. And in the best of scientific traditions, Zande adopts the position of a neutral witness.

Whether or not you are relaxed about that previous paragraph, and I suspect many readers will not, it is impossible not to be in awe of the beauty, the power, and the eloquence of Zande’s words. Take this opening paragraph of Zande’s chapter titled A SIGHTLESS CREATION.

It is a basal vagary, a question that screams for attention and if left unresolved – if left problematic – could invalidate all practicalities of a functioning Creation lorded by a maximally wicked Creator: Would sentient, attentive, self-respecting life choose to live in a world underwritten by evil? Could self-aware life endure a thoroughly hopeless reality?

Whether one is a believer in a religious god or not, it will also be impossible not to have one’s deepest emotions and beliefs about the nature of humankind stirred very deeply around. No-one who reads this book will be left unchanged.

If you have ever pondered about the way the world is heading, or more accurately put, about the way that we humans are managing our existence on Planet Earth, then you need to read this book. Period!

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Reinforcing what I have just written is the latest essay from George Monbiot, that will be published on Learning from Dogs on Friday.