Friday, April 21, 2006

Whose Life Shall I Live?

As the school year is coming to a close I decided to review my blogs and figure out what I figured out this year.  Here is my biggest conclusion:

Whose Opinion Counts - Freedom or the System?

The system tells me that I am not good enough with just being myself and that I have to be someone else.  As I strive to be that other person I lose track of who I am and feel hollow which just reinforces the idea that I am not good enough and if I can only be like my idol (that person who is better than I am and who I want to be) then I will be happy.  Adding the arguments of Mumford, as I become more successful my life becomes more private and my relationships are increasingly commercially controlled.  The question of where I end and the system begin becomes pertinent.

From this foundation, the theme of taking responsibility can be integrated by its relationship to freedom.  Taking responsibility for my own actions and not blaming them on the system is anti-establishment.  It is much like growing up because once I am ready to accept the consequences of my actions I no longer need my parents to tell me what is right and wrong.  The metaphor can be extended to the system because I can then have morality and relationships independent of the system.  

Another anti-systemic tool is creativity.  I define creativity as expressing and developing the ideas expressed in the category Life (IX).  If I can figure out who I am I don’t need the system to tell me who I am, or who I should be and can be comfortable being myself.  The implication being that I don’t need to strive to be something I am not.  As Fanon said, if we want a European society we should let a European run our society for us because we won’t do as good a job.  Another line from Oscar Wilde is a young woman asking an older woman “what will they think of me” the response was “If we are only worried about what other people think of us what is the use of having our own thoughts?”  

The conclusion I have come up with is that the person whose opinion of me I worry about is the person who runs my life because to validate myself I have to be worthy in their eyes.  That person can be an authority figure, a loved one, God, our friends, and for a lucky few it is themselves.

Whose life shall I live
Mine or another’s
Is mine enough
It better be
It is all I have
And if I don’t choose mine
Then it won’t be enough
I will have wasted my life
In pursuit of another

If I search for another
I will not fight
For what I believe
Inaction will make me loose my beliefs
And I will soon die
I will have wasted my life
In pursuit of another

We are shown the good life
And on the way make sell a toe
Then a finger
It is never my fault
It is what I had to do
When we finally get there
I will have wasted my life
In pursuit of another

I see me as I think another sees me
I guess this by how they talk about other people to me
I become what others admire
I will have wasted my life
In pursuit of another

I can take responsibility
I can be free
I can create
I can express my individuality
I can worry about what I think of me
I will have spent my life
In pursuit of myself
Saying NO to the system.  

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Bad Comb Over

The Thought process of Clothing as Identity:

Here is what I am thinking, there are 15 or 20 identities available to adopt (like in highschool, the jock, geek, punk, goth, etc.), we pick the one that expresses who we are the most.  The confusion and frustration with identity arises when we can't accurately express who we are because the appropriate images are lacking. 
What are your thoughts, I am thinking that the images aren't as defined as I make them out to be, they lend themselves to mixing and matching, the only limit is how much money you have to express who you are.  Which is really the root of the problem. 
It is really all a myth isn't it.  That the more money you spend the better expressed you will be.  Or maybe it's just wrong, maybe there isn't the link that I am drawing.  What do you think?

So, I've been thinking, image is a way of communicating using stereotypes.  This just isn't a deep expression.

Response by the Manimal:
Not a bad idea Jeff, the identity selection, but I'm not sure about your correlation of money and expression.  Hippies for example have one of the most unique senses of expression and reject the ideals of money and accumulation altogether.  The only group that I can think of that directly requires capital as an expression of itself is those who consider themselves nothing more than market participants, the Trumps of the world. 
It is the struggle, as you had said, between identities and the mixing of these categories that creates expression, money to me is a different entity in itself.  I am not Riley because of the amount of money I have in the bank, it undoubtedly may affect who I am, but it is not expression.  If you are buying your identity I think there might be much larger problems at hand.
PS. Does anyone know where I could get a COOL identity?

