Pay it forward

Trevor has an idea how to make the world a better place: He is going to help three people that have had a bad time and are in a bad situation. He is going to do something for them which they cannot do. It has to be something big. Those three people then will pay it forward by doing something similar to another three people who need it. And so it goes on. It builds up extremely quick and in the end, the world becomes a better place.
This story starts in the social studies class of Mr. Simonet in the film “Pay it forward” and is based on the book with the same title. I watched it today, and in case you haven’t seen it yet, you should really change that! It is an amazing film, working with an ideal of the 11 year old boy Trevor. Mr. Simonet is new to the school and a little strange at first, when he asks the guys of the 7th grade to do make an effort to change the world. Because this would be what it is all about.

I am not going to tell you how the story goes on and how it ends. But along the way we are faced with the constantly repeating question of: “Can I change the world?” It is the questing whether we can do something, with our limited resources we might have. Well, the film gives an astonishing answer… be prepared for some tears along the way! Follow Trevor on the way to Utopia…

We can all give something to the world which might change it… because something always changes.

Where?

We are all coming to the same point again: Who are we? What makes us who we are? And what makes us decide? What makes us find our way through life?

In the end, there is no right or wrong. Yes, I am sure, everything that happened to us up to the point of a decision will influence if not actually make the decision. But is this entirely true? Can we not decide against our own opinion? Yes, I might believe that this is the way to decide now, at this point. Based on previous experiences, the way I was brought up and the advice of other people I know what the “right” decision would be. But who says I cannot do the opposite. Just because I want to decide completely against what I believe in, because I feel this rebellion is the only way to bring me forward?

I went through a time lately when I also felt, we must be alone on this damn planet. With nothing but ourselves and maybe a few people that care. It cannot be that there is the one being, the one creature or what you want god to be called, who created all this but now gives a damn about how things go on in his/her world. I always had faith and slowly it seems I am getting back to a more normal level of faith again. I thought I could not have it anymore… but still, the question remains, why do things in this world go wrong for so many people? Be it just ourselves with our problems, which might be – compared to the ones others on this planet have to face – small, we still ask why? Why does it have to be so bad?

As an example, I know some people who seem to be a focus point for trouble and problems. If you look around yourself, you will probably find the one person, or family, that never seems to get lucky. People die, get killed in car accidents and people get seriously ill. And often there are one, two or even more of those things happening in one family. My grandma lost her youngest son in a car crash years and years ago. Her husband died of a heart attack, she survived one herself and then over a year ago her older son died of cancer after going through a seriously bad time. Although this is a tangent now (yes, I tend to walk Eyal’s way…) what I want to say is that it is really hard to believe in something like a god. Or at least in a god that is good.

But we were talking about identities. Or basically our own identity. I found a very interesting question on Friday, talking to a friend of mine: Where is this “me”? If I talk about “me” what am I referring to? Obviously we would think of the body at first. But this is not where I would locate myself. My consciousness must be located somewhere. But it cannot be the brain, it may be the result of the reactions, the electrical connections that happen in my head every second. But this lightning that goes on and on inside my brain creates something completely untouchable. You will never be able to touch your own “me”. The consciousness is something that actually cannot be measured or seen and it will never be. We will never know where the existence, OUR existence is located. But we believe that we are. We never doubt the fact that we are here. That it is “me” who is writing this here, and that it is “me” who thinks about it as well as it is “me” who decides on things. Yes, it might be difficult to believe in something sometimes. It is difficult to believe in things we cannot see. But “we” ourselves don’t really know where we actually exist. We don’t “see” each other really, we just see the physical expression through which we are able to interact with each other. But if we can believe that we are here, we exist, it could be possible something else exists, too. Although things go wrong and are not perfect. But we keep saying where people are working, people will always make mistakes. If you think about it, it is not the body who does make a mistake… it is “us”. And yet if we make a mistake, we know we did it. Maybe it is the same for god… who knows…?

God cannot be seen…. but have you every believed in something you didn’t see?

and what makes me me?

I think you found some valid arguments there my friend, but do you not think that the people we want to be and who we will ourselves to be is of the same character?

I am not the same person I was when I started writing this sentence. I have changed. Since the beginning of this paragraph I have written some more, thought some more and thus, I have gained some more experience, which in turn can cause me to alter my behavior or think differently before making a decision. It’s not necessarily a notable change, only minute and incredibly subtle changes in my subconscious mind, but it is a change nevertheless.

Thus, I am the sum of all my experiences. I believe we have discussed this before, and this is why I believe that although our path is not set and our choices are free, within the restrictions of ourselves, there really is no choice.

You see, every decision I make is based upon the experiences, encounters, dreams and contemplations I have had in my entire life. All of them. Negative and positive, conscious or unconscious, my own or some thoughts I got from someone else. All of them count in to every decision I make. Everything we do up until the very point of the decision influences the choice. Which means that in any given situation, I could not have chosen otherwise, because my decision is based on everything I have ever experiences, it can only have that very outcome. So even though we have free choice and will, we are slaves of ourselves and our experiences. And if you think you are not, then you are a slave of that thought and will act accordingly.

This in turn means that it is me that makes me. Simply, I am the sum of everything else. Every human being, every adult, every child, is the sum of his own world. They say that you can see the world in one grain of sand. And that, is absolutely true.

Wether we are good or bad is a consequence of our choices. Wether we want to be good or bad is simply a matter of our experiences. What we want to be and what we are is one and the same. Not always in action but always in thought. Humans are complicated beings, but everything we do is for a reason. Not always apparent and not always present at the time, but a reason nevertheless must exist for anything to happen. Cause and effect. Choice and consequence. And that is who I am.

