Dec 10

UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS…70 YEARS OLD TODAY!

 

HAPPY WORLD HUMAN RIGHTS DAY!

 

 

Last week Thursday, I was gifted the opportunity to flex my creative muscles via an adapted and stylised presentation of the 30 Articles making up the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. You see today, 10th December 2018, marks the 70th Anniversary of the implementation of this UN drafted and adopted collection of rights, agreed upon to be the most basic and fundamental rights afforded to every human being on the planet earth…without exception! Apparently, so the story goes/suh dem seh (a phrase I will henceforth use by way of a disclaimer, in case what I share with you today turns out to be based on fake news at some future point), a group of people from around the world, appalled by the atrocities that took place during the second world war, decided to take proactive measures to ensure that human beings would never again be allowed to descend to the levels of barbarity, evil  and wickedness as was seen during the six year war. Yeah right, I sense some of you thinking.

 

 

YOUNG PERCEPTIONS OF WAR!

 

Growing up in England, my perspective of that war was always influenced by media images of valiant Englishmen and their allies, risking their lives for the rights and freedoms of their fellow countrymen.

 

Each November, as a child through to my teens, I would customarily wear the purchased poppies that my whole family wore in memory of those brave souls that sacrificed their lives for a noble cause. The only bad guys in that war story were the Germans, or to be more specific, a particular group of deranged Germans called Nazis. Apparently taking the life of another was only evil if, according to the rules of war, the lives were those of the bad guys. The fact that both sides of the cass cass saw the other as the bad guys was irrelevant to those writing the history books I studied. Bloody, valiantly fought battles and atom bombings were mixed in with stifled tales of torture, sexual abuses, murder of civilians and other unclaimed acts of barbarity…on both sides. No doubt the saying that “all is fair in love and war” could well have been coined during the said conflicts.

 

 

In the aftermath of that war, an estimated 60 million human beings were dead. WWII was dubbed ‘the worst war in modern history’, by the time it ended in 1945.  The United Nations emerged through unification of 58 country states, officially forming in 1948, with the primary purpose of bringing peace and upholding the rights of citizens in all lands. They drafted and agreed to the Declaration of Human Rights, the details of which most of the world’s citizens, I would hazard a guess, are oblivious. I hazard that guess on the basis that BBC World News reports (one of the few news sharing establishments I still have some level of trust in), consistently highlight unprecedented atrocities happening daily across our planet. As if on cue, as I drove home from my Human Rights presentation to the Mandeville Graduates of the Sutherland Global Microsoft Training programme, I felt a deflating blow when I tuned in to my radio to hear about the ‘alleged’ daily executions taking place in the African country of Burundi. The chilling report, as told by the BBC news correspondent, based on first hand intelligence obtained from eye witnesses and former perpetrators, stunned me. The pitch and inflections in the voice of the young sounding reporter, gave away a frustration that I presumed came from the fact that no decisive action was being taken by the UN nations, despite the submission of solid evidence to the UN leadership.

 

JAMAICA ON HUMAN RIGHTS?

 

 

Having become privy to and played a part in sharing the 30 human rights articles to an audience of Jamaicans, what now? Surely the scale of the global human rights breaches might suggest that those rights are destined to remain mere words on paper, while even the heads of states that are signatories to the declaration are themselves perpetrating, at worst, and turning a blind eye to, at least, gross human rights violations against their citizens. Closer to home, here in Jamaica, a modern day tropical paradise, the Tivoli Gardens ‘incident’ of 2010 still echoes a cry for justice that will ring in our ears for generations to come. Though I am considered an eternal optimist, the international and local news on any given day lends support to my concerns, that since the 1948 scripting of the declaration of human rights, matters have in fact gotten progressively worse, rather than better.

 

 

So, is it worth building the hopes of ordinary citizens by spreading the gospel of human rights to which they are entitled, yet potentially have little recourse if the state and its officers refuses to honour them? I say yes! Let the people know their rights! Armed with knowledge of what being a human being should afford them might at least empower some, and then more and more, to stand up for their individual and collective rights. Around the globe we are seeing and hearing of unrest and mounting frustrations among ordinary citizens that are saying enough is enough to leaders that have lost sight of their responsibility to serve and support all its citizens equally and fairly. The youth in particular are rising up to protest the disparities in treatment for segments of the society and blatant corruption within both government and private sectors.