My Response to Manimal:
I have come back to this post a couple times and I think I have my reply. Trump values moneyHippies value hanging outLast night at the circus I left thinking about what it means to do something just for myself, not for other people to see. I think writing poetry, a song, or just creating in general is something that I do for myself. What I wear is for other people, it portrays an image. That image puts me in a group (whether I want it to or not). Trump types don't dress up like hippies because no one would take them seriously. What I am getting at is that I have these values and I want other people to see them, so I dress a certain way. That is what marketing has done is attached values to styles. "If I buy this cologne I will be sexy." (RL ?) - it's not just about smelling good, but I will have the same sex appeal as the guy with a six pack and a tan if I buy this cologne. This guy is sexy and RL is saying the essence of this isn't his body, but their cologne and they have captured that essence and will sell it to me.My point is that values are authentic and they are cheapened by the image that is attached to them. For example, if I want to be rich and powerful (the trump type) I don't have to work hard I can just buy a suit and a bad comb over. It is a shortcut to identity.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Monistic Christianity?

Ken Wilber - No Boundary

Wilber begins by asking the question, Who am I?  He answers this question using Eastern Religion and Western Physics.  

He begins with uses boundaries to show that I am what I am not.  I have brown hair, so I don’t have white hair.  Our identities and so many other things are defined by the boundaries that define them.  Inside v. outside is an example that he used a lot, he circled the word inside and just wrote outside.  He used this as an example to show that in reality there is no boundary, it is just something that we used to describe it.  Much like a map, there is no actual border between countries; it is just a line or an idea to help us describe where we are.  

The whole goal is to understand that the boundary of what we don’t like in our mind and what we do like in our mind is a construct, and that the mind and body divide is false, and the divide between our skin and the rest of the world is false.  It is just an idea we have to help us communicate.  The truth is that pleasure doesn’t exist without pain even though we can talk about pleasure without pain.  They are interdependent.  Ever wonder why a meal tastes so much better when you are hungry?  

Here is what made it come together for me, “Look at it this way your hand is surely different from your head, and your head is different from your feet, and your feet are different from your ears.  But we have no difficulty at all recognizing that they are all members of one body, and likewise, your one body expresses itself in all its various parts.” (256)  So we can look at the universe as one body.  But can’t you divide from there for the sake of classification and communication?  You can, but using the uncertainty principle shows that the stuff that makes up the foot is the same as the stuff that makes up the brain which is the same stuff that makes up a walnut.  There isn’t a boundary to the particles that make up matter.  And those particles can move between energy and matter and they just don’t have boundaries.  

The social argument is that as soon as we realize that we can’t escape pain because it is not a dualism, but a monism then we can be content to be where we are and we won’t kill ourselves trying to progress and seek this ideal state of pleasure that doesn’t exist.  

Wilber’s arguments carry a lot of intuitive weight.  Also, I quite enjoy the social implications.  Further, the resemblance to Indigenous Knowledge is striking: finding the universal in the particular, monistic ontology that isn’t separated from the environment.  

Here are my thoughts: I can feel everything inside my skin.  I don’t have a nervous system connection to the rest of the world, or other people.  But when I fell in love with my wife I begin to feel her pain.  It is painful for me to see her sick, especially because there is nothing I can do to help.  So, maybe it is about falling in love with your environment.  

On the other hand, maybe it is just understanding that everything is made out of the same stuff and the difference between me and the bookshelf I am looking it is just on the surface.  If I could see the particles that make us both up I could see the same thing, a nebulous cloud.  So how am I different than a bookshelf, or am I different than a bookshelf?  If there isn’t a difference does that degrade my existence as supreme over nature?  I hope so.

Just a short digression about the supremacy of man over nature.  It makes sense if we are made out of the same stuff.  I think our God given right to rule nature has gone to our heads.  I envision it more like a democratic government, we have arisen out of the people for the people.  There is no manifest destiny over nature, our position has been confused with our properties.  Just because we are to care for nature has turned into humanity being made of something better than nature.  

