Aristotle Quote of the Day

Friday, 11 December 2015

Be the CHANGE you wish!

                     Be the CHANGE you wish!

By John Pam

It amuses me each time I hear someone claim we are now in a more civilized era than previous centuries,the reason is not so hard to see. To make my point I will use examples that have happened within the last half century hence the people who witnessed these events are probably still breathing in this our so called modern age. Not  quite so far away in the 1960's U-s had its civil rights struggle which culminated in the violent repression of blacks who dared suggest they be treated with the dignity befitting a human being, some say it was eventually granted not due to magnanimity but due to the ideological tussle between the west and soviet union to portray the west as more humanitarian. In 1993 the south african whites finally agreed to end apartheid because they could not repress the blacks anymore. In Rwanda in the 90's hundreds of thousands of Tutsi's were massacred while the united nations looked on. These were acts of barbarity within the lifespan of people still walking today so what's that I hear about civilization?
Lest I bore you, I will just name various events that have occurred and not go into details, for those interested in the details can check them out.
 The Kosovo crisis,U-s government duplicity in September 11 bombing,U-s involvement in creation of Isis, Liberian crisis,Drug cartels in Mexico sponsored by the c^i^a, the soviet gulags, the Cuban missile crisis, the British tussle with the IRA, Israel/Palestine conflict e.t.c
 Now lest anyone think I am trying to bore you with trivial information I will just say the above in summary are events that have happened within the last 50 years that question that whole notion of a civilized advanced society.
 Every day the media tells us a narrative to push an agenda that is favourable to a particular set of interest groups. The sad thing is because it is tainted with what we see as a righteous veneer we get behind it and label everyone who opposes us as the enemy. Hence we have been sold on so many defective ideologies when the true motive of all the stories I have listed above is either to keep power , change the dynamics of power or prevent a change in power and if that's not the case then inevitably its for profit. I can bet you to check all these events and its rare you will find someone fighting for a genuine cause when you subject them to this criteria.
 What I am really getting at is that we should not become so hypnotized by someone telling us what we want to hear that we let them steal our home. Nowadays I hear people proclaim in Nigeria that if only everyone could get on board with Communism, Democracy, Feminism,  Theocracy, Socialism, Traditionalism e.t.c then the world would be a better place. However, they fail to see that first of all , every form of interaction between people presupposes that we are going to benefit from such association but at the price of forgoing some level of personal autonomy but the price paid must always be less than the benefits incurred objectively. A good example is when my neighbor ensures that if I am not home then any burglar attempting to gain entry will be accosted however the reciprocal is that I must also do same at the risk of injury for property not mine but it balances itself out. Hence,this deluded attitude that if everybody would just act in one particular manner then the world would be paradise is at best myopic and at worst hazardous. Even goodness pushed to the extreme becomes pure evil,because some times we only see the good we intend while being blinded to the evil we may cause while trying to realize that good.
I will quickly point out the most glaring flaws in these ideologies at a later time I might delve deeper into each.
First, communism forces everyone to be of same status to ensure equality represses and stifles innovative spirit which is caused by the human desire to rise and yet places others  outside the equality bracket,hence basically animal farm "all animals are equal but some are more equal than others" which about describes the party leaders relation to the masses.
Capitalism appeals to the element of greed in humanity hence if not tempered it results in a dog eat dog society where profit is the only morality.
Democracy assumes that a popularity contest is the best means of selecting the most competent to rule. Most people do not really care about the feasibility of their candidates promises so long as their emotions can be stirred.
Theocracy has been in some form existent within certain societies and it usually ensures that anyone who points out any disagreement with certain espoused views of the world is labeled a heretic and because the clergy is said to represent deity they can destroy anyone on a whim hence we go back to the days when witch doctors in local communities pointed out someone who they disliked as being the cause of famine or drought. If the human element could be removed and only the morals remain then it would be nice however that's impossible. Truth is people need room to be able to make errors and hence grow this is something that is seen as unworthy of compassion in this perspective.
Feminism views the sacrifices women made in the past to ensure a stable family and community as oppression hence they ignore the fact that men also had to make sacrifices which though inconvenient came with its own rewards so rather than map a strategy to free both from such expectations they tie down men to the notion that they made sacrifices in the past which somehow they interpret to mean they were oppressed. Truth is there is no free lunch in life, certain freedoms come with chains of expectations for both parties. A good example which you can observe is that a man living on the streets is not usually seen as someone to be protected but the reverse is the case for a woman but in that view of her as delicate that elicits compassion in one instance and indifference for the man ,turns to viewing the capability of females as inferior even when such might be a mistaken assumption.
Traditionalist perspective is flawed in that it holds on to certain guidelines that might have been useful at a time but which in the present merely become a nuisance. Basically trying to preserve the ruins of the past from being cleared to make way for a new edifice. Its evident some customs can still add tremendous value to present day life but they have to be sifted from those which have more cons than pros.
Socialisms greatest flaw is that it tries to be everything to everyone.  Enforcing certain contributions towards the well being of other members of society is all well until the taxed start to grumble about the burden placed on them.
I hope by what I have shown here  not to ridicule or demean any of these perspectives but merely to clarify that there is never any easy solution to the problems the world faces,they each have unique perspectives and truths that essentially cannot be ignored but to honestly say that they hold the whole truth is absurd. The truth is that to begin we each must be the change we wish to see as Gandhi said and then consequently we interface with our immediate community to magnify the light within; for the rainbow has not one but seven colors...
To be honest the ideology is not really the problem but rather the fact that being in a position of authority the leaders are by virtue of that beyond the confines of those laws and can flout them. The only reason they will not is if they values of that society are based on principles which promote harmony and self sacrifice but a society where greed,selfishness and power are considered as virtues then inevitably the person occupying the seat of leadership will simply magnify those traits. In conclusion I think any idea can be the core of a society so long as we do not lose sight of the fact that in the long run the collective values which we espouse consciously or subconsciously will determine the direction in which we advance as a collective . And let's stop deceiving ourselves about the magnanimity of strangers for they only do good for their own good,whoever still believes the british came to "civilize" us Africans and not because of our resources is probably deluded. They sell these ideas to separate us because it serves their interest,not because they are moral. Divide and Conquer has always been the game but we seem to be mentally slow to realize only the tactics have changed not the goals. Let's stop falling prey to petty sentiments and realize that except we decide to stand together or we shall be destroyed like individual broomsticks....

