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Where do you see our society heading? The good, the bad?(36 posts)

Where do you see our society heading? The good, the bad?OutWest
May 25, 2002 11:38 AM
Every so often I find myself drifting into a "narrow mind" mode and realize I need to shake up the gray cells. The thread below was a wake up call. I would really like to hear other people's opinions of where we are heading as a group. Thanks.
OW
Nostradomus?DougSloan
May 25, 2002 8:08 PM
Prophesizing, huh? Who knows?

Just when you think you have the world figured out, along comes some surprise event and changes everything. Who'd have thought in 1980 that the Soviet Union would be gone in a few years -- that we'd no longer hear about "2 minutes to midnight"? ... that computer technology would cause a tremendous boom in the economy, followed by a crash? ... that some zealots would kill thousands of people, and for a while unite a country just somewhat torn apart by elections the prior year?

The point is, things change. That's about all we can prophesize.

Nonetheless, here's some wild speculation.

The world will continue to grow smaller. It will take a very long time, but eventually we will be united in peace; probably not in our lifetimes, though. Sure, there will still be crime and terrorism, but not countries against countries.
That would be nice, how do you feel about globalization?OutWest
May 25, 2002 9:51 PM
I don't mean that as a trick question. It seems to be a very hot issue with some people. Is it huge corporations taking over the world while squishing the little guy or the inevitable evolution of society which,although a painful process, will end up with a global identity?
Oh well,it beats the deterioration of the status quo into a global free-for-all doesn't it.
Just think Doug, one day you will be able to buy Krispy Kremes in Inuvik. What is a Krispy Kreme by the way, we don't have them in Aldergrove?
OW
globalizationDougSloan
May 28, 2002 7:08 AM
That seems to be a hot issue, yes. I'm not sure I understand the complaints, though.

It seems the people who oppose spreading technology and capitalism are perfectly content to live among it and enjoy it themselves.

I think the real complaint is about power. Some people want to spread their vision of utopia throughout the world. Doing so in the industrialized nations maybe seems like a lost cause for them, so they want prevent the same powers from taking over developing nations. Does that sound about right?

One thing about globalization, as the term seems to be used by it's opponents, is that it appears to bring the world closer together and unite people, rather than divide them (well, except for the protesters).

Speaking of protesters, I have this impression that there is this segment of society, of each society, that must have something to protest. They look for issues. They oppose anything big, successful, powerful, or widespread, even if they supported it in it's infancy.

Are huge corporations taking over the world? I doubt it. Sure, they have lots of influence. But then, they are made up of people and are subject to the voting power of people in free contries. No doubt corporations will do bad things from time to time. Look at Enron and Arthur Anderson. But, hopefully they will be punished and made an example to others, too.

Donuts. Ah. Donuts.

Doug
globalizationMJ
May 28, 2002 8:08 AM
I don't think that's right

I think the definition of globalisation is different if you benefit from it - I think the objections are mainly from people who realise that most people outside of the wealthy west do not benefit from gloabalisation - I think the Utopia sought after is allowing gloablisation to benefit everyone rather than exclusively benefit the west at the expense of the third world

Naomi Klein's 'No Logo' is a good starting point for these issues - but the groups and protesters are disparate and often contradictory - furthermore, it would almost be impossible to practically realise the anti-globalist perspective anywhere in the west - it's infused - I think it's more a matter of being aware that your Nike's were made by child labourers in SE Asia, your clothes in another third world sweatshop, etc.

this article is a good one on the subject if you're interested - it's telling and more than ironic that the US would put up steel tariffs while demanding that African nations remove any trade barriers... anyways the title and intent of the article should be just up a libertarian's street

there will always be protesters - it's healthy

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4422046,00.html

Trade not aid

The west demands that African countries adopt free-trade policies, then it floods the continent with subsidised goods which destroy their markets

John Vidal
Guardian

Monday May 27, 2002

Paul O'Neill, the US treasury secretary, and the rock singer Bono will tomorrow arrive in Addis Ababa on the last leg of their 11-day tour of four sub-Saharan African countries. They have already seen some of the best and worst of the continent, including computer and flower factories, vibrant markets, self-help and micro-finance programmes, slums and new housing projects, under-resourced schools and hospitals.