I guess an important difference is that I can create.  But creating is just reorganizing the parts in different ways.  That is what God did to create me and trees.  He just organized the parts in different ways.  

Then there is the mind body split.  I have been struggling with this for the whole year.  Especially since I am committed to saying I have a soul.  What I have come up with is that my thoughts are chemically based, they can’t exist without the brain.  This doesn’t negate the idea of a soul because I think it makes sense that my soul is different from my thoughts/mind/consciousness.  

I think the above arguments show that a person can be a monist Christian.  But I am always open for a good debate if you think otherwise.  

The Suffering "Candle in the Sun"

N.D. Walsch - Conversations with God
And Robinson Cont’d

Walsch was in a state of depression and woke up one night and wrote God a letter asking him about life.  God answered.  But, after doing a little research (; it seems to have turned into a bit of a cult.  There are a lot of education sessions which have a hefty price tag; you even have to pay to receive a newsletter.  In the article (the link), Elliot tells his story of getting involved with the CWG organization and some criteria for judging if it is a cult or not.  First, is there a authoritarian charismatic leader (yes), is there a large financial commitment required (yes), is the belief dogmatic and does it alienate people who are not involved (yes), and is there a lot of pressure to proselytize (yes).  Also, to categorize CWG, it is considered new age.  In short, CWG isn’t looking at canonization any time soon =).

That being said, there are some churches that fit into the cult category.  But in the end, I am dismissing Walsch because his answers don’t satisfy me.  Honestly, I have heard them before, it seems to be a collection of thought rooted in pluralism, mysticism, and Christianity/Eastern Religion.  

It is summarized very well by a parable that Walsch tells in the beginning of the reading.  A candle doesn’t know what it is if it is shining in the light.  It has to go and find a dark place to find itself.  Given this fact, we should then live our lives trying to express our idea of who we are.  

The most interesting part of the reading was the dialogue concerning suffering.  The line of argument is that any suffering experienced is part of that expression of our selves.  I can see this as being legitimate.  I sometimes wonder who I would be, or what kind of life I would have if I were stranded on a deserted island, or if I were black in the south a hundred years ago, things like that.  I could even see how empathy would make a person wonder what it would be like to be raped.  How would I cope, what would life be like, who could I help once I have gone through that experience?  I don’t think I would want to live my life without suffering a little bit.  Other people have to suffer so why am I so special that I don’t have to?  But what if there was no suffering, would life be the same?  Would we be able to develop as people without suffering?  If we find ourselves in time of suffering would we not know anything about who we are if we didn’t suffer?  

On line of argument that might help in dissecting the problem of pain is that pain is intrinsically evil and pleasure is intrinsically good.  For example, if I touch a hot stove and pull my hand away I did so because I felt pain.  This seems to say that pain is good, but one must make the distinction between good properties and good results.  I pulled my hand away from the stove precisely because the stove was painful and the pain was bad.  If the pain was good I would have left my hand there.  

Suffering is intrinsically bad, but it can sometimes have good results.  For Walsch there is no property of being bad.  This means that the goodness or badness of a thing is just its result.  This means that suffering can be good or bad depending on our subjective response to it.  

In regards to natural disasters I think the best quote to summarize Walsch’s argument is “Deep personal disappointments are responses which are chosen, and worldwide calamities are the result of worldwide consciousness.” (222)  For God to interfere with worldwide calamities is for him to infringe on our will.  Something he just can’t do.  

I think he has a good insight into the nature of being a victim.  Walsch wrote that “For all of life exists as a tool of your own creation, and all of its events merely present themselves as opportunities for you to decide and be, who you matter which master you might name, none imagined themselves victimized” (222).  Jesus was crucified but it seems strange to think of him as a victim.  Jesus died for his convictions.  He chose to die.  What choice does a rape victim have?  I think that is what Walsch’s philosophy is arguing.  You can choose to be who you are (convictions) in every situation.  For the rape victim it is just that he chose to go through this experience when he was a “candle in the sun” so that he could find out who he really was.  In that sense, he chose to be raped for his convictions, he could have opted out.  But he didn’t really want to.  “The day you really want an end to hunger, there will be no more hunger.  I have given you all the resources to do that.” (230).  