 

HUMAN RIGHTS IN PLAIN LANGUAGE

 

 

All that said, given the energy of the youth of this world to clean up the messes of prior generations, I will do what feels right to me and proceed to sensitize my fellow Jamaicans and other world citizens to the 30 rights they have on the global stage, by virtue of the fact that they are human. The link below is to the Youth for Human Rights web page, which features a simplified version of the 30 Articles, as I shared with the young graduates.

 

https://www.youthforhumanrights.org/what-are-human-rights/universal-declaration-of-human-rights/articles-1-15.html

 

Learn them, as one day, you may need to demand or exercise one of them, in the face of some violation. You do, after all, have the weight of the now 192 member states of the United Nations behind you. Let us trust that this is heavyweight enough when put to the tests.

 

As our island’s reggae icon, Bob Marley sang…”Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights!” Knowing them is the first step.

 

Sep 4

FROM CONSUMERISM TO COMMUNALISM…A PIPE DREAM?

 

 

Question. If the goods/services being advertised in the various media were absolutely necessary…that is to say they were ‘needed’ by the average human being (based on disposable income indicators), why do they hire actors or superstars to convince us? Why do they use near-naked males/females to stimulate the senses? Subliminal signs and sounds. Colour codes. And that’s just scratching the surface. If these goods/services were indeed necessary (not compulsory like motor insurance :)) wouldn’t the natural need for ‘things’, coupled with affordability, direct the human flow of customers to the respective ‘thing’? Furthermore, I just listened to a radio advertisement and, having a keen ear for voices, word choices, the authenticity and connection of the speaker to the overall message being conveyed, I found the tones of the characters used to be very robotic. Could it be the digital age compelling us to accept the monotonic tone of a robot to tell us what we MUST buy, lest we be haunted by a neighbourhood of fully equipped Joneses, left man/woman-less, lose street cred…or whatever the penalty implied in the ads for our NOT purchasing the goods/service being advertised. It all sounds like a subliminal stick up of the mind to me. There you are, torn between the items you absolutely MUST purchase and those you don’t get and then have to endure the shame, lower social ranking, poor self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy…in general the stresses arising from the knowledge that you don’t have the said high end commodity or the new brand of human weave, it’s much the same (especially if Mrs Jones/Lacretia respectively has one!!!). Exaggeration for some of you, but a real dilemma for others!

 

NO AGE LIMITS

 

 

Take your average teenager…my son for example…just 16 yrs of age and he has already developed a mild fixation on ‘the latest IPhone’. He is NOT working! How did the consumerism-wizards get a hold of these young minds that don’t earn a cent AND get them to convince us parents (whether by coercion/emotional blackmail) to spend so much (as a ratio of earnings) of our hard earned cash? Remember, I’m referencing the average and below teenager and don’t get me wrong, my son has an IPhone, but it’s certainly not the latest version…and he didn’t get this one ‘as it drop’ in the Apple stores! Case in point. I watched a YouTube video recently showing that a certain community in Liverpool (England), which was designated the ‘poorest’ part of the country, had record crowds at its Apple store in the town, on the morning of a new IPhone launch. Lines (‘queues’ for the British-British), were extremely long! The consumer bug had clearly bitten hard and embedded itself deeply in the psyche of those folk. Matter over mind you could say.

 

 

But what about us? Have you ever stopped to consider how badly bitten you are by the consumerism bug? How many things in your home, for example, are regularly used and not just giving you or the home-helper grief to dust each week? How triggered are you when the advertisements for, or even the second hand news about, the launch of the latest IPhone, BMW, Nike, Dolce & Gabbana …(I’ve run out of name brands as I’m a hopeless non-follower of fashion)…add your own brands here…then answer the question J. Now don’t be defensive. I am by no means judging anyone here, God forbid, I too am working daily towards a re-balancing of my life, re-evaluating what I need more of (which by the way is ostensibly non-material) and what I can identify as non-essential clutter (be it physical, mental or human), to lighten and simplify my life somewhat. My hardest trigger to resist comes from the vicarious pangs of wanting to help my son keep up his street cred amongst his peers, while pointing out to him that he must not put material things before people and a conscious livity, that the yearning for the IPhone is fed by the marketers who use their mind manipulation tricks, that keep persons reaching and reaching perpetually for ‘things’ that they don’t need. But heck. He’s been a great son, doesn’t ask for much, he did well in his CXC’s. Maybe just this once…let me check the cashflow? See, I’m not perfectly de-consumerised, but I plead Maternalism! 🙂

 

WHO IS AT THE CONTROLS?