Aside from the international PR and domestic political advantages of the trip, the broad intention of both individuals is to put Africa on the global economic map and to undermine the popular cliche, in the US at least, of it being a continent without hope.

Bono and O'Neill, like millions of Africans, know that the economic crisis is worsening. According to the UN, nearly half sub-Saharan Africa's 600m people live on less than $1 a day; the trend in life expectancy is declining; and improvements in health and education have been minimal in the last decade. Despite high growth rates, Ghana's average wage of just under $400 a year is the same as 40 years ago.

More than one-third of all sub-Saharan African children are now malnourished, 40% have no access to primary education and school enrolment rates are falling. Water is scarce and, for the very poor, ruinously expensive. The World Bank and the UK's Department for International Development have acknowledged that the benefits of globalisation are barely being passed on to sub-Saharan Africa and may have actually exacerbated many of its problems.

Wherever O'Neill and Bono have gone, just like Prime Minister Tony Blair on his Africa mission three months ago, they have met upbeat, optimistic people on every level who have strong ideas on how to improve the situation. They have been told many times by presidents as much as slum-dwellers that Africa does not want handouts, but a helping hand, that there must be a new economic relationship between the rich and poor and that investment from outside is vital.

In recent years, rich countries have significantly decreased the level of aid to Africa. Between 1990 and 1999 this fell by 40%, and per capita aid to sub-Saharan countries fell from $34 to $20. The US, in particular, has come under criticism for contributing so little in official development assistance. Although it is by far the world's largest donor, contributing almost $11bn a year, the world's richest economy contributes less than 0.1% of its GDP to helping the world's poor, well short of th
Thx, good article, well worth reading...OutWest
May 28, 2002 6:10 PM
...so globalization can be defined several ways which makes sense as its a general term. The worst case would be a few large conglomerates influencing the world economies (and the production of Krispy Kreme donuts) and the best case would be a world economy working towards a fair distribution of trade and resources. Simplistic I suppose.
OW
Hegelweiwentg
May 25, 2002 8:56 PM
not that I've read the man myself, but he did believe that History was evolving towards some kind of universal destiny (see http://www.ets.uidaho.edu/mickelsen/texts/Hegel%20-%20Philosophy%20of%20History.htm#--II. , but I don't know if I can understand it myself). so I do believe that we are heading towards something good (vague, I know).
humanity is screwed up (I study sociology and psychology, so I know that quite well). but to our credit, we are making strides. we realized that slavery was immoral. capital punishment is being abolished. we realize that war for the sake of dominance is wrong, we realize that racism is wrong ... there is, I think, hope.
of course, I don't think I'll live to see that hope realized (if ever). don't hold out hope yourself.
as a Christian (don't mean to push my beliefs on anyone, but the question was asked, and this bit is pertinent), the Church's (Church in general) belief is that we can't save ourselves ... I agree in the sense of religious salvation, but I disagree that we cannot better the human condition.
btw, I was referring to humanity as a whole, not just American society.
I wonder if we, as a race, will ever get over the...OutWest
May 25, 2002 9:41 PM
...me,me,me part and really start taking care of our world. Physical - I pick up litter almost every where I go, recycle everything I can and try to be wise in the use of resources. I hope this helps others to do the same. Mentally - I really do try to accept or at least understand whats going on around me,although I can overreact (no, really?).I hope we are growing as humans toward a better future and of course that can't be done without mistakes.
Spiritually - I share your Christian views and also agree that we can better the human condition on this world.

I just can't see where it is going or am I trying to absorb too many opinions at once?

OW
you know what pisses me off?Woof the dog
May 26, 2002 6:22 AM
about the Christianity? It is the treatment of any other religious belief as the lower, untrue etc. Christians don't seem to respect the knowledge accumulated for thousands of years before Christ has even walked the earth. The means Christianity uses to reach the proposed goals is very unsatisfactory taking into account its history and the history of the rest of the world. Any meditation, any mind trip, any meaning you find through other means is taken as a sign of the devil rather than God. Why?