So as I see it, Walsch has responded to suffering by saying that we choose suffering and the result of the suffering is what matters.  Basically suffering can be a good thing because it has good consequences (personal growth), and it is only bad when our response to it is negative.  

Why did the earthquake in Turkey kill 80,000 people?
1) Walsch - We choose it, so we can grow.  
2) God allowed it as punishment.  
3) We live in a fallen world (imperfect because of sin - separation from God) and earthquakes are the consequence of that fact. (a more popular Christian answer)

I guess the real question is what is the purpose of life?  I don’t think that the “candle in the sun” creates its own circumstances into which it will enter and experience life.  I think God gives us life.  This is where it is similar to Walsch because I think that life is about creating who we are with the life we are given.  The consequence of the difference is that the rape victim is a victim of the consequences of another person’s choices.  The rape becomes the rapists fault because he chose it (Walsch’s discussion on the cause of rape is a good one, p. 231 but I think it is still a choice on the part of the rapist).  I think Christ offers healing and to go without healing is denial and the experience is suppressed.  The result is that it will come out in some other area of a person’s life.  

That in short is what I think about suffering that has a cause.  I have still not come to a conclusion about suffering that is from natural disasters.  I guess it comes down to Robinson’s article.  I have let God die in the first two areas, but I still can’t blame God for natural disasters because Christ was so compassionate and kind.  How does it make sense that it is the same God that allows earthquakes and is so compassionate to the poor and oppressed?  It is that disconnect that just confuses me.  

Another point is that compared to Walsch I am on a witch hunt.  Everything bad that happens has to be someone’s responsibility.  I don’t see how human decisions can be responsible for earthquakes.  I guess that also shows how I am different than Walsch.  I think there are victims and that means that there has to be a bad guy.  So why do I think there are victims?  Because I think it is necessary for healing.  

But what about car accidents, There aren’t the same moral implications, it is just a bad thing that happened, and it doesn’t have to be anyone’s fault.  Can it be the same with natural disasters?  That is what Robinson was getting at.  It doesn’t make sense to blame the inventor of cars for an accident.  On the same token, it doesn’t make sense to blame God for natural disasters.  It wasn’t a design flaw, it is just a consequence of life.  Shit happens.  

So did God just “invent the car” and die?  I think that is what Robinson was saying, but despite this, God keeps showing up.   Maybe it is that God the worldview associated with God doesn’t make sense, so we can dispose of it but in the process, we have to keep God because he won’t let us throw him out.  

I think I am going to have to re-shelve this issue for another day, maybe until I can read Robinson; Robinson because he makes it alright to not have an answer, which is exactly where I am.  

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Death of God

Wow, this is blog #50…

John A. T. Robinson - Can a Truly Contemporary Person Not Be an Atheist?

Robinson takes the charges of atheism to heart and grows as a Christian because of them.  He identified three main points: God is intellectually and emotionally superfluous and morally intolerable.  He takes agrees with the points and uses them for indicators of how not to relate to God.  He even goes so far as to say that God is dead and that once we have killed him he shows up again in a new much more powerful and authentic way.  

God is Intellectually Superfluous:
In the past God has been used to explain the gaps in our thinking (It rains because God cries, etc.)  Now that we are beginning to understand some of the processes of the world we don’t need a God of the gaps.  The church is no longer in the domain of science but it still deals with guilt, but it is imaginable that one day people will be able to deal with their own guilt.  There are no longer any gaps, so the need for a God of the gaps is indeed superfluous.  