 

 

So if we are all the consumer puppets, who/what is pulling our strings? Perhaps those benefiting most from the consistently turning consumerism treadmill, supported greatly by highly paid marketing houses and not forgetting the Joneses, who never fail to bring attention to their latest acquisitions. I heard recently on BBC Radio, which is one of the few media sources I still get a sense of ‘factual-ness’ from (remind me, that’s a different blog topic), that the top advertising agencies in the world now hire the top neurologists, to assist them in knowing how the human mind and brain work!!! Now that struck me, as a person fascinated by neurology, to the extent of becoming a Neuronet therapist to assist children with learning challenges, but I digress. Those corporately hired neurologists…by all accounts,  are not hired to find out what the REAL needs of consumers are…more so to further manipulate minds, to steer wealth/last pennies in the direction of capitalist giants. Case in point, right now ladies, count (in your head if you are not in close proximity to your closet); how much shoes yu have? Now, how many do you wear regularly? Ok, then. Nothing new here I hear you say, but as the mind manipulation will now be based on the latest neuroscientific research, developed by privately hired neurologists…advertisers will be taking the term ‘getting into our heads’ to new levels. As I think about it, these same neurologists could, if more morally than materially guided, be more useful to humanity by devoting their time and expertise to developing mental skills that foster universal harmony. Anyway. It’s not for me to judge, but I’m just saying, as a born-again marketer, preying on highly stressed and strategically targeted masses, through mind-bending advertising, just seems wrong-up! I don’t know if I will be classified as a whistle-blower, but I recall my marketing course had us exploring strategies for, ‘capturing’ the minds of the consumer, persuading them that they ‘need’ this or that product/service that they never knew existed. Keep them purchasing, working to purchase more, borrowing to purchase yet more, then, financially extended, family relations strained, health compromised and consistently exhausted, you convince them to take the commercially advertised drugs that will keep you going that little bit longer, without checking the cause of the pain, in between the commercially advertised 2 weeks vacations…after which, the pain still exists.

 

 

Wow. Not a very pretty picture, now that I’ve stopped to read back. So, let me change gear and share what possible alternatives there are for those of us still hooked by the consumer-chain yet open minded enough to explore an alternative ‘livity’… or at least ease up on the throttle of our racing consumption engine. I’m not advocating a cold turkey extraction from the consumer train…that would be tantamount to jumping off an actual moving train and experiencing the shock and resultant psychological disorientation…as you realise you have just taken your whole wardrobe of Gucci shoes and matching handbags to the charity shop! I know it’s not easy once you are entwined, to unravel the old livity and re-ravel a new one…without the proverbial ‘trappings’. See, we even give the ‘things’ a name representing bondage! So, let’s get creative, like the marketers of these multi-billion dollar advertising agencies…with their highly paid neurologists.

 

 

If George Orwell did it, picture this. We are now in the year 2030…

 

There will now be a one month intermission.

 

Log in again the first week of October to…

 

FIND OUT MAKEDA’S PROPOSED ALTERNATIVE LIVITY STRATEGIES IN PART 2 OF “CONSUMERISM TO COMMUNALISM…A PIPE DREAM?

 

 

Nov 6

Rethinking Gravity…and life.

 

RETHINKING GRAVITY…and life.

 

In my mature years, I seem to have developed a ravenous interest in and curiosity about things metaphysical, neuroscientific, spiritual and metabolic. Unlike my less ravenous years as a young student, I am now armed with the understanding that at the most basic level, all the above (and all else in our world) are intricately connected.