Moral standards ii

Morality is not about trying to be perfectly right, it is about trying to do right.

Martin Luther

Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr.
Born: 15 January 1929, Atlanta, GA, USA
Died: 4 April 1968, Memphis, TN, USA

“I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. And I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.” – King’s desire for his legacy.
On 10/12/1964 Dr King received a Nobel Peace Prize Award for his non-violent campaign against racism.
Martin Luther King dreamt that all inhabitants of the United States would be judged by their personal qualities and not by the color of their skin. Dr. King adhere to Gandhi's philosophy of nonviolence. In 1955 he began his struggle to persuade the Government to declare the policy of racial discrimination in the southern states unlawful. In April 1968 he was murdered by a white racist.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Moral standards i

Morality is not about trying to be perfectly right, it is about trying to do right.

Alfred Nobel's Thoughts about War and Peace

by Sven Tägil

When Alfred Nobel's will was made known after his death in San Remo on 10 December 1896, and when it was disclosed that he had established a special peace prize, this immediately created a great international sensation. The name Nobel was connected with explosives and with inventions useful to the art of making war, but certainly not with questions related to peace.

Alfred Nobel's will prescribed that the Peace Prize was to be awarded by a committee of five persons chosen by the Norwegian Parliament (Storting) and should go to the person who accomplished "the most or the best work for fraternity among nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the promotion of peace congresses."
In the literature on Alfred Nobel, there exist different interpretations of his ideas and involvement in the peace question. In some works it is claimed that the interest in peace accompanied Alfred Nobel since his youth, in others that he did not come to reflect over questions of mankind's fate until quite late.
Alfred Nobel had a clear view of what was happening in international politics during the second half of the 19th century. His own activity as an industrialist was to the utmost degree, international and it was vitally necessary for him to follow this development carefully. Important portions of his inventions and business activity were connected with conditions which affected war and peace.
As a young man, Alfred was present when his father, Immanuel Nobel, constructed on the Russian Czar's account the first truly usable sea mines which came into use in mid-century during the Crimean War. Alfred's own great invention, dynamite, had not been developed with the idea of using it in war. However, this did not prevent it from soon being put to use in such a context as well. Dynamite was used, for example, in the Franco-Prussian War first by the Prussians, and later also by the French.

Illustration made by Immanuel Nobel on how ships are blasted with mines, here being demonstrated in his presence and that of the Tsar of Russia.