God is Emotionally Superfluous:
Freud and Marx attacked religion as a dangerous illusion because it allows people to escape the reality of their situation.  For Marx an oppressed proletariat prays for his oppression to end without actually doing anything.  Maybe we should get past a “good Lord provides” mentality and see Jesus suffering on the cross.  Christianity isn’t a call to comfort it is to transcend the need for comfort.  Jesus is about facing our fears and living, Jesus didn’t die to provide the american dream.   “Men need to be weaned, however painfully, from refusal to accept the burden of responsibility.  A God who relieves them of this requires killing.”(428)

God is Morally Intolerable:
“A God who ‘causes’ or ‘allows’ the suffering of a single child is morally intolerable.”
The answer Robinson seems to give is that it is time to stop blaming God and start looking at natural causes.  People get sick because of disease.  Earthquakes happen because of geological pressure, hurricanes happen because of warm oceans.  As much as we should stop using God to fill in the gaps, and stop asking him to make things turn out for us we should stop asking why he is responsible for natural occurrences.  It is something to grow out of.

After the Death of God:
“Even Jesus himself had to go through the process of the death of God - of the One who allowed it all to happen, ‘with a million angels watching, and they never move a wing.”’ (431)  The words of Christ are very telling “Why have you forsaken me?”  I can just hear it, why did you betray me?  I did everything you asked and you handed me over “to suffering and death.”  Does Christ ever reject God?  Robinson is suggesting he did, “God who failed even his own Son.” (436)  It comes down to God responding to evil not from the comfort of his throne but from the darkness of evil itself and saying I am still alive.  

This is very hard for me to understand.  But I think I am getting it.  God isn’t up on a throne observing life, he is experiencing it with us, even experiencing death.  He is walking in the alleys of Calgary…quietly.  

It is this God than can help us heal.  It is this God that is relevant.

It does become a stupid question to ask why he didn’t stop the earthquake in Turkey.  He was there, crushed in a building.

But there is another part of me that asks if he is all powerful, why not just stop it?  Even if he was there, why not stop the earthquake, why did the pressure have to build, couldn’t he bend the rules a bit and let it dissipate gradually?  It would have saved the lives of 80,000 people.  

The thing is, I just can’t let God die.  There is too much love and compassion.  It is just confusing and it doesn’t make sense.  How is this the same God?  I don’t have an answer.

There is a strange quote: “God, can ultimately be revealed and responded to only as love which takes responsibility for evil - transformingly and victoriously.” (437)

I don’t get it, any thoughts? Can someone explain it to me?  

Comfortable unto death

Robert L. Heilbroner - An Inquiry into the Human Prospect

Heilbroner - We have to stop growing and even slow things down.  We aren’t going to do it of our own free will, it will take catastrophes.  He envisions a world in which the public takes precedence over the private, much like Huxley’s Brave New World.  

A good quote:
“When men can generally acquiesce in, even relish, the destruction of their living contemporaries, when they can regard with indifference or irritation the fate of those who live in slums, rot in prison, or starve in lands that have meaning only insofar as they are vacation resorts, why should they be expected to take the painful actions needed to prevent the destruction of future generations whose faces they will never live to see?” (Heilbroner, 638)  

You know, I can’t get past that quote, it reminds me too much of development work.  It just doesn’t seem to matter to “comfortable” people that their neighbour is starving.  The quote reminds me of high school algebra.  When you graph a formula you need three points to verify the line and you can predict the values from anywhere along the line, it even shows where the line is heading.  Well Heilbroner has verified the line and the trajectory that humanity has chosen doesn’t look promising.

He goes on to say that the only way to change is to regain the will to live.  Comfort has become more important than life because we have to strive for comfort, living comes easy.  So maybe some catastrophes will make us start thinking about surviving again, because that is where we are at.  

Thursday, April 06, 2006

It costs too much

Barry Commoner - The Closing Circle

Key Points:
- everyone has someone to blame for environmental degradation and it is often based more on politics than reality.  The truth is that there isn’t one single cause, it is a multiplicity of events that have led to the situation humanity now faces and it will take everyone to get out of it.  
- A rabbit poops, bacteria digest the poop, plants eat what the bacteria digest and the rabbit eats the plant.  Modern Industry has broken the circle of life with plastics and non-biodegradable detergents instead of soap.
- If we are going to survive we will do it as Barbarians dictating who gets resources and starving other people or we are going to find a way to renew life in the commons.