Sincerely

Woof the dog.
Some Christians make that mistake, true...OutWest
May 26, 2002 7:30 AM
...but thats some people with their own aganda. I know what you mean about some considering other religions as being lower on the scale of credibility and thats not right. Each religion is going to consider the other religions as being untrue by the very nature of religion right? I suppose what I am saying is that just like Moslems, Sikhs, Jews Christianity has its share of extemists, terrorists and intolerant mouthpieces and if you read the thread below sometimes they get heard before the voice of reason. Every time I judge I find it was a mistake to do so, the lesson is...don't judge. Every time I have hated I have found that that hate was ill-founded, the lesson learned is...don't hate. Speaking in tongues makes me very uneasy and yet it is an accepted practice. I find that as I walk as a Christian I must be very careful where I place my feet. The bottom line is only God knows what is the Truth we are just bumbling around hopefully doing the best we can.
Any thoughts on what the future may bring?
Respectfully,
OW
SUFFERING, lots of itWoof the dog
May 26, 2002 6:03 PM
crisis. With the way people pollute the earth right now I am not looking to have any kids. It appears that the general trend of where things have always gone on this planet is destruction. I mean we started being animals and our population was just like any other one - not growing faster than exponentially. Look what has happened since! It can only get worse. Not for you or me personally, but all of us in general get what we pay for. And its kind of useless to really make any difference. You know why? Because for every good-doer, there are probably hundreds if not thousands of egoistic uneducated people, some of them almost starving too. Not their fault, but the problem is still there - these people are still there taking up space, resources, plus making more pollution like in this country. I am not trying to be amoral but we need to thing ahead. The only way to really solve it is to really cut down on population growth and pollution. Not gonna happen in the next ten generations, of course! Yes, there are positive things that you could say happen out there, but it is clear that its all pretty much going down slowly. We are not gonna wake up one day and say "we will stop polluting and stop breeding damn kids right now." We are choosing today instead of tomorrow, and the sad thing is that it cannot be any other way, really! I mean we want nature to be the way it was before our intrusion, but we also want to live. Its just the way people operate. Horribly, if you really wanna make a difference, you shouldn't really exist, none of us should. That takes really good care of any problem, but, again, its impossible to say "we should die" right? Thus we try to slowly move toward the better days, but today's situation will bring lots of suffering to our kids, grandkids, etc. Kind of common sense eh?

Sorry for a long rant

Woof the dog.
you know what pisses me off?weiwentg
May 26, 2002 2:36 PM
yes, and this is true of all religious fundamentalists - i.e. those who believe in the inerrancy of their religious teachings.
what pisses me off is similar: I get the feeling that I am to check my brain at the door when I enter church. I cannot do this. I used to be a fundamentalist, mainstream Christian ... but for a long time, I was uncomfortable with the Church's position on homosexuality, and now I have come to reject it entirely.
you know what pisses me off?Woof the dog
May 26, 2002 6:13 PM
If you truly believe in Christianity, you believe in that particular version of, say, the unknowable. Just by the definition of saying "I am a Christian" you are implying that there is something in this religion that makes it better for you. You do keep YOUR religion in some way above others for you are at least familiar with it, and at worst you believe it is the only right one. Don't you feel there is something strange about belonging to a particular religion but kind of saying that fundamentalists are wrong? If you truly want to be fair to everyone equally, you would either spend your whole life studying any and every religion and building your belief on the combination of these concepts, or, you could stop belonging to any particular religion and follow your heart, as they say. After all, the potential is in every one of us, so why boggle it all down with any particular "way of life"?