Of more direct military importance was another of Nobel's inventions, which he developed in the 1880s. Nobel originally offered to the French government, ballistite or "smokeless powder", but due to certain complications, it came to be sold to Italy instead. Nobel later declared that it was the problem's theoretical aspects which made him tackle the task.
During the last decade of his life, Alfred Nobel came to engage himself in the development and exploitation of different weapons technology inventions, for instance rockets, cannons and progressive powder. Bofors, in central Sweden, became a center for this work.
Alfred Nobel's direct involvement in the war materiel sector did not come about until during the later stages of his life. It was also at this time that his interest in the question of peace came into practical expression. His thoughts on war and peace were set out in many years of correspondence with the Austrian peace partisan and authoress of the famous anti-war novel "Lay down Your Arms", Bertha von Suttner.

Bertha von Suttner

According to the Austrian countess Bertha von Suttner, Alfred Nobel, as early as their first meeting in Paris in 1876, had expressed his wish to produce material or a machine which would have such a devastating effect that war from then on, would be impossible. The point about deterrence later appeared among Nobel's ideas. In 1891, he commented on his dynamite factories by saying to the countess: "Perhaps my factories will put an end to war sooner than your congresses: on the day that two army corps can mutually annihilate each other in a second, all civilised nations will surely recoil with horror and disband their troops." Nobel did not live long enough to experience the First World War and to see how wrong his conception was.
One could of course say that Nobel's view on the war deterring effect of weapons and explosives -- what would be later called the balance of terror -- was a comfortable way for him to defend his own activity. His understanding of conflict was not a structural one, but rather what one would characterise in modern terminology as actor-oriented, i.e. wars did not arise through structurally determined processes or contradiction of interests, but as a result of human acting, through different kinds of "accidents." War between nations was thus, to Nobel as a rule, nothing else than "enforced collective mise-en scène of individual battles for power."
Nobel's contact with Bertha von Suttner obviously had its impact on his thinking, at least to a certain point. The countess was a driving force in the international peace movement which developed in Europe during the latter part of the 19th century, and she tried energetically to get Nobel to engage himself in this activity, but with limited success. To be sure, he became a member of the Austrian Peace Association and supported it with money. But, as he frankly wrote to her, it was not money which was most needed, but a realistic program. In his own words: "Good wishes alone will not ensure peace." Despite his pronounced scepticism towards peace associations and peace congresses, Alfred Nobel continued to observe the peace work in Europe. He even employed a former Turkish diplomat, Aristarchi Bey, with the main task to keep Nobelau courant with the activities of the peace movements, including the study of new procedures of conflict resolution, for instance establishing some sort of international court. Some of these ideas have later recurred in international politics, then under the comprehensive designation of "collective security".
Even if Alfred Nobel for a long time maintained a certain cool distance to the international peace association's methods, his interest in a donation to the promotion of world peace was influenced by Bertha von Suttner. In his last will, signed on November 27, 1895, we find the well-known prize formulation "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the aboliton or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." Alfred Nobel promptly informed Bertha von Suttner of his decision, and she expressed her delight: "Whether I am around then or not does not matter; what we have given, you and I, is going to live on."

Illustration made by Immanuel Nobel on how to lay pyrotechnic mines in ports and narrow waterways. 

During the 1890s, Alfred Nobel devoted much of his time to weapons technology development, but there exists nothing which points to the fact that he saw anything problematical here. About a year before his demise he asked his nephew Emanuel, to sound out the possibilities of acquiring the majority stock in a well-known Swedish evening paper. The intention of the acquisition was not accordingly, to promote his own business interests, but to "use its influence against armaments and such medieval survivals." "But," he adds, "if armament still occurs, the operation ought to take place within the country. For if there is one branch of industry which should not be dependent in any way upon imports from abroad, it is surely the armaments industry."
Evidently, Alfred Nobel did not consider his involvement in the war materials industry and in the work for world peace as incompatible elements. Rather he gave expression to the prevalent 19th century understanding which maintained, that the scientist was not responsible for how his findings were used. Each scholarly discovery is neutral in itself, but can be used both for good and bad objectives. And when it was applied to weapons, Nobel held firm to his old opinion that this had a deterrent effect above all.

Albert Einstein 

The problem of the inventor's and scientist's social responsibility was taken up by Albert Einstein in a speech in 1945, after the atom bombs were dropped over Japan in August of that year. Einstein pointed out that the physicists in 1945 were in a situation which much resembled that in which Alfred Nobel once found himself. Einstein drew his conclusion from this: "Alfred Nobel invented an explosive more powerful than any then known -- an exceedingly effective means of destruction. To atone for this 'accomplishment' and to relieve his conscience, he instituted his award for the promotion of peace."
Whether Alfred Nobel really felt that in the same way, neither we nor Einstein could really know for sure. Alfred Nobel in any case never gave outward expression to any such sentiments. If he hid them deep in his heart, we shall never get to know.

