Peace on Earth – Goodwill to Girls


Rape is used to destroy not just individuals but entire communities. Rape is so commonly used as a weapon that Major General Patrick Cammaert, a former UN force commander said –

“It has probably become more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in armed conflict.”

In 2008 the UN declared rape, ‘ a weapon of war’.  In the resolution, the UN Security Council noted that,

“…women and girls are particularly targeted by the use of sexual violence, including as a tactic of war to humiliate, dominate, instil fear in, disperse and/or forcibly relocate civilian members of a community or ethnic group.

Rape is a heinous crime, acknowledged as torture by the United Nations and yet apart from the physical, emotional and psychological scars that rape inflicts, there is another source of pain for rape victims – social exclusion.  In many countries the shame experienced by the victims after rape is as traumatic as the incident itself.  Many women kill themselves as it is seen as the only way to restore honour to their families.

How can this be true?

Surely the perpetrators of heinous crimes are the ones who should be ashamed?

And who are the people who exclude or look down on these victims?

Do these excluders and condemners include women?

If so – why?

What is it about rape that makes the victims ashamed and not the perpetrators?

When will men – and women – begin to speak out against this violation?

What sort of social conceptual framework exists to support this victimisation of victims?

If we could find it could we dismantle it?

All thoughts appreciated.

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(1) http://www.ohchr.org/en/newsevents/pages/rapeweaponwar.aspx

The Banality of Heroism


Philip Zimbardo, the psychiatrist in charge of the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment has a new venture – he’s studying the components of heroism.  Zimbardo and his associates believe that instead of looking at heroes as the exception, we should create an idea of heroism as banal and commonplace.  They believe that we will all have occasion in our lives to make heroic decisions and if we see heroism as a universal attribute of human nature, we are more likely to do the right thing, even when we are under pressure and afraid.

Zimbardo et al believe that this reconfiguring of heroism as a commonplace attribute can guide our behaviour in moments of moral uncertainty.

There are a number of steps that Philip Zimbardo believes will help us to foster ‘the heroic imagination’ we need to progress in this regard.

  • We can start by remaining mindful,carefully and critically evaluating each situation we encounter so that we don’t gloss over an emergency requiring our action. We should try to develop our “discontinuity detector” — an awareness of things that don’t fit, are out of place, or don’t make sense in a setting. This means asking questions to get the information we need to take responsible action. 
  • Second, it is important not to fear interpersonal conflict, and to develop the personal hardiness necessary to stand firm for principles we cherish.  
  • Third, we must remain aware of an extended time-horizon, not just the present moment…In addition, we should keep part of our minds on the past, as that may help us recall values and teachings instilled in us long ago, which may inform our actions in the current situation. 
  • Fourth, we have to resist the urge to rationalize inaction and to develop justifications that recast evil deeds as acceptable means to supposedly righteous ends. Finally, we must try to transcend anticipating negative consequence associated with some forms of heroism, such as being socially ostracized. If our course is just,we must trust that others will eventually recognize the value of our heroic actions.(1)

Butterfly Effects for Change – Part 5 – Hero in ‘Train’ing?

 
 
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http://heroicimagination.org/ 
http://www.lucifereffect.com/articles/heroism.pdf 
 (1) The Banality of Heroism - Greater Good Magazine - Fall / Winter 2006-07 

Outcomes versus Goals


Research Association of Laozi Taoist Culture

Image via Wikipedia

We are taught to pursue our goals.  This is a good thing. Focus is always helpful in bringing clarity.

Sometimes, though, we mix up the stages on the journey toward our goals with the goals themselves.

This can happen with anything – not just material things.

Greed for enlightenment and immortality is no different than greed for material wealth. It is self-centered and dualistic, and thus an obstacle to true attainment. Therefore these states are never achieved by those who covet them; rather, they are the reward of the virtuous. (1) 

As well as focusing on our goals we need to increase our vision so that we can better see the end of things.  This will help us to determine our immediate goals without compromising either our integrity or our overarching aspiration.

The essence of true safety is to observe silence, to look at the end of things and to renounce the world. (2)

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(1) Lao Tzu, The Hua Hu Ching

(2) Bahá’u’lláh, Words of Wisdom