IMO

woof the dog.
noweiwentg
May 26, 2002 7:58 PM
I don't feel strange in saying that the fundamentalists have got it wrong. why should I?
and what's the alternative? should I leave my brain at the door? should I ignore scientific evidence and blindly accept their positions? I think not. I'm perfectly convinced the earth is round, thank you very much. plus the religious right has a political agenda that I cannot accept.
catch 22?OutWest
May 27, 2002 6:55 AM
I agree with weiwentg in that I can't blindly follow what I am taught as a Christian by the fundementalists. Thats why the thread below was so valuable to me. Woof, you pose a dilema but all I can say is that "to err is human, to forgive Divine"(meaning fundementalists, gays, cyclists, OTWs and WTDs can get "it" wrong) but thank you for your thoughts they are challenging. I take everything I hear with a grain of salt, keep my mind open, pray for our race and keep my faith. I still believe that with little steps we can grow as a race but being Man we have to do it the painful way.
thats OW not OTW nmOutWest
May 27, 2002 6:55 AM
re: catch 22? I made a big error there read this before replyingOutWest
May 27, 2002 7:08 AM
I meant to say "extreme gay activists", not "gays" I am not saying that gays have "it" wrong as it might appear. Argh, I'm never going to post in the morning again :-( To think I make my living sticking my hands in live electrical panels, I'm better at sticking my foot in my mouth.
OW
Christian fundamentals?DougSloan
May 28, 2002 9:25 AM
I've had sort of a small personal epiphany lately. I've realized that Jesus was essentially teaching people to love each other, and leave the judgment up to God. Of all the things He taught, I think that is the most important, actually the most "fundamental".

So, that view may conflict with what many "fundamentalists" believe, that is, that Christianity means you can't dance certain ways, drink whatever, or live a certain way. I think they are wrong, but they can live as they choose. They are missing the big point, the guts of the teaching, the true fundamental belief.

Can God give a whit whether you wear certain clothes, listen to certain music, or associate with certain people? I don't think so.

Nonetheless, I've made a personal decision that I'm not here to judge others. It's not up to me to do so. It's really difficult to do that sometimes, when I see people doing things so different than how I was brought up. But, it's changed my outlook on life quite a bit for the better.

I think Jesus was a libertarian. :-)

Doug
BINGO!OutWest
May 28, 2002 6:21 PM
Thats why when I went on a rant below I was not being a Christian, I was judging people. When the others expressed their opinions I realized what a horrible thing I had done.
I am lucky that they didn't judge me! I'm not familiar with the term Libertarian, is it an American political party or entity?
Jesus said the golden rule is to do unto others as you would have done unto yourself. Pretty well covers all bases doesn't it, unless your an advocate of the Marquis De Sade.
OW
BINGO!DougSloan
May 29, 2002 5:37 AM
Another "golden rule" is to act as if the rule of your actions could be universally applied. Was that Hegel?

The term "libertarian" can be a political philosophy or, with a capital "L", a U.S. political party. Essentially it means to maximize individual freedom and choice with minimal government involvement. The party: http://www.lp.org/

In reality, the party will never get very far, except maybe for some rogue candidates once in a while. The problem is, if you adhere to the philosophy strictly, it leads to some "unacceptable" results for many people. The implied assumption of libertarianism is that people have the ability and right to think for themselves. Well, some people aren't very good at this (thinking); they would abuse drugs if legalized, for example.

Libertarianmism is a more "pure" party, in a sense, because it is based upon a philosophy, not on results. Republicans and Democrats largely based their platforms upon acheiving certain results, not upon a core philosophy.

The main problem with libertarianism succeeding is that it desires to minimize it's own power, whereas, diguised or not, both main parties try to obtain and assert more power. You don't get ahead in politics by telling people you want to do less for them.

That's my little primer.

Some people view libertariansm as selfish and lacking compassion for others. I don't agree. I think the one thing you can do for people is permit them individual freedom to do whatever they want, as long as they don't harm others. Nonetheless, they are more from the "teach me to fish" rather than "give me a fish" school of thinking and encouragement to give to private charity.

Doug
yup...a lot of people want to be ledColnagoFE
May 29, 2002 10:29 AM
and that's why libertarianism won't work. too many people want to be told what to think by the govt...media, religion etc--either out of laziness or ignorance or both. i think libertarianism captures my political ideology the closest of any party, but personally i don't vote for them as it seems more of a pie in the sky political party rather than one that has a serious chance of gaining a major office.
The wasted voteDuane Gran
May 30, 2002 3:39 AM
You bring up a common issue. The Libertarian viewpoint has more adherents than it has voters because many people feel like they will waste their vote if they cast it for a Libertarian candidate. Personally I feel that a vote contrary to my conscience is a waste. I can't be concerned about being on the winning team as much as I'm concerned about supporting the person and ideas represented by the vote.

In some ways the third parties only act to shift the middle, but if more people voted according to their conscience (instead of being afraid of the "other guy" winning) it might surprise us all.
Kantweiwentg
May 30, 2002 12:00 PM
> Another "golden rule" is to act as if the rule of your actions could be universally applied. Was that Hegel?