I am the sum of everything else.

to tHis Point

Who am I?

In my unending quest to find out what makes us the way we are I have just spoken about the outside influences, the way we look, The families and friends we have, the places we grow up, the names we are given. I realise now that I have never taken into consideration the difference between the people we are, and the people we will ourselves to be.
I suppose in talking about this subject we must ask ourselves the question “can people change” and by that I mean can the very essence of their being change rather than just the things that they do. I believe that people can change, in fact I believe that people cannot help changing. We are never the same person as we were a minute ago. Now before I go on too much of a tangent let me get back to the main issue, The people we are because of the people we will ourselves to be…

We are all born equal, and by that I mean balanced, a clean slate, the same potential of good and evil, kindness and cruelty, honestly and deception. We are not the sum of our parents, we are the sum of out parenting. but can someone who is brought up a murderer (to take an extreme example) will himself to become a saint? Or the other way round?

Some people are born Great, some achieve Greaness and some have Greatness thrust upon them.

Because there is a path laid out before us, doesn’t mean we have to walk down it, we can choose to forge our own.

The people we are based on:

– The way we look (based on the society which we grow up in).

– The company we keep.

– The company we are born into.

– The name/s we are given.

– The people we will ourselves to be.

And finally, the obstacles we overcome to attain our goals, the brickwalls that show us how much we want something, the measuring sticks of our own determination.

I suppose our determination is also linked to faith, our faith in our own abilities, or others. Or our faith that although a goal is unattainable, god (or fate, or destiny, or the universe, or whatever) will intervene and make the impossible, possible.

I am an athiest, regrettably. Unlike most athiests I do not resist the idea of god, in fact I wish I had faith, but I seem incapable of it. (Perhaps its because of the way I look, people I grew up with, the name I was given?)

But in my understanding of existance (limited as it is), we are alone in this world, armed with nothing but our determination, like we are all leaves in the wind, hopelessly believing that we will not be blown off the tree…

Rather I will not be blown away because I am sure I will be if I don’t fight with every ounce of strength to hold on. My moments on earth were given to me by nothing but mathematics, statistics, one digit different and I would not exist… But I do, and I will fight for every moment I have left, and when I choose to let go (be it tomorrow, or 70 years from now) it will be because I gave myself up to the Turbulent winds of mortality, and that is what makes it my time.

So to conclude (even though it seems like a tangent again, it isn’t)

We are the people we are, because of the People we WILL ourselves to be, not the people we oneday hope to be.

Easter

I just wanted to take a moment and wish you all a very good easter holiday! Spend time with family or friends, play a game, sing a song, be good to each other and enjoy life! Remember that the world is a good place to be, and that we have each other, now, and always! It may have been raining, even pouring, but it’s April now, summer’s just around the corner, the sweet warmth of the golden sun and the clear blue sky. Remember, life, can be very good.

Take care my friends.

keep your Head uP high

*ps: About the “tags” for each post. It’s nice if we can also re-use existing tags if they fit newer posts as well. I realise this is something you have been doing, I just wanted to stick it out there…

Angel’s wings

So this is it. April 5th 2009… will it be a date we will remember? Is this the beginning of the end? The end of the nuclear age?
Today someone expressed a simple but yet extremely difficult idea. We should all be living in a world that does not depend on defense against each other. We don’t need the extreme power of nuclear weapons on this planet. We have the force to destroy, to extinguish this world more than once. But why would we want to do that? It is crazy enough that the peace on earth is a fragile balance of who has more deathly power. It is a brave move to declare that the future should be a better one and that we can reach this better future. We all can live together without the threat of imminent destruction. Will this date be remembered as the beginning of something great? Is this the date when we come closer to the idea which Star Trek always promoted: Humans at some point learned what they can reach together, as one. And they explored the galaxy after that… Where will we go from here? Or is it just an idea, just a fantasy… a strategic move?

Time will (once again) give us the answer.

Yesterday I was at a friend’s place and he has a two year old son. Once again, I realised how sad it is that we grow up at some point. Not that a world without adults would be great, but children can laugh about simple things. They laugh when they find something funny, they cry when they feel sad, they discover new things every second and are open minded for everything. They want to know everything and they can find a completely perfect fascination in a leaf on the ground. And yet, if you look carefully, they constantly evaluate what is happening. They look at you and they can see right through your armour that you built to protect you… it is sad that we lose the ability to look at the world with kid’s eyes. Through the eyes of a child, things look different… sometimes it would be good to try and remember ourselves… I know we cannot look at things like a child anymore… but we can try…

This friend of mine is a simple man. And this I don’t mean in a judging or discriminating way. He was brought up by normal people, and he became a man with a normal job. He did not have the chance to go to school for many and many years, he never studied and today he is working in a warehouse. But he is a very clever man. He knows more than a lot of people I know and he found his own truth about the world. He is a wise man who looks at things from a very simple perspective but it is a good perspective. And he thought about many things. Yes, he has a simple job, but he does a very good job. He does it all for his family and there is nothing he would not do to support his son and his wife. We often tend to judge people about what they have and what this represents. But actually, a big car and a big house does not tell you anything about the person. They certainly reached something in life… but maybe what we see, this brilliant facade, has been created by cheating other people. Maybe their all so respective jobs are nothing than a huge trickery and their life has been built on other people’s work… When we can learn something out of this economic crisis, than, that there have been – and there still are – a lot of people who cannot be respected at all for what they do… but they can afford a Mercedes. I – for myself – prefer to have pasta with my friend who works in a warehouse… because he is a real friend with real values.

The angels have wings… maybe we don’t see them all the time, but they are here!