The main source relating to Alfred Nobel's thoughts on war and peace is his own archive, kept in the Swedish National Archives, Stockholm, and catalogued in 1972 by Robert Svedlund. Here, one can study Nobel's extensive correspondence, which includes originals of the letters he received and copies of his own letters - sometimes of a technical quality that renders them partly illegible. Of use for the present paper, have primarily been the letters sent from Bertha von Suttner to Alfred Nobel: seventy or so letters, as well as cards, clippings and brochures from the period 1891-1896. Of interest also are about sixty letters, reports and press clippings from the former Turkish diplomat, Gregoris Aristarchi Bey, from 1891 to 1892, the time when he was employed by Nobel to keep a special watch over the development of the peace question.
In the Swedish Academy's library, there exists a catalogue of Alfred Nobel's technological-scientific library, prepared in 1937 with, among other things, a register of his collection of papers and brochures on the peace question. This material has since been transferred to the Nobel Archive in the National Archives. On the other hand, there remains at the Swedish Academy a not wholly complete series of the periodical, "Die Waffen nieder", which was published by Bertha von Suttner through a Berlin publishing house. The copies are only partly opened, but here and there can be found articles that are marked. Some of the marks in the brochure material have been made by Bertha von Suttner, others with additional comments by Nobel himself.
Considering the importance of the correspondence between Nobel and Bertha von Suttner, it can be noted that in her private archive, kept in the League of Nation's library archive in Geneva, there exist more original letters in Nobel's hand than can be found in his book of copies. Several of the letters are published in her book "Memoiren" (1909), which is also based on the diaries kept in the Geneva archives. An interesting portrait of Alfred Nobel can also be found in Bertha von Suttner's "Stimmen und Gestalten" (1907).
In the abundant international literature on Alfred Nobel, much has also been written about the Peace Prize and the history of its creation. This literature is of varying quality, with a number of works not resting on any thorough archive study. An initial work based on original research is that of Henrik Schück, "Alfred Nobel och hans släkt" (Alfred Nobel and His Family, 1926). Schück did not understand Nobel's interest in peace, which he characterised throughout as fanaticism. In Schück's view, it was the British poet Shelley's utopian pacifism which was the basis for Nobel's interest in peace, and Bertha von Suttner's and Aristarchi Bey's importance in this context is reduced. Even Erik Bergengren, in his "Alfred Nobel. The Man and His Work" (1962), rejects the thought that Bertha von Suttner could have played a decisive role in Nobel's thoughts on peace.
Other works, on the other hand, have underlined Bertha von Suttner's influence. This is particularly true of Irwin Abrams article in the Journal of Central European Affairs (1962) entitled "Bertha von Suttner and the Nobel Peace Prize." Here, Abrams made use of von Suttner's archive in Geneva.
Alfred Nobel's activity within the weapons industry has been treated by among others, Birger Stecksén, "Bofors, En kanonindustris historia" (The History of a Cannon Company, 1946), and Rolf Wünnenberg, "Alfred Nobel. Dynamit und Frieden" (1972). Among the works which have focused their interest on Nobel's peace ideas can be cited Robert Chaplen, "Alfred Nobel. Adventures of a Pacifist", New Yorker (1958). The problem of the scientist's responsibility for war and peace has been analysed by R.W. Reid, "Tongues of Conscience. War and the Scientist's Dilemma" (1909).

Moral Standards

Morals is not about being perfectly right, it is about trying to do right!

Today we commemorate the life of Alfred Bernhard Nobel the inventor of dynamite and the Peace Nobel Prize Awards

For his Personal life, career, inventions and death check

John Magufuli

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Independence day, Tanzania

Today is Independence Day in Tanzania but President John Pombe Magufuli cancelled all celebrations, some people are up early this morning picking litter. HE The President asked people to clean the streets instead of lavishing money on  celebrating independence day.
All these was done in the President's campaign to reduce wasteful spending.
Tanzania..Tanzania..Nakupenda sana!!


Right or Wrong

By Destine.