Immanuel Kant.
Kan ;-)OutWest
May 30, 2002 10:35 PM
I get silly sometimes
OW
You know, Woofie, I've read this post 3 times and...OutWest
May 28, 2002 6:33 PM
...you make really good points. I need to talk to some people about this, not to get the party-line, but answers. For myself I need to follow a doctrine, maybe I'm a herd animal or a follower. I don't think I have the capacity to develop my own system of belief but on the other hand I don't think I have to blindly accept everything I'm told either. The teachings of Jesus make sense to me, I wonder if its because I was raised in the Christian faith? I think the part about the fundamentalists being wrong is interesting because they are the ones closest to saying they know it all which sometimes means they have lost sight of the big picture. Doug mentions the importance of not judging, and thats what the fundemantalists do. Its very much a matter of Faith. Thanks and keep thinking my friend!
OW
keep the "fun" in fundementalism?ColnagoFE
May 29, 2002 10:30 AM
wouldn't that be a good bumper sticker?
Thats good! Maybe I'll get one made up tomorrow. nmOutWest
May 29, 2002 5:01 PM
You know, Woofie, I've read this post 3 times and...Woof the dog
May 30, 2002 9:02 PM
In the end, you got it pretty much right. You are at least trying to be aware of the effect Christianity may have on other people. The problem in developing your own 'potential' is that you would probably not be able to achieve that 'higher self." There will always be a danger of your Ego taking over, so you kind of have to play along and simply trust your ancestors. You need guidence. People were just as smart and interested in religious experience 2000 years ago as they are now, so you kind of have to say that all these years count for something... a lot actually.

So back to the main point: what are we to do? In my mind it depends on how you would like to live your life: searching for an answer and certainly finding amazing things from a number of sources, or happily settling into one particular set of life. I have to say that no matter how much some want to view each religion as unique, there is this universalistic element to all of them. Very generally speaking, the goals are much more similar than different although the context and the experience itself may be very different. A shaman, for example, lives in a dangerous world of spirits while a christian may experience a Beatific (sp?) vision. An interesting thing is that one of the maps of the underworld drawn by a shaman showed a part of the highest plane (state of consiousness to us) labeled "A house of White Man's God." Pretty cool eh?

So you would not be wrong trusting christianity or any other developed religion. By developed I mean of course a religion that passed a test of time and not some cult with suicidal tendencies of the leader. For me personally, I'd rather 'take a path less traveled' and see for myself where it all takes me. I find pleasure in doing it and I feel that the potential I was talking about will not let me down, so to speak. I'd rather live and progress in my thinking about this stuff rather than simply take the wisdom for granted. Two years ago bible was japanese to me, but now any religious text is much easier to relate to. But look what others have turned this thread into: Hegel this, Democrats that...etc. The whole little discussion you and me had on Christianity tumbles into an ugly broil of one philosopher vs. another. Then politics invariably get involved and we get away further and further from the main point: faith in itself has nothing to do with politics. Its not about kant, rosseau, hegel and what not, its about incomprehensible that is far beyond their little rationalistic minds. Why do they always try to either apply or discredit religious experience? Same thing with Christianity or any other organized religion of that size - they all add more turmoil and take away from the real religious experience that we all need (talk about recreational drugs hehe). That is why if you go out of your way and learn more about other religions you often see the things that truly deserve your attention, things that are central to your existence, much much clearer. It is sad for me to see how everyone sounds the same - they use two things: western philosophy and the bible... wouldn't it be great if we could hear from I don't know, a native new zealander how he thinks one should live? ok, as much as I love typing, my paws start to hurt and my claws are already pretty dull. suffice to say that to really know is to experience, but i can't promise you it will be easy, although so much fun!

