MY QUESTION FOR ALL MEN.


I grew up in a home where women were respected and I don’t know any other way to treat the women in my life. They are my equals and deserve all they have because they have worked equally as hard. I love my mother and aunts and want them treated with respect. To that end I treat every women just as if they were family. I live by the golden rule, treat others as you would have them treat you.

My question for all men, the average Joes, why are the women in your life treated so poorly? Don’t they deserve your respect? The widespread use of derogatory terms and the assumption that your female partner is your property is truly offensive. The oft used excuse in western/christian culture “women submit to your husbands” is a poor and abhorrent excuse. It is a part of the internal incongruity of the bible and Christianity in general. Men use it to convince women to take a subordinate role and women use it to put down other women. This I cannot understand, maybe it’s because the bible isn’t as esteemed in my eyes.

Since the birth of my daughters I have become more keenly aware of the general disrespect and poor treatment of women in our culture. It is worse for women of African heritage. My daughters will enter a world where they are afforded less respect. Less respect even than that given to other women, just because of their African heritage. They will be paid less and considered less intelligent. They will be considered less beautiful and less desirable life partners. This combination of offenses is a combination of gender and race prejudice that I cannot overcome for them. I obsess about how I can be a better example for them so they know how a woman should be treated. I will continue to provide them the opportunity to gain the life skills to overcome these cruelties. I know they will succeed because they have to. But I have one request of you.
I ask you, mothers train your sons to respect all women. Men respect the women in your life so your sons will and your daughters will have an example.
We can make a difference.

WHAT IS DEMOCRACY?


Democracy is what we make of it. It defines a society that allows its members to express themselves without the fear of state intervention. I am glad to have lived my entire life in societies that have consistently respected the precepts of democratic life. There is no perfect democracy and so we should be continually pushing for improvement.
How do we push? I consider indirect pushing to be better that direct action. By indirect action what do I mean? I mean societal growth via education formal and informal. The growth of our society is dependent on maturation of community thought. Maturity comes with education of our children. How we educate our youngest shows the direction of the society.
Education should not and is not about proving job skills. It is about proving the skills our children need to effectively protect our collective freedoms from the few who would want us be less free. Fundamental to this is the freedom of and from religion. Your religion should not impair mine nor should it be imposed on me. I should be allowed without consequence to reject all religion as much as I should be able to have the freedom to celebrate my choose religion.
We all need to be vigilant about what we pass along to our kids. Lets not pass alone our intolerance. Give them the best of us and the world will have the chance to be a better place for us all.

WHY I LOVE STARBUCKS.


So I am sitting in Starbucks looking out the window and wondering what to write about. Then a brick falls on my head. Okay, not really. But why am I here? A quick head count and there are at least ten people here doing a variety of things. Some reading, some just hanging with company,others surfing the web. We don’t seem to have anything in common, so I guess we are here because of what the store offers. The truth is the wares are over priced and mostly mediocre, but we still come. I come because it has free WiFi and the staff is accommodating.

So lets look closer. Lets start with the staff. The combination of green and black is genius. It reminds me of the tropics, of dark coffee beans and green leaves. It makes the staff distinctive, understated and approachable. The apron reminds me of an owner operated country store and says, “I’m going to do everything to make sure you find everything you need”. Simple by design and profound in its effect.

The dark fixtures and moderate light creates an inviting environment. You can sit in the open and feel as if you are working in the solitude of a back room. Just far enough away from the world, but close enough to look up and smile with the next seeker of solitude. The low light makes the food look more appealing. Have you taken a looking at the bottom shelf? Yeah that stuff is actually good. There is just enough of each item to suggest scarcity and encourage you to get yours before that underweight girl behind you gets the last one.

That soothing music and height matched layout of all the products. The art on the walls suggesting a place of contemplation. The use of seasonally appropriate color. Just enough to remind but not overwhelm. Have you notice that the displays are arranged in multiples of three? Is that just my Starbucks. Their I go taking ownership, the designer did her homework.

I am not a big fan of their coffee products, but I have discovered the bottom shelf of the food display. Today I have finally noticed that the design of the store is more inviting than most and that I love the environment that they have created. Each Starbucks store is a case study in design creativity and functional advertising.

I’ll be back. Even though they haven’t convinced me to buy more than one cup of coffee.

WHAT IS LOVE ANYWAY?


The complexity of the concept of love cannot be overstated.  In the English language the complex emotions and attributes associated with love makes a concrete definition impossible. The truth is, there is no concrete definition of love because the English language  word is an amalgam of concepts which would be better represented by several words. A good example is the various related words in Greek that together broadly represent the English language concept of love. Love for persons, places or things.

With this in mind I would suggest a simple definition put forward by Irwin Federman, ” People love others not for who they are, but for how they make them feel”. So, love is how you make me feel. If I feel good to be around you and if you feel good knowing that I  am in your life, that is love. This love expects all sides to put in some effort and all sides to get rewarded.

We are a biochemical species and every action of our bodies can be traced to a biochemical impulse.  So, if our “feelings” are a biochemical construct, love is a chemical response that cannot easily be turned on and off. It is a chemical response to the behaviour of the people around us. If you make me feel good then I am going to love you. What happens if you stop doing the things that makes me feel good? Will those chemical pathways become weaker with time?
If you accept the biochemical nature and basis of love then the extrapolation is that love can be created in the lab. Love potions may not be science fiction after all.

How much would you be willing to pay for that potion? Would it be ethical to produce and sell such a product?

HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?


Success is about meeting your internal goals. It is about achieving those things that are going to give you options. With attaining those internal goals comes joy, peace and happiness. Success is not about chance. It is about preparation meeting opportunity.
Preparation is learning to work smarter than harder. If someone tells you success is about hard work, turn and run. Hard work is for the less well prepared and if you want to succeed you want to be prepared at all times. Preparation means knowing how the world works, knowing who to ask, when to ask and how to evaluate the answers. All answers are not created equal. The only route to lasting success is via education. Where you get that education is not as important as getting it. Your education should inspire you to continually ask questions. You should never arrive at a point where you know all the answers. Keep friends that push you to acquire new knowledge, because knowledge is power and anyone pushing you to grow is helping you to succeed. Learn because knowledge is power, acquire a new skill because it’s fun. Read the classics because context is important. Work at the limit of your knowledge, because only in stretching can we grow. Listen to new music. Listen to someone you disagree with, because we all have some of the truth. Run from people who are unwilling to change when the facts change. Run from people who are proud to never have changed their minds on anything.
Like an athlete work smart and hard on your strengths and smarter and harder on your weakness. Work because you have a corner full of people who want you to  succeed. Work because only you know what success means. Work because it is your pleasure to run with the Cheetah and hunt with the Lion. Succeed because your preparation has met opportunity and you are enjoying your work.