The Oxford dictionary defines ‘Right’ first as ‘morally good’ (to do something), what is correct according to law or a person’s duty. While ‘Wrong’ is defined first as ‘not correct’ or not right.
Something has gone insidiously wrong. Many of us know it, but what to do evade us.
According to one author, we've seriously lost our way. He says we are men adrift at sea without a compass. As a result, moral dilemmas plague us in our everyday lives and in decisions we make in all our daily activities. So the question now is how do one know the difference between right or wrong in situations? Does religion have anything to offer? Does the government have any answers?
In the present day our leaders have nothing to say that is practical and helpful. Not only because of the fact that they have moral mediocrities, but are mostly insincere especially after attaining power.
Survey tells us that most people in our so-called modern society claim that truth is not always and generally valid, but can be judged only in relation to other things, such as your personal situation: in essence what is right for one person is not necessarily right for another. I think that it is very easy to say there are no objective or absolute moral principles. it is much difficult, however, to live as if there are none.
Right and wrong is embedded in the human mind naturally; due in the course of evolution and civilization of homo. Anthropologists and sociologists often assume that human beings have natural social tendencies. Some evolutionary biologists believe that morality is a product of evolutionary forces acting at an individual level and also at the group level and also at the group level through group selection. Some sociobiologists contend that the set of behaviors that constitute morality evolved largely because they provided possible survival and/or reproductive benefits in the sense that they increased evolutionary success. Humans consequently evolved "pro-social" emotions, such as feelings of empathy or guilt, in response to the moral behaviors. (en.m.wikipedia. org / wiki/ morality)
What would you do if, during Nigerian civil war you were hiding some Hausa-Fulani people in your home and a Biafran soldier came to your door and asked if there were any Hausas inside? Would you tell the truth and consign these people to death, or would you lie to protect them? Most people will respond to this question with the "logical conclusion" that they would lie and protect the refugees. For a long time now many people have used such moral dilemma to disprove the existence of moral absolutes.
In view of moral dilemmas like this one, and other pivotal disagreements over ethical questions like abortion, euthanasia, pre-marital sex and capital punishment, many think that moral values must be relative to individuals, culture or time. People do not realize that an increasing number of philosophers these days think that ethical relativism is naive and that morality is objectively true.
Back in the days just before the Second World War, things were different. The western world was dominated by a particular value system.
In a book titled 1938: A world vanishing, Brain Cleeve wrote about the difference between Britain as it was entering the war and the way it had become about 50 years later. He said: “there really was, as nostalgia remembers, an air of greater contentment. Of a sturdier confidence in the future [people] had a greater stock of moral certainties, right and wrong were not matters for debate."
Since then much has changed, of course, now right and wrong are matters for debate. Michael Horner a Canadian philosopher said “the way we live, our behavior and the way we respond when other people are mistreated, these things reveal what we really believe about “right and wrong.” For example, we believe it was morally wrong for the Nazis to torture and kill six million Jews during World War II. but we not only think it is wrong, we think everyone should agree that it is wrong. There is a logical possibility that we are mistaken and it is just our cultural conditioning that tells us these things are wrong. This may be a logical possibility, but it is very likely that our deepest intuitions about this matter could be mistaken? That would mean torturing people is not really wrong; we just think it is. But if this basic intuition is wrong, that is, if it is possible that our beliefs and intuitions, such as our belief in cultural conditioning, are also the results of these same conditioning process? If so, it seems this line of reasoning is self- refuting; it fails its own test.
Most people know that such atrocities as what the holocaust are genuinely, objectively wrong. Christians believe that if objective principles of right or wrong exist, there must be a foundation for them. And the foundation that makes the most sense is the character of a perfect and Holy God (Michael Horner: is there any real right or wrong). Much of our morality was based on the Books of books, the Bible. Sadly, today it’s thought by many to be no more than a piece of great literature. There was a time when we all could recite the Ten Commandments. There was a time when our parents led the way in disciplining us for bad behavior; this was done in collaboration with teachers and elders in the community who all had a charge in raising a child for the better with good morals. Recently it has become a bounden duty of parents alone and even that is burning out.
As observed by David Hulme, the end of the Second World War was a turning point. And while the morality of the 30’s was not perfect, Cleeve noted that “to exchange a false morality for no morality at all is not necessarily an exchange for the better. And if as a survivor of pre- war years I were to offer an opinion as to one difference between then and now that is for the worse, I would have to choose morality… the morality of believing that there are real and objective standards of behavior, that there are such things as virtues, and such things as vices; that certain things are unarguably good, and others unarguably bad.”
However there are basic principles that exist to help us determine if something is right or wrong, these principles don’t change according to individual or society for they are always true. Like the fact that every human always have that tendency to treat others how they would want to be treated too. Even if a person does what can be termed as morally wrong to people or the society and acts or seem justified with their action, deep within them in the inner recesses of the mind as in all humans a decision is always made before taking action and that choice is made always between is my action right or wrong? This thereby establishes as a fact that there is right and there is wrong… Right and wrong exists.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Being Spiritual!

As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.
Ecclesiastes 11:5 KJV