Hope my trying to make this an interesting reading were not in vain

Woof the dog.
I found that very interesting...OutWest
May 30, 2002 10:33 PM
...and while we will probably travel on different paths for now at least, I can promise I will keep my mind open. As you said "they all add more turmoil and take away from the real religious experience that we all need" I can see how a religion encourages its followers to focus on itself almost to a claustrophobic degree. In my case as long as I follow Jesus I feel liberated. Its when I fall into the trap of following other people that things get suffocating, fellowship is great but there is only one leader. I hadn't thought of it your way but now I think I will try to develop an awareness of others' beliefs. Thank you very much for the insights! I hope you understand why I am ending this post this way and I don't offend...
May God Bless You Woof,
OW
re: Where do you see our society heading? The good, the bad?empacher6seat
May 25, 2002 10:10 PM
I wonder how much longer America will remain the strongest and most influencial country in the world... I heard something saying China would be the next world power, simply because of it's massive population. I guess it's only a matter of time until something happens to their current government and who knows what'll happen from there.
Got to think about that,seems likely nmOutWest
May 26, 2002 7:33 AM
re: Where do you see our society heading? The good, the bad?Natchez
May 26, 2002 10:52 PM
The world has not made any real steps forward. Technology has become much more developed. But there is nothing new under the sun. Humanity is basically narcissistic. Education, wealth can not fix the human condition. Anyone who knows themselves knows that no lasting selfless good is living in them, even the good we do we normally do to feel good about ourselves therefore it is selfish. We all live short hard lives to varying degrees. . Our would will go the way of our flesh Yet our souls tell us that death is not right. No one I believe goes to a funeral and really believes that is the end. I feel all religion or philosophy that starts with the assumption humanity is good or can be good is fundamentally flawed. The Buddha said humanity must learn to empty themselves of all self love and learn to love dispassionately to reach nirvana well he is partially right if we could love dispassionately, "equally"the world would be better just one problem we are not made that way. We fall in love with our kids more then other peoples kids. Most religions and philosophies teach if we live this way or do this or that we might become good I wish that were true but our hearts will still be dark if our hope is dependant on what we do. All we can do is die and we screw that up most of the time. So where is hope? My hope is not built on me or any institution I find hope in the life of Jesus who loves me even though I am hopeless and all I do will die. My hope is built on him his words and love not a church or the 12 steps program nor the 12 pillars of Islam nor disinterested love. One word which many so called Christians have forgotten and the world has never know is what seperates Jesus from all the rest. This word is what we all nieed and it is made known to it fullest in the person of Christ That word is Grace you need it and I need it and Only Jesus teaches it or lived it


Blessings
Well said. You really nailed it! (nm)DJB
May 28, 2002 2:36 AM
re: Where do you see our society heading? The good, the bad?Duane Gran
May 30, 2002 3:44 AM
12 pillars of Islam

There are 5 pillars to Islam, but I agree about putting trust and faith in Jesus. However I don't take a fatalistic view that humanity is fundamentally screwing itself.
Caution....big obstacles aheadStarliner
Jun 1, 2002 9:53 PM
The old American Dream will grow dimmer as time passes. Cost of living will increase - more and more services and things now taken for granted will have a price tag attached to them. Things such as privacy, personal safety, quality education, communication, entertainment, etc. will increasingly have a cost.

Faith in government will decline within both the citizenry and our traditional overseas allies. Failures that will occur in the protection of our homeland security will fuel grass-root outrage over the sacrifices in personal freedoms called for by a government increasingly seen as incapable of dealing with the Islamic/Christian culture clash spillover.

Militarism will take a dangerous turn. There will be a demand for major military response after the security failures occur. Opposition to this action will initially be weak, and not be effective until well after serious military responses have been undertaken, such as the overthrow and occupation of the oil countries in the middle east. By then, the line will have already been crossed; stability sought by such an action will be short term at best. Unrest among our allies will grow; we will become more isolated within the world community; it won't be a happy time.

Meantime, back on the domestic social front, discontent among men regarding social inequities will grow. A leader will emerge, who will expose the gross gender inequities within the legal system and, while under heavy fire from feminists and the left, show ways how the inequities are linked to various male-dominated socio/criminal problems existing in society. However, his persistence over time will help create a new social awareness that will ripple throughout the entire legal and penal system.

Then suddenly, on an exploratory junket to Mars, remnants of an ancient civilization are discovered, and our life on this planet won't ever be the same.....
man, that's a bummerDougSloan
Jun 4, 2002 6:26 AM
I think I read the identical message back around 1970...

Doug