 

Image result for gravity

 

Let me share a little of my most recent ‘learnings’. The other day, a friend of mine came down with a bout of vertigo. Head spinning, dizzy feeling and unsteadiness on her feet. Now my knowledge of the human vestibular system, housed in the inner ear section of the head, caused me to speculate that this delicately balanced system had been adversely affected by some sort of infection. While discussing the matter, we ventured onto the subject of gravity and our relationship to it. It occurred to us that something as simple as vertigo or an ear infection, can so easily disrupt our relationship with this phenomenon of physics. Now I’m not alluding to the apple falling on the head moment that gave Sir Isaac Newton his aha moment, preceding the claim that he had ‘discovered’ something that had existed from creation. I’m talking about the dynamics of this natural law that we take for granted daily…until our personal relationship with it is thrown off. If it is a constant ‘law’ how can it be altered in some persons’ reality (e.g. vertigo) and not others’…at the same time?

 

Astronaugt

 

Gravity is often described as a ‘pull’ or ‘force’, though Einstein insisted it wasn’t a force at all, but that’s another story. Simply put, Earth’s gravitational pull compels/draws you toward the centre of the planet, but the ground is in the way (thankfully); said ground pushes up against you, matching the force of gravity exactly. It is this push that makes you feel heavy (not the whole pizza you ate last week!). Now we know that astronauts in their space ships are no longer subject to the law of gravity in the same way as they are on earth, but did you know that a person also weighs less at the equator? Yes, if you stand on the equatorial line, say in Uganda, you will weigh less! If that isn’t enough, you would actually weigh three times less if you lived on Mars, just in case a future trip is open to you. Now before you consider relocating, as an alternative to managing your ‘mass’, read on.

 

Uganda equator

 

There are also some other fascinating facts pertaining to this little discussed (by your average person) law! Did you know that if you are located/live on the equator, when you pull your plug in the sink, the water goes straight down the drain, as opposed to north and south of the equator where the water first spirals either clockwise or anticlockwise, depending on which hemisphere you reside in? Literally, if you stand on either side of the centre of the earth, gravity behaves differently! Again, variables on what we might have previously believed was a simple ‘what goes up, must come down’ law.

 

Stay with me now, here is where it really gets interesting (or not). This gravitational pull that keeps your feet firmly planted on the earth, is strong enough to keep us ‘grounded’… is weaker than the magnetic force of the magnet on your fridge! A little scary if you think about it. No wonder one refers to being magnetized by a man or woman one is attracted to! Remember that when you write your next Valentine’s Day poem. ;). So, remember, the magnetic pull is stronger than gravity!!!

 

God helmet

 

If that thought is not scary enough, do a little research on the ‘God Helmet’, a device developed by a neuroscientist called Micheal Persinger, which involves placing it on the head of a person (specifically in the region of the right temporal lobe) then transmitting weak electromagnetic impulses that stimulate that part of the brain. While the magnetic force is not as strong as the magnet on your fridge, it is sufficient to induce altered states of consciousness…expressed by thousands of participants as ‘being in the presence of God’. Outer body experiences, where gravity ceased to exist, were also reported. Mr Persinger is apparently working on a virtual reality video game that might very well have the next generation exploring spirituality through technology!!! One such version is already available for consumer purchase in the form of the Shakti Helmet. Memba mi tell you! What was once considered mystical and magical is now scientific fact and viewed as standard biology.

 

Anyway, back to my discussion with my friend, which started with vertigo. It soon moved on to the following video, which for many reasons impacts me greatly each time I watch it. It speaks to some fundamentals of the human existence, but touches also on one man’s newly formed relationship with gravity and spirituality. A relationship that both took him off-the-grid and transported him into another realm entirely…let’s call it divine, since that’s how he describes it. I suppose any departure from what we refer to as the ‘rat race’, must give one a sense of divine connectivity. Anyhow…watch the video and experience for yourself how life can be altered by ‘divine science’.

 

 

Now, how do you feel about your life and your relationship to gravity? Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Can you imagine how much more turned on to learning our children would be if they were exploring and experimenting on such mind stimulating topics in high school? There is clearly a thin line between imagination and reality!!!

 

The next time you pull the plug in the sink or bath…take notice of the direction the water takes going down the drain!

 

I’ll save the discussion on levitation for another time ;).

 

[This blog is dedicated to the late Sushil Jain, a regular reader who relished each monthly feature. The last time we spoke on life and matters ‘spiritual’, he strongly suggested that I read the Bhagvad Gita. RIP Sushil, gravity no longer holds you down].