Posted in Uncategorized, tagged Canada, China, Choice, culture, Deliberation, East and West, Free-will, globalism, multiculturalism on April 20, 2011|
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Life is almost entirely about deliberation. The choices that we make in each moment affect the choices that we can make in the future; they affect the choices that others make. What I do now is almost inextricably linked to the choices I have made in the past. My choices were put before me not merely by my own accord, but also by the choices and actions of others in this world. I am as much a product of my own deliberation as I am a product of circumstances created outside of my own deliberation; I am a product and a producer. I will revisit these ideas shortly. First, I would like to tell a story about the world and my conscious and unconscious actions within it.
I have a deep appreciation for diversity. Diversity is color. Diversity is plenitude of experience as opposed to one experience. I could constantly see blackness and all that I would experience would be a kind of blind existence. I could constantly see white with similar result. It is only when the kaleidoscope of colors unfolds before me that I can distinguish all of the various shades in between; between the extreme opposites of black and white. Diversity is worth fighting for. Being able to choose a favorite color from the existing colors is in every regard superior to being fated to an existence without free choice.
In this world, East and West are as extreme as the opposition of black to white. Knowing both directions, reveals various shades of existence; it reveals subtle cultural nuances; East and West together reveal the subtleties of human nature; the varying modes of human action; and the otherwise unviewable truths of human potentiality. China and Canada together reveal this East/West divide more than any other two countries I have spent considerable time in. But, we are all still human. The Orient and the Occident really are different; but not so different that we cannot know or understand one another.
There is a whole world of difference between our ways of being. Our ways of governing and our ways of acting and reacting to situations is different. We can line up in neat ques a mile long; or we can fight for our place at the front of the line. We can act as if there is only one mind among many; or we can act as there are many minds directed at individual pursuits. We can eat with chopsticks; or we can eat with a fork and knife. We can eat off of our own plate; or we can share the same plate with many. Our ways of acting and deliberating are diverse. Our cultures are unique.
Since we share this planet, and since the East and West need to know each other as black knows white and up knows down, my deliberations find me both consciously and unconsciously enamoured with the possibility of having a life in both countries: One life in Canada; and another life in China.
Our countries together will decide the fate of this world that we find ourselves in. It is integral that some people know both worlds in order for us all to recognize the importance of diversity. I do not want to exist in a world of mono-culture. Westernizing or Easternizing the world, or choosing only one shade rather than all the colors between opposite shades, will not do diversity any justice.
Many have asked me recently, why I am so drawn to a country like China. My answer to this is that it is partly by my own choice to choose a color that I like in this world; and it is partly because of the difference in the Chinese way of life, their people, their society, their different way of being and existing that appeals to my innate desire for diversity. I want, more than anything, to be exposed to as many shades as the extremes present between East and West can offer; knowing our similarities and our differences is so valuable to understanding the nature of being human. I would like the freedom to deliberate about my existence from the vastest shades available to me in this world; shades brought to this world by deliberation not of my own but of a culture and a people so different (and yet so similar) from the shade I find beneath the great Canadian Maple.
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged culture, existence, home, language, linguistics, living abroad, meaning, philosophy, Self, thoughts, travel, understanding on March 21, 2011|
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Birds sound the same as them. The way the notes travel up and down like teeter-totters and dip and twist like ballerinas dancing around each other; tongues–rolling like children down hills in the grass in the summer time. I understand some of what they say but only because I’ve been here with them for a while now. Languages are fascinating. The mind is fascinating because it can make sense of it all; at least enough sense that stories emerge and memories form, and ideas of what once were transform into ideas that are new and larger. The world is a puzzle with each piece a puzzle of its own. A language tells a story. The story becomes a piece of your thoughts. Your thoughts become who you are. I remember now what it was like before I spoke my first word. English no longer works the same as at home; it has become the baby babble that I once spoke before my native tongue. Instead, I am forced to re-learn how to speak. I am re-learning how to tell someone I’m hungry and what I want to nourish myself: I realize what I want is not always available to me. I am re-learning how to ask for a bathroom, to tell someone where home is. Home- I’m not quite sure I really understand that word anymore. What is home? Is it the place where I sleep at night? Is it where family is? Is it where I come from? Where I was born? Where I am now? I no longer know who I am because a piece of me is constantly changing. I am not the same and never will be. Only some distant memories allow me to realize that my past is the only constant and, therefore, I must have grown from what stays the same. Babble, I have become babble. I can no longer express my thoughts because I, too, do not understand myself. My thoughts have become babble for my ability to have thoughts has somehow surpassed my ability to comprehend them. What is home? Is it the language which I speak that defines home for me? Is home a place or is it a concept? Is home a feeling or a word? Did the concept of “home” become a word that became a feeling, or was it that the feeling became a concept that became a word? What is it that I am? Am I, too, like a home? Did the concept of “I” come, and then the word that became a feeling- or was “I” a feeling that became a concept that has now become a word? What therefore is a word? And what meaning does it have? I can understand the word for “home” in many different languages but what is so special about that word that makes me question my existence so? What is it about this different place that makes me wonder so tiresomely over words and meanings?
~Justin Allen Philcox
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It is relatively easy for any of us to state our opinions about what the world ought not to look like. Not many of us want to see war, death, destruction, high taxes, joblessness; none of us wants to be a slave, nor homeless, afraid. Many moral, social, and political theorists have spent time and energy attempting the more difficult task of trying to express what the world ought to be like. From Plato to Aristotle, Marx, Mills, Adam Smith to Che Guevara, to Milton Friedman–all of them have attempted (even without success) to create a system that will overcome the ills in the world. It is a difficult task to espouse an entire theory of state or social and economic theory. It is so easy to look around the world and see it’s problems. Solutions are always so much more difficult to come by.
I would like to say that I live in a world without poverty. War is greed. Success is defined too often by Bill Gates’ and not often enough by Gandhi’s. While I think it is important to acknowledge ideals, I would like to avoid being overly idealistic because idealism must exist in the face of realism. I do not think that a social utopia is possible to achieve in a world with so many competing interests; but I do think we can do better. It is our duty as people to create the best possible world. Rather than tell you how we can make the world a better place, I would like you to tell the world how we can make it a better place. Please leave a link to an inspiring story (video, book, blog…etc.) in the comments box. This story should include something that would make this world a better place. How does it sit in the face of realism, that is, is it something attainable for the many? Be creative.
Thank-you for sharing your inspiration with the world.
~Justin Allen Philcox
Here is a link I have chosen in response:
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