Commoner makes a good point, how we got to doomsday isn’t because of one group, it is the society we live in.
This is our inheritance.  Our parents have given us a nice house and the possibility of ending all life.  All their generation did was realized what they have done, and left it to us to fix it.  How can I respond to the challenge?  Say no, I like driving an SUV; it makes me feel like a rugged outdoorsy man.  Actually the truth is that I wouldn’t mind living a lot simpler, the problem is that I don’t even know how to.  That isn’t the life I was born into and the kicker is that just living more simply isn’t enough.  I have to convince everyone else I know to join me; and this in the midst of advertising telling us that the good life is one of mass consumption. If I don’t have three rooms per person in my family then I am not successful.  

Maybe this is good.  I am disillusioned with that good life.  I don’t believe that buying something will make me a better, more likeable person.  Actually, the truth is that I don’t like standing out.  I had a presentation this week and we showed up some of the other groups.  I felt bad for the other groups, I didn’t revel in my success.  I guess I just don’t find any pleasure in rubbing my success in other people’s faces.  It just isn’t nice.  My point is what is the point of having something if you can’t share it with someone else?  What is the point of having something if it costs too much?  The existence of all living things is too high a price to pay for endless accumulation and growth.  


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Disorienting University Prestige

Jerry Farber - The student as nigger
Robert Brustein - The Case for Professionalism

How to be a successful student:
1. Write what they want, not what you think. - That was thanks to philosophy
2. The amount of time that I spend on a paper and how well it is researched doesn’t matter.  The professor who marks it matters.  - this was thanks to Canadian studies
3. There are some classes that you just don’t have to do the reading for.  So don’t.  I typically work hard on 2 classes.  The other three I study before the exams.  I guess the thing is make sure that the work you do counts, and if it doesn’t don’t do it.  

What I have learned about how I am taught the most successfully. Ie. how I have learned the most.  

Type 1:
The first type of teacher presents knowledge that I must know.

Type 2:
The second type of teacher finds out where I am at with my thinking and helps me progress to different stages.  

Obviously I think the second kind is better.  The system is even setup to allow for this to happen.  The teachers have been through what I am going through.  Teachers are essentially old students (or they should be).  The distinction between the two is much the same as between an extrovert and an introvert.  An extrovert explains all the steps to get to a conclusion.  The introvert thinks through the process and describes just the conclusion.  Just the conclusion won’t help me to figure out how things work, but the process will.  

Another little rant is that I think smart people shouldn’t be teachers; really stupid people should be teachers.  I think this because the really stupid people have to struggle with a concept and once they get it will be able to explain it in so many more ways because they had to go through a longer process to get it.  I am better than my sister at math and I tried to explain it to her and I couldn’t understand how come she couldn’t get it.  It was so clear to me.  If the person explaining it has gone through the fog and seen the light so to speak then he are in a much

Brustein has a worry that the “university is in danger of becoming the instrument of community hopes and aspirations rather than the repository of an already achieved culture.”  I think this is a real danger and I hope it comes to fruition.  I think a university, like a government, arises out of the people and should be for the benefit of the people.  It is only people who enjoy the distinction and respect that comes from being separate from the community that argue for “professionalism.”  This doesn’t mean that experts are non-existent, it just means that we should drop the positions of power and recognize knowledge for what it is.  Climate change is being documented in the North because of the Inuit hunter’s connection to the land and understanding of the ice.  This knowledge is more useful than satellite images.  So who is the expert?  Research and learning is about knowledge creation.  Knowledge has no value if it isn’t shared.  This supports the idea that knowledge is subjective.  My knowledge can grow and in that way it is created and new in me.  But that is a bit of a digression.  

As one of my professors rants, this is the problem with the social sciences. Social scientists have become irrelevant because their work is just for a small community of academics (it is shared within a small community so it has a small value).  If it were expanded to benefit all of society then the social sciences would have a better public perception.  

On the topic of inquiry Reason and Bradbury wrote, “Given the condition of our times, a primary purpose of human inquiry is not so much to search for truth but to heal, and above all to heal the alienation, the split that characterizes modern experience …To heal means to make whole: we can only understand our world as a whole if we are part of it; as soon as we attempt to stand outside, we divide and separate. In contrast, making whole necessarily implies participation: one characteristic of a participative worldview is that the individual person is restored to the circle of community and the human community to the context of the wider natural world. To make whole also means to make holy: another characteristic of a participatory worldview is that meaning and mystery are restored to human experience, so that the world is once again experienced as a sacred place.” (1994)

Research and learning are about healing and becoming part of the world.  We can’t stand outside of the world and categorize all the parts that we learn about.  These parts exist in relationship to each other and to learn about those relationships we have to be a part of the experience of living because it is a dynamic process.  

What if professors taught by becoming part of the class and the class became an environment of inquiry?  Would it heal the split that has formed and created the student and teacher as nigger?  Would we be able to be free of the alienation?  

My first experience with a class that was free was ironically African Studies 500.  The professor facilitated discussion, and helped us to grow.  He became a part of the class and it was the most exhilarating experience of my educational career.  GNST 500 has taken it to a new level, it is trying to even change to format to one that heals the alienation between Dr. Glasberg and the class.  Brustein would be horrified by the corruption of the university.  My challenge to Brustein would be to apply his standards to this class.  I think he would be surprised to find that we have learned more and can do better at any exam he threw at us than a more traditional class.  I know this format has made me learn a lot more about the material and do a lot more work than any other class I have.  

Beyond Europe

Franz Fanon - Black Skin, White Masks

Key Points:
We all have a history but that isn’t what forms us as people, it is time to get past that history and create our own lives.  Are there contemporary white men who have put black men on slave ships?  No, it isn’t the world we live in anymore.  

We have to work to create a new society, and why take the blueprints from Europe.  America did and they turned out to be tyrants.  If we want a European society then we should just let a European run it for us.  But we owe it to ourselves and to humanity to create a better society that isn’t founded on the alienation of people.  

I think Fanon has a point about recognizing the pastness of the past.  It isn’t forgetting it is getting on with life.  We can’t change the world if we are too broken by the past to do anything.  The slaving has stopped, the effects live on psychologically.  Just think what it would be like if people came out of the sea and started dragging off people, raping and killing on the way.  Then it all stopped because they decided it wasn’t a good thing to do.  I would have lost all sense of security and control over the world I live in.  The question of whether they would change their mind and come back to take me and my loved ones away would haunt me.  I would want the power they have so I could sleep at night.  That would color any decision I made for years afterwards; the need for power and security.  

All this propagates is violence because people will be driven to find security and power.  Just thinking about South Africa, it becomes very easy to confuse the grand picture with my subjective picture.  I would begin to suspect the people around me.  Especially where indirect rule was used, for example, places like Rwanda.  The violence is about searching for a sense of self-determination and security.  

Colonialism still lives on; it has just changed its name to economic globalization.  It is supported by the IMF and World Bank which help developing nations catch up to Europe using European blue prints.  I think these blue prints are so attractive because they are the ones that offered the Europeans the power they exercised when they raped Africa.  

What Fanon is saying is that Africa should find a different path than Europe because they know all to well where the European path ends.  He is asking them to transcend security for a life that is based on something better than a need for power.  

The second evil of European society is the middle-class.  “I call middle-class society in which life has no taste, I which the air is tainted, in which ideas and men are corrupt.  And I think that a man who takes a stand against this death is in a sense a revolutionary.” (509)  He raises the question of whether middle-class life is life at all.  The conclusion is that Europe has nothing to offer when it comes to ideas of how to live.